Why stylish stars are suddenly wearing old clothes

When you’re ultra-famous, top designers clamor to dress you in their latest creations — but for much of young Hollywood, that’s no longer enough.

Stylish stars like Kendall Jenner, Bella Hadid, Kim Kardashian and Rihanna are increasingly opting for rare vintage finds over the standard next-season designer fare, both on and off the red carpet.

“These stars are really into fashion, so they see it as an elevated choice, and maybe not such an obvious choice,” Resurrection Vintage‘s Katy Rodriguez told Page Six. “They want something that’s a little bit harder to place, something that’s unique.”

A favorite of the Hadids and Kardashians, Resurrection stocks a wide range of archival wares from luxury labels like Alaïa, Yves Saint Laurent and Jean Paul Gaultier that don’t come cheap. But for the store’s A-list clientele, money is no object.

“You have to think about it like, these people can have whatever they want,” Rodriguez pointed out. “So it’s not really about how much it costs. It’s whether it’s available, whether it can be hunted down. It’s not something everyone can have.”

Seth Weisser, co-founder of What Goes Around Comes Around, agrees that “it’s the mystery” that attracts oft-photographed stars to older styles. “That’s one of the calling cards of the vintage world: It’s rarer, more exclusive and harder to replicate,” he told us.

To that end, picking out the perfect past-decade piece presents a unique challenge for Hollywood stylists, who would ordinarily reach out to designers to request specific collection looks for their clients.

When it comes to outfitting a celebrity, Rodriguez said, “we’re usually contacted by their stylist, and given an idea of what they’re thinking and not thinking — knowing what they don’t want is just as important.” While Resurrection operates stores in both NYC and LA as well as an e-commerce site, she added that some “blockbuster” pieces don’t even make it to the sales floor before being set aside for a boldfaced name.

Weisser and his team work in a similar way. “Stylists will sometimes come to us just to see what we have, and sometimes to say, like, ‘We need a red Valentino,’” he said. “With some clients, it can be as simple as, ‘I need a great accessory.’ We have an incredible collection of vintage Chanel and Hermès.”

He added that many of his top-tier clients, like Beyoncé and Emily Ratajkowski, will pick up archival bags or costume jewelry to work into their everyday wardrobes. “That’s always better than being head-to-toe in, say, look five from Givenchy,” Weisser said. “That’s not the way people dress anymore.”

It’s common practice for stars to borrow next-season designer looks for red carpets and then return them afterward. But when celebrities go the vintage route, it requiring an additional level of commitment: Neither Resurrection nor WGACA lend or gift their one-of-a-kind goods, meaning stars must place a purchase like any other customer would.

“These stars are being offered free things all the time, and I think they get that it’s worth it to buy something that’s special and rare,” Weisser said, adding that stepping out in a ripped-from-the-runway outfit is “not really as fresh as breaking out a heritage Tom Ford for Gucci look that hasn’t been seen in 15 years.”

Another bonus of having to buy their outfits is that stars can then tailor them to perfection before a high-profile outing — a good thing since Rodriguez calls sizing “one of the hardest things” about shopping for vintage. “Clothes from previous decades tend to be a lot smaller, so fit can be an issue, especially if you’re not sample size,” she explained.

The key, Rodriguez added, is to pick the right piece in the first place, since silhouettes vary widely from decade to decade. “If it’s someone like Kim Kardashian, she has a very unique body, not your typical ‘fashion’ body,” she said. “So if she comes to us, we can help her find something that’ll look great on her. It’s not just about the dress — it’s about how the dress works on the person.”

This sort of “fashion matchmaking” may involve more legwork than simply calling in a handful of looks from a label’s latest show, but both experts we spoke with agreed that it’s well worth the extra effort.

“There’s just something different between showing you something straight off the runway, and coming to someone like us or going through the Chanel or Versace archives,” Rodriguez concluded. “It’s a whole other, deeper fashion language.”

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