“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!
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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!
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 !