Vintage Couture; A Do or a Don’t?

Dresses, Fashion — By andrew on September 13, 2009 at 5:09 pm

Vintage Couture Dress

Vintage Couture Dress

        Wearing vintage couture to a gala has been chic with celebrities for several years and is now becoming much more widespread.  Stylists say that this is one method that they use to make sure that no one at the same event is wearing the exact same dress.  The recent Costume Institute Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in early summer 2009 was a great place to see it all come together as many of the celebrities and fashion models wore vintage or vintage- inspired looks.  Standouts were Amber Valleta in a vintage John Galanos gown and Kate Beckinsale in a vintage-inspired Marchesa.   

How do I get started?

Vintage clothing is a great way for an adventurous woman to find a unique look and make a statement that says, “I am fashionable and contemporary with a twist”.  The easy thing about being a buyer of vintage couture today is that it is no longer necessary to scour thrift stores in New York, Los Angeles or Paris in the hopes of a find.  The internet has made global become local and finding that must-have gown is now much easier. Vintage couture clothing buyers can also double-dip: expressing their style AND eliminating the dreaded duplicate dress disaster.

 Patricia Smith, a Florida artist who collects vintage couture told Magazine that she “acquired the bulk of her hundred-or-so piece collection through years of hunting consignment stores while living abroad in Paris, Prague and Athens.  It was great fun but very hit-or-miss “.  Nowadays, she includes several on-line vintage clothing boutiques when searching for wearable “works of art”.   Her love of the pop feel of 1960’s clothing and the more casual vibe of 1970’s clothing is what keeps her searching.

 Who’s got it?

Lynda Latner, the Founder of, a very well-established website which typically has several hundred gowns in stock, tells us that she provides her clients with several different ways to access her inventory of vintage pieces.  Vintage virgins needing to touch items before purchase can go and see numerous items displayed at the Holt Renfrew department store in Vancouver.  A large number of the items are available on the web and private trunk shows are sometimes held for special clients.

 Other potential sources of vintage couture include of Dallas, TX, of Paris, France, of Miami Beach, FL, of Philadelphia, PA, of San Francisco, CA  and of Beverly Hills, CA

 Want some styling guidance for accessorizing vintage clothes?  Follow these tips from our style experts:   

  • Don’t look costumey. Think Audrey Hepburn; not Phyllis Diller.
  • Do not get caught in the moment and get too matchy matchy by accessorizing with a vintage bag, jewelry or shoes.
  • Do carry an understated bag, minimal jewelry and tie it all with great shoes.
  • Keep the heels high. Fashion designers in these eras created the silhouette with only high heels in mind.
  • Let the clothes be the focal point. Aspire to be like Amber Valleta in the vintage Galanos gown at the Costume Institute Gala.

 Whether you are a vintage virgin, a seasoned collector or somewhere in-between, explore your options.  Make the look your own and never, never forget that the point of going out at all is to have fun!

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