Saturday, November 1, 2014

Me and Bonnie

Last week was the Manhattan Vintage Clothing  Show, It has been about four years since I went to the last one but, I had to make it this year because they were highlighting American sportswear designer Bonnie Cashin who in the vintage collector community, Cashin designs are in the top five.

Before Halston, or Donna Karan Bonnie Cashin was the lead designer for the infamous leather goods brand Coach. Many of her designs and trademarks are seen in numerous designs in present day. The Bonnie Cashin look was relaxed, layered composed of  luxurious fabrics.

Disclosure, I had no intention on buying anything but, this Bonnie Cashin for Saks Fifth Avenue coat had to be purchased. Why- it was beautiful, the price was right and it would have haunted me for years had I not bought it.  

This was my first Bonnie Cashin piece and sorry guys, I'm not selling it. It's going in the Vintage Shaun archives.  Follow me on Instagram this winter to see me and Bonnie take over the world.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Learning Tree

Helen Nurse founder of Tracy Chambers Vintage  2nd from right 

I went to the Fashion Institute of Technology and I graduated from there over ten years ago and now I am an instructor. Funny enough, my guest speaker last night, Helen Nurse of Tracy Chambers Vintage went to FIT as well although for a shorter time-around two weeks to be exact. Helen, seen with the denim dress on, has impeccable taste as well as an amazing personality and I wanted her point of view as well as her knowledge to pass on to my students. They were caught up in the rapture, and you should as well. Check out Tracy Chambers Vintage  and make sure you head to her events, Tracy Tastings to get a cocktail, conversation and of course, clothes. 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The End of an Era

If you are a lover of old Hollywood, then you were saddened to receive the news of screen legend Lauren Bacall's passing this week. One of the last of the idols from the era when there were true movie stars, many images of Bacall with her late husband Humphrey Bogart have flooded our thoughts. With her husky voice, stunning posture and face framing body wave hair made a lasting impression for generations. The native New Yorker had a tough as nails exterior that did not match her lovely looks. 

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Vintage Books: Passing

Seems to be a theme on this blog this week, classic traditional media that incorporates race and class. Today's post highlights the classic book Passing by Nella Larsen written during the Harlem Renaissance.  The story is based off of two childhood friends who reunite in adulthood but one is passing for white while the other fair skinned as well, lives her life as a Black woman. The themes of race within a major city, Chicago as well as underline homosexual context make this story a true must read. Larsen was a well received writer who fell on hard times and  died in obscurity. If you love Passing, you'll enjoy Quicksand as well. So if you are traveling or laying poolside, dive into this classic and poignant story of not only Black literature but American literature. 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Vintage in Films: Imitation of Life

Like most Vintage collectors, we have a love for nostalgia and today's nostalgic moment happens to be the film "Imitation of Life" starring Lana Turner, Juanita Moore and a epic gospel solo by Mahalia Jackson.

There are two versions, one in 1934 and the other in 1959. For this post  we are highlighting the 1959 version which garnered Academy Award nominations for Juanita  Moore and Sarah Kohner who play the tragic mother and daughter. The first time I saw this this emotional film I was around ten. Some of the themes of class, race and specifically passing were slightly foreign to me. As a kid we were still learning about racism and class was foreign but the idea of passing was unheard of. Growing up in Brooklyn  in the 1980s and 1990s you knew you were African American and that's that, my brown skin can tell no lies.

Since it was based in the late 1950s right in the midst of the Civil Right movement and race heavy theme is far from sugar coated. Sarah Jane, played by Czech and Mexican actress Susan Kohner, who also received an Oscar nomination is so gun-ho for passing for white, she disowns her mother Annie , played by Moore leading to Annie dying from a broken heart and in the gut wrenching final scene, Sarah Jane breaks down at her mother's casket and begs for forgiveness, albeit to late.

The film is considered to be a classic in American cinematography  and is noted as being one of the most authentic films of its time dealing with the themes of  race, single motherhood, passing as well as class. If you're looking for a good film to ponder about current issues and of course checking out the stellar wardrobe of Lana Turner, look no further than Imitation of Life.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Let's Talk Kenneth Jay Lane

Ever a fan of statement jewelry, I've enjoyed  the Kenneth Jay Lane since using it on a fashion shoot in 2002.  KJL for short, has been around since 1963 and has and is a favorite of socialites and celebrities. His pieces are bold with inspiration from as early as the  Byzantine Empire to French Provincial. Many of his earlier works from 1963-1980  are collected by major vintage collectors. Many KJL pieces are forms of inspiration from your favorite fast fashion brands as well. Take a look at these vintage pieces and get to know and start collecting Kenneth Jay Lane.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Reading is Fundamental

Collecting and selling vintage also means constantly educating yourself. I like to think of this position as one of a curator and a historian. The best vintage sellers don't just tell you how pretty a piece is, they have to know the decade or even better the year give or take that a piece is from. A great vintage dealer can call out an icon of that era, Marilyn, Jackie, Diana and you'll know you are wearing a little piece of history.

I recently picked up Icons Of Vintage Fashion: Definitive Designer Classics at Auction 1900-1990 an amazing encyclopedia of iconic pieces of fashion sold at auction to museums as well as personal collectors.  There are over one thousand pieces photographed in the book showcasing, a historical timeline of silhouettes and fabrics. There are original from such designers as Dior, Givenchy and Schiaperlli with thier actual namesakes. A combination of ready to wear and couture as well as high end accessories by Chanel and Hermes, this comprehensive vintage auction bible is excellent for designers, students and geeks like myself.  If you want to understand the historical as well as commercial value of high end vintage and also learn about form and shapes from decade to decade, this book is excellent.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Women Crush Wednesday the Supermodel Edition

The year is 1990 and this Revlon ad was featured in every  major fashion magazine. This stunning image of Iman, Beverly Johnson and Louise Vyent showed that  there are beautiful Black women from Africa, Europe and the US. In this present era where there is a slippery slope of defining Black beauty and sometimes a blatant mockery of it, this twenty four year-old ad was ahead of its time. 

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

What is Modern Vintage

Before I started collecting and selling vintage, I was always intrigued by any piece that resembled fashions from decades before. Whether it was  the style, shape or fabric,  I was always attracted to new clothing with a vintage twist.  Some of the most popular brands of today have very strong ties to vintage fashion and a strong majority of their vision is inspired by the culture and fashion from the 20th century. Let's look at a few designers/brands that get the definition of modern vintage just right. 

Tracy Reese

J. Crew



Tory Burch 

Kate Spade

Tuesday, June 17, 2014


Vintage patterns are a combination of vintage fashion as well as DIY at its finest. Although, I am not the best seamstress, I do enjoy collecting vintage patterns if not just for the inspiration you can find on the front. Whenever I spot one especially if it's from the 1920s-1950s, I get very excited. Whether they are from McCall, Butterick, Simplicity or Vogue, a vintage pattern can be just as fun as an actual vintage piece.  Your local thrifts stores usually have a great amount and if you are looking for something specific try eBay and get busy to get crafty.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Mamie and the Hotel Theresa

The woman on the right, holding the gloves in her hand is my grandmother Mamie, who passed away last October. Funny, when you see your parents or older family members you never think of them as anything than the age you met them. To see my grandmother, in the picture looking like a starlet who could give Lena Horne a run for her money, leaves me with a sweet memory that took until her passing for me to unearth.  

 The image was taken at the Hotel Theresa probably around 1955. The woman on the left with the white collar  is my grandmother's aunt, Sara who was her guardian here in New York when my grandmother decided to relocate. During that era, the Hotel Theresa was dubbed   the Waldorf of Harlem and was an epicenter of African American social life.  In 1960,  Fidel Castro came to the opening session of the United Nations and after an altercation at the Shelburne in Midtown, he and entourage came to the Hotel Theresa and were welcomed.

This image is not only of two young women having a night out, but of migrants from the South,  two women who were in their twenties and had not married but were working and enjoying life.  They were working and enjoying a night out in a sectioned off part of New York where Blacks were allowed. Before the Civil Rights Movement, before bottle service, before husbands, before mortgages,  before the gentrification of Harlem, there was Mamie and Sara enjoying a night out in taffeta gowns.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Old School Love

We are coming into wedding season and what would be better than a few lovely vintage shots of couples on their first day as husband and wife.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Second Time Is A Charm

April showers bring May shoppers. The Spring Vintage Shaun  and Dee Lioness Pop Up Shop took place from May 3 through May 9th in Greenpoint Brooklyn and was the destination for vintage lovers and accessories addicts. To add to the fun and fashionable fete, were the sponsors who elevated the Pop-Up and allowed customers to have a hospitable experience. Belvoir Fruit Farms, Caribaya Rum Punch, Carpingo and Pop Chips provided the beverages, cocktails, transportation and snacks in the shop, granting customers a larger than life retail experience. Check out the images below from photographer Aisha Ude and make sure you follow us @VintageShaun  for more events this summer.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Bloggers Unite to Kick Off First Ever Sip n’ Style at the Vintage Shaun and Dee Lioness Spring Pop up Shop

From left to right: Annika Harris, Shaunya Hartley, Lucy Norris and Keisha Bloise 

Last evening, Annika Harris of UPTOWN  Magazine, Keisha Bloise of Beauty n’ Curlz and Lucy Norris of On Deck with Lucy were on hand as the blogger hosts for the very first Sip n’ Style at the  Vintage Shaun  and Dee Lioness Spring Pop Up Shop in Greenpoint , Brooklyn.
Each blogger brought their own personal touch on styling a piece from the Vintage Shaun collection in addition to wearing  a handcrafted piece from contemporary jewelry designer Dee Lioness.    Some of the vintage  pieces curated by the bloggers  included a 1980s cream silk  damask print wrap dress  from Argenti which was in the Annika Harris collection. A peach silk ruffled blouse from the 1970s was part of Keisha Boise’s collection and a black and white beaded evening top from the 1960s was a favorite of Lucy Norris. 

 Guests  were treated to an educational yet fun shopping experience.  The complimentary cocktail of the evening, the Brooklyn Storm, was provided by Georgi Vodka and Caribaya Rum Punch.  For those not partaking in cocktails, Belvoir Fruit Farms was on hand with their organic presses, a refreshing mixture of fruit and sparkling water which was a hit and complimented the pop chips that were also on hand as the snack sponsor.

The evening was highlighted on numerous social media outlets using the hashtag #SipnStyle and both the bloggers and attendees made posting, fun and fashionable.  If you were unable to  attend the   Sip n’ Style, but still want to get your vintage fix,  you have until  until Friday March 9th  to stop by the Vintage Shaun and Dee Lioness Pop Up Shop  at 110 Meserole Avenue,Brooklyn, New York 11222.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Style Profile: Annika Harris the Vintage Diva

We've saved the best for last with our style profile on Annika Harris, Associate Editor of Actually, we have a bias for Annika as she was one of the earliest Vintage Shaun clients. With her unique and amazing sense of style, this native New Yorker is a mastermind of mixing vintage with a modern day pieces with effort and ease. Before meeting Annika tonight at the Sip n' Style, get to know Annika's very own theory on her personal  style  and look out for this Vintage loving epic fashionista this evening.

Describe your style
My style is a hybrid of super femininity and edgy masculinity with glamorous touches and a little ghetto-fab thrown in.

Favorite item in your closet?
 Can my shoe collection be considered one item? 

Why do you like vintage?
 I like wearing vintage clothing because there's no fear of seeing another woman in my outfit; each garment is unique. Plus, who doesn't love a retro moment?

Favorite vintage item?
 My favorite vintage item is a half-moon, birdcage-style purse my mom saved from the '70s. It's the only vintage item she preserved and handed down to me.

What tips do you have for people buying vintage?
 My number one tip is: If you like it, try it on. Sizing has changed over the decades, so you can't believe the labels. Another tip is to check seams for holes or pulls. Buttons can always be changed. And also, check armpits for stains because no amount of cleaning will remove yellow stains from vintage clothing.