For some, the concept of ‘vintage’ conjures up images of psychedelic prints, pearl necklaces and more shoulder pads than needed. But take a step back from that 80’s-centric view, honed by years of watching our parents, grandparents, and even popstars of yore, and refocus your mind. What does the future hold?
No longer a term resigned to powersuiting, flares and rockabilly dresses, the times have shifted (literally), and vintage clothing now spans our 90’s nostalgia and Y2K revival, creeping right past the millennium, and up until 2002.
With our online consumption, and social media scrolling spurring trend cycles at a more rapid rate than ever, coupled with a move away from the ‘traditional’ fashion calendar as shoppers seek perpetual newness, the past 10 years have offered up a diverse landscape of iconic trophy pieces and buy-now-wear-forever wardrobing in equal measure. Trends have been superseded by trendlessness- a myriad of designers developing their own distinctive brand handwriting, and fast fashion trumped by long term investment as we learn to value longevity, versatility and quality.
So, where should you place that investment? A loaded wardrobe question for sure, as personal taste, lifestyle and income all play a part, but in order to look forward, we need to throw back too.
The bread and butter of your future vintage collection; think elevated wardrobe staples with timeless appeal. The focus here should be luxurious materials, craftsmanship and enduring style.
Affectionately known as ‘Old Celine’ amongst her legions of diehard fans, between 2008-2018 Philo offered up a palette cleansing overhaul of the storied Parisian house, known for colourblock silhouettes and bold lines, eschewing the super-sexy, logomania of her 00’s counterparts.
Search for....draped occasion dresses, scarf-print silk separates, mannish tailoring, stacked flatform sandals and cult bags, the Luggage, Trio and Classic Box.
The winds of change also swept into Balenciaga in 2015, with Georgian designer Demna (until then, little-known outside the fashion community for his work with Vetements) taking over as Artistic Director after a turbulent few seasons with Alexander Wang at the helm. Gsvalia rewrote the house codes; playing with proportions in tailoring, re-issuing iconic leather goods, and introducing a contemporary grit via the streetwear aesthetic of his home turf, not previously seen at the polished Maison before.
No list of Iconoclasts is complete without Alessandro Michele. Having been an integral part of Gucci since 2002, Michele took over as Creative Director in 2015. Stepping in as interim cover, owing the sudden departure of Frida Gianni, Michele turned the house codes (and sales) around in a matter of weeks, introducing a new Gucci; ‘nonconformist, romantic, intellectual’, and cementing the era-defining maximalism which pervades today’s fashion landscape. Drawing on a rich heritage in both RTW and leather goods, Michele repurposed signature House motifs including GG Supreme canvas, Horsebit buckles, and Bamboo handles into hyper-desirable cult products. Perhaps predicting future nostalgia, Michele has re-issued several of his own designs already, including the Ouverture capsule in 2021 showcasing what he considers to be the ‘emblematic’ looks from his 2015 debut, plus the launch of Gucci Beloved, a continuous collection of House basics including the GG Marmont bag.
Search for...embellished Horsebit loafers and mules, pleated skirts, whimsical prints and ironic T-shirts, cult bag shapes Dionysis, Marmont and Sylvie.
Coming in at a slightly cheaper price point, these are the playful, era-defining items we’re currently coveting: think Jacquemus’ micro bags, Amina Muaddi’s modern glass slipper, and streetwear-centric designs from Off-White. Costume jewellery also gets a look in, thanks to big pearly baubles by London jeweller Alighieri, and putting the fun in fashion are diaphanous tulle separates from Molly Goddard, or goth-infused Prairie dresses from The Vampire’s Wife, adored by everyone from Kate Middleton to Kate Moss.
Also, look out for limited edition collaborations, such as the The Hacker Project, Adidas for Prada Re-ylon, Manolo Blahnik for Birkenstock, Fendace, and Loewe Paula’s Ibiza.
Currently touted at the next smart investment, auction houses and re-commerce sites alike, are now seeing iconic and hard-to-come by styles from the likes of Hermes, Chanel and Louis Vuitton, trade hands for thousands of pounds, and often far in excess of their initial RRP, driven up by their scarcity (hello Hermes waiting lists). And whilst this may be the extreme, there is still value (now, and beyond) to be found in our everyday handbags, work totes and favourite clutches. Our faves include: Loewe’s Puzzle bag- often released in a myriad of seasonal colours and patterns. Expect excellent Spanish craftsmanship juxtaposed with tongue in cheek design. Bottega Veneta’s Pouch bag - available in mini, teen and large iterations, this style defines Daniel Lee’s short but impactful tenure at the house. Need something more capacious? Try the Cassette instead. Dior’s Saddle bag- already a vintage classic in its original form, the Saddle was revived by Maria Grazi Churi in 2018, and evolved further by Kim Jones for Dior Homme.
Search for...Loewe’s Puzzle bag, anything Daniel Lee for Bottega Veneta and Kim Jones’ playful Saddle collaborations for Dior Homme
Our predictions on the group of designers set to take up the gauntlet include African-American designer, Christopher John Rogers. CDFA American Emerging Designer of the year 2020, Rogers is known for his vibrant use of colour, larger than life silhouettes, and sustainably produced, limited numbered collections, with fans including Michelle Obama, Lizzo and Tracy Ellis Ross. London based, Albanian born Nensi Dojaka, winner of both the coveted LVMH and BFC emerging talent awards. Dojaka presents a fresh view on femininity with lingerie-esque designs and an inclusive runway line-up, first hitting the spotlight when Bella Hadid chose a tulle bodysuit for the 2020 VMA’s. American Conner Ives completes the roster, after becoming the Fashion Editors look du jour over summer 2022, with a deadstock collection of patchwork t-shirt dresses. Ives' sensibilities speak to an exploration of American and pop culture, fused with a Gen-Z fuelled approach to sustainability through upcycling and repurposing.
Search for....Conner Ives’ deadstock T-shirt dresses, Tulle bodycon from Nensi Dojaka and rainbow knits and voluminous satin gowns from Christopher John Rogers