With Palm Springs Modernism Week, Feb. 13 – 23, just around the corner – now is the time to plot your course for superlative mid-century shopping. As the world’s center of mid-century modern architecture; Palm Springs is also a treasure trove of retro apparel and furnishings.
Dressing the part – in cool ‘50s and ‘60s attire – is a tradition at the whirlwind of parties, tours and events of Modernism Week. Here’s where to find the best vintage wear.
Déjà vu Vintage consignment is tops for women’s and men’s wear from the ‘40s through the ‘80s. The tiny boutique in the Uptown Design District on North Palm Canyon Drive is dripping with flashy gold brocade and frilly tulle ‘50s cocktail dresses. Jackie O-style sheathes – often with cutouts – are Mad Men perfect. There are jeweled cardigans galore. Men’s jackets are wild to mild. A small but perfect collection of vintage handbags and gently used women’s stilettos and gentlemen’s spectators complete the ensemble.
To accessorize, head a few blocks north to Dazzles, also on North Palm Canyon. Vintage jewelry from ‘40s Bakelite bangles to ‘60s metal flower pins and everything in between fill the shelves. You’ll find ‘50s bead necklaces in all styles, lengths and colors, many with earrings and pins to match; and glittery rhinestone broaches in the famous mid-century brands. Be sure to tell owner Mike Sauls what you’re looking for. He often has new treasures out of sight.
I’ve found impressive vintage jewelry – large rhinestone encrusted snake necklaces and matching bracelets; 20-karat zirconia “diamond” dinner rings and a Judith Leiber metallic coin purse – at Revivals on South Palm Canyon Drive. It’s a thrift/consignment store, so you’ll also want to hunt-and-peck through the clothing, furniture and home décor.
The Sunny Dunes Antique Mall, a short distance away on South Palm Canyon, is an exciting new favorite for jewelry and everything else, from vintage Victorian to 1980s. Room after room is filled with 40 vendor stalls, each jammed with retro toys, jewelry, ceramics, furniture, lights, pictures and surprises like Disney collectables and signed movie star glossies.
For original mid-century furnishings like the ones you’ll see during Modernism Week, visit A La Mod consignment (www.alamod768.com) on North Palm Canyon in the Uptown Design District. It’s a small shop, with a small collection – but every mid-century piece is stunning and made by the top designers of the period. Curved desks, lights, chairs, ceramics, blonde woods with steel accents – unusual items.
Lastly, not to be missed is Modern Way, Palm Springs’s original mid-century modern consignment/resale store, on North Palm Canyon. The sizeable shop is packed with rare and pristine originals by American and European mid-century designers – often with the original upholstery -- from the ’40s to ‘70s. Chrome and leather stools, wire egg chairs, Lucite dining sets, a George Nelson steelframe sofa with built-in-end table, circular sofas and 70’s platform beds are just the beginning.