A wizard when it comes to vintage
Vintage with Love met with Wizards Vintage owner Annabelle Desfontaines. Annabelle started Wizards Vintage in 2010, having opened the original cult label Wizards boutique, based in Hyde Park, in 1982. We talked wearing clothes with a history, ‘recycling’ clothing, and how exciting other people’s discarded items can be.
VWL: How would you define ‘vintage’?
AD: A lot of the clothing that comes to me comes from old Wizards’ clients, people that have been clients of mine for many years, with a particular focus on designer labels, and clothes and shoes in excellent condition and of high quality. It’s second hand, of course, but not from any particular era, and more often than not unworn.
VWL: What kind of items do you look for when buying for the store?
AD: I wear two hats – wardrobe consultant and vintage store owner. When I am helping someone remerchandise their wardrobe, that takes precedence, but often what we strip from a wardrobe is perfect for Wizards Vintage. In this way the stock at the store often feels a bit like spontaneous combustion – whatever my clients no longer need goes into the store, whether I would wear it or not. In this way the store offers an eclectic, quirky mix of items.
VWL: Why do you think people should buy vintage?
AD: Buying vintage is great for the aspirational shopper who wants to own the big labels, but doesn’t necessarily have the budget to buy Marni straight off the rack. Importantly, it’s also a way to recycle, which has become such an important consideration in the world we live in – so many people have so many clothes that have never seen the light of day. Letting go of clothes you no longer wear frees up energy and space, both physical and mental, and prevents stagnation. Buying vintage also allows people to really experiment with and define their personal style, especially if that style is about high quality pieces.
VWL: What have been some of your favourite vintage finds over the years?
AD: So many! Off the top of my head a gorgeous Etro beaded necklace, some fantastic leather leggings that I still wear today, eight years later, and Bottega Veneta silk blouses, one of which I’m wearing today.
VWL: How would you describe your personal style?
AD: I’m entirely a mood dresser – I dress according to how I feel on any given day. Eclectic definitely, but my style is always determined by how I am feeling – understated, or perhaps leather from head to toe. I have to be comfortable and what I wear has to be appropriate for what I am doing at the time – if I’m remerchandising the store I’ll be in a tracksuit and takkies!
VWL: Are there any vintage pieces you’d really love to own?
AD: The one piece I absolutely covet is a little, quintessential Chanel bag!
VWL: Do you have any fashion rules?
AD: I hate rules and I hate restrictions! There can never be a set of rules that applies to a 20 year old girl, a 40 year old woman, and a 60 year old woman. I think people need to set their own parameters based on their own personalities, styles, needs and body shapes, not defined by any ‘fashion police’. While it’s import to push your own boundaries and evolve, fashion is fleeting, while style is lasting. We should work around what it is that we want to project about ourselves, and develop a personal style that takes on a few bits and pieces of the trends of the season, but never turns us into ‘fashion victims’.
44 Stanley Ave, Milpark, Johannesburg
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