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Nadia Clark – fashion report




Vintage is here to stay.



Vintage has officially gone mainstream. I’ve just read that Heidi Middleton, one half of the amazingly fabulous Sass & Bide duo, is 100% faithful to her own label (‘We couldn’t wear anything else. It would feel like betrayal!’) unless of course, she is mixing it with vintage. Stylists, designers and dedicated ‘fashionistas’ have long looked to the past for inspiration but now it seems everyone is doing it! As with most things, vintage’s popularity has been fuelled by celebrities and in particular, stars such as Sarah Jessica Parker, Nicole Kidman and Kate Moss, who love to stand out from the crowd and take a few risks. Wearing vintage ensures that they won’t skulk off the red carpet with a red face when another A-lister turns up in the same dress…God forbid! Pre-pubescent celebs are jumping on the bandwagon too.




Last week at the MTV Movie Awards, tiny Mary-Kate Olsen (pictured above with her sister Ashley) made no secret of her love for retro dresses and at this month’s Council of Fashion Designers of America Fashion Awards, singer Mandy Moore wore a vintage Bill Blass dress she had picked out herself.


Boys don’t shy away from this look either.



Johnny Knoxville, Lenny Kravitz and half of the OC cast (pictured above) are diving into their granddaddy’s closets for funky cardigans, retro slogan tees (check out the selection below at www.joeprince.co.uk) and perfectly cut suits.



Following this lead, department stores and high street chains have recognised the economic potential of vintage and have included authentic pieces as part of their in-store merchandise. For example, Barneys and Bloomingdales in New York have their own vintage departments which opened a few years ago. Barneys opened a boutique called Decades, named after the Melrose Avenue shop owned by Cameron Silver. The store has become a popular source of high-end vintage clothing and Silver sells to the likes of Pamela Anderson, Jennifer Lopez and Marisa Tomei. Soon after, Barney’s LA outlet began stocking vintage clothes and accessories under the Renne Lewis label. Lewis finds and then alters the clothes for a modern fit. According to Barney’s, their uptown clientele were unwilling to rake around thrift stores in New York for authentic vintage pieces and wanted to walk into their favourite department store and have a beautiful 50’s dress handed to them. Pure ‘Sex and the City’!


It’s not just our amigos from over the pond that are catching on to the vintage craze though. Closer to home, Topshop have the ‘Peekaboo’ vintage range in the basement of their vast flagship store in Oxford Circus and they have recently rolled out this idea to stores in the regions. Fingers crossed Peekaboo will make it up past Leeds sometime soon. Personally, I am a self-confessed vintage junkie and I love the thrill of the hunt, whether that’s searching through some old chest at a dusty antiques’ auction or surfing the World Wide Web at 4am! But most people are loathed to do this and are quite happy for a boutique or website to do the hunting for them.


Just a word of warning…serious buyers beware! There is a current trend to call all second-hand clothing ‘vintage’. In the strictest terms, vintage clothing should epitomize it’s time in fashion. When you think of the 20’s, you think of flapper dresses; when you think of the 50’s, you think of full skirts and twin sets; and when you think of the 80’s, you think of shoulder pads and Lycra (although we’re still trying to forget most of the 80’s Lycra). If you’re into searching for vintage collectibles (visit the ‘collectibles’ section below on my website www.joeprince.co.uk) then bear a few things in mind.  




According to Tracey Tolkien, (proprietor of the King’s Road vintage boutique, Steinberg & Tolkien), ‘clothes that were regarded as expensive when they were first made tend to be correspondingly expensive as collectibles today’. Garment labels are also crucial to finding a vintage piece worth splashing out on. Finding a  designer piece from the likes of Christian Dior, Halston, Yves Saint Laurent and Vivienne Westwood may mean that the dress or shirt is collectible but if it is from one of the designer’s mass-produced diffusion lines it is probably worthless (only in monetary value of course!). For example, a piece from the 1970’s designer Halston, labeled ‘Halston III’ or Halston IV’ is not collectible at all, but if it simply states ‘Halston’ then snap it up! Also, check the workmanship of the item you are thinking about purchasing. If it has a silk lining or has those little bra fastenings under the dress straps which were popular in the 1950’s, then it is more likely to hold it’s value more than those items which were made en masse with little care and attention.


Don’t just think about the past…think about the future too. Which items are going to be the future classics and collectibles? Before you start raking around for that early 90’s fluorescent shell-suit, think more high-end designers. That Balenciaga bag you’ve had your eye on could well make a sound investment and you must agree, it’s so much more exciting than buying a few dull stocks and shares.


The most important thing about buying and wearing vintage is to have fun and enjoy it. If you are a die-hard collector then examine the zip, the label and the lining to ensure you’re investing in something worthwhile, but if you just want something fabulous and unique, then who cares? There are so many beautiful pieces out there with a little rip or a button missing which are desperate for a home in some funky fashionista’s closet. So grab your sewing kit (or grab the Yellow pages and dial 1800-Tailor) and buy a little piece of history.


Nadia Clark


click here to view Nadia’s profile https://www.fashioncapital.co.uk/content/view/4689/


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