The £350,000 Philip Treacy bag, and why it pays to be a vintage addict

Sian Parry
Marie Claire's Sian Parry shares her vintage top tips
Marie Claire

Marie Claire's photography director (and vintage addict) Siân Parry says she's not surprised pensioner John Richard bagged himself a £350,000 Philip Treacy handbag in a charity shop for just £20. She shares her vintage bargains and her top shopping tips.

I think it helps to be an optimist when you truly love vintage, I thrive on that thrill, the feeling that today might just be the day that I delve deep into the Narnia of granny coats and drip-dry Terylene and pull out a 1950’s Dior cocktail dress... (okay, a girl can dream).

Lucky old John Richard popped into his local Oxfam one day and found a Philip Treacy handbag. A handbag?! Who knew Philip even made handbags? Well, that’s the thing, he only made about 10 of these bags, so it’s quite a find and could be worth a whopping £350,000.

There are bargains to be had out there, often in smaller towns or in the country (rich old lady haunts are good!).

I once bought a lovely 1940’s bracelet for a few pence which turned out to be Schiaparelli.

And then there was the 1970’s YSL ivory jacket that someone on the tube spilled coffee over on the first day I wore it. Needless to say, the dry cleaning cost more than the jacket.

A fellow vintage hunter friend recently confessed that she found a rare limited edition Hermes scarf in her local charity shop, marked at £5. She paid up and left as quickly as possible, feeling a little bit guilty. Sadly she still won’t tell me which shop this was...

Here are my top three tips for bagging a vintage buy:

- Know your measurements, vintage sizing bears no relation to dress sizes today. This way you can buy online like ebay or Etsy, where you are more likely to get bargains than smart vintage shops.

- Find your signature vintage style and learn what shapes suit your body. Eg if you suit a bias cut 1930's look, know that you will probably suit a 1970's Biba look too.

- If something has stains or smells, leave it well alone. Some things are not salvageable! But do find a good dressmaker who can make alterations or tweaks if something you love doesn't quite fit - instant vintage couture!



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Saturday 27 August

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