by Andi Teran
Making your way to the back of jewel-box boutique Dulcinée is no easy feat. You'll first have to stop and inspect a pair of strappy red Halston pumps. Then there's the oversize leather secretary satchel that will most certainly fit beautifully into your fall wardrobe. Let's not even get into the sight of pale pink Chanel pearls strung with a velvet ribbon. Make no mistake: This is vintage for the hardcore. The real thing.
After selling her carefully curated wares at the legendary Chelsea Flea Market, owner and former graphic artist Mauren Leon opened Dulcinée on a quiet strip of east Stanton last fall. Focusing on exceptional clothing, jewelry, and accessories from innovative designers of years past, Leon shops estate sales up and down the coast as well as making frequent pilgrimages to international locales such as Berlin, Amsterdam, Rome, and Leon, France. The results are an ever-changing selection of standout pieces from the 1880s to the 1980s chosen with her discerning eye.
The long and narrow space is white-walled and wood-floored, allowing the shop's stock to take center-stage. Dresses and separates pop with color in the oversized picture window and throughout the front of the store. Recent discoveries include a lilac dress with hand-painted balloons and a sweet tulip bodice as well as a flirty red-and-white polka dot Chloé blouse. Two-tone Chanel pumps and a pair of pristine gold heels were merely a few of the summer shoes being swooned over by multiple walk-ins. And a retro-royal Christian Dior gold belt complete with coat of arms, swords, and queen's crown literally drew gasps.
Toward the rear of the boutique is a rack devoted to Mauren's self-designed line of reworked vintage, encompassing three different dress shapes made with overstock fabrics. One winning summer staple was a cocoa-colored cotton cap-sleeved one-piece. Be sure to check out a handsome collection of leather satchels and clutches lining the opposite wall that Mauren found languishing in an Italian warehouse untouched! Here, Mauren deftly pairs them with '60s scarves or with a plethora of '70s Gucci and Fendi wallets. Mauren's personal favorite? She whispers, "The Ferragamo boots will be very popular for the fall."
With a surplus of vintage boutiques in this town, where does one find the most refined pieces that haven't yet been mimicked by the mass-market behemoths? Downtown shop Dulcinée could be the answer.