Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Every Vintage Dress Has A Story...

There are thousands of vintage dresses in the Vintageous closet.  Every dress has a story...

At the corner of the block I grew up on lived an old woman... Every day she sat on her front porch in her housecoat surrounded by cats.  Her yard was completely covered in ivy laced with so many spiderwebs you couldn't even count them... as kids, we were all a little afraid of her and certainly afraid of whatever was lurking in the ivy surrounding her.  As I got older I remember smiling at her once as I passed her house... she looked at me strangely and didn't say anything.  I never knew her name or anything about her. 

She passed away when I was in my early twenties.  I was visiting home one day when a neighbor knocked on the door to inquire whether I was still selling vintage clothing.  "Yes," I replied.  "Well you might want to come with me then," she said.  She took me down to the house on the corner and introduced me to the old woman's daughter.  I asked if she had a few pieces that she was interested in selling.  She laughed and took me inside.

In the dim house we passed teetering stacks of vintage Vogue magazines and bookshelves of fashion books as we headed up the stairs to the ultimate shock... every room on the top two floors of this 3000+ square foot home was packed with vintage clothing.  The old woman was a southern debutante and raised her daughters as southern debs... saved every gown she wore, her daughters wore and even the ones her mother wore.  She was a fashion fanatic and one of her best friends was a fashion photographer.  But the most astonishing part to me was that in the 1970's this woman had opened up an antique and VINTAGE CLOTHING store (at the time selling 1920's, 1930's & 1940's and some 1950's) and when it closed she moved all of her inventory into her home.

My excitement was tempered by a sense of sadness and reluctance... I had so much in common with this woman and yet in all of the years we were neighbors I didn't even know her name... I never even spoke to her!  I conveyed this to her daughter and as we talked she told me that her mother would have been thrilled to know that her treasures found a good home so I had better help her start unloading the house.  Over the next couple of months we slowly unloaded the house together.  Sadly, after so many years of neglect and poor storage, many of the pieces weren't salvageable, but we did inventory a few hundred premium gowns and dresses from her estate (mostly all have gone now).

A few months ago I stumbled onto a box in the main Vintageous closet.  I opened it to find a few remaining treasures from her estate... pieces that needed work but were simply too outstanding to leave behind.  This incredible 1930's evening gown had thread rot in every stitch (the seams would literally melt as they were touched) and the rhinestones were hanging by a thread... it has now been restored and I hope it finds a good home.  It would make Mrs. Miller happy...

EXTRAORDINARY Black Crepe 1930's Evening Gown w/ Dripping Rhinestone Back

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