IF YOU COULD HAVE JUST EIGHT VINTAGE FASHION ITEMS, WHAT WOULD THEY BE?

 

For my second guest on Desert Island Vintage I invited Carla Rey, proprietress of Carla & Carla, one of the most consistently cool vintage fashion shops online. Carla's sensibilities were honed growing up in New York City in the 1980s. She credits her mother's Brooklyn theater company for kindling her love of Victorian mourning jackets, flapper dresses, "beaded anything" and glorious feathered hats. 

Carla is a retired ballet dancer and a punk rock maven.

Let those two points sink in a moment.

 

Among the riches of New York City in the early '80s? "A great and cheap abundance of vintage clothing. Every 20 feet there was a vintage store. Racks upon racks of '40s dresses, '50s dresses, and bins of pedal pushers and army/navy jackets.

"Back then, I loved mixing '30s and '40s crepe dresses with fishnets and leather and wearing grandma cardigans backwards with anything Betsey Johnson! Man-tailored tuxedo jackets with pedal pushers and pointy-toe cowboy boots were signature staples in my closet."

Carla in a 1940s blouse

Carla in a 1940s blouse

Need I say that Carla has edgy/cool taste? She has a style I would love to have myself...so of course I had to find out how she'd answer the Desert Island Question:

IF YOU COULD HAVE JUST EIGHT VINTAGE FASHION ITEMS, WHAT WOULD THEY BE?

And of course her answers are interesting. Read on. 

"My eight vintage desert island must have pieces—it's a combination of pieces I already own and ones I covet! I'm not a 'fussy' dresser, I live in vintage kimonos, rock band T-shirts and turquoise jewelry. But Ms. Maggie challenged me to really think about the eight pieces I couldn't live without. Here goes, enjoy!!

 

 

1. "Norma Kamali sleeping bag coat, from my closet.

For a desert island stay, I figure you would want fashion AND function. This iconic coat keeps you warm and is just like a huge sleeping bag. I bought this from a woman who was moving to Florida. Every person who has tried it on has their eyes roll back in their head—it's heavenly and HUGE, double points for being able to use as a bed!

Norma Kamali in 1982, Dustin Pittman photo

Norma Kamali in 1982, Dustin Pittman photo

2. "My shredded late 1930s 'Pay Day' work wear overalls, again from my closet.

I found these in a local vintage shop among contemporary overalls. I love the double layer on the front of the leg, nifty pockets and the softest cotton. I get so many compliments every time I wear them. Full of little holes and wearing away in spots, patches etc. I will wear them until they fall off my body.

overalls.png

3. "1920s Cubist print robe, closet.

I had a vintage dealer try to buy it off my body for $500, I turned her down I love it that much. It reminds me of abstract Cubist paintings. Light, airy, and goes with everything.

For the rest, Carla's list gets even more eclectic.

"Wish list as follows:

4. "1930s rayon jersey deco lounging pajama.

I had a pair that were way too small for me, I reluctantly sold them to a lovely vintage fashionista who totally rocks them. I love these examples in this ad, and look at the prices!

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5. "My 1982 Plasmatics T-shirt, long gone but not forgotten!

My very first boyfriend bought me this shirt in 1982, it disappeared somewhere and I am forever on the hunt for another!

Proto-punk Carla in her early teens

Proto-punk Carla in her early teens

6. "Genius designer Kansai Yamamoto knit onesie and arm/leg warmers for David Bowie. Not a repro. THE ONE. Because Bowie. So versatile for desert island life!

7. "1930s spiderweb gown.

Something formal for evenings dancing around the fire. I'm not picky, I'll take either the Vionnet or the chiffon gown with the web train.

Helen Bennett in Spider Dress, 1939, Horst P. Horst photo; Madeline Vionnet dress, Marilyn Glass photo

Helen Bennett in Spider Dress, 1939, Horst P. Horst photo; Madeline Vionnet dress, Marilyn Glass photo

8. "1980s Stephen Sprouse punk band sticker leggings.

Super talented, Sprouse. Ultra graphic, soooooo NYC. Fabulous use of color. I love everything he's done, one of my top tier designers. Sadly gone too soon. These leggings are perfection.

If anyone feels like making Carla's dream come true, this very pair is available on Etsy here

If anyone feels like making Carla's dream come true, this very pair is available on Etsy here

Many thanks to Carla Rey for her fascinating list of eight! 
 

Don't miss Carla & Carla on Instagram, as well as the Carla & Carla Etsy shop.
 

(Maybe you will even catch a glimpse of her adorable staff member Noggin!)

 

What would you want if you could have just eight vintage fashion pieces? If you'd like to be featured here, let me know!

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