Every week I discover a new vintage store on Ebay. Of course there are tons of bad stuff but also loads of great sellers and it's not so easy to keep track of everyone!
One of my favorite stores is undeniably Violetville Vintage, the perfect place if you're looking for magnificent pieces from 30s, 40s, 50s and 60s.
I spend so many time looking at her auctions, I decided to keep in touch with the fabulous owner of Violetville, Miss Tina Poppy, for a little conversation...
TINA, TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOU AND YOUR STORE. HOW DID YOU GET STARTED WITH Violetville Vintage?
Basically, I love shopping, and I've never felt comfortable passing up something extraordinary just because it wasn't my size. I once bought a pair of gorgeous red tweed and leather Prada pumps at a Saks Fifth Avenue outlet for like $75. They were at least two sizes too large for me - I tried everything to make them fit! I held onto them until I found a friend with the right size feet, and then I just gave them to her. Once I realized I could actually sell some of the pieces I wasn't wearing, it allowed me to shop without the boundary of "is this my size?" - and that changed everything for me! Before starting Violetville, I had thought about just advertising myself as a personal shopper - but that's basically what I am now - I love it!
WHAT DO YOU LOOK FOR IN A PIECE YOU'RE BUYING FOR THE STORE? ARE YOU INFLUENCED BY YOUR PERSONAL TASTE?
Of course! I look for high-quality pieces, natural fabrics, and unique details.. Since I'm shopping for body shapes, sizes, and style preferences other than my own, I appreciate the draping and construction of a piece and pay particular attention to how a garment fits an actual body. Everyone wants to look good, and everyone wants to be stylish! So it's important for me to make connections that relate current trends to vintage looks. I try to offer pieces that are relevant.
IS NOT SAD AND "HEARTBREAKING" TO SELL A PIECE YOU LOVE, LETTING IT PASSES ON? AREN'T YOU TEMPTED TO KEEP ALL FOR YOURSELF?!
It's sometimes tempting, but I don't need a million pieces all to myself. And I love imagining our customers opening their mail and pulling out something beautiful and amazing and better than expected. We have such a variety of customers - celebrities, fashion design houses, college students, whatever, that I know these outfits are going to be appreciated! Of course, it's still hard to part with things I love :)
HOW MUCH OF YOUR PERSONAL WARDROBE IS VINTAGE?
Almost everything! But it's not just because I prefer it. I have reservoirs of vintage clothing, and I'm always shopping for vintage, so it's easier for me to find the right vintage piece. When I buy new pieces, they're almost always from better designers. I appreciate quality. I don't shop at H&M or Forever 21 - I'm sure you have this type of thing in Italy, they're like low-priced designer knock-off stores. It's just not interesting to me. I'd rather have one dress of quality than 10 cheaply-made dresses that are just generic copies of a once-artistic idea.
DO YOU THINK THE INCREASINGLY INTEREST FOR VINTAGE IS ONLY A TREND OR SOMETHING HERE TO STAY?
Vintage means all sorts of things to different people - to some, it's a preference for a subculture, to some it's nostalgia, to some it's just kitchy "decades" parties. But vintage also means Chanel, Dior, Lanvin - all these designs that people still covet today. Those elements of vintage will always be desirable.
WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR VINTAGE LOVERS AND COLLECTORS?
If you like a piece, buy it! Don't pass it up because it's a few more dollars than you'd like to spend. You can consider it an investment and re-sell it when you're ready. Mass-produced things are easy to find again; fine vintage isn't!
IF YOU HAD A TIME MACHING TO GO BACK IN TIME, WICH ERA AND WHERE WOULD YOU LIKE TO LIVE?
Okay, if we're talking purely in terms of fashion, I'd love to put some of my 30's evening gowns to good use. There's something phenomenal about the fit of 30's pieces, not just the bias-cut skirts, but the structured pieces of the latter half of the decade as well, and into the 40's with the fabulous tailored suits and flattering swing skirts. But, if we were taking into account the social consequences of living in a different era, the 20's might be much more fun. But those boxy 20's styles look terrible on me!
DO YOU THINK VINTAGE IS A GOOD WAY TO EXPRESS THAT SENSE OF NOSTALGIA PEOPLE (LIKE ME...) MAY HAVE FOR PAST DECADES THEY DIDN'T EVEN LIVE TROUGH?
Vintage is very expressive! It's almost like reading - you can imagine so many stories, so much history. Each dress is like a little novella: What were people's attitudes about life at that time? Who wore this dress and when? Why did she keep it for 40 years? How did it end up on my doorstep?
Thank you so much Miss Tina Poppy, it was a pleasure to talk with you. Keep on with your great great work :-)