Taste The Style’s WGACA Feature

VINTAGE HEAVYWEIGHTS: WHAT GOES AROUND COMES AROUND

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Vintage shopping: whether you’re an aficionado or an amateur, chances are you’ve gotten your hands onWhat Goes Around Comes Around‘s vintage selections or even their own line at some point. That’s because WGACA, now in its 21st year, has become a household name in the vintage luxury circuit and has been bringing their A-game since day one.

Founders Seth Weisser & Gerard Maione launched What Goes Around Comes Around in 1993 with their West Broadway flagship– back when West Broadway shopping wasn’t really a thing yet– and has made it their mission to dress vintage lovers in only the rarest, and most authentic pieces found all over the world. In 2008, the team introduced an LA outpost, and now are focused on growing their luxury accessories business led by their VP of Sales, John Oot (formally at Marc Jacobs and Zac Posen.)

We caught up with the guys at their new (and stunning) West Village showroom and chatted about what inspires their personal style, shifts in vintage trends throughout the decades, and Bill Murray (yes, Bill f*cking Murray!)

Get to know Gerard, Seth, and John:

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You and Seth co-founded WGACA 21 years ago. That’s incredible! Have you seen any major shifts in the vintage industry throughout the years? If so, what are they?

Thank you and there absolutely have been. When we opened the store in 1993, we were focusing on an edited curation of victorian-1970’s since that was considered true vintage at the time. We then came upon a Japanese bubble shortly after with huge demands of classic american sportswear from denim, military, workwear, etc. That lasted until around 1998 when the Japanese market collapsed. Then we began to supply design teams from all over the world, from the likes of Ralph Lauren, Gaultier, Galliano and many more. They were buying and renting into the vast archives we had amassed, selecting special inspirational pieces and textile to work into their collections. With the fall of the recession in 2008, companies budgets got squashed and we were working on our own vintage inspired ready to wear collection for 6yrs. We saw one of the biggest shifts to date occurring and evolving, where the market and the new generation were drawn to label driven designer vintage and accessories. With that, we decided to stop our ready to wear and put full emphasis on our luxury accessory business, which now boasts the beautiful new showroom you’ve met us at!

You’re the brand’s Creative Director & Buyer. What kind of customer are you shopping for?  

Our shopper at this point is typically one who is a sophisticated fashion consumer and is looking at WGACA to give them a special array of one-of-a-kind options that will enhance their look and wardrobe. With the experience we have and the depth of product range, we truly look at it as the “best of” from all over the world, and that’s why customers come from all over the world to see us.

Celebrities absolutely love WGACA. Any fun, unexpected celebrity encounters you can tell us about?

There have been so many great celebrities that have blessed our presence, but one that sticks out, which was completely spontaneous and in a league of their own, was french actress Catherine Deneuve. It was in our old Tribeca showroom about 10 years ago when the door opens and in walks Catherine and a close female friend of hers. She proceeded to spend hours with us, trying on vintage pajamas and lingerie, chain smoking cigarettes and telling stories, the whole time i was thinking “this can’t be real.” What a beautiful icon, down to earth, warm and complimentary.

If you could dress one style icon dead or alive, who would it be and why?

Brian Jones from the Rolling Stones. Brian lived way too short of a life, but his impact of style was close to none for the 60s era. Though all the Stones had incredible style, he took it to another level with a flare that was unmistakable and could go so many directions depending on the moment. His accessorizing was off the charts and hence where I’ve built a pretty serious scarf collection, including a rare grouping of 1930’s art deco english ones that legendary rockers were sporting back in the day.

For vintage shoppers looking for a good splurge: what would you recommend to shop that would only appreciate in value?

For women, an iconic piece from a noteworthy designer, such as an Azzedine Alaia dress or a Chanel bag. For guys, important collectible pieces– can be a great pair of vintage denim, a Belstaff jacket, or a classic leather or a rock tee.

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What Goes Around Comes Around in one song… What is it?

We Will Rock You! by Queen.

Favorite era and why:

The late 60’s-70’s. It was the pinnacle time in music and fashion where full expression was released. It platformed so much inspiration for what we love today. Style and rock-n-roll were at its best and it was a period where vintage began to be immersed into wardrobe with Victorian & art deco influences that made it a look that will never be the same– and it’s a lot of what my closet possesses!

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WGACA is known to carry the best vintage luxury in the world. What has been one of your proudest pieces to have carried?

We have so many amazing pieces that we have found. To pick one would be really hard but I am especially proud of our Chanel Surfboard.

You’re in charge of sales. What would you recall as being one of the most extravagant pieces WGACA has ever sold to date?

We have sold some very rare and collectible pieces. One that was near the top of the list was an 1890’s Levis Buckleback jean we sold back to Levi’s for their museum at $25,000.

You’re also in charge of the team. What would you say is the biggest challenge in managing a team?

As you grow, it is all about keeping the business personal and having a team that can best speak to the company philosophy and brand message.

You guys opened the LA store in 2008. What’s would you say is the biggest difference between an LA customer and a NYC customer?

New York clients are always more reactionary and impulsive. Our LA clients love super special pieces and statement items.

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What’s the one piece in your closet that you would never dare selling no matter what?

Only one? I could be buried in my 50’s Harley MC jacket.1

Growing up in New York, we’re sure you’ve seen a lot of party shenanigans. Any crazy stories you can tell us from being a Soho retailer in the early 90s?

I don’t want to incriminate myself so have to be careful here. We have had a lot of really amazing parties and people come through the Soho store during our 20 years. I did have an amazing night one time with Bill Murray shopping for Christmas gifts in a blizzard in December 1994. After he did some good damage both with shopping and well as helping finish a few cocktails, he then left with his arms full of goods. I later found out from Bill that he could not find a cab then a limo pulled up and invited him in. He ended up hanging with Victoria Gotti and the kids until 3am.

Any advice for aspiring vintage buyers & retailers?

It’s a very tough world to start up a new business. Make sure you love it and have the right support.

Favorite era and why:

The 70’s because that’s when the fashion and cultural revolution went next level.

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You’re somewhat of an accessories & wholesale legend, having worked at Marc Jacobs, Zac Posen, Botkier and others. Is this your first go-around with vintage and what would you say is the biggest difference?

This is my first go around selling vintage, yes. However, I have been shopping vintage for my whole career in handbags. Looking at the past, in terms of design, helps me to build a better understanding of what I do today.

I think that the biggest difference is the pressure of design. I have spent so many markets pitching the next “It” bag. This allows us to sell all of the past “It” bags from so many different brands.

You were brought in to be the VP and have since aided the wholesale side of the business. How long has wholesale been in place and who are some of the retailers you currently work with?

The wholesale side of business started small about 6 years ago with Shopbop. The boys saw the potential of this new business and grabbed hold. About 2 years ago the sales started to take off and we built an entire wholesale division for this.

We have worked with some great stores, including Lane Crawford, Harvey Nichols, A’marees, Stanley Korshakand Louis Boston. However, our most exciting project for me is our partnership with Al Ostoura in Kuwait to open an international What Goes Around Comes Around boutique. It will be a boutique focused solely on vintage luxury and opens at the end of this month.

You’re a Native New Yorker as well. What would you say is the second best city for shopping luxury vintage accessories other than NYC?

Ha, well I am a native “upstate” New Yorker. I am from Syracuse originally but have lived here in the city for a long time.

There is not one place that I can think of that I prefer to shop. Whether it is Paris, LA, Miami or Rhinebeck, NY, I have noticed that since I started working with WGACA I just find myself seeking out places every single time I travel.

Piece you’re most excited to currently carry:  

It really is not about what I carry. I am always very proud to see random people on the street carrying bags that I know I was associated with in some way. It is also a great feeling to be able to have my girlfriend carry something that I work with.

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Favorite era and why:

My favorite era is the 80′s. I have great memories of my childhood during that time and it just reminds me of a carefree time where everyone was so expressive. With what we are doing, I get to enjoy that era even more as we fuse the past with the present.

Last question: where do the three of you like to head for a power drink & meal?

There are so many restaurants and bars to be mentioned but I think we can all agree that one of best throw-down meals in a while was at Carbone. Those boys over there know what they are doing.

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To keep up with the What Goes Around Comes Around team, follow their exceptional Instagram account here, shop their site here or visit their Soho or LA stores here.

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Big shout out to Cyndi at Taste The Style for the feature. Check out here blog HERE!


50 shades of beige

There’s nothing beige about beige.

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With the temperatures dropping New York, we’re in a Fall state of mind. Hello creams, pale pinks, camels, dusty wheat and of course, beige.

Above: Raquel Zimmerman in Chloe FW10, Chanel Beige Suspenders, Vogue Feburary 1935 Cover, Gemma Kahng Beige Fringe Skirt, Vogue Russia August 2010, Chanel Caviar Medallion Bag, Anjelica Huston by David Bailey for Vogue UK October 1973, Chloe Beige Lily Wallet, Vintage Photo

 


Rita Ora in WGACA Chimayo Jacket

Street style has become the pinnacle of fashion week over the last few years, even more watched than the shows themselves some might argue. So naturally, we were stoked to see Rita Ora in a vintage Chimayo jacket she got from WGACA LA! Rita rocked the graphic jacket at London Fashion Week this year, read all about it on Vogue here. 

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Meet Djuna

Meet Djuna Text

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Designer 101: Louis Vuitton

There’s really not much that can top Louis Vuitton. It’s a household name that currently spans from bags to clothing, fragrance to jewelry and is name of one of the largest luxury good conglomerates in the world, LVMH (Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy). But Louis Vuitton got it’s start over 100 years ago in 1854 Paris in the travel trunk business.

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At 16, Louis Vuitton arrived in Paris by foot to start apprenticing for trunk artisan, Monsieur Marechal. He worked for the craftsman for 17 years before setting up shop at 4 Rue Neuve-des-Capucines under his own name. At the time, travel was mainly by horse and carriage and travel could be rough on personal belongings. Wealthy travelers would bring their affects to craftsman who would create custom trunks and smaller containers to withstand the conditions and rough handling. When Vuitton opened his doors, trunks were mostly domed shaped, for water run off, and tended to be very heavy. In 1958, Vuitton introduced his flat-stacking, canvas-made trunks to much acclaim; and many imitators. His success led to the opening his workshop, Asnieres, just north of Paris with 20 employees. By the 1870s, imitation and design plagiarism were becoming a serious issue for Vuitton; so in 1876 he set out to separate his trunks from the rest! Vuitton began producing them in a beige and brown strip canvas. By 1885, Louis Vuitton opened it’s first store front in London on Oxford Street, and just three years later, Vuitton introduced the Damier Canvas print, to replace the stripe motif, that is still in production today.

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Top left going clockwise: Monogram (1896), Damier (1888), Beige and brown stripe (1876), Grey Trianon (1858)

Nearly at the turn of the century (1892), Louis Vuitton passed away and the company went to hands of his son, Geroges Vuitton. Georges sought to make Louis Vuitton a worldwide success and the go-to for luggage. In 1896, Georges introduced the iconic LV monogram featuring quatrefoils, flowers and of course, the LV monogram and to top if off, he got patents worldwide. In addition to the patents of the legendary LV monogram, Georges, with the help of Louis a few years before his death, had perfected a 2 spring lock for their bags that they introduced in 1886 which he received patents on a few years after. The patents were working and Georges continued expansion. By World War I, Louis Vuitton had opened shops across the globe, including a Champs-Elysees shop, one in NY and Washington as well as Buenos Aires and Bombay. Directly after the war, Louis Vuitton introduced the ‘Carryall’ and ‘Speedy’ styles that are still on their roster today.

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After Georges death, the company began incorporating more leathers into their manufacturing line, allowing for coin purses, wallets and bags, as well as the creation of the Epi line in 1985. Through the 70s, 80s and 90s, LV continued growing, opening stores in Japan, China and South Korea. In 1987, Louis Vuitton merged with Moet and Hennessy to become a luxury goods behemoth. Marc Jacobs was appointed creative director in 1997 and launched a pret-a-porter line for men and women the following year. During his reign at Louis Vuitton,  Marc Jacobs took the storied luggage house and built it a sustainable clothing business. He started doing collaborations, such as those with Stephen Sprouse. Sprouse’s graffiti lay over the classic LV monogram with “Louis Vuitton”, “LV”, “Speedy”, and “Carryall” in neon hues on bags, shoes and jewelry, introducing it’s first foray into the category. Other collaborations include Takashi Murakami, whom gave the classic a technicolor flare or Yayoi Kusama, famous for her bold colors and use of dots, played with micro and macro dot formations over the print.

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Last year marked Marc Jacobs last at the house and the introduction of recent Balenciaga designer, Nicolas Ghesquiere. He took the house in the direction of the 70s. And launched his first campaign with a set of photos featuring Freja Beha Erichsen, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Jean Campbell and Liya Kebede by famed photographers, Annie Leibovitz, Juergen Teller and Bruce Weber. Can’t wait to see what he shows in Paris in a few weeks!

 

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