Friday, February 02, 2007

Today our Specialist Auctions interview is with Holly of Purse Diva Vintage and Purse Diva Couture.

Viviene: What attracted you to vintage clothing and when did this attraction start?

Holly: I'd have to say back in the 80s is when it started. I was, what was known then, a "quaker" or a "wavo" - mostly dressing in black but adding in shocking amounts of color here and there, Flock of Seagulls hair, the whole bit. I found this amazing priest's cloak from the 40s that I wore simply everywhere (which I still have, lol), and I went to Catholic! That started my vintage addiction. It really propelled into high gear a couple of years ago when I decided to part with a beloved vintage Gucci jacket.

Viviene: How does it feel to see your teenager wear things now that you wore back in the day?

Holly: Oh my, it is really shocking sometimes. Who would have thought my junior prom dress from 87' would be a major hit at the school 80s dance now...or when she wore my acid-washed denim jacket from the late 80s, completely decorated in colored pens, wow…Talk about strange to see your child in your items you loved so. It is pretty neat though.

Viviene: What's the difference in quality between vintage clothing and the off the rack items that most people wear?

Holly: My goodness, the difference is SO dramatic. I honestly had no idea until I started dealing in vintage the incredible difference. The style and particularly the craftmanship - it's just not there these days. I go shopping now and half the time am horrified at what I find…

Viviene: What is your favorite era for vintage clothing?

Holly: Oh dear...I can't pick one… I love items from each era. Dramatic 20s beaded flapper dresses, the flowing figure-friendly designs of the 30s, amazing 40s film noir type pieces, 50s rockabilly, 60s mod, 70s disco...I can't possibly choose… A lot of people do have a particularly favorite era, but I truly don't. I can appreciate and love pieces from all eras equally.

Viviene: Who is your favorite designer? Does it vary between purses, shoes, coats, pants, and dresses?

Holly:, that's a hard question… For handbags I HAVE to say Chanel. Actually, Chanel tops the list for all, I would say. Manolo Blahnik is another fav of mine, as well as Dior. D & G, St. John, and Seven for All Mankind make fantastic jeans. Juicy Couture, I love them as well. Their handbags are darling and their jogging suits are the most comfortable on earth..

Viviene: What designer that is around now will be the "have to have" designer in years to come in the vintage business?

Holly: I have to say, you will never go wrong with the old "stand bys"...Chanel, Dior, Gucci - they've been around forever for a reason. Their pieces are classic and "wearable", and I think in the future they will still be going strong.

Viviene: How did your designer store come about?

Holly: While I love vintage, I must admit, I'm a label girl. Love love love designer items. I was simply sick to death of seeing so many fakes out there on the internet and wanted to make authentic, quality pieces available to the public. Just about every piece in the store comes out of my own closet, purchased at reputable retailers. When I come across something that's not personally mine, I go through extremely extensive research to determine if an item is authentic. I really can't stand fakes, and it makes me quite sad to see so many sellers either selling them as outright fakes or selling them as authentic and screwing around the buyers.

Viviene: Have you always enjoyed designer fashion?

Holly: Actually, no. LOL! Back in high school and my early 20s I didn't really appreciate designer items at all, I just got what I thought was "neat". It wasn't until I fell in love with a Dooney & Bourke handbag that I realized wow, designer really is sometimes better! You can't beat the quality of a handmade bag - or jeans that have been hand-finished. You really can't.

Viviene: What designer influences you the most in the clothing that you wear day to day?

Holly: I'd have to say Juicy Couture. I do a lot of computer/at my desk work and I need to be comfortable. Most days you will find me in a Juicy velour jogging suit. When I go out though, it's a different story.

Viviene: You can find Holly’s stores at Specialist Auctions at:

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Dingmans Ferry, Pennsylvania, United States
We are the owners of Mod Mary's Vintage on Etsy.