The Shophound On The Road:

A Discovery Expedition To L.L.Bean

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UNIQLO +J For Spring Launches Today

Cintra Wilson Goes Shopping:

Exclusive Vintage Vault Edition

ArticleLarge At what point did selling vintage clothing become a snootier profession than selling the real stuff?
Still on the West Coast, this week's Critical Shopper Cintra Wilson continues the column's recent travelogue theme with a visit to Lily et Cie in Beverly Hills, one of the most celebrated used clothing purveyors of the moment. La Cintra pulls no punches in recounting the high-handed treatment she received from owner Rita Watnick, who handily lives up to her haughty reputation and then some. If you think Manhattan's boutiques can be intimidating and condescending, , that's nothing compared to L.A., where one's level of celebrity (or, more to the point, lack thereof) is an extra, crucial component in the sizing up of customers.
Since I was just throwing on a coat, I assured them I didn’t require a dressing room. Or delousing, for that matter.
“Daniel Hechter?” I asked the tracksuited Ms. Watnick, looking at the unfamiliar label. I pronounced it “Hector.”
“It’s Daniel hesh-TAY, darling,” she clarified, as if to say: “You don’t know your French designers from the early ’70s? Is this the first time you’ve worn shoes since leaving the Ozarks?”
Cintra is entirely correct in guessing that $795 is a ridiculous price for a trench coat in far from pristine condition by a second (or possibly third) tier designer from decades gone by, even if it's French. Lily et Cie sounds more like museum storage overseen by a prickly governess than a retail store, which is fitting, since Ms. Watnick sees herself as a curator rather than a storekeeper, to her own detriment, apparently.
You would think that the svelte, glamorous Ms. Wilson would be any boutique owner's dream customer, but not there. Of course, with such an influential platform, She wields her own potent form of redress for such callous treatment. If only Rita had known at whom she was looking down her nose —a lesson to retail staff everywhere.
Critical Shopper | Lily et Cie: Vintage Clothing, Red-Carpet Ready by Cintra Wilson (NYTimes)
Lily et Cie, 9044 Burton Way, Beverly Hills


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