Feeling inspired by the looks at last night’s Met Gala? We speak with Katy Rodriguez of Resurrection Vintage about the store’s camp edit of archival pieces
A lot has changed since Katy Rodriguez founded Resurrection Vintage in 1996 with her business partner Mark Haddawy. When the pair opened their first clothing boutique in an old funeral parlour in New York City, specialising in remarkable archival pieces from the 1960s onwards, eBay didn’t exist and Instagram – the platform through which a lot of vintage is now bought and sold – was barely a twinkle in the eye of its creators. “At the time, there were a lot of vintage stores around but nothing really curated or high-end,” Rodriguez explains over the phone from Los Angeles, where Resurrection now also has a branch. “Today what we do seems like not that big of a deal, because it’s everywhere, but in the 1990s, no one was really doing anything like it at all.”
It’s hardly surprising, then, that with 25 years experience behind it, Resurrection is one of the go-to shopping and research destinations for designers, stylists and costumers, with a 7,000-piece strong archive and store boasting some of the most coveted vintage in the world. It also draws in those looking for stand-out pieces to wear to fashion’s most anticipated annual event, the Met Gala. Subsequently, if the theme of the Gala particularly resonates with Rodriguez, Resurrection will produce an edit in keeping with it; in 2013, it was Punk, with ample amounts of Vivienne Westwood’s Seditionaries, and Comme des Garçons in 2017, a celebration of all things Rei Kawakubo. This time, Resurrection has pulled together Bad Taste: Notes on Fashion, to coincide with last night’s Camp: Notes on Fashion extravaganza: a collection of Moschino, Versace, Stephen Sprouse, Christian Lacroix, Complice and more. Here, Rodriguez talks through what camp means to her, and explains how she brought pieces by Madonna’s one-time jewellery designer back to life.
“We have always bought things that we liked – it was simple as that then and it is the same now. The first day that we were open, Kate Moss and Guinevere van Seenus came in. They were in their late teens, or early twenties. And they were like ‘wow this place is amazing’, and they bought a ton of stuff. At the time, and especially in New York, there was that kind of ‘1990s does 1970s’ thing – think, Lady Miss Kier from Deee-Lite. And we had a bunch of vintage Pucci that Kate ended up buying. She was photographed in the stuff and then also told Anna Sui about us. And from then, everyone in the fashion industry started coming to us. It grew so organically.
“Mark and I have always loved youth culture, so we tend to look for pieces from the 1960s onwards, as that’s when we feel youth culture really took hold of fashion. We curate from the gut, we look for the best and it’s constantly evolving. It’s what we believe and think is important and that’s what we want to have in our stores. Because Resurrection has been going for 25 years it’s so important to keep people inspired, particularly because big designers and stylists come here year after year and people can get bored very easily. This is one of the reasons we do exhibitions and curated collections hooked to the Met Gala. We did one for the Punk theme in 2013, and then we did the Comme des Garçons gala in 2017. We’ve always been a source for people to find pieces to wear for the Gala itself. The Costume Institute is an important place in our world and we love the people at The Met – the Gala is a celebration of fashion as an art form.”
“There are so many ways to interpret ‘camp’, but we went down the ‘bad taste’ over-the-top route with this edit of pieces. It was what I always considered ‘pop fashion’. So we have a lot of Moschino, Stephen Sprouse – pieces that have a pop art sensibility. It’s about that crazy silhouette – it’s not very sexy; it’s whimsical, ironic, geeky. And the response to our edit has been amazing. We really have had people hanging around the store and really looking at everything in detail – because it really is like eye candy. Even if it’s not for you, it’s still so fun to look at. In terms of the favourite pieces in our edit, it’s super hard to choose. A lot of stuff went super quickly – the Moschino teddy bear coat and safety pin dress, for example. The Tom Ford dress from 2002 with the whole stomach cut out also went on the first day of our sale. Pieces like this don’t come around that often, so they get snapped up. I love the lady bug bikini and the dressmakers dummy dress from Moschino. We also chose the Margiela rugby ball bag from 2003.
“But I really need to mention Richard Minadeo’s jewellery. When I was a teenager in the 1980s I grew up in San Francisco and I worked in a little store called Carnivale. We sold Richard’s pieces there, and everyone knew who he was through his affiliation with Madonna’s Like a Prayer album cover. And I was just fascinated by his jewellery. 30 years later, he kind of faded into obscurity and his pieces became really hard to find. So recently, on one of those journeys to find some of his stuff, I actually found him. He’s now about 70. And we developed a friendship and began making pieces for us, which are included in this edit. For us he really embodies that camp thing; he takes things that would be considered trash and turns it into opulence.”
“As long as we’re doing Resurrection and there are things that cross over with the Met Gala, we’re going to keep doing this. We just want to show genuine enthusiam for fashion and fashion history, and it seems like there’s a lot of that missing these days.”
The Bad Taste: Fashion of Note edit is available to buy now at resurrectionvintage.com.