On the purse front, he’s shown a willingness to pay as much as $4,000 for a Schiaparelli “Lantern” bag; demonstrating their sculptural elements, he has actually hung his handbags from the ceiling of Les Trois Garçons, his Shoreditch restaurant. He also sells a select number of fashion pieces in his Maison Trois Garçons shop.
In case you’re not able to visit Abdullah’s shop, there are many places to look for fashion. Even the top collectors are not above scouring flea markets and estate sales, since the sellers don’t always know what they have. But Magidson notes that when it comes to value, sometimes the previous owner matters a lot: “People love wearing something worn by a famous individual.”
Auctions remain a top resource. Chicago’s Leslie Hindman Auctioneers began running couture and vintage sales six years ago, and they have become a mainstay for the house. “Young people now view couture as an art form,” says Hindman, who sells to a lot of collectors in their 20s and 30s, many of whom shop her sales online.
The price range is part of the appeal. You can buy a Pucci dress from the 1960s for as little as $200, or splurge on a vintage Birkin bag from Hermès for $60,000. In Hindman’s September sale, there’s a 1910 Charles Frederick Worth gown estimated at $1,000–$2,000. “It’s not in great condition, but it’s a historic object,” she says.
Getting a piece of fashion’s past is irresistible, even to those who are used to wearing their vintage finds, like Rosenau. “My husband and I have also gone through the Paris flea market and bought 18th-century vests just because they were important—knowing they would shatter if worn,” says Rosenau. “They tell a story.”
Vintage handbags dangle from the ceiling of London’s Les Trois Garçons restaurant, co-owned by fashion collector and interior designer Hassan Abdulluh.