My wild adventures in sourcing and selling Vintage throughout the years have led to encounters with some of the world's most iconic, creative people. Prior to starting Mint, I used to work for an infamous vintage store in Miami (we shall not name names, but if you can guess, kudos to you!). The store was sprawling and mysterious, like a dense jungle, only instead of animals and plants, this feral shopping haven had 10,000 square feet of the world's finest vintage and designer pieces. Working there was like nothing I'd ever experienced in retail before. Everyday brought something new and exciting, be it a person or a one of a vintage piece you would only find there. And this day on
Dec 5, 2009 as no exception.
Every year the first week of December, Art Basel comes to Miami and takes over the city completely, bringing in the most eccentric and well-known creatives in the world. They all had to make stops at this vintage shop before they left Miami, like buying a souvenir from a ritzy tourist shop. One night before closing the shop during that hectic art week, the owner got a phone call from the Raleigh hotel. It was the personal assistant of an undisclosed important person only in town for the night. Said assistant told the owner that it was urgent to send a shop girl to the hotel with vintage rarities from the 1920s and 30s. Nothing newer than that. She wanted in particular Japanese silk happy coats and kimonos from the period. Also any art deco flapper dresses and 30s slip dresses in pristine condition. Price was no object she was told and to bring the finest fashion delicacies the store had to offer. The owner and I quickly packed up several bags with vintage we thought this mystery person would love and I was sent off to the Raleigh.
Upon arriving, the hotel was bustling with tourists and art lovers from all over the world, all dressed to the nines. I schlepped with all the bags of vintage to the elevator near the back of the hotel and managed to press the 3rd floor button with everything still in hand, like a true fashion girl. I walked up to room 304 and softly knocked on the door. A pale, rail thin woman clothed in nothing but a hotel towel and no makeup opened the door and welcomed me in a hurry. "Lay everything out on the bed, I will be right with you to look at it all", she said. I anxiously began unpacking the 1920s beaded dresses from the tissue paper, the 1930s silk slips with Chantilly lace details from plastic sandwich bags. Flatly laying them on the bed one by one. I looked around the room for clues as to who this lavish woman was. Her closet doors were open so I took a quick peak to see if there was anything I can recognize her from and low and behold there was. It was 2009 and there was only one person beside Lady Gaga who had these particular pair of shoes. A pair of Alexander McQueen heel-less platforms that she was notorious for wearing and being photographed in. The second I laid eyes on the shoes I knew this elegant, riot of a woman was Daphne Guinness, the heiress to the Guinness beer company.
She came back in the room and began sorting through the pieces throwing what she wanted in one the large bags. She ended up spending $15,000 in 10 minutes with me, 3/4 of what I brought along.