Tuesday, 29 January 2013


    I knew it was time for a change-up in my curated circuit of vintage shopping when the girl at the counter of Community saluted my leave-taking with, "I'm sure we'll be seeing you again soon". Yet another indication was a third encounter (of a depreciatingly amusing kind) with the same lumpy yellow kitten sweater at USED. 

    Fortune comes, my friends, to those with no drivers license and time to kill. A casual stray from a habitual path may bring many a delight, and today it came in the form of Duchesse Vintage & Such...

    Taking an alternative A to B route found me on Columbia, where I was drawn in by a crinoline costumed window mannequin in a fencing mask. My curiosity piqued, I made my approach, only to have my intrigue further roused by the proclamation of merchandise sold: "canteens...dinosaurs...vintage playboy magazines..." I had to know. I tried the door- locked. "Back in a Flash!", it read. Steadfast in my curiosity I waited.

    Moments later I noticed, through the steamed windows of the coffee house next door, the shaggy black mass of a fur aviator cap turned my way. Emerging sniffly and tea in hand was the owner, who all whilst apologizing for her sick mien, promptly opened shop.

    What I was met with was a space to contend any fabulously dotty Aunt's dusty attic. Each wall, nook, and surface was pervaded by wistful treasures; shelves of googly-eyed toys straight out of the department store windows of "A Christmas Story", tin magazine racks replete with threadbare copies of Rupert the Bear, a case containing some daunting multi-nubbed Miracle Housewife device...


     Made warm with the soft shades of sun-faded and threadbare throw rugs, the crumbling of brick walls, and the false glow of the television set in the the installation den (complete with a stash of pop's coveted gents mags), Duchesse was a sight for nostalgic eyes. Tearing myself away from a cracked leather briefcase filled with trinkets, I inspected the interspersed racks of habillements, packed pleasantly close and overflowing with thick wools and scratchy tulle. I picked out a pair of sheer Eaton's boudoir culottes in a tropical print and made my way to the fitting room. Fingering the wispy pleats of the barely-there silk of the shorts, I pondered how to justify my purchase, the cold damp of Vancouver's indomitable winter drizzle pressing in on the front windows. I finally left the warm clutter of the shop without them, ruing the sensibility of my budget, but vowing to make Duchesse a welcome addition to my future thrifting repertoire.

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