1st Dibs on Camelot Chic But Hardly Deal of the Century

piquet dress

My partner in Sixties vintage couture crime, artist Joan Davis, called me the other day and said I had to check out Torso Vintages, an ultra cool used couture outlet in San Francisco’s Union Square.

In town just a few days to pedal her flower-powered paintings, Joan had immediately sensed where to dig up archaeological relics of Pucci and Gucci – the way my pug can sniff a German Shepherd or hamburger a mile away.

I jotted down the name to this source for  shifts and clutches. Sure, there are ample consignment shops around in  chic towns like ours, but few sell what connoisseurs consider three dimensional art, i.e. something Jacky O. or Lily Pulitzer would have worn to lunch at Harry’s Bar with the girls. You have to weed through lots of synthetic yardage and depleted, tired boas to find the real gems.

As it turns out, the source she told me about is among the vendors strutting their fabulous stuff on the hottest new online boutique for the real McCoys of vintage fashion style.


Yes, hopeless fashion romantics such as Joan and I are the types 1st Dibs is banking on to do for Geoffrey Beene A-line cloaks and YSL Jockey Hats (above)  what the Web site did for haute  furnishings: Gather the best offerings from dealers around the world to sell for a range of prices.

That range at 1st Dibs cuts a wide swath:

From the doable after a glass of wine with lunch: Whimsical Pierre Cardin sunglasses from the 1960s. $250.

pierre cardin glasses

To the the pretty pricey: 1960s Pucci shift, $400, and Ungaro dress, $650.

pucci shiftungaro

To the investment statement: M. Haskell 1940’s Multicolored Fringed Bib Necklace USA, 1940’s. $3,250.

fringe bib

To a taste of  Samantha Jones at Versailles: Hermes Birkin of Matte Black Porosus Crocodile. $65,000.


John Hadeed, owner of Torso Vintages, finds 1st Dibs is helping to put him and others in his stylish field on the map in a big way.

“We’ve had calls and emails from all over the country and the world,” the collector told SF Gate.  “We’re dealing with people who really love clothes.”


Michael Bruno, the clever founder of 1st Dibs, hired vintage couture expert Clair Watson (above) to supervise the fashion site and locate the first dealers. They include seasoned second-hand harvesters with a penchant for Hermes, such as Createurs de Luxe, and the owner of the Way We Wore in Los Angeles, a dealer named Doris Watson who is offering her most precious and rare works of art to the website.

The good news is vintage is on a roll because of the recession and our renewed appreciation for classics over buying new junk made abroad.

Check out the site and see if there is anything you can afford (that’s bigger than a size 2 or 4) to add to your wardrobe. All you do is click on the era that suits you (from Deco to Contemporary).

What’s the best deal you can score on the site? Perhaps an undesirable Chado Ralph Rucci evening bag for $175. This is not the place to pluck the deal of the century.

Main Image: 1st Dibs

Image two: Vintage Shopping Guide

Luanne Bradley

Luanne Sanders Bradley is the West coast Editor at EcoSalon and currently resides in San Francisco, California.