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Vintage fashion – timeless style…

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On a red carpet rammed with starlets wearing dresses by the latest designers, vintage gowns still turn heads – but it’s not just Hollywood royalty that can invest in a touch of vintage glamour, as our own vintage clothing specialist Debbie Curtis explains…

Drawing on classic designs to inspire modern production has long been a on the catwalk. However, for many dedicated followers of fashion a simple nod to an era does not suffice – you only have to walk down the street on a summer’s day to see bright young things decked head-to-toe in vintage; from channelling Charlie’s Angels in an oversized hat and flares, to rocking 1920s-style, metal-rimmed sunglasses that wouldn’t have looked out of place at one of Gatsby’s swinging parties. And it’s not just the ladies getting in on vintage style – visit any trendy city-centre bar you might have been forgiven for thinking you had wandered into a scene from ‘Peaky Blinders’, given the number of young men sporting dapper suits.

While authentic vintage clothing has always had its hardcore fans, it’s generally been rather a specialist area, with people tending to be faithful in their recreation of the look of a particular era. However, in recent years I’ve noticed that buying vintage is becoming far more mainstream – classic looks immortalised in literature and film can trigger what we term the ‘Downton Effect’; with popular TV shows such as ‘Downton Abbey’ and, as mentioned previously, ‘Peaky Blinders’ having huge influence on things like formal or occasional wear, as well as day-to-day looks.

What’s more, our buyers are beginning to pick up on the fact that they can drop on real designer bargains and one-off items they just wouldn’t find elsewhere.  Picking up a knock-out, designer dress ‘off-the-peg’ from a high-street staple could cost you a small fortune – and there’s no guarantee that you won’t bump into someone else wearing the exact same outfit. At auction, however, not only can you find truly authentic threads that are of good quality and of the period, they can also be purchased at a fraction of the price.

From dresses to coats, handbags and shoes you can pick up some real statement pieces. One of my favourite standout items to have gone under the hammer in at Cuttlestones was an Ossie Clark for Radley evening dress which, guided at £60-100, proved very popular with collectors and went on to sell for a cool £180 – still far less than you would pay for a dress from such a prolific designer off the peg.

And, while buyers can still bag a bargain, from a vendor’s perspective the auction house offers the most reliable method for the sale for vintage items. Anyone seeking to sell that fur coat or bowler hat they have recently inherited, for instance, can be assured of a strong price on the open market that few second-hand shops would be happy to offer. All our vintage clothing lots are catalogued online with high-resolution images and condition reports, so collectors and fashionistas from anywhere in the world can easily identify items they might be interested in – with many willing to pay a premium for especially rare or interesting items.

We are offering free remote valuations during lockdown – simply email photos of your items to [email protected] or send them via WhatsApp to 07949 603872


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