As the industry strives to become more sustainable, vintage is edging towards the top of the shopping agenda. “It just makes sense,” says Shrimpton Couture’s Cherie Balch, who believes that fashion’s current lust for making the old new again is not just a flash-in-the-pan affair. While adopting a greener mindset, consumers have fallen for the romance of archival looks. “There’s just something about vintage pieces that is extra special,” explains Balch, who counts Rihanna and Tracee Ellis Ross as customers. “They have a little bit of magic in them and you just can’t walk away.”
While 2021 saw the Noughties dominate vintage shopping headlines, this year sees a shift towards pieces that will transcend trends. Investment buying is top priority, with fashion fans sharpening their elbows to score rare collectibles, exquisite couture and statement jewellery that can be customised and made even more unique. The smartest shoppers are even paying it forward, and snapping up popular gems by current designers who will become the equivalent of John Galliano-era Dior in decades to come.
Here, the world’s top vintage sellers share the one-of-a-kind pieces of fashion history to keep an eye out for this year; as Cherie puts it: “the things that if you walk into a modern retail store you just cannot even hope to see on the racks.”
The major successes of the mid-’00s
Galliano’s Dior stole hearts last year, but archive hunters are now trawling for any vintage Dior, according to Balch. Why the popularity contest? “I think there’s a real love-hate relationship happening at the moment with modern Dior, so for a lot of people that means going back to the past and looking for the pieces they loved then and still love now,” explains Cherie. At Time’s Up, the Copenhagen emporium frequented by Naomi Campbell, Lady Gaga and Jane Birkin, founder Jesper Richardy is expecting a renaissance of Nicolas Ghesquière’s Balenciaga and mid ’00s Rick Owens, while Roberto Cavalli’s Noughties signatures are the hot tickets on Depop.
“Cavalli was ahead of his time in using fabrics that flatter a lot of different sizes; I think the dresses will prove to be in demand for a long time to come,” says Clare O’Donnell of Depop platform @edenvintage_, who is stocking up on the brand’s nostalgic runway prints, including the chinoiserie and amour tattoo motifs. Clever current creative director Fausto Puglisi at Cavalli is capitalising on the rising interest in old-school brand insignia, and bringing back the iconic autumn/winter 2000 tiger pattern for spring/summer 2022. “These original prints will be a good investment as the market always spikes when archive pieces are reintroduced on the runway,” continues O’Donnell, who expects Kylie Jenner, Zendaya and Bella Hadid’s love of Cavalli to help drive demand. “If you act quickly, you can snag one of the dresses before the prices start to rise!”
Keep your eyes on fashion’s musical chairs, too. “When an iconic designer leaves a house, we always see interest accelerate, as customers want to get hold of that designer’s last collection,” comments Hattie Hawksworth, editor-in-chief at Farfetch, which runs a successful pre-owned division. Snap up Daniel Lee’s final work for Bottega Veneta while you can.
Classics are called classics for a reason
If you’ve been lusting after a Chanel bag forever, make 2022 the year you bring that plush quilting home. “After several price increases in the past 12 months, the double flap bag is soon going to be on par with the Hermès Kelly in terms of price,” says Rewind Vintage Affairs Limited founder and CEO, Claudia Ricco. And “impossible to buy”.
Hawksworth is currently weighing up her own Chanel handbag quandary: “classic or statement?”, and says Farfetchers are making good use of the etailer’s Donate service, whereby they can sell their pre-loved goods for store credit to help soften the blow of their big-ticket archive buys. “It’s a cliché, but I really think we’re seeing a return to traditional luxury pieces; those truly indulgent, once-in-a-lifetime purchases,” says Hattie, adding that Bulgari’s Serpenti watch is also currently on her own archive wish list.
But what about the new classics? Ricco’s background as a luxury vintage expert with a 20-year-old eco-fashion obsessed daughter makes her well placed to predict the current designers who will stand the test of time in a crowded market. “Newer or up-and-coming sustainable brands will definitely become part of the future vintage space [because] younger consumers are buying very differently,” explains Claudia, who is putting her money on Jacquemus being successful later down the line.
Archive aficionados who have long loved the thrill of the chase and that dopamine rush of an eBay buy hitting the doorstep are moving on from vintage fashion and into the realm of couture. “It’s the pinnacle of fashion and there are still pieces to be found at every budget level if you really hunt,” says Ricco, who notes Gripoix, YSL and Chanel are her most requested labels. “When you do find them, it is just an amazing thing to hold a piece of history in your hands and see the workmanship and level of construction that was put into it. You know that you’re holding something that very few people can have access to in our modern world.”
One-of-a-kind pieces with cult followings
Likewise, scarcity is going to become a buzzword in the vintage sphere. Sophie Quy, vice president of brands at Threads Styling, says the personal shopping platform has seen a sharp increase in clients requesting one-off personalised accessories, while Ricco shares that she’s searching for unique collectibles by brands, including Maison Martin Margiela, Mugler and Comme Des Garçons, which major in unusual fashion-cum-art pieces with cult followings. “While fashion is generally becoming increasingly homogeneous globally with no room for local brands, there is an opportunity in vintage fashion to find truly special pieces that will last,” asserts Richardy.
Costume jewellery that commands attention
“It is well known that jewellery by well-known names tends to best hold and even increase its value,” says Depop’s O’Donnell, who is always on the lookout for iconic pieces by Christian Lacroix and Chanel. “Bold costume jewellery has made a huge comeback thanks to Daniel Roseberry at Schiaparelli so I think we can expect to see the prices increase this year.” At Rewind Vintage Affairs Limited, it’s all about ’80s and ’90s couture jewellery, while at Threads Styling, requests for bespoke watches have increased by over 100 per cent in the last year alone.
As always, Gen-Z shoppers will go their own way
If your style is less Chanel and more TikTok, then Penny Lane is the muse to know, according to the Depop gang. Selena Williams of @selenashop is betting big on the ’70s coats worn by rock chicks, like Kate Hudson’s character in 2000 film Almost Famous, and their ’90s reproductions.
Elsewhere, Charley Keighley of @_kitten________ believes “Dad” is the word for 2022. “XL blazers and low, slouchy suiting; either worn super androgynously or pared back, is a trend that by its very nature endorses sustainable style,” explains Keighley. “It’s encouraging us to raid our Dad’s/ boyfriend’s wardrobes to repurpose an item that already exists in the world and make it our own.” No matter if you can’t afford couture, there’s something for everyone this year.