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Is old season the new next season? Some of the world’s most photographed women seem to think so. Styles from the archives have been revived recently with Meghan Markle making an appearance in 1960s Dior, Kim Kardashian wearing a 1990s Thierry Mugler dress and Bella Hadid donning an early 2000s It bag from Louis Vuitton’s 2003 Takashi Murakami collection.
Vintage fashion is nothing new, but it’s emerging as one of this year’s most significant trends, showing up on celebrities and in reports from leading boutiques around the world. Vestaire Collective has seen a 558 per cent sales increase in Fendi Baguettes since January 2018, with the average selling price rising 15 per cent. Also appreciating in value is Chanel, which has seen a significant spike in demand since Karl Lagerfeld’s passing. According to luxury resale website, The RealReal, Chanel classics are taking centre stage. “Customers are gravitating toward tweed jackets and dresses, while handbag demand has increased across staples such as Flap Bags and Boy Bags.”
And then there’s Phoebe Philo-era Céline, immortalised in the @oldceline Instagram account that swiftly amassed 240k followers (including Virgil Abloh and Tommy Ton) since launching in September, ahead of Hedi Slimane’s debut.
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The cyclical nature of fashion has always fostered a sense of nostalgia, but reinvention aside, there are other sentiments encouraging a backwards glance. Cultural relics that represent particular moments in time are much more coveted than anything that can still be mass-produced. Versace with Gianni at the helm? It’s been so sought after that it’s inspired the brand’s past eight collections. Tom Ford’s version of Gucci? Still a hit. And Catherine Deneuve’s collection of vintage Yves Saint Laurent was just auctioned off for over $1 million dollars (£758,375) at Christie’s in Paris.
Society’s nostalgia is something that major fashion houses have capitalised on, with iconic pieces being relaunched from the archives. We’ve seen the return of Sex and the City wardrobe staples, such as Dior’s Saddle bag and Manolo Blahnik’s brooch-topped Hangisi heels. Prada’s Linea Rossa nylon bags also made a timely comeback as athleisure continues its moment in the spotlight. And many current trends have been inspired by 1990s styles that are remembered favourably (square-toed sandals, perfected by The Row, slip dresses and belt bags, to name a few).
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What’s old is new again in a trend sense, but there’s a rising ecological consideration at play as well. Consumers – particularly “woke” younger generations – are much more aware of the industry’s environmental impact and they’re shopping more mindfully as a result.
Vintage fashion is an inherently sustainable alternative – and a recent study suggests that demand is on the rise, with 64 per cent of women willing to buy pre-owned pieces in 2018, as opposed to just 45 per cent in 2016. The report also notes that the resale market is slated to double to a staggering $51 billion by 2023.
So how do you find the gems that are being picked up by red-carpet regulars and royalty? Of course, shopping for vintage items is not as straightforward as purchasing something current off the rack – you need to know where to go. Here, we chart the best vintage boutiques around the world – black-book destinations where you might just encounter an iconic 1990s supermodel look or get a preview of the Duchess of Sussex’s next paparazzi-lit ensemble.
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William Vintage, London
Wonder where Amal Clooney sourced her Grecian-style gown for dinner at Buckingham Palace recently? Or where some of Meghan Markle’s elegant statement coats come from? That would be William Vintage in London’s Marylebone, a refined boutique next to Chiltern Firehouse that counts some of the world’s most polished women (Victoria Beckham included) among its clientele.
“We source the finest pieces that come with the most interesting of stories,” explains CEO, Marie Blanchet. “Our particularity is our edit, which ranges over 100 years of fashion history and is selected based on resonance today.” Here you will find an elevated selection of Dior, Chanel, Versace, Courrèges, Cristobal Balenciaga, Alexander McQueen, Yves Saint Laurent and Gucci by Tom Ford.
Image credit: Courtesy of What Goes Around Comes Around
What Goes Around Comes Around, New York
What Goes Around Comes Around is New York’s most elevated vintage boutique, so it’s no wonder that the likes of the Hadids, the Jenners and the Beckhams have been snapped visiting the SoHo flagship, which first opened in 1993.
“We specialise in the most sought-after and comprehensive Hermès, Chanel and Louis Vuitton handbags and accessories,” says co-founder Gerard Maione. “Our extensive RTW offerings encompass Gaultier, Dior, Saint Laurent, Gucci, Fendi, Alaïa, Chanel, Hermès and many more. We also have incredible assortments of our heritage archival vintage, such as vintage Levis, rock tees, and period-era vintage.”
If you’re looking to invest in a classic designer handbag, such as a Hermès Birkin or a Kelly, or a 1990s Gianni-designed Versace dress, this is the place to go.
Image credit: Courtesy of Vintage Delirium
Vintage Delirium by Franco Jacassi, Milan
Some of the industry’s most respected designers are known to visit Vintage Delirium by Franco Jacassi for inspiration. “We have many important customers from major fashion houses such as Louis Vuitton, Marni, Fendi, Lanvin, Armani and Celine, as well as the best department stores in Paris, London, New York, Los Angeles and Hong Kong,” Jacassi explains.
It’s also a favourite of Italian fashion darlings Chiara Ferragni and Attico’s Giorgia Tordini. “If you are a YSL lover, you can find stunning dresses, shirts and belts from the 1970s and 1980s in mint condition,” says Tordini.
In addition to offering archive pieces from major fashion houses, including Dolce & Gabbana, Valentino and Pucci, it contains a selection of vintage magazines, embroidered fabrics, buttons and lace designs, which are also available to rent.
Image credit: Courtesy of Decades
Decades, Los Angeles
Decades is a revolving door of Hollywood’s red-carpet looks; many celebrities are known to consign pieces to the Melrose Avenue boutique and then, ahead of awards season, VIP stylists flock in to collect potential options in the hope of landing their clients on the best-dressed lists.
“Since 1997, Decades has been a laboratory of style inspiration for collectible, 20th-century vintage designer fashion,” says founder, Cameron Silver, who has amassed an impressive collection to cater to the most discerning of clients.
“Recently, people have been searching for anything by Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel, Chloé or his eponymous label,” he adds. “Yves Saint Laurent tailoring from the 1980s featuring sharp-shouldered blazers is also having a major revival at Decades, and with the recent opening of the Thierry Mugler exhibition in Montreal, we have fashionistas very excited to procure bold Mugler for their collections.” The store is well-equipped to cater to all of these requests, with an emphasis on offering editorially significant styles and pieces that resonate with consumers today.
Image credit: Courtesy of Das Neue Schwarz
Das Neue Schwarz, Berlin
Das Neue Schwarz is a respected, Berlin-based boutique that specialises in collector’s items by Belgian and Japanese brands such as Yohji Yamamoto, Comme des Garçons, Junya Watanabe, Maison Margiela, and Dries van Noten from the 1990s and 2000s.
“We’ve built a very good customer base and even sold to MoMA in New York for its fashion archive,” says owner Tanya Bednar. “We are lucky to have pieces from the first collections of new brands like Off-White and Vetements – these two labels are in high demand right now,” she adds.
Regular customers include Stefano Pilati (former head designer of YSL), and the buying teams from Acne and Chloé.
Image credit: Courtesy of Rellik
Located in Notting Hill (close to the famed Portobello Market) is Rellik, one of London’s most esteemed vintage boutiques that is frequented by Kate Moss, Stella McCartney and Peter Dundas. Here you will find classic Burberry trench coats, Alaïa leather jackets from the 1980s, and unique pieces from Vivienne Westwood, Jean Paul Gaultier and Ossie Clarke, with prices ranging from £65 to £695.
“All of our stock is in excellent condition, dry-cleaned and ready to wear,” explains co-owner, Claire Stansfield. “We stock clothing and accessories from the 1930s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s and key pieces from iconic designers to the present day.”
Image credit: Courtesy of Blue Spinach
Blue Spinach, Sydney
Located in the leafy Sydney suburb of Darlinghurst, Blue Spinach is widely considered to be Australia’s leading re-seller of luxury fashion. It specialises in accessories and apparel for both women and men, with a selection of iconic brands including Balmain, Saint Laurent, Tom Ford, Balenciaga, Hermès, Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Christian Dior, Valentino, Lanvin, Givenchy, Dolce & Gabbana, Alexander McQueen, Fendi and Celine.
“Trending items for us currently are waist bags, mini bags and crossbodys,” says co-founder, Jane Thompson. It’s also a reliable place to collect a classic Chanel Boy Bag or a Hermès Birkin.
Image credit: Courtesy of Paloma Vintage
Paloma Vintage, Copenhagen
Those who gravitate towards Old Céline will undoubtedly appreciate the selection available at this chic Copenhagen boutique. “I select vintage that I would wear myself – that’s my benchmark,” says owner Ferial Berri, who has a penchant for vintage jackets and Michelle Pfeiffer’s style in Scarface.
“Vintage clothing shouldn’t be boring; I try to pick the most exciting and diverse items possible, and I think my customers come to Paloma Vintage to see my take on what’s cool.” That take often involves quilted jackets from Yves Saint Laurent’s 1970s Russian line, cropped flares, classic styles from Chanel and 1980s power shoulders.
Berri notes that Courrèges is more sought after nowadays, and Paloma Vintage has a wide selection available to cater to the demand. The boutique (which also sells through Instagram) offers Chanel, Ralph Lauren, Ungaro, Loewe, Oscar de la Renta, Missoni, Dior and pieces from iconic department stores, including Saks Fifth Avenue.
Image credit: Courtesy of Valois Vintage
Valois Vintage, Paris
Considered one of Paris’s best-kept fashion secrets, Valois Vintage is a stylish mix of current and vintage pieces curated by Chantal Paillat. “We sell over 200 brands, but mostly have Hermès, Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Saint Laurent, Prada, Christian Dior and Christian Lacroix,” says Paillat’s daughter Géraldine, who is involved in the boutique.
“At the moment we are seeing increased demand for old Chanel haute couture and jewellery (from the 1980s and 1990s), vintage Gucci bags and Gianni Versace clothes and shoes,” she adds.
Taking a scroll through Valois Vintage’s Instagram account, you’ll notice a mix of bold, double-C Chanel jewellery, unique Fendi Baguettes, Breton stripes and logomania.
Image credit: Courtesy of The Vintage Twin
The Vintage Twin, New York
“For those not adept at thrifting but interested in one-of-a-kind pieces, we are a trustworthy source for what’s cool,” advise co-owners, Samantha and Morgan Elias, “The Vintage Twins” themselves, who founded the brand age 19. “We are known for our collection of vintage denim, which can be found at the Jeanius bar in any of our locations. Clients are mostly interested in Levi’s, but we carry a wide selection of other vintage denim brands such as Wrangler, Lee, Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger.”
“We also have an unmatched selection of tees and sweatshirts, which are treated in our proprietary process to make each piece feel like the softest, most perfectly worn-in top you would have otherwise spent years searching for,” they add.
Bella and Gigi Hadid, Alexa Chung, and a number of models, actors and celebrity stylists are regulars of this streetwear-focused New York boutique.
Image credit: Courtesy of Void
Void, Mexico City
Located in Mexico City’s chic Condesa district, Void offers a polished edit of major fashion brands, alongside local designers. Here you will find a selection of Chanel, Courrèges, Hermès, Celine, Gucci, Dior, Louis Vuitton, Balmain, Moschino and historical insignia pieces dating back to the 1800s.
It’s high-end but kitsch, divided into several themed rooms, including one dedicated to Coco Chanel and one to Mick Jagger. There’s also a café inside the boutique that serves artisanal mezcal and biodynamic coffee, and has vintage magazines and vinyl records on display.
Void is owned by Mexican model and influencer Olympia de la Macorra, who spends her time travelling around the world to source unique items for the boutique.