Friday fashion fix: Va-va vintage

JULIE ROULSTON
Last updated 11:31 17/05/2013

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Global fashion industry forecasters predicted late last year that vintage and retro would be big for 2013. 

At that stage they had seen the Northern Hemisphere S/S 2013 shows "packed to the rafters with '60s and '70s references." Add to that potent influences like season six of Mad Men, The Great Gatbsy movie and a '50s and '60s Brit rock expo at London's V&A in October, and you have the makings of a pretty powerful trend.

Strictly speaking, the term vintage should only be used when referring to wine, but accepted use per the Macmillan online dictionary is "old, but kept in good condition because it is interesting or attractive."  In fashion terms, you could narrow that down to "old enough to be in fashion again." 

Retro, meantime, is correctly used for a contemporary style that looks to the past for its inspiration.

Lots of local fashion labels have gorgeous retro influences and/or vintage moods, with stores like Wellington/Nelson business Vintage Heaven delightfully devoted to all things retro. If you have the time and enjoy the hunt, or are low on budget, you can go in search of genuine vintage at your local Op Shop.

Women's lifestyle publisher Megan Robinson is often photographed for her beautiful styling and presentation, and regularly chooses to wear vintage. Megan says that cost-effectiveness granted, she loves the quality of construction and the beautiful cut of older pieces. She also loves their gorgeous textile design and prints.

"My favourite piece is a 19th Century hand-made silk beaded cape my ancestors brought over on a ship to New Zealand," she told Stuff.co.nz.  "I take it out a couple of times a year, as it's nice to wear and enjoy it." 

Megan suggests that those new to vintage start with an accessory. "Key pieces are old silk scarves in florals or graphic prints, or a brooch ("there are hundreds around the shops in the shape of flowers with rhinestones as petals"). She recommends vintage pure wool coats ("way cheaper to buy than new") and Burberry-style Macs.  "They're often missing their belt," she says "but thread a silk scarf through the belt-loops and you are combining two key pieces."

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