What if, with a single click, you could own Helmut Lang’s iconic Bowie top? A piece by Comme des Garçons from the 1986 catwalk collection? Or a ’90s trench coat by Jean Paul Gaultier? Well, it’s happening. Joining forces with the contemporary vintage hunters of Byronesque, pre-owned fashion platform Vestiaire Collective has just revealed a rare new archive collection. Celebrating some of fashion’s most influential designers from the past decades, the digital pop-up will open tomorrow and offer 200 archive pieces, turning seemingly unobtainable designs into instant must-haves. Glamcult travelled to Paris to meet Vestiaire Collective’s Head of Vintage, Marie Blanchet, and got you the nuts and bolts of this cool collab—which comes with a laser-lit fashion film by cult photographer Derek Ridgers.
Hello Marie. Before we chat about the collab, what brought you to working at Vestiaire Collective?
When I was a teenager, film and music naturally brought me to vintage. I went to film school in London and I’ve always been inspired by, for instance, Anna Karina in the films of Jean-Luc Godard. Musically, it was people like Jimi Hendrix, Nick Cave and Mick Jagger—who I really wanted to look like—who inspired me. I took my first trip to New York when I was 17 and went directly to the flea market, where I bought a ’70s flower dress and big glasses. It felt good to not look like everyone else and be able to buy something inexpensive, something unique that you can have fun with. I love the first decades of the 20th century. When I did film, I was a costume designer working on a lot of period dramas, where I was very lucky to meet some of the biggest vintage experts in the world. When I realized I wanted to do vintage in 2015, I thought: you have to do this online now! The shops are finding it hard to survive, so how do you democratize vintage without losing its integrity? I thought that was an interesting challenge (I don’t like things to be easy).
What do you consider Vestiaire’s biggest strength?
The catalogue! Definitely, the catalogue. I think it contains all the magic; it’s extremely wide and desirable, created by a community of six million members who deposit and propose pieces ranging from vintage to today’s high fashion. I’m especially proud of the vintage catalogue that we officially launched last year—in collaboration with Chloë Sevigny. Also, at the moment we’re working on further developing the menswear section.
Let’s talk about your collaboration with Byronesque. How did it come about?
Jill [Linton, founder of Byronesque] contacted me last year on Instagram. She was quite surprised to see that we really liked the same things; it was a very genuine thing. At the time I was working on the Chloë Sevigny collab, so we met in New York and it felt like a very authentic step. Chloë is a big fan of Byronesque, by the way, her favourite designer is Margiela. Byronesque has been owning vintage in a way that’s fabulous. It’s all about the pieces and the stories behind the pieces. If you want to work with vintage from the ’80s, ’90s and early 2000s—a category that’s more alive than ever—you do it with the best. And Byronesque is the best.
Byronesque made a selection of 200 one-off pieces, coming from “an era when designers broke the rules and reinvented the fashion industry”. Do you have any favourites?
All the Seditionaries pieces! The punk stuff; I’m so proud we have this. You probably know how rare and special this is and I want to stress that we had all these pieces authenticated by the Westwood family. There’s been many fakes because these pieces are so cult. I’m extremely proud. On a more personal level, I’d get the 1986 show robe from Comme des Garçons. There’s so many good pieces… Jill’s holy grail is the Jeremy Scott logo trench—it’s so hard to find and very relevant now.
The collection was revealed in Paris at La Java, a nightclub that’s almost existed for a century. Why this spot?
It’s great, right? Justine and Jill from Byronesque chose the location. It’s the oldest club in Paris and it made so much sense to launch the collection there. When you’re working with Byronesque, you do things the realest way possible. It’s all about authenticity.