When you conjure up the word ‘vintage’ what comes to mind? Dusty charity shops with piles of brightly coloured polyester, the contents of your granny’s wardrobe or perhaps riffling through a so-called vintage store full of coats with badly balding rabbit fur collars and pockets you’re worried about putting your hands into. Now, think of a beautiful, spacious, brightly-lit shop full of the most exquisite clothes, each beautifully presented and all in pristine condition. No nasty whiffs and not a moth hole in sight.
The man who personifies everything that is desirable about vintage is William Banks-Blaney, globally referred to as ‘The Vintage King’ and Global Style Ambassador for American Express.WilliamVintage, his high-end, by-appointment only store in Marylebone, is set over two floors with velvet sofas, silk rugs, Valrhona chocolate and champagne, all providing the ultimate shopping experience. It features a carefully edited selection of the finest vintage and haute couture clothing in the world, all sourced by William himself. His impeccable style and ability to source jaw-droppingly beautiful vintage clothing has earned him an enviable client list, including Gillian Anderson, Tilda Swinton, Lily Allen, Rihanna, Jessie J and Victoria Beckham.
If all that wasn’t enough, he’s just produced his debut book ‘25 DRESSES: Iconic Moments in Twentieth-Century Fashion’. Through his selection and description of 25 iconic vintage dresses, William tells the history of 20th century couture, the fashion designers who created the dresses and the women who wore them. Each dress is looked at in forensic detail for its design and construction and its cut and embellishments, in order to evaluate the artistry of the individual couturier.
We caught up with him to talk about his life, passions and of course, the new book.