What woman doesn’t love vintage accessories? There’s something thrilling about owning a piece of fashion history that has been handed down over generations. I remember my first vintage handbag vividly – it was a canvas logo Dior from the 1970s that was a gift from my father to my mother. People always ask me where it’s from because it’s so unusual and I love the fact that it has a great story behind it.
Today “vintage” accessories have become more mainstream, and can be found beyond the confines of your grandmother’s wardrobe. Aside from flea markets, you can hunt down rare treasures at specialised boutiques like What Goes Around Comes Around in New York, Didier Ludot in Paris and Decades in Los Angeles.
While it took a while for Asia to catch on to the vintage trend, demand is growing fast. To prove it Blitz at Lane Crawford recently launched Vintage Voyage, which showcases a collection of over 1,000 one-of-a-kind vintage accessories ranging from handbags, jewellery and watches. Most of the items date back as far as the 1960s and have been sourced from reputable specialists around the world, including What Goes Around Comes Around and Karry O in Paris (where I buy a lot of my jewellery!)
While I usually purchase most of my vintage items overseas I was super excited by the selection on offer from brands including Hermes, Chanel, Givenchy and Rolex. While some pieces are rarer than others, each has its own unique story that makes it all the more covetable.
I am not a Hermes girl but I was quite taken with a stunning 20cm black croc Kelly bag (I find them so much more chic and understated than Birkins). Dealer Maia from London has also brought over a 50cm Ostrich Birkin circa 1990s – Hermes no longer makes this size –which she bought from a private collector in Germany. More unusual was the Accordion bag sourced from an older lady who loves to gamble. Its made from three different types of leather in shades of green and blue.
Aside from Hermes, there are also plenty of Chanel beauties including more fashion forward styles such as a wood and leather handbag and a quilted bag made from black pony hair and velvet. Then of course there are some gorgeous jewels ranging from 1980s necklaces by Givenchy to Chanel’s signature pearl and Gripoix (coloured glass) pieces.
Before you head over there and spend your lifesavings, here are some tips from the experts that you need to know before investing in your ultimate fashion accessory. Enjoy!
- Hermes bags should be 10 years or older to be classified as vintage
- Price is not determined by trends – its more about styles that are one-off special orders or pieces that have been discontinued
- You can check the authenticity of any Hermes bag with the Hermes atelier which keeps written records of every piece they have made
- Invest in styles made from unusual materials such as pigskin and lizard skin (Hermes rarely makes bags from these skins anymore)
- Size determines value – 20cm and 50cm bags are more covetable as these sizes are no longer produced by Hermes
- Depending on the model, most vintage Hermes bags can increase in value up to 20 per cent each year
- Condition is another factor that determines value – look for unscuffed skins and make sure the bag doesn’t emit any odours
- Vintage Chanel bags often cost less than brand new models making them a good investment
- In 1985 Chanel started issuing ID cards with holograms and serial numbers to determine authenticity. Bags made before 2006 feature seven digit serial numbers starting with a 0. From 2006 onwards, eight digits were used
- Classic styles are still the best investment but look for fashion forward touches such as unique fabrics (ie wood) and embellishments
- For costume jewellery, the majority of pieces available date between 1980 to the 1990s. Be wary of older pieces as they may not be in pristine condition due to flaking, peeling etc
- Most of the jewellery will feature an oval plate stamped with the Chanel hallmark and a serial number
- Covetable styles include chunky gold chain necklaces, coloured glass crosses made by Gripoix and pearls
Vintage Voyage is at Lane Crawford IFC Mall and Canton Road until June. www.lanecrawford.com