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Vintage Report: Christe Antique & Vintage Show Spring 2016
A Very Stylish Christmas

Style on Your Walls

The Best in Town
Style Goes Online

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Vintage Report: Christie 2016
Posted 06/08/16

I started attending 'Christie' back in the 1990s; so it's 2016 now and the show is appropriately renamed Christie Antique & Vintage Show — acknowledging vintage collecting has become very popular and on-trend. Just consider the popularity of vintage clothing retailers over the past few years and all those antique/vintage-hunting TV programs on HGTV? Christie typically features over 200 dealers — you'll find Quebec folk art, salvaged architectural parts like corbels and finials, and ubiquitous Ontario cheese boxes. A one-day, semi-annual sale, Christie is situated in the beautiful Christie Lake, operated by the Hamilton Conservation Authority, near Burlington, Ontario.

After passing up the show for a couple of years, I returned for the Spring 2016 event. Christie is always a fun day out of the city. I have always loved Christie. The setting is idyllic. Some dealers return to the show year-after-year, most from Ontario but others from Quebec and the U.S. If you like antiquing, you will find familiar things too; like the those varnished cheese boxes and maybe-just-too-common Coca-Cola collectibles. I think we've all gone through the pine box phase and are ready to look to new interests at Christie. I noticed a few vendors featuring mid-20th century modern furniture and household goods like brightly-colored acrylic tableware pieces and a mod-ish, brightly-patterned lounge. Very Mad Men.

Over the past few years I've become a collector of salvaged letterforms. I love typography, so my interest in salvaged letters is quite a natural extention for a type geek. Fortunately, Christie usually features one or two dealers showing salvaged signage, and metal and acrylic letters — likely originally from retail/commercial environments. I like the challenge of trying to build a word from a limited pool of letters. Or, I just pick up an individual letter, attracted to its form, material, and aged finish. I picked up a lower-case 'n' this year — and it's italicized! Italicized three-dimensional metal-cut letterforms aren't that common based on my experience over the years at Christie, you typically find uppercase letterforms. I'm also finding interest in weathered flags and noticed a few vendors selling them — mostly Union Jacks. They're only $10-25 and look great hung on a wall in a group. Check out my lightbox below from the scene at Christie 2016.

The Christie Antique & Vintage Show is a semi-annual, all-day Saturday sale: Spring show is one week following Victoria Day and the Fall show is one week following Labour Day. Go early, traffic conditions are very heavy since Christie Lake has very limited entry access and parking requires walking — or shuttle busing — to the vendor tent site. It's a great experience if you're unfamiliar with antiquing.

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A Very Stylish Christmas
Posted 12/18/11

While masses of holiday shoppers in Toronto head to The Hudson Bay Company's Queen Street flagship store to see their storefront Christmas dioramas — imagine traditional mechanical characters building toys and baking sweets — I like to check out the windows of Holt Renfrew on the city's tony Bloor Street known as 'The Mink Mile.' No Santa's workshop here thank you. For 2011, Holt Renfrew's visual merchandisers imagined the most stylish Twelve Days of Christmas: a glittering partridge sits in a revolving pear while turtle doves nest in a tree, a sporty mannequin attempts to entice penguins to jump through his five gold rings, maids dressed in little black dresses offer glasses of milk while a dandy top-hatted lord leaps. You would never imagine a band of bagpipers would look as good as Holts' pipers and the tapping drummers are warmly dressed in stylish peacoats. Even the doorman greeting shoppers is dressed as a toy soldier.

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Style on Your Walls
Posted: 06/05/11

We've all seen and heard about the Keep Calm and Carry On poster revival. It's a great poster, I've got one hanging in my apartment hallway. Where'd I get it? England naturally, the source for the original Keep Calm poster. Keep Calm Gallery creators Lucas Lepola and Hayley Thwaites have created a great online source for poster art – not mass-produced offset reproductions – but silk screened, abundantly affordable, limited edition fine art prints. Lucas and Hailey work with creative graphic designers and printers everywhere: U.S. multi-disciplinary graphic designer Douglas Wilson is a personal favourite for me. His letterpress creations are simple, bold and will instantly add an amazing graphic statement on your walls. Keep Calm Gallery updates their site regularly with new artwork. Check it out often. Here's a peek at my framed posters from Keep Calm Gallery. More to come …
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Style Goes Online
Posted: 11/30/10

Two digital magazines in the ‘shelter’ category launched recently: Lonny and RUE. Lonny has been online for a year – posting four issues in 2010 while the premiere issue of RUE launched last month.

This category in the magazine industry has suffered several high profile losses due to the cooling economy and plummeting ad sales down over 30 per cent over the past couple of years: Condé Nast House & Garden, Hachette Fillipacchi’s Metropolitan Home and Blueprint from Martha Stewart going back to 2007. Magazine racks at your local bookstore are looking decidedly less glossy these days.

Lonny magLonny and RUE wish to fill that void left by the loss of traditional magazines. However, they occupy an electronic space online. They both feature flip-page technology that simulates the conventional reading experience, but with loads of added features like magnifying zoom and links to advertisers websites.

At 260 pages in the November 2010 issue, Lonny features lots of gloss and lifestyle imagery that you’d expect from a shelter mag. There’s a great profile of J.K. Place boutique hotel in Italy that will have any traveler wishing to book a reservation – Florence or Capri, you decide.

Lonny is very easy to navigate from the toolbar; the index is convenient and the double-page spreads nicely occupy any monitor – even before zooming out to full-screen mode.

RUE’s Fall 2010 premiere issue is equally impressive. There’s a great profile of Cuban-born interior designer Vicente Wolf’s typical working day in NYC. Lots of great eye candy page after page; images are all very carefully curated and styled. Decidedly less ‘girly’ than Lonny, RUE embodies sophistication and a little street-style. RUE’s double-page spread is quite small though, which requires a lot of zooming in and out.

Rue magWhat impresses? Definitely the page count! Bordering 300 pages of online content, many traditionally printed magazines don’t come close to these numbers. More content. Loads more photography for feature articles. On the downside, typographically I find both of these mags lack finely-tune type treatments. Body copy is set in too large font size - which is likely necessary for on-screen reading requirements. Columns just look too narrow with fonts just too big. It’s a small criticism though. Overall, Lonny and RUE both look great. I printed off several articles to retain for inspiration and reference. Which leaves me thinking: Will readers remember these electronic magazines after the laptop is turned off? What will I do with my magazine rack now?
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