TEXT, VIVIAN KELLY
The thrill of the hunt –
I got sucked-in when I was 25 years old, and working for a powerful battleaxe of a woman on Wall Street in the late Eighties. With a boyfriend who was living thousands of miles away in Texas, I had my only day off – Sunday – to do as I pleased. That’s when I discovered designer goods for less. I’d heard that there was a good designer flea market a few miles North of my former High School,
Greenwich High. I borrowed my Father’s baby blue Olds and after getting lost a few times, finally found it and Susan and a lifelong passion for the hunt.
Susan Munson changed my life because after buying my first few important pieces from her, I started what was to become my life-long love affair with fashion.
From Susan, I bought, a white fox fur coat
my boss pronounced “Vegas” and a Speedy 35 that impressed even her. When I told her I scored it for $45, I had the satisfaction of seeing her jaw drop to the ground.
Years later, I’m still on the hunt. I am unable to go travel without visiting at least ONE designer consignment store while at that particular destination. Sometimes, that includes Goodwill or Salvation Army shops, as in the one in San Francisco, where an acquaintance of one of my AAU students found a Chanel leather and gold chain belt for $8. When I dropped in, I found some vintage Monet clip earrings, which I happily scooped up, but no Chanel.
My most recent score is a vintage [I’m guessing circa 1955 turquoise evening gown laden-down with pearl embroidery with a matching sleeveless coat. Both are floor length and I am facing one of my biggest fashion challenges ever and would love any feedback from you, my friends and readers.
So far, I've been piecing it together with a little help from my friends: B. Michael, Dawn Sheppard and Kathy of Dawn's Vintage Jewelry and master hair stylists, Anthony Leonard [NYC] and Erin Simmons [CT].
CHALLENGE: I’ve decided to wear only the dress, which is a size 12. I am a size zero or two, but that’s by today’s standards. Standing 5’5” tall, I’m dwarfed by the gown which weights-in at around 10 lbs.
My friend, couture designer, B. Michael, forbade me to cut the dress. His suggestion is an easy one and brilliant. I’ll sew-in two sets of ribbons, one just below the breastbone, and one, above the waist. Once tied, the dress will be anchored onto me. The effect will be that of a tunic rather than a fitted gown, but I’m thrilled to be able to actually WEAR the dress to the black tie New Year’s Eve Party I bought it for.
SECRET ADDRESS, revealed – I first spotted this treasure at the end of the summer at McGeorgi’s Antiques & Consignments when I was there looking for a desk lamp. I was drawn by the color but passed, as I had nothing to wear it to.
Once my brilliant Improv Actor friend, Pamme Jones invited us to a black tie New Year’s Eve gathering, I had my excuse to go back and buy this gown from Carl H. Georgi II, the shop’s owner. Curiously, Carl claims not to “know anything about fashion and style” but he’s got the eye, no question.
Now that I’ve acquired the dress, I’m working on the right hairstyle, which I’ll be blogging about next complete with the video of B. Michael’s suggestion on what hair to do that will modernize my vintage dress with a modern spin. He also points me in the right direction as to which shoes I should wear.
The hunt for the right shoe resumes on December 26th. On December 28th, a visit with Anthony
at his Anthony Leonard Salon, to discuss the hair and on the 31st, Erin of Aveda Shine Salon will actually set the hair for the party 6 hours later.