From Cracow With Love

After the Tary mountains and Zakopane, there’s just no way not to visit Cracow. Historically Poland’s former capital and oldest university town lies in a broad valley on the banks of the Vistula river, and is a treasure house of national culture. Its ancient, elegant Old Town has been placed on the UNESCO list of World Historic Sites. It is ideal for a long weekend break, without the tourist hoards and high prices. Be dazzled by its art and architecture, from baroque to Art Nouveau, renaissance to Gothic, and by the sheer spectacle of the city. Here are some of the gorgeous places I’ve visited this time…

The Józef Mehoffer House is a museum located in the former residence of the painter at 26 Krupnicza street and is listed in the Register of Historical Monuments. It boasts an adjacent, blooming garden extending to the south. In 1932, the house was purchased by Józef Mehoffer who was captivated by its old-fashioned look as well as its spacious courtyard and garden shaded by old green trees. The building already constituted part of the city’s history. Mehoffer carried out its thorough renovation, leaving the structure of the building unchanged but introducing new interior divisions. The process endowed the house with features of a carefully devised family residence, which was dubbed „The Cone Palace”. The outbreak of the war in 1939 interrupted the finishing works. After their return from a German camp in Ash in the Sudetes, the Mehoffers – despite the misery and horror of the occupation – continued the tradition of musical and literary gatherings in their home. It was here that the painter also worked, having lost access to his atelier in the building of the Academy of Fine Arts in Matejko Square. After Józef’s death, the family stayed in the house filled with works of art, archives and memorabilia. As early as in 1963, Zbigniew Mehoffer, the painter’s son, began to expend efforts to create Józef Mehoffer’s museum in Krupnicza street, which bore fruit only many years later. In 1986, in accordance with the will of the artist’s family, the house and the land became the property of the State Treasury and was transferred to the National Museum in Krakow for the purpose of establishing a branch dedicated to the artist. After further renovations and redecorations, the Museum was opened to the public in 1996.

For a proper dose of art and architecture, you should definitely visit St. Francis’s Church with its original, floral polichromies by Stanisław Wyspiański, the Wawel castle and cathedral, and the 19th Century Polish Art Gallery at Sukiennice (in the same building you will find the best store with locally-sourced decorations and traditional, hand-made rugs -“kilim“).

The Princes Cartoryski Museum. The most valuable art collection in Poland, and one of the most valuable ones in Europe. The Lady with an Ermine by Leonardo da Vinci or the Landscape with the Good Samaritan by Rembrandt van Rijn, as well as many other masterpieces of not only painting, but also sculpture, crafts, military, applied arts, can be viewed in 26 exhibition halls, on two floors of the renovated Princes Czartoryski Museum. In 1801, Princess Izabela Czartoryska née Flemming created a collection of national treasures. The resources she collected were presented in Puławy, in two park pavilions: The Temple of the Sybil, and since 1809 also in the Gothic House. It was in the Gothic House that the Leonardo da Vinci’s Lady with an Ermine and Rembrandt van Rijn’s Landscape with the Good Samaritan were exhibited. During that time, the pearls in the Czartoryski collection also included the Portrait of a Young Man by Rafael Santi (lost during World War II). However, the museum did not survive the November Uprising, and in 1831 – following Prince Adam Jerzy Czartoryski’s emigration – the collection was transported to Paris. It only made its way back to Poland in 1876, in connection with the scheduled opening of the museum in Krakow. World War II brought about significant losses to the collection. After the war, the museum was taken over by the National Museum in Krakow, and in 1991 fell under the management of the Princes Czartoryski Foundation. On December 29, 2016, thanks to the purchase by the Polish government, the Czartoryski resources became an integral part of the National Museum in Krakow. After all these years, visitors can finally see Czartoryska’s precious collection.

Cracow is also a great place for vintage fashion! Vintage Shop on Szpitalna street has a lovely selection of unique jewellery, designer items and adorable, tapestry bags from 1960s and 70s.

Photos by Edward Kanarecki.

Vintage Everything: Five Vintage Shops To Follow, Love & Buy At!

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!

@shop_reallifeasliv

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.”

@desertvintage

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

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?”

@luciazolea

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.

@thenongrak

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.

The Row’s Vintage Selection

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