When a boutique declared itself obsessed with vintage clothing, I saw it as a challenge. Upon arrival, the Chanel’s double-C logo stared back at me from the black and white label attached to a bright purple wool coat and I immediately swallowed my words. A Vintage Obsession is a veritable goldmine of designer labels, collecting stock from New York to Bordeaux, from the 1940’s to the 1980’s. Complete with a mirrored vanity table, vintage leather suitcases and a stag skull, complete with antlers mounted on the wall, this is the ideal place to shop for refined and restored vintage clothing.
Despite the neatly stacked rails of jackets, dresses and coats, the accessories vanity grabs my attention in as soon as I enter the store. With most vintage fanatics, the obsessions starts with a growing collection of vintage scarves, tied on the handles of your handbag and tossed around your neck, finished with a brooch. Meeting the new-comers needs is a battered leather suitcases filled with neatly folded silk scarves. Samples of floral patterns, tartan print, abstract shapes and blocked colours are all piled on top of one another and the task of choosing just one is next to impossible. Pragmatism has clearly been applied in the layout of this shop, as shirts with oversized collars are lined up next to the scarves, implying you should buy one thing to wear with the other – a clever business tactic as well as good style advice.
The range of designer vintage clothing stocked here is incredibly impressive. Far from the constraints of the student budget, the likes of Valentino, Dior, Gucci and Manolo Blanhik are hung side by side in immaculate condition with price tags to make your heart race. Whilst affording a piece from the designer rack would require a serious commitment to saving money, looking through the selection of items on offer is an unforgettable experience. Entering designer stores is daunting enough and the friendly atmosphere at A Vintage Obsession allows me to appreciate the clothing for their style, value and quality of craftsmanship, rather than the brand name itself.
The same purple Chanel coat is dense and heavy when worn. The weight of the tiny chains sewed in to the hem making all the difference in preserving the shape of the voluminous cut. It’s a surreal thought, wondering who owned the coat before it came to the shop – and why they would give it away is even more perplexing – but that’s part of the charm of this boutique; “vintage” isn’t a commercialised word used to flog second hand clothing, its a term of endearment and respect to the magnificent craftsmanship of the stock and the names that behold them.
And what of the more affordable vintage items? As a browser, I’m spoilt for choice with the stock of light cotton sundresses and varying necklines on the tea dresses, all in a wide range of brightly coloured floral prints and detailed patterns. As for the jewellery, mounts of glossy, golden and pearl earrings and brooches are served on a silver platter, literally, alongside ropes of pearls and a beautifully beaded clutch bag hanging off a glass cabinet. A Vintage Obsession indeed.