Wondering where virtually all currently working designers steal their best ideas from? No, not just from flying visits to Alice Underground, Screaming Mimi’s, and other local vintage shops.
To fully appreciate the lavish scope (and plunder potential) of the last 100 or so years of fashion, world-famous créateurs visit the traveling vintage-clothes road shows that alight now and again in Manhattan. Next Friday, April 23, (1 p.m. to 7 p.m.) and Saturday (10 a.m. to 6 p.m.), the Manhattan Vintage Clothing Show and Sale gathers 50 high-end vintage dealers at the Metropolitan Pavilion (125 West 18th Street) for an incomparable collection of everything from Merry Widow corsets to Mary Quant minis.
Though you’re competing with seasoned vintage buyers, deals are not impossible: More than one tireless scavenger has turned up an exquisite Marcia Brady dress for under $40, or a ’50s evening purse for around $30. (Hint: Bring cash for best bargaining leverage.) Though the $20 admission may seem steep—especially if you’re not expensing it to Donna Karan or Dolce & Gabbana—the price includes an exhibition of not-for-sale archival swimwear, from Gibson Girl pantaloons to yellow polka-dot bikinis.