So, are vintage dealers raking in the dough on Edwardian finds thanks to Downton’s success? Well, that depends on who you ask.
Cameron Silver, owner of famed Decades Inc (Rachel Zoe is a fan), tells us he’s seeing more interest in late 1980s-early 1990s clothing [Ed. note: The '90s are vintage now!?], while Deborah Burke, who sells online at Antique Dress, said that the show has had an impact on sales–but a small one. “There is always a slight additional interest in certain era’s clothing depending on the most popular movie or TV show, but it’s so fleeting, that it’s not perceptible,” she said.
Janet Schwarz, on the other hand, owner of Woodland Farms Vintage, tells us she hasn’t seen this kind of demand for Edwardian clothing since the film Titanic. Schwarz tells us that shows like Downton Abbey, Boardwalk Empire, and the upcoming Great Gatsby film have been the strongest push to get non-collectors interested in vintage pieces. She points out that Downton Abbey is moving into the 1920s, territory already being covered by Boardwalk Empire (and Ralph Lauren and Gucci and Anna Sui…), and as such she expects that time period to stay strong on the vintage market so long as those shows run. Silver agrees, adding, “I think as Downton Abbey forges ahead into the 1920 and Deco style, clients [will be] interested in both flapper dresses as well as more exotic Poiret-inspired fare, such as burnt out velvet kimonos and intricately embellished and beaded pieces.”
So there are actually people other than collectors and reenactors are buying these pieces, but how can you wear them without looking like you just stepped off set?