Today's hot topic question at She Was a Bird, and I sure would like your ten cents on it....does it ever kill you, as a collector, to think of what was out there before you were out there?
Matthew's dad's wife April , possessed of one of the most impressive collections of Fiestaware and early color ceramics I've actually seen in real life, always tells me about how she and her brothers would go to junk stores and yard sales and flea markets in California in the seventies' and eighties' and pick up the kinds of things I drool over in collector cases at antique malls-- fifties' cowboy boots and velvet cloche hats and the aforementioned Fiestaware (she's got teacups, bowls, pitchers...it would honestly make Andy Warhol a little jealous) for practically the price of asking. "You would have loved it!" April says, and I don't disagree! Living in a world where the most remote outposts of the world still afford a person possessed of a vintage item and enough tech savvy to do a Google search the ability to ask crazy town prices on items that may or may not harbor anywhere near the value seen online is a frustrating reality for the retrophilic millennial such as yours truly. You want to tell the seller, sure, that Beatles' record is on ebay for $600, but it's because it's in mint condition and part of a limited, original run from 1965; thus it is not quite the same as your has-been-moldering-in-the-basement-for-forty-years-reissue-from-the-seventies-copy. ((steps off soap box)).
The thing that interests me most in terms of collectibles that were floating around in the seventies', eighties', and even nineties' which have skyrocketed in terms of price or have been hunted into extinction are of course clothes.
|How can you not love this woman? When in doubt, accessorize non-stop chiffon and velvet with a cockatiel.|
I love to think of a time, before I was even born, when people were discovering items that were vintage then, and actually new waaaaay before I was born. Do you ever stop and think about it, whippersnappers in my age group?
Below, I've collected for you a series of articles on beginner's vintage clothing buying and selling and collecting from the late seventies' and early eighties'. Read what you care to read and do tell: would you rather shop now, where you can have any item in the entire world at the click of a mouse, or then, when the hills were still filled with undiscovered treasures, but you had to actually go out and mine them yourselves? How do you think the vintage stores of the eighties' would stack up to the vintage stores of now, both online and brick-and-mortar, in terms of what they have and how much they charge for it?
Cincinnati Magazine Apr 1983:
"A dollar for a beaded, low-waisted 20's tunic" just actually gave me a physical pang of envy. Now, in 2012 money, that's probably closer to $2. OH WAIT THAT DOES NOT MAKE ME FEEL BETTER AT ALL.
New York magazine, 1981:
I'm really interested in the idea of twenties', thirties', and forties' evening wear being out there on the market. I've had some decent luck at flea markets with pre-1950 clothes (I found a 1920's two-piece ensemble, mint condition, for TEN. DOLLARS. last month), but I hardly ever see them at estate sales. And online or in a vintage store? FOR.GET.IT. Unless you have money to literally light on fire, it's hopeless. The store on the right boasts a forties' Parisian gown at $164, but I'm convinced those are just "New York prices".
Texas Monthly, 1981; Cincinnati magazine, 1979:
Think about the couple in the ad at center, and take away their 80's hair and makeup stylings. That is STILL a great outfit on either of them! Try and say that about practically any contemporary look from the same year. The little fez-ish hat is killing me.
I WANT TO BE YOU, HARVEY RUSSACK. 26,000 square feet of vintage? Imagine how much fun. Imagine! I like the idea that he's branched out into weird, of-his-own design stuff outside of vintage ("laced boxer shorts" and "Catskills porch furniture"? Sign me UP).
Note the "Vintage Clothing" section mentioned in the first column: "sports real finds from the 50's (think poodle skirts and applique sweaters) and the 40's (draped afternoon 'frocks'). A fashion goldmine of memories". In a department store JUNIORS SECTION, for goodness sake! Can you believe it? Wouldn't "buyer for the Macy's vintage clothes section" be possibly the hippest existence in creation in year of our Lord 1978? Besides being Stevie Nicks, of course.
New York magazine, 1982:
To the left, the Hudson River Museum in Yonkers had to "deaccession" (read: sell off) some of their clothing collection. ONE THOUSAND PIECES. This sounds like an actual dream I might have had. To the right, deadstock 1920's dresses that look exactly like something Mary Pickford would wear in one of her grown-up, shopgirl roles (think My Best Girl with Buddy Rogers), lace collar and all. The price is steep ($90 each is more like $200 now) but where could you even find one of these nowawdays? Hopefully at the next flea market (fingers crossed).
Orange Coast magazine, 1985 (more of the article if you click this link, plus pictures):
I WANT TO GO TO EACH OF THESE STORES. Also say, "Dior 'New Look' jacket for about $10" one more time and I will personally slap the taste out of your mouth, 1985 reporter. JEsum CROW how can that be a real thing. I'm going to keep telling myself she's lying.
That's all for today; I'm gonna go nurse my broken heart in some forties' movie books, but I'll see you tomorrow for Photo Friday!