In a world where fashion trends change faster than I can type, vintage reminds us to slow down and think about our clothing’s past.
Melbourne stylist and author Nadia Barbaro is transfixed by vintage. Her curiosity has inspired her first book, Vintage Girls, in which she maps the stories between lost and found, old and new, with creative women she’s handpicked for the journey.
From musicians Kimbra and Sarah Blasko to Sarah Owen (Lily Allen’s sister) and
Mad Men stylist Janie Bryant, vintage-loving women’s closets tell new stories under Barbaro’s guidance. “I have always been very interested in vintage fashion, long before I even knew it was called that,” says Barbaro.
“As a young girl I admired my grandmother’s ’40s and ’50s handbags, shoes and jewellery. I couldn’t wait until I was old enough to wear them.
“As a teenager I loved to go to the Camberwell Market on a Sunday morning to hunt for vintage pieces. As an adult I’ve loved hunting online for vintage dresses and accessories for myself as well as for my styling work.”
Barbaro focuses on the collectors and their stories – the book is a blend of Q&A and styled shoots with each of the women.
“I wanted to present vintage in a new way, on modern girls, so that people could see it in a new light,” she says.
“There is more to vintage than just being in old clothes; there are many eras and exciting styles that could be worn every day and not just as dress-ups.”
Barbaro, 33, grew up in Eaglemont and studied creative arts at the University of Melbourne and Victorian College of the Arts. She works as a fashion stylist – her work has appeared in
Frankie and Hitched magazines – she’s styled video clips for Sarah Blasko and put her special touch on various television commercials.
She intentionally chose women from across the globe to share their vintage journey to show how the love of fashion from bygone eras has unfolded in various corners of the world.
“For Sarah Owen, vintage is her business because she ran the high-end London vintage store Lucy in Disguise with her sister Lily Allen,” Barbaro says.
“There’s Janie Bryant, the costume designer on
Mad Men, who provides inspiration for creating characters. Each lady has a different story to share, as well as tips and advice to buy and care for vintage.
“These women all loved the idea of sharing in somebody else’s history by thinking about who might have previously owned that item and where it might have been worn.”
Blasko owns a briefcase with somebody else’s name on it and wonders who that person is, while filmmaker Liz Goldwyn reveals that one of her prized possessions is a knitted Rasta hat that once belonged to Bob Marley.
“It’s the thrill of the hunt,” says Barbaro of vintage culture. “It’s finding a unique piece and knowing that nobody else will have the same one. It’s also a chance to wear some designer labels that I couldn’t otherwise afford if they were new.”