• 2X6A6327
  • At Cherry Vintage
  • 2X6A6350
  • 2X6A6357
  • 2X6A6361
  • 2X6A6392
  • At Honeymoon Antiques
  • 2X6A6381
  • 2X6A6389
  • 照片
  • 2X6A6397
  • 2X6A6396
  • Jewelry at Donnaland
  • 2X6A6406
  • 2X6A6435
  • Dress, sweater and coat at Swift & Faire Co.
  • 2X6A6433
  • 2X6A6432
  • 2X6A6449
  • 2X6A6458
  • 2X6A6469
  • 2X6A6475
  • 2X6A6477
  • 2X6A6479
  • Yellow raincoat, striped tunic an pants at Modern Matters
  • 2X6A6507
  • 2X6A6509
  • 2X6A6511
  • 2X6A6526
  • 2X6A6485
  • 2X6A6482
  • 2X6A6484
  • 2X6A6528
  • 2X6A6532
  • 2X6A6436
  • 2X6A6804
  • 2X6A6537
  • 2X6A6544
  • 2X6A6548
  • At Newffies
  • 2X6A6577
  • 2X6A6562
  • 2X6A6563
  • 2X6A6571
  • 2X6A6593
  • At Almost Vintage
  • 2X6A6627
  • 2X6A6631
  • At Almost Vintage
  • 2X6A6650
  • 2X6A6665
  • 2X6A6667
  • 2X6A6636
  • 2X6A6671
  • Dress and bag at Good & Maggie; Leather jacket, Liu's own at Balenciaga
  • 2X6A6678
  • 2X6A6692
  • 2X6A6695
  • 2X6A6698
  • 2X6A6700
  • 2X6A6549
  • At Mermaid Voice (on Etsy)
  • 2X6A6724
  • 2X6A6729
  • 2X6A6733
  • At Mermaid Voice (on Etsy)
  • 2X6A6761
  • 2X6A6798
  • 2X6A6801
  • 2X6A6800
  • At Bird Brain Vintage
  • 2X6A6792
  • 2X6A6809
  • At Tea Street Vintage
  • 2X6A6833
  • 2X6A6843
  • Striped jumpsuit at Tea Tree Vintage
  • At Morning Glorious Vintage
  • 2X6A6876
  • 2X6A6880
  1. 2X6A6327
  2. At Cherry Vintage
  3. 2X6A6350
  4. 2X6A6357
  5. 2X6A6361
  6. 2X6A6392
  7. At Honeymoon Antiques
  8. 2X6A6381
  9. 2X6A6389
  10. 照片
  11. 2X6A6397
  12. 2X6A6396
  13. Jewelry at Donnaland
  14. 2X6A6406
  15. 2X6A6435
  16. Dress, sweater and coat at Swift & Faire Co.
  17. 2X6A6433
  18. 2X6A6432
  19. 2X6A6449
  20. 2X6A6458
  21. 2X6A6469
  22. 2X6A6475
  23. 2X6A6477
  24. 2X6A6479
  25. Yellow raincoat, striped tunic an pants at Modern Matters
  26. 2X6A6507
  27. 2X6A6509
  28. 2X6A6511
  29. 2X6A6526
  30. 2X6A6485
  31. 2X6A6482
  32. 2X6A6484
  33. 2X6A6528
  34. 2X6A6532
  35. 2X6A6436
  36. 2X6A6804
  37. 2X6A6537
  38. 2X6A6544
  39. 2X6A6548
  40. At Newffies
  41. 2X6A6577
  42. 2X6A6562
  43. 2X6A6563
  44. 2X6A6571
  45. 2X6A6593
  46. At Almost Vintage
  47. 2X6A6627
  48. 2X6A6631
  49. At Almost Vintage
  50. 2X6A6650
  51. 2X6A6665
  52. 2X6A6667
  53. 2X6A6636
  54. 2X6A6671
  55. Dress and bag at Good & Maggie; Leather jacket, Liu's own at Balenciaga
  56. 2X6A6678
  57. 2X6A6692
  58. 2X6A6695
  59. 2X6A6698
  60. 2X6A6700
  61. 2X6A6549
  62. At Mermaid Voice (on Etsy)
  63. 2X6A6724
  64. 2X6A6729
  65. 2X6A6733
  66. At Mermaid Voice (on Etsy)
  67. 2X6A6761
  68. 2X6A6798
  69. 2X6A6801
  70. 2X6A6800
  71. At Bird Brain Vintage
  72. 2X6A6792
  73. 2X6A6809
  74. At Tea Street Vintage
  75. 2X6A6833
  76. 2X6A6843
  77. Striped jumpsuit at Tea Tree Vintage
  78. At Morning Glorious Vintage
  79. 2X6A6876
  80. 2X6A6880

Brimful Fields

On what would turn out to be the coldest day in May, Liu Wen, China’s proudest Supermodel export, is waiting patiently on the corner of Houston and Lafayette for her ride up to Brimfield in Massachusetts. She’s about to embark on a 3-hour trip to “the largest outdoor antiques show in the world“, a place as vast and impenetrable as twenty three cow fields, that stretches over a mile long and a few hundred yards on each side of Route 20, with over 6000 dealers and 130,000 visitors per show. Liu is used to the crammed little vintage shops in the city, but what I have in store for her today is a far cry from her tomboy uniform of boyfriend jeans, motorcycle T-shirts and leather jackets. This will be a die-hard initiation into a world where beads, feathers, sequins, colors, folklore and pretty dresses reign. Besides her shiny red shoes, there will be nothing left standing.

If it had been warmer I fear we would never have found parking, but the man with the $3 sign waves at us like a raving lunatic, making sure we don’t pass up his luscious backyard for the $5 parking lot closer to the field. It’s as good a bargain as any, I say, and a comforting indication of the kind of cheap shopping we’re about to experience. And so we’re off, headed straight for the Fashion Tent, appropriately located by the entrance. As soon as I introduce my team to the first vendor, asking if we can shoot a look on Liu, word starts to travel. Tales of Endearment is no stranger to these people, and neither is Vogue magazine, who have graciously decided to cover our trip on their home page. We sail through the Tent like celebrities, braving every bit of vintage square meter we can cover. We grab a few pieces from each vendor and run to find backdrops at furniture dealers. Everyone is surprised but delighted to hear our story. No explanations, just smiles, cheers and a lot of instagrams.

“I never imagined there would be so much to see and buy!” laughs Liu when we break for a lobster roll lunch. “From clothes to furniture to the most random items, anything I can think of is here!” Vintage is not big in China, but it’s becoming more popular, “especially in Bejing,” she declares. “There have been a series of vintage shops that have opened to cater to the vintage shopper recently. One of my favorites is DDR Vintage.” Liu is from Yongzhou, a small town – in Chinese terms this means a mere six million inhabitants – three hours South of Bejing. She entered a modeling competition at the request of her mother, “to improve my posture” and because “the grand prize was a laptop.” A few years later she is the face of Estee Lauder, the first model of Chinese decent to walk the Victoria’s Secret show, and has campaigns for Calvin Klein, Dolce & Gabbana, Alexander Wang and Oscar de la Renta under her belt. “I still feel like a normal person,” she says quietly, “but I have to admit that nowadays in New York, Beijing, or Paris, a lot of people seem to recognize me on the street. It’s always pretty surprising when it happens, and I am still very shy about it every time.”

What’s so great about Liu Wen though is not her apparent beauty or impressive career. As the day goes on, and the cold gets worse, I find out that she’s a grounded, educated girl, with impeccable manners and a fantastic sense of humor. Even though learning English was her biggest obstacle when she moved to New York, she’s overcome any of the translation issues with infectious enthusiasm and confidence. She bursts out laughing every time we find some funny piece of antiques, talks to the vendors and other shoppers and loves every wacky outfit I put her. (Did I mention her favorite colors are black and white? There’ll be none of that today!) The energy never dwindles, even though I’m asking her to change in make-shift dressing areas in less-than-favorable temperatures. She’s having fun and it shows! By the time we leave the fields she’s managed to get a present from a generous vendor – a black suede crochet cardigan from Almost Antiques – and a slew of new fans. Back in the car she tells me: “I had soooo much fun! Before I went to the antiques fair, my idea of ‘buying vintage’ was always from a tiny store. However the Brimfield market completely opened my eyes.” I know we only skimmed the surface – it’s impossible to do the entire market in one day – but it was a mission well completed.

Many thanks to Chris Gay at Marilyn Agency, Daniel Lutz for driving and carrying all our stuff, all the vintage and furniture dealers in Brimfield for being so generous and helpful, and Meredith, Caroline and Kori at Vogue for supporting our story.

Leave a Comment

One Response to “Brimful Fields”

  1. avatar
    Michelle - Reply

    This looks like my sort of heaven, it’s definitely going to be on the top of my bucket list!

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