Second time’s a charm at L.A.’s consignment shops. (Photo: Getty Images)
Let’s face it, Los Angeles is all about celebrities — following celebrities, dining like celebrities and yes, dressing like celebrities. The fashion industry tilts on what these fame names buy and what they wear. In La-La Land, however, it is possible not only to buy from the designers selling to the stars, but also to wear what stars actually wore on a walk down the red carpet or on the set of your favorite TV show or movie.
Second-hand haute is big business all over the U.S., but second-life screen wear is something only a film town like Los Angeles could do right.
For those in search of brag-worthy, preworn blouses; faux-blood-spattered sports jackets; and designer dresses you’ll recognize from the big screen, here are few places to go where film-inspired fashion is well within reach.
Located on fashionable Third Street in midtown Los Angeles is another long-time fashion depot for studios and stars. Entre Nous is a small store, and the items are heavily curated into a mix that is about 50 percent star-worn, although the shopkeepers do not always know the origin of the item or who wore it.
“It’s usually the assistants who bring in the clothing, and we don’t ask questions,” is the answer you will get from employees, when pressed. But there are admissions to seeing stars shop there, as well — Annie Lennox, Winona Ryder and Melanie Griffith are among those spotted. They may have been looking at the Fendi pony-hair coat discounted to $3,000 from $8,000 retail or the flowing Chanel three-piece suit.
Decades on trendy Melrose Avenue is entered, as many of these shops are, through a buzz-me-in system. Those on the inside are treated to a lavish haute couture extravaganza of vintage gowns and painstakingly curated vintage garb in nearly new condition. The owners and staff are often invited into the closets of highly sought-after designers and find avid buyers and sellers among the Hollywood glam crowd (see: Courtney Love, Rose McGowan, Garcelle Beauvais, Winona Ryder, Selma Blair and Blake Lively) as well as LA socialites.
Co-owner Christos Garkinos has often referred to himself publicly as the Robin Hood of fashion who buys from the rich and sells, well, maybe not to the poor, but at a pretty good discount.
You’ll find the mother of all second-hand movie and TV wear at its unpretentious location in North Hollywood. It’s a Wrap launched in the 1980s upon the realization that film studios regularly auction their loads of costumes for pennies on the dollar. Find regular gems from “General Hospital,” “Scandal” or “Days of Our Lives,” or even the stunning courtroom garb worn by Julianna Margulies and Christine Baranski in “The Good Wife.”
Gear from full feature films such as “Age of Adeline,” “Ghostbusters” and “Money Monster” are also mixed into packed racks — each item identified by production. More than 100 movies and shows are represented at any one time here. Items are typically marked down 50 – 75 percent off retail with many top designer labels available, and one-of-a-kind couture finds are not unusual. Note: Most of the wares come in small sizes to match the tall and bean-thin stars that wore them.
Head to Great Labels in Santa Monica for guilt-free designer-label shopping in a place where clothes with histories on and off the red carpet get a second go. Although the store presents a faux-snooty persona, patrons from all walks are treated like stars and get assistance with styles, looks, sizes and even photos. Items are carefully curated and worth the browsing time.
Consider barely-worn Manolos in mint and black with snakeskin heels for less than $300 (originally $1,295) or a Saint Laurent Emmanuelle bucket bag with hippie fringing for $578 (originally $1,990). Need a “Mad Men” boost with the Pucci label to match? This is your spot.
This shop, also on Melrose Avenue, buys celebrity seconds and even dresses the stars with vintage designer picks bearing such names as Jean-Paul Gaultier, Yuki, Issey Miyake, Thierry Mugler and other labels known mostly to glitterati. They proudly display photos with Nicole Kidman, Amal Clooney and Rihanna in their glamorously aged duds. The shop is small and looks more like a Paris atelier than a vintage fashion stop on Melrose. And while you won’t know whether a garment has been owned by a star, many of the items most likely have been worn by someone famous — the store is among the top spots in Los Angeles for studio research and dressing models for magazine shoots.
Looking for menswear? ConsignMEN offers cool designer resale for men, especially those interested in looking like a rock star. A wild-looking couture jacket worn by Nick Rhodes of Duran Duran was recently purchased there for an unsung sum. Looking for a 1996 velvet Gucci suit? You have come to the right place.