Vintage forever

Vintage forever
Ms Phoebe Leong, owner of multi-label boutique Tribeca. She is wearing an embellished Balmain jacket by designer Christophe Decarnin from her vintage designer clothing collection.

For four fashionistas, their prized pieces come from the past:

Ms Phoebe Leong, The Eclectic Fashionista

Fashion lover Phoebe Leong has lived and learnt. As the founder of the now-defunct shop, The Vintage Place, she sold her old designer pieces in the late 1990s at a deep discount.

In particular, Ms Leong remembers two now-gone cropped Chanel jackets - in yellow and lime green - that appeared in the famous 1994 advertisement shot by photographer Steven Meisel, featuring supermodels such as Naomi Campbell. She also sold a pair of pale pink leather pants by Tom Ford during his time at Gucci.

"That was probably my biggest fashion regret," notes the 42-year-old mother of three with a wistful smile.

But Ms Leong, who launched multi-label boutique Tribeca in 2002, has since rebuilt her designerwear collection. She now has around 200 pieces lovingly worn, archived and kept for future use in nine special trunks.

"I think vintage designer clothing started to really have a moment, 12 or 13 years ago, like when Julia Roberts wore vintage Valentino the night she won the Oscar for Best Actress in 2001," she says, referring to the memorable black and white gown.

Some of her favourite design houses include Tom Ford, Chanel, Balmain and Yves Saint Laurent. The boutique owner also likes buying items from first and last collections by a designer for a fashion label. She has spent anywhere from a few hundred dollars to up to five figures per piece.

"I just buy things that pop or catch my eye," she says.

Her first designer purchase was a black, off-the-shoulder Jean Paul Gaultier dress when she was 15 years old. She saved up all her money to buy the dress, which cost $500 at the time, she recalls.

"Jean Paul Gaultier was such an enfant terrible at the time, and so cool. I had to have it."

She describes her own style as eclectic, tempered in part by the birth of her three children, aged two, six and 11 years old. "I dress in extremes sometimes - either in T-shirts and shorts or runway pieces.

"Sometimes, I like to leave items in storage for a few years," adds Ms Leong, revealing her long-term fashion vision. "If you wear it too soon, it might look off-season, but wait a bit and people will forget. Then there's a whole freshness to it."

Christian Dior T-Shirt

This is a John Galliano for Christian Dior design.

I loved everything he did at the house back then.

It's abit too small for me now, but my 11-year-old daughter wore it recently.

Balmain Jacket (in main photo)

This embellished Balmain jacket is made from leather and pony hair. It was from one of the early collections of designer Christophe Decarnin. The design was worn by Michael Jackson on a promotional tour. I just thought it was to die for.

Chloe Blouse

I picked this up in the early 2000s - it's Chloe by Stella McCartney.

The embellishment catches the eye and it's nice to pair it with a more casual denim piece.

Dolce & Gabbana Bustier

This is a toned-down version of Madonna's conical bustier.

I bought it in the late 1990s, but I pulled itout again recently to wear to a burlesque-themed birthday party.

Yves Saint Laurent Blouse

This blouse is from Tom Ford's last collection for Yves Saint Laurent in 2004. I like the influence of chinoiserie.

There was also a long skirt or dress version but I thought the top was more wearable.

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