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Pechuga Does France : A Guide to Vintage Shopping in Paris

Pechuga Does France : A Guide to Vintage Shopping in Paris

Pechuga Does Paris

I remember buying my tickets to Paris in August of 2018. I had just quit my full time job (backstory: I used to work for Vivienne Westwood here in Los Angeles) to focus on Pechuga. I was on the floor of my studio, almost in tears from frustration, setting up my new printer  (orders were coming in and the lack of printer suddenly became very apparent).

Exasperated and very overwhelmed (I had just quit my job and I couldn’t even figure out how to properly install an inkjet printer that, in hindsight, my little nine year old cousin could’ve done for me) I did what any responsible millennial would do and purchased a round trip ticket to Paris for a month. I immediately printed out a photo of the Eiffel Tower (with my newly installed printed) and pinned it on one of my boards. I would be leaving April 1st, 2019. 

But why did I choose France for my first buying destination? Allow me to elaborate…

Isn't She Lovely *Plays in the Background*

 

The Two Boards

I have two boards in my studio. One is a white board where I write my daily tasks and daily affirmations, the other is a cork board where I put photos of my long term goals and yearly reminders. On my white board hung the photo of the Eiffel Tower I had just printed out (see above). I stared at this picture for the next seven months to come. It was basically a reminder to get up off my butt and work. Even when I didn’t want to. And boy did it do the trick.

On my cork board I had this photo pinned:

 

 A Mood and a Vibe

It was a happy woman in a bikini with a man taking a photo of her. I cut this image out back in January of 2018 at my friend Nike’s “mood board” party. I know nothing about the image (trust me I tried researching it just now) but I made this scenario in my head that this woman in a bikini was in the South of France somewhere, living her best life. I figured that if I saw this image every other month it would soon come true, right? I could be that woman in the South of France, chilling, smoking a cigarette and getting my photo taken. By the way the gold, sun pin seen here is from Christian Lacroix (a Paris find). 

“Fuck This I’m Going to Paris”

I speak French fluently, I’ve been studying the language since I was a kid and studied all sorts of fun things in France back in 2008 for a year at Sciences Po. Paris. When I graduated college and finally ended up working for Vivienne Westwood as a Wholesale Account Exec. I begged the company to send me to Milan for the MAN show. When the Gold Label shows came around I begged the company again to send me to Paris. I also speak Italian fluently (to major in I.R. I had to take another foreign language and Italian sounded spunky so I was like, why not) so I figured I could take wholesale orders down in both Paris and Milan seamlessly. 

“No!”, that was always the response I’d get from my boss, Isaac, at the time. He told me I was better suited to work in LA (a backhanded compliment if I ever heard one). Only once was I sent out of Los Angeles- to New York- to set up the newest Vivienne Westwood NY boutique. A trip that was supposed to be over in a week turned into a month. My boss, Isaac, forgot to book my ticket back to Los Angeles that time- you can imagine my surprise when I tried to check in at JFK (looking back on it I had a very funny relationship with Westwood corporate).

 

"NO! You're staying in LA!"

Anyway, this trip to France was monumental for me. It was my big “fuck you” moment to my LA bosses at Westwood. If Vivienne would never send me out to Paris then fuck it, I was going to send myself. With my own business. The mission? To buy all the cute vintage Vivienne (and Versace) in sight.

Some months later after my decision to go to Paris, Viktor & Rolf showcased their SS19 couture collection (in Paris, where else) and one of the dresses really spoke to me. 

It was like the universe was trying to tell me something, or whateva'

The Trip

Alright. If you’ve read this far, wow, thanks for reading my rant- hopefully it gave y’all some insight as to why I decided to book it to France for a month. I didn't stay in Paris for the whole month, however. From Paris I took off to London, then back to Paris, then off to Marseille with a day trip to Aix-en-Provence, only to return to Paris for Los Angeles. I got into heaps of trouble in each city but for the sake of the business we’re gonna keep it PG-13 on the blog.

La Tour de Pechuga

The List

Of course the list everyone has been waiting for. In the IG stories the one question that kept on popping up was, “Hey Pechuga, where are you shopping?” Et voilà ! So I went ahead and compiled a list for you beautiful people.

I’ve divided the list like so:  

  1. Dépôt Ventes (consignment shops)
  1. The shops in Les Puces de Saint-Ouen ( Saint-Ouen Flea Market)
  1. And online / IG (based in Paris)

    The Dépôt Ventes

    So the dépôt ventes in Paris are essentially consignment stores on crack. There are the really niche, higher end ones that will have brands alphabetized from Alaïa to Zandra Rhodes, some that only specialize in certain brands (think floor to ceiling Chanel), and a few charming ones that I’ve been visiting since 2008.

    The $$$ will denote the price with three dollar signs denoting the highest price.

    My friend Ian, @ian_archives, took me around one weekend to some of his favorite spots. Here’s where we went: 

    Dépot Vente Luxe $$$

    14 Rue de la Tour, 75016 Paris, France

    This shop is divided into two different boutiques, the womenswear (which is the biggest) and the men’s which is conveniently located across the street. The women’s shop comprises of 2 huge street level sections and 2 massive sections underground. You walk in and you don’t even know where to begin, which can be incredibly overwhelming so I suggest you come here with time. Lots of time.

    The racks are all alphabetized and there’s an abundance of pretty much anything under the sun. One rack, for example, had Jean’s by Jean Paul Gaultier, Gaultier Femme, Gaultier Maille, Gaultier Soleil, and more Gaultier to make your head spin. There was also a lot of Karl Lagerfeld. Chanel by Karl, Chloé by Karl, Fendi by Karl - Karl by Karl!

    There is a salesperson in each section and they were very friendly. The basement level section was just madness. Some pieces did have signs that said, “Ask For Assistance”, but these were the sable fur coats at 17-20,000€. Girl, did they mean financial assistance? 

    Ian and I then decided to visit the men’s store across the street. Here you had to be buzzed in. The layout of the shop was a little peculiar, like a short, narrow hallway with a glass room that took up most of the shop’s space. The room is secured with another door that is locked, where the watches and jewelry are housed. There was a basement level, too, with a winding narrow stairway. Again, come here with lots of time to spare.  

    Coeur de Luxe $$$

    21, rue de l’Annonciation, 75016 Paris, France

    Go here for Chanel bags, jewelry, and RTW. You’ll find contemporary Chanel, 90’s and 2000’s Chanel, and pieces from Gabrielle Chanel's atelier. I’m not even kidding. I remember there was a proper vintage yellow bouclé jacket that served as the inspo. for all the brightly colored cropped, tweed jackets of Chanel SS1995 and when I tell you that I died. 

     Linda Evangelista, Chanel SS95

    And when I came back to life I looked to my left and there hanging off the wall was a FULL après ski Chanel suit. The full look. Jacket and all. I considered purchasing the set then and there. But then I was like, OK chill. Be sensible and think of the LA market and where you are. Lugging a full ski suit from CDG to LAX was just not the most ideal of situations. But hey- if you have enough space go for it.

    I have to say the best part of Cœur de Luxe was the set up. You can tell that shopkeeper, Alexandra Leleu, really takes her time in curating the right pieces and maintains the space as shoppable as possible. Clutter is far too common in this business and there's a fine line between eclectic and messy. 

    Scarlett Vintage $$

    5 Rue de la Renaissance, 75008 Paris, France

    Next and final stop with Ian. Scarlett Vintage. Ian, my vintage shopping guide, told me about this very eccentric woman who owned Scarlett. Now, I don’t remember if Scarlett was the shopkeepers name but when we finally arrived at the boutique's storefront the first thing that jumped out at me was a pair of Galliano gazette print jeans. I knew I had to go in!

    Only problem: CLOSED. PLEASE CALL +33….

    This is the thing with the smaller shops in Paris. The smaller the shop the more erratic and unpredictable the hours are going to be. Scarlett was closed just ‘cause (*shrugs*) and on the front door was a cell number to call directly. So I did just that. I asked the raspy voice that answered if the boutique was going to be open tomorrow. She said yes. So Ian and I decided to come back.

    Insanity. The woman that received us had this ginormous sea-shell covered (I don’t even know what to call it) desk (?) near her register. For some reason that’s what stuck out to me the most upon entering. But what was inside the shelves of this Little Mermaid prop was the best part. YSL and more YSL. YSL from the 80’s, YSL by Tom Ford, and Chanel. CRAMMED and twisted in this perfectly chaotic luster.

    YSL by Tom Ford Mombasa Belt

    This lady knew her stuff and I was very impressed at the selection of items she had. There was just a lot to look at so your eyes jumped from one corner to another making it a bit difficult to focus on what treasure may have been right in front of you. 

    Vintage 77 $$

    77 rue de Ménilmontant, 75020 Paris, France

    My heart! So a little bit about this shop. When I lived in Paris back in 2008 I would walk up and down the Rue de Ménilmontant (my apartment was ALL the way up the hill) and I would pass by this store on a daily. One day I noticed this gorgeous blue Lanvin scarf with a print of Louis XIV in the window and I thought to myself, “I need to find a reason to own this”. Back in 2008 I was studying Political Science and Diplomacy. I didn't need Lanvin. 

    What I thought I looked liked in Paris

    But that didn’t stop me. My friend’s birthday was coming up in July of that same year, I recall, and I thought- well, what better gift to give to a French girl than a giant Lanvin square? With the Sun King on it? And I purchased it for my friend Margaux. 

    Anyway, every time I go to Paris I make it a point to go to Vintage 77. The shopkeeper  (oh gosh, I feel terrible for not knowing her name) has YSL by Tom Ford, Issey Miyake, Comme des Garçons, Léonard (France's answer to Pucci).  And the prices are just TOO good to not walk out with anything. Go, go! But again look at the schedule before going, the space isn’t that big but it’s very welcoming and warm.

    Les Puces de Saint-Ouen ( Saint-Ouen Flea Market)

    142 Rue des Rosiers, 93400 Saint-Ouen, France

    Going to the Saint-Oeun flea market is a whole experience, I kid you not. The market is divided into 15 different sections and each section has a list of vendors that each specialize in different goods. The section that you'll want to go to is the Marché Paul Bert Serpette. Here you'll find vintage/antique clothing and mid-modern century/antiques for the home. 

    One of the fist shops I ran into was a Chanel Gripoix boutique. I honestly wanted to cry. And I had literally just stepped foot in the market. I thought: only in Paris can this even be a thing. Floor to ceiling Gripoix. Are you kidding me? Life changing. 

    Christy Turlington, Chanel AW1991

    To help me navigate the market I had Tanis, the owner of Vintage Star Paris, guide me through the merchant stalls. 

    Les Merveilles de Babellou $$$

    18 Rue Paul Bert, 93400 Saint-Ouen, France

    First stop was Les Merveilles de Babellou. There was this really kitchsy sort of red carpet outside the store, with velvet rope barriers. Everyone that walked in there had to come in through the red carpet. It was cute. I was a vintage VIP. 

    I wasn't fully prepared for what was inside this small, unassuming boutique, however. To my right a mannequin wearing Yves Saint Laurent from the Russian Collection of 1976, above this mannequin a shelf lined with quilted Chanel lambskin belts. Next to the belts a vitrine of rare bijoux, from Dior. And it was just one thing after another. Paco Rabanne, a full Versace outfit that I'm more than sure was at the MET, Balenciaga, Moschino from Franco's time. There's no music playing in the shop so all you could hear was one audible gasp after another (all coming from me). 

    Yves Saint Laurent, AW76

    Les Merveilles de Babellou was just this kind of place. It was as if someone had seen into my dreams and produced it and had put all the fashion pieces I could've ever conceived and just brought them into one place for me to look at. The fact that this was accessible was what got to me. It was like I was shopping a museum.  

    Oh and as if that weren't enough the boutique is divided into two spaces. You leave one shop, walk a bit further up and step into another space full of Gucci, Givenchy, & Guy Laroche (the O.G's). 

    The store has a schedule from Friday-Monday and is open by appointment on week days. Be sure to check their website as things are always subject to change. 

    de Laurentis Paris $$

    96 Rue des Rosiers, 93400 Saint-Ouen, France

    Tanis then took me to visit Maxime, the lovely shop owner of de Laurentis. Maxime introduce himself and we started talking fashion, how the market was evolving, and where to vintage shop if I ever found myself in Marseille (Maxime hails from this seaside town). Our conversation was cut short, however, because my eye caught this brightly colored Versace skirt in the corner (talk about short attention span). I knew the color combination instantly but neither Maxime nor I could pinpoint the direct color inspiration, was it Commedia dell'Arte? Or was it Pop Art? It's the kind of thing that can keep you up at night. 

    Maxime was later able to confirm that the skirt was from SS91, Pop Art collection

    From de Laurentis I purchased some Marc Jacobs, Dior, and McQueen. But what the shop really specializes is is in rare Margiela, Dior Homme by Hedi Slimane, Comme des Garçons, and Jean-Charles de Castelbajac.  Maxime's space is also very well organized (not sure if you guys have caught wind that I'm a stickler for organization) and he himself has a great outgoing personality. It's like shopping with a friend. You're more than sure to walk out with something and the prices for the items are amazing. 

     

    Dior Homme AW03 by Hedi Slimane, Luster Jacket 

    de Laurentis is open Friday 10 am - 1 pm, Sat-Sun 10 am - 6 pm, and Monday 11 am - 4 pm. However, be sure to reach out to Maxime (I've linked his contact info.) as times are subject to change. 

    Chez Sarah $$$

    18 rue Jules-Vallès, 93400 Saint-Ouen, France

    Final stop with Tanis: Chez Sarah aka the Mecca of all vintage fashion in France.

    Chez Sarah is one of the older establishments of vintage fashion, it's owned by Sarah Rozenbaum (Sarah's dad started the business). The shop is big, it stretches the length of 3/4's of a city block, back in 2014 Sarah opened another boutique (across the one she already has) just as long, but with more of a focus on men's fashion. 

    Here you'll find clothing from the late 1800's to the 1970's, some 90's pieces here and there (rare) and if you're lucky maybe a 2000's piece amidst the whole lot. All the RTW and Couture items are in cataloged in alphabetical order. If you ask the information on something there will be someone to come over with a giant binder and tell you the year, the fabric composition, and the price. 

    Baby, they mean business. Of course I went in with a Pechuga mentality (ie. shopping habits). And to be honest, I wasn't disappointed. It's a blessing and a curse to always be able to find something cute anywhere you go. 

    My "cute" finds? A Paco Rabanne vintage chainmail dress from the 60's and bitch! (OK sorry, expletive, cover your eyes) a Jean-Charles de Castelbajac teddy coat. I honestly hate being cursed with good taste. 

    Paco Rabanne, 1966

     Teddy Coat from Jean-Charles de Castelbajac, AW88

    The teddy coat wasn't as severe as the one here (the one that Sarah had had less teddy bears on it) but for 800€? Not a bad deal. 

    I highly suggest going to the Marché de Saint-Ouen just to absorb the art alone, some of the shop owners are lovely. I had a conversation about Victorian fashion with one vendor that went on for more than half an hour. Alright! Now to the last section of this list. 

    My Instagram Shopping Addiction

    The shops above (with the exception of de Laurentis) are all really old school. Only a few have really caught on to the use of social media (the lady from Vintage 77 loves Facebook [bless] but FB isn't really the go-to platform nowadays). So if you can't go to Paris allow me to introduce to you Instagram shops based there. I'll highlight my three favorite ones (I met the people behind the shops in person and I have to say they are some of the loveliest people I met during my stay). 

    Nina Gabbana Vintage $$

    Online and by appointment only

    Marie is the queen behind Nina Gabbana Vintage, supplying us with daily Gaultier serves, and Prada mid-90's treasures, and a daily dose of fashion herstory. Marie and I started talking when I was in LA and we made it a point to meet up in Paris. Our first rendez-vous took us to the Jardin de Tuileries, where we spoke about everything under the sun. My penchant for Vivienne Werstwood, Marie's love for Franco Moschino, her avocado allergy (I mean everything).

    I didn't expect that Marie and I would meet up at least two to three times every week and start talking daily. Our tastes in fashion and our love for history and vintage in pop culture was what really made it so easy to talk to her. Highlights from Nina Gabbana Vintage include tribal print pieces from Jean Paul Gautlier, a Dolce & Gabbana mesh crystal tank top (as seen on JLo from "Jenny from the Block" video) and a Moschino hand spray painted jacket. 

    The Nina Gabbana girl

    You can contact Marie via DM's or visit her site to see her items. This is NG's instagram @ninagabbanavintage.

    Vintage Star-Paris $$

    Online and by appointment only 

    Behind Vintage Star-Paris is Tanis- you may remember her as the oracle of the Marché de Saint-Ouen. Like Marie, Tanis and I started talking to each other before I was set to leave to Paris. She sounded like a lovely person, and like me, I gathered she was more of an anonymous voice behind her shop showcasing more the clothes, snippets of Paris, and new arrivals than herself. 

    Tanis' taste in fashion is also very similar to mine, highlights from Vintage Star-Paris include rare pieces from Jean Paul Gaultier AW97/98, a corseted hip belt from Plein Sud, and an 1980's Ungaro black skirt suit, in black crushed velvet.

     Jean Paul Gaultier AW97/98

     You can contact Tanis via DM, her instagram is @vintagestarparis

    Byronesque $$$

    Online or by appointment only. 

    Byronesque has two home offices, one in New York (headed by Gill) and another one in Paris. When Gill caught wind that I was going to be in Paris for a month she set up a meeting with her business partner Justin. 

    My first meeting with Justin over pints in the Marais had us talking about Claude Montana, the punk days in London, and the social evolution of Paris. 

    Claude Montana tights and dress, reissue via Byronesque

    Byronesque's approach to fashion is subversive, it's dark (black is the color du jour, every jour), there's a seriousness to what Gill and Justin do (they were responsible for releasing re-issues of Montana's most iconic designs from the '80's), and they take client requests to a whole new level. 

    The Byronesque app allows you to create a profile and send in requests for anything your mind could think of. Their sprawling network of dealers all over the world will try to source it for you (I should know, I'm one of the dealers). The shop currently has an all Balenciaga by Nicholas Ghesquière sale. Their tag line? "Pray for your size". 

    Balenciaga by Ghesquière AW03, Look 22

    You can reach them via DM their instagram is @byronesquevintage

    La Fin

    Karl Lagerfeld shot by Helmut Newton, 1976, Paris, France

    Well this concludes this list. Thank you so much for reading! Yes, I know it was long but I was there for a month (consider this the abridged version). I had a ton of fun writing this I hope you have fun reading it. If you're the shop-owner and want me to add (or change something) feel free to reach out to me and I'll amend any info. 

    Most importantly, I hope this helps you, dear reader, navigate a portion of Paris. I wish I had this list prior to going but hey, I was fortunate enough to meet some lovely people abroad that took me around. Which leads me to my next and final point. 

    When going into someone's shop, and this isn't just for the boutiques in Paris, say, "Hello", flash a smile, you'd be surprised at how one simple greeting or a grin can change the mood. It's not only polite but it's also respectful. Same goes with DM'ing someone on Instagram. There are people behind these accounts. Start off the message with a, "Hello how are you?"- or a "Hope this finds you well". It sets a tone for your conversation with the owners instead of, "How much?" or "Price?". Which may come off as rude or a bit robotic and distant and this may cause them to not want to engage. Just Pechuga's two cents. 

    Next

    Expect a short list of my finds in the South of France very, very soon. 

    Again, enjoy reading and leave a comment! Any questions feel free to reach out. And happy hunting!

     

    Johnny Valencia

    Pechuga Vintage

     

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