“I can only relate to the extraordinary.”
Those were the simple yet succinct words from multidisciplinary artist Billie Madley, whose one-of-a-kind pieces have recently hit the newly launched WonderMode Vintage marketplace.
Billie’s creative credentials surpass simply her work as an international performance artist and a major instigator of the new burlesque movement of the nineties. At just 21 she was living in London, serving as a contributing editor and stylist for various European publications, worked as an actress/producer & muse, and even graced the cover of Time Out London. With such a personal bond to the fashion industry, for Billie, vintage is not just a “classic” fashion statement. In fact, she would insist it is anything but.
“Vintage is history, sexuality, politics. It’s about color, eccentricity, and drama,” she says. “I’m not really into vintage, so to speak. It’s design, fashion, culture, and history that drive me.”
According to Ms. Madley, interest in the vintage genre has always been popular, spawning countless “vintage-inspired” lookalike brands from the mass market to high-end collectors who have an appreciation for the tangible remnants of past eras that vintage clothing represents. “You can go anywhere in the world — even outer space — but no amount of money can get you to 1932. The closest way to get there is through vintage.”
Norma Kamali 80s Flower Print Skirt (Available on WonderMode)
There is a certain creative eye that is required to take the genuine vintage pieces — completely as is — and integrate them into modern personal style. Today, we’re living in a new age of social sharing and an era of style blogs (a la The Sartorialist, Jak & Jil, Bryanboy, and the like) from which we clamor for the next big trend and “inspiration.” True individuality, however, cannot be so closely imitated, especially when integrating vintage is concerned. “Either you can take it or you can’t. It shows that you’re a badass, there’s a confidence to it. You’re wearing something that somebody else isn’t — it’s a more fearless choice.”
SHOP THE PIECES from Billie Madley’s unique vintage collection, and many more on WonderMode Vintage.
Zandra Rhodes 1970s Cocktail Dress (Available on WonderMode)
Jean Louis Evening Dress 1970s (Available on WonderMode)
Norma Kamali Harem Pants & Scarf (Available on WonderMode)