Sunday, March 20, 2011

Interview With Vintage Fashionista Brigitte Daguerre!

What trendy  girl (or metro boy!) doesn’t love vintage clothing—it looks stylish, never goes out of fashion, and can be handed down without your little sister crying: “Aw, are you joking—wear this old thing?!”
            Out of the hundreds of vintage clothing sites, stores, antique shops, etc … I’ve had the privilege of meeting (and even shopping!) with a true master of finding those rare outdated but-oh-so-pretty pieces of classier times long lost, and her name is Brigitte Daguerre. On the outside she looks and talks like a petite doll with a southern sort of charm you don’t  often find in the jungles of L.A., however,  once you get to know her, she’s one tough, sexy, Harley riding mamma who doesn’t take s**t from anyone!

Me: first off, why don’t you introduce yourself to all the awesome blog readers out there, like, where did you grow up? What did you wear in high school? What other places have you traveled and lived?

Brigitte: Hi, I was born in Newport Beach just south of L.A., but moved to the Hollywood area when I was 13. During the late 80's I hated the clothes everyone was wearing—the big hair and even bigger shoulders—it was hideous!
             I was attracted to alternative music on KROQ and Rodney On The Rock, so I inevitably became a teenage punk rock brat during the late 80's.  The first band I ever saw were the Weirdo's at the Starwood in Hollywood. Later, I hung out at the Odyssey in Hollywood where I saw Rodney Bingenheimer a few times.
            My friends and I would go to thrift stores to find vintage clothing and make our own outfits out of them. We also cut and dyed each other’s hair. I had a blue mohawk at one point, it was my favorite. Then I dyed it dark brown like the Bow Wow Wow girl and put braids and ribbons in it. My favorite outfit was a white 50's tea length prom dress with black leather jacket and boots.
            Vintage was all there was in thrift shops back then. I had no idea, at the time, about how collectable and expensive some of that stuff I cut up and sewed together with safety pins would become! I’ve always seen something special about the vintage clothing that I found in thrift stores. The quality in the way it was made, the fabric; at the time I couldn't say exactly why, but I just loved it even if I couldn't or wouldn't wear it, especially anything from the art deco era. I used to hang the dresses on my wall. I'm still obsessed with the art, furniture, architecture and clothing from the 20's and 30's. 

I never went to high school.  I dropped out at the beginning of 7th grade. I lived in a group home when I was about 14 in Anaheim Ca. called ETC: Emancipation Training Center. I became legally emancipated, took the GED, and then later went on to college for photography and web design. While I loved the learning aspect of school, I did not like the social part. It was not cool to be a punk back then, so my friends and I were outsiders. By the time I was 20, I wasn't a punk on the outside anymore (always one on the inside!). I started modeling to pay for my school & cameras. I traveled a lot. I lived in San Francisco and New York for a few years. I love both of those cities, especially New York!  The food and culture is amazing.
Me: Tell us about your vintage clothing website ‘Posh Girl Vintage’, and a little about the rave reviews you’ve had:

Brigitte: My goal was to have a safe and honest store selling the cutest, well made vintage clothing I could find. Truly, it's one of the best vintage clothing collections online!  I believe that you get back in life what you put out, so it has been very successful. I've put 100% into Posh Girl. Over 90% of my customers return on a regular basis—so that says a lot! We've been written up in most of the major fashion magazines including Martha Stewart Weddings, and other bridal magazines too.  I hand pick everything on the site so you don't have to wade through a bunch of tacky polyester stuff to find the gems.  I also wanted to carry both designer and non-designer labels. The only thing that matters is well made and super cute vintage clothing!

 We go out traveling all over hand picking the cutest vintage clothing we can find, making sure it's cleaned and repaired, and offer it for sale on the website. We're online only. We   also go out shopping for customers if I don't have what they need in my collection—at no extra cost! We keep a shopping list for return customers who want a particular style of item or designer.

Me: Do you know if any famous people have bought from your e-store?

Brigitte: Oh yes, and on a regular basis! Kate Hudson bought quite a few rich hippie maxi dresses and flapper dresses.

Me: Who is your favorite vintage designer? 

Brigitte: For pure design and art Fortuny is my favorite, but to actually wear I love Ossie Clark and many other designers and unknown labels from that era. I love the late 60's and early 70's! That style looks best on me. I can't wear those cute 50's fit ‘n flare dresses, but Ceil Chapman is just so glamorous and my favorite 50's era designer! I love that classic Hollywood Marilyn Monroe style. He was Marilyn's favorite designer. When you hold a Ceil dress in your hands, you can feel the quality in the weight, the seams, and the extra special fabric. His work is amazing!

Me: What is your favorite vintage piece currently in your personal closet?

Brigitte: Geez, that's tough! I have so many, but I've been collecting vintage lingerie and show girl costumes for years. I used to wear them when I modeled. I was doing vintage fetish photos before it was trendy. Now everyone and their mother are doing vintage pinups! I stopped modeling about the time Dita arrived. We both modeled for Olivia DeBerardinis. I would use my vintage lingerie when I posed. I still have it and will keep it to shoot other girls for my photography. By the way, I have a tripod that came from Cass Carr's photo studio—he used it to shoot Betti Page! It's one of my most treasured possessions.
Me: Can you divulge what inspired you to start your own online vintage clothing store?

Brigitte: It's really one of those things that just strangely fell into place.
            Being a nerdy book worm, I'd been fascinated with the internet ever since it first appeared. I read a few books on website design back when it was hand written html code only, and I was shopping online one day for a coat ( I LOVE vintage coats!) and I saw a 60's cream cashmere coat I wanted but it had huge brown stains all down the front. It was priced at $250.00 sold dirty and wrinkled and it was NOT from a designer! I was so irritated by all the junk out there that I set out to build Posh Girl Vintage. At the time there were only about two or three vintage websites that were really nice, but I felt I could do even better. All that—along with the years of obsessively collecting vintage clothing—decided me to sell some of my stuff on eBay. It was very successful right away which surprised me. I learned html and built http://www.poshgirlvintage.com/
            It was a really simple site at first, but effective. I didn't know what I was doing at all really when I built it, but I just kept learning from my mistakes (and I made a lot!), and I kept improving it as much as I could to make it my own. Html was just not enough as time went on so after a few years, I was able to hire a professional in the latest technology and it became what it is now. I've done all of the art and design side of the site but the coding is my amazing web girl! Then my grandmother, who was in the fashion industry most of her life, helped me buy the stock of a small abandoned department store through her connections. 90% of it was amazing stuff with tags still on it for kids and adults! So, it just evolved.

Me: Any vintage fashion advice you would like to impart to the readers?

Brigitte: Just buy what you love. Don't worry about what everyone else is wearing! Also, if you buy from thrift stores or a lot of online sellers, they don't clean the clothing, so make sure you clean your vintage before you let it in your house! It can have moths and stuff that will affect your other clothing—especially silks and wools. I have allergies so I'm very sensitive and refuse to let anything on my premises until it is cleaned. Even if it looks clean, it can have eggs. I know it's gross to think about, but as long as you clean it, it's very safe and healthy.
            We also hand spot clean and do minor repairs on our vintage clothing so the condition is as good as possible when we ship it out to you. Make sure you know what you are getting condition wise before it arrives so you are not unhappy when you open the box. I shop online still, for vintage to wear. I bought a 30's sweater a few weeks ago and it arrived with a red ketchup stain right on the front of the stomach area. I was so disappointed! I wanted to wear it out to an art opening the next weekend. So I know what it's like to be disappointed. I make sure that doesn't happen to any of my customers.

A million thanks Brigitte for sharing you’re insight and passion on my blog Wandering Hallows Night. Your knowledge of classic clothing is top quality, and sure to facilitate a place where one can purchase a little slice of vintage heaven!

Visit Posh Girl Vintage at: http://www.poshgirlvintage.com/ 


7 comments:

Ellen Lynn said...

Nishi,
Thank you so much for posting this wonderful interview. I've joined the newsletter list and am loving the clothes. They are SOOOOOO amazing. In the future, I will purchase dresses for super important occasions. I used to buy vintage from a local store here and I always felt so glamorous.
Cheers,
E

The Fiction Fairy said...

Cool interview! I am definitly into clothes and these ones seem cool! Hope to see more form her!

Nishi Serrano said...

Your welcome! And thank you for the comments!
Brigitte has an incredible eye for selecting the very best in vintage--I've seen her in action, and she works HARD to find those rare pieces, it takes alot of time!
Cheers ... Nishi

CJ Duggan said...

Great interview Nishi! Looks amazing. Gotta love vintage!

bookluvrmindy said...

Hi! I love your blog! I found you through BookBlogs and I am now a follower. Will you follow my blog at http://www.magicalurbanfantasyreads.com/

Stacey Donaldson said...

I love classic clothes! Even though I love them from a distance...I think I love them on other people. My mom is a seamstress and she makes Renaissance fashions all the time.

Great post! I could have sworn that I was already following you before...but now I am for sure :-)

Thanks for stopping by my wine blog too!

Elisabeth Hirsch said...

Great interview ;)
I need to check out that site.