December 7, 2021

bellevbistro

The fine art of fashion

Cult Shop: pristine classic vogue with a Tucson twist

Model updates

Summon up an graphic of Georgia O’Keeffe and probabilities are she’ll be sporting a crisp white shirt, perhaps a slouchy, voluminous black jacket and a extensive-brimmed gaucho hat. She could be standing next to a massive antlered elk skull, as captured by Cecil Beaton in 1967, or holding a painting up to the New Mexico landscape that so usually inspired her. 

This kind of photos give swift insight into the aesthetic of Tucson-dependent boutique Desert Classic, whose entrepreneurs, Salima Boufelfel and Roberto Cowan, cite O’Keeffe both as a dream shopper and a sartorial influence. “She wore a form of uniform, but it was not dull. Her model was offbeat and quietly eccentric,” states Boufelfel, who applies the similar aesthetic to their stock of pre-loved womenswear. “There is a sense of timelessness to our variety – we love to have pieces that span eras but never essentially reference precise time durations, items that truly feel modern and simple to incorporate into a modern day wardrobe.” 

Roberto Cowan and Salima Boufelfel in Desert Classic © Household Teerapat Phuangfueang

That could mean a 1970s cream-silk Yves Saint Laurent tie-neck shirt or black wool blazer a flapperish 1920s white lace and crochet gown or a 1900s raw-silk jacket with a fragile hand-sewn lace yoke with assertion oversized sleeves – some thing of a Desert Classic trademark. As is the subdued color scheme. “Our edit practically normally has a sandy, neutral undertone,” claims Boufelfel. “It evokes the southwest.” 

Desert Vintage: stripped-back style in sandy undertones
Desert Vintage: stripped-back style in sandy undertones © Tory Willis

Bringing a cache of classic trend to the middle of the Arizona desert wasn’t plan A for the two Tucson natives, who achieved though performing as potential buyers for a resale store that donated its income to area charities. “Our unique idea was to open a retail outlet in Paris,” says Cowan, who was working out visa paperwork with Boufelfel in 2012 when the opportunity arose to just take in excess of the nearby enterprise. Initial opened in 1974 in downtown Tucson, Desert Vintage was “more of a costume shop, a mother-and-pop area, but truly approachable and tremendous-charming”. The few promptly noticed its prospective, and shelved their Paris strategies to established about stripping again the one-time tilemaker’s studio to white walls and concrete floors. They also took their company on the road, showing up at markets and pop-ups throughout the US (nowadays, 50 per cent of Desert Vintage’s revenue get place on the net).

A 1970s turtleneck kaftan, $698
A 1970s turtleneck kaftan, $698 © Roberto Cowan
A Hermès cashmere wrap coat, $3,998
A Hermès cashmere wrap coat, $3,998 © Roberto Cowan

The keep has turn into an unlikely stylist’s hunting floor: actresses Demi Moore and Sophia Bush are purchasers, as is Rihanna’s stylist Nini Nguyen. Design groups from The Row and Bode are also readers – the latter sparked a reciprocal romance. “Nearly every little thing I have on is by Bode,” smiles Cowan. 

They describe much of their inventory as “archival”: parts with a identified manner historical past and provenance, such as those people goods ordered instantly from US designer Geoffrey Beene’s archive and spanning the 1960s to 1990s. “A lot of these models have been never reproduced, so they are just one-offs,” suggests Cowan, introducing that because of the way they existing their pristine wares in coherent collections, numerous shoppers don’t even realise they’re vintage. “You would not think how lots of situations people talk to, ‘Oh, can I get this in a dimension compact?’” 

Inside the store, a former tilemaker’s studio 
Within the keep, a previous tilemaker’s studio  © Tori Willis

But a bigger concept that strikes the two treasure hunters is the escalating breadth of vintage shoppers. “I have witnessed a crazy evolution of the industry,” suggests Boufelfel. “When I begun out, it was super market and secretive – now it’s much extra mainstream, much more obtainable. And the sustainability element is a built-in reward. People’s curiosity is getting traction just about every yr.” 

403 N Sixth Avenue #119, Tucson, AZ 85705, desertvintage.com, @desertvintage