Unusual and smart vintage at Le Streghe son Tornate

In recent years, fashion has been looking back into its past, picking out styles and reinterpreting them with a contemporary twist. A revival of fashion’s past is in vogue, which also explains why fashion labels such as Courreges or Pucci, outmoded for years, are now under fashion’s spotlight. This trend of «fashion recycling,» coupled with the taste for a mix-and-match style, has also helped enliven the field of vintage fashion. It is a field that has always had a sophisticated and fashion-conscious following, but is increasingly winning over a new audience. Sensing this gradual change, Rianna Kounou and her partner Nana Stepanian decided around a year ago to open Le Streghe son Tornate, a vintage clothing store on Haritos Street in Kolonaki. (The name is taken from a ’70s feminist slogan which means «the witches are back.») At a time of fashion revivals, Kounou felt she wanted to have the authentic pieces rather than copies or reinterpretations of the originals. Using her years of experience in the business, Kounou, whose mother owned Berlin, one of Athens’s select vintage stores, travels around the world in search of unusual, smart garments and accessories from the beginning of the century until the present. Kounou says that they are increasingly to be found in rare supply, especially when good condition is a criterion. She has learned that the USA, rather than Europe, is where she is most likely to find her best picks. For this past winter, some of the best selections included a ’60s Hanae Mori print dress, a Lanvin Grecian-style gown also from the ’60s, a Leopard gown from the ’30s, and authentic Chanel jewelry. A large selection of kimonos were also a strong feature of the winter collection. For the summer, the Pucci, Hanae Mori, Courreges and Chanel pieces which are expected to come into the store will capture the emerging ’60s revival now in vogue. Coordinating her choices with each season’s time is one of the criteria that Kounou uses in selecting her pieces. Having built a steady, selective clientele, she also makes more customized buys. Prices range widely, and Kounou says that depending on a garment’s rarity, condition and trendiness, the cost often exceeds that of a new garment. This applies mostly to collectors’ items, for which the public demand in Greece is rather limited. But overall, the demand for vintage fashion has increased. At a time when fine tailoring is on the wane, this demand may reflect more than just a trend; it may also show an appreciation for old-style, quality craftsmanship.