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I Shop, Therefore I am
By Sarah Kuhn

You may have noticed the faded 'Northside Shopping District' signs that adorn some of the lamp-posts around the area. Ten years ago, these signs were mysterious since little in the way of shopping was to be found in Williamsburg. These days, a new store opens almost weekly. FREEwilliamsburg's Sarah Kuhn is on the trail of the emerging Williamsburg fashion scene:

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A recent addition to the main drag is Amarcord Vintage Fashion (223 Bedford Avenue, between N. 4th and N. 5th St.) You may already be familiar with Patti Bordoni and Marco Liotta's experienced and keen sense of fashion from their splendid East Village location by the same name, (84 East Seventh St. btwn 1st and 2nd Ave ) which translates to 'I remember' and is the title of the Fellini film about the place where the couple come from originally. Now Williamsburg has its own version of an Italian style boutique that houses one-of-a-kind vintage pieces that are each individually selected by the couple every few months when they return to Europe to do their buying.

Women can expect to find glamorous pieces, including tailored tops ($40-60), printed maxi-skirts ($45), and trench costs in bright yet sophisticated colors ($145). More rare pieces include a Gucci dob kit ($75) delicate knit gloves ($30), Bruno Magli seventies style sandals ($30), crème knit short sleeve sweater-top and matching knickerbockers. Men can find ex-French or Italian military jackets in obscure colors ($55), old style Adidas in tan and brown ($30), tracksuit jackets, and conservative slim-fitting button down Yves Saint Laurent shirts ($60). Inventory is constantly changing because they have a warehouse only a few blocks away. Remember, they also take requests.

Carrie Peterson, the founder of the famous vintage store Beacon's Closet (North 11th btwn Berry and Wythe hrs:Mon-Fri noon-9pm; Sat, Sun 11am-8pm) has moved locations to a new and improved spot off the beaten path. She started her own business because she was suffering from the Manhattan corporate blues. Men's and women's clothing, accessories and shoes are in tip-top shape and trendy because they are very selective about what they stock. The deal is once they have appraised your goods, picked what they like, and priced it, you will get 30% in cash or 55% store credit of resale value to spend on the ever-changing merchandise that is carefully sectioned into logical colour schemes. The music section, with CDS and LPS, is also brilliant!

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A hop, skip, and a jump off Bedford Avenue next to the Graham stop you'll find The Nines (320 Graham Avenue (718) 218-6040 noon-9pm closed Mondays). It is an oasis of vintage clothes as well as a showcase for new designer garb, jewellery, and accessories from loads of locals (31 Corn Lane tote bags for $30, MMAN t-shirts and tank tops, or Emoi et Moi skirts for $40-$60). Amanda, the owner, and Anya, model and muse, feature the hits usually missing from traditional thrift store settings in their underground emporium. People mingling out front of the storefront, which features various collaborations between art and fashion, give it a true local vibe. The Nines proves that curating vintage clothes is an art form!

Elena Bredin and Lacy Vancourt are the founders and curators of the gallery of fashion, furniture, and art called Landing (242 Wythe avenue at n.3rd (718)218-9449). They feature local talents such as Feralchilde, H. Fredriksson, Detox, Lona D, Black Angus, Rabbit+Redtree, and in the near future they will also carry an extensive collection from non-Brooklyn local Built by Wendy. They also frequently host in-house parties. This month will be a celebration of the coming of Spring where music, booze and forward-thinking fashion will unite.

Fortuna's (370 Metropolitan Avenue (718)486- 2682 hrs: Thurs-Fri 2-9 pm/ Sat-Sun 1-9 pm) owner and in-house designer, Alison Nowlin, a former photographer for the Wall Street Journal, and her boyfriend had the idea of an old-timey salon atmosphere in mind when they created this vintage bazaar almost a year ago where you can find leather wrist ties and cuffs by Jason Morrow($30-60) and Maximilia ($30-200), an endless selection of shoes and boots($28-40), La Fortuna hybrid muscle-tee ($35) made by the owner or sweet and sultry nighties($10-40). Look out for evening activities scheduled to begin soon including the 'Outlaw Artshow' that is in the works!

Lint (318 Bedford Avenue(Btwn S. 1st & S.2nd St. (718) 387-9508 hrs: Tues-Sunday 1-8:30) may be teeny- tiny, but it is practically spilling over with quirky inexpensive vintage clothing as well as some original pieces such as the silkscreen tops and totes by underground graffiti artist Bast ($25-45). Owners, Paulette and Robert Polimeri opened in August 2002 to cater to the "starving artists" in the area, who want to dress with style, without forking out loads of cash. Popular at the moment are their bountiful selection of used tennis mini-skirts ($16) available in a rainbow of colors, sexy summer dresses ranging from every decade since the Fifties ($26), feather earrings by Cora ($20-$25) and, for men, two racks of shirts selected by Mr. Polimeri.

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Four years ago, former chef and natural business-woman, Rose Knightly, opened Metaphors (195 Bedford Avenue(718)782-0917) on a whim. She carries jewellery by local designers, arm warmers, yoga bags, lingerie, organic body care, and a whole selection of Audubon stuffed song-birds each with their actual authentic sound. It is a haven for intimate gift products and feminine womenswear.

At Sweet Virginia (164 havermeyer St. btw S.2nd & S.3rd St. 718 963 3999 hrs: Sat 11- 8, Sun 11-6.) first and second-hand designs flourish side by side in this quaint South Williamsburg shop. Owner/designer Lyuba Radovich finds bliss refashioning second-hand pieces and peddling one-of-a kind garments such as a floor length candy-cane striped halter-top dress($25).

Of course, the list goes on as Williamsburg continues to grow. Check back soon for installment two.

Click on photos to enlarge.

Photography: Todd Netter
Concept and Styling: Sarah Frances Kuhn and Kim Ficaro: All the shops and Free Williamsburg
Art Direction: James Wilson for Ultra Treason Design
All Artwork: James Wilson and Kim Ficaro
Props: Ultra Treason Design
Prop Styling: Kim Ficaro
Models: Anya, Preeya, Tim, Mikal, Herbie, Todd, Madison, Clementine

Information and Prices:

1. Anya wears lavender chiffon cape $16 @ Fortuna.
Herbie wears striped vest $ [email protected] sweet Virginia, red VM t-shirt $10.95 @ beacon's closet, red and white striped tie $ [email protected] sweet Virginia

2. Herbie wears striped vest [email protected] sweet Virginia, red VM t-shirt $10.95 @ beacon's closet, red and white striped tie $8 @ sweet Virginia and pants are model's own.
Todd wears his own t-shirt and smokes his own cigarettes.

3. Tim reads The Sociable: One Thousand and One Home Amusements by Applewood press available at Lake( 280 E.10th no 1 646-654-0129)

He wears a shirt $30 @ Sweet Virginia, lace scarf $35 @ Fortuna, and his own pants

4a. Preeya wears pink seventies cotton shift dress $23and red and white striped tie $8 both @ Sweet Virginia.
Anya wears crème/pink/caramel slinky wrap dress $26 @ Sweet Virginia. Jewellery model's own.
Madison wears shiny blue crop top $14 @ Fortuna, black and white flowered puffy dress worn as skirt $16 @Sweet Virginia, pink ribbon necklace by MMAN $50 @Landing.

4b. Silver shoes with sequin butterfly detail $26 @ Fortuna

5a. Clementine wears top by missphit $ [email protected], tropical flowered dress worn as skirt [email protected] sweet Virginia, striped knee socks $14 @metaphors and silver heels with bows $26 @fortuna
Anya(seated) wears flowered jumpsuit $22 @ The Nines and sequin tube top worn as belt $20 @fortuna. All jewellery is model's own.

5b. Herbie wears parrot top $22 @sweet Virginia, navy top $18 @ Lint, embroidered bag [email protected] Beacon's Closet. Pants are model's own.

6. Clementine wears black sparkly top $16 @The Nines, red and black nightie worn as skirt $10, silver heels with bows $26 @ Fortuna, and
Audubon bird on her shoulder $10 @ Metaphors.

7. Preeya wears silver sequin dress [email protected] Fortuna.
Madison wears green striped two piece set $125 @Amarcord, red lace belt $35 @Fortuna, and white boots are model's own.

8. Preeya wears bubble shorts by feralchilde $80 @ Landing, striped tube top $10 @ The Nines, pink silk vest with black stripes $15 @ Sweet Virginia, shell earring by MMAN $50 @ Landing.
Mikal wears blue top $25 @ Amarcord, vest and pants $28 @ The Nines, gray flowered scarf worn as belt $8 @ Fortuna.

9. Anya wears cut-up striped trapeze dress by feralchilde $500 @ Landing and lavender sheer cape $16 @ Fortuna.

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Free Williamsburg© | 93 Berry Street | Brooklyn, NY 11211
[email protected] | April 2003 | Issue 37
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