Vintage, vintage, vintage The word is on everybodys lips these days and is much cooler than the once-popular word combination "second hand." After all, nobody would call a coat, suit or shirt from the 1970s an old-fashioned item today. On the contrary, trend-seekers will go to great lengths to find out addresses of stores where such items can be found. And not even they can distinguish between vintage, second hand and just plain old and worn out. No surprise, then, that almost everything is being sold as "vintage" around town.
If you look it up in the dictionary, the word "vintage" means expensive and high-quality old wine, usually not less than 10 years old. In addition to that, "vintage" describes older, lightly worn but still fashionable clothes. How, then, is vintage different from second hand? First and foremost, "vintage" presupposes a certain quality standard. In order to have the right to be called vintage, an item has to be at least 20 years old, be an example symbolizing a certain epoch of fashion, bear original labels and be in excellent condition. Most importantly, the designers style should be recognizable.
Unfortunately, it is impossible to find 100 percent vintage in Moscow. The citys first boutique with the name Vintage is scheduled to open in Gostiny Dvor at the end of spring. It will be the brainchild of four women: Satya Spivakova, Marina Loshak, Yelena Zilberekova and Irina Chernyakhovskaya. Incidentally, Chernyakhovskaya is the owner of New Yorks sole tailor shop specializing in the restoration of vintage clothes. When it opens, the boutique will sell evening dresses from the 1940s, 1960s and 1970s all handmade and in wearable condition.
But what can we find now? To my calls for something vintage, Marki boutique manager Nikolai Girsh replied: "Its really hard to find real vintage clothes in Moscows stores or boutiques, but a good way out is pseudo vintage, or clothes made to look like vintage. We have plenty of those kinds of items here."
And right he was. Marki has a wide selection, including a green tapestry vest and a rose-colored beaded dress from Minsk designer Olga Samoshchenko and a striped velour jacket from Viktoria Krasnova. Also, there are ethnic-themed pseudo-vintage items, for example, an olive Eastern-style dress with beadwork from Uzbek designer Lola Saifi. As for me, I liked the short-sleeved long dress from Georgian designers Maka Asatiani.
Marki financial director Tatyana Belousova told me, "We also have a wide selection of pseudo-vintage handbags. By the way, sometimes the only difference between real vintage and pseudo vintage is the age of the thread the labels are sewn with."
Vintage inspires not only Russian designers, but Western ones as well. The collection available at Moscow boutique Sedmoi Element from Dutch conceptualists Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren of the label Viktor & Rolf is just one example. This summer Viktor & Rolf call upon us to go back to the late 1960s, although they avoid going completely retro. What they do is transform recognizable classics, adding their own original ideas to them for example, their 3D folds, which have become their trademarked feature. In addition to Viktor & Rolf, the boutique offers pseudo-vintage clothes from Brazilian designer Carlos Miele. Inspired by the Amazon theme and emphasizing the originality of Brazilian women, Miele uses leaf-shaped suede appliques, tropical bird feathers, seashells, studs and embroidery.
"Carlos Miele clothes accentuate feminine lines using slits and cuts," Sedmoi Element buyer Margarita Gromova said. "Those who buy these clothes are self-assured women who have something to show off. His clothes just stress feminine beauty to its best advantage," she added.
High-quality, expensive clothes, like fine wines and cognacs, only get better with age. And this is why vintage style has so many fans. Vintage can be combined with modern clothes and accessories; for example, a leather bomber jacket from the 1970s goes great with modern jeans. You can find lots of these types of jackets at the funky boutique Le Form. You dont have to dress in vintage from head to toe sometimes just one item is enough. And quality leather improves with time. Also, vintage fabrics are sometimes used in the manufacturing of modern clothes, and vintage patterns are copied onto new fabrics or materials. Moscows most glamorous vintage-themed designer, Yelena Suprun, uses this approach.
But if you want true vintage right now, the only way is to go to Europe, preferably France. After all, France is home to the most famous vintage city of them all, Montpellier.
17 Pokrovka Ul. Metro: Chistye Prudy Tel: 924-5047
1 Smolenskaya Ploshchad Metro: Smolenskaya Tel: 241-3022
35/8 Povarskaya Ul. Metro: Barrikadnaya Tel: 291-8220