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Vintage Haute Couture, Now Online

Christian Dior haute couture coat, 1958, at WilliamVintage.com.

Vintage Haute Couture, Now Online

1 October 2013

Sonam Kapoor's fashion haunt, WilliamVintage, opens an e-boutique. Here's what to expect..


London's WilliamVintage is a must-visit for fashion lovers (including Bollywood actress Sonam Kapoor) for its incredible collection of vintage finds and couture. Vogue speaks exclusively to William Banks-Blaney, its proprietor and one of the world's most respected vintage clothing experts, on the launch of his online boutique this month.


What defines vintage for you? It's a term used so loosely now.

For me, it's an item that is completely timeless yet also iconic of its era. A 1930s bias-cut Vionnet, a 1950s Dior or a 1960s Courrèges are prime examples of real vintage.


Your store in London is by appointment only, yet you have chosen to recently go online. How does that impact the shopping experience? 

I think an online service will enhance the in-store experience. When shopping online, it is reassuring to know these pieces have a physical home at WilliamVintage and are not simply stored in a warehouse. 


How did you make your selection?

My aim is for the site to always offer the breadth of design that the store has, so I selected pieces that I feel are for a global woman.


What is your favorite decade in fashion? 

My favourite designer would have to be Cristobal Balenciaga, but I could never choose a decade: Chanel from the '20s, Worth from the '30s, Dior from the '50s, Madame Grès from the '60s… there are so many moments.


What have been the most iconic pieces that you have managed to source?

I have been incredibly lucky to have discovered real treasures; a very early Little Black Dress by Coco Chanel made in the '20s, exceptional Dior haute couture from the '50s and perhaps some of the greatest Courrèges haute couture from the '60s.


Any designer you would love to get your hands on that you haven't so far?

I want to own the 1967 Cristobal Balenciaga ivory silk gazar wedding dress and I would never sell it.


Who, in your opinion, has an enviable collection of vintage?

Rachel Zoe (Hollywood stylist), who is a great friend as well as a client, has one of the most exceptional collections of vintage haute couture I have ever seen.


Your favourite destination to source vintage pieces?

I travel the world hunting down pieces and a part of the joy is never quite knowing what you will find. Paris, Palm Beach and Chicago are always exciting starting points on my vintage hunts.


 - Priyanka Khanna

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