Finding Vintage Fashion Treasures in Paris
It’s always a joy to stroll the Avenue Montaigne with its feast of the latest in couture fashion - Dior, Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Celine. But consider broadening your fashion horizon by diving into Paris’ vibrant vintage scene.
What could be more thrilling than discovering a fabulous and once fabulously expensive couture piece at a far less than lofty price? And the shopping experience can be très chic. Many stores smartly display their gently used treasures in the beautiful windows as you wander through hidden (and not so hidden) neighborhoods. You will be in good company exploring shops selling these vintage pieces because it’s a well-kept secret that savvy Parisians head for these designer resale boutiques for second-hand deals. And if you are fortunate enough to find something of historical significance - a vintage bar jacket from Dior, a hard to find brooch from Chanel, or perhaps the illusive handbag from Hermes – lucky you!
Here are some suggestions for exploring “les dépôt-vente”:
Réciproque, 95 Rue de la Pompe, in the 16th arrondssement, is one of the largest of Paris’ discount shops. The street level floor for is arranged by Parisian fashion houses, with racks of clothing worthy of any textile museum included in the collections. Handbags, jewelry and other accessories are in the side room. Head to the lower level for shoes, casual wear, furs and designs by lesser known French designers and international designers.
A must visit is the precious little shop, Les 3 Marches de Catherine B, 1 Rue Guisarde in Saint-Germain-des-Prés. Open for over 25 years, the boutique has become known for its collections of Hermes and Chanel assembled by owner and Instagram famous “Catherine B”. The respected vintage expert even owns the original Hermes bag created for and named after Jane Birkin, the English-French actress, singer and model. If you are fortunate, you might just see the owner having a chat with one of her many friends when you visit.
Be sure to ask for what is new when you enter the lovely La Boutique de Cara, 80 rue de Turenne. The sunny room full of resale and vintage pieces are all luxurious finds. From dresses shown on a recent runway of Dior, to vintage Couture Chanel jewelry, and even the elusive Alaïa little black dress, all are treasures to be found here when you explore the shop. Be sure to ask the fashionable sales associates for help finding what you wish.
Depending on the district, there are many other interesting stores and vintage shops to be explored. Paris being the world’s fashion capital, there are new designer venues and shops opening all the time. Before you travel to Paris this spring and summer, you might enjoy to have a look at Grace’s Little Black Book, opening in a few weeks, the MUST read for all Parisian fashion fans.