SAN FRANCISCO – At the intersection of 1930s glamour and trendsetting street style, there’s Space Lace, a new San Francisco auction house specializing in vintage fashion, jewelry, accessories and interior furnishings. Space Lace is the recently launched auction division of Torso Vintages, an atelier with a twist in the city’s historic Jackson Square. Under one roof, high fashion clothing and accessories created in-house share the spotlight with curated vintage apparel, jewelry and interior furnishings selected for auction under the Space Lace banner. The company’s auction debut is set for September 6, with absentee and Internet live bidding available through LiveAuctioneers.
With its online-auction format, Space Lace is the ideal medium through which Senior Fashion Director John Zakour Hadeed can expand his aesthetic vision of la dolce vita. Auctions offer consignors global exposure while also delivering an exciting new purchasing experience for Torso Vintages’ loyal clientele.
Auction Central News spoke with John Zakour Hadeed to learn more about the innovative business expansion that’s bringing fabulosity to the online-auction marketplace.
ACN: What prompted your decision to launch a boutique auction company specializing in vintage and later designer wear, plus vintage interior furnishings and décor?
JZH: For nearly 30 years Torso Vintages has dealt in a wide array of fine vintage, home goods and estates. However, placing an emphasis on vintage fashions was a bit limiting, both for us and our clients, who wanted to come to us for inspiration beyond clothing. Space Lace allows us a platform to accept a broad array of fine consignments. It’s the perfect way to expand the number of items of cultural value that we are able to catalog and offer to those who appreciate them as much as we do.
ACN: What’s behind the name Space Lace? Intriguing name!
JZH: Thank you! It took us forever to encapsulate a name for our in-house atelier, which came first. Space Lace Atelier is the moniker for our painstaking and sustainably made in-house fashion creations. The name Space Lace honors heritage artistry of the past while also expressing our greatest hopes for creating a future of good taste, embodied by space. We delight in reflecting on past designs, fabrics and garment techniques while finding ways to reimagine them sustainably. Our Space Lace label is known for fine hand-woven American macrame garments and accessories ranging from ready-to-wear, resort, evening wear, active wear and loungewear.
We loved the Space Lace name so much that we carried it over to our auction business. Now LiveAuctioneers will enable us to share our very distinct aesthetic vision worldwide.
ACN: Which designers/brands are most in demand in vintage wear? Same question for later designers and brands.
JZH: In terms of setting records at auction, John Galliano’s works remain a gold standard for the serious modern collector. Likewise, as we memorialize 10 years since the tragic loss of Alexander McQueen, it’s safe to say his important designs will continue to appreciate considerably. Other mainstream modern brands that captivate include runway and couture designs from Rei Kawakubo, Jean Paul Gaultier, Christian Lacroix, Dior, Chanel, Hermes and many of the leading luxury houses you would expect. Also important is the creative director under whom the house was run. Was it Christian Dior/Marc Bohan or Dior/Raf Simmons? Was it the last look down the runway for an important collection? It all matters, and the serious collectors have definite parameters.
Heritage brands that rarely come up, such as Vionnet, Paquin, Poiret, original Coco Chanel, Schiaparelli, Irene, and Gilbert Adrain are very much sought after by designers, collectors and museums who appreciate dresses from the pre-industrial era. In between the 1950s ‘New Look’ and modern collections, many collectors appreciate rare boho designs from the ‘70s by Gina Fratini, La Mendola, Bessi and other obscure names – it takes a lifetime to learn. Fabulous accessories and millinery are always rare and appreciated. It’s not just brands that command results, but the rarity even from within the house. Was it a special runway piece? Couture? Worn by a designer’s muse, celebrity or other person of interest?
In fact, labels are not everything for many impassioned collectors, ourselves included. It’s not uncommon to see exceptional results at auction for anonymous or unlabeled garments of great beauty. Fabric, textiles and techniques have always driven us and other likeminded thinkers to collect as we continue sourcing the best of the past.
ACN: Who buys vintage fashion?
JZH: The vintage world has grown so much in the past 30 years that there are now many different kinds of collectors. Museums are a newer entrant into the field. Institutional interest in fine fashion has taken vintage fashion collecting into new record-price territory for important recent designers that draw unprecedented museum audiences. Likewise, there are many private collectors who amass voluminous collections that will seldom be seen. Some of these collectors have very specific focuses such as Pucci prints, Paco Rabanne disc dresses, or Pierre Cardin ‘60s Mod. Other collectors, like my business partner Angela Braverman, seek to curate a broad historic record of fashion, choosing what they believe to be the most important looks, shapes and techniques of the past 150 years. Any older than that, and preservation becomes difficult to achieve outside of a museum setting.
Then we have celebrities, performers and tastemakers who need vintage fashion as a key differentiator in creating a new aesthetic look. They may not always have the largest collections, but they seek and have access to the most exuberant and limited designs.
Lastly, there are the film and fashion industry set who have needs as broad as the content they create. Film studios often have a need for quotidian looks to portray the ‘everyday’ that would not catch the eye of collectors seeking the exuberant. As a house, we are always being called on by the production studios for authentic looks to contextualize movie stars in important roles. Dressing Susan Sarandon and Jessica Lang in Feud, which showcased the grandest Old Hollywood looks of the ‘40s, enabled audiences everywhere to see the power of postwar glamour. Speaking of Hollywood glam, we were pleased to provide an important gown to be featured in the upcoming movie Billie Holiday. Film studios also have a demand for much older items than many collectors. For authentic Victorian costume design for the Sienna Miller in Lost City of Z, we meticulously researched and sourced from our own archives.
Major global fashion houses are large collectors as well. Many designers are voluminous personal collectors while fashion design houses often seek out historic works from their own houses as well as items to inspire new collections to come. The process of creating fashion is poorly understood and often maligned. The simple fact is that all artists need a point of reference or inspiration. Fashion is no different.
And to be sure, the authenticity and scarcity attract some of the most stylish people in the world. For front-row runway shows, red carpet looks, and performance, important vintage is the secret ingredient for many a trendsetter in search of an authentic feeling. Many collectors also enjoy our recycled in-house creations. Our focus on custom made re-worked vintage couture continues to drive novel interest in wearable vintage high fashion.
Our little vintage fashion niche has become quite a big world since I started. At that time, it was all vintage shows and really just everyday collectors who collected for the same reason as me – they just understood the beauty and worth of the garments. Today, we are known by industry insiders for having our finger on the pulse of what influences the entertainment underground. We keep ahead of fashion forward trends largely in part due to the need our performing clients have for originality. This drives us to take risks well outside our comfort zone.
ACN: Who are some of the models, film stars or social influencers whom you have dressed in vintage fashion?
I have personally dressed Tilda Swinton in Adrian, Michelle Rodriquez in Thierry Mugler, and Courtney Love in countless vintage looks. I was able to host Dita Von Teese, John Galliano, Erdem, Jean Paul Gaultier, and too many others to name, for private showroom experiences. And of course, working with longtime style originator and friend Lenny Kravitz has been a true joy. He’s constantly reinventing himself, like fashion itself. Being backstage to assist in dressing Grace Jones was another career highlight. Few can say they take more risks than Grace! Our original creations have been worn by supermodel Kendall Jenner and many performers. The need public figures have for a new aesthetic cannot be overstated. It has been a privilege to be a part of creating new looks for the world to see, even if they never knew who we were.
ACN: As creative as you are, will you be doing anything special to mark the launch of your Space Lace auction business?
We’ve created an in-house production set to bring an exciting live-auction entertainment showcase to Live Auctioneers and to our Instagram channel, #houseofspacelace. Expect exclusive content on our new fashion film channels where we will be deep-diving into past influencers in the fashion industry. Led by Erin Algeo, our Senior Preservationist and Costume Historian, as well as too many fashion friends and teammates to name, our fashion channels will give viewers a behind-the-scenes peek into our singular world.
For additional information about any item in the auction call 415-398-2012 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Text: 415-660-8350. Visit the fully illustrated catalog and sign up to bid on LiveAuctioneers.com.
About John Zakour Hadeed, Angela Braverman and the Space Lace team:
John Zakour Hadeed grew up in a family of Oriental rug merchants and dressmakers, an atmosphere in which he developed an appreciation for fine handmade things. In 1996, John ventured into a brand new – and at the time, subversive – side of fashion, establishing himself as a vintage dealer in Portland, Oregon, under the name ‘Torso Vintages.’ John’s incredible sartorial selections quietly earned his business a reputation as the place to go for unusual retro clothing and accessories.
In 2007, shortly after opening a downtown San Francisco showroom, he and Angela Braverman crossed paths and discovered that they shared an obsession for curating fine fashion and interiors. Her background in finance, transactional law and real estate ideally complemented John’s creative wellspring. Their team soon expanded with the addition of Senior Preservationist and Costume Historian Erin Algeo, who serves as pattern maker and chief academic-in-residence. Torso alum and Content Producer Vanessa Comar also joined them, bringing an incredible vision for fashion’s digital future.
Now, 30 years after starting Torso Vintages, John operates from a jaw-dropping 10,000 square foot private archival warehouse. Taking the next step forward, Space Lace is ready to open Pandora’s Box, selecting the most relevant and historic pieces to offer vintage fans via LiveAuctioneers’ platform. As their motto promises, they are “inclusively exclusive by design.”