Today we take a walk into the vintage twilight zone. Eighteen months ago I happened upon a 1960s suit made by Elaine Starkman. What attracted me to the suit was the fact that Ms. Starkman had her boutique on Bleecker Street in Greenwich Village, NY. My dad had grown up in the Italian section of Greenwich village. Here was something from my dad's old neighborhood. I bought the suit and brought it home.
Over the next six months I researched Elaine Starkman. I found out on the internet that Mary Travers of Peter, Paul and Mary fame had worked at Ms. Starkman's boutique in the village. Ms. Starkman also made Mary Traver's wedding dress when she married for the first time. I also turned up information that Ms. Starkman was one of the first art gallery owners in Soho. But there the trail ended.
Fast forward six months. Every so often I would type in the name Elaine Starkman and do a google search. However, this time something turned up. It was an auction for a pair of custom made leather sandals from back in the 1960s. Evidently Ms. Starkman was also known for her beautiful leather work. Several weeks later I again googled Ms. Starkman's name and found an auction of jewelry that Ms. Starkman had made. Slowly I was finding out that Ms. Starkman was quite the artist in many mediums.
The last thing I found out about Ms. Starkman from a friend who told me that Ms. Starkman had moved her business in the mid 1960s out of the village and up to Lexington (between 64th and 65th Streets) in 1966 or so because most of her client base lived in that vicinity. Leather goods were a Starkman specialty.
So two days ago I received an email from a young lady. She said she had seen my listing for my Elaine Starkman suit and wondered if I had anymore information available on Ms. Starkman.
I answered her email and told her that everything I knew was in the listing for the suit and then I asked her what her interest in Ms. Starkman was.
She told me that in the late 70s her grandmother had gone to New York and had an art show at Ms. Starkman's gallery and that to this day they are still friends and live in the same retirement home. Since Ms. Starkman isn't able to talk to her about times past, she was trying to find out more about her grandmother's friend because she seemed like such an interesting person.
And so a piece of vintage clothing that I purchased because of personal sentiment led to me connecting with someone across the country. This person was looking for information to learn more about her grandmother's friend's life in the past. Two people, one suit, one degree of separation. What a very small world we live in. And all it took was this suit.
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