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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.