Yesterday I came across this photo - isn't it deliciously vintage?
Doesn't it just completely sum up everything about that McMansion living that a select few enjoyed in the sixties? The wonderfully high neckline and Twiggy influenced, small boobage (no gigantic knockers back then - why DID that ever change anyway?) The miles of non-MacDonalded skinny legs and the quite proper flat shoes. Lovely, lovely lovely.
Except this is a leaked photo for the new 2011 Spring ad campaign for Valentino.
Don't get me wrong - unlike some of my fellow vintage loving friends, I have NO qualms about designers knocking off vintage. I know a lot of you just took in a sharp breath and already started to prepare, in your head, your backlash of me in the comments, but please hear me out.
I think this way because companies rarely do it well. They copy copy copy but then use rayon instead of silk, machine stitch the edgings - having someone finish it by hand is just too expensive.....skimp on all the lovely details - like those extra seams that shape the dress, they don't cut the cloth on the bias - nope, that would be an extra unnecessary cost, after all, you can get at least another 50% out of a bolt if you don't cut it on the bias...........They farm it out to foreign lands, skimp on the lining, ignore the tiny things - like those little, tiny straps that sit in well made vintage pieces that are there to hold a girl's bra firmly in place........I could go on and on and on.
Once you realize that - you check out the runways and then RUN to your fave vintage dealer, picture of chosen "new" trend in hand and start the hunt for the real thing.
Copy away baby - you send me clients with every ill-executed stitch.
That being said, some designers do, of course, make copies of exquisite quality. Like the dress that spurned this blip of text. I would bet that the Valentino dress in that picture is so beautifully made, that I would hold it in my hands and feel that deep seated lust only a clothes crazy girl like me can feel ....the lust to own something because...well...just because.
I can feel that lust stirring just by looking at the picture.
If designers use the past to "inspire" them and then from that produce a garment that will in and of itself be worthy of future collectors and museums, I say God Bless you and Thank You. There is just so much shit out there now (see point one above) that I sometimes fear for the future of vintage.
Have you thrifted lately? I won't even do it any more - I rely solely on my carefully curated group of buyers and collectors for the pretties you see presented on the pages of the Shrimpton Couture website. I go into a thrift store and look through the racks of cast off strip mall rejects, dollar store dumps and the miles of racks holding cheap fabric that is held together by cheaper thread and it makes me want to sit down right there in the middle of the store and weep.
Like a little kid - snot running down my face and big gulps of air - it makes me want to weep so I go full on into the dreaded ugly cry.
It utterly depresses me. Even thinking about it as I write make me feel heavier inside.
If a designer creates something beautiful and its properly done and made of fantastic fabrics and yet, it just happens to looks like its fabulous counter part from thirty or 50 or 80 years ago - I say fine. I look at that and see someone who just contributed something for the future vintage fanatic, vintage loving girls like me and my clients. Someone who created something for unborn lovers of beautiful garments to look forward to thirty or 50 or 80 years from now. God Bless you and Thank You.
Don't fear designers that look to the past for the runways of today. Fear the lack of quality designers execute in their final designs. Fear the mass market production of MILLIONS of garments made to throw away with not a care to detail or design. Fear our overwhelming direction as a society to not cherish our beautiful things and care for them and love them. Fear the designer who does NOT look to the past and has no vision of his or her own either.
It's not the doing, its the doing it well.
And if you still want to disagree with me that is OK too - I know there are valid arguments and a whole little loophole in my argument that leaves space for "exact" copies - line for line. I will already tell you I don;t think that is cool at all. And I don't agree under any circumstances with trying to pass off a copy as the original. Burning at the stake can be brought back for those folks.
But when you look at runways FULL of inspiration form the past. At least say a quite prayer of thanks that they are using a fabulous start point. That at some level, an awareness that whats out there now is not necessarily the best anymore.
And then when you follow that argument through - you will of course realize that the best is of course the original and you will pop straight over to my site for a good shop.
and if you just said Sneaky Bitch out loud........then you heard my giggle seconds after that thought didn't you?