History center's Vintage Pittsburgh weekend is a blast from the past

| Sunday, April 14, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Standing-room-only did nothing to minimize the air of excitement buzzing throughout the fifth floor of the Senator John Heinz History Center on April 12, where a catwalk and the promise of an hour's worth of vintage fashion drew retro aficionados down to the Strip District in droves.

“I like finding a treasure,” said Lauren Seiple. “I know what I'm wearing no one else will be wearing. I think I was born in the wrong era.”

The official start of the Vintage Pittsburgh weekend, held in partnership with PGH Vintage Mixer and a nod to the History Center's “1968: The Year That Rocked America exhibit,” the runway showcased mouth-watering collections from area shops including Highway Robbery, Hey Betty, Haute Vibe and TranquiliT. Even history center curators Emily Cline and Bonnie Reese couldn't resist, showing off vintage finds that are part of their FADS collection, an “occupational hazard,” according to the duo. Meanwhile, the crew from ModCloth, including Aire Plichta, Chelsey Davidson and Emily Seibel, found themselves surrounded by a pool of admirers who were begging for the online-only purveyor of pretty to further satisfy cravings via pop-up shops or occasional warehouse sales out of their Pittsburgh space.

A history lesson in itself, the show put into perspective the cultural divide that clearly split the 1960s into two wildly different points in time. Visually highlighting a virtual “before and after,” it succinctly showed how fashion began to mirror the shifts in perceived roles and expectations of both race and gender, underscoring the general unrest being felt by the nation.

As if the event weren't enough to satisfy cravings, a Vintage Mixer held the following day saw a line of people snaking out the doors to pillage the wares of two dozen vendors who were selling everything from old-school clothing to home decor of yesteryear.

A wildly enjoyable trip back in time for the likes of History Center prez Andy andDebbie Masich, special guest Barbara Feldon (aka Agent 99 from the television show “Get Smart”), ModCloth founders Susan andEric Koger, Judy Linaburg (her vintage pieces from Mark Pennywell and Halston also were featured in the show), James Barricella and Mark Grady, Kate Minton and Brazilian-born designer Lana Neumeyer, whose contemporary collection ended the show.

Kate Benz is the social columnist for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at kbenz@tribweb.com or 412-380-8515.

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