Tuesday, August 14, 2012

CARA MIA VINTAGE - Ultimate grift, glamour goods!

Earlier on the blog, I introduced to you Cara Mia Vintage whom I first saw at the Love Vintage Clothing Show and Sale. I remember my eyes catching the glimmer of sequins and jewels luring me into the stall to get a better look. Each rack hung vintage designer pieces that were so divine, it was clear to me that this vintage stall was the best that I've come across so far. If you are looking for something a bit more up market than your average thrift rack, look no further! Cara Mia is all about carefully curated high quality designer vintage clothing. Every item is one of a kind sourced globally from the cupboards and caches of the world’s most glamorous and chic. ‘Cara Mia’ means ‘my beloved’ in Italian, and is a term usually bestowed on a treasured object of affection. Every piece offered by CMV is lovingly sourced, cared for and presented as though it were a priceless piece in a jewel box by founder and ‘fashion historian’ Cara Weinstock. I was lucky enough to visit Cara and get up close and personal with her amazing range of vintage pieces. With so much "ooo-ing" and "ahhhh-ing" going on, I can guarantee you too will be doing the same as you see more of this post. Having taken so many photos, here are just some of the unique finds, Cara has added to her collection.  

Early c20th lace blouse with peaked sleeves

Founder and owner Cara Weinstock with her vast array of vintage designer pieces.
Military jacket: late c19th/early c20th Argentinian policeman's jacket | 80's Junior Gaultier boxing playsuit

Late 80's/early 90's Alaia nude knit dress with mirrored and beaded hem - STUNNING!!!!

Late 80's/early 90's Alaia red knit mini dress - Totally a Cher Horowitz/Clueless dress! Everybody remembers Cher held at gunpoint and the "An A-what-a?" moment!

During my visit, not only was it a delight to see the collection up close but also to hear the stories behind each of the pieces and how Cara Mia Vintage came about. Here are a few questions I asked Cara:

L: When or how did your love for vintage clothing come about? Was there a particular piece that stole your heart?
C: I started collecting vintage for fun when I was younger and didn't realise how hooked I had become until it was much too late! One of the most fun aspects of collecting vintage clothing is that you never know exactly what you are going to unearth - the possibilities are literally endless. And of course there is a huge rush associated with nabbing a great piece - for me it really feeds into that 'thrill of the hunt' instinct. There were definitely a few pieces that I stumbled upon early on that fueled the fires of my current obsession - one was an early 1970's Ossie Clark silk gown with a print by Celia Birtwell which is just exquisite - I've never worn it but can't bring myself to part with it because it reminds me of why I became passionate about vintage in the first place. Another piece is a 90's Versace Couture dress that was a huge catwalk and campaign piece and was worn by the original 90's supers like Cindy and Naomi - I found that at a market for $10! I think that remains my best score to this day. I was pretty much hooked after finding that one!

What would classify as a true vintage item?
There is a lot of debate about this - some people classify anything 20 years or older as vintage, while purists probably wouldn't include anything past the 70's or 80's. Personally, I place less emphasis on the era and more on the quality and provenance of the piece - just because something is 'old' doesn't necessarily make it 'good'. A lot of low quality, throw away garments are produced today, and the same is true of the past, albeit to a lesser degree. I think you can judge a great piece of vintage by whether it has stood the test of time, whether that be 20 years or 60 years. Is there something innovative about the design? Is it made of beautiful fabric? Was it produced by a well known or highly regarded label? To me, these factors are definitely more important in classifying something as vintage than the actual age.

What do you look for in a piece? Is there something to keep an eye out for?
I look for great design, quality, beauty, uniqueness and that indefinable 'x' factor that makes a piece stand out, regardless of whether or not it was produced by a designer label. I also steer clear of pieces that are significantly damaged or display obvious flaws, as I have unfortunately learnt through trial and error that restoring these pieces to their former glory is usually more time consuming and expensive than it is worth. Unless you are an expert seamstress, I would recommend giving these types of pieces a miss!

Fiorucci 1970's denim dinasour embroidered hot pants - Aren't these the cutest!? My mum dressed me in Fiorucci all the time, but I don't remember it being this cool! I say bring Fiorucci back Myer! 

Chanel Padded running shorts with CC logo
 - Sporty luxe at it's best!

1980's Thierry Mugler fluorescent highlight ruffle dress formerly belonging to Amber Rose | 1960's Emilio Pucci velvet print maxi skirt

When sourcing pieces for Cara Mia Vintage, is it ever hard to part with your finds?
Always!!! Every piece I buy for the store is something I would wear myself, so there is always a pang of sadness when I see them go. But I take comfort in the fact that they are headed off to happy homes where they will be treasured and cared for. Plus, if I held on to everything, I could never buy anything new!

What would you consider as the "prized piece" of your store at the moment?
At the moment I am loving the newest Thierry Mugler dress to hit the shop floor. Not only is it a sensational piece in and of itself, it was formerly owned by Kanye West's girlfriend Amber Rose so it's fun to imagine the fabulous parties and places it might have been! And who knows who owned it before that...a Manhattan socialite? European royalty? Again, the possibilities are endless...

Moschino neon pink denim vest with heart feature - how gorgeous is this hot pink vest!?? The back features a pink plastic heart cut-out, waist cincher and the sweetest feature of all – the Italian translation of ‘amore’ and its variants in black text. What more can we say – we love!

Moschino Mixed print high-waisted mini skirt | Chanel Fantasy tweed pastel jacket

Super rare 1970's Peter Max for Wrangler denim shorts - SUPER FUN and SUPER RARE!!

Emanuel Ungaro tweed and floral cropped jacket - LOVING the vibrant colours, padded embroidery and colourful tweed! With the print-on-print and floral trend being big winners in fashion recently, this piece is no doubt a show stopper!

Moschino sheer panelled bodysuit with heart zipper

Early 1980's Chanel black silk jacket | Liliile Rubin 1980s/90s revival leather mini corset skirt w/grommets and lace up panel

If you could get your hands on any piece from any era, what would it be and why?
There are so many pieces on my 'wish list' and my whims change from day to day, but right now I am lusting over mod 60's pieces by Courreges, Pierre Cardin and Paco Rabbane. I'd love to get my hands on an original Paco Rabbane metal disc handbag - the style was re-released recently, but I'll always take the original over the remake given the option!

Designer belts by the likes of Helene Angeli and Adolfo

Cara Mia Vintage range of jewellery featuring Yves Saint Laurent Gold leaf necklace w/diamantes

My favourite piece from the entire collection would have to be these darling Chanel Brogues! Hey there Coco!!

Where do you see Cara Mia Vintage heading in the future?
I'd love to see Cara Mia Vintage become the global go-to destination for amazing, high quality, unique vintage. I really admire Natalie Massanet and what she has done with Net-a-Porter, so I take a lot of inspiration from her, although obviously vintage is a lot more of a niche market. I'm also currently looking into the possibility of doing a 'pop up' store in Sydney, and down the track I'd love to produce my own line inspired by and of the same high quality as my personal vintage archive. In the short term, I look forward to working with some incredibly talented photographers, stylists, designers and models - there are quite a few exciting projects and collaborations in the pipeline!

What is your best style advice?
It's trite, but generally I would say just wearing what you are comfortable in and what flatters you rather than trying to conform to the trend du jour. But I also think there is a lot to be gained style-wise by stepping outside your comfort zone and trying something new, whether that be a shoe, bag, piece of jewellery or a complete head-to-toe new look. Vintage is great in this respect because of it's timeless nature, which allows you to try something new without being pigeonholed - I'm sure we've all had the experience of buying an 'it' piece which is completely desirable one second but looks totally dated by the time the next season rolls around. Buying vintage allows you to avoid this while still asserting your individuality.

So there you have it! An insight into the glamourous world of Cara Mia Vintage and what to look for when shopping for designer vintage clothing. I really do hope you have enjoyed this blog post as I was literally transported to an idyllic vintage haven during my visit. If you have any questions, styling queries or are in the search for an item in particular, feel free to contact Cara on cara@caramiavintage.com and CMV will do their upmost to satisfy your desire!

For updates and more - SHOP, LIKE, FOLLOW, AND READ
Oh, and be sure to check out their latest LOOK BOOK shot by Steven Chee and styled by Pip Edwards! It's a knock-out!

Photos by myself Lauren Hernandez, Interview words by Cara Weinstock


  1. This is total VINTAGE HEAVEN!!!!! What an incredible collection! These pieces are absolute gold...wowoowowow!!!

  2. such a good post! your blog could be a magazine you have such wonderful interviews and style shots :)


  3. This is such a great interview, I really enjoyed reading what the owner of Cara Mia had to say about vintage! Vintage is a very new passion of mine, but it's something I absolutely adore nonetheless! Thanks for sharing this gorgeous post. There's a new post up on my blog about Roland Mouret's AW2012 collection and I'd love to hear what you think of it, so feel free to stop by!

    ♡ veena | seveninchstilettos.com
    twitter/instagram: @veenamccoole