antiques market

Antiques Quarter Christmas Market 2014

Decades of style: fashion blogger Kate checks out the Antiques Quarter Christmas market.

The Sheffield Antiques Quarter is my favourite corner of the city for vintage treasures; over 20 independent shops and emporiums line Abbeydale road and Broadfield road in a quirky cluster.

So I was excited when I heard that it was to have its own Christmas market at the Abbeydale Picture House, a stunning Grade II listed building in the heart of the area.

Over 70 stalls were set up inside the amazing Picture House auditorium and out in its car park, where, despite the December chill, crowds were already forming to get their hands on the best of the antique and retro goodies.

Being pretty keen on all things stylish, I was even more excited to find that there would be a ‘Through The Decades’ fashion show to complement the retro vibes – as well as plenty of vintage clothes to peruse (and try to resist buying).

Libby Windle, a fashion student from Huddersfield University, organized and styled the fashion show – a ‘vintage catwalk extravaganza’- and her artistic eye pulled together some of the key looks from across each decade of the 20th century starting from the 1920’s. Nothing could be a more fitting birthday celebration for the charming Picture House, which opened in December 1920 as a luxury cinema.

I arrived just in time for the 1960s and settled in to watch, with a mug of tea and caramel slice from the Rude Shipyard’s pop-up shop.

Asymmetric print mini-dresses worn with wedge heels ranged from brightly coloured to monochrome, and I was enamoured by a wide brimmed green hat worn with a stripy dress and blouse.

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A selection of amazing maxi-dresses typified the 1970’s but a sexy fuchsia pink dress worn with a black fedora, shades and evening gloves was my stand-out look. A lemon yellow evening dress looked stunning on its blonde model and brought to mind the softer side of the 70’s, a look that would perhaps have been sported by a glamorous young cocktail party hostess.

80’s fashion seems to divide opinion but Libby’s selection showed not only the fun and wacky side of the decade, but the relative softness of some looks. I fell in love with a girlish blue dress, its flattering silhouette giving way to the kind of frothy lace skirts typical of 80’s dresses, but with a touch of All-American grace.

Evening-wear was definitely eye-catching in the 80’s and far from being intimidating, a fishtail gown and stunning black dress captured the sexier side of a decade more commonly associated with leg warmers and sweatbands.

After the models had strutted their way through the ages, things got romantic with a show of vintage bridal-wear by Lucy’s Lot. All the models became beautiful brides but my favourites were two completely different looks – one short, 60’s dress and the other a timeless, regal gown.

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Libby’s show was a highlight of the afternoon, and featured clothes from traders such as Vintedge, The Queen’s drawers, Connect the Dots, with hair and makeup from Purdy’s hair on Abbeydale road.

After the show, I had a much anticipated browse round the stalls to pick up some bargains, and even had a tour up to the balcony of the old Picture Palace with owner Phil Robins, who explained he wants to give it a new lease of life and bring it back to public use; since closing in 1975 it’s been in and out of retirement.

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But looking down at the bustling market in the hall from the old balcony where people once crowded inside to watch the latest movie, it was clear that its charm was being put to very good use; something tells me it’s found a new vocation.

Follow me on Twitter @thelittlechic

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