I have recently been re-reading some Agatha Christie books and apart from the riveting mystery at hand I’ve been so surprised to note how much she spoke about fashion; the mention of Dior’s ‘New Look’ came up in They Do It With Mirrors and to be honest, I was pretty impressed.
With the love of Christie’s stories comes also a nostalgic longing; a supreme need to be placed directly in the decades she lived through and wrote her novels in. For us, the only way to experience that feeling is by playing a little dress up! So off we headed to the Hammersmith Vintage Fashion Fair at the Hammersmith Town Hall yesterday to see what we could find. The Fair runs every 4-5 weeks and has been going since 1999. As it was my first dip into vintage fashion, I was quite excited. The moment we stepped in through the doors, we were greeted by that unmistakable ‘vintage’ smell. Lovers of antiquities will know what I am talking about; a warm mix of ruffled, yellowed book pages, worn metal and a feeling that you are about to be swept up in a giant fur coat!
A lovely lady greeted us at the entrance and we were given some good news; after paying £5 to enter on your first time, you can register and receive free tickets straight in your inbox for future fairs.
We quickly signed up and proceeded into an avalanche of rails and rails of the most gorgeous period pieces I had ever seen! Jackets and dresses from the 1800s all the way to the 1980s, haberdashery tables bursting with old buttons and yards of lace, boxy mock croc handbags, Spanish jewelled crowns and even little girl’s shoes. These reminded me so much of a cover Tom Adams painted for Crooked House (I almost ran away with them!):
Marco spotted this turban, much like the ones worn by his beloved Salome Otterbourne from Death on the Nile:
We found the perfect 2 piece for Miss Marple:
Spotted these gorgeous jewelled head pieces one of which I am definitely picking up for the Agatha Christie festival in September:
And we also found a little nylon Bob (Dumb Witness) button:
Every seller had something unique displayed on their tables and they were very knowledgable about their merchandise and most helpful (although not incredibly friendly) if you were looking for something specific. They are tough cookies to bargain with but you do come away with the most exquisite pieces at a very reasonable price.
As its a lot less commercial than the weekly vintage markets like the ones on Portobello Road or Spitalfields market, most sellers at the Hammersmith Fair only exhibit here every 4-5 weeks so you’re sure to find something unique and if you’re nice to them, they can even reserve some items for you till next time! I was itching to buy this stunner of a green and white Swarovski necklace from the 50s but because I didn’t have enough cash on me, the man kindly offered to hold it for me for a few weeks.
If you’re looking for something to do on a cold, windy Sunday, we would highly recommend an afternoon of trawling through these rails of time; I promise, you’ll get lost. For more details on when this fair is on next, click here. We will also be dropping by Frock Me! at the Chelsea Town Hall on April 10th. If you’re in London, come say hi!