I was in San Francisco at one of my favourite vintage stores and the owner said: “I have something in the back that you might be interested in, but it’s kind of pricey.” When he brought out this Christian Dior New Look suit, I tried to appear cool – but I had never seen anything like it, except in museums.
The clothes that were made in Paris under Mr Dior have the Christian Dior Paris label in them and a red serial number, which this has, so it is a bit of a holy grail vintage item – they are hard to find. There are garters attached to the blouse, which then attach to your stockings. It holds your stockings up and also pulls the blouse down, so it doesn’t bunch up – there is some incredible engineering inside this suit.
Afterwards, I got an email from someone that said: “How dare you – that suit was for me! I had it on hold!” But I was like: maybe you should have bought it when it was there – that is the number one rule of vintage.
I am very careful about how this suit is kept. When you are a collector of vintage clothes, moths are the enemy. I check on it all the time to make sure that nothing has eaten it. It lives in an archival box to protect it, but I do wear it. I love it.
One of the things I like about 50s clothes is that they are so flattering and easy to wear. I love wearing a big skirt where your hips feel free.
I originally started dressing in vintage because, when I was in high school, I couldn’t afford the designer jeans that my friends had. I discovered vintage and would try on clothes that reminded me of things I saw in magazines. I wore lingerie as outerwear, little bustiers, and tried to throw together a look that wasn’t reliant on having money.
This was in the 90s, when vintage clothes weren’t quite as valuable as they are now. I have things in my wardrobe that I bought at that time that I still love wearing. If you choose vintage right, it can last a long time.