There are fashion connoisseurs, and then, there are vintage lovers… those sartorial enthusiasts who can’t get over the romance of a painstakingly found piece from the yesteryears, which stands out not just for its impeccable detailing, but also for its history. Designer Tatiana Fayad, the woman behind accessory brand Vanina‘s beaded creations, is, believe it or not, one such collector. “My personal love story with vintage clothing started during my teenage years, when I started digging into my mother’s closets and found myself amazing pieces. These hand-me-downs made me realize the value of vintage fashion, and bit by bit, I started looking for unique and one-offs pieces while traveling,” she tells Vogue Arabia in a candid chat that takes us back to her childhood. “I started acquiring my own vintage stock with the dream that maybe one day, I could open my very own vintage shop.”
Come 2018, the dream was realized with the launch of Nouvelle Vague, Fayad’s very own vintage haven, which offers up age-old treasures to Beirut’s fashion-savvy set, and was soon followed by an e-commerce website aiming to become the main online destination for vintage lovers in Lebanon, and also the region. And this year, Nouvelle Vague took things one step further, introducing a special Dubai pop-up that promises a unique collection of eclectic, yet wearable pieces to shoppers in the UAE. “With new drops every week, you can expect to find everything from classics to statement pieces that have been selected for their quality and style,” the designer reveals.
Keeping the importance of sustainable fashion in mind (“Clothes weren’t designed to be disposable, but to last and be cherished forever. The future of fashion has to be vintage, up-cycled designs and rentals,” says the designer, who also prioritizes the environment when working on new Vanina creations), Nouvelle Vague’s Dubai pop-up brings together vintage finds that reflect Tatiana Fayad’s discerning eye, and could very easily be spotted in her own closet. The key to finding the right piece, however, is to shop like a seasoned vintage store hopper.
Here are Fayad’s top five tips to shopping for vintage pieces like a professional
1. Invest in timeless, classical pieces, like an Yves Saint Laurent suit, or Emmanuel Ungaro dress, because if a design can withstand time, it means that it’s a good investment.
2. Make sure the garment fits you well. Since most of the vintage pieces that you find in stores have been worn several times, size does not really correspond to what’s indicated on the label. So be a little patient, and if there is no fitting room at the store, do not hesitate to try the garment directly on yourself.
3. Quality is paramount. You need to invest in vintage clothing that is perfect, so look out carefully for stains, marks, broken zips and missing buttons, as you will never be able to get stains out properly.
4. Feel the fabric. You may fall in love with a beautiful dress or a stunning shirt, but if it is made from a rigid fabric—think twice. Look for for cottons, silks, linens and denims, and always touch the clothing to make sure the piece still has life in it.
5. And lastly, be open-minded! Vintage shopping is an adventure. You may stumble upon your new favorite outfit, or something that may look good on you that you might not have chosen at first!