dimanche 5 avril 2009

The 3rd edition of the Salon du Vintage

It hardly seems possible that a year has passed since the last time I went to the Salon du Vintage. How time flies. When I read the flyers advertising this year’s Salon, I was quite excited since I had enjoyed the last one tremendously. I wondered though how they were going to fit in their new venue, the Cour du Marais located in the third arrondissement.
Despite being prepared to like the Salon, and despite being a fan in general of vintage, I was greatly disappointed with the Salon. The new venue was far too small to host the Salon. People were packed like sardines in the can and made browsing a chore. Walking around was close to an impossibility and you hardly had room to really take a good look at what was available. I couldn’t even take out my camera to take pictures, it was that claustrophobic. When I asked the woman who runs Frjp, one of the regular participants, she told me that the change in venue was due to the absence of any sellers of furniture. This year’s edition was concentrated on clothes and accessories, specifically the 80s period. That was a shame since having furniture and other objects really made last year’s Salon interesting to a greater number of people.
The venue being less than ideal, I nonetheless steeled myself to give a good look to what was there. And what really struck me were the outrageously expensive prices attached to most of the stuff on sale. I’m not an expert on vintage (at least, not yet), but I do go to vintage stores on a regular basis to stores that have been around a long time, and I can tell you that the prices in the Salon were tremendously inflated. One store was selling a small 80s Chanel bag, hardly in mint condition (it was scuffed pretty badly and the interiors were dirty) for the staggering sum of 1200 euros! I overheard one girl looking at the bag say in a mutter that “for such a price one might as well go to Rue Cambon to get a new one”. And I have to agree with her. I suppose with the rise in demand for all things vintage, the prices have accordingly gone up but what a disappointment this is. Vintage pieces can justify their high prices only under certain conditions, like the condition of the piece (it has to be pristine) and/or its rarity (last time I checked, Chanel bags are still selling like hotcakes). Like it or not, vintage clothes or bags, simply anything vintage, are things that have been used before and so prices should take into account their condition of usage. This unfortunate tendency of high prices have the corresponding effect of turning people away from vintage pieces and makes it out of reach to a good number of people.
So I didn’t love the Salon. The only saving grace as far as I was concerned was meeting a few people who had good, quality merchandise at still reasonable prices. More importantly they were nice, not at all snooty, and quite willing to discuss with you about the pieces they had. One was a nice woman who runs a on line vintage boutique called by Solange. She had lovely scarves from Gres, Cardin, YsL and Courreges ranging from 40 to 80 euros, a good number of dresses and jackets from Courreges and different bags. Oh and she had some lovely ladies gloves too! Another lady who similarly participates only in antique fairs had some fabulous jewelry. She had wonderful Art Deco necklaces and earrings, cool swinging Sixties necklaces and some pretty Trifari bracelets. Other notable pieces in her collection included Lanvin, Chanel and Versace. All her pieces were in mint condition and prices depended on their condition. She’s also not averse to giving a small discount if you’re really in love with one of her pieces. Thank goodness, there are still a number of sellers who have not jumped into this practice of inflating prices! Hope springs eternal that vintage hasn't completely become a thing of luxury.

Practical Details,
If you've time to spare today and the desire to be close (literally!) to humanity, the Salon du Vinage is at Le Cour du Marais
81 rue des Archives
Metro: Temple

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