|A TIMELESS ROMANCE: RANDOLPH STREET MARKET'S 1ST ANNUAL WINTER MARKET "PASSIONS AND VANITIES" 02/09/2012
|By Danielle Carlson
It's February, which means although temperatures are cooling down, passions are heating up as we enter the month of love. This past weekend marked the beginning of Randolph Street Market's 2012 season with the first winter market, Passions and Vanities. Hundreds of Chicagoans and dedicated out-of-towners bundled up and braved the cold in order to hunt for treasures amid a glittering wonderland of vintage jewelry, timeless antiques, and couture fashion all under one roof at the historic Plumber Hall. In keeping with this month's amorous theme, we trolled the market for furniture to cozy up in, décor to set the mood, and housewares to make the fashion lovers in all of us swoon.
The room was already abuzz as the shoppers began filing in at 12 p.m. on the dot, ready to find something that would incite their passion, a piece that would sweep them off their feet.
We started our antiquing adventure on the bottom of three floors at Lehman's Antiques, where Lorena spoke to us about her repurposed and upcycled furniture that was stirring the hearts of both new home buyers and customers interested in changing up the look of their home. Lorena explained the benefit of buying antique furniture: "However much you pay for it, you can always get your money back out of that. As opposed to buying… something brand new that is then kind of worthless after you take it from the store."
Donna Pawlus of Hello, Good Buys
was also catching the eyes of curious customers with her collection of
furniture from a variety of eras. While Pawlus started out with 40s
furniture, she branched out because, as she explained, "I think every decade has some unique pieces to it and
obviously its own styles." One piece that particularly captured our
attention was a leopard print and vinyl bar, perfect for adding
playfulness to any décor scheme and spice to any evening. As Pawlus said
of the bar, "It's a good time and it hasn't even started yet."
|In keeping with unique statement pieces, we couldn't help becoming infatuated with a Victorian/Eastlake fainting sofa at 29 Palms - The Collector's Oasis. As Robby Davison
explained, the flirtatious find was picked up on a trip through New
Orleans and Texas that included a stop at an antique mall in Garrison,
Texas. The sofa dates back to 1894 when Garrison was settled, but boasts
nearly perfect upholstery from the 1950s or 60s, giving the piece an appealing blend of antiquity and nostalgia. The sofa also folds out into a bed, prompting Davison to gush, "We just thought it was so unique and unusual that we just had to buy it." |
|As we made our way to the main showroom teeming with vendors, we were struck by the sight of two handsome winged-back chairs the color of a lipstick fit for Marilyn Monroe. Their owner, Don Colclough of Mr. Modern,
explained that these vintage chairs were plucked from a home on the
south side of Chicago, where they were covered in upholstery-saving
plastic, resulting in "60-year-old chairs in excellent original condition." In keeping with the market's theme, Mr. Modern was also showcasing silver for bridal items, original vintage valentine hankies, and vintage lingerie
for women to entice their valentines. When asked what made Randolph
Street Market stand out from other vintage shows, Colcough commented,
"It gets young people. Antique shows are sort of passé. And the
connotation of antique turns off younger buyers. This isn't billed as
that. This is an event, it's a happening…There are more young people today right now in this building than you'll get in an entire weekend out in Kane county."|
In addition to enthralled customers, passionate vendors were also on hand including market newcomer Steve Baltic of Atlantic Poster. Baltic's rock 'n' roll posters were splayed across the walls, hanging from the balcony, and covering his booth in a chaotic explosion of color and charisma. As Baltic quickly explained between helping eager customers, "One of my passions is posters, which I think is one reason I have more than anyone else in the country." Baltic described his collection as "any and all rock 'n' roll artists, anything from Olivia Newton John to Pantera" – an inventory that dazzles new customers at every show and inspires loyal customer to keep coming back for more.
Another vendor whose business sprung from his own love for his wares is Rick Rhodes of Midwest Toaster Authority. Rhodes deals in housewares made in America between 1920 and 1965, but his passion is toasters, which is evident in the gleam of shiny chrome on every table. Rhodes' toasters look more like pieces of art than appliances, but as Rhodes explains, we shouldn't be fooled: "These toasters have gone on working for 50, 60, sometimes 70 years." One of our favorites was an art deco toaster that resembled the Empire State Building, while the star of the show was the Toastalator, the first of many toasters that would steal Rhodes' heart. The Toastalator was purchased as a present for Rhodes' toast-loving brother-in-law who is a mechanical engineer, and as Rhodes confirmed, "[It] was the perfect gift."
Between trying on glamourous baubles, examining glitzy barware, and modeling vintage purses, customers could also show off their sultry side with a personal charcoal drawing from Katya & the Nude Sketch Salon. Further indulgence was also encouraged by a plethora of food vendors selling treats, savory snacks, and belly-warming dishes such as fresh and flaky empanadas at the Empanadus table.
|After having feasted with our eyes and stomachs, we caught up with local fashion bloggers Eva Daiberl of Miss Renaissance.com and Alison Fraker of Brown Eyed Style.
Alison, who is new to Chicago, explained what drew her to the Randolph
Street Market: "I love antiquing and checking out local antique stuff,
so it's a great place to learn about local places that have stores
nearby." Eva, who has been to many shows throughout the city commented, "This is my favorite, I always come here. I think there is a good edit going on. High quality and interesting things and not so much just junk."
Hands full of gold chains, Alison chimed in to agree: "[Vintage
markets] outside of Chicago aren't this well curated and this well
organized, and I don't feel like I have to elbow people out of my way. It's crowded and it's busy and it's bustling, but it's not overly obnoxiously crowded, and there's great food too." |
During one final lap of the main showroom, we came across even more finds such as a vintage picnic set at Revival Decorative Arts & Furniture that is sure to set the stage for a memorable outing, as well as romantic and rustic accent décor elegantly displayed at Diane Passi Floral Design & Antiques. With so much excitement and romance in the air, Randolph Street Market was the perfect way to kick off this year's month of love.