In Beauty I trust
Hi folks, just back from the latest Vintage fair and had the urge to write here my impressions so to keep you posted and updated. Beauty surrounds me everywhere I go, and this is because I am a Vintage– being, I carry this Beauty inside because my eyes have a certain indulgence when I look at this harsh difficult life nowadays: I have Vintage eyes…I see things differently. My colleagues share my faith and truly understand me when I quote that Vintage has made my life a better one. The Beauty comesalong when I know I am holding in my hands a “piéce unique” dating from the 1970’s, the colors might be faded and not perfect, there might be some flaws, but the glow it has, no money can buy. The smell of the old times is still very fascinating to me, my nostrils can’t help it, it reminds me of my grandma’s closet, the odour of fresh laundry and of rose scent soap. Today it all smells the same, a bunch of chemical additives, my nostrils do not have a chance to fall in love. Well the fair was a bit of a disaster, these days selling has become as difficult as sending a man on the Moon for good. You don’t know what to sell, the customer has become picky and freakish, without having the knowledge to be so. People have stopped being attracted to Beauty, the beauty I see in Antiques is nothing else for many than junk stuff. Culture has no more appeal. One is much better off spending his life behind a screen living the most exciting and adventurous virtual life.
So my antique goodies travel along with me, and once courageously displayed at the fair, they often travel back home with me. I learned that very few people are interested in knowing who I am.
We, vintage people, talk about ourselves through Vintage and this is a fact. When entering one of our displays, is like entering our own private Universe, we can be very jealous and possessive about it, but are easily flattered when compliments arrive. We express our personalities through Vintage and this is another reason why it is such a unique and such a full-filling profession. Today I will give you the work of three of my colleagues, whom I love and respect very much, through the many years, they have also become true friends, we all form a very odd kind of a family,in which time passing and distances don’t make any difference. Our common ground is Vintage, time and space here don’t matter.
Consuelo has learned everything she knows from her mother who was the premiere couturière at Biki’s in Milan in the 1950’s. The atelier was the place to be, all kind of elegance and richness stopped by, the Italian Haute Couture was born in places like that. Consuelo has of course a beside job(a serious job), which is not dealing with Vintage: bills must be paid and old frocks make it hard to get to the end of the month. So she opened up a ballet school and she runs it with enthusiasm and vintage esprit, how could it be different? She brings to the fairs all her knowledge of times passed by, the glowing soft silk- damasks, the evening gowns every woman dreams to wear, her displays are messy and plenty of luxurious goods, you need a whole afternoon the carefully notice all she has: buttons, shawls, shoes, fans, trimmings, pieces of those gone days she misses so much. Her mother taught her to look at the Beauty in all things with a past, and this is the most valuable lesson about Vintage. The past is our legacy, our source of inspiration , our raison d’etre, without it, pretending we don’t owe it a thing, we don’t go anywhere. I met Consuelo a good 20 years ago at Belgioioso Vintage exhibition and since I adore her. She is funny and hilarious, I see her always dressed like she is giving a ballet lesson, in 20 years she did not age, maybe because Vintage keeps her alive and kicking…If you go to Milan don’t miss to visit her place, in between a shop and a warehouse: “L’Isola del Tempo Perduto”(The isle of lost time), a name, a life-time story.
Roberto and his wife Mariacristina have a crush on Japanese kimono, way before it started to be a fashion in Italy. They import vintage kimono from Japan and when passing through their display you know what oriental class and beauty is all about. Roberto wants to give you a lesson in history, because each Kimono has a story to tell, in its fabric, its details, its embroidery. Roberto is a teacher, so he likes to speak about his passion, a life time one; selling a kimono is not just selling a jacket, is making you fall in love with the oriental way, you must take time to try it on, and feel the grace and the beauty of that. Pure Art. Well I marry here the saying Less is More, no need to add anything if the something you are wearing is one of their kimono. Moda di Celluloide is based in Ferrara, but the best way to appreciate their goods is coming to one of these vintage fairs.
When I think about my young me, dealing with Vintage in the early nineties, I smile and re-joy, and become sad because those times are gone forever. Vintage was back then the absolute novelty, I remember in 2005 we took our vintage army to France for an antique market, we were so busy that day, no one had time to go to the toilette, people were fascinated by our goods, the French had never seen such a bunch of beauties all together. Mariella Venturino, my colleague from Asti, was like me, enthusiastic of this abroad experience. Customers were literally fighting over our goods to buy them, never seen such interest ever since…Mariella has a crush on Vintage ever since she can remember. Her husband has one of the most renowned jewelry store in Asti, she did not need to work for a living, but her curiosity brought her far away, travelling around the world searching for antiques and vintage treasures. She owns the Archivi Venturino, huge archives were she stores all the keepsakes from the past, but above all fabrics. When you speak about fashion today, you don’t make a move if you don’t start with fabrics. Everything in Couture begins there. Mariella keeps everything, literally, because, you never know what may become handy and useful. Stylist and fashion Designers visit these Archive often during the Collection season, but as she recalls, the glorious times of Gianni Versace and Valentino are gone, the designers of today don’t have ideas, don’t know where to start…it is hard to bloom a Collection without knowledge and basics… So they make copies, with no passion and no art. Mariella and I share very good memories of those gipsy years, when we were maybe young at heart and enthusiastic about our work, so happy to bring our goodies and our Italian Art abroad… Looking at the hallways of the fair so empty and deserted, I honestly regret those times when you had the chance to talk about something; engaging a conversation with the customer was not painful and unsuccessful as it is today, it was not just asking a price, selling was a satisfactory transaction not an economical exchange. Money was not so important, it was just a small part of the business.
Well, I said that before, Vintage is for me a way of living and believing. But with no love for the past, no attraction for our memories, no passion for the grandmas’ wardrobe, I would be nowhere. So my Vintage display was colorful and, I thought, very attractive, I had a mix of antique and old, the real vintage esprit, so to speak. I am not a Logo passionate, so I carefully placed the one and only labelled item someway at the back of my table. The blue navy monogram 1980’s Gucci tote handbag was the peak of Saturday early morning auction. Two customers were fighting over it to get it, no wonder…Evidently I sold it right away and felt embarrassed, too quick a transaction, again no time to linger in stardust memories. I was selling a Logo, a brand, not the uniqueness of the handbag which was in my opinion poorly conceived and humbly looking, with this crying out monogram which had no taste at all. But you know, people need to be justified and excused, wearing a brand, they enter the highest rank in fashion society. Vintage here is not matter of shape, color, detail or uniqueness, but a matter of belonging. Well sadly, I do not belong there, sadly because if I did, I’d be richer and maybe happier, not to have to worry about my rent and bills to pay. Ok, once again I am complaining about not being understood, but the way of the money has never been my way. I want to stay gypsy, keep my pounding heart intact, I want to die in a vintage dress, become One with my past…May love and beauty, and wonder linger with me a long time in my Vintage life.