Vintage fashion has always been used in the costumes of popular TV shows, but many recent projects, such as “Euphoria,” “And Just Like That” and “Halston,” are bringing vintage more prominently into focus.Recently, many TV shows have leaned more heavily into vintage fashion for their costumes for myriad reasons, such as to more accurately reflect the time period or to incorporate unique pieces into the wardrobe.
HBO’s hit teen drama “Euphoria,” for one, focused on fantastical fashion for its recent second season both with modern, off-the-runway styles and through vintage designer pieces. The show put a spotlight on vintage fashion with its new character Samantha, who is Maddy’s boss and has an extensive vintage collection. Costume designer Heidi Bivens worked closely with Los Angeles-based vintage store Aralda Vintage owner Brynn Jones for those scenes, where Jones supplied hundreds of vintage pieces from her own collection from designer brands like Mugler, Dior, Chanel, Versace and more.
Other costume designers have been incorporating vintage fashion into TV shows to spotlight indie designers and vendors and be more sustainable. Melissa Walker, who is behind shows like “Dollface” and “Pen15,” is a costume designer whose taken on this philosophy, working with vintage stores like the East Village Vintage Collective and Zingara Vintage for her recent projects.
Here, WWD rounds up some of the vintage fashion stores that are behind the wardrobes of today’s most popular TV shows. Read on for more.
Aralda Vintage has been a mainstay in the Los Angeles vintage scene since 2016, but the store recently was thrown into the spotlight thanks to the recent season of “Euphoria” where founder Brynn Jones and her extensive designer vintage collection were tapped for one of the storylines for the hit HBO teen drama.
Jones worked with costume designer Heidi Bivens for a scene in the second episode where Maddy, played by Alexa Demie, babysits for a wealthy woman named Samantha (played by Minka Kelly) who has a lavish designer vintage collection. Demie is seen in a massive closet full of unique pieces and tries on an array of high-fashion styles like a 1991 Thierry Mugler Kessler dress, a 1997 camelia print Chanel shirtdress, a metallic Halston caftan dress and a gold sequined Dior gown.
“It’s always been a pipe dream of mine to either work in set design or costume design,” Jones said. “It’s something that I just never fully pursued and to be able to do this was a dream come true.”
Demie, a longtime friend of Jones, connected her to Bivens for the episode. Jones and Bivens were initially planning on selecting a few dresses for the scene, but the costume designer decided it would be better if Jones decorated the whole closet with her collection.
“It was this really fun interactive math problem,” Jones said on how she filled the closet with more than 200 pieces from her collection, including clothes, shoes, jewelry and handbags. “I spent weeks and my living room was filled with rolling racks that I would rearrange. It was almost like I was rearranging flowers in a sense, like back and forth what dress looked better next to each other.”
Jones’ decorated closet ultimately served a prominent role in the season. According to Jones, “Euphoria” creator Sam Levinson loved the closet so much that he rewrote the scene so more action took place there. Levinson was also inspired by Jones’ purple sequined Norman Norell dress worn by Kelly and created a small storyline around the garment.
This was Jones’ first time working on a TV show, but she explained she’s open to doing more projects if they’re a fit like “Euphoria” was.
A Current Affair is one of the biggest vintage fashion pop-up shows in the country, and cofounder Richard Wainwright took the concept to the next level in 2018 by creating a permanent storefront in Brooklyn, called Arcade, that houses a rotating selection of vintage vendors from across the country.
Arcade has caught the eye of many costume designers over the last four years, including Danny Santiago and Molly Rogers, who were responsible for the fashion in the “Sex and the City” reboot, “And Just Like That.”
“Obviously, Sarah Jessica Parker as Carrie Bradshaw was iconic for mixing and matching high and low, vintage and new, designer and non-label,” Wainwright said. “I think part of [the costume designers’] process was probably like let’s hit all of the vintage stores in New York and see what they have, so they discovered us and they bought from us through the entire season.”
Several of Arcade’s pieces made it into the reboot on Parker, including a raw silk rainbow caftan dress that was worn as a duster, a vintage Judith Leiber bag and a screen-printed New York City-themed T-shirt.
Arcade has also assisted on many of producer Ryan Murphy’s recent projects, such as “The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story” and “Pose.”
When curating Arcade, Wainwright’s philosophy is similar to that of A Current Affair. He tries to highlight vendors from across the country to give customers the chance to shop collections they normally wouldn’t have access to. All pieces at Arcade are available for purchase.
“I feel like people are looking for meaning and a sense of history and context,” Wainwright said on the popularity of vintage fashion. “And then just for practical reasons, there’s nothing in stores. That’s probably a supply chain issue and designers taking seasons off because of COVID-19 or they couldn’t get the materials they needed. I feel like if you look all over the Internet at vintage shops or go into a vintage shop, there’s things that will actually inspire you and make you want to shop. You don’t get that feeling when you shop retail.”
East Village Vintage Collective
Established in 2015, East Village Vintage Collective has been a destination for many recent TV shows and films that are looking for affordable vintage options from the 1960s to the 1990s, including “The Deuce,” “The Get Down” and “Pose.”
Owner Maegan Hayward said while many costume designers that come into her store are secretive about their projects, some work more closely with her to pull specific pieces or look into a certain decade.
“I know a lot of the costume designers and buyers often are renting things and most of the time when they come to us they buy everything outright because everything is just so affordable,” she explained. “But, a lot of the times they’ll come in and they’re working on a show and we’ll have to do a little investigating to figure out what it was because it’s always fun to see the stuff they use and how they style it.”
Over the years, Hayward has developed a close friendship with costume designer Melissa Walker, who is behind the fashion in Hulu’s “Dollface” and “Pen15,” where the two pulled more Y2K-inspired pieces for the contemporary shows.
Hayward sources her collection on a national scale. Pre-pandemic, Hayward had an additional vintage store in Florida and when she would drive down she would stop at multiple vintage stores and vendors on the way to curate her collection. She also finds pieces through estate sales and has vendors come to her to sell their vintage pieces.
Because her business working with TV shows and films has grown considerably over recent years, Hayward has plans to expand her in-store collection to include more of her archival pieces.
Ian Drummond Collection Inc.
After starting his vintage business in 1984, Ian Drummond has become one of the go-to sources for costume designers to curate their wardrobes, particularly for period pieces or projects that take place between the 1970s to 1990s.
Drummond, whose business is located in Toronto, has recently worked with the costume designers for TV shows like “Halston,” “Ratched” and “Feud,” which were all period pieces in their own right.
“It’s collaborative, but we try to give [the costume designers] as much leeway as possible because there are very few projects that have cart blanche that can just buy or rent and not worry about budgets,” Drummond said about the process of working on these projects. “That’s why a lot of costume designers approach rental houses because it helps them stretch their budget. You can’t go on first dibs and buy everything. I haven’t seen a show yet that just buy, buy, buy, unless maybe from Patricia Field.”
Drummond explained that the bulk of his vintage collection now comes from estate sales and that he carries designers like Escada, Donna Karan, Adolfo Sardinia and Oscar de la Renta. He stated that his collection is broken up between rentals and sales, with Drummond usually holding onto more conventional pieces in standard sizes for rental and selling the more unique pieces.
“Sometimes, some things are so unique that it probably deserves to be sold as opposed to waiting 10 years for the right person to come along and rent it,” he said. “Renting key pieces to designers that ultimately end up on actors, if it’s the right actor wearing it then I never need to rent it again because [the piece] has all the prominence it’s ever going to need if I decide to sell it later.”
Drummond also explained that while it’s natural for costume designers from period pieces to rent their wardrobes, he’s been seeing more contemporary TV shows and films look to vintage fashion as an added layer of the storytelling and character.
“Even if it’s contemporary, [the costume designers] love the idea of putting vintage into it,” he said. “It’s like an Easter egg where people wouldn’t realize it unless they knew what they were looking at. That’s a big draw too for costume design. There’s so much being produced these days and to be able to tell your story coherently and with originality, why wouldn’t you use vintage? It helps separate the character from the shopping. It’s easy to run to the mall, but I think costume designers want to give their characters some edge and vintage is such a perfect way to do that.”
The Way We Wore
Doris Raymond’s The Way We Wore store is home to eclectic and unique vintage pieces that have resonated with customers and costume designers alike.
Raymond first started The Way We Wore in 1981 in San Francisco, later closing the store and working out of a warehouse doing TV and film rentals before she opened her Los Angeles store in 2004. She carries a range of designers from decades up until the mid-2000s.
“I look much more for the aesthetic and if a style transcends time and the quality of the materials used,” she explained. “If it happens to have a Chanel label, bingo I’ll take it. But an ugly Chanel is an ugly Chanel, so I’m not as brand centric as a lot of other businesses.”
Over the years, she’s developed close relationships with some of today’s most prominent costume designers and has assisted on projects such as “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” “Perry Mason,” “Mrs. America” and HBO’s new series, “Our Flag Means Death.”
“[The costume designers] typically share with me their storyboards and their inspiration sheets,” she said. “What I always get is the year, the season, the color palette, the class of people and a general idea of who the characters are and the story. From that, I do a whirl through the store and I bring hundreds of pieces into the main boutique for them to peruse.”
For “Our Flag Means Death,” a pirate-themed comedy that debuted this month, Raymond said costume designer Christine Wada bought hundreds of pieces from her to dress the show’s eccentric characters.
When speaking about “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” Raymond called the show “one of the best fashionable interpretations that’s ever been on television.”
“What [costume designer] Donna [Zakowska] does for the Maisel character — fashion is the center point outside her comedic talent,” she said.
Owner Erin Silvers’ Zingara Vintage in Queens has become a destination for vintage and repurposed terrycloth garments, which have been featured in several photoshoots as well as Hulu’s “Dollface” and the upcoming HBO series “The White House Plumbers.”
Silvers first opened her store in 2015 and slowly built up a collection of terrycloth garments that she resells or repurposes into new garments. Her collection includes terrycloth garments that date back to the 1940s.
“I started collecting vintage terrycloth after I sold a jacket that I wish I never sold, which is the age-old vintage story,” she said. “I’ve collected hundreds of terrycloth garments and I wouldn’t let anyone see them because it was such a special collection that I was creating essentially an archive or a retrospective of waterside culture through the decades.”
“Dollface” costume designer Melissa Walker had been a longtime fan of Zingara Vintage and reached out to Silvers after she presented her terrycloth collection at the Manhattan Vintage Show roughly a year and a half ago. The two then worked together to choose a terrycloth matching set worn by Shay Mitchell during a poolside scene in “Dollface” season two. Silvers explained the set took her six years to create because she had to find two towels that matched to create the pants.
Silvers curates her collection from vendors across the world. Given the delicate materials she works with, many of her pieces are for rental while some are for sale.
Coming up next, one of Silvers’ terrycloth creations will be featured in HBO’s “The White House Plumbers,” a limited series that centers on the Watergate scandal.
READ MORE HERE:
‘Euphoria’ Season Two Leans Into Fantastical Fashion
‘Dollface’ Season Two Offers Realistic, Pandemic-era Fashion
‘The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel’ Season Four Looks to Transitional 1960s Fashion