“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!
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.
Dominique de Merteuil: Is there a process you go through when selecting garments for your shop? Perhaps you have a list or 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.
Dominique de Merteuil: What is your favourite 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 favourite 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.
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.
Dominique de Merteuil: What are your favourite 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.
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.