Original article from scmp.com
Next time you happen to spill wine on a cherished piece of arm candy, take a leaf out of designer Dylan Ryu’s book.
“I spilled red wine on my mum’s Christian Dior purse and I couldn’t remove the wine stain,” Ryu says. “So, instead, I added lace and vintage tape to cover it up. It was in that particular moment that I discovered the beauty of reinventing vintage bags.”
Now, the Korean designer’s reworked vintage Chanel flap bags and Hermès Birkins are stocked at prestigious boutiques such as 10 Corso Como in Seoul and Joyce in Hong Kong. Ryu’s reinterpreted Chanel chain bag, featuring badges and embellishments, can go for over HK$45,000, while Birkin bags bearing her designs can easily set you back HK$135,000.
While they might be a fashion purist’s nightmare, reworked vintage pieces – be they accessories, fashions or luxury watches – are gaining momentum for their prestige, exclusivity and uniqueness.
“The demand [for reworked vintage] keeps growing as [the pieces] show us their timeless beauty,” Ryu says. “Customers want reworked vintage if it respects the [original] designs.”
Model wearing tweed suits by Tiger in the Rain known for its modern interpretation on vintage fashion garments.
Jung-sun Lee, founder of the fashion label Tiger In The Rain, agrees, saying: “The trend will continue if the reinterpretations feature unique designs yet still retain the essentials of the vintage clothing.”
A-listers and taste-makers are embracing the love of vintage on movie sets and red carpets. Hollywood stars such as Natalie Portman, Anne Hathaway and Reese Witherspoon have given classic pieces a new lease of life, drawing the attention of trend-obsessed fashionistas. Lee was driven to her innovative designs by a passion for vintage paired with a vision of its future potential. She got her start in the business almost 10 years ago when she reworked her vintage Burberry trench coat from a London flea market. “Whenever I wore the coat I got complimented on its uniqueness and how nicely it fitted me,” she says. “I thus started redesigning Burberry trench coats in a series.”
A reworked Hermès Kellybag by Dylan Ryu
Now she reinterprets luxury vintage pieces ranging from Chanel tweed jackets to Yves Saint Laurent Le Smoking suits, catering to the rising demand. Tiger In The Rain is well-received among collectors and critics thanks to its innovative redesigns, such as a Chanel jacket altered to have rolled or cape sleeves. A classic knit Chanel jacket reworked by Lee can fetch over HK$40,000.
While the price points for such reworked vintage pieces can nearly match those of luxury brands’ contemporary collections, their rarity and uniqueness offers added value and appeal to customers. Many collectors are also already proud owners of more up-to-date items from coveted labels.
“Most of my customers already have those ‘It’ bags, yet they want something special, memorable and the one and only,” Ryu says.