I wore this vintage Jacques Tiffeau dress to a cocktail party two weeks ago.
What Wendy Wore
Dress: Jacques Tiffeau (acquired in 2009)
Boots: Prada (2008, probably first seen here)
In a post about Moschino that I wrote a couple of days before that party, I defined the “double-vintage” category of “slow fashion” as clothes that I’ve owned for more than 10 years that were already 20 years old when I bought them. But I’m not going to be a stickler — I think this Tiffeau can qualify as double-vintage after a mere nine years in my possession. I got it on eBay in 2009.
I was on the fence about this dress at first because it wasn’t in a color or silhouette that I normally wore, but I’ve wound up getting a ton of use out of it. I mean, this dress has pockets! How can I resist it? And the color is festive, so it’s good for parties and other special occasions. For instance, I wore it when I was nominated for Fashion Group International’s Rising Star award in 2011. (I won the award the following year.)
Here’s the dress again in February 2013, after the Columbia Spectator’s annual awards dinner …
… and in December of the same year, worn for the Women’s Jewelry Association holiday party.
I wore the Tiffeau to my birthday dinner in December 2014.
And here it is after a holiday party in 2015.
Check out how I began wearing the same pair of boots with it all the time, starting in December 2013. Once I got the shoes down pat, this became one of my easiest outfits to throw on. In fact, I’m sure I wore it in both 2016 and 2017, but didn’t take pictures because I got to the point of thinking, “Oh, this old thing?”
This was my second vintage Tiffeau piece. I stumbled upon the designer in March 2009 when I came across a crazy, “monkey fur” coat that was suddenly on trend again. But it wasn’t the revival of furry sleeves in fashion that made me get the coat. It was the designer’s bio. As I wrote in 2009:
“Tiffeau died in 1988 at age 59, and his New York Times obituary was very informative. He shared my Wear What You Want philosophy, according to the Times: ‘He once said women should not trust him, or anyone else, to tell them how to dress.’ But what really won me over was the next sentence in the obit: ‘Women’s Wear Daily, which labeled him with the epithet “sauvage,” once quoted him as saying he took clothes seriously, but not fashion.’ That attitude makes Tiffeau my soulmate. An interesting coat with a great story behind it? I had to have it. Look for it on me next winter.”
And sure enough, there I was wearing the coat in December 2009.
I really am obsessed with good stories, especially about real people. As I’ve said many times, my jewelry designs are all about stories.
Another part of the Tiffeau tale that appealed to me was the association of this kind of coat with the glamour of costume-jewelry designer Kenneth Jay Lane, who was interviewed for Edie, the oral history of ’60s Warhol star Edie Sedgwick, written by Jean Stein and George Plimpton. I wrote about Lane and Edie in 2010, including this fabulous quote from Lane in the afterword of the book.
“… In 1963 I invented costume jewelry for the beautiful people — was lionized by them and became one of the most splendidly beautiful of them — a genuine Sixties character! Handsome, tall, thin … sitting in the back of my vintage Rolls (and matching driver) wearing either my floor-length leopard — or monkey — or unicorn, coat — all of which have disappeared. ….”
I still have the copy of Edie that I bought in 1986 for $1.99. You can see it in a video I did last year about how Edie, who died in 1971, inspired my earring purchases for the rest of the 1980s. It’s always been the story for me.
If you don’t already subscribe to my YouTube channel, do it now! I have some videos coming up describing how I’m inspired to tell different kinds of stories with jewelry depending on which precious metal I’m working with. Don’t miss it!