In Palm Seashore County, Secondhand Designer Clothes Are Pretty much as good As The first Time
You never forget your first Chanel, even when it was secondhand.
My first Coco moment was a protracted string of glass pearls and interlocking Cs from a vintage jewellery store in West Palm Beach. I looped the 88-inch chain round my neck like an infinity scarf, channeling the spirit of its earlier proprietor, a Parisian lady of exquisite style.
“A lot of women simply really feel full with Chanel,” said Brett Benson, founder and owner of D. Brett Benson, who purchased the accessory final winter from the chic foreigners.
Palm Seaside County, in southeastern Florida, appears to have a robust population of complete girls, based on the number of Chanel pieces per square mile. In Palm Seaside, the island residence of the zero.001 %, and West Palm Seaside, its extra modest sister, more than a dozen stores sell clothes and accessories by Chanel as well as other hautedesigner labels. However surprise, fashionistas: The objects are used.
“It’s trendy and a bit of a treasure hunt to seek out something that isn’t in the stores anymore,” Leslie Diver, who runs Island Dwelling Tours ( www.islandlivingpb.com) and organizes shopping journeys, mentioned of vintage items. “Palm Seashore is fairly cutthroat.”
The stores’ inventories are abundant and replenished usually. The wardrobes come from myriad sources. Among them: doyennes who are socially forbidden from carrying the same fancy gown twice to a winter ball and seasonal residents who empty their closets before fluttering off to, say, the Hamptons or Portofino for the summer season. High-society women are additionally just like us: They gain weight, downsize their homes and divorce. And, as any spurned girl is aware of, promoting an ex’s gifts is a way more lucrative form of revenge than lighting a bonfire. Finally, private belongings arrive after being “released from their materialistic clutches,” mentioned one local dealer, using a polite euphemism for “they die.” (Another common phrase: “Purchased at an property sale.”)
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“If you may have a buying downside, Palm Beach is just not the place for you,” Leslie mentioned. “There is loads of temptation.”
Vintage and consignment retailers wink at passersby alongside Antique Row, the art and design district in West Palm Seashore, and within the commercial middle of Palm Seashore. Local charities, such because the Animal Rescue League and the Church of Bethesda-by-the Sea’s Church Mouse, run thrift shops with Barneys-quality merchandise and civic-minded splurges.
“Palm Seaside salvatore ferragamo shoes size 4 has the best finish of Goodwill,” mentioned Leslie, who has spotted Chanel and Gucci on its racks.
For my spring outing, Leslie acted as my scout and inspiration. The previous stockbroker showed up in stylish white pants and a black Bottega Veneta tote that she had bought at Dina C’s Fab & Funky Consignment Boutique, considered one of our retail stops in West Palm Seashore. Over lunch at Belle and Maxwell’s, she regaled (or taunted ) me with tales of her discoveries: a Bottega Veneta cotton blouse for $29, a 60-yr-old Louis Vuitton messenger bag for $650 and a pair of “to-die-for” Gucci footwear that had been $79.
I requested Leslie how the purchasing expertise differs between the 2 towns. She stated the quality is similar however the prices rise in the east — cross the bridge and multiply by two. She additionally defined the seasonal variations in the supply. The shops are often plump with goods in early spring, the period between the fundraising events and the summer season exodus. During the recent months, shelves are sparser, and a few shops shut for a number of weeks.
At D. Brett Benson (3616 S. Dixie Hwy. Suite No. 120, www.dbrettbensoninc.com), I squinted at the supernova-shiny gentle emanating from the glass instances and counters. Benson and Kevin Quidley, the shop manager, specialize in jewellery from the turn of the 20th century to the 1980s, though they may settle for more trendy pieces that match their aesthetic. They scoop up costume designs at estate sales and antiques reveals and from fashionable women looking to unload their treasures. For instance, they purchased greater than a dozen Chanel pieces (1980s-2012) from a pair of French vintage-jewellery dealers.
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I gravitated towards the Chanel necklaces, earrings and bracelets however quizzed the specialists on which designers they covet. They led me to a display of beaded necklaces by Coppola E. Toppo that cascade down the neck like a waterfall, delicate flower-form brooches by Trifari, and transcendent art deco pieces by Theodor Fahrner. Within the Bakelite part, Brett pulled out a vibrant-purple fruit pin that, back in the day, was a scarlet letter of kinds. Based on his grandmother, solely loose ladies wore a cherry on their sweaters.
Down the street, at Dina C’s (1609 S. Dixie Hwy. No. 2, fabandfunkyvintage.com), the owner views her role as a sartorial Crimson Cross worker.
“I look at myself as rescuing the great ol’ days,” stated Dina Capehart, whose 5-12 months-old boutique focuses on retro clothes from the 1940s to ’90s. “I find a brand new home in your issues.”
She excitedly confirmed me a 1960s Balmain feathered cap that resembled a coconut cake; a jaunty 1980s Yves Saint Laurent high and wrap skirt perfect for Carmen Miranda; and an Elsa Schiaparelli blue leather coat with mink trim that predated PETA. Within the again of the one-room store, I observed wool pencil skirts from the 1950s on the sale rack. Dina stated they were a tough sell in steamy Florida, even for $50.
Whereas Leslie tried on a Chanel swimsuit that she had placed on layaway, I buttoned myself right into a 1960s leather-based Gucci bomber jacket and A-line skirt plastered in the lettered emblem. I gazed in the mirror and noticed a Desperate Housewife of Palm Seaside staring back.
Throughout the Intracoastal Waterway, the staff at Traditional Collections (116-118 N. County Rd. www.classiccollectionsofpalmbeach.com ) acted like giddy children playing costume-up of their wealthy parents’ closet. Father and Mother were going to be out for some time, so I joined in.
“This matches you perfectly,” cooed an worker, as she snapped an $8,500 gold alligator-shape bracelet onto my wrist. “Not everyone can put on this.”
Guess I have good carpal bone structure.
The shop is flush with clothes, baggage, sneakers and jewelry from the top luxurious traces (proprietor Sally Kimball refers to Chanel, Louis Vuitton and Hermes as the “Triple Crown”) in addition to unusual creations. Sally identified a Studio fifty four-era Chanel dress product of PVC nicknamed the “Lawn Chair Costume.”
“People love the fun of the hunt,” Sally stated. “We hear individuals shrieking out here.”
About 40 to 50 percent of the objects have never been worn, and plenty of arrive with value tags nonetheless attached. Sally supplied some juicy tales of origin that breathed life into the inanimate objects. For example, a girl once known as Sally over to her Bentley and opened the trunk to reveal 10 packing containers containing Ferragamo handbags — vacation gifts from her husband that have been purchased by his secretary. (Memo to assistant: Keep a spreadsheet to avoid repeat presents.) In one other instance, a spouse dropped off a Louis Vuitton Speedy bag with handles that she had acquired from her spouse. But, oh, pricey, she only wears shoulder-type.
“We are in a very particular a part of the world,” stated Sally, “where we’ve a really excessive focus of wealth.”
Ultimately, pretend-time ended. I removed the reptile’s grip and returned to my very own bracket.
City Lady Consignment (2900 S. Dixie Hwy. www.citygirlconsignment.com), in West Palm Beach, works with 2,500 consigners who’ve extra populist tastes. I took a deep breath and dove in. Once i came up for air, I held in my arms a navy blue Lilly Pulitzer shirtdress and a pink skirt covered in bees; a J. Crew caftan; and a pair of Cole Haan platform sandals cheaper than a martini. Whole cost for the pile: about $120.
At Groovy Palm Seaside Vintage (108 N. County Rd. discover them on Fb) the fabulous owner, Douglas E.J. Fredricks, crams each obtainable space (partitions, ceilings, shelves that buckle under the burden) with Lilly and Pucci prints, plus dresses that social gathering all disco-period long. I bushwhacked through a jungle of maxi skirts, mini-frocks and whimsical blazers and came out the opposite side sporting a flowery green ankle-size dress appropriate for a fondue-and-Valium gathering. Fredricks snapped a photograph of me within the throwback style, proof that I was now a member of the Palm Seaside County Consumers Membership.
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