A classic closet: Rose makes vintage shopping fashionably affordable.

Author:Alleyne, Sonia
Position:PERSONAL PASSIONS - Michelle Rose


MICHELLE ROSE REMEMBERS A TIME when purchasing vintage clothing was loathed in fashion circles. In the 1980s. people thought vintage was "old and shabby, for people who led alternative lifestyles," she recalls. But it was also a time when die-hard retro fashionistas racked up on goodies. Rose used to buy classic 1960s dresses for as little as $10 and furs for $200. "Today. vintage is all the rage," she says. It s also pricey.

Since the '80s, the 40 year old has amassed an impressive personal vintage collection: a four-inch wide Chanel cuff adorned with colored stones; a black sequined dress rumored to have belonged to actress Liza Minnelli, a 35-centimeter crocodile Hermes Kelly handbag today worth about $40.000; and a rare pair of thigh high crocodile Yves Saint Laurent boots from the '60s [or which she was offered $6,000.

In 2007. Rose. a legal assistant for a mid-size New York City firm, decided to unload some of her valuables through a luxury outfit that specializes in reselling high-end goods. Rose showed up at the reseller's offices with four suitcases of designer bags from Prada, Gucci, and Hermes. "You have a fortune," she was told. But according to the luxury outfit's estimate, after collecting its 30% stake, Rose would have made only $16,000. A vintage-show dealer, who is a friend of Rose and has since served as a mentor, suggested that she resell her classic finds herself. And in a little over a year Rose, who descries her style as a cross between '60s model Twiggy and '60s and early '70s Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, converted her studio apartment to My Closet Shoppe...

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