Cintra Wilson Goes Shopping:

This week, Cintra Wilson returns to her Critical Shopper post at the Thursday Styles, and undergoes a disturbing transformation after her visit to downtown vintage shop No. 6.
La Cintra has been perhaps the most self assured and opinionated of the rotating cast of Critical Shoppers at the Times (which now mainly consists of Wilson and Mike Albo with the occasional guest shopper). Perhaps it was a full moon, or maybe she was just having an off day, but this weeks column finds her uttering the following phrase to a salesperson: “Would you pick me out some stuff I would never think to try on?"
This comes from someone who admits, "I’ve been dressing like an extra from “The Matrix” since high school."
Can this little shop be the site of a dramatic personal style shift? Stay tuned. This sounds like a developing story.
Critical Shopper | No. 6: Attitude Adjustment at No Extra Charge (
NO. 6, 6 Centre Market Place between Broome and Grand Streets, NoLita

Nan Kempner Hits The Thrift Shop TODAY

Nankempner1No, no, not a re-animated zombie Nan Kempner. Our friends at RACKED tell us that a large portion of the late socialite's celebrated wardrobe will be made available for sale TODAY at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Thrift Shop on the Upper East Side. Many pieces of Kempner's vast cache of couture were donated to the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute, and the rest went to Sloan-Kettering. The choicest pieces (presumably most of the prized Saint Laurents and other Haute Couture) will be auctioned off at Christie's, but what is left - and there should be a lot left - will be sold at the thrift shop. It this sounds like the picked-over bottom of the barrel, keep in mind that the bottom of her barrel was waaaaay above the top of most everyone else's. Two things must be kept in mind. Kempner was famously tall and thin thin thin, keeping her body in shape to be able to purchase Haute Couture samples fitted for runway models at a discount, so there won't exactly be a range of sizes in the apparel. On the plus side, with such a huge collection of clothes, it is unlikely that most pieces were worn more than a few times, so if you are blessed with an attenuated model's physique, and possess a refined taste for classic yet exuberant style, you may find plenty of things in excellent condition to choose from.
UPDATE: Shophound friend Ashley at Stylesightings has a detailed report on the goings on as voracious shoppers descended on the thrift shop. Looks like it was a vintage couture free-for-all!
Memorial Sloan-Kettering Thrift Shop 1440 Third Avenue, between 81st and 82nd Streets, Upper East Side

Zarah Goes Shopping: The City's Best Secret Vintage Store Edition

19crit6001Normally, we have not been all cracked up about Zarah Crawford's turns as the Thursday Styles' Critical Shopper. Frankly, we wish they would just assign one person to the column so it could acquire a consistent personality. Today, however, Zarah was inspired to visit the Memorial Sloane-Kettering Cancer Center Thrift Shop, and in the process has exposed the Upper East Side charity store as possibly one of the best resources for vintage couture. She portrays it as a charmingly genteel and patrician place to pick up a vintage Scaasi or Chanel for a song, which should annoy those resolute downtowners who have been supplying their vintage needs at somewhat pricier venues like NoLiTa's Resurrection. But let's get to the important news. The late socialite Nan Kempner, the subject of a recent show at the Metropolitan Museum's Costume Institute, actually bequeathed her entire wardrobe to Sloane-Kettering, who will be selling the bequest through the Thrift Store. Geoffrey Beene did the same thing with his personal archives, so vintage collectors of the tall and willowy variety (think runway-model sized) should stay alert for an upcoming treasure trove event. Although we would think the charity's interests would be better served by selling Mrs. Kempner's celebrated wardrobe of Yves Saint Laurent Haute Couture at auction, we weren't consulted on the decision, and, hey, who are we to stand in the way of a good bargain?
Critical Shopper: After Lunching, The Ladies Go Shopping by Zarah Crawford (NYTimes)
Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center Thrift Shop 1440 Third Avenue (between 81st and 82nd Streets)

UPDATE: If you aren't reading the comments, you will have missed that the charming Zarah Crawford has personally contacted us to let us know that the best of Nan Kempner's wardrobe will in fact be auctioned off at Christie's (meaning we can probably expect another exhibition of her wardrobe) but the rest will be sold through the thrift shop. Believe us, even the lesser pieces of her wardrobe are worth looking out for, especially the accessories. Say what you will about her, the woman had a flawless eye.

Alex K Doesn't Go Shopping: Another Return to the Lower East Side

15criticxlarge1Today we welcome Zarah Crawford to the ranks of those would be 'Critical Shoppers' chosen to substitute for Alex Kuczynski while she either continues to flog her book (futile endeavor) or hits the slopes (more likely). It seems that whenever Alex is off-duty, they send her substitute down to the Lower East Side. We have to admit we were unable to make it down to Frock on Orchard Street for a variety of reasons, (cold and slush being primary among them).  We genuinely regret this, not only because we like to make a thorough report, but because we love that kind of vintage store. Frock is the sort of place, like Resurrection on Mott Street, that trades in vintage designer gems. It's always fun to go in those places and see just how much today's designers have been ripping off Alaïa or Ossie Clark lately. Zarah has decided to tell her story through her own experience of shopping for a dress, but has, unfortunately, opted not to take he opportunity to embarrass herself with a series of barely relevant anecdotes, and that's really what this column is all about. Still, we applaud her taste, as she succeeded in scoring a vintage Norma Kamali for herself, but we take issue with her opinion of '80s footwear, as she writes, "To my eye the shoes at Frock, mostly circa ’80s and high quality, are kind of dowdy, leading one to conclude that this was not a halcyon age for the shoemaker’s art." Zarah, before you write another word, we strongly suggest you acquaint yourself with the work of Maud Frizon, Walter Steiger, Guido Pasquali and Andrea Pfister. We think you may change your opinion.

Frock Vintage 148 Orchard Street, Lower East Side

Critical Shopper: Vintage Clothes With an Eye on Tomorrow by Zarah Crawford (NYTimes)

Summer Scholar Session: The Tailor's Art at The Museum At FIT


There are some wonderful things to keep in mind about The Museum at FIT. First of all, it's free. No "suggested" donations. Secondly, It is usually much less crowded that The Metropolitan Museum of Art and usually offers a more relaxed experience. And thirdly, most important on an exceptionally muggy day like today, it's well air conditioned. It's easy to forget that there is another great fashion museum in New York besides The Costume Institute at The Met. FIT presents exhibitions in a slightly more subdued setting than its uptown counterpart, and the current show, The Tailor's Art offers a scholarly counterpart to the extravaganza being staged at the Met, while still including several similar pieces.

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Clutch!: Handbag Heritage On Mott Street

Img_0972_1Last week when we were investigating Lulu Castagnette, we came across a new shop we hadn't noticed before. The nice thing about NoLita is that there is still room for a quirky little store to try out something different. On Mott street we discovered Clutch!, a tiny shop devoted entirely to vintage handbags. Strategically situated right next door to Vintage palace Resurrection, Clutch!'s charms derive not only from their well selected stock but also from their ingenious display system,

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