On a bitterly cold January in 1996, Kate Moss happened upon a new boutique in New York’s East Village that – unbeknown to the British supermodel – had opened its doors that very same day. With an outstretched arm and limber disposition, Moss reached into the main window display and plucked a small orange wicker basket with brass handles that resembled an American football. The bag was the first of many purchases, which were worn (ergo – splashed across the style pages of each and every weekly) during her unrelenting show circuit at New York Fashion Week that season.
The shop in question was Resurrection – a suitably plush vintage clothing Mecca, housed in a former funeral parlour, founded by long-term friends and design collaborators Katy Rodriguez and Mark Haddaway. “Mark and I were the main buyers, we dealt with the clients and the customers directly, and we buy each and every piece individually,” reveals San Francisco-born Rodriguez on a hotline from Los Angeles. “It takes a lot of time and effort because we have a particular point of view, and we’re very picky. 20 years later and we’re still refining our aesthetic.” Their fastidious approach is evident from the carefully edited, collectable garb that graces the rails, creating an eclectic time portal that draws from the past to inspire its future. A rare Moschino jacket circa 1982 might, for example, hang adjacent to a lavishly embroidered Christian Lacroix gown once owned by a silver screen siren. Or, one might discover an obscure muslin bag by Maison Martin Margiela Artisanal perched above a 1970s Yves Saint Laurent cape, spun from fuchsia-coloured cashmere.
“It’s similar to putting the pieces of a puzzle together,” adds Rodrigeuz, who started thrifting in her late teens at a local flea market in Berkeley, having successfully sold a collection of bold Mexican jewellery given to her by her aunt. “I’ve always had a passion for hunting out the raddest stuff,” she affirms, adding, “but Mark and I never entered into this thinking it would become so big. It really was quite spontaneous, things played out organically, which is great. I feel very blessed.”
This season, 20 years after its inception, the cult store has relocated its NYC branch to a beautiful new space on Great Jones Street in Noho. Set across 2,400 square feet, it bestows a tranquil, avant-garde sensibility, comprised of lofty ceilings, bespoke black rubber and brass credenzas and polished concrete floors. Here, Rodriguez delves into greater detail about the evolution of the emporium and her own personal collection of fashion heirlooms…
What can we expect to see at the new Resurrection store?
“Well, it’s so much more than just beautiful vintage clothing and accessories, there are textiles, fashion artefacts, a unique edit of rare art, fashion and design books on display, which were compiled by Arthur Fournier Rare & Fine [specialist book dealer]. For the launch we are also presenting an incredible collection of Alexander McQueen showpieces, as well as some iconic jewellery by Bulgari, which still feels so modern, relevant and glamorous. The whole store was designed by Mark [Haddaway]. It’s totally invigorating.”
The Alexander McQueen collection sounds especially compelling…
“Yes it really is! There are several looks that I have always wanted and it will be difficult to let them go. But, I like to see these pieces go to a good home, to people that really understand the power of his designs. Seeing all of those McQueen pieces together is really something.”
Can you tell us more about the striking rubber furniture within the store?
“Yes, the furniture was created especially for the space by Brian Thoreen [a Los Angeles-based contemporary designer] in collaboration with Mark. They did an incredible job, the pieces are very special.”
The most exciting pieces that you’ve ever acquired?
“There are a few items that I’ve collected and could never sell because I’m so attached to them. The first being Johnny Thunders’ Seditionaries-era boots [by Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren], and the second being Sid Vicious’ ‘Chaos’ T-shirt. My friend was actually with Sid when he passed and helped his mum through a very difficult period, she in turn gave him some of Sid’s clothes…”
Well, there’s a lot of emotional value in clothing…
“There really is. Fashion tends to get trivialised, but I meet women for whom their clothes tell the story of their lives – that are a reminder of landmark moments or certain chapters. It’s my job to find pieces that tell a story.”
Has the store’s 20-year anniversary allowed you to reflect on its evolution?
“Yes, I think it’s funny because I wouldn’t really call Resurrection a vintage clothing store anymore, I feel it’s transformed into something else – it’s a place that should inspire. I’m also very proud of the fact that we’re running a green business. It’s astounding the amount of clothing that gets processed and thrown away, so that’s rewarding in itself.”
Resurrection New York is located at 45 Great Jones St, New York, NY 10012.