I really love the tag line “The Show is Newel”. It says everything about this company and how antiques are used. As the term “decorative arts” applies to furniture and furnishing (the Playbill description of Newel’s credit for supplying sets to Broadway shows in the 1930-70’s), they are part of a lifestyle as reflected in how they are used and displayed. They all have a story and a past, so let the show begin!
Newel is preparing to do its first “antiques show” with the Avenue Antiques Show at the Park Avenue Armory. I might have to eat my crow with all my criticism of how these things operate. However, it presents an opportunity to be relevant to today’s lifestyle especially, for those who can afford or at least appreciate how these items should be part of it. They ought to be no less appropriate than an iPad, or a Tom Ford couture cocktail dress. The ability to showcase a standard of living with a sense of style, taste, and sophistication should include antiques; but it is the presentation that gives the punch.
In my experience working at Newel, I’ve had little exposure to the rooms where Newel items have been purchased short of seeing them pictured in shelter magazines. Where Newel items are used in conjunction with providing extensive interior furnishing like window display, TV, and motion picture sets, they provide a big and important backdrop. They become part of the visual effect of the set as seen by countless viewers, and help define an image, whether in the movie “Arthur”, “The Godfather” or a Bergdorf Goodman Christmas window. These pieces offer an opportunity to create a fantasy world that is unique yet very personal.
As an antiques dealer, to show these items in imaginative presentations opens a wider net as to how they can be used. Displaying them in a tradition, boring, predicable method only enhances how tiresome and irrelevant they can be to the “at the moment” style conscious consumer. Today, style is in the dress, the technology, and the ability to look and understand what is chic.
Why antiques should be a part of today’s world requires the same kind of marketing as any product that embraces status. You see a model posing in Ralph Lauren clothing, the accessories like the location, model, and props in the photo shoot all accentuate the cloths. If you saw that set in the street or on a stage, you would stop and stare in awe. Presentation in a store or a show is what antiques dealers do in the most predicable way. Let the Show begin now, for this industry to advance and be relevant for the future.