The Cocktail Hour

Inspired by fashionable 1950s and ‘60s nightspots, with a touch of Deco glamour, the Winter Fair will present as its foyer display, The Cocktail Hour – showing visitors how to create a contemporary space for parties or a modern club room vibe. The Cocktail Hour will incorporate diverse seating, side tables, lighting and decoration of all periods for a fresh look, beautifully accessorised with 20th century cocktail sets and antique drinking paraphernalia. Bar carts and trolleys are still enormously popular, and stylish examples will feature alongside cocktail cabinets, serving trays, champagne buckets and glassware. All the items on display come from exhibitors, and therefore available to buy.

More than 150 dealers from the UK and Europe will take part in the Fair, bringing a beautiful variety of antique and 20th century design drawn from sources around the world. Find unusual interior decoration dating from the early 1700s to 1970 by designers and makers from the British Isles, Europe, Scandinavia, the Americas, Africa and Asia. The breadth of choice is unbeatable, encompassing furniture, lighting, textiles, ceramics and porcelain, glass, natural history items, architectural elements, and garden artefacts and seating. Works of art from all periods to the contemporary – paintings, prints and sculpture – are also an important element in the mix.

Bringing Brown Back

At the Autumn event, which took place in October, private buyers and interior designers were busy searching for unusual and formal ‘brown’ furniture of all eras, from Georgian bow-fronted mahogany chests of drawers to late Victorian glazed bookcases in dark golden oak, Mid-century sideboards and cabinets in walnut and exotic woods. Traditional English antique furniture is very well priced at present, and the chance to own an exquisitely crafted and historic piece at a price similar to a newly-made item from a high street store is certainly helping to bring ‘brown’ back into fashion.

As well as the eco-friendly credentials of antiques, buyers can see how easily the rich, lived-in patina of antique wood can work with modern interiors, complementing both soft and rich colour schemes. The warm tones of wood also work wonderfully well with patterned wallpaper without distracting from it.

Painted antiques continue to be a strong theme at the Decorative Fair; their popularity has continued unabated since the Fair launched in 1985 when it made its name as the go-to event for decorative pieces, and in particular painted furniture. Dealers continue to offer an unparalleled mix of fine and rare pieces with original paint and decoration from the 18th and early 19th centuries, alongside more practical everyday items presented in what the trade terms “country house condition” (i.e. retaining an un-restored state), that have been well-loved over the years, and thus retain a lifetime of character.

The Fair is also the perfect place to find a wealth of accessories, especially mirrors of every style, and lighting; from antique to mid- 20th century table lamps, floor lamps, wall lights and modernist ceiling lights to crystal chandeliers. The finishing touch is as important as the furniture in a room, and at the Fair buyers love the choice of collectables that work in decorative groups, often presented by dealers in an inspirational fashion on their stands. Antique and vintage glassware and ceramics for everyday use; traditional blue and white china, cabbageware, colourful Scandinavian glass and collections that make wonderful ‘tablescapes’ are popular: geometric shapes, fossils, antique corals and mineral obelisks, scholastic sets of carefully-constructed mush- rooms and plants, natural history items and taxidermy. It’s a wonderful Fair to visit if only to witness the carefully considered juxtaposition of stock on the dealer’s stands!

www.decorativefair.com

Woo Gilchrist