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September 1 2014

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What’s Old Is Now: Byronesque Debuts Its Latest Vintage Lineup

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Alaia Alaia“There’s a lot of ugly vintage out there,” said Byronesque founder Gill Linton. “I look at some vintage stores, and I’m like, ‘This is trash. It’s not fashion. There’s no story behind it. And you’re giving it such a bad name.’” You won’t find any of that rubbish on Linton’s website, which she launched in 2012 with the help of Marvin Traub Associates and Theory’s Andrew Rosen. As a die-hard vintage addict (and frequent Byronesque browser), I can personally attest to the fact that Linton only sells the crème de la crème of previously loved designer clothes and that Byronesque is the prime source of authentic vintage—i.e., clothes over twenty years old—on the Web. Byronesque is a veritable vault of lust-worthy vintage wares by the likes of Azzedine Alaïa, Vivienne Westwood, Pierre Cardin, Thierry Mugler, and more. So naturally, when Linton invited me to a private viewing of the latest additions to the site—which will be available to stylists for shoots for the first time—last week, I scurried on over.

Buyers from the Met had beat me to the event and scooped up an original 1920s frock, an authentic 1980s Yohji Yamamoto bustle coat (famously snapped by Nick Knight), a rare white crucifix-embellished Alaïa, and a sculptural black-and-white Issey Miyake gown. “I do love when they go to good homes,” Linton said of the museum’s purchases. The Met’s interest in Linton’s finds is a testament to her well-trained eye and standout merchandise. And despite the museum’s informed acquisitions, there was still much in the collection to gawk at. A custom-made Alexander McQueen three-piece men’s suit (complete with his signature lock of hair), an almost uptown-apropos lemon Galliano frock (“Though you wouldn’t see quite this much fashion tit on the Upper East Side,” laughed Linton), and a 1990s warrior-inspired Comme des Garçons ensemble comprise just a sampling of what’s available. “This is what we call contemporary vintage,” explained Linton. “It’s different from being classic—classic is safe. But it’s relevant and wearable today, and nobody’s going to say you look like an extra in Downton Abbey or an Austin Powers movie.” To wit, one of Linton’s colleagues turned up to the soiree wearing shorts by Rick Owens, which were the spitting image of the vintage Armani “Wigger Shorts” that hung on the rack next to him.

Issey MiyakeChanel

Many of the most covetable pieces, like a serious supermodel-era neon tweed bra, shorts, and jacket by Chanel; the abovementioned Issey Miyake look; a cracked leather McQueen coat; a sea foam tulle Yves Saint Laurent dress; and an iconic leopard-print Alaïa frock, are courtesy of two singular women: model Irina Pantaeva and pop star Cristina Monet. The former was a muse to Miyake, and was actually photographed by Irving Penn wearing the gown purchased by the Met. The latter was a post-punk music maven with a miniature waist and impeccable taste. Their clothes have stories behind them—not only because they were designed by icons, but because of the life these women gave them. And that life, along with the garments’ superior aesthetic and quality, is what Linton is selling. “I really want people to feel excited about these clothes and their past,” Linton told us. After thumbing through this selection, it’s hard not to be.

Byronesque’s latest offering will be available on the website next week, but to reserve your favorite piece ahead of the pack, e-mail personalshopper@byronesque.com.

Photo: Courtesy of Byronesque 

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