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Sun. Jul 14th, 2024

Where can you buy high-end vintage?

By Vaseline May27,2024

YOUUntil recently, vintage shopping was often a lifestyle choice or nightmare, with little to recommend it for agnostics or snoops. Sure enough, someone’s best friend’s cousin had found it That Chloé banana print tops in a cheap pile somewhere in Portobello, but there always seemed to be a mountain of polyester sportswear to climb first.

The true cognoscenti buy vintage at auction, with Bermondsey-based Kerry Taylor at the forefront of the London scene and beyond – she heads to Paris next month: for dates, and to register and book viewings, visit kerrytaylorauctions.com. Taylor deals in investment pieces and iconic items, from Vivienne Westwood Harris Tweed crowns to a Judy Blame T-shirt as worn by Kate Moss on the cover of i-D in 1991.

Yet the The proliferation of digital resale platforms that have opened up – and simplified – the second-hand market has also fueled a similar shift in the sourced economy. Vintage fashion is more curation than scavenging these days, and the experts behind London’s best boutiques do the trawling so you don’t have to.

Chillie London founders Natalie Hartley and Lydia McNeill

Chillie London founders Natalie Hartley and Lydia McNeill

Natalie Hartley is a former fashion editor who founded Portobello boutique Chilli London with stylist Lydia McNeill. They do not specialize in Lindy Hop dresses from the 1950s or Afghan jackets from the 1970s, which dominate elsewhere, but in streetwear and leather motocross jackets. They upcycle pieces, from making old-fashioned bar towels to one-off logo sweatshirts (Skol anyone?) to splicing retro rugby shirts and football shirts with a lace trim for full Frankenstein couture, and they also offer rentals (chillielondon.com) .

Chillie London store interior

Chillie London store interior

“There are a lot of hoarders here, so we’re getting some really good stuff,” Hartley says. “We are obsessed with jackets because they are the easiest to combine in your wardrobe.”

Current finds include an embroidered Pelle Pelle jacket from the 1980s, the kind that rapper Drake recently wore, and a Saint Laurent patchwork number from the same era. It may sound obvious, but Hartley’s advice is to shop vintage as you would anywhere else.

Vintage jacket from Chillie London

Vintage jacket from Chillie London

“Don’t go wild and buy something crazy just because it’s vintage. Buy something you will wear again and again; a good black jacket will boost your confidence to buy second hand the next time you look.

Further afield is the internationally renowned Rellik on Golborne Road, where old Margiela and Rick Owens are strong alongside items from the 1960s and 1970s, plus an 1980s Antony Price aviator dress dripping with Roxy Music panache. They are all highly gut tested because they are fashion rather than fancy dress (relliklondon.co.uk).

Camden Passage in London, 2011

Camden Passage in London, 2011

REDUX/EYE

“I live near Portobello,” says writer Pandora Sykes. “My favorites include 282 for Burberry macs, vintage shirts and knee-high boots, Magpie Vintage for reworked upcycled shirts and jackets, and then the more expensive, highly curated ones: One Vintage and Found & Vision.”

On the other side of town, based in Hackney’s hip workspace Netil House, is Baraboux. It is curated by archivist Sarah Faisal and by appointment only (one-hour slots can be booked via the website). Faisal calls her stash a “treasure trove” of the 1990s and early 1990s Jean Paul Gaultier, original Gucci of the Alexander McQueen and Tom Ford era, which can be broadly divided into “for sale” and a private collection that can be lent out. Prices range from £400 to £1,000 (baraboux.com).

Sarah Faisal in Baraboux

Faisal’s focus is also on pieces that are easy to wear as part of an existing wardrobe, rather than the old cosplay approach, known in the industry as ‘decades dressing’.

“Our vibe is that everything can be styled and you can create outfits,” she explains. “That’s how vintage works in New York and LA. I think London is just catching up.”

Vintage luxury handbags at Sign of the Times

Vintage luxury handbags at Sign of the Times

On Chelsea Green, Sign of the Times – open since 1976 and run by Antonia Johnstone since 2019 – has a reputation not only as an institution, but also as a supplier of some of the biggest names in vintage fashion: Chanel flapover bags, Fendi Baguettes and Goyard suitcases, with new drops also uploaded online daily. They’re competitively priced, but a fraction of the price: use £895 for a Bottega trench coat and £5,000 for a 1989 Chanel quilted bag as benchmarks. Store manager Claudine also comes highly recommended for her expert eye (signofthetimeslondon.com).

Sunglasses and a vintage Miu Miu bag at Sign of the Times

Sunglasses and a vintage Miu Miu bag at Sign of the Times

For similar guidance in the north of the city, turn to ‘no-nonsense clothing warrior’ Dominique Cussen, who has run consignment store Designs NW3 for more than 30 years, drawing from local Hampstead wardrobes. On the rails you will find Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Celine and more, often recognizable from the most haute catwalks (designsnw3.co.uk).

“You can be very lucky if you go after a particularly wonderful woman who has just been dropped off,” says one of her regulars, Francesca O’Neill.

With respect to the previous owners, special mention must also be given to Pandora in Knightsbridge (pandoradressagency.com), whose origins map out the demographics of the area. Back in the day, when local women were given a seasonal clothing allowance at Harrods, they would often trade in their Chanel suits and Lady Diors at the boutique for cash that could give them more autonomy – so that £1,499 Louis Vuitton Speedy is actually the product of women’s empowerment .

Naturally, more recent pieces are shifting the definition of ‘authentic’ vintage versus simply second-hand (or ‘pre-loved’, as the industry more cautiously prefers). There is a lot of discussion among sellers about whether the trend pieces from the Noughties years strictly speaking count, so many consider them so clearly unspecial.

La Nausee

“There’s a Depop Y2K thing going on where people are expecting a Fila bag for £20,” says Natalie Hartley of Chillie London. “But for something to be vintage, it must be authentic, sourced and properly cleaned.”

“Noughties fashion has more to offer than Paris Hilton,” agrees Sarah Faisal of Baraboux. “As time goes on, vintage becomes more casual, making it easier to slip into people’s wardrobes.”

What that means is: fewer ball gowns. Based in south Camberwell and by appointment only, La Nausée is the perfect expression of how the avant-garde of one era becomes the garment of another. Here is an Aladdin’s cave filled with groundbreaking designers, from the Japanese (Comme des Garçons, Junya Watanabe) via the Belgians (Dries Van Noten, Raf Simons) to Margiela, Helmut Lang and Rick Owens, who blend seamlessly into the daily rotation. usually for less than £600.

The existentialist references also extend beyond the name (referring to Sartre’s novel) – La Nausée’s in-house philosophers speak for London’s burgeoning vintage scene as a whole when they explain that ‘by reaching into the depths of each piece, we pointing out why we think it has stood the test of time” (la-nausee.com).

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