Nostalgia moment: using a View-Master again…

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I bought a View-Master and a large box of reels a year ago at a Vintage auction, and I finally took the time to go thru them. I forgot how much fun it was! I like the 3D effect as well as how vibrant the colours are…The ViewMaster was born in 1938 in Portland, Oregon. The two creators were William Gruber and Harold Graves. It was originally targeted at adult education, but it quickly became a success with children. Even the military purchased large quantities of View-Master, and created some reels to educate their troops about aircraft identification during World War II.

In 1966 View-Master was purchased by GAF (General Aniline & Film Corporation), a company focused on  film processing and cameras. In 1981 the company was sold and renamed View-Master International Group (VMI). The View-Master is now under the umbrella of Mattel after few sales and acquisitions in the 80’s and 90’s.

As it turn out, Mattel has recently introduced the modern version of the View-Master, adding Virtual Reality  (VR) to the equation. The snap-on plastic goggles,  which are compatible with Google’s Cardboard VR platform have been popular enough that there are the first VR accessory to appear at Apple retail stores.

Everything old is new again…Did you have a ViewMaster growing up? Do you still have it? If you do, share it with your family and go thru those old travel reels!

Isabelle V.


Collector or hoarder? Time to downsize…

Collector: a person who collects objects because they are beautiful, valuable, or interesting

Hoarder: a person who collects and keeps a lot of items, even things that appear useless or of little value to most people (according to the International OCD Foundation)

How is hoarding different from collecting? • In hoarding, people seldom seek to display their possessions, which are usually kept in disarray. • In collecting, people usually proudly display their collections and keep them well organized.

I recently had a great conversation with someone who is an avid collector. He collects a wide range of items: from vintage newspapers, to vintage…cars! He admits that he never sells anything!

I collect vintage cameras, custom jewelry as well as suitcases…and handbags! I sometimes sell them, usually when I need money (to buy another item) or because I’m running out of room! (My kids joke about me becoming a hoarder! I got scared after watching the show ‘Hoarders’ on television!)photo(15)

  1. Selling online: for heavy or large items, I would suggest to sell locally on sites such as craigslist or Kijiji. For smaller items, you could list them on ebay, etsy or even on Facebook (many local groups to choose from for selling clothing to decorative items)
  2. Garage sale: it’s my last option, as people are not willing to spend money, even for quality items.
  3. Trading/swapping: you also have the option of trading with other collectors – Some of the online sites give you that option. You can also visit the specific shows (cameras collectors show, paper ephemera show etc…) and try to exchange it with a dealer or fellow collector.
  4. Donating: depending on which kind of items you are collecting, you could donate it to a charity (and you would get a tax receipt!), a gallery, a school…

 Isabelle V.

Information about hoarding on the International OCD Foundation website:

Looking for vintage treasures while travelling…

I love to travel, and I always try to combine travelling with my passions: hunting for vintage and antiques, photography as well as sampling the local food…During my last trip to France, I always had to keep in mind how much room I had left in my suitcase…Every time that I saw a sign that said ‘Brocante’* or ‘Foire aux puces’*, I could feel my heart beat faster!* (*it would be the equivalent of a flea market or garage sale, except that some of the sellers at the brocante are antique dealers or ‘brocanteurs’)

Window in Guerande
Window in Guerande, France

As we were driving thru the area of Guerande, in the South West of France, we saw a poster advertising a brocante for the next day. The area is very famous for their sea salt, and you can now find it in most supermarket all over Europe and North America. Sorry, I digress, but I have to share this information as it’s a perfect destination (and a best kept secret!) if you are a gourmet.

So we woke up early the next day (well, not that early…) and after a stop at the bakery, we walked to the brocante. I was totally overwhelmed by the gorgeous location,  as well as the quality of the items. The sellers were spread out around an old church, and I fell like I was in an episode of the Antique Roadshow!

Flea Market in France
Antique market in France


I bought some old magazines and newspapers (as it’s very light and doesn’t take much room in the suitcase!). I enjoy reading the articles, looking at the old advertisements and illustrations. Two of the magazines I bought were called ‘L’Illustration’ and were dated from Christmas 1913 and Christmas 1916. It’s interesting to observe the difference between the magazines: the 1913 edition is a bit more entertaining, and the 1916 edition obviously more dark as it was in the middle of the First World War.

French ads 002

The main topic in the earlier magazine is about art. It contains a lot of illustration, and the advertisements are about perfumes, watches, fabric, furnitures and alcohol.  One of the ads that caught my eye was from A. Lancel. The company was founded in Paris in 1876 by Angèle Lancel. ‘La Maison Lancel’ as it was then known, was producing clocks, lighters, luggage, glasses, tableware and purses. The luxury brand is now focusing on leather goods only and is famous worldwide for their purses, luggage and leather accessories.

The 1916 edition obviously has some more serious topics. Some of the testimonies of the soldiers are very touching and heartbreaking at the same time. They were ill equipped and a lot of soldiers thought that it was going to be a short war, and a bit of an adventure. Unfortunately it lasted 4 long years.

Most of the newspapers and magazines now have an online version and a lot of them don’t have a paper edition anymore. But I think it’s important to enjoy those old fashion newspapers (listed under ‘paper ephemera’ in most online sites).

The ads were about chocolate, perfumes (it’s war, but the French like their perfumes!), cars. cameras and even prosthetics!  (yes, you read correctly: artificial limbs). The ad that I noticed was about Burberry’s coats.French ads 001.JPG

The translation of the tag line would be: ‘Overcoat for the Winter that are light, warm, comfortable and very practical.’

The British fashion house was founded in 1856 by Thomas Burberry. In 1880, he introduced the ‘gabardine’ fabric, which was a waterproof, very resistant and yet breathable fabric. In 1909, the first Burberry store  in France opens in Paris. In 1914, Burberry was commissioned by the War Office to adapt the officer’s coat to be able to stand the weather condition during the war. And that’s where the name ‘trench coat’ comes from!

What was your best vintage find while ‘on the road’?

Isabelle V.


Vintage treasures: going to a good home…

Groom rocking the vintage black velvet bow tie

I sometimes get very attached to the vintage treasures that I sell online! That’s a normal addiction amongst us vintage hunters, collectors, and antique dealers! I occasionally receive thank you email or photos from the people that purchased those items. Today I would like to share two of those stories.

The black velvet bow tie: In October 2014, I sold a very cool bow tie to Brian from Los Angeles (looking very sharp in the above photo!) on my etsy site (Vintage De Paris). He left a very kind comment once he received the bow tie: ‘One of the best transactions I’ve ever had on etsy or in a physical store. Great communication and extra fast delivery. 100% happy. Thank you thank you thank you! I originally purchased the bow tie at an estate sale in Toronto. So it has now travelled from Canada to California, I wonder where it will go next?!

Vintage blue Roger Vivier shoes with crystal buckle

The blue Roger Vivier shoes: I purchased a pair of stunning Roger Vivier navy blue shoes with a crystal buckle at a vintage shop about 2 years ago. I realized that there were a bit too small for me, so I listed them online. The lucky lady who bought them was Melissa, from New York state who was looking for a pair of shoes for her wedding. If you like to follow the wedding tradition of ‘Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue,  a six pence in your shoes’, Melissa ticked two boxes with her ‘old blue shoes’! The ‘old’ represents continuity, and the ‘blue’ is for purity, love and fidelity. That tradition is mainly a British tradition, where the four items that the bride ads to her wedding outfit are good luck charms.

Thanks so much to Melissa and Brian for sending the photos and for their wonderful feedback on my etsy store!

Isabelle V.










Top 10 reasons to buy vintage in 2016

  1. It’s good for the environment: Less clothing end up in landfills.
  2. It’s more ethical: Less demand from sweat shops in third world countries
  3. It’s cheaper (usually): Real vintage clothing are well made with quality fabric, so they tend to last longer.
  4. It’s more original: You don’t run the risk of wearing the same winter coat as your colleagues
  5. It’s more trendy: Even celebrities are embracing vintage! Thanks to Gwen Stephanie, Angelina Jolie and Natalie Portman (to name a few…)
  6. It’s a good investment: Vintage clothing and accessories often increase in value as they become more scarce – So you can always resale them…
  7.  It’s important to reduce ‘Fast fashion’: which is the equivalent of ‘Fast food’ in the clothing industry –
  8. It’s critical to reduce our fashion footprint by supporting the use of alternative fibre such as bamboo, hemp and sustainable grown cotton
  9. It’s a good example for the next generation! I remember taking my niece to a vintage store when she was 13.  I gave her $20 and she was SO excited that she was able to purchase 5 items!
  10.  It’s easy to make the first step: some of my friends think that vintage is just ‘old smelly stuff’…Not every old items can be called vintage…It needs to be a well made, quality item. Whether you are calling it a thrift shop, consignment store, online such as on or ‘dress agencies’, as it is called in the United Kingdom – just take the challenge to visit one of your local stores, you may be surprised by what you find…

What was your best vintage find this year? I look forward to your feedback!

Isabelle V.

Street photos Nov 2014 009
Vintage Borsalino hat

Being Iris…


I recently saw an amazing documentary at the Revue Cinema in Toronto ( called ‘Iris’, about the life of Iris Apfel.  It was introduced by Odessa Paloma Parker, fashion editor at @globestyle.

Most of you may be familiar with Iris Apfel in the MAC Cosmetics, or Kate Spade campaigns. The documentary takes you from her early career as a interior decorator, business owner of a rare textiles company, to today as a ‘geriatric starlet’!

She’s incredibly blunt yet so charming that she always gets away with it! She had so many great lines that I’m not sure which one is my favorite! I’ll quote two of them, ‘When you don’t dress like everyone else, you don’t have to think like everyone else’, and ‘There is no how-to road map to style, it’s about self-expression and above all, attitude’

What started her belated claim to fame was the 2005 exhibit called ‘Rara Avis’ at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Her extensive collection of jewelry and couture fashion was a fabulous success, and it became a  traveling exhibit in other museums across the US.  It was organized by Stephane Houy-Towner (Research Associate), with the support of Harold Koda (Curator), both from the Metropolitan Museum’s Costume Institute.

I have to admit that I had to gasp few times as Iris was taking us thru her closet…She’s in the process of donating most of her collection to various museums…but I wouldn’t mind getting an invite to her next garage sale…

You’ll laugh, cry, be inspired…This documentary is cross-generational and cross-gender. It’s not so much a fashion documentary than it is a love story…

I encourage you to watch ‘Iris and share your thoughts. Here is the official trailer :

Isabelle V.






My vintage purse in a fashion magazine…

Vintage beaded purse - 1950'sI received an email from a Los Angeles based stylist last July. Kelly Brown from Lula and Sailor ( contacted me as she wanted to borrow some items that she saw on my etsy store (Vintage De Paris) for a fashion shoot. She was spending the Summer in Toronto, and I lent her few pieces and was thrilled when I got an email from her a couple of weeks ago, letting me know that my vintage purse (with a lucite handle) was featured in the Toronto based online magazine ‘Vulkan’ (

Here is the link to the article with the photos:

I’m quite happy with the result! What do you think? I always try to collaborate and network with different people and I look forward to more fashion collaboration in the future!

Isabelle V.

(Photographer & Creative Director: the very talented Michelle Aristocrat  and Stylist extraordinaire: Kelly Brown @Lulaandsailor )