The Round Top Antiques Fair in Texas influences America’s tastemakers. These were some of Steve Rogers’ recent finds. He makes the trip each year. "
I’m like a giddy child on Christmas Eve while anticipating this shopping adventure in Round Top, Texas.
Weeks of orchestrated planning go into this trip: booking rooms and transportation, contacting dealers and ensuring that my bank account is ready for action. Just as Objet de Maison is the event in Europe for setting the latest trends in home fashion, you will spot the who’s who of American design in Texas. From Ralph Lauren’s and Tommy Hilfiger’s designers to Rachel Ashwell and Mark Sage (a force and influence behind the new look at Restoration Hardware), this town of 77 swells to thousands who converge to buy, trade, sell and define the next trends for American home fashion.
Designing is a combinations game and is really about the infusion of varying looks to create a style. Style comes from influences found across the globe, and personally, I like a little bit of everything. So when more than 5,000 antique dealers from all over the world descend, something good is sure to happen. It’s best described as hitting almost every continent in a 20-square-mile radius — without a passport.
Antiques week happens twice a year and is actually a two-week stretch of shows during the spring and fall. Some are in barn-like structures and air-conditioned tents and others are in open fields and rolling meadows. It may rain or it may be hot, but these are only minor concerns. If you were to classify shoppers on a sliding scale of casual to hard-core, I’d fall in the latter. I don’t meander from place to place but run with all the gumption I have. I’m up and at it by 6 a.m. and can be found shopping by flashlight at 8 p.m.
I travel light and always have a cup of coffee. My other trappings include a BlackBerry, handy to record notes such as where I’ve purchased and left items. I use its camera to snap and send photos to clients, and the BlackBerry is a place to keep measurements for special pieces I need to find. Many dealers will take checks and credit cards, but I find that cash can always sweeten the deal.
The fall show proved to be everything I anticipated. I found amazing artifacts and religious icons from a dealer in Madrid, wonderful French apothecary bottles from a dealer in Brussels, a 19th century pastry table and an early American trade sign with patina and paint that no one could ever reproduce. And I found it all in Texas.