Prada spring-summer 1990
It’s no news that vintage became our (old) new favourite way to shop – especially now, during the global pandemic. Some consumers are thinking deeply about their carbon footprint for the first time, look towards a sustainable lifestyle or simply want a true, one-of-kind gem in their wardrobe. Although I’m selling vintage for years now with on Vestiaire Collective (find my page here!), I just now started buying vintage for myself. I follow plenty of vintage lovers and collectors, from the well-known ones (like Alexander Fury and Shrimpton Couture) to emerging names, and I feel constantly inspired by their knowledge and fresh take on wearable fashion history. There’s a whole huge splash of vintage shops on Instagram lately, but it’s really not just about having that 2000s Dior Saddle bag or a Jean Paul Gaultier tattoo top in store. A truly succesful, digital vintage spot doesn’t imitate anything else – the key is an authentic personal style, which sharply curates the new arrivals and drops. Below, you will find my favourite five Instagram feeds that sell the most exciting vintage fashion, from archival Prada skirts and over-the-top Blumarine dresses to hand-knitted vests and Anna Sui shearling jackets. And so much more, because brilliant vintage isn’t just about the tag, but the soul of the garment!
Olivia Haroutounian‘s Real Life As Liv is one of the hottest (and unique) on-line vintage shops out there. In her styling photos, the 22-year-old college student frequently wears vintage Manolo Blahnik kitten heels, ugly-chic Prada skirts and Anna Molinari velvet coats. She’s been a collector since she was 10 years old, so it was only a matter of time that she become a vintage seller. Now, her sales pay her tuition at the University of Houston, where she studies corporate communication with a minor in anthropology. Her brand new on-line shop is a treasure chest, including such finds as boldly printed Xuly Bet tops, Ozbek lace dresses, fluffy Miu Miu bags, a velvet Chanel evening dress or a cute Anna Sui hoodie. You just won’t buy something that isn’t in Olivia’s personal, fantastically eclectic style. Moreover, Haroutounian is obsessed with the Sex & The City wardrobe, and it’s truly exciting to see her finds she shares on Instagram (lately, she posted a sheer Marc Jacobs dress from 1998, which was worn by Carrie in an alternate intro version of the show!). “I truly believe that the vintage market is going to become as big as retail and as powerful,” she told Vogue’s Liana Satenstein (the founder of Schmatta Shrink!) in an interview. “Keeping that in mind, the most important thing to me is keeping it accessible and realizing that my business is a vehicle for promoting being environmentally conscious. Also, educating people on fashion history and designers people have forgotten about or never heard of.”
This is not only one of my favourite on-line vintage shops, but also one of my favourite feeds to follow on Instagram! Desert Vintage sells truly beautiful garments, and they also create incredible editorials featuring the rare pieces. The story of this vintage business is equally compelling. Desert Vintage was founded in 1974 on the boulevard of 4th avenue in Tucson, Arizona. In July of 2012, Salima Boufelfel and Roberto Cowan took over the already established Desert Vintage, with the desire to curate an undeniably stylish and eclectic mix of true vintage items for both men and women. Desert Vintage has come to be known as a great source for excellent, one-of-a-kind vintage pieces of quality and flair. They not only share a passion for vintage and antique items, but also love the art of mixing and styling collections in a contemporary and wearable way. The Desert Vintage website offers a variety of items that encapsulate the ultimate vision we have for the company. Throughout the website, you will find an eclectic mix of vintage that spans from the turn of the century through the 1970’s – like a Halston sequined dress or Chloé by Karl Lagerfeld gown. The inventory is forever revolving, and includes textiles from around the world, jewelry and leather collection of wearables and accessories.
Archive Club is based in Warsaw and was founded by Emma Knaflewska. This vintage shop is absolutely extraordinary, and if you seek vintage Prada or underground Japanese labels, this is a digital heaven. Also, Archive Club’s aesthetic is so, so oddly phenomenal. Here’s an excerpt from their website, because it utterly explains the experimental spirit of this shop: “Who still remembers the year of 1586? That’s when I founded my shop, Archive Club. At first glance, it may seem strange. I mean, it was ages ago. Believe me, the flow of time is something quite illusive. Sometimes it feels like I remember what happened 420 years ago better then yesterday. I recall that objects meant something different back then. They say that when choosing one’s clothes or arranging one’s apartment, we reveal our personality (or put on a mask). Few centuries ago it was more of a mutual relationship. These objects could take hold of us or at least tell us something. The clothes we’re selling are ancient shells of our material existence. These shells cannot be heard anymore, we’ve lost our connection to them. We treat items as inanimate objects, but surely they can speak to us. In the recent past it was understood in the time of Fin-de-siècle. Unless you talk to your shoes sometimes too?”
Lucia Zolea‘s carefully curated drops sell out in minutes. No wonder why, really – those pieces are just too good. A signature Lucia Zolea look? One of her cute knitted cardigans with roses or sheeps, a silk, pink night-gown (worn during the day!) and a 70s necklace with adorable, beaded flowers. I bet dozens of brands keep Zolea’s photos on their mood-boards.
Nong Rak is a Thai and American owned creative studio centered in sourcing and selling vintage and antique clothing, as well as working with photography, styling, creative direction, sustainable garment design and interdisciplinary design. Whether it’s a Victorian lace dress and early 80s Missoni cardigan or a 60s Woolrich blanket coat or one of Nong Rak’s “debris” crotchet designs, their idiosyncratic selection is all about intriguing textures, timeless quality and bold style. This is a vintage wonderland, I tell you.
“Live” collage by Edward Kanarecki. Photos sourced from the vintage stores’ Instagram pages and websites.
It’s no news that vintage is taking over the fashion industry. Sites like Vestiaire Collective and The Real Real are growing competitors for the big on-line empires like Net-A-Porter or Farfetch, while vintage Westwoods and Muglers are historically (and aesthetically) worth more than any trendy, “new season” arrival. Even some brands are opening up to the possibilities of vintage. Dries Van Noten’s Los Angeles store has an expansive section of the label’s archives, all available to buy. And now, The Row is the latest to join the conversation with their newly opened, on-line “Galerie“. I’m pretty much sure that those are Ashley and Mary Kate Olsen‘s personal treasures: an Issey Miyake trench coat from 1979, Chanel haute couture navy total-look from the 70s, John Galliano’s black kimono dress from his iconic spring-summer 1995 collection, some Comme Des Garçons singular items from the 80s and 90s… all items are upon request, but I guess they won’t sit there for long. Hope the Olsens are planning to update their vintage selection from time to time with new, unique garments! Oh… and just imagine wearing those gems with The Row’s investment pieces (maybe even from the second hand?).
Photos via therow.com
How about discovering a new brand this Sunday afternoon? The offspring of an Italian textile legacy and generations of French artists, it was at University in Scotland that Alix Verley-Pietrafesa, inspired by the mid-century Bohemians of Paris and the Bloomsbury Group, picked up a needle and began making clothes by hand. Seeking to create pieces which reflected the free-spirited muses of her studies and facilitated adventure, Alix of Bohemia was born, formally established in London in 2009. The last decade has seen Alix living and working in Europe, Asia and the US. Her far-flung travels, stories, techniques and textiles are the canvas of her collections. Alix currently lives between New York and Mallorca where she sews daily in her Ateliers with her team, producing limited runs, one of a kind pieces and custom commissions by appointment. In 2019 the label opened opened its first store in New York. From patchworked bolero jackets (obsessed!) to gorgeous, vintage-y cotton-voile dresses, Alix of Bohemia is all about a nostalgic, made-with-love feeling. Also, it’s very Anita Pallenberg in the 1970s. Here are some of my favourite pieces from the last (and upcoming resort 2020) collections.
Collage by Edward Kanarecki.