Time to let you on one of my vintage secrets: Malena Martinez’s smallish, eponymous shop in West Chester. It’s amaaaazing. (Side note: It’s also the place where I found that insane Alaïa jacket, which, by the way, I still think about.) So mark your calendars: Malena’s is having a major storewide sale today until 9pm, during which everything is 20 percent off.
I got Malena to spill some details about what vintage gems you’ll find: fur shawls; colorful vintage slips, all regularly priced between $28 and $48 (“They’re good for layering underneath your spring dresses, so you can start wearing them now without being too chilly,” says Malena. “Let them peek out from beneath!”); sweater clips; “bug chunky, colorful necklaces”; cocktail dresses, and a smattering of designer pieces. Oh, and lots of bright candy colors. “We’re all so sick of winter here,” she says.
I also got Malena to dish about her store's upcoming expansion. She's taken over the 1,100-square-foot retail space next door, and is transforming it into a showroom. When it opens in April (it's about 90 percent complete right now), it will be an appointment-only showroom where serious vintage shoppers, collectors and industry folks (such as textile and print designers, who often look to vintage garments for pattern inspiration) can book an appointment to sift through 10 heaping racks of vintage back stock, out-of-season pieces, super-delicate pieces from the 1860s through the '30s, high-end designer—Lanvin, Courrèges!—and bridal gowns.
"The space is definitely more warehouse-like," Malena says. "It's for people who like the thrill of the hunt. And people who love vintage don't care if they're buying an awesome coat in July or a summer dress in winter. Now, instead of packing the stuff away and having it totally inaccessible, it's right next door." The space also means even more rotation in the actual retail store, and—thanks to a photo studio in the showroom—more clothing available through her e-store. (Right now, Malena mostly sells jewelry and accessories online.)
Keep your eyes peeled for updates on the monthly Showroom Sales, during which the showroom will be open to the public. They kick off next month, and you can get details on Malena's Vintage Facebook page.