History Lesson

by Christina Therrien
It's tough to live in New York, or even visit, and not become even slightly romantic about the city's rich history and all the treasures of the past. Manhattan has a long, long memory, and what it might have forgotten fashion-wise, you can undoubtedly find in a second-hand store. Yes, there are vintage shops all over the world, and even whole streets in major cities devoted to them. But shopping vintage in New York is an institution, an artform. It's always good. It's always inspiring. And it's always different.
The pioneers of the vintage scene here set the bar extremely high for any newcomers, but we think these recently opened shops are worth the visit.
With the opening of this vintage store-turned-fashion closet, co-owners Billy Madley and Suzanne Pettit transformed what was once a calm East Village shop into a riotous boudoir of color. The blood-red walls, black-and-white prints, and shelf after shelf of footwear create the vibe of a Girls Only hangout. As for the shop's otherworldly energy, it seems inexplicably tied to the pair's cosmic thinking. Born on the same day of the same year at roughly the same time, the two are in perfect harmony despite completely different personalities. "We were meant to be together and to do this together," says Suzanne. "We have very different personalities but we mix really well." The two handpick each of their one-of-a-kind pieces, which range from the Edwardian era to early '90s designs. You'll find playsuits and jumpers, as well as the occasional Ossie Clark jewel. But the real finds are the over-the-top accessories; the glittered platform sandals and gold metallic leather booties are must haves for the disco girl inside every one of us.
Poppet, 350 East 9th Street, 212-924-3190
Don the Verb
With more than half of her store dedicated to accessories, it's a small wonder how Yanina Landsaat manages to accommodate such a stunning selection of vintage and contemporary consignment. "Originally I didn't want to carry clothing at all," she explains. "But you need them to project the style of the store." Following the mantra of "Will I wear it?" Landsaat aims to provide clothing and accessories that will forever remain in the closets of women everywhere because they truly are great pieces. And with classics like 1960s bubble textiles by Roberta di Camerino and Yves Saint Laurent sweater jackets, it's easy to see these finds having a place in your closet year after year. Though the label itself isn't what matters to Landsaat, her collection of designer bags and shoes is unsurpassed for a new store. Brown satin Prada duffles and black mohair Versace clutches surrounded by Ferragamo pumps and suede Blahniks are just the beginning of an extensive collection that includes the likes of Bottega Veneta, Dior, Fendi, and more.
Don the Verb, 61 Delancy Street, 212-219-7633
Carrying men's vintage is a bit unusual, even in the thrift-store hipster area that is the Lower East Side. "We didn't want guys to be totally bored when their girlfriends come in," explains co-owner Marissa Johnson. At first, she and her partner Lauren Tinsley tried catering to what they thought was the local guy scene (the "skinny hipster look") by buying smaller-sized jackets and T-shirts. They soon found out that they were slightly off the mark and now, at the advice of their customers, they're slowly building up their men's section to include real guy's sizes in sleek blazers, button-downs, and shoes, as well as the snug T-shirts they've carried from the start.
Found, 112 Suffolk Street, 212-533-1290
New York's Vintage Hall of Fame
Go for: 1970s German army sneakers by Puma, 1970s handbags by Christian Dior and Balenciaga, 1970s dead-stock leather boots. 223 Bedford Avenue, Brooklyn, 718-963-4001
Fabulous Fanny's
Go for: Corde purses from the 1940s, men's 1960s dress hat by Dobbs, Halo 1950s horn-rimmed glasses. 335 East 9th Street, 212-533-0637
La Reina
Go for: Beaded deco flapper dresses, a multi-colored gold and enamel handmade cuff, embroidered brocade flat-heeled boots. 100 Avenue C, 212-475-3889
Go for: Silk Jersey dresses by Pucci, 1970s Gucci umbrellas, dresses by Ossie Clark. 217 Mott Street, 212-625-1374
Rue St. Denis
Go for: 1960s crocheted full-body bathing suits, Lilli Ann 1950s silk coat, 1960s double-breasted men's suits by Pierre Cardin and Geoffrey Beene. 170 Avenue B, 212-260-3388
What Comes Around Goes Around
Go for: Vintage Levi's 646 bootcut flares, Harley Davidson leather jackets, dresses by Azzedine Alaia, Biba and Courreges. 351 West Broadway, 212-343-9303
Photographs by Piera Gelardi
New York's vintage scene is old school at its best.

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