So. You read my thoughts on being a fashion collector? If not, shame on you, get over there now and take a look. If you are thinking of investing in fashion yourself the below should be helpful, whether you are a Hamish or a Rachel.
What I like to call ‘contemporary vintage’ has been covetable for a while now and there is no doubt that people are becoming more aware of it as a category distinct from ‘true vintage’. The Internet has made it easier for people to reference past collections and to look out for their most coveted pieces in the second hand marketplace. Museum exhibitions of contemporary fashion labels such as Alexander McQueen, Prada and Louis Vuitton/Marc Jacobs have also given people a better ‘real time’ idea of what might be fashion’s future collectibles. Whether it be Tom Ford’s designs for Gucci or Stella McCartney’s designs for Chloe there is no doubt that the pre-owned designer fashion buyer is becoming more savvy about the pieces they spend their money on.
When thinking of who to invest in there are several factors to take into account. If you have the eye of Isabella Blow or Joan Burstein you could try to snap up the first collection from fashion’s next big thing (Blow bought Alexander McQueen’s graduate collection, Burstein bought John Galliano’s). But if you don’t have the rare skill of being able to recognise the future of fashion then you should look at buying pieces with some hindsight – so pre-owned.
Alexander McQueen pieces from Lee’s McQueen’s days are of course very collectible (for obvious reasons of irreplaceability) and Pheobe Philo’s designs for Chloe are gaining cache. Philo has come into her own in collector’s terms. Her huge success at Celine and her reputation as the new ‘Queen of Minimalism’ has heralded a new interest in her whole archive.
Other things to look out for are labels that have undergone a change of designer as pieces from the out-going designers will become more collectible – think about Nicolas Ghesquiere’s Balenciaga pieces and Stefano Pilati’s YSL ones. And also think about iconic collections from your favourite labels – Stella McCartney’s Chloe Spring ‘Horses’ collection is hugely collectible.
And don’t forget key pieces from smaller labels – Christopher Kane’s galaxy print dress, Isabel Marant’s Dicker boots and Bekket trainers and Kenzo’s Tiger sweater to name a handful. And keep an eye on those super hot, relatively young labels such Mary Katrantzou and Charlotte Olympia.
Shop our fashion collectibles here
It being still unbelievably wintry (it is March for goodness sake!) we decided to ask Shay to pick out some of her favourite pieces from our extensive closet and take some pics. And it turned out she has great taste, picking piece after piece of my personal loves. After our random twitter chats on such wide ranging topics as autumn leaves and celebrity ‘designer’ disasters I knew Shay and I had a lot in common, but this was uncanny.
Amongst the pieces that caught Shay’s eye were an incredible Alexander McQueen Fall 2009 dress, my favourite piece from the whole Mother Of Pearl SS10 collection and some rather amazing Louboutins. As I said; a great eye.
On a totally random note, it just dawned on me that the floor of our closet looks like it belongs in a Mediterranean villa, not in a super cool converted electricity substation in London.
Oi. Professor Brian Cox. Get a load of my Supernova!
Last year we did some analysis (we are not all about drooling over gorgeous fashion here) on our the top selling pre-owned fashion labels. Some of the results were unsurprising, some were more so. Anyway, this year we have done it again.
As in 2011, 2012 saw the big hitters lead the second hand fashion field. First place goes to Chanel with Hermes and Louis Vuitton close behind. 2012 also saw Alexander McQueen move closer to the top of the pack – surely linked to Sarah Burton’s genius in making the label more accessible and bringing it more into the public eye. Other notables included Lanvin and Chloe.
Many of 2012′s ‘smaller yet perfectly formed’ labels continued to grow in their pre-owned popularity in 2012. Notably Christopher Kane and Isabel Marant; both of whom had some of their strongest ‘second hand moments’ in 2012. Newer additions to the high scoring list were Mary Katrantzou, Proenza Schouler (in most part due to there PS1 bag) and Stella McCartney.
Several labels are undergoing a real renaissance under their young, hip creative directors and as a result are gathering serious pre-owned pace. Notable for 2012 were Carven under the Guillaume Henry and Kenzo under Humberto Leon and Carol Lim of Opening Ceremony fame – their tiger sweatshirt was changing hands for 3 to 4 times retail.
Garment Anatomy is 101 is proving so popular that Emma (she who must be obeyed) has agreed to let the rest of us have a go. So here is my first stab.
Lesson 13 – Christopher Kane ‘Galaxy’ Dress
An instant classic, dubbed the new ‘contemporary cocktail’ dress. So visually appealing, it instantly draws you in with its magical kaleidoscope print, its bubble shape and its intriguing horizontal zip half way down the skirt. No wonder this dress, in its many forms, took the fashion world by storm and was seen on many a style icon.
The key selling points for this dress for me start with the print – its intergalactic beauty, based on pictures taken by the Hubble telescope, is mesmerising.
I also love the fact that it can be worn two ways. The skirt has a playful, innovative design which allows it to be unzipped half way down to create a mini skirted look – completely transforming the dress from a relatively demure cocktail number to a more sexy, edgy party piece.
The exposed silver zip, open back and zipped pockets on the hips add a tougher, punky edge…….
…and when the skirt is made into a mini you get this punky zip trim on the super wavy hem.
This fabulous dress will be going live on the 1st of December; part of a collection that we are auctioning for the charity Art Against Knives. Please sign up here
Second in our series of Style Sequel second hand fashion bestsellers for 2011 is our top 5 ‘Smaller Yet Perfectly Formed’. The big hitters certainly have not had all pre-owned glory this year – some smaller and up and coming labels have been attracting a lot of pre-owned love too.
Isabel Marant – over the last couple of years this Parisian design dynamo has really taken the fashion world by storm. With so many of her pieces selling out within moments of hitting stores – a perfect example being the ‘as seen on everyone who is anyone’ Dicker boots – it is no wonder that Marant’s pieces have serious second hand cache. Devotees will pay close to, and even above in some cases, retail for those impossible to find pieces.
Christopher Kane – Kane’s fashion star grows brighter each season and he has become a real darling of the fashion press. His attention grabbing party dresses assured him a fashionista following right from the start of his career yet it was his more wearable ‘monkey’ and ‘galaxy’ collections that really resonated with the public. Pre-owned Kane dresses, skirts and printed t-shirts in particular command excellent second hand prices.
Giambattista Valli – it is hard to put a finger on why this master of shape and texture has become so ‘second hand covetable’ this year. He has not had the obvious editorial or celebrity attention of other labels. It has simply been a case of a quiet desirability that has really captured the attention of pre-owned fashion lovers.
Peter Pillotto – with their signature use of cutting edge prints and strong shapes, this duo have been gaining a serious celebrity following over the last few years. With their designs seen on everyone from Rhianna to Michelle Obama, their instantly recognisable dresses have huge second hand appeal – their signature ‘Shield’ dress in particular commands top dollar.
Erdem – with a hugely successful start (his debut collection won the 2005 Fashion Fringe prize) Erdem Moralioglu has become a firm favourite with fashion forward ladies who favour a pretty yet not fuffy look. His signature floral printed, strongly shaped dresses have been changing hands for hundreds.