VINTAGEIZE ME—by Carla Patricia Kojich

A rainy Sunday in Rome and the perfect moment to browse through web classics aka The Sartorialist and co. Which brought me back to the 70`s, and then into a deep depression.  
It felt like a nasty virus, but in fact it was the good old vintage that had infiltrated the whole internet. From a never-ending list of blogs and online retailers to retro inspired fashion. Vintage sells, and I started to wonder did she also sell its soul?

I don’t know when it actually happened. But my question is: What did she ask Mephistopheles in return? Was it just the money? Or wasn’t it rather fame and buying the way out of dusty thrift shops onto the smooth glamour of the red carpet? Yes, I think it went for Fame.  
After decades of society’s abhorrence, the sweet taste of Faye Dunaway's perfume must have been too much to let go off. Dunaway, in her 1967 leading  role, took us back into the middle 30`s with the reinterpretation of Bonnie and Clyde. Yet she did not only revival the Icon, but also brought to life the look of a bygone age. Hollywood marketing pulls off its proverbial gags. Movie theaters are filled, night after night. And as one could suspect, not only the theaters cash-registers do ka-ching. With this movie a new sort of fascination for the past was created. The film industry gave birth to the phenomenon of nostalgia and through it—and we thank it very much for that social revolution—to the attraction of wearing clothes from the past. 

So far so good, but where then did it go wrong? 
There’s no point mentioning the late 80`s "Hollywood has it, we want it" publicity effect. I think we all know it oh so well. From Miss Moss and her "Vintage Muse" to Top Shop's internal Vintage store. The Big-money-trend Vintage hit the masses. However, a bit of popularity never wrote one`s Epitaph.
But when Vintage became a "brand", an apparent synonym for coolness, and when people started wearing it, just for the trends sake, that‘s when things went wrong. And yes, I think this is when Vintage lost it. A bloody victim of its own success.

At least I thought so. On the second thought though—it all seemed a bit too simplistic, a great set-up to write it off just like that. Could it be that we gave up on her in our wishful thinking like we did on Britney Spears after her polished-to-shine hairdo?  
There must have been something left of its origin. So I started to look beyond the obvious. And it dawned on me:

Once more, I realized that I had to move from my accuser-position to defendant. Realizing the truth is that we all asked Vintage to stand for our "individuality", and when it became a mass phenomenon we damned it, suspecting, it was not capable to pull it off any longer. I guess, the waiting room was too crowded. This is where we went dead wrong, dead-ending in the alley of our own irresponsibility. Wearing Vintage by itself never made anybody more unique, more "one of a kind". Rather, this was and will always be simply the result of what one does with it. 
So is it Vintage that has lost it, or isn't it rather the blind trend follower, who never wore it with soul?  
What a barbie-blonde aha-moment from my side with you to share, but once again, it is the attitude, rather than altitude. 

This stressed out writer (defending the Vintage) loves the second hand for the Story it brings with it. Its previous owner and its time, which will never be approachable to her—that is what is so unique and so intriguing. Which were the parties where Bloody Mary was in such an overwhelming quantity that it covered my skirt—leaving a bleached pattern despite all dry cleaners' effort. How was the winter's wind when my mink hat was taken out for the freshmen year? And how strong were the sexual needs of that recruit, marching through the greyest paths of humans history?  

And yet, in spite of all rich told and untold stories this special something I picked up, preserves me the luxury to write few chapters on my own. Like  borrowing a book from a library and never returning it back.  
This is the real thing for me, taking an item that belonged to somebody and turning it into my very own. 

And at the end of the day it does not really matter if it is at San Giovanni`s one euro stock market or the Portobello Road Market I got the piece from. Whether its thrifted, secondhand or whatever you like to call it. Who cares whether this came from a store with the rare and genuine "Vintage look", whatever it might be, or rather from London`s touristic attraction number 1 where the smell of fast-food curry and hot chilly mingle with overpriced dusty humidity of vintage—flirting with a 100£ price tag.  
Let us ignore the hype around it, and focus on the essential. That sort of anthropology rush, the possibility to express—in the best case for its original price target and not the overpriced due to the huge demand. It is really the story you can extract from touching the garment and from feeling its soul.

All children talk to their toys, Baudelaire said. The toys become actors in the great drama of life reduced by the camera obscura of their mind. And Toys are my garments, my bags and scarves. 


Proposed by Dandyakuza on Tuesday 05 April 2011 at 08:23 PM

&mdash Comments &mdash

interesting piece but could use an editor... :>>//

By laura t. · 08.04.2011 · 07:32 AM

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