Tuesday, February 7, 2012

5 Years 5 Gifts Vintage Contest Winner

I chose this story as a winner for our 5 Years 5 Gifts Contest because it is all about The One.  I have always believed that vintage waits for just the right person.  And this is a story about just that.  Submitted by J.

"My entry is this circa 1969 Valentino Couture Opera coat.  I was first and foremost a celebrity/hollywood costume and memorabilia collector.  The fashion and haute couture collecting came later.  This was mainly because the two facets somehow intertwined.  This was one of my favorite pieces that merged the two.

Anna Moffo in a Valentino Couture Beaded Coat

Being an opera singer myself, I loved opera singers, and when Anna Moffo (who was one of the foremost coloratura operatic sopranos and also a great beauty of her time) passed away, they held an online auction here in NY for her belongings.  She was a great fashionista as well but I wanted mainly one of her costumes.  I left online bids for several items but lost all of them because the prices went too high.  

I was quite disappointed but noticed that they had a second auction the following day for items that did not sell.  I saw this Valentino Couture Opera coat on the webiste and they also had posted a photo of her wearing the coat (which they previously had not posted).  The photo seemed to be a publicity photo that she had done for Valentino himself perhaps used in an advertisement during that era.  So I left the opening bid of $600 and to my surpise won.  

I could not tell much about the coat as it seemed to have this modern embroidery featured on the coat.  So, I decided to go up to east Harlem and pick up the coat itself.  The warehouse where they kept the auction lots was pretty grungy and in a dilapidated part of town.  When I walked in, I told the girl that I was there to pick up my coat.  She looked at the paperwork and proclaimed "So, YOU are the one who won the coat!"  I didn't know what to think of that and said yes.  She made a call to the back and after a few minutes I see this one girl carrying the coat from the far back followed by an entourage of other girls assisting.  It sparkled like the sun as it approached me and my jaw dropped.  When she handed it to me, I nearly dropped it as it weighed a ton.  It was just so beautiful.  She said that they didn't understand why it didn't sell in the first online auction.  They expected it to be the STAR of the auction.  I told them that one couldn't really tell that these were all rhinestones and the great beauty of the coat did not come across in photos.  They all clapped and were so happy for me and happy to meet THE PERSON who bought THE COAT!  I left in a daze and vowed to never part with it.  I know that Ms. Moffo is happy wherever she is that I am the caretaker of her beautiful opera coat.  A toast to you Anna and I vow to keep your memory alive!"

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