Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Beer and Vintage Clothes

Place du Jeu de Balle Flea Market
Brussels, Belgium

During my recent visit to Brussels I found Shangri-La, in the form of the Place du Jeu de Balle flea market, ensconced in a charming plaza. I arrived at 6:45am jet lagged and exhausted yet within 5 yards (4.57 meters) and with less than 30% of the vendors in place I acquired my first piece; a pair of antique 14k framed eyeglasses in the original case.

"Maison du Lynx; Bruxelles, Belgium"
14kg Antique Eyeglasses

While rummaging through an extensive collection of old buttons, I noticed the first of many clothing vendors setting up her wares in a neighboring plot. I quickly eased my way to her racks and combed through the few carefully selected garments after a warm greeting. As I shopped a 30 something, intelligently clad man appears and strikes a conversation with the merchant in French. He shared that he owns a small clothing shop in Berlin and is in Brussels acquiring new merchandise. As he spoke, like any professional clothing hound would, he watched me gather my finds and began to dig in the wake of my pickings. We exchanged a kind glance acknowledging one another's presence and moved on.

Vintage Ostrich feather Hand Fan with
Mother of Pearl and Brass Hardware

As I meandered through the tables, racks and rugs of world-class, bad-ass bric-a-brac and clothing, I would notice him either paces in front or behind making very few purchases. Upon approaching what would be one of my final stops, I observed him at the table winding down from his search empty handed. He looks at me and states in English “The woman running this booth is across the street at the cafĂ©. If you need anything talk to her” as he points in her direction and walks away. While scanning through his rejects, I unearth a bias cut 1930s sheer silk georgette house gown in pristine condition. I promptly and unashamedly try it on over my outfit examining every fine detail and finalize the sale. Dress in hand and elated, I begin to walk away and hear from across the plaza “I HATE YOU!” The voice led me to the mortified but friendly face of my fellow buyer seated with a small group staring directly at me. I gently smiled and waved walking away half confused yet flattered.

"Wylco Geneve"
1930s House Gown