Where can you get your hands on fashion classics by Dior and Gucci for a fraction of the cost and be greeted with a friendly smile and an infectious laugh while doing so? The answer fellow fashionistas is Revival boutique! Owner Nicole Swasey has amassed quite a collection of “gracefully aged” gems that would make any vintage aficionado green with envy. Fortunately, she’s letting us get in on the vintage love at her popular Los Angeles boutique.
Q: How did you turn your love for antiques and flea market shopping into a thriving vintage boutique? We read that this venture was five years in the making.
Actually my sister got me into it. I’ve always loved mixing the old and the new together. I own a necklace that I absolutely love from the 1850’s and it just amazes me that something can last that long. I had been collecting for about 5 years, knowing that I wanted to open a store. This is my dream store. I was assistant for television for 15 years and I just wanted to do something that I love. This is really my passion, I mean what woman do you know that wouldn’t want to shop? I get to shop for a living and I love it!
Q: Your shop served as the backdrop for a few scenes in one of our favorite shows, Girlfriends. How did that collaboration come about?
My ex-fiancÃ© was doing a deal with Mara Brok-Akil and he mentioned to her that she should check out my store. She came and loved it and didn’t want to leave, she was here for 2 hours. They called me one day and said hey we want to shoot at your store and I was like sure! It was very unexpected, but I was happy! Then she also did our grand opening party for us, which was very sweet of her.
Q: Speaking of your store opening , there were quite a few star guests in attendance. Do any famous faces frequent your shop?
Now I feel like I don’t want to say because I’ve had quite a few! So, now I’m thinking do I say who comes in here or do I keep it private? Now, I think that I don’t really want to brag about who comes in here. Let’s just say that quite a few celebs shop here.
Q: What kind of items do your customers seem drawn to at the moment?
Python and snake skin clutches, designer jewelry by Chanel and Lanvin. Right now, clutches are the number one seller.
Q: How do you go about selecting merchandise for your shop?
I get merchandise from the antique markets and I mainly get things from estate sales and private collections . The flea market is now last on the list. I shop for whatever catches my eye because you never know what you’re going to find. It’s not like I discriminate with sizes or labels. As long as it’s good quality, I mean sometimes items don’t even have tags in them you can just tell it’s a quality item from the way it’s put together. Everything in the store is something that I would wear. I dress for whatever mood I’m in in the morning. Yesterday I was super girly and today I’m glam rocker chic. Not that I have any jeans and t-shirts in here, but I like to say that we are a funky glam vintage boutique because there’s so many looks that you can put together. Our customers don’t dress head to toe vintage, they really mix it with the new seasonal pieces.
Q: What would you say has been your most amazing vintage find to date?
I think probably an Hermes Constance bag and a Cartier love bracelet. I had to keep that one for myself! It’s really hard to part with a lot of the stuff that I find. I hand pick every single item in this store. I have a lot of great designer labels in here… Gucci, Prada, Dior, Ferragamo, Chanel …..it’s really hard to part with all of them.
Q: How would you describe your personal style?
It’s the same as the description of the store, I dress for whatever mood I wake up in. I like to put opposites together. I might have on a slip dress maybe with a motorcycle vest or boots. Today I have on grey skinny jeans, a torn to shreds vintage Harley Davidson tee, gunmetal bluish t-strap sandals, a crystal vintage rosary, and a super thin Parisian leather jacket. But then, yesterday I had on a green 1960’s slip dress with gold Moschino heels and a laced black shell over it. Then, I piled on a tons of gold and black chains. I’m very eclectic when it comes to getting dressed, but I guess my style can be best described as a little edgy, but still girly.
Q: Are there any style icons from the past or present that you find inspiring?
I love Nicole Richie right now since she totally changed her look with the Rachel Zoe revamp. I know she’s not with her now, but the style she has I love. I like Kate Moss. She has such a unique look without ever trying. I love Sophia Loren and stars glam red carpet looks from back in the day. You know people don’t dress like that anymore! Jackie O. and Talitha Getty also come to mind.
Q: I have a friend who won’t wear vintage because she says it’s wearing someone else’s clothes. What would you say are some of the advantages of buying vintage vs. new clothing?
You either get it or you don’t. Unfortunately, everything is made in China now. Everything is so quick and mass produced, you don’t really get the same kind of quality as you did back in the day. You get more of a unique look when you shop vintage. You can mix it in with some of your newer pieces. I’m not a trendy person, but I do like to follow some of the current styles because they’re fun and I can mix them in with some classic pieces. And again, with classic pieces you may spend a little more but they’re timeless and you end up with things you’ll have forever. Also you can get great labels at a fraction of the cost. Hermes bags start at $6500 and here you can get one for $2800. Here, you can find something unique, funky and edgy that you wont find in the mall it will set you apart from the crowd!
Q: What are your future plans for the boutique?
Well we’re only a year old! We’re celebrating our anniversary soon. I would hope that in 5 years I can expand into a larger space for my ever growing closet as like to say. I just feel like you come in here and you’re in my closet because I love everything that’s in here. So be on the lookout for a bigger Revival!
Visit revivalvintagela.com for more info.