Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Vintage in Paris

"Where did you get that lovely gold cuff from?" "It's vintage." And then there would be some ohhhs and ahhhs. No questions asked. Vintage. This word is somewhat mystical, magical and vague, is it overrated? Sometimes I am just a bit skeptical. Does it feel like a go to term when people bought something that looks vintage when in fact it isn't but they didn't want to disclose where it is from so its vintage

Vintage pieces are by all means very special, obviously their one off exclusivity makes it impossible for every other person to just go grab one from the nearest Zara. They are the one and only (most of the time) and even more unique depending on what you pair them with. Feels like there is a piece of history attached and that element of fun, nostalgia or glamour is transferred to the outfit too. 

I dragged my friend to quite a lot of vintage stores when we were in Paris, in fact I seem to drag my dear friends out of our way to go to vintage stores and come back empty handed all. the. time. For instance in high school, I dragged a friend to Rellik when we were only allowed out in London for the Saturday afternoon. Vintage stores are always very nice to explore but I never can buy anything for some unknown reason. Could it be that I wasn't looking hard enough? Or am I reluctant to buy pre-owned things? Perhaps growing up in a country where all the fakes come from (fake handbags to fake eggs) made me very doubtful when buying vintage pieces. I am still not sure why but certainly it doesn't put me off exploring. 

There are quite a lot of vintage stores near the Rue de la Verrerie in Paris, I made my friend walk the all the way to Le Marais and I swear she was quite annoyed with me. Along the way you will find Free'P'Star (61 rue de la Verrerie. Paris 4è.), Fripes Star, Mam'zelle Swing (35 bis Rue Roi de Sicile 75004 Paris) and Coiffeur Vintage (Saint Gervais, Le Marais, Paris 75004). I came out empty handed from all of the above. Free'P'Star, Fripes Star and Coiffeur Vintage are all pretty similar, very very low priced, but I guess I was too tired from all that walking to seriously dig for goodies, and they do have some kind of smell. I did find a small selection of fur in Coiffeur Vintage but everything was just way to big for me and it wasn't the fluffy kind of fur. Mam'zelle Swing is a bit different with that 20s vibe, sequins, lace, feathers and all that. Again, most of the stuff did not fit me and my skepticism kicked in because it just didn't look very vintage to me. 

The more upscale vintage stores are Yukiko, La Belle Epoque and La Jolie Garde Robe near Rue Vieille du Temple. I didn't buy anything either but this time my friend actually enjoyed all that walking with me, because Rue Vieille du Temple was a delight. There were quite a lot of interesting stores (big names small names) to look at, especially some local French brands which also carried furs, mostly rabbit and very very fluffy. 

Last vintage stop on our trip was Marché Dauphine, one of the markets of Puces de Saint Ouen. I would say if there would  be a next time for me in Paris, this would be the only vintage stop. Although it is one of the markets among a few, half a day can easily go by walking in this gem packed bazaar. I finally bought this charming purple beady vintage clutch without any skepticism or doubt because I just liked it so much. 

The apparel from Marché Dauphine was awe-inspiring, a lot of sequins (which I am in love with at the moment), lace (a bit too delicate fore my taste) and it was, for a brief moment, the place where I thought I would score something in style of a 20s flapper dress (soon I let go of this thought because I remembered nothing would fit me). 

For some weird reason I kept looking at furs on this trip and I found an amazing vintage Dior cape in one of the stores but again, I was real suspicious because of the price tag. It looked somewhat like this:
Amazing cobalt blue wool cape with fluffy baby blue rabbit fur, god it was so lovely. I also found a white vintage Chanel cashmere cardigan in another shop which was in amazing condition with fine hand painted buttons lined with sparkles, regrettably it was way too big for me as a very oversized boyfriend cardigan. Even the very nice and enthusiastic shop lady who let me try on everything said "Trop grand! Trop grand!". Pas de chance pour moi! 

Generally speaking Paris was quite enjoyable, even though there was no visit to Disneyland and I was on high avoid-getting-mugged alert. My broken French wasn't extremely useful but we got by, I have got to be more familiar with numbers though, I knew how to say "Combien ça coûte?" and "Quel est le prix?" but my blank face just gave me away when they told me how much it costs, Parisians speak way too quickly. Well, at least I knew I should feel good about myself when the nice French couple who helped us take a photo said "Vous êtes très jolie." 

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