THE VINTAGE POST YOU NEED.

AN EXCLUSIVE WITH THE QUEEN OF VINTAGE, DORIS RAYMOND OF THE WAY WAY WE WORE.

Ten years ago in San Francisco, I bought my first brand-new designer handbag and even after all of my careful considerations, a sense of guilt came over me that I could not shake.  After returning home to Los Angeles a few days later, I resolved to return the bag.  I entered the Rodeo Drive store carrying my perfect tissue wrapped and beautifully boxed item in its luxurious laminated shopping bag, determined to stay focused on my goal. “I’m returning this handbag today, no excuses,” I repeated to myself.  Five minutes later, I made my announcement:  “I would like to return this item I just purchased three days ago please.”  Upon viewing the beautiful handbag, the sales assistant expressed alarm and disbelief. “Oh! This bag is so gorgeous – we never received this piece. It’s from our limited edition collection, are you sure you want to return it?” Needless to say, the guilt left swiftly and I still have my favorite handbag tucked away in a box, uncovered on days I want to make a certain statement.  This was my introduction to understanding the potential a modern trend can have and the real business of collecting exquisite and special items.

Whether uber glamorous, avant-garde, or casually chic, vintage is a hot commodity and increasingly a distinctive hallmark of those with a serious passion for fashion. Vintage has become a global industry of its own accord – a stark contrast to its perceived origins as second-hand or cheap bargains. The value and popularity of collectible clothing and accessories donned as far back as the 20’s to as recently as the 80’s show no signs of diminishing, as the industry steadily grows stronger.  Many are learning that vintage items can become tangible assets with minimal depreciation. Buying vintage and spotting investment worthy pieces from current trends takes patience, research, and a good eye for detail. The next time you decide to spend a pretty penny on a new trend, whether classic Chanel or modern Marc Jacobs, consider making it an investment; request to view the limited edition collections or pieces that are not widely distributed. And of course, do take extra care of your precious pieces.

When writing this post, I thought it would be valuable to hear from someone who avid collectors, designers and celebrity stylists like Rachel Zoe, revere when it comes to this special niche. As owner of The Way We Wore, one of the most coveted vintage boutiques in Los Angeles, Doris Raymond shares exclusively with Trendspotter on how to spot and procure vintage treasures.

TS

What is your role in the business of vintage as a buyer, collector, appraiser?

DR

I’m an avid collector, retailer and a consultant to many of our contemporary clothing designers by supplying them with inspiration. I do not provide appraisals.

TS

Vintage, antique or modern, what’s the difference and which is the best value?

DR

Vintage typically means anything that is one generation old.  I usually qualify anything 18-20 years as being vintage.  Second hand is anything newer than that.  Antique can vary between 75-100 years old, depending on the country.  Modern is contemporary, although sometimes when you get just the right ingredients, vintage can be modern.

TS

What should consumers look for before purchasing and what are you looking for when purchasing from prospective sellers?

DR

I usually buy vintage by looking at the total garment (or accessory) and seeing how it hits me. The first thing I look for is proportion.  If a garment is too short-waisted or off just a little bit, I don’t want it. The next thing I check is the overall condition; perspiration stains, signs of fragility or weakness, moth holes, etc.  I am not adverse to repairing garments, but all that takes time and adds to the cost of the garment. My criteria is to really buy items that transcend time and are not trendy or “dated.”  Classic but not boring, iconic yet playful.

TS

What’s that special item that collectors desire to have come through the door?

DR

Collectors are many times people who do not intend to wear a garment.  In the case of really collectible clothing, anything by Poiret, Vionnet, Schiaparelli or Chanel; as well as lifetime Dior, in their early careers as these designers pieces can bring tears to many a collector’s eyes. As far as wearable collectors, the most common and desirable designers are HALSTON, YSL and Chanel.

TS

From today’s collections and trends, how can we identify future collector pieces?

DR

I usually look at what pieces tend to be in a multitude of editorials.  For example, about 10 years ago, the fashion world fell in love with Zac Posen.  You would see his designs everywhere.  I have bought and put away a lot of his early designs.  Anyone that is retired (lifetime Margiela, Tom Ford for Gucci) is also notable.

TS

What is your percentage and /or resale and consignment fee compared to other vintage shops.

DR

I buy outright and am not a consignment store.

TS

How should we approach obtaining the value of collected items and is it important to insure special pieces?

DR

Appraisers can charge up to $250 an hour so with the gift of the internet you can do a lot of your own assessment of value.  I think insurance of personal items is a personal preference and I would really limit it to items that are rare and hard to replace.  Couture or haute couture and pieces that are worthy of a museum would qualify.

TS

Can you give us tips on how to preserve and protect our pieces?

DR

It is always best to never keep items in plastic. Plastic does not allow items to breathe and keeps moisture in- which can injure the structure of fiber.  Also, it is always best to keep garments off hangers because the weight on the shoulders stresses out the fabric and can actually deform the shape. Acid-free tissue paper of unbleached sheets is a great way to store items flat. Light can also be a problem, so closets with windows, need to have a shade to prevent sun bleaching.

TS

What are the top ways to ruin potential vintage pieces?

DR

1) Squeezing yourself into something stresses out the seams.  2) Altering anything haute couture ruins the value. 3)  Laundering items without knowing if a color is stable  4) Also not realizing that “Machine Washable” from the 50′s or 60′s was referring to the washing machines of that time period and not the machines of today that spins 1,000 rpm.  5) If you don’t clean a garment after soiling or staining it.  The longer the stain stays on a garment- the harder it is to remove.

TS

Describe your process of collecting?

DR

When I have a visceral reaction to something or that internal “Oh, my God” I know that is something I will probably have to have.  I also like to build on themes, so for example I have a collection of Mexican silver jewelry and a collection of Art Deco fabric and lace.

TS

You rarely hear about men’s vintage collecting, what’s the deal with this?

DR

Men’s clothing is not the easiest to find in good condition. Typically men would alter lapels, cuffs, etc. to the point of no return and to add insult to injury- they wear their clothing out to a point where it is too distressed. I tried to carry men’s clothing when I first opened the boutique in LA, but finding good, tasty pieces in good sizes became a real challenge to find. There are a few great stores throughout the country that either specialize in men’s vintage or carry a fairly good selection.  Don’t give up guys!

TS

Do you have exclusive access to closets and can you share the most amazing closet you’ve garnered pieces from?

DR

I have always said that “every day is Christmas here” because we never know what will walk in the door or who will call for us to come over and check out what they have in their closets. I do not have exclusive access to closets in LA, but that is actually a good thing because over the years, I have become pretty particular about what I will invest in for the store. The Holy Grail experience for me was about five years ago. I went to an estate in Northern California and acquired about 5,000 pieces of never-been-worn clothing from the 1940′s through the 1980′s. Everything from HALSTON, Claire McCardell and Ceil Chapman.

TS

What is the best item you purchased from a seller?

DR

Many years ago I bought a Sonia Delaunay cloche and scarf from a dealer in North Carolina. I had a hunch it was Delaunay and that purchase sent me on a 3 year journey of authenticating it that resulted in a certificate of authenticity from the grandson of Delaunay. It is one of the most valuable pieces I own.

TS

What was the most expensive item you’ve sold and at what cost?

DR

I have sold items for over $75,000 and have a sale pending that is over $100,000.

Luxuriously Priced to Uber Expensive

Monday –  Saturday 11-7 PM
Sunday 12-6 PM

334 S. La Brea Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90036
Phone: 323.937.0878

TheWayWeWore.com

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THE VINTAGE POST YOU NEED.
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