Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Rise of Boutique Vintage and the Vintage Inspired

Once upon a time, shopping for vintage meant a treasure hunt in a dusty and musty thrift shop.  I remember spending hours combing through clothing poured into piles on the floor or crammed into crowded racks on bent wire hangers.  Then in the 1990s, vintage swung in the polar opposite direction.  Stores like Decades in Los Angeles emerged offering vintage couture...gorgeous gowns and other garments from the past stamped with the best labels money could buy.  Chanel, Givenchy, Yves Saint-Laurent, Madame Gres, Balenciaga, Gucci.  This launched a new trend in Hollywood on the red carpet, where stylists started turning more and more to options in vintage for their star clients.  A notable example came in 2001 when Renee Zellweger took a huge fashion step forward in a 1960 yellow strapless Jean Desses dress (above) from Beverly Hills' Lily et Cie.  Vintage gave her this shining moment and she hasn't looked back since.

For years, it was difficult for people to find anything in between these two vintage extremes.  One was affordable, but not necessarily the best shopping experience.  The other was like shopping a shining museum, but tended to cost just as much.  So slowly there has been an evolution in both vintage and its vendors to bring about the rise of a new tier in vintage shopping.  Call this boutique vintage, highly curated collections of vintage clothing and accessories that are maintained, merchandised, and presented as if they were new.  GlamAmor is an example of boutique vintage, often doing it so well that customers are convinced my vintage is brand new.

There are other talented vendors who are great examples of boutique vintage as well and sell with me at Los Angeles' high-end A Current Affair show and the Helms Design District Vintage Boutique.  Like any great boutique, the wonder of the best of these various vintage collections is how each is vastly different and carries its own voice.  Some are sophisticated.  Some are progressive.  Some are boho chic.  Some are over-the-top glamorous.  And GlamAmor, as you know, is classic.  What each vendor has in common is the high quality of their clothing and the respect that what we're selling is truly art.

Vintage shopping then and now--
thrift shop (above) and some of the GlamAmor collection at A Current Affair 

It's not only the collections that have evolved...shoppers have become aware of the value of vintage over the past few years and women are now mixing more and more of it into their wardrobes.  It's such a part of my own style that I am working to match that in a shopping experience. A few stores like Scout, just featured in Lucky magazine, successfully sell vintage alongside new labels.  That will soon be a part of GlamAmor as well.  My vision is to offer a boutique that sells the collection of one-of-a-kind GlamAmor Vintage next to a new line of vintage-inspired GlamAmor Originals.  Customers often miss out on their favorite dress simply because it's not in their size, so I aim to include a selection of colorful classics from 0 to 16.  Also be assured that all of my clothing will continue to be MADE IN AMERICA and fully celebrate classic American style at its best.

Incredibly, both boutique vintage and vintage-inspired lines are becoming hot trends in the fashion industry right now.  The media has really begun to take notice, starting with this New York Times article in February and recently with an entire Sunday Image section in the Los Angeles Times.  And the LA Fashion District just did a whole series on their blog dedicated to the trend, profiling various vintage vendors in the downtown area...starting with GlamAmor.  Read the great article by Annie Chang, which includes links to my recent style podcast with Turner Classic Movies and the GlamAmor Store.

If you're interested in taking a closer look at boutique vintage at its best, there are two great shows coming up in Los Angeles.  First, the fall edition of the Helms Design District Vintage Boutique takes place on September 10th at the historic Helms Bakery in Culver City.  And after Fashion Week toward the end of the month, GlamAmor once again joins A Current Affair September 24th and 25th at the Cooper Design Center penthouse in downtown LA.  Both shows promise to offer some of the most spectacular boutique vintage out there, so be sure to come and experience the evolution for yourself.

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