An ombré lace dress dipping off the shoulders has survived The Great Depression. It snuck around during prohibition, drinking Bee’s Knees in bars behind barbershops and marveling at Armstrong’s first lunar dance, wishing it had those moves.
This vintage dress, born in the 1920s, now belongs to Kanika Karvinkop, former fashion stylist at Grazia India, currently a freelancer for international publications like Refinery29, Nylon, Wonderland and Bullett.
“If only I’d found this lace dress before my wedding,” she sighs, currently in the warmer climes of her two-city existence (Mumbai and New York). One hundred and fifty other vintage pieces sourced from Philly, LA and New York are currently keeping Kanika up all night – “I imagine what their previous lives must have been like” – but not for long.
Through her new nomadic shop No Borders, Kanika plans to sell these handpicked vintage clothes, along with art pieces.
“The idea of the store came from a mood board I was building last year, where I noticed how many fashion designers draw inspiration from cities they don’t live or work in.” No Borders promises diversity in fashion, art and culture, sourcing labels from Nepal and Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Bombay, Paris and New York, which will be sold at pop-ups and events all over the world.
Kanika hates New York winters, which is just as well for us, because we get to shop at No Borders’ first “store” in Mumbai from December 16-17. It will be hosted in a gentle Bandra bungalow that’s worthy of that lacy miss who might be scared away by 2017 things. In this home, millennials will find renowned fashion labels’ vintage garments that were born somewhere between the 1920s and 90s.
Hanging on the racks will be embroidered Max Mara tops, printed Kenzo shirts and Christian Dior trousers circa 1980s, as well as Moschino and Dior dresses from the 90s. Plus, a “fucking amazing” Norma Kamali maxi that you might have to wrestle Kanika to the ground for. “I’ll give it up, though, because I want more people to have access to vintage wear in India. Wearing vintage is also good for the environment,” she smiles, not at us, but at her favourite yellow coat on the stand.
Bags made from metal, velvet and lace are Whatsapped to us by Kanika, to better explain what kind of accessories will be available at No Borders. Escorting these photos are heart-in-their-eyes cat emojis. Our sentiments exactly.
By February of 2018, No Borders will go online to sell its vintage wears and art. And as spring turns to summer, Kanika will leave for New York, taking with her homegrown Indian labels and her love for Mumbai, watching them both thaw out in the Big Apple. “I’m excited about introducing contemporary Indian brands like Pero, Eka, Dhruv Kapoor and Rimzim to new lands.”
Our final Whatsapp exchange with Kanika ends at a rose printed Dior blazer, producing in our heads an onomatopoeic story of pearls falling in a champagne flute, and a girl in pink lipstick blowing bubble gum until it pops. A sound not too far from the phonetics of its master’s own last name. Karvinkop!
Getting there: No Borders shop in Bandra on December 16 and 17, venue to be decided, follow @nobordersshop on Instagram for updates; vintage wear will range from Rs 7,000 to Rs 30,000.
Wake up to daily updates on what to eat/shop/do in your city