When it comes to vintage clothing, the Rome-based fashion collector and guru Enrico Quinto really knows it ALL. His treasure-troves have appeared in museums and books worldwide while his eagle-eye for vintage is a renowned resource for fashion houses and desperate fashion designers craving new ideas and inspiration. Quinto combines the flamboyant eye and the rigorous passion of a collector with the deep knowledge of a historian. We invited the fashion guru to our Milanese headquarters where he revealed jaw-dropping secrets about our vintage archive and spotted the finest quality silk-like polyester from a distance (turns out, “Italians made it better!”, so get your hands on that Roberta Di Camerino, ladies!). He also explained why our Chloé and Heinz Riva dresses that look so much like the 1940’s are actually beautiful pieces from the 70’s… “It’s the absolute spirit of the Seventies!” Quinto dixit.
Read on for more of his insider juice on the secret names and fun facts behind his favorite vintage pieces at LaDoubleJ:
1. Lola Prusac metallic embroidery top, 1970s
Though her name might not ring any bells, Lola Prusac, according to Quinto, “is kind of a big deal”. Prusac used to work for Hermès back in the 1930s, designed their first women’s collection and then went solo making her wonderful tricots.
2. Heinz Riva linen dress, 1970s
Swiss-born Heinz Riva was an institution in Rome’s La Dolce Vita. The legend says he stole some of his secrets from Balenciaga, where he had spent some time as a trainee. Quinto points out: “This wonderful dress is inspired by the 1930s and it is manufactured like a Lanvin dress. It’s made out of linen and raw silk and it has a nice, beautiful pleasing shape.”
3. Valditevere dress, 1960s
“Valditevere”, says Quinto, “is the quintessential brand that Florentine snobbish high-society would wear.” Created in 1951 by three noblewomen from Florence, the brand started producing precious hand-woven furnishing fabrics then was later transformed into a couture fashion house creating women’s dresswear. Marquis Emilio Pucci was a great fan and supporter of Valditevere and encouraged them to experiment with printed fabric, as in this case.
4. Emanuel Ungaro wool sleeveless coat, 1960s
“This piece was conceived to be worn as a gilet, with pants”, Quinto advises. It’s labelled as Ungaro Parallele, his pret-a-porter line created in 1968.
5. Geometric column dress, 1960s
“This piece from California is New Mexican, arts and craft style, it’s a great example of the 1960s”, says Quinto. With its clean lines, pop art colors, geometric designs, the dress becomes a piece of art.
6. Degrade dress, 1970s
“I adore this dress!” Quinto gushes. “I love the degrade effect. Tricosa was a French manufacturer of extraordinaire quality. They started operating in the full boom of the 1960s, in a time when polyester and synthetic fibers first began have a huge success. The slip underneath is by a fancy department store, Claire in Rome, because back then the store would choose things and attach their own slip to the dress to make it less transparent. So they put their brand name on the slip!”
7. Printed floral jersey dress, 1970s
This dress is made with Falconetto’s printed jersey and is labelled as Da Anna, a boutique in Capri. “Falconetto was a textile producer who met the eclectic American designer Ken Scott and became partners in business”, says Quinto. “This dress is the same concept of Pucci, it’s all about the fabric, the print and less about the shape.”
8. Tropical colored kaftan dress, 1960s
“This kaftan dress is one of those American pieces that come from Hawaii, which back at that time represented a whole new fashion attitude”, Quinto explains. “It is the same idea behind Capri fashion sense in Italy. It’s both a summery and a batik theme in printed textiles and it became a trademark in California”.
9. YSL jacket and skirt set, 1970s
“This set is amazing because it’s one of the first examples of pret-a-porter by YSL”, Quinto reveals. “The length of the skirt is perfect, because they used to make them pretty long.” The jacket is a more feminine interpretation of the classic Saharan jacket in florals, but still very fitted. It’s the early 1970s but the rigor in the shapes and very straight lines have already taken over”.
10. Roberta di Camerino “College” dress, 1970s
“This is Italian polyester and it is at its best quality. While you might feel like you are about to get a shock when you put a polyester garment in your hands, this is much different because it is a soft poly-jersey blend with more structure and stretch”, Quinto points out. “This lovely shirt dress is brand new and never worn as it comes from Giuliana’s (Roberta di Camerino’s real name was Giuliana Coen Camerino) own archive”.
11. Chloé silk floral dress, 1970s
“This dress is wonderful because it’s a copycat of a dress from the 1940s, perfectly in line with the spirt of the mid-70s, when pret-a-porter looked back on the 1930s and the 1940s”, Quinto says. “It fits perfectly, it hugs the body in the right places. It looks like something from the World War II, but it’s really not.”
12. Renato Balestra haute couture dress, 1990s
“This dress from Balestra is from the early 1990s. I love the see-through, you can choose if opt for the nude look or correct it by wearing something underneath but I love it how it is. All this black stands out in contrast with bare legs”, Quinto advises. “It’s really beautiful. Some of Balestra’s works are incredibly interesting”.