Primrose Hill Vintage Fair

If there’s anything more Guardian-readingly middle-class than a vintage fair housed in an old literary establishment in deepest Primrose Hill, I haven’t found it yet. Equally, I’ve yet to come across a better way to spend a Sunday afternoon, so with a purse full of gold and a gaggle of friends I trundled in the sunshine in the vague direction of what was sure to be a rummage-shopping Mecca.

Far from the frantic scrum I’d anticipated – and, indeed, spent many hours sharpening my elbows for – upon arrival we were greeted with a scene of chic, well-styled calm. Two of the sort of women who, thanks to their impeccable self-presentation, must always be called ladies took our £3 entry fee and reimbursed us with a raffle ticket for the draw at three o’clock, before setting us loose on the sort of clothing selection vintage girls dream of.

There’s always a slight mania running through any shopping event where there is only one of everything. The need to discover each item before your exact-same-dress-size girlfriends is palpable and the desire to just grab everything and run out of the door is an urge that has to be professionally managed.

I took the lead, bagging myself a pair of high-waist auburn trousers, tapered and cuffed and so perfect for next season. But while I was congratulating myself on my £15 steal a friend charged ahead with an enormous denim shirt, a blazer and a chiffon blouse. Another was trying on a cute feathered fascinator while the fourth was getting testy because her beaded evening dress just wasn’t quite right.

There was everything to choose from. A ‘£10 table’ housed cute heels and handbags, a rail stuffed with stock on Balenciaga hangers kept guard of clothes so beautiful you almost didn’t want to touch them. Almost. There were 1940s jackets and 1980s swimsuits, floral patterns, 19th century lace and bridal gowns that made me want to stage a wedding, just so I could legitimately own one.

It wasn’t only the setting that drew the Primrose Hill Vintage Fair apart from all others, it was an absence of tat. Every stall’s contents was perfectly picked and every stall owner was friendly and knowledgeable. The soundtrack (Shakespeare’s Sister upstairs and classic Elvis down) had us bopping along in a probably embarrassing way and the make-shift changing rooms in the toilets were full of women asking each others’ advice on fit and alterations. Such a level of camaraderie in a room full of women who love fashion is a beautiful thing indeed.

Head down to Earl’s Court on May 16 for their even bigger event and battle it out with shoppers and trades people alike for the very best bits. I’m already perfecting my grabbing technique and menacing stare.

Primrose Hill Vintage Fair
Cecil Sharpe House
2 Regents Park Road
Primrose Hill

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2 Responses

  1. Your astute observations make for an entertaining piece: thank you for such a complimentary article on the Primrose Fair.

    Sending you most gracious regards.

    Warm greetings from one of the chic, well-styled, calm ladies who received you on the threshold of the fair.

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