December 20 2011
Lucia van der Post
You know how it is when newspaper and magazine interviews give you glimpses into the secret address books of the international jet set. The boutiques that they frequent all sound so beguiling, you long to pop into them and bag your own special little number. But then you see that one is in Copenhagen, another in Paris and a third is in Montreal, so there’s not much hope of doing a serious trawl.
This is where FarFetch and the wonders of the internet come in. FarFetch is a website that brings together a whole host of cult boutiques from around the world. It describes itself as “the online marketplace for the world’s best independent boutiques”. Unlike Net-a-Porter, which does its own buying and holds stock, FarFetch holds no stock but has adopted another tactic which is to bring together on its website the edited collections of all these small boutiques. Items when bought are dispatched from the boutiques themselves.
It’s unlikely that you will have heard of many of them – Henrik Vibskov? Any Old Iron? Labour of Love? – for they are mostly the sort of quirky boutiques that have a loyal local fan-base but don’t have big marketing budgets. A few, such as London’s Feathers and Paris’s L’Eclaireur, are better known. Many of them, most particularly perhaps Ra in Belgium (third picture), Henrik Vibskov in Copenhagen and Hostem (menswear only) in London’s East End, are highly directional, often selling edgy, conceptual clothing. But others, such as Larizia in London, Confederacy in Los Angeles and Zoe in Brooklyn, sell more classic luxury clothing, while yet others sell more casual, urban clothing.
For those interested in a contemporary edit of directional clothing, Henrik Vibskov is perhaps the most tempting – he has already been discovered by the music set (Björk and Arctic Monkeys).
For many, though, perhaps the most beguiling part of the website will be the plentiful vintage offerings. Take a look at A.N.G.E.L.O Vintage (first picture), a three-storey treasure-house in Lugo de Ravenna in Italy, often used as a location by film and television companies for costume dramas. Here is a wonderful collection of vintage pieces – everything from Chanel chain trousers (£249), a gorgeous fur-collared Acquascutum beige coat (second picture, £354) to a particularly beautiful scarf by Roberta di Camerino (£106). Rewind Vintage Affairs in London and American Rag in Los Angeles (which sells vintage Chanel, Vivienne Westwood and Comme des Garçons) are two other good vintage shops. There is plenty more here that is worth tracking down, particularly for those who live far from any decent shops.