Gina Fratini vintage silk dress

vintage-wedding-dressIf you know Gina Fratini it means that: You are over 40 and/or  you know a lot about fashion! She’s famous for designing the wedding dress for Liz Taylor second wedding to Richard Burton (see photo below). The dress was sold at a Christies’s auction on Dec 14, 2011 for $62,500! It has a patchwork silk bodice and floating pastel chiffon ombré sleeves and skirts, with long, beaded, feather trimmed streamers.


Gina was born in Kobe, Japan, and spent most of her childhood in India. She studies at The Royal College of Arts in London and set up her own business in 1964. became one of the top British designers of the early 1970s, winning the dress if the Year award in 1975. London was such a happening place in that era, I’m sure she has some very interesting stories to share! If you visit the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, make sure to look for her garments from that era.

So if you are not able to afford a vintage dress from a celeb, there are many other options! The lovely silk and lace vintage wedding dress featured above is still available on my etsy shop at:

Happy Shopping and feel fee to comment or ask me any questions!

Isabelle V.


Recipe for a successful ‘vintage garage sale’

I organized a Vintage Garage Sale this weekend, and I’m happy to report that it was quite a success!

Advice #1: Promote your event

  • Use social media to let your network know about your event: Facebook, Twitter, your local coffee shops, and of course, don’t underestimate the old fashion posters on the post!
  • I also made a huge poster on a neon yellow sign that  I attached on my front gate. It read ‘Elegant Vintage Garage Sale’, with the dates and times and a listing of the main items. I wanted to warn future buyers that it wasn’t going to be just your regular garage sale!

Advice #2: Organize your items

  • I had a clothing rack for my vintage clothes and I hanged them buy types. I put all of the vintage dresses together, then tops etc…but you can also organize by size or by era’s.
  • I used one of my vintage suitcases to display the vintage purses (it was a very nice visual! Of course, people kept asking me if the suitcase was for sale! Isn’t that always the case!)
  • I displayed the other items, such as cameras, collectibles on a large table with a nice tablecloth. It’s important that the items are easy to reach. Who wants to bend down on the ground to go thru boxes?!

Advice #3: Ask people about their emails!

  • Ask your buyers if they would be interested about attending your next garage sale! One of the buyers asked me if I had already plan another garage sale. SO don’t be shy, and have a ‘sign up sheet’ ready and ask anybody that stops at your sale if they would like to share their emails in order to get an invitation for the next sale. Maybe you could even have a draw for a gift certificate for anybody who sign up!
  •  One of the buyers was so excited about the vintage clothing (she bought 5 dresses!) that she took tons of photos and posted my sale on Facebook while she was there.

Do you have any other tips that you would like to share? Thanks in advance!

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:

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.










We can all look good wearing a hat!!!

Street photos Nov 2014 009
Vintage Borsalino hat

I recently asked one of my friends what was her hat size. She looked at me strangely and the reason why I was asking her is because I have few vintage hats that are too small for me…I was just concerned that my head was oversize…seriously!

A lot of women think that they don’t look good in hats, or are not very adventurous when it comes to wearing something else than a tuque or a baseball hat…

I really believe that anybody can look good in a hat. Here are few tips on how to choose the right hat:

  • Select a hat that works with the shape of your face: For example if you have a round face, pick a hat that has a high crown. If your face is  more of an oblong shape, pick a hat with a wide brim instead.
  • Pick a color that compliments your skin. If you are very fair, do not pick a cream color hat. And don’t forget to try on the light in a natural light
  • Play around with your hair as the hat may look better if your hair is pull back, or in a  pony tail

And if you are serious about wearing a hat, invest in a quality piece. Most of the fashion hats that you buy in department stores are made in factories.  Unless you buy from a famous brand, such as Borsalino (as the vintage feather woman hat that you see above). For example the hat trim should be sewn on and not glued. Also, higher quality hats are usually lined (such as fedora type hats).

I have collected some interesting vintage hats thru the year. I wear some of them, but also use them for display. Remember that proper storage is important: use a hat box in order to keep them away from the sun and dust.

It takes a confident women to wear a hat, so just go for it! Do you have a favorite style of hat? Maybe a cloche, a derby, or a pill box hat…Please let me know and don’t hesitate to send a photo!

Isabelle V.

Let’s go to the antique auction!

French antique tables Sep 2014 001It seems that every time that I turn on the television, there is a new program about  antiquing, picking or storage auctions! You may be familiar with  ‘American Pickers’, ‘Canadian Pickers’ or ‘Storage Wars’ etc…One of my favorite is ‘Flea market flip’, as the contestants need to buy various objects, re-purpose them, and sell them at the flea market. The winning team is the one that makes the biggest profit.

One of my favorite auction to attend, is the French Antique Auction that is held 4 times a year in Mississauga ( It usually starts around 6:00pm and lasts until 11:00pm or midnight. They have an amazing selection of quality antique furniture, such as armoires, mirrors, tables, dishes, paintings etc…(No reproduction!)

I have bought many items thru the years, including the two mahogany side tables in the above photo. I have ‘converted’ few of my friends to become regular at the auction. I remember when I invited my friend Wendy for the first time (we called her the ‘auction virgin’ for a night!). She was quite nervous to bid, and kept asking me :”Should I bid? What do you think? Is it a good deal?” Well, once she started, she couldn’t be stopped! She ended up buying some great pieces for her cottage.

A lot of people are very intimidated by going to the auction… Don’t be!

  1. It’s a fun event: why not make it a ‘girls night out’! Try to come early so that you can attend the preview and check out the goods (especially if you are serious about buying ).
  2. It’s an opportunity to learn: about different style of furniture, their history…
  3. You don’t have to be wealthy to go to the auction! There are a lot of regulars, including antique shops owners, designers, and then…the rest of us!  You might be surprised by the kind of deals you can find. Keep in mind that those furniture are usually at least 100 years old, and that there were handmade…build to last!
  4. Keep in mind that you’ll need to pay an extra 15% for the buyers premium

And…here is the site: You can sign up for the mailing list to find out about the next auction!

Please let me know if you attend this auction or others and what your experience was like! Thanks in advance!

Happy antiquing!

Isabelle V.

Give the gift of vintage this holiday season…

Etsy Oct 2014 003
Vintage black beaded purse from 1930’s

Last holiday season I made a conscious decision to give as many vintage/recycle/up cycle/homemade gifts as possible…It was not only good for my wallet, but I always like to be different, and I know that my family and friends would appreciate it!

The photo  of the black beaded purse above is one of the gifts that I reserved for one of my friend’s Lynn’s daughters (each of them got a vintage beaded purse).  I bought Lynn a pair of milk glass candle holders in the shape of angels, which looked perfect in her century old stone house in the countryside. I’m glad to report that all of them were thrilled!

I would recommend to make a list, start today! Maybe your favorite niece collects vintage luggage, or your best friend is obsessed with vintage crystal necklaces! Whatever it is, I can guarantee that your gifts will be a hit, and that you will inspire some of the recipients to follow your example…

Here are few suggestions on where to find your gifts: Garage sales, Consignment shops, Vintage shops, Estate Sales,,,, Charity shops,, your local antique market (in Toronto check out the St Lawrence Market on Sundays at and of course, including my shop:

I welcome your comments and questions. Please let me know if you like this idea, will you be buying or making some vintage or up cycle gifts this holiday season?

Isabelle V.