Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Modern Show: A tale in sensory overload.

This Saturday was one of the most interesting I've had in a while. Mallory and I popped into The Modern Show, a furniture and vintage show, where we were going to check out Jenn Ripley's Archive Agency. Jenn was kind enough to answer a few questions for us beforehand, and unfortunately she got held up in coming to New York! Very sad, but what was even sadder is that Mallory basically had to pry me off the actual cases of vintage bags. Our new friend Vincent was manning Jenn's booth and also answered a few questions on his own collection, so you, lucky duck, are getting double the questions and answers!

Hey Jenn! What exactly is the Archive Agency? How did it get started?
Archive Agency is a hybrid of many loves for me. I primarily liquidate high end merchandise from designers, manufactures and vintage dealers and market it through shopping events across the country focusing mainly on NYC, LA and Atlanta. ( I also do Palm Beach, NJ etc)
Additional, I am a buying consultant for multiple boutiques across the country and also style and personal shop for clients. It varies from Celeb red carpets to wardrobe updating for busy professionals. I have a background in Fashion event production, Buying (I owned a boutique for 8 years) and I also have worked in NYC showrooms and styled commercials + editorial, and personal clients for the last 10 years.

Very Cool. Where did you personally get your start in the industry?
I got my start back in NYC at FIT in 1997. I interned at a high profile showroom at 17 in the accessory sales department and worked with Saks, Barneys etc on their Accessory buys. The company I worked for had internal fashion show production and PR services so I was able to gain experience in those areas as well. Quarterly I would help with their samples sale which is an area I was most interested in. I was a broke college kid around samples all day so to make ends meet, I would buy samples in the fashion district and sell them on line. I accidentally sold a Chloe dress to a writer for Vogue at 18yrs old and they ended up writing an article which launched my concept of liquidating inventory. Boutiques across the country read the story and called me to fly in, pull their obsolete inventory and sell it on-line and move it through multi city sample sales... That was 13 years ago:)

Buying designer vintage can sometimes be a little scary - do you have pointers on how to find the "perfect" piece?
I am as much a fan of designer vintage as I am generic vintage. It really has to be something you love regardless of the price point. It could be $5 or $500. I like pieces that will stand through the test of time, are in great condition( or can be a fun project to fix) and look like they have a great story behind them. One of my favorite buys as a kid was a $5 handbag at an auction. I can home to find a sterling silver Gucci pill box in it. I love the "treasure aspect."

Um, that's amazing. Who are some of your favorite designers? Is there one piece in your collection or your personal collection that really gets you going?
I love vintage Oscar de La renta and Bill Blass. I feel the pieces translate beautifully to modern day. Many of my favorite pieces though and unbranded delicates like vintage sequin boleros , silk scarves, and lots of costume jewelry. I have a curvier body so vintage cuts really work best on me. I also love the "exclusive" aspect of it as it is not readily available for order and it makes it more special and unique.

Me too! It's a way to be exclusive without always being expensive. Who does Archive Agency cater to? Can anyone buy? If I'd like to buy something, how do I go about viewing and purchasing a piece?
Anyone who is interested in investing in Vintage can buy our bags and jewelry. The price points vary from $150 for Chanel Earrings up to $30,000 for an Alligator Birkin so there is plenty of room for an array of different buyers.

Then, we met Vincent at the show. Vincent has a wonderful collection, Only Authentics, which is for sale on a very cool luxury website called Malleries.
Vincent, this is fabulous!! I've died and gone to quilted heaven. Tell us how you got started cultivating such a vast collection.

I've been collecting for 25 years. I actually have an art background, but kept a personal collection...and then started selling the collection. I've always been well connected in fashion, working with Marc Jacobs, Helmut Lang, Melanie Ward. I now sell at shows all over the US.

Chanel. Ahhhh, the Chanel. Why do you love it?

It's timeless, really. There are seasonal bags that come and go (points to a Chanel bag that I was cradling), but the classics never go out of style. Also, unlike something like a Birkin, Chanel is in a price range that is accessible if you are going to splurge and make a luxury purchase.

So true. So tell us about this fabulous collection. That is in absolute mint condition, might I add!

I go all over the world to find these pieces. Some are straight runway pieces that might have taken months to make and might be one of a kind. We have classic bags, too, like a 2.55. It's an extensive collection with something for everyone.

That's for sure. There's everything for me. So, for someone who is a novice at buying vintage pieces, what can they do to make sure that their first purchase is a pleasant one?

Definitely only go to an expert like me, someone with a reputation for selling. If you feel it necessary to get it authenticated, try My Poupette . For about $30, they will give you peace of mind.

And now onto the bags...we deleted the pictures of me making frowny faces at having to leave the pretty things there. But, check out Archive Agency and Only Authentics- they've made it accessible for everyone, so you too can get yourself an authentic, mint condition bag from Vincent or Jenn! Did I mention they do shows in ATLANTA too??

Big quilted kiss!

I could just make a little nest and live in here.

My FAVORITE. Anyone who is buying me Christmas gifts (hint hint Mama and Daddy), take note.
Mal's briefcase

I lurrrrve this.

Random I know, but I was obsessed with this Balmain cuff.

The most special bag - runway, from the 80's.
Back one is from the early 90's - can't you just see Cindy or Naomi with it?!

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