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Alexander Fury first profiled William Vintage during his tenure as Fashion Editor of The Independent. Since then, he has been Men’s critic at American Vogue, won the acclaimed Editorial Intelligence Award and, most importantly, loves vintage.
Bonding over a love of 20th century fashion and both armed with an encyclopedic knowledge of fashion, Alexander and William talk vintage and its relevance to contemporary fashion.
My favourite vintage discovery changes on a weekly basis – as new pieces come in, mostly. The flavour of the moment is a rose-tapestry winter 1996 Givenchy haute couture suit, from John Galliano’s second and final collection at the house. It’s everything a great vintage piece should be, for me: a one-off, a great designer doing the best work, and utterly of its moment. I treasure it. But I’m looking out for the next…
I think the word “vintage” is overused a lot – often, when second-hand, or even old would do. A vintage piece, like a vintage bottle of wine, should have a certain provenance, a certain value. It’s been kept because it is special, exceptional even. Evocative of a specific designer, a certain style, or even a particular moment in time. Maybe that’s not what all vintage is, but that’s what really great vintage should be.
Often, they are something that is simply impossible to achieve today – when you see certain vintage haute couture pieces, the techniques are too labour-intensive to recreate, or the specialist craftspeople no longer exist. Maybe the fabrics are impossible to recreate. Maybe the whole thing would just cost too much to re-make. But vintage pieces are proof that someone, somewhere, was able to do that, to realise that dream. And maybe they’ll inspire someone – another designer, another craftsperson – to try and do it again.