Vintage Dresses, Swing Dancing, and Homemade Ice Cream. What could be better??
“Would you mind zipping me up?”
Only a fashion designer can say that some of their greatest friendships begin in a dressing room.
Delaney, however, wasn't a model about to walk the runway, or a bride being fitted for her gown. Delaney is a Biology major at Columbia University.
I met Delaney at the Manhattan Vintage Show last fall. There were over 80 vendors selling vintage goods from all around the country and only one tiny, shared dressing room in the back.
I had picked out a velvet suit from the forties, and was fussing with one of the 47 covered buttons in a sea of elbows and tulle, when a girl in a 1950’s sundress poked her head around to ask for a hand with the ancient metal zipper. She had sparkly blue eyes that matched the large flowers printed on her dress. It fit like a glove.
“What other treasures are you trying?” I asked. She pointed to a heap of gowns spilling over the curtain rod. I decided I’d better get more dresses to try too, and before long we had a full-fledged game of dress-up happening.
I asked her where she wears her vintage clothes.
“Everywhere,” she replied. “I also like to swing dance.”
I knew it was the start to a beautiful friendship.
We parted ways with our new pretty treasures in tow, and we’d touch base every now and then to update each other on upcoming dancing/vintage shopping opportunities. Our school/work schedules didn’t always line up, but when I did go it was always a blast.
A week or so ago she shot me a text asking if I wanted to go to Columbia and NYU’s Brooklyn Bridge dance. My limited knowledge of Country Western Swing doesn't cross over into East Coast Swing well, and I end up stepping on a fair number of toes, but I never turn down an opportunity to dance (or wear something pretty).
Delaney wore red lipstick and one of her signature fifties dresses, spattered with smiling yellow flowers. I’d started the day in something similar, but the looming clouds convinced me to settle for my vintage calvin and my red Chucks.
The swing cup members started on the Manhattan side of the bridge and ended up on the Brooklyn side at the Brooklyn Bridge Park where a pavement-stone pier served as an excellent dance floor under the city’s great skyline.
There were only a couple dozen dancers out, but a few spectators joined in and everyone seemed to be having a good time. I even got to learn a few new steps, but I doubt I’ll be able to remember them for next time.
Big band music spilled out of a small set of speakers, skirts swished, shoes tapped, and a cinematic grey light spilled over each character, transforming the scene into a pixely reel from a black and white movie.
Step, step, rock-step // Step, step, rock-step…
We ended the evening with handmade ice cream from Brooklyn’s Ice Cream Factory. After hours of swinging and the mile-trek across the bridge, I’d say it was well deserved.
Summer is around just around the corner, and studies will be put to rest. I can’t wait to see what future vintage-dress extravaganzas with the sparkling Delaney hold.