One of a Kind: RARE VIntage

Rare Vintage Founder and Owner, Juliana Cairone

In New York City you can find the latest of anything, from the Chanel's new Lame Lace overalls at Bergdorf Goodman, to Dior's Spring 2012 chiffon frocks, available through a trunk shows at Saks Fifth Avenue. There is a point when you had enough of the latest "it" items or have a desire to be different, so vintage has become a must have in many wardrobes. When it comes to vintage the BEST place to go in New York City is RARE VINTAGE. Rare Vintage like a candy store, once your in, you go gaga over the haute couture gowns, vintage finds from every designer you can imagine, and those anonymous pieces that have a history more alluring than any designer label. The owner her self, Juliana Cairone, is just as fabulous as her showroom, and has a eye for finding rare and beautiful pieces that not only become must haves, but collectible. This stylish fashionista shares with us the history and concept of Rare Vintage......

David Pedroza: What inspired you about vintage couture, and how did it lead to opening Rare Vintage?
Juliana Cairone
: RARE vintage came about accidentally because of my husband, my mother-in-law and a head cold.
We have an apartment here in the city and a house on Centre Island and my clothes had been slowly creeping out of the closets for years in both places until it got to the point my husband and my mother-in-law ganged up on me and said I had to do something about it. As I was going through things I realized I had a lot of vintage, looked on line saw and that there was a vintage show in a couple of weeks. The woman running the show was kind enough to let me participate even though I was not a dealer. Shortly afterwards I had a terrible head cold and was in bed for a week. I had enjoyed doing the vintage show and started writing a business plan for the store and I found the space on 57th Street that same week.

DP: What is your first vintage purchase?

JC: When I was a little girl, dressing up in my grandmothers dresses from the 1950s and 1960s was a serious hobby. And then when I was in college I wore a lot of sheer floral print dresses that I use to buy in a barn. They were literally a couple of dollars each! But my first serious vintage purchase was a Valentino haute couture gown from the 1970s that I found in Italy for a couple of hundred dollars. It fit like it was made for me. I wore it to the Met Gala for opening of the show Goddess. There were three women that evening wearing exactly the same current season white Valentino gown and I think that was the moment when I understood I did not want to have a dress anyone else would have and wearing vintage is wearing something special. I later loaned my Valentino dress to Calista Flockhart and she wore it to the Academy Awards.

Calista Flockhart in Juliana's Valentino Haute Couture, Circa 1970's

DP: Who is your favorite designer, and does his or her style influence the vintage you acquire?
: I have designers I love: Balenciaga, Madame Gres, Yves Saint Laurent but truthfully I love a little bit of everyone. I love a little Courreges dress from the 1960s, I love Marc Jacobs' grunge collection for Perry Ellis, I love Capucci, I love Chanel from Coco Chanel to Karl Lagerfeld, I even love this extraordinary Bob Mackie bolero I bought recently and I certainly did not think that I could love Bob Mackie until I saw that particular piece.

DP: Do you share the same taste in vintage as your clients?
I only buy pieces for the store that I personally love or find interesting. I bought a spectacular Issey Miyake coat that is not at all my personal taste but as an object, I knew that is was an incredible collector's item and it sold immediately. In fact, I had clients and a museum fighting for it.

DP: Who is the Rare Vintage customer, and what does she want out of her vintage clothes?
I don't think we have a typical RARE vintage client. We have very young girls who are building a collection (everyone has become much more aware of the value and uniqueness of vintage), we have clients who are very social and are out in the evening often and they don't want to be wearing the same dress as someone else, we have people who are just collectors and people who collect and wear.

DP: The workmanship in vintage and contemporary haute couture is so spectacular; has it changed the way you see quality in ready-to-wear or fashion in general in today’s market?
I love the word 'petersham'. Petersham is the little interior grosgrain ribbon belt that is inside many vintage couture pieces. It holds the dress to the body and makes an enormous difference in fit. Valentino Couture dresses have a petersham and a little ribbon that is almost like a bodysuit so you have to step into the dress. Brilliant, a little complicated to get into but when you sit down and your dress does not bunch around the shoulders you understand completely. When I go into Bergdorfs and look at dresses which cost thousands of dollars, none of them have a petersham.

DP: How did you come about the Valentino Haute Couture Sale?
It is funny but I have found that one month we may get calls with almost exclusively Saint Laurent or Chanel to sell. So it happened that when I was in Italy (I do quite a bit of buying for the store in France and Italy), I happened to come across Valentino Couture pieces. They were not from one person and the years ranged from very rare and early 1960s pieces to the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. We thought it would be great to have a capsule sale of the collection on 1stdibs.

Selection of vintage Valentino Haute Couture From Rare Vintage: (Left) Pink Gazar gown, Circa 1962, price upon request, (Center Left) Beaded Leopard organza dress, price upon request, (Center Right) Black Velvet and Gazar Dress, $2,400, (Right) Silk organza and Lace pin tuck gown, circa 1978, $3,000. Available at

DP: Do you think vintage clothes, or vintage couture in particular, has become very important in today’s world?
I think vintage has become very important in todays world. For one thing, designers source from us for inspiration for future collections and because shopping has become depressingly global - you can find a Prada store anywhere, all carrying the same merchandise - so what is the point of going to Milan and buying Prada when you can buy the same thing here in New York. And with the internet everything is so saturated. We have all seen the new Valentino collection on the internet and then we will see it on actresses who will borrow it and then finally it will be in the stores and by then you are already a little tired of it. But with vintage, even though it is something old, it is actually in a way something new and something which has not been seen.

DP: What are your 3 favorite pieces currently at your showroom?
One of my favorite new pieces is a slinky rust colored jersey Yves Saint Laurent rive gauche evening dress with a plunging back and gold leather straps. It is so Saint Laurent and to me when I see it, I can also see Saint Laurent with LouLou de la Falaise, Betty Catroux, Marina Schiano all hanging out together laughing in a restaurant in Paris. It takes me to a different place and I love that transformative, dreamy quality in vintage. My other favorite pieces are not in the store yet but will be soon: it is a collection of Chanel couture runway jewelry. I have never seen anything like it for sale and the pieces are just incredible. It is all from the late late 80 and very early 90s.

DP: What are Rare Vintage’s 3 must haves for fall 2011?
I f I were to choose three pieces that are must haves for the fall from RARE vintage I would choose a whimsical animal print sweater from Krizia (Givenchy and Balenciaga were definitely inspired by Krizia's original animal print sweaters), An incredibly beautiful couture heavy silk and velvet gown from Givenchy Couture that I am madly in love with. And a fun cropped vintage fur.

Animated Sweater, T Rex by Krizia, $650 at Rare Vintage NYC

Velvet Sheath with Leather and gold sequin appliques, Givenchy Haute Couture, price upon request at Rare Vintage NYC

Fox Fur stole, 1950's Jean Patou Haute Couture, price upon request at Rare Vintage NYC

All Items are available at Rare Vintage NYC, 24 West 57 street, Suite 501. Visit the site at


I {kind of} consider myself to be somewhat of a HOLIDAY freak.  I LOVE decorating for holidays.  I LOVE throwing holiday parties.  I LOVE holiday candy.  But you just reach a point where....enough is enough.  And this is exactly how I feel about Halloween tonight.  I am BEYOND excited for it to be over. I've got one more class party to throw, trick-or-treating tomorrow night and then HALLELUJAH - bring on NOVEMBER!!!  There's a number of reasons why I love November.  My list includes {but is not limited to}:

1. Listening to Christmas music.  Nov. 1st is the green light for me.  And THANKFULLY...Justin Beiber's Christmas cd comes out THIS Tuesday.  Don't laugh.  He's got a duet with Boyz II Men AND another one with Mariah Carey. ME!

2. The air gets EXTRA crisp here in AZ during the month of November.  Tomorrow is {I think} our last day of 90 degree weather and then we drop down into the 70s.  PER-FECT!

3. Thanksgiving.  I love everything about it.  

4.  Black Friday.  Enough said. If you know me know I'm a freak about this.

Since I am SO done with Halloween...tonight I am drooling over Thanksgiving images online.  Here  are some of my favorites from my pal {even though she doesn't know I exist} Martha.

How cute are these nutshell name settings?  I'm a sucker for name settings ya know?

Loving these napkin ties.  I miss acorns.  And falling leaves.  And pretty much everything else from Virginia this time of year.

October empties


A recap of the beauty products which I have recently finished and whether or not I would purchase them again. So this month, I have used up:-


Palmers Cocoa Butter Body Lotion - I have used a LOT of body lotions and this is by far the best of the cheaper brands you can pick up in places like Wilkos. If you are on a budget or just in need of a thick winter friendly lotion, then look no further. And it smells like vanilla ice cream. Amazing. Repurchase? Yes!

Boots Botanics Day Shift Moisture Lotion for Normal/Dry Skin - This was too much on the greasy side of face creams, didn't like it much. Repurchase? No.

The Body Shop Warming Mineral Mask - Warming/heat masks are probably my favourite type of mask to use, especially in the colder months but this Body Shop one only heated up for a few seconds and that was it. Hugely disappointing, so I'm glad it was a freebie.
Repurchase? No.

Lush American Cream Conditioner - Smells oh-so-good, like a heavenly vanilla scent and makes my hair nice and soft. Repurchase? Yes, already using a new bottle :)


L'Occitane Fleur Cherie Hand Cream
- L'Occitane make some of the best hand creams on the market. I think this was a mag freebie from a few months ago and I've been carrying it in my handbag. Wasn't that keen on the scent of this one (it's heavy on the Neroli) but the formula was light and non-greasy. Repurchase? No, I'll stick to the Shea Butter one that they do instead.

Boots Natural Collection Rosemary & Witch Hazel Face Mask - A thick clay formula which smells incredibly strongly of the two key ingredients. I liked it but the smell was a bit too off putting for me. Repurchase? No

Nelsons Pure & Clear Purifying Daily Facial Wash - I was happy to come across this natural version of Clearisil who don't use any nasties. Can't really tell if this works from one sachet use but it didn't break me out so it might be something I try a bottle of in the future. Repurchase? Maybe.

Estee Lauder Double Wear Light Foundation - I'm glad that I got a sample of this in a magazine because I've tried the normal Double Wear and found it much too heavy for my skin, whereas this is their lighter version. Unfortunately, I still found this much too heavy, kind of sticks to my skin like plaster or something, not for me! Repurchase? No.


Lush Sugar Scrub - Had this in a gift set, way too rough for my skin but works fantastically on feet and smells great. Repurchase? Maybe as a foot scrub.

What products have you used up recently?

Coombs Halloween Bash.....Part 2

Joe's siblings are always good sports at dressing up in costume for our Halloween party.   

Ryan: Billy Mays / Sarah - a cute fairy whom London became OBSESSED with!

Kent: 'Cereal' Killer Tauna 'News' flasher. They won my vote for MOST CLEVER costumes!

Grandma Marilyn, Joe as ? who knows what?? and Ms. Rapunzel 

The cute Bradford family.  They all dressed in Beatles song themes. You can read about it HERE.  It is SUPER clever.  Jenny: Lucy in the sky with Diamonds June: Octopus' Garden Will: Being the Benefit of Mr. Kite

Our Fear Factor game was the highlight of the evening.  There were 6 rounds.  They progressively got harder. And more disgusting. 

Round 1: Baby Bottle Burp.  One team member feeds the other team member a baby bottle filled with coke.  Whomever FINISHES the bottle FIRST…and then produces a loud BURP gets 10 points. {This SOUNDS easy...however with a nipple that is only a #1 - it takes forever and is hilarious to watch!}

Round 2: Banana Hose.  Pick one team member to place a pair of panty hose over their head.  The first contestant to eat an entire banana THROUGH the panty hose WINS.  Winner gets 20 points.  Another HILARIOUS event to watch!

William and Ryan BEFORE the banana.

Scott helping feed the banana through the panty hose.

William won.  Thankfully.  He was my partner!

Round 3: Slug Scrabble. Each team must sift through the slugs to spell out words with the Cheeze-itz scrabble crackers.  You have 1 minute to spell as many words as possible.  Words must be more than 2 letters long. The team to spell the MOST words….gets 10 points.  

It looked something like this:

Ewww.  The smell of these slugs was PUTRID.

Round 4:  Tug-O-Fish. Just like tug-o-war, but a one-on-one competition with a FISH. {Yes...eyeballs and all!} Choose one team member to participate.  This team member will go up against a different team member and play tug-o-fish.  At "Go!" everyone starts tugging. The first person to let go (whose hands slip off) is out or if the fish breaks, the person with the largest half of the fish in their hands gets the points.

Sarah and Tauna DOMINATED this round!!!

Round 5:  Lean Cuisine.   Large bowls were filled with Sardines, Pigs feet, Vienna Sausages and Spam.  The contestant has a designated amount of time to grab a sardine (or whatever you choose to use) in their mouth, run across the yard and drop it into the empty container. They must transfer as many food items as possible in the amount of time given but can only transfer one at a time.  Team with the MOST items in their bowl wins 20 points!  This was SO gross that only Scott and Mary were gut-sy enough to compete.  Mary won.  Woot!

Round 6: Jelly Bellies.  For this round  I purchased a few boxes of those gross 'Beanboozled' Jelly Bellies from a local candy store.  Flavors include:  ear wax, skunk spray, baby wipes, booger...just to name a few.  Whichever team could eat THE MOST jelly bellies in 2 minutes...scored 30 points.  It was nasty.

Bonus Round:  Pest Control.  Also at my local candy store, I found boxes of yes...dead meal worms {with a mexican spice}, dead crickets {with a tangy sour cream and onion flavor}and chocolate covered insects.  30 points were awarded for EVERY cricket consumed.  30 points were awarded for every WORM consumed.  And 10 points for EVERY chocolate covered insect.  The worms and crickets looked like this:

Can you believe my husband ate 24 of these?  

So nasty.

And just in case you've cared to read this are the Party favors for my LOVELY family members who were SUCH.GOOD.SPORTS!

Boxes of homemade Caramel Corn {recipe to be posted soon}.  Boxes were purchased at Michaels.  And subway art was printed off of eighteen25 and framed.

Carmine Box - October 2011


Carmine is the latest box to join the beauty subscription craze. I didn't sign up for this one straight away when bloggers started talking about it because I'm already signed up to Glossybox and Boudoir Prive. However, when I saw the contents of Carmine's first box, I decided that I had to have at least this one to try out. Carmine's beauty box is much longer (the size of the box itself) in comparison to GB and BP, more like a small shoebox. But it's the inside which is the most different.


It's bright green! I'm not a big fan of this but I'm happy that it's not another pale pink box.


Onto the contents. Three full size products and two good sized travel/handbag samples. Very impressed!


The product leaflet is also the most well designed one I've seen so far from the all of the beauty boxes I've tried.


(1) Trind Nail Repair in Natural, full size 9ml (£12.95) - I'm currently using a small version of OPI's Nail Envy so I'm interested to try this out afterwards to compare the two.


(2) The Balm All in One Shadow/Blush in Fratboy, full size 8.5g (£16.34) - "this peachy-apricot-coloured blush doubles up as an eye shadow and miraculously adds life to any skin tone." Wow, this blush is gorgeous! A lovely subtle shade that seems to compliment most people, I love it! This was my main reason for ordering the box and I'm so happy with it. I don't think I'd use it as an eye shadow but as a blush it's just divine.




(3) Balance Me Super Moisturising Hand Cream, 30ml sample (full size 100ml - £14.50) - "ultra effective and seriously smoothing, made with 98.8% ingredients of natural origin." I really like the Balance Me, they're one of my favourites new brands to come onto the eco/natural market and I'm looking forward to using this hand cream. Smells lush!


(4) Caudalie Quenching Sorbet Creme, 10ml sample (full size 40ml - £20) - "naturally refresh and hydrate your skin with all the anti-oxidising powers of red grape seed." I've been wanting to try out Caudalie products, so I'm interested to see if this will work for my skin, which like most people's, gets very thirsty in winter. Smells very nice.


(5) Daniel Sandler Eye Delight in Peach, full size 3g (£10.25) - "a pot of sweet, shimmery dust to give eyes a little something to smile about." This was the product that I was initially the least excited about and thought that I would have to give it away because the colour looked orange! I tried it out and it's actually gorgeous, I love it! There was minimal fallout and you can build up or blend out as much as you like for different looks. Mine below just show a subtle amount:-

Summary: It's rare that I like absolutely everything in a beauty box, there's usually at least one item that I give to a friend or swap for something, but this box from Carmine was perfect for me. Incredible value for money (especially as I had a half-price code for this one, yay!) and the products are all fantastic. A great mix of make-up and more natural skincare, let's hope that it isn't just a one-off!

October Book List


A little early to be doing this post, but I wanted to include my Halloween picks before the month was out, so here's what I've had my nose in for October:-

The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold - I know a lot of people who adore this book but I felt like it was hugely overrated with an unbelievably ridiculous ending. Not my cup of tea. The Strain by Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan - The Strain begins with a plane landing at an airport in complete darkness. None of the passengers step down, no word from the pilot, everything is silent. From this suspense filled beginning, the reader is introduced to the main characters and soon learns that something very evil is afoot. But then the story just seems to lose its enthusiasm and tries to drag out things which should have been answered and moved on from earlier in the book. This could have been so much better! The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton - Cult classic from the 60s about two rival groups, the Socs and the Greasers. It's an interesting look at the rich/poor divide, but the language is a bit too overly poetic and theatrical in places. Still worth reading at least once though.

Unwind by Neal Shusterman - Brilliant YA sci-fi/dystopia which has the central theme of this chilling process called 'Unwinding' where teens are 'aborted' and sent to a harvest farm for their organs. Great pro-choice/anti-abortion undertones throughout. The L-Shaped Room by Lynne Reid Banks - An odd book for me, I know that it was written at the start of the 60s but it was really quite difficult to get past the racism and homophobia. Storywise, I'm glad that I read it, but I wouldn't read it again. Kafka On The Shore by Haruki Murakami - A strange book! I'm new to this magical-realism genre and Murakami's work, so this was an intriguing and confusing novel to read. I enjoyed the split chapters between the two main characters; Kafka, a young teenage runaway and Nakata, an older simpleton who can talk to cats. It's really bizarre and I picked up on some of the Greek tragedy references, but must admit that parts of it simply went over my head. I get the feeling that it's one of those books that perhaps makes more sense the more times you read it.

Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman - A hilarious satire about that eternal battle of Good and Evil with a strong Britishness about it that I just adored. The characters are strange and wonderful and I found it easy to get completely lost in the story. One of the funniest books I've read in a long time. Time of Grace by Gabriella West - A wonderfully written love story between two women, Grace and Caroline, set against a fascinating backdrop of liberating Irish history. Matched by Ally Condie - Matched is set in your typical totalitarian world, where the 'Society' controls every aspect of your life through some expert form of psychoanalysis. They decide where you will work and live, what food you will eat, exactly when you will die and who you will love. Great YA dystopian romance, looking forward to the film and the second in the trilogy.

Halloween picks are Ring by Koji Suzuki (original Japanese book from which the movie is based on) and Daemon Hall by Andrew Nance (a silly trashy kids horror read).

That's all for this month, add me on GoodReads for more books & short reviews :)

Annual Coombs Family Halloween Bash...Part 1

Monday night we held our Annual Coombs family Halloween Party!  Joe and I have held this at our house for the past few years and we always have A LOT of fun!  Allow me to share some party details:

The 'Spooky' Kids table.
 {If you look closely at the left hand corner, you can see London watching her new favorite obsession.  Aladdin. She cannot get enough.}

Mummy juice boxes.  {Covered in gauze}.

Kids favors.

Spider Plates.

As for the Adults Table:

Paper plates were purchased at Michaels. The plastic containers were picked up at a local teachers store via my sis for FREE! 

I made these paper lollies for the place settings.  The two decorative circles are just cupcake liners.  The outer one I made with scrapbook paper and then I printed Halloween images off of the internet for the centers. 

Silverware/Napkin holders.

I found these DARLING, LIVE pumpkin branches at Trader Joes.  Aren't they unique?  You put them in a vase with water and you have an instant centerpiece!

As for our food....we noshed on:

SCABS - beef jerky

MONSTER MUNCH - this stuff is addicting.  I will post the recipe tomorrow.  {I always like filling cellophane bags with this and giving it out to friends and neighbors}.

MONSTER EYEBALLS - oreo truffles dipped in green chocolate with life savers and candy eyeballs on top!

VOMIT - spinach dip.  This clever little  idea was found on my friend's sisters blog JAMIEE ROSE.  {A FABULOUS blog to read!!}

PUMPKIN BONES - cheese puffs

WITCH WANDS - chocolate covered pretzel rods

GHOST POOP - mini marshmallows

GHOST POPS - vanilla flavored cakepops

Straws purchased at Fry's.

SAND-'WITCHES' - melt in your mouth ham and swiss sandwiches

CAT BITES - I have my local Basha's bakery dye a couple loafs of bread black every year for me.  The kids LOVE it!

And for dessert.....

VAMPIRE CUPCAKES.  These pumpkin flavored cupcakes were DIVINE.  My sister-in-law/food guru Jenny made them and you can find the recipe HERE.

Later tonight I bring you PART 2 of our Halloween party: favors, costumes and the oh so dreaded FEAR FACTOR game.  I'm not naming any names person barfed this year from it.  I feel like my job grossing the contestants out was well done...mwah ha ha ha!