Seine reisefreien Tage verbringt Julian meistens in Gallerien, Museen und in Shops, aber der Besuch im Vintage-Archiv NIGHTBOUTIQUE von Fashion Freak Roman Vardijan hatte so ziemlich alles, was man sonst in Gallerien, Museen und Shops erleben kann - hoch zwanzig!
Im tiefsten Moabit wahrt Roman Vardijan eine Sammlung von über 10.000 high-end fashion Teile, die er mühsam durch ganz Europa aufspürt und akribisch nach Saison für Saison archiviert - nicht unbedingt für die zukünftigen Fashionista-Generation, ganz für sich aus Liebe zur Mode und Bewunderung für das Werk aller Großen, die Mode in den Jahren neu definiert haben und bewiese haben, dass Kleidung genauso viel über Gesellschaft und Zeitgeist aussagen kann, wie Feuilletons von Historikern.
Mit seiner Sammlung NIGHTBOUTIQUE hat Roman ein kleines Museum erschaffen, das jeden Besucher außer Atem lässt.
Fashion Freak trifft Fashion Freak - Julian hat mit Roman einen ganzen Tag in seiner NIGHTBOUTIQUE verbracht - wir vermuten, dass es nicht mal so schnell nach Hause gehen wollte.
Im Gespräch mit Julian verrät Roman wie seine Affäre mit Vintage Fashion anfing, welche Teile seiner Kollektion er als erstes retten würde, wenn ein Feuer ausbricht und wo man als Vintage-Liebhaber so das eine oder andere Teil finden kann.
Roman, tell me a bit more about how you actually started collecting vintage fashion?
It all pretty much started during my job as buyer for different small vintage stores in Berlin back in 2005. I was always fighting with the idea to "keep" lots of pieces for myself, but this would have left the store hangers empty. It was about two years ago when i decided to stop reselling and rather start to build up a high fashion styling archive. Ever since, every dollar i have goes straight into that dressing room.
How do you get most of the units from?
Most of my items i have, i find by browsing through tiny vintage shops in West Berlin. Flea markets outside the city also serve good surprises. What i also do quite often, is to scan and visit small, less known auction houses - they are not on everyone's radar, so this is really good news for me. They sometimes have marvelous collector-pieces wealthy ladies don't know the value of.
It sounds all very mysterious - are there any specific rules in your game?
Just like in other businesses, you have to find serious business partners you prefer to deal with. I am trying to be a regular customer of my favorite stores and turn the whole into a personal relationship - it is actually a pleasant thing thing, as the sales people and i share the same passion. Being always on their mind helps to be the first guy they call, when there is a really rare piece coming in.
Would you recommend us some "cool vintage markets" where you love browsing through?
One of my favorite markets is the 'red cross‘ flea market in Munich, taking place once a year; also worth a visit is the 'Port de Clignancourt' in Paris - a true mekka for high-fashion vintage stores.
If you could collect two designers until your last day on earth, who would they be? Why?
Yves Saint Laurent & Martin Margiela. There is so much art in what they did; their creations go far clothing and fashion - they are a journey through pop culture back then and refined extravaganza. Both of them turned famous through the extraordinary features of their silhouette. Every piece was a universe on its own. These gentlemen had vision and were brave - this is what i value the most in fashion.
How many pieces do you think you own in total?
Honestly, I do not have the time to count, as the archive is growing every week. I am still at the beginning though. I believe that with accessories, jewellery, shoes & clothes I guess I have about 10.000 pieces.
A lot of celebrities now showcase vintage looks and work them into their red carpet looks, in videos or at concerts - who do you think pays a good tribute to vintage fashion?
I am a big fan of Lady Gaga and Rihanna. Obviously, they have an army of stylists around them, who constantly look how to bring them to the next level in their bold fashion choices, but on both of them vintage pieces look so effortless - it is not like "a costume", but just like a random piece they wear. It is only a couple of people who them immediately de-code the puzzle and know, what an outstanding piece one of them is wearing. I like how authentic and effortless the look in those outfits.
Show me your "oldest" piece in the archive:
Years ago on a particularly very low and rainy Saturday, found myself in the middle of nowhere – a small city in Southern Germany. At the main square, there was only one shop still open, so i went in to hide from the rain for a minute. That tiny place happened to be an auction house and right there, i saw the Nirvana – a precursor Birkin bag from the 1920s. The piece was so rare, that after sending it to Hermes in Paris be restored, i have been offered 15.000 Euro by the Hermes house-own archive, if i would sell it to them. Of course i didn't sell it - it is my holy grail and i will definitely keep it for as long as i can.
Show me some pieces of pretty recent collections, which you think will pretty sure have a very high collectable value and will turn into a "vintage grail"?
If you have closely watched the developments of the vintage market the last few years, you would find out that brands and designers who changed the fashion system and represented youth culture will always be highly collectable. It was Chanel in the 1930s, Yves Saint Laurent in the 1970s, Vivienne Westwood and Issey Miyake in the 1980s or Raf Simons in the 1990s. Nowadays this could be the designs of Demna Gvasallia for Vetements and Balanciaga.
Do you remember the very first piece you bought?
Almost 10 years ago I met an old lady, who collected fashion for the last 70 years. Her house was stuffed un to the roof with gorgeous pieces. My heart was skipping a beat when i touched every other garment. Right there between her dinning table and the sideboard, there were 10 rags full of Burberry trench coats casually hanging right in my face. Even in her bathroom you could find closets – she had every Chanel and Hermes cruise collection towel from the 80s until now; the corridors were full of clothing rails with Chanel suits from the very first styles Coco designed herself; her garage was packed with motorciycle leather jackets from the 50s: barely ever touched.
It was mind blowing. From her, i bought my very first Chanel – back then, it meant so much to me. By now, I have several ones, but thus first one will always be in my heart.
How do you see fashion nowadays? How do you judge the development now and back then?
To me fashion always carries innovation and a move forward. Once things start standing still, it is just a sell-in-triger. I am watching all runway shows very critical. The idea of this "never ending" collection by Alessandro Michele for Gucci bores me to death. There is less newness, it was a true revolution, to be fair, but the surprise-factor just disappeared. Nowadays it is somehow more about presentation, show, fireworks and new marketing concepts; it is a pity, when the actual "fashion" turns secondary.
This might go to deep, but how do you actually afford these pieces?
Building up an independent high-fashion archive is a big investment and also a huge risk. To finance the collection in advance I work day and night – at bars, clubs i help out at shootings or as casting director, before i say "No" to a job, i am always thinking "Ok, how many Valentino dresses could this be bringing me?"
After years of hunting and collecting I have a selection of different, very exquisite styles i recently started offering to stylists; i am renting out garments, shoes, accessories to magazines. Really often, young designers come for some research and additional inspiration from the past, when working on their own new collections.
Show me your Top 5 pieces you would rescue first, if there would be a fire alarm.
Generally, I would always rescue on the first hand because actual "design", "cultural relevance" or "personal story". It is not necessarily the most expensive pieces i would go for first...
- Hermes bag
- Alexander McQueen dresses
- Dolce & Gabbana dress
- Gucci dress by Frida Giannini
You have your eyes on fashion from all over the globe, from various decades - who are the designers you follow most passionately?
I do not have my focus only on the old hands in business. Designs of Glenn Martens for the young brand Y/Project are on my radar now - he mixes historical references with current streetwear pieces. I am keeping a serious eye on him. I am very curious what the future will bring for him and the brand.
Which would be your fashion epoch?
I am absolutely fascinated by the 1960s. It was the year of the "youth-quake". Everything was new, dazzling and full of energy. There was a social, there was a sexual, political and a huge fashion revolution. For the first time the youth went out for living and embracing life, rather than waiting for life to come to them. It is the epoch of Mary Quants "mini skirt", Courreges "futurism style" and Rudi Gernreichs "unisex clothing". In a way, it was the beginning of everything.
Name your Top 5 style icons of all time.
Style is everything. Without style your a nobody! I am not talking about clothes necessarily. Style is a way of going through life. It is all about behavior, attitude and personality. I could name all the powerful and strong profiled women in history, but at that time, my personal style queens are Helena Rubinstein and Anna Wintour.
A big THANK YOU to Roman, for bringing me and all of you back in time, when the great names in fashion were being born.
Make sure to follow NIGHTBOUTIQUE in Instagram and be the first one to see what new old pieces Roman has scouted.
Credits: Gutschera Osthoff