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The New York Fashion Lineage:
Brooklyn fosters a new crop of talent

By Sarah Frances Kuhn

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Now that Williamsburg is on the so-called fashion map, it makes sense to marvel at how Bedford Avenue became such a world-renowned pseudo catwalk. At any moment of the week, some of the most quirky, off-the wall, and creative visions of street style are on show in Williamsburg. Some of the major fashion magazines have even taken notice, with photo-shoots that visualize the overall trends, consequently contributing to Williamsburg's reputation as the dish-of-the-day on the New York fashion menu (see V magazine's Jan/Feb 2002 issue or the Spring 2003 Men's Fashion of the Times 'Band on the Run' Interpol shoot to name a couple).

Such youthful and artistic sartorial fashion statements are something the New York fashion media have been longing for since the 1960's when people such as the designer Betsey Johnson and Andy Warhol's entourage experimented with the meaning of fashion and lifestyle. These icons opened stores with wacky names like Paraphernalia, Splendiferous, and Abracadabra that challenged previous notions of shopping and fashion in New York. Suddenly these 'happening' spaces became integral to the artistic life of a modern city. The Williamsburg fashion scene of today harks back to the days when freedom of expression was encouraged and celebrated in clothing. This feeling of a counter-cultural existence and benign sense of anti-establishment seems to have successfully caught the attention of the larger global fashion bigwigs.

One of the pioneers of this Brooklyn fashion diaspora is the owner of Fluke vintage, Karen. Karen decided to open her store, located strategically between The Greenpoint Tavern (yes, the one with the Styrofoam 20 oz.!) and Pita Power two years ago, when she arrived from her native West Coast. Through the glass door, down the hall past the bizarre psychic's box, you will find a room full of her own personal selections of vintage delicacies that she buys simply using her well-honed fashion instincts.

It is safe to say that she is amongst the sharper fashion knives in the drawer. She has that certain je ne sais quoi essence of style that most fashion souls struggle to acquire. She is Williamsburg's very own style icon. Certainly she would deny this, I mean when we were getting ready for the shoot (seen here), she said that she had not worn makeup in over a year and has a hard time even conjuring up the energy to wash her face.

Karen also has an entire room in her Greenpoint residence dedicated to her own private collection. She rarely sells from her private collection which includes clothing from every decade of the past century.

A true connoiser of vintage clothing, Karen panics every time something sells. She simply does not like to let go of her treasures. You can visit her or her lovely assistant Stephanie (who will most certainly be dancing to music provided by in house record dealer extraordinaire Rodney) Tuesday through Sunday.


1. The Feast: Karen, on the left, wears a 1960's olive green Impero tent dress from the Amarcord showroom collection. Stephanie wears a pink and gold velvet gown from the Fluke special collection, handmade leaves necklace of gold coral necklace worn as a tiara from Amarcord and golden Sergio Rossi sandals from Amarcord.

Songs of Love: Karen, seated and swept away, in golden 1960's shift dress, black paten platforms, and black gloves from the Fluke special collection. Stephanie, singing sweetly, is dressed in a beige 1980's tube dress with suede ruffles from Amarcord, crème hooded robe, gold chain, white purse with gold chain, and Grecian summer sandals with coloured stones from Fluke. Gold wristbands are stylists own.

Karen, Dutchess of Williamsburg wears red Grecian halter-wrap top and a yellow print skirt both from Fluke. Jewelry was part of the her royal inheritance.

Lady Clementine, show us your beautiful face. She wears ball gown by Fluke.

Portrait of a Lady, Stephanie of Williamsburg: She chose to be remembered in this 1960's electric purple mini jumper dress with white suspenders by Fluke. Earrings and knit flower also by Fluke.

A Sunday Stroll: Karen has on a white sparkly flapper dress, white Sunday promenading hat both from Fluke, shell flower bouquet by Lake(East Village). Stephanie wears 1970's cotton pique peasant dress from Amarcord. Her hat, white paten lace-up boots and pearl necklace worn as a bracelet are from Fluke. The book is not the bible! This is the Church...

Bedford Avenue(between N.6th and N.7th)
Hours:Monday- Closed
Tuesday- Saturday- 1-8
Sunday- 1-7

And please take note that Karen wants the public to feel free to bring in vintage pieces that they may have for sale

223 Bedford Avenue(Betwwen N.4th and N.5th Street)
718- 963-4001
84 East 7th Street( Between 1st and 2nd Avenue)
New York
Showroom Williamsburg (by appointment)
242 Wythe Avenue('N.3rd)#9

Photography: Todd Netter
Concept and Styling: Sarah Frances Kuhn and Kim Ficaro and the girls from
Fluke Karen and Stephanie
Art Direction: James Wilson and Kim Ficaro
Artwork: Kim Ficaro
Prop Styling: Kim Ficaro
Rigging: James Wilson
I.T. Assistance and digital enhancements:
Tim Regan for Blackbird Productions
[email protected]
Models: Karen, Stephanie, and Clementine


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[email protected] | May 2003 | Issue 38
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