Resale Site Vestiaire Collective Is Making a Play for the Red Carpet
The vintage-fashion selling site tapped power stylist Karla Welch to host a dinner for her stylish and stylist pals.
Could vintage fashion become a thing on the awards show red carpet again, like it was at the 2001 Oscars when Julia Roberts and Renee Zellweger both famously wore vintage gowns?
That’s what Paris-based resale site Vestiaire Collective is hoping, and why it enlisted power stylist Karla Welch, who works with Ruth Negga, Lorde and Sarah Paulson, to host a dinner at the Chateau Marmont in L.A. on Tuesday night and bring together some of her closest stylish and stylist pals.
Welch, dressed in a killer vintage Yves Saint Laurent cropped black evening jacket with rhinestone buttons from Vestiaire Collective, which she paired with jeans, was joined by Tracee Ellis Ross, Jaimie King, Kate Foley and a who's who of Hollywood image makers, including Erica Cloud (clients include Mandy Moore and Sophia Bush), Law Roach (clients include Celine Dion and Zendaya), Samantha McMillen (clients include Elle Fanning and Johnny Depp); costume designers Arianne Phillips and Nancy Steiner; and more.
Vestiaire Collective only recently launched a vintage selection on its site, tapping French It girl Marie Blanchet as head buyer. Wearing a 1930s sheer black negligee, Blanchet explained over cocktails how her job entails scouring the world for exceptional pieces — everything from iconic 1990s Martin Margiela from private collectors in Asia, to vintage rock 'n' roll T-shirts from down-and-dirty bins in L.A.
The influence of vintage has never been more apparent in fashion as it is on the runways today, said Blanchet, from Gucci to Anthony Vacarello. "They don't even hide it," she said of designers borrowing inspiration. "It all started with Hedi Slimane at Saint Laurent, and Demna Gvasalia at Vetements changed the game, too, and now Alessandro Michele is totally doing 1970s jet set."
At the same time, trends toward more conscious consumerism and an appreciation of collecting fashion has made vintage and resale clothing more acceptable and accessible. Sites such as Vestiaire, Real Real and Thredup have raised millions in venture capital, propelled by research that the secondhand apparel industry is expected to be worth $33 billion by 2021, according to a report by Thredup, and online resale is outpacing brick-and-mortar. Vestiaire is hoping Hollywood will pick up on the trend, too.
"People should understand the ethical component to wearing vintage, and the history. If you love fashion and appreciate artisans, you'll wear vintage," said Welch.
Over glasses of frose (frozen rose wine) and plates-full of spaghetti Bolognese, a house favorite, the crowd dished about memories of secondhand shopping in between sneaking to the bathroom to take Instagram shots in front of the romantic floral wallpaper.
"Most people in this day and age of borrow, borrow, borrow, don't cultivate a closet," said Ross, wearing a glorious yellow vintage Yves Saint Laurent dress from Vestiaire's offerings. "Vintage is a wonderful way to create a wardrobe; you choose pieces that are a part of your expression that last over time."
"And it doesn't have to be Yves Saint Laurent. It can be going to Wasteland in L.A. and finding the perfect $5 piece," Welch added.
Ross agreed. "I did the majority of my college shopping at the Salvation Army at Brown University, and there are pieces from that time that I've copied over and over again, and they were all less than $10."
"I still have a kimono robe that's white cotton with navy polka dots and horses that's very Stella [McCartney] at Chloe that was $5 from the piles outside L.A.'s Jet Rag," said Cloud.
Cheap chic treasure hunting aside, just what would it take to see more vintage on the red carpet?
"People are so worried that they are going to be made fun of," said McMillen. "Or that they are going to be compared to someone who wore the same thing," added Welch. Which is exactly why they should be wearing vintage, Ross pointed out. "No one else has it!"