August 21 2014

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Meet The Muse: Stephanie LaCava


Girl-about-town Natalie Joos spends her days casting for shows like ADAM and Yigal Azrouël and editorials for the likes of Mario Sorrenti and Mariano Vivanco, but her passion is vintage clothing. Joos’ blog, Tales of Endearment, spotlights Joos’ “Muses,” impeccably styled girls who share her secondhand obsession. In a new partnership with, Tales of Endearment’s subjects will preview their shoots right here on Style File.

Writer Stephanie LaCava’s vintage education began at an early age. While tagging along with her parents on antique shopping trips in Paris as a child, she started looking for something that struck her interest more than lamps and chairs. After a Victorian lace blouse purchase, she was hooked, and she has since amassed an impressive collection that ranges from an Yves Saint Laurent tuxedo to faux furs to beetle pendants. But clothes and accessories aren’t the only thing she has accumulated over the years—the 27-year-old redhead has the historical knowledge to rival her meticulously curated collection. As Joos describes their photo shoot, “Stephanie is a waterfall of fashion references, elaborate vintage testimonials, and infectious giggles. She’s on some kind of lavish high, ferociously exposing me to all her treasure collections and obsessions, accurately dated histories and demonstrative anecdotes included.” Here, LaCava explains her vintage-bug bug and shares her other favorites to collect.

Tell me about your style. What inspires it?
It’s a bit bipolar. There’s a nineties-derivative, minimal, grunge thing that is always there. I also love old fabrics and vintage textiles, so it’s a weird dichotomy. Too modern looks aren’t necessarily my thing, but sometimes my style is more lean than that.

Who do you count as style icons?
My father, grandfather, [Antoine de] Saint-Exupery, Nancy Cunard, Sarah Murphy, Madeleine Castaing, and Alice in Wonderland. What I really like is seeing a woman on the street, who you don’t know, and she has her own signature look.

What would you say is your signature?
I always wear my grandma’s old bangles on my right wrist—it’s my vintage signature. On my wedding day, I got a new one. It’s really about things that have connotations and when you put something on, it’s about what you associate with it and memories you have had while wearing it.

How did your interest in vintage begin?
I grew up in France and I would go with my family to shop for antiques. While I was there, I would look for something I could afford, like clothes and bags. The first thing I found was this Victorian lace blouse. The dealer sold it to me for like 20 francs—he just saw this little girl who was in love with the blouse. Then I started collecting handbags because I was so bored of furniture!

What are some of your other favorite items in your wardrobe, vintage and non-vintage?
The brown print Dries pants I just got. My staples are a Prada platform (every season)—also Ann Demeulemeester makes great ones. The Rick Owns [long-sleeve] T-shirts that cover my hands. And I wear a lot of bloomers. The season doesn’t matter. I have leather Miu Miu ones that I wear quite often.

Also, for my 21st birthday, my dad gave me a black vintage Lanvin cape he found. It was so adorable. He loves to treasure hunt and he managed to find matching vintage Lanvin pieces.

What vintage pieces do you collect?
Iconic pieces from the nineties, like Helmut Lang sweaters and pieces by Ann Demeulemeester. I also collect certain handbags from certain jewelers, like old Cartier bags before they started doing bags again. I also like to use old containers as clutches. It’s a fine line between what’s in my apartment and actual handbags. [And] beetles are a big thing for me.

Beetles—how did that come about?
I don’t know, I have always loved ancient Egypt and there’s definitely the scarab references, but it’s more than that. It’s very hard to find them intact. There was this one beetle brooch I have from 1880 that Natalie really loved during the shoot.

Where do you hunt for your vintage treasures?
I love Exquisite Costume in New York (377 Broome St., NYC, I also find things through friends that have cool things available. I love to vintage shop in France. In New York, it’s like you’re cheating. All of these people have great eyes and they have already found these amazing pieces for you, you know? The hunt isn’t there. Estate sales are also amazing. You can see how someone else put the pieces together and how they wore them.

Finish the thought: What’s old is new again when… Someone falls in love with it.

For more from Stephanie’s shoot, visit Tales of Endearment.

Photos: Natalie Joos

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