Nouveau vintage: why the Eighties and Nineties are well worth collecting Have you ever wondered what to collect next? What are the gems to look out for now? Those elusive items that in times to come we will wish we had kept. We certainly have, which is why we’ve got an eye on what’s going on on the catwalks, and the better Eighties and Nineties items in charity shops are already attracting attention like never before. Selfridges, barely into the New Year, declared the Nineties were ‘vintage’ (though technically being 20 years old makes them retro). One lady who is pioneering the future vintage trend has agreed to let us into the secret of ‘nouveau vintage’: Jeanne Suica is quite possible the vintage world’s leading expert on Eighties and Nineties fashion, and has sourced one-off items for clients from Paris to Hollywood. Vintage Secret’s Naomi Thompson met up with Jeanne to find out for QueensOfVinatge.com how she picked up first what we are all missing out on. Naomi Thompson for QoV: Jeanne, tell us how it all began Jeanne Suica: I started in the consignment business in 1994 on a part time basis at Encore on Madison Avenue in New York. It was an eye opening experience in many ways. Their back room was a museum of contemporary items from every famous person you could imagine. Years later I opened my own consignment store in New York and started to dabble in vintage. When I moved to London I continued to buy and sell vintage in small bits but concentrated on contemporary since that was the easiest to source. I wasn’t really that interested in vintage until I purchased a Gaultier dress at a thrift shop for $40, never ended up wearing it for Halloween and sold it at auction for the equivalent of $1,000! I guess that was the starting point of taking it a bit more seriously and starting to study collections and looking for higher value pieces. I began to look for Eighties and Nineties and realized that I had fallen in love with some designers that emerged from this period. QoV: Do you think this will be an emerging market? Jeanne Suica: Yes I do. If you are concentrating on designer labels it is much harder to find important pieces at reasonable prices. I tend to only sell designer pieces but again it depends on what you want to do as a business. What are the trends and needs of the marketplace and can you and do you want to source pieces as the trends change? For the past year so many dealers and collectors have been looking for Eighties pieces and even vintage dealers that have focused on earlier periods have started to mix up their inventory to meet the demands. I still respect the dealers of course who tend to stick to the periods that they love even if they do roll their eyes when I tell them that I’m a dealer who deals in Eighties and Nineties. We should all be focusing on what we truly love and appreciate, and while I have the upmost respect for earlier periods and the dealers who specialize in those, I’ve found that this niche is very successful for me and my clients. QoV: Who would you say your clients are? Jeanne Suica: Most of my better items are sold through auction. I find that this is the best and most efficient way to sell. I work very closely with a major auction house and even bring pieces of my clients up for auction. I sell privately to collectors and museums (who by the way are incorporating more and more newer labels into their collections). I source inventory for various dealers and of course sell to fashionistas who find that a gently-worn modern item is much better than paying full retail for. Since I moved to Paris two years ago, a lot of doors have opened for me and I have access to a lot of items that are desirable for the UK and American markets in particular. 2 Responses Kirsty Basram March 4th, 2010 I am a vintage dealer and whilst I concentrate on pieces from the 50’s and 60’s, I (and my clients!) are always happy to consider later pieces. Personally, I find the 80’s and 90’s pieces which appeal most are the ones that reference earlier eras. Suzanne aka Punk Glam Queen March 4th, 2010 Jeanne knows her trade better than most. Anyone looking to find the right venue to sekk or if looking for that special piece *needs* to hook up with her asap!