Couture Hunting with JBM Vintage

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Have you ever wondered where all of the fabulous vintage fashions come from? Of course, some proclaimed vintage is really vintage reproduction or knockoff, but the most novel finds often come from the back of someone’s closet — oft forgotten, mothball-scented treasures from Chanel, YSL, Courreges, Halston, and so many others. Most go undiscovered for years, only to be excavated by a unique breed of vintage purveyor: the couture hunter. These fashionophiles forage the elusive estate sales for hidden designer gems, exhume them, and recondition them to their once-coveted state. Laurie Margolis and Jennifer Bandier are the ultimate couture hunters, and their company JBM Vintage specializes in one-of-a-kind fashion.

The JBM founders originally conceived of the company about a year ago when they realized that upper Manhattan was devoid of vintage stores. As longtime UES girls, they wanted to expose their community of fashion-savvy, often non-working women to something other than a trip to Bergdorf Goodman. They also wanted to provide a specialized service, so house calls and shopping parties were the norm. JBM caught on immediately, as the UES gang was hungry for something new, something authentic.

At JBM Vintage, it’s all about the shopping experience, and they differentiate themselves from typical vintage outlets by providing by-appointment only, one-to-one, head-to-toe styling services; imagine the East Coast version of working with Rachel Zoe. They take away the vintage shopping stigma by not only providing one the most well-curated collections in the city, but by teaching women how to wear and incorporate vintage into their existing wardrobes.

Their point of view is focused on specific themes, eras, and styles. Standouts in the overall collection are the Halston Goddess dresses and Grecian gold jewelry, mod shift dresses from the likes of Courreges and Pierre Cardin, and the psychedelic maxi dresses from Leonard and Pucci. They also have the most fabulous restyled vintage furs and fur-trim dresses, which are otherwise impossible to find. Finally, their amazing selection of Thierry Mugler and Claude Montana pays homage to the sexy, rock-inspired styles of the 80s and 90s. Although their designer brand selection is vast and quite rare, they also have spectacular non-designer or brand-unknown, vintage pieces from the 60s, 70s and 80s for about half the price.

Today, JBM Vintage is housed in a swanky showroom space on East 75th Street, displaying the hundreds of pieces they re-stock on a regular basis. If you think that downtown and Brooklyn have a lock on the vintage market, think again.