One of my favorite stops on this last trip to NY was New York Vintage in Chelsea. A fellow magician was kind enough to tell us about the fabulous store and its fantastic owner, who also coincidentally loves magic. We stopped by on a rainy Manhattan morning and I was soon in love. Needless to say, the next few hours filled up with pleasure as I steeped myself in a vintage frenzy. I haven’t told you this, but the driving reason behind my existing infatuation with vintage is the cultural anthropology that is meted within the clothes. My ever starving imagination could almost never get disappointed with the limitless secrets held within the seams, the tears, the faded jewels…
New York Vintage is a very well-curated store. There is a dizzying but organized collection of things, many of which are classic designers but also some rare gems. Being in that space felt very empowering to me, inspired me to embrace my feminine wiles, and all the mischief that comes with them. It reminds of this poem by Kim Addonizio. At first, the poem reads as if in an opposite direction of the elegant store, but its ending resonates with the power of stories in clothes, ultimately in the vintage kind.
What Do Women Want?
|I want a red dress
I want it flimsy and cheap,
I want it too tight, I want to wear it
until someone tears it off me.
I want it sleeveless and backless,
this dress, so no one has to guess
what’s underneath. I want to walk down
the street past Thrifty’s and the hardware store
with all those keys glittering in the window,
past Mr. and Mrs. Wong selling day-old
donuts in their café, past the Guerra brothers
slinging pigs from the truck and onto the dolly,
hoisting the slick snouts over their shoulders.
I want to walk like I’m the only
woman on earth and I can have my pick.
I want that red dress bad.
I want it to confirm
your worst fears about me,
to show you how little I care about you
or anything except what
I want. When I find it, I’ll pull that garment
from its hanger like I’m choosing a body
to carry me into this world, through
the birth-cries and the love-cries too,
and I’ll wear it like bones, like skin,
it’ll be the goddamned
dress they bury me in