Updated May 16, 2005
In Papierdoll’s third week of vintage, we look at stores in London, New York, South Beach and do a double-take in Chicago. Read on for more.
Other vintage features on Papierdoll:
by Sherri Feldman
Web site: hooticouture.com
address: 321 Flatbush Ave. (Park Slope) Brooklyn, NY
by subway: B, Q to 7th Avenue
When it comes to fashion, what’s past is in, and unless you’re a Hepburn, Brooklyn’s Hooti Couture is way better than your grandmother’s closet. Stuffed with hand-picked vintage clothing and accessories, Hootie Couture is the now ten-years-old passion of Alison Houtte, the store’s owner, who drives a truck to Pennsylvania every week to update her stock – and man, does she know how to shop.
“It’s not Sex and the City,” she says, “it’s your mother’s jacket from the 40’s.” From $2 hairclips to $500 coats, you’ll find still-in-style clothing that’s made to last; in vintage, both the trends and the clothing remain durable, which is evident today even in upscale retailers like Barney’s and designers like Prada and Gucci. But Houtte maintains (for this, you’ll love her) that it’s “rude” to sell a dress for $1,200.
“It’s okay to find something second-hand and make it look fabulous,” she said.
Well, we agree. And though we all thank God For H&M, there’s nothing like finding a one-of-a-kind vintage item for less than you spend for a generic t-shirt in most retail chains.
If her keen eye for fashion isn’t enough to get you out to Brooklyn, Houtte also has quite the qualifying background – enough to fill a book, actually. Co-written with her sister, Melissa Houtte, Alison’s written a memoir in vintage: “Alligators, Old Mink and New Money” (William Morrow, November 22), that relives their childhood wearing second-hand clothes. (Alison, a former model, wore her own .50 cent suit to her first shoot!) Still not convinced? Just check out the store. Before you can say Too Houtte to handle, you’ll thank me.
Web site: beyondretro.com
Address: 110-112 Cheshire Street (off Brick Lane),
London E2 6EJ.
Nearest underground station: Liverpool Street.
Phone: +44 (0)20 7613 3636
There’s vintage, and then there’s vintage. London is the perfect arena in which to find both. The closest culture capital to Hollywood, U.S., London is the trailblazer of creativity in the fashion world, drawing the best pieces from Paris and Milan. Beyond Retro, in Shoreditch – far from the glamour of the west-end, down an unassuming road – is London’s best-kept secret. A huge warehouse packed with a vast array of true vintage gems from original skinny-fit 501’s to sparkly ball gowns, the space showcases over 10,000 items with 300-500 new pieces put out each day. It’s no wonder any London stylist worth their salt is on first-name terms with the staff. (Kate Moss and Beck are among the celebs frequently seen sporting Beyond Retro fashions.) Whether you’re after Americana t-shirts or silk scarves, you’ll find it there, and at rock-bottom prices (a cowboy shirt for a fiver or a pair of razor-sharp kicks for L20) Vintage has gripped the collective conscience of fashionable London for some time now, and Beyond Retro embodies the scene at its best.
by Dara Bramson
Address: 650 Lincoln Road
South Beach’s Fly Boutique on Lincoln Road offers a comfy dwelling for trendy beach bums. Teeming with stylish boutiques and chic restaurants, Miami’s eminent Lincoln Road Mall features Fly as one of its preeminent vintage stores. It isn’t cheap: whether it’s an Emanuel Unargo power suit or vintage Levis and Miu Miu heels you’re after, expect to drain your funds. Luckily, re-sale deals are obtainable with charming camisoles and perfectly broken-in corduroys. Fly even has vintage housewares, from lamps to coffee tables. The plethora of chic accessories will threaten your bank account, but alluring items dating back to the 30’s will prove well worth the visit.
By Marquita Harris
Address: 815 W. Armitage,
Chicago IL 60614
Phone: (773) 525-0282
Address: 1141 W. Webster Ave,
Chicago IL 60614
Phone: (773) 525-0211
Nestled near the bustling intersection of Armitage and Halsted Avenue, McShane’s Exchange offers all the re-sale of top designer goods any girl could ask for. With prices that could make college students and strapped-for-cash fashionista’s fall to their Manolo-clad feet, it can easily become addicting.
Inside the vintage building one might find Miss Sixty denim for $78 or classic Donna Karan oxfords for $48. However, if the mere idea of spending even that much on second-hand makes your wallets uneasy, fear not and take a trip upstairs.
Here you’ll find a plethora of both vintage and modern blazers and skirts and slacks from a multitude of designers. All of which range in price from $8 Diesel denim (judging by the button-fly and straight leg they are definitely circa 1990’s) to newer $14 Chaiken and Capone ensembles. The store also has maternity and an abundance of different sizes available to fit all women. But readers take note, just as any other vintage/resale shop there’s no telling what you might find on a day to day basis—which can be good and bad.
This shop also offers everything from traditional kitten heel Ferragamos, to high-waisted, below the knee Banana Republic skirts. If you don’t find what you seek here, chances are the other location on Webster Avenue, might also cater to your shopping needs. This location is actually the first, which just celebrated its 18th year this May.
While the store does not specialize in vintage goods, any McShane’s shopper will tell you to buy now and save for later. And let’s just say McShane’s offers a great deal of classic “buy nows” that will surely add retro appeal to your wardrobe years later.
McShane’s affords the opportunity to look like you’re living the high-life and not seeking it. In the enlightening words posted on the outside of the shop: “If you can’t afford your own designer wardrobe, buy someone else’s.” I second that suggestion.
Updated May 9, 2005
Papierdoll’s vintage feature continues with the best vintage shops covered in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago and Portland.
Chicago’s Vintage Advantage: Clothes Optional
By Tenisha Anderson
Address: 2918 N. Clark St.
Phone: (773) 296-6630
Vintage stores ar
e popping up like ponchos and peasant shirts, but we’re not complaining. A blast from the past is refreshing, and oh so chic. From Diane von Furstenberg’s infamous wrap dress to Yves Saint Laurent’s Le Smoking Suit, a vintage piece or look is a must-have in everyone’s closet.
One retro maven who understands the advantage of vintage is Jamie Issler, owner/buyer of Clothes Optional. Hailing from Peoria, IL, this Columbia grad and former waitress follows the philosophy of “just making it happen”; her love of fashion and music inspired her to start Clothes Uptional. Its walls are home to an array of art from resident artists – Choke and Jacob Moreland and vintage framed art set up against a purple and turquoise stripped background.
This upbeat and original diamond in the retail ruff speaks volumes on Jamie’s eclectic style and keen eye in choosing what clothing to sell. The store sells both women’s and men’s clothing and accessories.
They also house a section of the store that showcases merchandise from various independent fashion designers. Right now, RX Apparel has been crowned resident fashion designer with a collection of slice/dice dresses and tops. I found a pair of worn-in Frye boots for $50, and her handbag collection is amazing. She also has a $3 rack with great items like vintage shirt dresses a la Marcia Brady. The vintage t-shirt collection will satisfy any true collector.
By Lashunda Tate
Address: 2398 Telegraph Avenue
Phone: (510) 843-6711
Allow me to introduce to you the wonderful city of Berkeley, California. Telegraph Avenue, to be exact. Amongst the incense smoke filled sky, hippies, winos, activistss, street artist, palm readers, Blondie’s Pizza and UC Berkeley students, lies unique vintage boutiques. Situated on one of those busy street corners is Mars Mercantile.
What I like most about Mars Mercantile is the wide array of clothing and accessories at reasonable prices. The buyers are fair and take their time choosing well-maintained and unique pieces. If they’re not interested in anything you have to sell, they’ll gracefully decline.
Mars Mercantile is a two-level, neatly-sectioned, retro, funky and a tad bit hip vintage store. The staff is animated, the clientele is widespread and even the musical selections are whimsical. Surely, you know background music plays an important role, especially when it has to do with something as serious as expanding your wardrobe. Men, women and yes, even cross dressers can fall through the door at any given hour and leave satisfied. This store is so hot that even the mannequin’s have made a name for themselves.
Looking for a turquoise colored fedora, P-coat, poodle skirt, leather chaps, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis eyewear, fish net fingerless gloves, a sunburst brooch, synthetic pearls, patent leather stiletto’s, Sherlock Holmes cape, tweed trousers, hard to find Levi jeans, mohair knit handbags or colorful mood rings? Swing by Mars Mercantile. Whatever the occasion, reason or season, there’s an outfit or accessory with your name on it.
Rhinestone in the rough: Portland, Oregon
By Jessica Lund
Photo Credit: Trina Giese
Glamour Gallery Vintage
Address: 3415 SE Belmont Street
Phone: (503) 231-0888
Lady Luck Vintage
Address: #1 SE 28th St.
Phone (503) 233-4041
Address: 3203 SE Division St.
Phone: (503) 238-8033
To find the best in vintage that Portland has to offer, I talked to Trina Giese, vintage fashion expert. We went on a vintage whirlwind, examining everything from glam to glum, checking in at all the hot spots as well as a couple of not spots.
Portland, I discovered, is a vintage gem, catering to a wide assortment of tastes and styles. Though there are a plethora of options, nearly every boutique has a specialty, making each of them indispensable for the girl who has to have it all.
My personal favorites are Glamour Gallery and Lady Luck Vintage. These two boutiques each fill a distinctive niche. Their winning combination of selection and service, make the experience of shopping a completely entertaining and rewarding affair.
Jeffery is the Portland super-star in charge of Glamour Gallery. Once featured on the front page of a Portland magazine for his selection of at least one thousand pairs of vintage glasses, Jeffrey embodies the cult of the personality. (See picture). He specializes in gowns, glasses and shoes from 1955 to 1965, and his knowledge of the era is unquestionably complete.
While I browsed through his small and intimate boutique, I watched the progress of a woman gown-shopping for a fancy party. Jeffery has the rare talent of knowing his stock forwards and backwards. He never suggests an item that does not fit or look glorious on the customer. He recommended three different frocks for the woman, who tried them on with obvious gratitude. Jeffery states his opinions plainly, never gives false compliments and makes sure that everyone leaves happy.
After he found the woman in question a most incredible dress (a short silver number with a waist highlighted in rhinestones, and a lovely crossed, low bodice) he spent at least half an hour finding the perfect accessories, down to the shoes, glasses, necklace and earrings.
He has been requested in the past to have private showings, which he is happy to do, and his customers are extremely loyal because they love the personalized customer service and the fabulous outfit coordination.
The prices at Glamour Gallery run from fifteen to one thousand dollars on all items. When asked what makes Glamour Gallery so special, Jeffery responded with his habitual enthusiasm: “ME!”
We would have to agree.
When you walk into Lady Luck, the front of the store is laid out in a traditional manner, the well-kept and elegant stock displayed invitingly. In the large back room, however, the crown jewel of Lady Luck is revealed. Manager Eric Jacobson calls it “the Pink Room.” The pink room is decorated to resemble the bedroom of a 1950s starlet. The selection is unbelievable; the ambiance more so. Eric says for him it is a constant “Happy walk down memory lane, filled with cupcakes, candy and everything pink and sweet.”
Lady Luck specializes in items from the 1960s to the 1970s. Elegant gowns and sexy, strappy shoes in particular. They also offer a selection of wigs, boas and sunglasses for the glamour-puss in all of us.
Dresses at Lady Luck go for between five and one hundred and fifty dollars, and shoes sell for between twelve to sixty dollars. What makes Lady Luck so special? How often do you lounge in a cheesecake starlet’s boudoir?
With respect to journalistic integrity, I asked an anonymous Portland fashion aficionado if there were any terrible vintage stores in Portland. Trina and I were directed to Superfly.
In contrast to Glamour Gallery and Lady Luck, the store was not glamorous, and the stock seemed random with respect to its vintag
e date and widely distributed contents. Nevertheless, Superfly had an unmistakable charm of its own. From the black velvet paintings on the walls to the foosball table free for use, to the large selection of vintage cowboy boots, Superfly just screams Portland. From strip to trip to flip, Portland is undoubtedly a hip rhinestone in the rough.
Los Angeles, Ca
By Meghan Hart
The Way we Wore
Address: 334 S. La Brea Ave.
Los Angeles, 90036
Phone: (323) 937-0878
Owner Doris Raymond knows her fashion, so does Charlize Theron, Mandy Moore, Mena Suvari and many other Hollywood fashionistas and stylists. This is upscale vintage, folks. While the prices range from $20 to $100,000 you are sure to find something vintage for a steal. Some noteworthy items I found while shopping were a dress that Charlize Theron wore in The Legend of Bagger Vance, some great bathing suits from the ’60s, a gorgeous a-line skirt. The Way we Wore is a vintage store that reflects the flavor of LA. In New York one might find a rare top or a pair of jeans from the city’s fashion of yesteryear. In LA, you will find celebrity clothing from old movies and rare items not found anywhere. The Way we Wore represents the best in LA vintage shopping. If you are in town and are looking for a non-tourist vintage spot, look up Doris Raymond.
Next week we go to South Beach, New York and London
The following was published on May 2, 2005
By Yael Avni
Vintage store: Isadora’s
Address: 1915 First Ave.
Phone: (206) 441-7711
The plush purple carpet and dim, romantic lighting create a luxurious ambiance from the moment you enter Isadora’s Antique Clothing. Located in the trendy Belltown area of downtown Seattle, Isadora’s is tucked neatly between fine salons and quaint restaurants. Owned by Laura Dalesandro and managed by daughter Elizabeth Dalesandro, this exquisite boutique has been in business since 1973.
Isadora’s specializes in one of a kind vintage items from the Victorian era all the way through the 1970s, and only accepts garments in near perfect condition. A few moments spent browsing the racks proves this point. Most of the clothing is pristine in appearance, and designer couture abounds. The boutique flaunts designer names such as Chanel, Lilliane, and Christian Dior. Although manager Elizabeth Dalesandro declined to disclose the names of the private shows the merchandise comes from, she did say that many of the pieces come from the United States’ east coast and midwest, as well as The Netherlands, France, England and Portugal. Isadora’s carries mostly women’s evening and business attire, accessories such as handbags, as well as fine estate jewelry including sterling pieces and engagement rings. After browsing the racks further, some hot finds for spring 2005 include an elegantly beaded cream sweater from the 1950s, as well as a pale pink Chanel dress from the same era. Alligator and beaded bags are also selling well this season, and many such items are displayed throughout the store. Prices for these range from a mere $100 for vintage handbags to upwards of $3000 for evening wear and engagement rings. But even these prices are a steal for mint condition designer items.
Another unique specialty of Isadora’s is the bridal collection, especially popular during the spring and summer months. Although the boutique carries a few authentic vintage wedding gowns from the 1930s, they mostly design and tailor-make new gowns modeled after the 1930s style of simple, clean-lined elegance. Dalesandro claims the reasons for recreating vintage wedding gowns are a lack of dresses available in perfect condition, as well as the modern woman’s need for a wider range of sizes. Isadora’s wish is to accommodate any woman who dreams of having a uniquely elegant wedding.
Dalesandro describes customers as not typical; people of different ages and from many backgrounds visit regularly. Because of the downtown location, tourists from many parts of the world also frequent the shop. She also claims to have many devoted customers, those who maintain a relationship with the store, and come back for years to find pieces suited for special occasions.
If you decide to visit this elegant boutique, be prepared for a warm, friendly experience and personalized fashion advice. Elizabeth Dalesandro seems to love what she does.
“The look on peoples faces when they see themselves all dressed up — they feel so good!” When asked more about the vision of Isadora’s, Dalesandro claims “We appreciate what we do, and respect history, quality, and craftsmanship … a time when people took time to create clothing, not mass produce it.” Also visit Isadora’s at Isadoras.com.
by Dino-Ray Ramos
Vintage store: New Bohemia
Address: 1606 South Congress Avenue
Phone: (512) 326-1238
The motto of “Keep Austin Weird” artistically echoes throughout the city. From music to film, Austin serves as the cultural Mecca of Texas by shining with aesthetic istinction. Needless to say, fashion is an endearing subculture thriving in the city. The spirit of the city roams fashionably free as people are seen as equals whether they are dressed to the nines or donning grungy apparel. Boutiques owned by local designers are intricately woven throughout the city and upscale retailers provide the city with a taste of couture from fashion capitals of the world. The scene for high-end apparel is popular but it is brought to a stylistic equilibrium by the veritable cornucopia of vintage stores in Austin.
When I started selling my designs of hand-painted shirts and tailored accessories at the store Parts & Labour, I noticed their adjoining sister store that looked like an unorganized garage sale. Based on its presentation, my fashion snob came out because it didn’t look like other vintage stores I shopped at. One day, I was looking for an inexpensive, but classy gold necklace. I gave New Bohemia a chance. This is the store that happened to be the one I delightfully prejudged. With a small bit of hesitation, I went in.
With a great deal of satisfaction, I was hooked.
Located on the locally famous street of South Congress, New Bohemia is laced with an unending array of clothing for everyone at reasonable prices. Adorned with vintage fabrics, cocktail dresses, marching band uniforms and everything in between, the store runs the gamut from the mundane to the haute couture.
Like many vintage stores you have to be cautious about trying stuff on — keep in mind, these are second-hand clothes. During Texas’ definition of winter, I was on a never-ending mission to find the perfect pea coat. Luckily, I found a pea coat on the racks at “New Bohemia”. Without thinking, I tried it on and an unbearable smell infected me to the point of nausea. I pulled off the jacket immediately with a great lesson learned.
Despite the wariness you need to have when trying on clothes, shopping at New Bohemia is an unbelievable adventure. Stylish suits and atypical blouses are excessively displayed while pieces of funky furniture are scattered throughout the store. In the back of the store you can find elaborate belt buckles, clever overnight bags, retro houseware and other one-of-a-kind trinkets.
Among the small treasures, I managed to find a small gold brooch with the letter “D” uniquely formed by leafy tree branches. I wore the brooch to the gala and it was an unconventionally effective accessory to spark conversation and to turn heads — and they say men can’t wear brooches.
I have learned that the more cluttered the vintage store, the better. It only serves as a reference to their popularity. Searching through the piles of clothing and accessories is half the fun. Retaining the luster of a quality vintage haven, New Bohemia has great personality that is reflected through their merchandise.