The Antique Elegance Show, formerly the Victorian Elegance Show in the Dallas suburb of Richardson, is a show of a different breed. Changing the name from Victorian to antique does not change the dandy nature of the show. If vintage clothing and jewelry have traditionally distanced some antiques dealers who strictly follow a thumb rule of antiques being at least 100 years old, then they need look at again the big crowd in the show, in particular in the booths with vintage clothing and jewelry. We heard there’s a waiting list to get in the show as a dealer. How many shows today can say that? More importantly Antique Elegance draws a young crowd that is seen energetically rummaging through everything from clothing to hardware. It’s possible we have seen the future of the antiques show business, it is here in Richardson.
Saturday brought much rain to DFW region, but when we arrived about 20 minutes after the show started, to my surprise, the attendance was some of the biggest I have seen at shows of this size. (There are about 60 dealers from around the country.) There was a wide variety, both in terms of merchandise and demographics of the patrons. Most merchandise dates from Victorian era onwards. Silverware and flatware, China and cut glass, books, textiles and linens, photography, artworks and of course vintage clothing and jewelry. It was quite a scene to notice a crowd sorting through random flatware priced at $1.00 each. Eric pointed out ephemera such as postcards, old maps, newspaper (like Harper’s Weekly) and cabinet card photos were something not as often seen in antiques shows in New England.
If Austin’s vintage clothing market is boosted by the young population that prefers laid-back bowboy shirts and jeans, Dallas’ vintage clothing does it up a little more. And as Dallasites may expect, people really dressed up for the show. Double-breasted navy suit with strong stripe, WWII military uniforms or elegant bonnets with beautiful feathers were just a few examples. It was an eye feast to not only see the variety of merchandise but also see how they compliment an individual’s styles.
When we were there, Steven Porterfield, the show promoter and Antiques Roadshow appraiser, was filmed talking about some vintage clothes offered in the show. Later, we have heard it will be used for BBC America for a documentary about vintage clothing. In case when you read this report and regret that you have missed this two-day event, there is another opportunity — Dallas Vintage Clothing and Jewelry Show is coming in a few weeks…