Tag Archives best vintage shop

La Belle Vintage – shop of the week!

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If I was to describe Sascha, the owner of La Belle Vintage, in just a word or two, Vintage-Fairy is what springs immediately to mind. The reason being, is that Sascha makes vintage dreams come true by finding exactly what I’m looking for and in great condition so, that I don’t have to stress out about the possibility of having to mend, which I’m truly awful at.  Apart from being very knowledgeable on the topic of vintage fashion, as well as costume restoration, Sascha is also incredibly kind and generous, making the whole process of buying vintage clothes a delightful experience and making me always want to come back for more! You can see my breathtaking 1940s dress from La Belle Vintage here!

la belle vintage

Beautifully wrapped dress from La Belle Vintage!

Dominique de Merteuil: How did you start your adventure in selling vintage clothes?

1930s Henri Bendel Lace Evening Gown

Incredible 1930s Henri Bendel Lace Evening Gown Bolero L Vintage Black & Gold Alencon Lace Art Deco Dress Set. Available at La Belle Vintage Etsy shop!

LA BELLE VINTAGE: Well, I started selling vintage out of necessity rather than choice. When I first came to New York in the 1990’s and wanted to start my Master’s degree in costume history, I found it difficult to find a job that would accept English (UK) qualifications as an equivalent to US qualifications. I remember having two Bachelor degrees back then and potential employers asking me if I had a GED.

Eventually, I got a job working part time at a New York museum. I learned a tremendous lot in the costume department which has shaped my vintage and restoration knowledge. I was then able to start my Master’s at FIT.

In order to supplement my income as I was the sole breadwinner for my family, I started selling the pieces that I worked on in class. The pieces that were used for the practical part of the courses were eventually sold for much more that I had anticipated. These pieces were usually found at flea markets, swap meets etc and were in deplorable condition. However, I was able to restore them to wearable standards and thus a business was born!

I sold at a few flea markets in Manhattan (yes, I am the girl who used to be on the “A” train with a dress form and a suitcase every Saturday morning J) and eventually started selling on eBay in 1999. Back then, there were no photos on ebay. You had to manually take photos with a camera, get them developed and send them to potential customers! It was a long process and then you mostly got paid with checks/money order via snail mail. When Paypal came around, I launched my website and have sold on Etsy since 2007. I have been doing costume designing on the side, so I have a full plate.

This adventure has overtaken every aspect of my life, but there’s nothing else I’d rather be doing 🙂

Dominique de Merteuil:What can we find in your vintage shop? For example, do you specialise in a particular era or type of garment, accessory, etc?

LA BELLE VINTAGE: I sell clothing, shoes, and accessories from all eras. I don’t specialize in any particular time period as each decade has had something special to offer in terms of style.

You will however find the most crazy vintage novelty purses ever at my shop. I love novelty handbags, especially animal shaped ones and the ones that I don’t keep, usually end up in the shop 🙂

wicker frog purse

HUGE Wicker Frog Purse Vintage Convertible Shoulder Bag ~ Custom Creation

vintage beach playsuit

Tribal Tiki Print 40s Beach Playsuit Vintage Sarong Shorts Bra Top Cover-up Set. Available at La Belle Vintage Etsy shop!

Dominique de Merteuil: Is there a process you go through when selecting garments for your shop? Perhaps you have a list or a criteria, that you use when deciding which garments will be perfect for your shop and your clients?

LA BELLE VINTAGE: Everything MUST be wearable! Under-arm stains, tears, holes are a huge no-no at my shops. I spend hours a day working on restoring damaged vintage before listing them. When my customers receive an item from me, it must be ready to wear out of the box. A customer shouldn’t have to spend $300 on a dress and then think about how much to spend on cleaning…it’s not acceptable in my books.  I tend to stick to purchasing quality items in excellent condition, but I am a sucker for wounded birds…especially from the 1920’s/1930’s. Art Deco aficionados like me usually don’t mind vintage from these two eras in less than perfect condition.

Dominique de Merteuil: Where do you find all those beautiful vintage clothes and accessories for your shop? (if it’s not a secret!)

LA BELLE VINTAGE: It is a secret 🙂 but I will tell you that it involves a lot of time and energy. I work 16-18 hour days just in finding, restoring and listing my vintage garments.

1960s suit

Shannon Rodgers Brocade Suit S Vintage 60s Jerry Silverman Yellow Silver Jacket Dress Gloves Purse Set. Available at La Belle Vintage Etsy shop!

Dominique de Merteuil: What is your favourite period in time and why?

LA BELLE VINTAGE: I love all decades and time periods! I love fashion, no matter what era. I could hang out with Cleopatra, Marie Antoinette and Twiggy at the same time…they all had style 🙂

I do love the 1920’s/1930’s as I said above, but I love fashion from any decade.

1930s jumpsuit

30s Ruffled Jumpsuit Set S Vintage Art Deco Lace Over Dress & Lounge Pajamas. Available at La Belle Vintage Etsy shop!

1970s princess coat

Full Skirt Hooded Princess Coat M L Vintage Mohawk Mink Fur Details. Available at La Belle Vintage Etsy shop!

Dominique de Merteuil: What message/advise do you have for women who have never bought vintage clothes before? For example: what are the key pieces to start building a vintage look? What to keep in mind when making a purchase?

LA BELLE VINTAGE: I usually advise on jewelry or accessories like a scarf, belt, handbag or a maybe a hat. Fashion is all about details and what better detail for an outfit than to accessorize it?  After you’ve done that, invest in a measuring tape and use it…know your measurements. A measuring tape is essential before you even think about purchasing a vintage garment as vintage sizes do not correspond with sizes of today. The best way to buy vintage is to know what fits you.

1950s wedges

50s Sculptured Wedge Shoes US 7 UK 5 Vintage Allures Jewel Sandals. Available at La Belle Vintage Etsy shop!

Dominique de Merteuil: What are your 3 favourite items that you have ever sold and why have you chosen to name those particular ones?

LA BELLE VINTAGE: There are so many favorites…what to choose, what to choose?

1)      My first favorite sale was my first sale. It was an 1800’s green silk bodice with amazing lace and ruffles. However, I don’t have a photo as that was 1998.

2)      Second was 1920’s silk wedding dress with a scalloped hem and train. The original owner of the gown said that it took 17 days to cut and sew on the scallops on the hemline. That alone is worthy of praise. But the gown itself was magnificent. I’ve attached a photo of the dress as it was worn by it’s present owner. The customer who purchased  this was incredible to work with and she also started a blog on her 1920’s themed wedding featuring the dress.

1920's wedding dress.

1920’s wedding dress.

3)      Thirdly was an incredible ensemble that was used on set at Universal studios in 1962. I had gotten several garments from a costuming gig that I had worked on. It is a pink silk chiffon catsuit with several matching skirts. Oh my goodness! This thing was incredible. That, I do have a picture of! 

1960s cat-suit

Ensemble that was used on set at Universal studios in 1962.

Dominique de Merteuil: What are your favourite vintage brands and are they very difficult to find?

LA BELLE VINTAGE: I don’t have a favorite vintage brand really. I love all vintage equally…ha ha! I do love designs by Elsa Schiaparelli, Paul Poiret and Peter Minshall who is an incredible Carnival costume designer.  Google Tan Tan & Saga Boy and just watch that magic 🙂

But I have a soft spot for catalog fashions like Lana Lobell, Skylark, Florida Fashions, Bellas Hess, Lane Bryant (circa 1940’s), Roaman’s, Fashion Frocks, Maisonette Frocks, Montgomery Wards, etc.

It reminds me of what the everyday woman wore back then. Not everyone could have afforded couture like Dior and Chanel. The majority of women wore what they could afford and that’s close to my heart 🙂

Dominique de Merteuil: What’s in your wardrobe? Do you personally wear vintage clothes on a daily basis?

LA BELLE VINTAGE: I wear vintage jewelry and accessories everyday. I use the same Coach purse that I’ve owned since 1992. I wear old school Reeboks, the bright candy colored ones from the 1980’s 🙂

I really appreciate the quality of vintage items and I tend to gravitate to wearing or using something older.

La Belle Vintage

The lovely Sascha, founder of La Belle Vintage captured by J Knight Photography.

Vintage Caf – 1920s-1930s fashion heaven

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Vintage Caf- Vintage shop of the week AKA 1920s-1930s fashion heaven.

20s-30s fashion

In the picture on the top left; Carey Mulligan as Daisy Buchanan in Great Gatsby. Top right and in the picture below; one of my favourite actresses Kristin Scott-Thomass as Sylvia McCordle in Gosford Park.

Vintage Caf – Vintage shop of the week aka 1920s-1930s fashion heaven.

Whenever I re-watch a drama set in the 1920s or 30s, inevitably, I daydream and lust after an evening gown from that glorious period of time. For those of a similar inclination but who are not in the vintage-loop, you’re perhaps unaware, that there truly do exist magical places, which actually sell true vintage clothes from the time of the Great Gatsby! But… I should point out, you really need to know where to look. And I sincerely hope, that my recommendations will get you closer to finding that perfect vintage outfit; one that perhaps will make you feel like Daisy Buchanan or in my case Sylvia McCordle from my beloved Gosford Park.

To help you in your quest, I’d like to share with you one particular shop on Etsy that is my ‘go to’ with a 1920s-30s wish list and it’s called Vintage Caf! Where, besides fashions from the jazz era, you will also find beautiful clothes from Edwardian times all the way through to the 1960s, along with accompanying accessories and a truly unique, dare I say breath-taking collection of handmade headpieces, all created by the shop’s talented owner who uses antique lace for all of her headpieces.

Ladies and Gentleman! Meine Damen und Herren! Madame et Monsieur! Without further ado I present you Vintage Caf- Vintage shop 

 

vintage headpiece

You can purchase this gorgeous handmade tiara from Vintage Caf Etsy shop by clicking on the image!

vintage inspired headpiece.

 

Dominique de Merteuil: How did you start your adventure in selling vintage clothes?

Vintage Caf: I only started selling Vintage clothes recently after my husband and I decided my personal vintage collection was just too big to store in our home.  Instead of finding alternative storage I decided to sell the pieces I no longer wear.  And so it started from there about 2 years ago.

DdM: What can we find in your vintage shop? For example, do you specialise in a particular era or type of garment, accessory, etc?

Vintage Caf: I sell across all vintage eras but mainly 20s and 30s.  Part of my collection included a large selection of antique lace.  This I did not wish to part with, so I set about making millinery from the lace.  The pieces I make I sell in the shop.

vintage clothes

Beautiful selection of vintage clothes and accessories, that you can  currently find at Vintage Caf! Some from 1920s-1930s ohers from 1950s. In the picture on the top left, a 1930s mint coloured silk dress. Top right; 1950s pink satin evening gown. Bottom left; 1940s silk organza wedding gown. Bottom right; large 1930s, heavily embroidered shawl.

 

DdM:  Is there a process you go through when selecting garments for your shop? Perhaps you have a list or a criteria, that you use when deciding which garments will be perfect for your shop and your clients?

Vintage Caf: The most important criteria for me when buying vintage garments is – would I wear this?  If the answer is no, then I don’t buy it.  The result is that everything in the shop is of my personal taste and something I would wear.  Same with the headpieces.  When making a headpiece I try it on and if it looks good on me, it will look good on others.

DdM:  Where do you find all those beautiful vintage clothes and accessories for your shop? (if it’s not a secret!)

Vintage Caf: Much of what is in the shop is from my personal collection gathered over 30 years.  When eBay first started it opened a whole new world of vintage.  I love going to vintage markets and fairs and still occasionally find pieces on eBay, although the golden era of Ebay is over.  I remember seeing Fortuny gowns for a thousand dollars on Ebay years ago.  I couldn’t afford them then.  Now I still can’t afford them. 

DdM: What is your favourite period in time and why?

Vintage Caf: My favourite period would have to be the 20s and 30s.  I’m an old romantic at heart and the clothes from that era, the flowing gowns, beading and chiffons, are so romantic.  I also love a good structured crepe 40’s outfit.  Hard to come by though.

DdM: What message/advise do you have for women who have never bought vintage clothes before? For example: what are the key pieces to start building a vintage look? What to keep in mind when making a purchase?

Vintage Caf: I’m always trying to convince family and friends of the sense of vintage.  Modern fashion designers all borrow from fashion history one way or another so you can always look stylish and ontrend by mixing up vintage with modern.  If you want to start a collection I’d go with a couple of blouses first.  The 40’s had some magnificent pieces, some with wonderful beading.  A vintage blouse under a suit looks very classy.  Then move into dresses that you can team with a jacket for work or scarf on a weekend outing.  A vintage bag can also give a modern outfit that stylish touch.  Before buying always check for flaws.  I try and avoid pieces with holes as they are difficult to repair.  If it’s an undone seam or hemline that easily repaired. 

velvet 1030s dress

In the picture on the left a Prada dress from last season, a dress, that the Vintage Caf owner fell in love with but wanted to find something vintage and more affordable. In the picture on the right a true vintage 1930s velvet dress, which was beaded and embroidered by Vintage Caf. It cost a lot of work but it was definitely worth it and I don’t know about You but I like the vintage one much better!

DdM:  What are your 3 favourite items that you have ever sold and why have you chosen to name those particular ones?

Vintage Caf: My favourite pieces that I have sold. I didn’t realise how difficult selecting just three favourites would be.

This one because the customer wore it as her wedding dress.

vintage shop

This one because I love vintage crochet pieces and this one is from the 1920s

1920s crochet dress

And this one because I won an journalism award when I wore it.  It was hard to part with.

Silk vintage dress.

I’m a journalist by trade and have been to numerous awards nights and formal events.  My vintage gowns were ideal for walking up on stage. Gives that added glamour.

DdM: What are your favourite vintage brands and are they very difficult to find?

Vintage Caf: Vintage brands are wonderful when you come across them but can be terribly expensive.  My favourite vintage designer is Dior.  I have one Dior jacket in the shop and Madame Gres. None of her pieces. though. 

You can’t go past the homemade vintage dress.  So many more women knew how to sew back in the day and their pieces were beautifully made.  I also sew, so when I come across a piece of vintage fabric, I find a vintage pattern and make it myself.

Below is an example of a dress I made using rare 1920s tulle with cornelli work.  Again I wore it to an awards night and have since sold it to a lucky customer.

20s tulle dress.

DdM: What’s in your wardrobe? Do you personally wear vintage clothes on a daily basis?

Vintage Caf:  I have an eclectic wardrobe.  I have many homemade pieces that I have made and I have a few modern designer outfits.  I like to mix and match.  I almost always wear something vintage everyday, even if its a brooch or handbag or blouse.  I tend to spend more money on designer shoes and bags as they can lift any outfit and last for years.

Victory Girl Vintage -Shop Of The Week

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Victory Girl Vintage  – the Canadian vintage shop of the week is filled with a big selection of dazzling, romantic dresses from 1930s- 1950s but thats not the only thing you will find there. Gorgeous coats, skirts and sweater tops will help you build an entire vintage wardrobe!

Dominique de Merteuil: How did you start your adventure in selling vintage clothes?

Victory Girl Vintage: I started working at vintage stores when I was 16 and all through university. I was living in an area of Toronto called Kensington Market that is really well known for vintage. I was literally surrounded by dozens of vintage shops and amazing clothing! After I graduated I was working in the fashion industry as a buyer, but I really needed a more creative outlet and started selling vintage as a side hustle. It was hard juggling a really demanding day job and a side business but it was rewarding and I couldn’t stop. Things were steadily picking up so about a year and a half ago I thought why not take the plunge and do this full time. It was the best decision I ever made!

DDM: What can we find in your vintage shop? For example, do you specialise in a particular era or type of garment, accessory, etc?

VGV: You will mainly find women’s dresses, separates and lingerie from the 1930’s to 1950’s, and a few items from the 1960’s and 1970’s fixed in. I’ll be adding a men’s section soon so stay tuned!

vintage shop

Lovely 1940s novelty print dress, which can be purchased from the Victory Girl Vintage shop by clicking on the image!

Beautiful 1950s floral dress, which can be purchased from Victory Girl Vintage Etsy shop. Simply click on the image!

Vintage Shop

Stunning 1950s gold and black dress with a big butterfly applique, that can be purchased by clicking on the image.

vintage shop

Lovely 1950s pale pink organza dress, that can be purchased by clicking on the image.

DDM: Is there a process you go through when selecting  garments for your shop? Perhaps you have a list or a criteria, that you use when deciding which garments will be perfect for your shop and your clients?

VGV: I personally love the 1930’s and 1940’s so when I’m looking for items for the shop I do gravitate towards that time frame. I think most of my customers are interested in that era as well, so finding those pieces are always top priority. However, I’m open to most decades as long as it’s an interesting piece. I always look at an item and think about how it can be styled. It might look like nothing special on the hanger, but if you add the right shoes, a belt or a hat, it can be completely transformed. That’s also why I like showing an item on a model. It helps customers visualize the styling and how it might look on them.

DDM: Where do you find all those beautiful vintage clothes and accessories for your shop? (if it’s not a secret!)

VGV: I get asked this question almost every day! But it’s find of a secret. I do frequent local flea markets, antique shows and auctions. I’m always on the look out for something interesting!

DDM: What is your favourite period in time and why?

VGV: My favourite time period is the 1930’s and 1940’s. Even before I started wearing clothing from this time, I was very interested in what was happening in the world both socially and politically. I loved that in both decades fashion had to be very innovative due to material shortages and rationing. Designers and home sewers had to be creative with often limited resources but were still able to make some of the most beautiful garments. The prints were also so fun! I’m also very interested in how women participated in WWII and that’s how I came up with the name of my shop, Victory Girl Vintage. 

vintage shop

This BEAUTIFUL 1940s black rayon peplum dress is an utter PERFECTION and had it not been for the fact that it’s a little bit too small for me, it would be now hanging in my closet!You can buy it by clicking on the image. Hurry up it’s not going to stay there for long!

Late 1940s to early 1950s pink “bad girl” sweater blouse, that can be purchased from Victory Girl Vintage Etsy shop by clicking on the image!

DDM: What message/advise do you have for women who have never bought vintage clothes before? For example: what are the key pieces to start building a vintage look? What to keep in mind when making a purchase?

VGV: My advice is to build on the wardrobe you already have. Wearing head to toe vintage isn’t for everyone, but mixing vintage and modern is a great way to create a unique look. For example wearing a vintage kimono or robe with a modern t-shirt and jeans can actually look very fashion forward. Coats are also a great first time vintage buy because when you wear them with a modern look it doesn’t scream vintage. I always say don’t be afraid to stand out! You might feel a bit self conscious stepping out of your comfort zone but people will admire you for being unique. 

DDM: What are your 3 favourite items that you have ever sold and why have you chosen to name those particular ones? 

I have many “why did I ever sell that?” items! Here are my top three:

A stunning 1940’s blue rayon gabardine Rain Master trench coat. It fit me perfectly! But I have so many coats that I talked myself into selling it. Immediate regret!

vintage shop

An amazing 1940’s Kamehameha Hawaiian rayon dress. The colours in this dress are gorgeous! I saved the photos I took so I can go back an admire it often.

vintage shop

A 1940’s full length rayon coral gown with teal beads on the bodice. I didn’t want to take this one off after taking photos! I love the vibrant coral colour and zip front style.

Vintage Shop

DDM:  What are your favourite vintage brands and are they very difficult to find?

VGV: I actually don’t pay much attention to brands. Of course it’s amazing to find a sought after brand like Catalina, Elsa Schiaparelli or Dior (some of my favourites) and I am looking for labels when hunting for vintage, but I am always happier to find something really special and beautiful even if it doesn’t have a label. It’s more about the piece for me.

DDM: What’s in your wardrobe? Do you personally wear vintage clothes on a daily basis?

VGV: The only time you will find me out of vintage is when I’m walking my dog (don’t want to risk muddy paws on a beautiful dress) or going to yoga. I mainly wear clothing from the late 1930’s to mid 1940’s because the cuts and styles suit my body shape the best and it’s a time in twentieth century history that I find very interesting. I love high waisted trousers with a patterned blouse, anything floral and a black dress in a simple silhouette that has some type of embellishments (studs, embroidery, or a decorative trim). I don’t often wear 1950’s but I do have a weakness for a great novelty print and they look so pretty in the summer.

Cult Of Chiffon-Vintage Shop Of The Week

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Madame Chiffon is an extraordinary lady with an exquisite taste reflected in all the vintage gems, that can be found in her shop Cult Of Chiffon. She finds and sells some of the most beautiful pieces of vintage lingerie I’ve ever seen, which is why Cult Of Chiffon is the vintage shop of the week.

1. How did you start your adventure in selling vintage clothes?

I got into vintage clothing by accident, while studying antique furniture to furnish a 1930’s house in Louisiana.  I would be shopping for antiques when suddenly a vintage handbag or jewelry of unusual quality and beauty would catch my eye.  I’d always be shocked at what good value these items were when compared to the prices of their modern day equivalents.  So I started collecting vintage accessories for personal use, which eventually led to vintage clothing and entire outfits.  Once I noticed how much my knowledge in this area had grown in such a short time, I decided in 2013 to turn a passionate hobby into a small business that I could grow over time at my own pace.  So it’s been a labor of love from the very beginning.

vintage jewellery

A pair of gold wire cuff bracelets by Ugo Correani, which are available from Cult Of Chiffon shop. Click on the image to purchase this incredible piece of art!

2.  What can we find in your vintage shop?

Elegant clothing & accessories from the Victorian era through the 1990’s.  Nothing kitsch and no “ironic” fashions.  I carry all eras, because there is elegance and beauty to be found in every decade if you know where to look.  The items I stock are all very wearable and can easily be incorporated into a modern wardrobe.  My specialty would be loungewear, sleepwear, and lingerie, because these are the items of clothing (besides accessories) that I have been collecting the longest and have the greatest knowledge base in.

Vintage lingerie

Gorgeous 1940’s daffodil yellow satin brassiere. Click on the image to be directed to the shop.

vintage lingerie

1940’s peach rayon crepe & lace hostess coat with attached capelet.

3.  Is there a process you go through when selecting garments?  A list of criteria…?

I look for items that are elegant, glamorous, feminine, and timeless.  Quality fabrics and materials, and condition is of utmost importance.  I love to dress women like goddesses, because I am inspired by strong women with a sense of their own power, and especially those with larger than life personalities.  I would define a goddess as someone who is very comfortable in her own skin, has nothing to prove, doesn’t care what others think, and isn’t afraid to express herself.  She knows her body and wears her clothes well, they never wear her.  She wears things that take self-confidence and self-awareness to wear, and wears them effortlessly.  This is my ideal muse.

vintage riding jacket

My personal favourite antique Victorian black velvet & jet bead riding jacket, which can be purchased from Cult Of Chiffon shop by clicking on the image.

vintage hat

Beautiful Oscar de la Renta black velvet & feather hat, which can be purchased by clicking on the image.

4.  Where do you find all those beautiful vintage clothes…?

If I told you, I would have to kill you!  Just kidding, I wouldn’t kill you.  I would pay someone else to do it.

5.   What is your favorite time period and why?

If I had to choose a favorite era, it would be the 1960’s.  Part of the reason being a combination of femininity yet ease of wear for the styles of that decade.  And the huge baubles, huge hair, and dramatic makeup of that time really appeal to the former showgirl in me.  I want my eyelashes to be seen all the way up in the nosebleed seats!  The 60’s were simultaneously a freewheeling time of newfound freedoms for women but also innocence, optimism, and decorum.  I believe you can be wild and decadent but still have good manners and not become too jaded.

Lovely 1960’s chiffon nightdress!

6.  What messages/advise do you have for women who have never bought vintage clothing before?

Invest in a soft measuring tape.  It is indispensable for buying vintage clothing online.  Measure yourself, then memorize your body measurements like you memorize your driver’s license number & social security number, because it will make life easier if you do.  If you want to start building a vintage look, the easiest way is to begin with accessories.  Buy the best quality you can afford.  Start with a quality leather handbag for instance.  It’s a great investment, and you will get much more use out of that than you would a special occasion dress.  Accessories always fit!  If you live in a cold climate, maybe start with a vintage coat.  For instant gratification, nothing is better than vintage lingerie, sleepwear, or loungewear.  You can wear it at home any day of the week, and don’t have to wait for a special occasion.  I wear vintage in the evenings at home and to bed probably 6 days a week.  Everyday, simple luxuries are my favorite as I think they have the greatest impact on your sense of well-being, and therefore your health.

Very stylish 1970’s tapestry coat from England, which can be purchased from Cult Of Chiffon shop by clicking on the image.

vintage poncho

1970’s wool & mohair poncho by Kay Cosseratcan be purchased from Cult Of Chiffon shop by clicking on the image.

7.  What are your 3 favourite items that you have ever sold and why?

My three favorite items sold are: an exceptional Edwardian cotton batiste dressing gown with very witchy sleeves; a 1950’s Vanity Fair loungewear set; and a 1980’s James Galanos fox fur jacket.  I don’t expect to encounter these stunning, ultra glamorous items ever again in my lifetime, and that is part of what makes them so special.

Antique lingerie

Breathtaking Edwardian dressing gown.

vintage lingerie. Vintage shop of the week

Stunning 1950’s Vanity Fair loungewear set.

Victorian mourning cape

Beautiful Victorian feather mourning cape.

8.  What are your favourite vintage brands and are they are very difficult to find?

Lucie Ann, Heavenly Lingerie by Fischer, and Vanity Fair.  Pieces from these labels are not hard to find, but the best examples are, and they come with price tags to match.

9.  What’s in your wardrobe?  Do you personally wear vintage clothes on a daily basis.

Yes, I can honestly say I wear vintage almost 365 days out of the year.  The reason why may seem a little eccentric to you.  My hands never see the light of day, because I wear vintage gloves whenever I leave the house during daylight hours.  I even wear fingerless gloves while shooting inventory for the shop, because I photograph in natural sunlight.  My hands are like Dorian Grey.  They have made a pact with the devil to never age.

Bride Of The Fox-Vintage Shop of the week

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How to dress vintage when it's cold

1940s skirt suit from Bride Of The Fox. You can see more pictures from my “How to dress vintage when it’s cold” shoot.

“Meine Damen und Herren, Mesdames et Messieurs,

Ladies and Gentlemen! Guten Abend, bon soir,

Wie geht’s? Comment ca va? Do you feel good?

I bet you do!”

Without further ado I present the vintage shop of the week! Bride Of The Fox has a breathtaking collection of rare, vintage garments, some of such historical value that they should be displayed in a museum or better still, my wardrobe!

 

vintage shop

Breathtaking, should be in a museum or in my wardrobe 1952-53 Charles James coat which you can buy from The Bride Of The Fox by clicking on the image.

Dominique de Merteuil: How did you start your adventure in selling vintage clothes?

Bride Of The Fox: A little background on me: I have been going to flea markets and antique shows since I was a toddler.  My education background is in History (European) and Fine Arts.  As a teen, while my friends were reading Sassy and Seventeen, I was devouring the pages of Vogue and Elle.  Those three things developed into a love of fashion history.  Although I worked in a corporate environment the majority of my adult life, I always bought and collected vintage clothing.  In 2006, I began selling on Ebay as a hobby and source of extra income.  Fast forward to the end of 2014 and I decided to leave corporate life and pursue dealing vintage clothing full time.  In April 2015, Bride of the Fox on Etsy was officially opened and I have never looked back.  The business skills I had from years of corporate life combined with my love of fashion and history have been invaluable. 

Dominique de Merteuil: What can we find in your vintage shop? For example, do you specialize in a particular era or type of garment, accessory, etc? 

Bride Of The Fox: My shop ranges from 1920s to 1980s.  I am very eclectic and love all eras.  Good design and high quality are timeless.  I tend to stay away from accessories and keep my focus on clothing, especially dresses, gowns, and suits.  One can find everything from a museum piece to wearable separates and day dresses. 

vintage shop

1970s silk jersey Pucci jumpsuit, which you can purchase by clicking on the image!

Bride Of The Fox vintage shop

Early 1950s Lilli Ann wool and silk skirt suit, which you can purchase by clicking on the image.

 

vintage shop

Late 1940s United States Air Force 1st Lieutenant 3 piece women’s suit (jacket, skirt, and trousers), which you can purchase by clicking the image.

vintage shop

1960s purple silk velvet Balmain demi-couture dress, which you can purchase by clicking on the image.

 

vintage shop

1950s couture quality silk chiffon and lace gown & robe set by Saks Fifth Avenue, which you can purchase by clicking on the image.

 

Dominique de Merteuil: Is there a process you go through when selecting garments for your shop?  Perhaps you have a list or a criteria that you use when deciding which garments will be perfect for your shop and clients. 

Bride Of The Fox: I do have a list of clients I buy for with their specific desires in mind (size, style, designers, decades, colors), and I offer this service to all clientele.  Overall, I buy for quality, condition, designers, and pieces that are iconic of an era.  My personal style and taste comes into play every time I buy for the shop.  Does it stand out? Is it eye catching? What is its story and what can this be worn with?  Is it collectible?  Finding museum and collection worthy pieces makes my day as does finding the perfect piece for the right woman.

Dominique de Merteuil: Where do you find all those beautiful vintage clothes and accessories for your shop?

Bride Of The Fox: Estate sales, thrift/charity shops, flea markets, and private buying appointments.  I also have a few people who source for me.  Many of them are also antique dealers who keep me in mind when they are on the hunt for furniture and decor. 

vintage shop

1950s Rose Marie Reid iconic maillot swimsuit with abstract floral print, which you can purchase by clicking on the image.

 

vintage shop

1950s documented Vanity Fair Leopard top & bottom set, which you can purchase by clicking on the image!

 

Bride Of The Fox vintage shop

Gorgeous 1940s couture quality silk and lace slip with “Alice” embroidered on it, which you can purcgase by clicking on the image!

Dominique de Merteuil: What is your favorite period in time and why?

Bride Of The Fox: I have two that I can’t choose between.  Late 1930s & Early 40s: Hands down, the best skirt suits with coordinating hats, gloves and bag.  Dramatic and every detail was paid attention to.  The designers such as Irene and Adrian knocked it out of the park.  There is also the brilliance of Elsa Schiaparelli and her relationship with the surrealism movement.  Every time I see her pieces, my heart flutters.  Of course my favorite actresses are from that time: Dietrich, Crawford, Davis, and Kate Hepburn.  My other favorite is the high fashion 1970s.  You have great American designers such as Halston, Stephen Burrows, the beginnings of Issey Miyake and Versace.  Both those time periods have a lot in common: brilliant sportswear (Claire McCardell & Calvin Klein), my favorite photographers (Louise Dahl-Wolfe, Horst P. Horst, Guy Bourdin, and Helmut Newton), and luxurious lounge wear. 

Dominique de Merteuil: What message/advice do you have for women who have never bought vintage clothes before?  What are key pieces to start building a vintage look? What to keep in mind when making a purchase? 

Bride Of The Fox: Most importantly: to thine own self be true.  For example, if you aren’t a dress person and prefer trousers, vintage Yves Saint Laurent and Jean Paul Gaultier are perfect for you.  There are beautiful vintage clothes out there for everyone.  Secondly, know your measurements and always double check them when buying a garment online. Third, when buying online ask questions.  Ask about condition if it isn’t clear in the description. Something else that new buyers need to know and inquire when buying is that vintage garments fit differently than modern clothing.  Arm holes may be smaller.  Torsos may be shorter.  This is where knowing your measurements comes into play.  You may also want to find a good tailor or alterations expert.  My last bit of advice is buy high quality pieces in excellent condition.  I prefer quality over quantity in my own collection.  Luckily one of the best aspects of vintage is that you can find high quality at affordable prices. 

Dominique de Merteuil: What are your 3 favorite items that you have ever sold and why?

Bride Of The Fox:

1. A sublime 1930s silk charmeuse wedding gown.  It was a triumph of bias cut Art Deco minimalism.  Whoever designed it, really knew what they were doing.  I have never seen something that transcended time quite like that gown.  The bride who purchased it from me fit into it PERFECTLY as if it was meant for her. I think I cried when I saw the photos of her in it.

2. A late 1960s new with tags Claire Sandra for Lucie Ann marabou, rhinestone, and nylon chiffon gown and robe set in the most vibrant orange mango coral.  It was straight out of Lisa Douglas’s (Ava Gabor in Green Acres) wardrobe. To die for.  One of the best pieces of vintage lingerie/loungewear that has ever passed through my hands.  A true collectors item.  

vintage shop

Claire Sandra for Lucie Ann chiffon gown.

3. Bill Tice 1970s gold lame backless jumpsuit.  The epitome of 1970s glam and sex appeal along with being very rare.  It was sold to a favorite type of client: one who not only collects, but wears what she collects.  She looked amazing in it when it was worn to an art gala in NYC. 

vintage shop

Bill Tice 1970s gold lame backless jumpsuit.

Dominique de Merteuil: What are your favorite vintage brands and are they hard to find?

Halston, Bonnie Cashin, 1947-60 Dior, Yves Saint Laurent, Malcolm Starr, Claire McCardell, 1980s & early 1990s Jean Paul Gaultier, early Issey Miyake, 1940s & early 50s Lilli Ann suits, Gilbert Adrian, Irene (oh those suits!!), Schiaparelli, Charles James.  I also love the in house designs of Saks Fifth Avenue, I Magnin, and Bergdorf Goodman from 1930s-60s.  You can find couture quality pieces by those department stores.  I also love Suzy Perette whose designs were copies or strongly inspired by Dior.  Some of those are easier to find than others.  Schiaparelli and Charles James and Gilbert Adrian can be very difficult to find.  Unfortunately, I have never come upon a Schiaparelli outside of a museum or auction. 

Bride Of The Fox vintage shop

Stunning 1970s silk jersey Halston caftan with jeweled clasp, which you can purchase from The Bride Of The Fox by clicking on the image!

Dominique de Merteuil: What is in your wardrobe?  Do you personally wear vintage clothes on a daily basis? 

Bride Of The Fox: Yes, I wear vintage on a day to day basis.  I am extremely eclectic in my own collection and have never stuck to one decade or style.  It is very mood and situation dependent.  I use clothes to express emotion and communicate.  Some days its a 1940s Lilli Ann suit jacket with huge sleeves. Another, its a loose fitting Issey Miyake linen top with cropped trousers and vintage black leather lace up military boots.  Maybe that evening I will hit the town in a Yves Saint Laurent Le Smoking suit with Charles Jourdan black satin pumps.  If I have a more conservative meeting or lunch date, its either a McQueen for Givenchy or late 1950s Dior skirt suit in worsted wool.  I also have a large group of YSL silk blouses.  And I cannot say no to a 1940s novelty print dressing gown.  And then there are Bonnie Cashin coats. 

Nouveau2You-Vintage Shop of the week

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“You can have anything you want in life if you dress for it.” Edith Head

Nouveau2You, the vintage shop of the week has carefully selected clothes from the 1920s-1950s. If I were to describe Valentine’s clients, based on the treasures she sells, it would be classy Femme Fatales with a love for glamour!

1). How did you start your adventure in selling vintage clothes?
I have always had a love of all things vintage. Whether it be home furnishings, china, or clothes, I have been drawn by the appeal of quality, craftsmanship and elegance found in them. Also, I feel connected to the ideals of those times whenever I wear something beautiful!

2). What can we find in your vintage shop? For example, do you specialise in a particular era or type of garment, accessory, etc?

I focus on items that appeal to me personally. All of these are the kinds of dresses you would find in my own closet.  While there are a few accessories from time to time, I put my efforts into sourcing the finest clothes and giving them new life with new owners.

vintage shop

vintage shop

Stunning Frank Starr 1950s full skirt dress, which you can purchase from Nouveau2You by clicking on the image!

vintage shop

Gorgeous 1950s Lilli Ann coat, that’s sadly already sold!

vintage shop

Stunning 1930s-1940s liquid satin lace robe peignoir, which you can purchase by clicking on the image!

3). Is there a process you go through when selecting garments for your shop? Perhaps you have a list or a criteria, that you use when deciding which garments will be perfect for your shop and your clients?

 Whenever I see an item that excites me, that I feel I must have, then I know others will share the same feelings. Let’s be honest, wearing these special clothes is about feeling good about yourself, feeling in touch with beauty. When someone compliments you on the style, or just the fact that they love the dress, you know you are spreading love of elegance and grace. The world needs that, don’t you think? So in some small way, everyone who wears vintage helps to bring good feelings and better moods to those around them. I look for items that make me feel that way. Of course, they must be in excellent condition!

4). Where do you find all those beautiful vintage clothes and accessories for your shop? (if it’s not a secret!)

I will never tell!  I will tell you that it is a full time job just finding the items for offering. I hope that is appreciated by the buyers. They have no idea what it takes to procure these. They are rare!!

5). What is your favourite period in time and why?

This is so hard for me to pick. I love the Edwardian/ Downton Abbey period on a personal level. My personal collection have a couple of these museum quality prizes.  I could not possibly sell them though. For every day and evening wear, the 1940’s to 1950’s offer the range of wonderful wiggle dresses to full skirts that elicit all sorts of Golden Age of Hollywood memories. Who wouldn’t want to be as elegant as Grace Kelly, a beautiful as Elizabeth Taylor, or have the sex appeal of Marilyn Monroe?

vintage shop

Breathtaking, sapphire blue wiggle dress from the 1950s, which you can purchase by clicking on the image!

vintage shop

shop vintage

Ceil Chapman 1950s cocktail dress, which you can purchase by clicking on the image!

vintage shop

6). What message/advise do you have for women who have never bought vintage clothes before? For example: what are the key pieces to start building a vintage look? What to keep in mind when making a purchase?

My advice is to be bold!! Do not be scared of a wiggle dress. Don’t be worried what others may think. Believe me, so many will come up to you, even complete strangers and thank you for wearing something so lovely. It still amazes me!

Every woman should have a nice everyday dress for shopping. It is just fun to do! Try it you will like it!  Then of course, one or two dresses for the night out. Even one that may seem modest by today’s standards, actually enhances the feminine, and what is not revealed is imagined. That is quite powerful. You will stand out among those who wear the most modern, leave-nothing-to-the -imagination club wear.

Practically speaking, you want something that is easy to care for, and in excellent shape. Of course, any clothing item that is 50 or 60 years old will have some wear, unless  it has been worn once and then hidden away. ( Those are great treasures) But with proper care, there is no reason to be afraid to use and enjoy your vintage item.

vintage shop

Beautiful 1950s cashmere cardigan with fox fur.

7). What are your 3 favourite items that you have ever sold and why have you chosen to name those particular ones? 

The first item I just fell in love with and had to sell was the Dramatic Coat.  It was a gorgeous, dramatic and luxurious piece! It was a 1950’s era inspired by the 1920’s flapper look. It had a rich, deep black floral print, high quality wool that was designed and made in France by Heidi. It had huge black fox fur trim. Each time I wore it, I felt like a million dollars.

vintage shop

The second item I loved was a old Hollywood illusion, French silk lace, floor length ball gown.  The French silk lace just made the dress! There was no origin, sadly, but it was exquisite in it’s design and finished look.

vintage shop

The third item was identical to a certain 1950’s Elizabeth Taylor dress. A Lillie Diamond design, it was a fabulous red color, yet so feminine and delicate. This was one of the most beautiful and sensual 1950’s pieces I ever had. I am wistful just thinking about it! 

vintage shop

8). What are your favourite vintage brands and are they very difficult to find? 

Pierre Balmaine, Christian Dior, Ceil Chapman to name a few.. The Balmaine and Dior pieces are very rare and expensive, but definitely the height of fashion, sophistication and elegance. These are high end and must be purchased if you ever see one!   The Ceil Chapman are very very popular, and still readily available, but they never last long. These are perfect dresses for a night out or a party or special dinner.

Another favorite  is Peggy Hunt. She was a California based designer from the 1930’s until the late 1960’s so there is a wide range of styles and period pieces from her. She specialized in evening and cocktail dresses in the grand Hollywood style.  They are available from time to time. You cannot go wrong with any of these.

9). What’s in your wardrobe? Do you personally wear vintage clothes on a daily basis? 

I must confess that I have an extensive personal collection! I have pieces from Edwardian era ( think Downton Abbey) and every decade since then!  Besides the one’s listed above I have tried to find a favorite from each major designer and enjoy it myself.    

  Yes, of course I wear vintage daily. It is not just for going out. I love to wear a nice dress during the day, with the appropriate accessories. You would be amazed at the looks, and the compliments I get from both men and women all the time. It is especially nice to be thanked for making the effort to dress well. Actually it is no effort at all, because you feel fabulous all the time! Who does not like that?  It is easy to throw on a vintage sweater or blouse and a pair of jeans even. So you never have to think you must give up comfort. Just be bold !

Off Broadway – Vintage Shop of the week

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After an overwhelming response to my article highlighting the best vintage shops on Etsy (which you can read here), I decided to broaden my investigations by venturing out onto the internet, leaving no link left unchecked during my travels, looking for the most interesting vintage shops across the world. I intend to share my discoveries with all of my sophisticated, vintage-loving readers, featuring one vintage shop per week and through a Q&A, you will be able to find out the history of the shop, what vintage treasures they specialise in, as well as pick up a few tips on how to shop for vintage clothes. So, without any further ado, I would like to start the weekly vintage shop feature with Off Broadway!

Off Broadway

Address:

3110 Central SE, Albuquerque, New Mexico 87105

505-268-1489; offbroadway66@gmail.com

http://www.offbroadwayvintage.com/

 

1920s paisley dress

1920s paisley dress.

 

1950s Adele Simpson dress.

1950s Adele Simpson dress.

Dominique de Merteuil:  How did you start your adventure in selling vintage clothes?

Off Broadway:

My childhood summers were spent at our family farm in a late 1800s turreted farm house. The third-floor attic was filled with trunks of Victorian clothing and other wonderful mysteries.  In the 50s and 60s my mother took me shopping for school clothes in upscale department stores and boutiques, teaching me about fashion and quality.  In high school in the late 60s I started dressing in my mother’s 1950’s dresses.  This bohemian style of dressing served me well as I majored in Fine Arts in college and ended with a Masters in Painting. I even used vintage fabrics and novelty motifs in my paintings.

I started wholesaling a little vintage while I taught art at the university, and finally decided I would rather work for myself.  I opened a small shop in 1984, the year my daughter Grace was born.  Grace grew up wearing vintage and today has incredible style in her mix of vintage and current fashion, plus the best closet in town!  She has an MBA, is a skilled photographer, and was the driving force behind opening our Etsy shop.  Over the past 33 years my little shop has expanded into a successful business in Albuquerque, but Etsy has propelled us globally. Grace and my partnership is the best part.

DDM: What can we find in your vintage shop? For example, do you specialise in a particular era or type of garment, accessory, etc?

Off Broadway:

Our Etsy shop has vintage clothing and accessories from the Victorian era through the eighties. We are particularly passionate about beautiful dresses!

Edwardian gown

Stunning Edwardian cream silk gown that can be purchased via Off Broadway Etsy store.

60s Ceil Chapman dress

Vintage 1960s Ceil Chapman mint green cocktail dress, that can be purchased via Off Broadway Etsy shop, which you will be directed to by clicking on the image.

1930s hooded gown

1930s silk crepe gown with matching hooded jacket. You can purchase the beautiful dress on Off Broadway Etsy shop by clicking on the image.

1920s ivory wedding gown

Stunning 1920s bias cut silk satin wedding dress.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DDM: Is there a process you go through when selecting garments for your shop? Perhaps you have a list or a criteria, that you use when deciding which garments will be perfect for your shop and your clients?

Off Broadway:

When someone enters my store with an armful of clothes I can usually tell in a glance from across the room if I am interested.  It’s all about the fabric.  Fabric tells me its’ era and style and quality.  I don’t buy clothes that are “tired” or have difficult condition issues.  I want happy clothes with a good pedigree that will inspire my customers.

DDM: Where do you find all those beautiful vintage clothes and accessories for your shop? (if it’s not a secret!)

Off Broadway:

One advantage of being in business as long as I have with a physical shop and a good reputation is that the clothes all come to me.  The disadvantage is I have no time to hunt!

DDM: What is your favourite period in time and why?

Off Broadway:

I love the fresh modernism of the late 50s and early 60s fashion when the United States was in such a hopeful exciting period in history and it was reflected in design.  I lived in Washington DC during the Kennedy administration when my father worked there for the government.  Incredible times!  Then again, the beauty of clothing from the 20s and 30s can make me cry.

DDM: What message/advise do you have for women who have never bought vintage clothes before? For example: what are the key pieces to start building a vintage look? What to keep in mind when making a purchase?

Off Broadway:

Nothing speaks to a woman like a gorgeous dress.  If that is too overwhelming a start for a vintage novice I suggest a great jacket.  The philosophy at Off Broadway has always been that vintage is current and modern and should be mixed with your contemporary pieces for a fashion forward look.  We can easily put you in one era head-to-toe, but that verges on costume.  We stay abreast of current designers to help our customers stay relevant.

1930s floral satin and taffeta gown

Gorgeous 1930s floral satin and taffeta gown, that can be purchased via Off Broadway Etsy page by clicking on the image.

1950s floral Ceil Chapman dress

Summer must-have 1950s floral Ceil Chapman dress.

1950s Peggy Hunt dress

1950s Peggy Hunt dress.

DDM: What are your 3 favourite items that you have ever sold and why have you chosen to name those particular ones? 

Off Broadway:

It’s not just the fabulous clothes that I’ve sold over the years – it’s connecting with amazing people and providing them with pieces that inspire and enhance their lives.  When I sell a wedding dress it becomes a celebration for us as well as the bride.  This past summer an entire family was outfitted from my shop for a very special farm wedding.  I have sold many red-carpet dresses to actresses.   My favourite was a yellow 30s gown for an actresses’ wedding. Such vicarious living!  I recently sold a sweet John Meyer of Norwich suit to the designer’s daughter.  She is amassing a collection of his work for a museum and we had a great correspondence. The designer Marc Jacobs bought a 40s ballerina print dress from me and used it throughout his famous Fall 2016 Ready to Wear show.  That was a thrill. One of my favourite Etsy customers bought my all-time favourite Tina Leser ochre silk dress and coat.  Because of Etsy I connected with an incredible artist – the photographer Suzanne Heintz.  Her work uses vintage clothes in a socially biting and hilarious vignettes.  Check her out! I have hoarded and held back favourite pieces from my shop but recently released a stunning 30s blue silk gown with extravagant  winged sequined sleeves and off it went to be on television.  My stories are not unique among vintage sellers.  It is why we do it with such passion.  And pleasure!

Vintage dress

Stunning Chrysanthemum dress!

 

Tina Leser vintage dress and coat

Tina Leser ochre silk dress and coat.

1930s blue satin dress with sequined sleeves.

1930s blue satin dress with sequined sleeves.

 

Vintage dress

Beautiful 1940s ballerina print dress bought by Mark Jacobs, who was so inspired by it, that he used the print in his 2016 collection.

 

In the picture on the left the original1940s dress with ballerina print. In the picture on the right Marc Jacobs dress from his 2016 collection.

DDM: What are your favourite vintage brands and are they very difficult to find?

Off Broadway:

I have a magnificent Fontana that I am currently sheltering.  An early Jean Patou.  A Pauline Trigere 1940s studded jumpsuit.  A big Lilly Ann suit.  I’m just not ready… and I’m sure most vintage dealers share this affliction!

DDM: What’s in your wardrobe? Do you personally wear vintage clothes on a daily basis?

Off Broadway:

Both Grace and I wear some form of vintage almost every day.  I have a closet full of 40s housedresses, lots of men’s shirts and ties, Chinese jackets, fiesta skirts, and Edwardian pieces.  I never go a day without vintage with my 50s aluminum glasses.  Grace has stunning rayon 40s dresses, 50s party dresses and is lately into wearing 60s.  Today she went off to work in a 60s B&W dress with matching coat in an homage to Mary Tyler Moore.