Fashion & Food Events / Vintage Fairs

John Saul Picnic & Le Chat Noir Vintage Fair at Castlemartyr Resort: Part Two

If you’re looking for Part One of my vintage fair retelling, click “here”.

After saying goodbye to Samantha and her stall of whimsical delights, I moved just a few paces forward to her friend and fellow trader’s boutique area, where the many delicate, vibrant pendants, antique books and flora-filled necklaces presented made me feel like I was entering into a wonderland of nature-inspired jewellery:

The theme of stepping back in time really had been executed masterfully at the stall, with vintage photographs and lace-covered, leather briefcases set alongside the multitude of sky blue jewellery boxes that displayed each piece. There was brilliant attention to detail here also; vibrant butterfly clips and rings were showcased on an antique zoology book, opened on pages that detailed exact insect species; brass key necklaces were punctuated with colourful rose charms, draped over page excerpts from novels and mahogany shelves. The peacock earrings and deer brooches presented were charming, but what I was most drawn to were message-in-a-bottle-esque necklaces, filled with rose petals, feathers and moss. I discovered from the stall’s talented female owner, Kay Mariott, (who had a refreshingly non-pushy disposition right from the start) that all pieces were handmade, using real dried flowers and moss to fill her bottle necklaces. While I love artisanal products, I prefer when they don’t actually look homemade – and suffice to say from the images above, that polished look was present whole-heartedly. Visiting her website later was even more of a treat: the label’s Etsy shop showcases gorgeous photography and additional jewellery to choose from, that woodland-creative vibe still clearly visible. With her high quality range of designs and a lovely brand name to boot (the label is called Ruby Robin Boutique – especially appealing to me since robins are my favourite bird), the jewellery company is an unearthed gem that champions vivid diversity in such an understated manner – not an oxymoron, actually, check out the online shop “here” and see for yourself – that I can’t help but feel excited as to what the label’s future holds (Her bird’s nest and miniature food earrings have totally won me over!). To keep up-to-date with Ruby Robin Boutique’s news and collection previews you can follow them on Facebook & Twitter – I recommend you check out the owner’s blog “here” as well, for some extra descriptions and magical snapshots (I can’t get enough of either, especially the latter – it’s like being transported into a fairy tale entirely centered on jewellery!)

The next label I came across was the first that I’d actually browsed in-person beforehand; I recognized Brigitte’s Boudoir from the VintageIreland fair in Dublin a few months ago. Admittedly, however, I hadn’t really enjoyed a full look at the vintage label’s garments back in April, so this time I took proper advantage of browsing each kaleidoscopic rail. I instantly liked how items weren’t organised by exact colour or clothing type: it was an organised mixture of varying shades and textures, which greatly appealed to me – it made every piece I came across all the more interesting. On each garment – from the emerald-fuchsia tweed jacket to the turquoise lace dress embellished with blue chiffon roses – a vibrant Brigitte’s Boudoir label hung from different-coloured ribbons, alongside “Handpicked in Paris” tags that further added to its individual allure. The prices were equally alluring – one vibrant red dress was purchased for €25 (the buyer was yours truly, but more on that in a moment!) and the blue rose dress I mentioned above was a mere €20! Matching authentic-quality with reasonable prices is a difficult balance to strike in the vintage retail world from personal experience, but it seems Briggitte’s Boudoir have that gift of combining the two effortlessly and guaranteeing you leave with a piece that has a story:

Fortunately, there was a floral screen on-hand for trying on garments, so I was able to judge the dress without buying it aimlessly. The beaded embellishment had initially attracted me but its figure-hugging shape undoubtedly sealed the deal – the latter was quite difficult to portray in the shot above unfortunately! It’d be quite a diverse choice for going out, paired with black opaques & heels – the covered-up torso & arms are set off perfectly by its shorter hemline. It’s daring without being naff, elegant and tasteful without nearing staid borderlines; any of the potential cons of buying vintage are flitted away with one stunning red dress. Briggitte’s Boudoir are in the midst of launching their Etsy shop as of now, but you can contact Eithne Spellman – the label’s founder – regarding future events & garment inquiries (and, naturally, I’ll be sure to inform you of upcoming related fairs and arrivals). With a large percentage of their stock sourced entirely from France, Briggitte’s Boudoir offers a much-needed splash of colourful, timeless pieces to vintage-loving fashionistas – with a cosmopolitan edge that is sure to make them stand proud and vibrant alongside their peers. ❤

The final stall I encountered was decidedly unique from the others I’d seen thus far; the brand, run by new promising talent Daniel Mahon, showcased a vibrant array of hand-crafted books and bowties, all presented over a bed of luxurious burgundy velvet (tonality-wise, the attention to detail was ever-present even in the stall layout – a vase of red roses complimented the velvet beautifully). I navigated through the notebooks and lace-covered journals while speaking with Daniel – who, despite having just recently began his ascent onto the Cork fashion & design scene, is already showing a clever eye and knack for creative resourcefulness – and fully took in the plethora of diverse books on offer. Bright patterns stood alongside delicate florals, each one bigger and more bursting with personality than the next. The artisanal ethos of his creations seriously came into play while viewing them, as it was clear to see how carefully – and individualistically – designed each one was. While a certain floral/blossom & butterfly-print book – alongside his other vibrant items, naturally – had piqued my interest, it was a gorgeous music journal that ultimately won me over:

While observing the – yet again! – meticulous manner in which he crafted the book, I was throughly impressed to learn the cover was composed of genuine sheet music; I had purchased the journal with a talented, budding musician in mind, and this added dimension gave even further significance to the gift – a truly vigilant outlook on his part that I rapidly started to associate with the company. Examining the piece ever further when I arrived home, I was delighted to see how every contour of the book had been binded perfectly – no badly-stuck or ravelling sheet music that one might even expect with handmade items. Daniel really does justice to the artisanal name in this sense; he truly seems to strive for perfection when creating his books and bowties (the latter made with 100% cotton and silk materials), and then, he manages to showcase them in a manner so sincere and unabashed that those twice his age mightn’t ever hope to possess.

You can follow Daniel Mahon’s Hand-Crafted Books & Bowties on Facebook & Twitter for further updates and images (you can even get in contact and purchase one of his creations online) – and while you’re at it, check out his blog “here” for additional info, design musings and insights into Cork’s fashion scene. With his natural charm and genuine talent, Daniel Mahon will undoubtedly be one-to-watch in the coming years for making waves in Cork’s fashion industry – and it’s only a matter of time before he sets his mark on the horizon and charts international waters. ❤

Having creatively absorbed as much as was humanly possible at the vintage fair, I decided to catch a breath of fresh air and find out how the outdoor festivities were faring. When I had entered the Capel Suite – where the stalls were in place – the low buzz of setting up the day was present; now there was a full-blown chorus of picnickers and merry-makers, with food traders in full swing and a large crowd gathered around the now-performing puppet tent, children and adults alike sprawled out on the lush grass. I wandered pass the crepe & gourmet sausage tents – and a colourful merry-go-round filled with beaming kids – until I reached the many rows of authentic vintage cars that hailed from all four corners of the land and beyond, their vibrant shades punctuating the greenery and blue sky. One could have been amused for quite a while, admiring the well-preserved vehicles and testing the comfort of their interiors, but a couple of dazzling white horses in the distance caught my attention before I could linger any further:

By the time I’d followed the horses to their destination just outside the primary building on the grounds, a group of regally-dressed ladies were emerging from the resort’s main entrance – clad in a glorious abundance of luxe cream garments, pearls and floral millinery, the women had the striking effect (and not for the first time that day) of making you feel as if you’d stepped right into a bygone era, and kindly let me snap a shot of them in all their finery. With Cobh-embossed ribbons fastened to their lace parasols, the ladies elegantly made their way to an awaiting carriage, driven by none other than the two majestic horses I’d first spotted. As I later discovered, however, the women didn’t just dress that day to make a spectacle – each female is part of the Cobh Animation Team, an open association whose core focus is to promote the rich heritage of their coastal town (for those who don’t know, Cobh was the final port of call for the Titantic before it began its departure across the Atlantic Ocean, during which the popular sea port was named Queenstown). The group is welcome for all to join; you can find further info and gathering details on the animation team’s Facebook page “here”. With a momentous send-off at the Port of Cork being one of their most recent events, the ladies of Cobh Animation Team will undoubtedly succeed in assuring that Cobh’s vibrant history will never end up a forgotten memory. ❤

As I retraced my path from the start of the day, fair-goers and the clip-clop of horses’ hooves growing ever more distant, I thought of how friendly and fun-filled an afternoon the picnic & fair had provided. With the variety of fashion, food and entertainment on-offer over the day’s course of events, there was something for all the family to take part in – even John Saul himself would’ve been gratified at the memorable environment Cork’s largest fair managed to create. ❤

Amelia xx

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