Is old season the new next season? Some of the world’s most photographed women seem to think so. Styles from the archives have been revived recently with Meghan Markle making an appearance in 1960s Dior, Kim Kardashian wearing a 1990s Thierry Mugler dress and Bella Hadid donning an early 2000s It bag from Louis Vuitton’s 2003 Takashi Murakami collection.
Vintage fashion is nothing new, but it’s emerging as one of this year’s most significant trends, showing up on celebrities and in reports from leading boutiques around the world. Vestiaire Collective has seen a 558 per cent sales increase in Fendi Baguettes since January 2018, with the average selling price rising 15 per cent. Also appreciating in value is Chanel, which has seen a significant spike in demand since Karl Lagerfeld’s passing. According to luxury resale website, The RealReal, Chanel classics are taking centre stage. “Customers are gravitating toward tweed jackets and dresses, while handbag demand has increased across staples such as Flap Bags and Boy Bags.”
Read more: Vogue’s guide to shopping secondhand online
And then there’s Phoebe Philo-era Céline, immortalised in the @oldceline Instagram account that swiftly amassed 327k followers (including Virgil Abloh and Tommy Ton) since launching in September, ahead of Hedi Slimane’s debut.
The cyclical nature of fashion has always fostered a sense of nostalgia, but reinvention aside, there are other sentiments encouraging a backwards glance. Cultural relics that represent particular moments in time are much more coveted than anything that can still be mass-produced. Versace with Gianni at the helm? It’s been so sought after that it’s inspired the brand’s past eight collections. Tom Ford’s version of Gucci? Still a hit. And Catherine Deneuve’s collection of vintage Yves Saint Laurent was just auctioned off for over $1 million dollars (£758,375) at Christie’s in Paris.
Society’s nostalgia is something that major fashion houses have capitalised on, with iconic pieces being relaunched from the archives. We’ve seen the return of Sex and the City wardrobe staples, such as Dior’s Saddle bag and Manolo Blahnik’s brooch-topped Hangisi heels. Prada’s Linea Rossa nylon bags also made a timely comeback as athleisure continues its moment in the spotlight. And many current trends have been inspired by 1990s styles that are remembered favourably (square-toed sandals, perfected by The Row, slip dresses and belt bags, to name a few).
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What’s old is new again in a trend sense, but there’s a rising ecological consideration at play as well. Consumers—particularly “woke” younger generations—are much more aware of the industry’s environmental impact and they’re shopping more mindfully as a result.
Vintage fashion is an inherently sustainable alternative—and a recent study suggests that demand is on the rise, with 64 per cent of women willing to buy pre-owned pieces in 2018, as opposed to just 45 per cent in 2016. The report also notes that the resale market is slated to double to a staggering $51 billion by 2023.
So how do you find the gems that are being picked up by red-carpet regulars and royalty? Of course, shopping for vintage items is not as straightforward as purchasing something current off the rack—you need to know where to go. Here, we chart the best vintage boutiques around the world—black-book destinations where you might just encounter an iconic 1990s supermodel look or get a preview of the Duchess of Sussex’s next paparazzi-lit ensemble.
William Vintage, London
Wonder where Amal Clooney sourced her Grecian-style gown for dinner at Buckingham Palace recently? Or where some of Meghan Markle’s elegant statement coats come from? That would be William Vintage in London’s Marylebone, a refined boutique next to Chiltern Firehouse that counts some of the world’s most polished women (Victoria Beckham included) among its clientele.
“We source the finest pieces that come with the most interesting of stories,” explains CEO, Marie Blanchet. “Our particularity is our edit, which ranges over 100 years of fashion history and is selected based on resonance today.” Here you will find an elevated selection of Dior, Chanel, Versace, Courrèges, Cristobal Balenciaga, Alexander McQueen, Yves Saint Laurent and Gucci by Tom Ford.
What Goes Around Comes Around, New York
What Goes Around Comes Around is New York’s most elevated vintage boutique, so it’s no wonder that the likes of the Hadids, the Jenners and the Beckhams have been snapped visiting the SoHo flagship, which first opened in 1993.
“We specialise in the most sought-after and comprehensive Hermès, Chanel and Louis Vuitton handbags and accessories,” says co-founder Gerard Maione. “Our extensive RTW offerings encompass Gaultier, Dior, Saint Laurent, Gucci, Fendi, Alaïa, Chanel, Hermès and many more. We also have incredible assortments of our heritage archival vintage, such as vintage Levis, rock tees, and period-era vintage.”
If you’re looking to invest in a classic designer handbag, such as a Hermès Birkin or a Kelly, or a 1990s Gianni-designed Versace dress, this is the place to go.
Vintage Delirium by Franco Jacassi, Milan
Some of the industry’s most respected designers are known to visit Vintage Delirium by Franco Jacassi for inspiration. “ We have many important customers from major fashion houses such as Louis Vuitton, Marni, Fendi, Lanvin, Armani and Celine, as well as the best department stores in Paris, London, New York, Los Angeles and Hong Kong,” Jacassi explains.
It’s also a favourite of Italian fashion darlings Chiara Ferragni and Attico’s Giorgia Tordini. “If you are a YSL lover, you can find stunning dresses, shirts and belts from the 1970s and 1980s in mint condition,” says Tordini.
In addition to offering archive pieces from major fashion houses, including Dolce & Gabbana, Valentino and Pucci, it contains a selection of vintage magazines, embroidered fabrics, buttons and lace designs, which are also available to rent.
Amore Vintage, Tokyo
With a client list that includes Alexa Chung, Bella Hadid, Hailey Bieber, Kim Kardashian and Elsa Hosk, Amore Vintage has cemented its position as the best destination for finding luxury gems in Tokyo. “We specialise in vintage items from the 1990s, 1980s and earlier, and sometimes stock designs from the early 2000s, too,” explains founder, Shinako Imaduru. “We don’t usually have items from the 2010s, but will make an exception for special designs like designer collaborations or limited editions.”
Amore offers a comprehensive list of iconic brands including Chanel, Hermès, Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Fendi, Dior, Prada, Ferragamo and Celine, and prides itself on only stocking pieces that are in pristine condition.
Time’s Up Vintage, Copenhagen
“ Time’s Up Vintage is a carefully curated space that acts as a laboratory as well as having a very particular sense of style ,” explains owner, Jesper Richardy, who counts Naomi Campbell, Lady Gaga and Jane Birkin as clients. “This means that it is a space of experimentation, and a shop that plays around with the limits of taste and also tries to push the envelope a little.”
Richardy travels to all corners of the world to get ahead of trends before they become mainstream. The boutique offers everything from classic Chanel suits to 1990s Helmut Lang and Prada. It also sells high-quality, non-designer items across a variety of price points.
Decades, Los Angeles
Decades is a revolving door of Hollywood’s red-carpet looks; many celebrities are known to consign pieces to the Melrose Avenue boutique and then, ahead of awards season, VIP stylists flock in to collect potential options in the hope of landing their clients on the best-dressed lists.
“ Since 1997, Decades has been a laboratory of style inspiration for collectible, 20th-century vintage designer fashion,” says founder, Cameron Silver, who has amassed an impressive collection to cater to the most discerning of clients.
“Recently, people have been searching for anything by Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel, Chloé or his eponymous label,” he adds. “Yves Saint Laurent tailoring from the 1980s featuring sharp-shouldered blazers is also having a major revival at Decades, and with the recent opening of the Thierry Mugler exhibition in Montreal, we have fashionistas very excited to procure bold Mugler for their collections.” The store is well-equipped to cater to all of these requests, with an emphasis on offering editorially significant styles and pieces that resonate with consumers today.
Das Neue Schwarz, Berlin
Das Neue Schwarz is a respected, Berlin-based boutique that specialises in collector’s items by Belgian and Japanese brands such as Yohji Yamamoto, Comme des Garçons, Junya Watanabe, Maison Margiela, and Dries van Noten from the 1990s and 2000s.
“We’ve built a very good customer base and even sold to MoMA in New York for its fashion archive,” says owner Tanya Bednar. “We are lucky to have pieces from the first collections of new brands like Off-White and Vetements – these two labels are in high demand right now,” she adds.
Regular customers include Stefano Pilati (former head designer of YSL), and the buying teams from Acne and Chloé.
Located in Notting Hill (close to the famed Portobello Market) is Rellik, one of London’s most esteemed vintage boutiques that is frequented by Kate Moss, Stella McCartney and Peter Dundas. Here you will find classic Burberry trench coats, Alaïa leather jackets from the 1980s, and unique pieces from Vivienne Westwood, Jean Paul Gaultier and Ossie Clarke, with prices ranging from £65 to £695 .
“All of our stock is in excellent condition, dry-cleaned and ready to wear,” explains co-owner, Claire Stansfield. “We stock clothing and accessories from the 1930s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s and key pieces from iconic designers to the present day.”
Blue Spinach, Sydney
Located in the leafy Sydney suburb of Darlinghurst, Blue Spinach is widely considered to be Australia’s leading re-seller of luxury fashion. It specialises in accessories and apparel for both women and men, with a selection of iconic brands including Balmain, Saint Laurent, Tom Ford, Balenciaga, Hermès, Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Christian Dior, Valentino, Lanvin, Givenchy, Dolce & Gabbana, Alexander McQueen, Fendi and Celine.
“Trending items for us currently are waist bags, mini bags and crossbodys,” says co-founder, Jane Thompson. It’s also a reliable place to collect a classic Chanel Boy Bag or a Hermès Birkin.
Paloma Vintage, Copenhagen
Those who gravitate towards Old Céline will undoubtedly appreciate the selection available at this chic Copenhagen boutique. “I select vintage that I would wear myself—that’s my benchmark,” says owner Ferial Berri, who has a penchant for vintage jackets and Michelle Pfeiffer’s style in Scarface .
“Vintage clothing shouldn’t be boring; I try to pick the most exciting and diverse items possible, and I think my customers come to Paloma Vintage to see my take on what’s cool.” That take often involves quilted jackets from Yves Saint Laurent’s 1970s Russian line, cropped flares, classic styles from Chanel and 1980s power shoulders.
Berri notes that Courrèges is more sought after nowadays, and Paloma Vintage has a wide selection available to cater to the demand. The boutique (which also sells through Instagram) offers Chanel, Ralph Lauren, Ungaro, Loewe, Oscar de la Renta, Missoni, Dior and pieces from iconic department stores, including Saks Fifth Avenue.
Simply Chic, San Francisco
Simply Chic offers the best selection of designer brands in the Bay area, with a lineup including Chanel, Hermès and Louis Vuitton, as well as contemporary designers such as Danse Lente and Mansur Gavriel.
“Every piece is handpicked and we make sure it’s all authentic and in great condition,” emphasises owner, Sophie Chen. “We have the best selection of handbags in particular, especially key styles from well-known luxury houses.” There’s also a well-preserved assortment of shoes on offer from Christian Louboutin, Gucci, Prada and Aquazzura. Some of the star items here, though, are the pastel-hued tweed suits from the Chanel archives.
Valois Vintage, Paris
Considered one of Paris’s best-kept fashion secrets, Valois Vintage is a stylish mix of current and vintage pieces curated by Chantal Paillat. “We sell over 200 brands, but mostly have Hermès , Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Saint Laurent, Prada, Christian Dior and Christian Lacroix,” says Paillat’s daughter Géraldine, who is involved in the boutique.
“At the moment we are seeing increased demand for old Chanel haute couture and jewellery (from the 1980s and 1990s), vintage Gucci bags and Gianni Versace clothes and shoes,” she adds.
Taking a scroll through Valois Vintage’s Instagram account, you’ll notice a mix of bold, double-C Chanel jewellery, unique Fendi Baguettes, Breton stripes and logomania.
The Vintage Twin, New York
“ For those not adept at thrifting but interested in one-of-a-kind pieces, we are a trustworthy source for what’s cool,” advise co-owners, Samantha and Morgan Elias, “The Vintage Twins” themselves, who founded the brand age 19. “We are known for our collection of vintage denim, which can be found at the Jeanius bar in any of our locations. Clients are mostly interested in Levi’s, but we carry a wide selection of other vintage denim brands such as Wrangler, Lee, Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger.”
“We also have an unmatched selection of tees and sweatshirts, which are treated in our proprietary process to make each piece feel like the softest, most perfectly worn-in top you would have otherwise spent years searching for,” they add.
Bella and Gigi Hadid, Alexa Chung, and a number of models, actors and celebrity stylists are regulars of this streetwear-focused New York boutique.
Void, Mexico City
Located in Mexico City’s chic Condesa district, Void offers a polished edit of major fashion brands, alongside local designers. Here you will find a selection of Chanel, Courrèges, Hermès, Celine, Gucci, Dior, Louis Vuitton, Balmain, Moschino and historical insignia pieces dating back to the 1800s.
It’s high-end but kitsch, divided into several themed rooms, including one dedicated to Coco Chanel and one to Mick Jagger. There’s also a café inside the boutique that serves artisanal mezcal and biodynamic coffee, and has vintage magazines and vinyl records on display.
Void is owned by Mexican model and influencer Olympia de la Macorra, who spends her time travelling around the world to source unique items for the boutique.
Milan Station, Hong Kong
Milan Station is considered to be one of the most high-end vintage boutiques in Hong Kong, offering a well-preserved selection of Chanel bags, Louis Vuitton luggage and apparel from Moncler, Supreme, Fendi and Versace, alongside select items from renowned luxury brands.
There are several locations throughout China and it recently partnered with online marketplace Carousell to provide free verification services to customers, confirming the authenticity of high-value items.
Kim Kardashian was snapped outside Chicago Tokyo recently and Alexa Chung is also known to have dropped in for vintage shopping expeditions. There are two locations in central Tokyo—one located in Shibuya and one in Harajuku—each offering colourful ranges of denim, streetwear and chic authentic kimonos.
The brands you will find here are more of the streetwear variety, including Yeezy and American sportswear brands, alongside brandless pieces that are reasonably priced.
Coeur de Luxe, Paris
Tucked away on rue de l’Annonciation, Coeur de Luxe has a refined selection of quintessentially chic Parisian wardrobe staples.
Here you will find a well-preserved edit of designer handbags, accessories and apparel from Dior, Miu Miu, Missoni, Phillip Lim, Costume National, Giambattista Valli, Christophe Josse, Celine, Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Roberto Cavalli and more.
It also offers sheared furs by Sylvie Schimmel and some fabulous costume jewellery.