What I Know About Style

Marcell Symons, D&Me

D&Me and One Vintage


Marcelle Symons, high-end vintage boutique owner, on her eccentric grandmother and why the Olsen twins are her style icons...

Who inspired you to work in the fashion industry?

My grandmother. She was very flamboyant and eccentric and wore incredibly huge cocktail rings and big hats.

One Vintage is a far cry from the cheaper vintage options around London. What sets you apart from the rest?

We are not just a vintage label; we are a brand in our own right. Every piece has been redesigned and reworked by a team of highly skilled seamstresses and I. One garment can be made up of as many as five different dresses with rare vintage fabrics and trims. I constantly source all over the world for special pieces. I may archive a beautiful feather trim for years, until I find the perfect dress that needs it. We move with trends, currently draped designs made from heavy beaded fabrics – they are so popular that they sell the day they are uploaded onto Net-A-Porter. Thandie Newton is a big fan of this type of design, and wears them to film premieres a lot.

Your reworked vintage pieces exude glamour; does this reflect your own personal style?

I like to think that I dress like many busy women today; I mix beautiful vintage with Gryphon jogging pants, Camilla Skovvgarrd boots and I’m never without my vintage Chanel handbag. I always buy for my multi-brand boutique, D&Me, in this way. Our store is not just for event dressing; we have casual pieces mixed in.

Each piece is unique. Do you consider them as an art form?

Yes! We get so attached. It’s amazing when you look through the folders of images; hundreds of pieces we have sold over the years. Customers get very emotional when they see our One Vintage showroom above the boutique. Shopping has become so generic whereas we really offer an old school boutique service.

Can you name-drop some of your celebrity customers?

I think our success is that we don’t name-drop customers. You only have to Google us to see the A-listers who have been to the store without their stylists because we have such special pieces. More impressive than celebs is the Middle Eastern royalty; amazing businesswomen and stylish mothers who have us on speed dial. Our shop girls work like personal shoppers. I take them to buying appointments and we always shop with our customers in mind.

What’s in your secret address book?

Frock Me vintage fair in Chelsea, which runs once a month, Resurrection in LA and Mahat Lozi for jewellery.

Which designers do you love at the moment?

Helmut Lang is my favourite brand which we stock. Iro is really popular plus anything in pure white crochet.

You spend a lot of time picking the perfect designers to compliment your collection in your D&Me store in Brompton Road. What qualities do you look for when selecting a brand?

Wearability; we never buy something just because everyone else is buying it. We buy for our customers; not press. We buy across the price range, too, and try new things out every season. That’s how women really shop; they stick to brands they love and trust, but also like to try new things.

Your pieces range from the ‘20s to ‘70s. Are you not a fan of the ‘80s? If so what is the most appealing/unappealing part of the decade?

I don’t really consider anything after ’60s vintage; ’80s reminds me of when I was younger trying to dress up to look older!

Who are your style icons?

The Olsen twins. I love how they take risks and mix vintage and contemporary.

Who can you rely on for constructive criticism?

I rely on my own instincts for fashion, but do trust the buyer from Net-A-Porter, Hollie Rogers.

What’s next?

It’s a surprise… Follow our blog and you will see!

D&Me, 309 Brompton Road, London, SW3; dandmeshopgirls.blogspot.com; www.net-a-porter.com/Shop/Designers/One_Vintage; 020 7589 2684

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