Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 14/1/2012 (2045 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Rhymes With Orange is the wild and crazy name of a one-month-old vintage shop in The Exchange. Customers keep trying to find a rhyme for orange, the word that won't rhyme.
"How about door hinge?" I ask as I enter under the orange and white awning.
Like the O-word, this shop is hard to match. First, it's a marriage of two stores -- uniting Vintage Glory's Doug Shand with all his unique clothing for men, and Erin Thiessen and Stefanie Hiebert of the funky camper-trailer store Oh So Lovely. That's the heavy-on-orange travelling unit with one of-a-kind '40s to '70s clothing. It stood out in The Fringe Festival market area last summer, looking like a gypsy caravan.
The trio is delighted to be located together on McDermot Avenue, the funkiest shopping street in The Exchange, lined up with shops like Ragpickers, Hilary Druxman Design, Mayberry Fine Art, Pixels 2.1 photography gallery and Into the Music. And then there's the Free Press News Café hangout right in the middle.
This vintage shop is well organized -- almost slick -- like something you'd find in Greenwich Village. And it also stocks some "vintage-inspired" items like retro-looking eyewear (think cat's eye and Buddy-Holly-style glasses, plus antique-looking new jewelry -- rings only $25). Because of the Mad Men and Boardwalk Empire craze, both sexes are into retro wear, manufacturers are making retro styles again and Winnipeg is up with the trend.
Unlike a lot of vintage stores, this shop was created as much for guys as for women. Shand operated Vintage Glory with his wife Lana, who died of cancer, but felt awkward taking over the female clothing end himself. He says he was relieved to get together with a female-oriented vintage store. "I first met Stefani and Erin when they had their camper-trailer mobile store parked near my store (at 88 Albert St.) during the Fringe Festival." They found out they were a natural fit and went looking for space in the fall together.
"But the place we found fell through last-minute," says Shand. "Luckily we got this new place in two weeks -- mid-November -- which is way better, much bigger, with drive-by traffic and lots more foot traffic." With friends and family, they pulled off a 24/7 three-week marathon to paint the walls, stock up and get the doors open for the Christmas rush.
The front half is for guys -- with wearable treasures from the 1890s to 1970s, including a mint-condition beaver top hat from the 1800s in its original leather case. At $350, it's easily one of the most expensive items in the store. Shand, now 60 himself, loves curling sweaters and wears one in the store, plus he has a rack of Cowichan and Mary Maxim sweaters knit by moms and grandmothers. Not to mention leather jackets, groovy pants, old-fashioned silk and satin ties and bow ties in all sizes locked in the front case with the jewelry. "Bow ties are really in!" he says. Plus they're small and easy to pick up.
Among the lightly used vintage shoes, men can also buy new old shoes from dead stock. "That stock that didn't sell, got shelved, and I bought them 40 years later!" He confesses the source is local, but secret. (By the way, Doug is the father of Remy Shand the musician and he says his son likes unique hats and '70s shirts.)
The back half of the long store is for women -- wildly patterned short dresses, cocktail wear, a pointed '50s "bullet bra" (like Madonna wore), peignoir sets, sweaters, blouses, wild shoes and boots. "We also have brilliantly coloured glasses and cocktail shakers. We sold a lot of cocktail stuff for New Year's," says Hiebert. Look sharp when you're shopping. Above and below the clothes racks are small appliances like plastic radios and coloured lamps.
"We share the hat and shoe area with Doug," says Hiebert. "For women there are everyday hats and special winter hats like ocelot and muskrat." Yours truly spotted high-heeled silver spikes with bows on the heels. You can't beat retro shoes for movie-star glamour. "We also have some ladies' black lace-up boots from 1910!" says Thiessen. Granny would have loved them.
To one side, there's a section of ladies' bags contributed by Shand's purse-collecting new wife Lori Shand. "Oh, we really go shopping!" says Shand of their fall honeymoon tour to Europe. "We went to Paris, Amsterdam, Venice, and Brussels, which is the vintage capital of Europe. I pulled my back from lugging six hockey bags and suitcases full of treasures from train to train."