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August 1999

Professional Insider:Trend Spotting

Rare Vintage

High fashion at low prices is just one enticing reason consumers are looking to recycle

The generation that ferreted through thrift stores for cheap clothes and unwittingly spawned the grunge movement in fashion has grown up. Many have good jobs and can afford to pay retail. Their tastes have gone upscale, but many of them continue to forsake the sanitary confines of the mall for the thrill of the hunt for vintage clothing.

"Fashion is moving in so many directions now, it's more acceptable to cultivate your own look," Tiffany Dubin, director of Sotheby's fashion department, tells Elle magazine. "Vintage clothing is the only affordable alternative to the kind of craftsmanship and attention to detail that's still found in haute couture."

Pucci or Lilly Pulitzer prints from the '60s and '70s, Chanel and Hèrmes designs from any era and beaded dresses from the '30s are particularly sought-after, but anything well-made and in good condition is up for grabs. Rolexes from the '70s are on the wrists of male and female fashion devotees in New York City, and Danish modern jewelry is experiencing a renaissance.

Such shopping hotbeds as London, Paris, Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York City have stores devoted to vintage apparel; the stores are designed and merchandised as impeccably as the newest upscale retail emporiums. Thrift and consignment shops in well-heeled urban neighborhoods and moneyed suburbs are also fertile ground for hunting down couture and better ready-to-wear fashion, as are flea markets like the weekend gatherings at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, CA.


Jewelers' View of Vintage
What these shoppers look for is style, workmanship and a way to express tastes that aren't for sale everywhere. Which makes them primed for estate jewelry, new jewelry with design notes from other eras and vintage watches. Art Deco, Art Nouveau, mod smooth '70s looks, old or new designs from Georg Jensen and used and reconditioned fine timepieces can be sold with the same attributes as vintage clothing – quality materials, fine craftsmanship and out-of-the-ordinary style.

Period jewelry from Georg Jensen (top), Elsa Pereti's sleek cuff and Hamilton's 1958 Everest serve as fetching accents to vintage clothing.


– by Liz Smutko

Copyright © 1999 by Bond Communications.


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