This weekend, we dropped in on the recently-opened Life Emporium vintage and thrift shop on Fifth Avenue and 13th Street in South Park Slope. If you're familiar with Zia Ziprin of Girls Loves Shoes fame, you'll recognize her touch in the styling and merchandising. Bold and vivid prints and colors populated the racks and dainty heels in a rainbow of hues lined the floors. The mannequins were flamboyantly dressed in imaginative ensembles. We loved the vintage camera-toting hipster-tourist male mannequin in a print short-sleeve button down and shorts, and were kind of terrified of the life-size girl doll in the back dressed in an ghostly Victorian frock.
Upon a closer look. a deeper realization set in: Zia Ziprin also donates pieces from the Marmalade Vintage and Girls Love Shoes pop-up. The items still carry the original pop-up's tags and are on sale for a fraction of the original prices.
Now we obviously don't want to direct business away from the Marmalade Vintage and Girls Loves Shoes pop-up—we want them to stay in their temp space as long as possible—but we can't help but point out a fantastic deal, either. (Plus Life Emporium is a non-profit supporting Chai Lifeline, a Jewish organization which helps children with cancer and other genetic diseases.) Immediately, we snatched up a grey puff-sleeve leather zip-front jacket for $38.99 (originally $125 at the pop-up). We also came across a cherry-red lace wrap-front dress for $24 ($62 at the pop-up), a chinoiserie-print mock turtleneck from the historical Bamberger's department store for $22 (originally $68), black python-print pumps for $26.99 (originally $72) and a 50's-era silver mesh clutch bag for $42.
As for the rest of the upstairs womenswear lot, we also found a few designer pieces on offer: A lipstick-red Christian Dior silk button-front dress ($150), an ebony sequined Proenza Schouler short-sleeve top ($150) and a wool collarless Dior button-front jacket ($95). The majority of the upstairs vintage and contemporary gently-worn pieces are well priced, starting from around $16.
There is also a designer menswear section upstairs offering button-down business shirts (we spied a YSL), an autumn-hued houndstooth Giorgio Armani blazer for $40, a 100% cashmere Abercrombie & Fitch jacket for $30, a soft wool plaid zip-front Polo Ralph Lauren lumberjack shirt for $29 and a Burberry two-piece pinstriped suit for $150. Speaking of Burberry, don't even get us started on the little girl's bubblegum-pink wool/cashmere fringed poncho and mini-kilt set, still kind of expensive for $100 but absolutely freakin' adorable.
Downstairs offers more of a casual thrift shop feel with menswear, womenswear, shoes and bags, plus a random mishmash of household items. We also gleefully noted a differing musical playlist downstairs as opposed to the more grown-up ground level. (We'll take "Do You Believe in Love" by Huey Lewis & the News any day.)
On a Sunday afternoon, a diverse mixture of old-school neighborhood thrifters and young hipsters were browsing and shopping. Despite the designer cachet of the shop, there's no need to worry about any school-marm-snootitude here. The volunteer staffers at Life Emporium are incredibly sweet and helpful. Guess Park Slope's best-kept secret is pretty much out in the open now.
· Brand-New Park Slope Development Gets Designer Vintage [Racked NY]
· Marmalade Vintage and Girls Love Shoes Match-Up and Pop-Up [Racked NY]
· Life Emporium [Facebook]