Why Vintage?

“It all started with a Richard Avedon photo. I was 21, days into the first semester of my fashion-history graduate program, and seated in a photography-studies course. On the classroom projector was the model Renée, spinning on the streets of Paris in 1947 to the delight of some male passersby. Her Dior skirt catches the air, swirling like a luxurious meringue. Looking upon her impossibly elegant figure left me feeling dizzy with delight. The photo overwhelmed with its heady glamour. To my eyes, this was everything I wanted to be—poised, graceful, well mannered, well read, with the world wrapped around her red lacquered finger. I needed that skirt.

In my search for the perfect one that could spin like a ballerina in a music box, I took to the internet to purchase a sweet, black, high-waist, A-line Kate Spade skirt of a faux silk faille. I paired it with a classic white shirt. It didn’t not work, but it was acres away from the vision I had in my mind. Only after I searched “real 1950s skirt” did I find what I was looking for and discover the glories of Etsy. Much more than knitted pot holders and monogrammed bachelorette tchotchkes, the marketplace is vintage-fashion heaven, where bygone trends live on. Page after page of midcentury circle skirts, specifically constructed to create the same volume and beautiful drape, appeared. It wasn’t New Look Dior, but it would do marvelously.

Ten years later, I have a carefully curated closet full of vintage clothing designed to make me look like an Avedon heroine—Anne Fogarty’s prim day dresses, beaded numbers by Malcolm Starr, separates from Jonathan Logan. I’m not a numbers person, but if I had to dabble, I would estimate that 90% of all my clothing (excluding shoes, undergarments, sleepwear, and activewear) is either vintage or secondhand. Unwittingly and motivated purely by my obsession with an aesthetic, I had cobbled together a wardrobe with a relatively low environmental impact.”

BY LILAH RAMZI January 13, 2021, Vogue

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