Yelp isn’t generally a reliable indication of Top Shopping destinations but when you’re in the middle of a desert where good quality vintage clothes (not consignment furniture or design wares…PLENTY of those if you can afford the shipping costs) are generally slim pickings, then this mega-LOLs social-review site can come in handy. Whilst I was in Palm Springs for the Louis Vuitton Cruise show, trying to make the most of my free time, Yelp yielded The Fine Art of Design in Palm Desert, about half an hour away from Palm Springs proper. It sits rather pretty on the highway in a striking white late-50s building.
Coachella Valley native Nicolas Delgado opened The Fine Art of Design back in 2011, having just completed a fashion degree at Parson’s in New York. In an area filled with thrift stores and furniture shops, Delgado knew there was a gap in properly curated vintage shopping and so returned to his hometown, where he could take advantage of the wealthy (and ageing) residents, who could unleash their closets on to the world by consigning through Delgado. Upon entering, it’s immediately apparent that Delgado takes great care in what he sells and how he sells it. Colour-coded, arranged beautifully with eclectic interiors, The Fine Art of Design is a joy to browse. Especially when you immediately hap upon anything from Saint Laurent (from 70s Rive Gauche to 00’s Pilati era pieces) to Thierry Mugler to pristine Chanel to modern Jil Sander and Miu Miu. All at prices that for me are akin to Tokyo’s Rag Tag – i.e. not that expensive. Then there’s the non-labelled vintage which is just as well selected and even more reasonably priced.
Just as we were there browsing, one particularly amusing lady (who said my pants were too long – she was right – they were) was in there selling up her stuff. You could tell she loved the regular repartee of being there, chatting away with Delgado and his right hand woman Luisa Marielli. I’d imagine that around this part of town, you get some oddball characters dropping in with their dusty couture. No wonder many of the vintage stores in Europe come over to this part of the world to buy their wares at the estate sales and vintage fairs. Clothes are most definitely storied here.
Whilst I said that most of the pieces at The Fine Art of Design were reasonably priced considering their provenance (as in under $500), I had to choose the most expensive thing there was. Blame it on my obsession with a) blue velvet and b) vintage Courrèges (interested to see what Parisian duo Coperni do at the house) and c) the fact that I had never come across this ensemble of deep blue velvet dungarees and a matching jacket before. I’d guess they were late 60s early 70s, past Courrèges’ space age beginnings but nonetheless distinctive in its mod-esque tomboyish ness. I bought it, ergo it was worth it. That’s all I’m saying.
Worn with Opening Ceremony top, Illesteva sunglasses and Coach clogs