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Who are the world's most famous vintage fashion collectors?

Some clues: they are compulsive, will do anything for their desire piece, and have a high budget to invest

Who are the world's most famous vintage fashion collectors? Some clues: they are compulsive, will do anything for their desire piece, and have a high budget to invest

Collectors live by passions, by obsessions. They are persistent, persevering, obsessive people, devoted to their objects of desire. Especially in fashion. Some specialise in the creations of a single designer, others choose different brands according to their personal taste, but all of them would go crazy to get the piece they have always dreamed of, whether it is Coco Chanel's first jacket or Tom Ford's famous velvet suit for Gucci. They are willing to spend hours searching for possible treasures at flea markets, second-hand shops, specialised websites or other collectors and invest all their savings. And to be able to boast of having a haute couture selection, a high budget is a prerequisite. And why? Nostalgia, status symbol, greed for possessions, love of fashion. The reasons are many and different for everyone. Did they start collecting to relive a memory? To be surrounded by beauty and creativity? What are their most precious treasures? To unravel some of these "secrets"," G-Club has investigated who the world's most famous vintage fashion collectors are.

Gabriel Held

Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Gabriel Held began collecting clothes in high school (which also inspired Gossip Girl), inspired by the great hip-hop icons of his generation like Lil' Kim and Destiny's Child. After working unsuccessfully in retail for years, he realised his passion could become something else. Thus was born Gabriel Held Vintage, a small "empire" of more than 2,000 pieces that has made Held one of the world's best-known collectors of vintage clothing and accessories, described as "Instagram's foremost fashion historian" The New York stylist's collection includes garments by Franco Moschino, Jean Paul Gaultier, Christian Lacroix, Todd Oldham, Chanel, Dior, Cavalli, Versace, Mugler and Westwood, as well as Juicy and Baby Phat. His most popular "treasures"? A complete sampler from Todd Oldham's shows in the 1990s, which Held got directly from the designer; Prada's chandelier sandals from 2010; the Dolce & Gabbana Birth of Venus dress from the late 1990s; and an Emilio Pucci set with boots, skirt, turtleneck, windbreaker and helmet from the early 00s.

Sandy Schreier

Sandy Schreier began collecting fashion as a child in Detroit in the late 1930s. Unlike many other collectors, she never wore the pieces in her collection, but considered them works of art to be respected, admired and preserved. As a result, he amassed a treasure trove of 20th century French and American haute couture and ready-to-wear fashion that now numbers more than 15,000 pieces and is the world's largest collection of vintage fashion owned by a private individual. When Sandy Schreier came to New York City from her hometown of Detroit many years ago and strolled through the halls of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, she is said to have said to her husband Sherwin: "One day my fashion pieces will be here next to all the beautiful paintings and sculptures". And they did. For in 2019, the Met hosted the exhibition Pursuit of Fashion: The Sandy Schreier Collection, a veritable journey through fashion history through some 80 of the 165 pieces Schreier donated to the museum - a tiny fraction of her colossal collection. On display were creations by Cristóbal Balenciaga, Paul Poiret, Gilbert Adrian and Charles James, outerwear by Georges Lepape for Poiret, Mariano Fortuny, Zandra Rhodes and Karl Kagerfeld, and accessories by Stephen Jones and Phillip Treacy. Wondering what Schreier's most prized pieces are? Three Valentino dresses that belonged to Jackie Kennedy and the Saint Laurent suit worn by Claudia Cardinale in The Pink Panther.

Lauren Lepire 

Lauren Lepire loves art and fashion and has found a way to combine the two on the Instagram profile of her shop Timeless Vixen. Together with her husband, photographer Douglas Walker, she reposts historical photos there, alternating them with current shots in which she herself is wearing the same look. Born and raised in Los Angeles, she keeps her large collection of 1920s haute couture, Victorian dresses and more than 200 Ossie Clark creations here. Her small personal museum also contains more modern pieces by Lepire's favourite designers. Which are. Alexander McQueen, Thea Porter, Christian Dior, Yves Saint Laurent, Pierre Cardin, Halston and Gilbert Adrian.

Stephanie Seymour

Stephanie Seymour. Yes, the very supertop who dominated the catwalks in the 1980s and 1990s along with Naomi Campbell and Cindy Crawford is now a huge collector of vintage. She started collecting vintage haute couture pieces from Christian Dior, Balenciaga, Yves Saint Laurent, Paco Rabanne and Madam Gres when she was a model because she didn't want to wear the same things as everyone else. Today, her personal fashion archive is very large and full of precious, special pieces, although her favourites are still those by Alaïa. Her relationship with the designer was so close that she called him "Daddy" About him, she said, "I started collecting his work in 1984 and built two floors of closets in my Connecticut home to store all this couture. I'm constantly working on cataloguing them and wearing them all. My most prized pieces are, of course, the dresses Azzedine sewed for my wedding: one for the ceremony and another for the party, both handmade just before. Naomi [Campbell] was my maid of honour and Azzedine made two dresses for her too. She wore black, I wore white."


Adrian Appiolaza

Adrian Appiolaza discovered Comme des Garçons as a teenager in Argentina in 1988 and now guards some of the most important pieces the brand has ever designed, from Rei Kawakubo's "Body Meets Dress, Dress Meets Body" to the "Hiroshima Chic" of the early 1980s. In the huge Paris flat a stone's throw from Gare du Nord that she shares with her partner Ryan Benacer and their bulldogs Bimbo, Nena and Panchita, she keeps a vintage collection full of avant-garde Japanese clothing by Yohji Yamamoto, Junya Watanabe, Issey Miyake and Comme des Garçons, but also many exceptional pieces by Jean Paul Gaultier (about 2. 000 pieces), Vivienne Westwood, Ann Demeulemeester, Phoebe Philo-era Chloé and the unattainable Martin Margiela.

Daphne Guinness

Style icon, model and fashion designer muse. Daphne Guinness is an eclectic, eccentric and complex character, but above all she is a great fashion enthusiast. The heiress to one of the world's most famous beer brands, she collects new and vintage clothing, especially by McQueen. "I became aware of his work before I met him when I saw it being worn by [the late fashion editor] Isabella Blow. It's rare to see a new talent that speaks to you so directly - I immediately wanted to meet the creator of these dresses. A kimono I wore from one of her early collections was the catalyst for our presentation. He recognised it on my back as I was walking down the street and came to greet me. Lee [McQueen] understood the form, he really understood it, and he loved women. His clothes encourage us: they make women feel strong and beautiful, bold and elegant. His sense of balance was unparalleled and still is." She said when talking about her love for the designer's creations. A few years ago, Guinness also bought Isabella Blow's haute couture clothing collection after the journalist's death to prevent it from being lost.


Alexander Fury

Alexander Fury is a compulsive buyer of John Galliano designer clothes. The journalist grew up in a small town in the north of England and for him fashion was "the way a normal heterosexual connects with sport. Just like someone has their football team or basketball team, I was a Galliano team". Even as a child, he fell in love with the designer's work when he flipped through an issue of Marie Claire in 1995 that featured a photo of Carla Bruni standing on a snowy rooftop wearing a white dress by John Galliano with a black flower. So she started collecting iconic fashion pieces and grew to a collection of more than 3,000 pieces, including Nicholas Ghesquiere-era Balenciaga, Vivienne Westwood, Azzedine Alaïa, Alexander McQueen, Christian Lacroix Haute Couture and Anthony Price. She has the Tom Ford Gucci double G thong and the short-sleeved Galliano dress Madonna wore in the Take A Bow video. What is accumulating in her collection? They are complex, extravagant and really passionate pieces.


Michael Kardamakis

Michael Kardamakis is the founder of ENDYMA, a fashion archive that includes garments from the 1990s and 2000s by the likes of Raf Simons, Rick Owens and Junya Watanabe. But the young Greek, who has been living in Berlin for a few years, is best known for having the most extensive collection of Helmut Lang dresses (more than 1,600 pieces). He started his project in his late teens when, while studying in the UK, he saw a single-pocket jacket from Helmut Lang's SS03 collection and was won over by the transgressive and unconventional aesthetic that is both serious and formal. His absolute favourite Helmut Lang garments? The great classics like the Chesterfield coat, but also those from the 2000s like denim jackets.


David Casavant

David Casavant has been collecting clothes since he was 14, mainly by Helmut Lang and Raf Simons. Growing up in Tennessee, his fascination with fashion began online, where he spent hours scrolling through and, when he was an adult, buying vintage pieces on eBay. He studied at Central Saint Martins and discovered his talent for styling. He then moved to New York City and worked with Carine Roitfeld, Katie Grand and Mel Ottenberg. Today, his main haunt is in his downtown New York flat overlooking the harbour and is called the David Casavant Archive. The private collection houses some of the most innovative clothing creations from the late 1990s and 2000s, which Casavant rents out to celebrities like Solange, Lorde, Kim Kardashian and Travis Scott.

Cecilia Matteucci

Cecilia Matteucci Lavarini has lived in Bologna for years but is of Tuscan descent. Her family owned the Fratelli Lavarini department stores' in Montecatini Terme, and it was in the clothing department that her passion for clothes and fashion began. Over the years, she has collected more than 3,000 pieces and plans to create a museum. "My collection," she says, "is my self-portrait. Not the having, but the being. It's a lonely full-time job." Its most important treasures? Valentino's red cashmere coat with sable fur trim from 1963, Dior's 1954 evening gown that belonged to Lilian De Réthy, and bikis four signature couture designs from Maria Callas' wardrobe. But also Japanese kimonos, 19th century Ottoman ceremonial suits, Chanel, Balenciaga, Dior from Monsieur Christian to Chiuri, Saint Laurent, Prada, Versace, McQueen, Capucci, Balmain, Valentino from Garavani to Piccioli, a cape by Beer, a Worth.

Learn more about the vintage and second-hand world in the nss G-Club Vintage Map