Palm Springs Uptown Vintage Shopping
Simply the Best!
First in a two-part series: The Uptown Design District
By Barbara Beckley
As the epicenter of all things mid-century modern, Palm Springs is the go-to for vintage shopping. The quality and selection is unbeatable – and believe me, I know. Whether you’re after that perfect Eames chair, a sequined ‘60s ball gown or just love the thrill of the hunt – Palm Springs bevy of vintage shops has it all.
Where to begin? The Uptown Design District, along North Palm Canyon Drive, is one of the city’s vintage hot spots. Dozens of consignment, resale and antique boutiques line the avenue. And it’s not just the items inside that are retro – many are housed in cool vintage buildings.
A La Mod is where I often begin, admiring (and sometimes buying) its collection of exquisite and hard-to-find, mid-century furnishings. From pristine burlwood side tables and polished brass lamps by Maurizio Tempestini to oil paintings and a killer steel, leather and brass platform bed by Paolo Piva, this shop is a joy to visit.
Nearby, The Frippery brims with hip must-have retro wear for women and men. Jewelry sparkles at the counter, and the racks are filled with mod resort wear, Audrey Hepburn-like sheaths, pretty-in-pink cocktail dresses, bow ties, plaid sport coats, handbags and shoes.
Photo by Flippery
Across the street, Dazzles has been, well -- dazzling -- shoppers for 20 years with its eclectic array of vintage jewelry, glass, ceramics, furniture, kitchenware, lamps, paintings and anything else that catches the expert eye of owner Mike Sauls. “I like to say we’re a mid-century department store housed in a mid-century building,” Sauls told me recently. My favorites are the jewelry – rhinestones, Bakelite and those oh so mod ‘60s metal flower pins – and the ceramic poodles and panthers.
If you’re into mid-century glass, Bon Vivant is pure heaven. Its glass bottle collection is one of the best and largest, along with mid-century pottery and lamps and collectables. Iconic Atomic is great for vintage clothing – think Jackie O-style sheathes and dusters and equally cool menswear – plus shell phones, bubble chairs and other memorable accessories.
Photo by Iconic Atomic
The Antique Collective is a classic antique shop, with vintage items from the 18th to the mid-twentieth centuries. Newcomer Victoria’s Attic Antique Mall is a treasure trove of mid-century and older antiques from multiple dealers, located inside a beautiful 1938 Mission Revival-style building. Chandeliers, Royal Doulton figurines, retro Russel Wright dinnerware, ceramic owls by Howard Pierce, bar stools, rugs, sculpture, knick-knacks – you’ll find it all.
The Shops at Thirteen Forty-Five is a great little complex of 13 chic shops, inside a 1955 building designed by iconic mid-century architect E. Stewart Williams. “Interior decorators are our most frequent customers,” says complex co-owner Brandon Hoskins, who is also an interior designer. Hoskins described his shop, Towne Palm Springs , as “the source for Paul McCobb, Donghia and other mid-century home furnishings designers. People who are looking for mid-century name designers will see those hard-to-find pieces here,” he added, pointing out eight dining room chairs (with the original fabric) by Milo Baughman. In the next room, the Lindy Shop has a curated collection of vintage (and some contemporary) jewelry and small home décor; and the Savage Home has fun vintage accessories and furnishings. Below are some fun items available at the Palm Springs Style shop.
Photo by Visit Palm Springs
Gypsyland is as fun as its name implies. It’s packed with vintage kitsch and quality finds, furnishings, art, and a drop-dead collection of big, fluffy ‘50s cocktail dresses. Entertainment industry pros often shop here for fun cocktail wear during awards season, co-owner Wendy Woodward, confessed.
Photo by Barbara Beckley
Across the street, the granddaddy of Palm Springs’ vintage shops – Modern Way – is as compelling today for its indoor and outdoor furniture from the ‘50s to ‘70s as when it opened more than 20 years ago. Fabulous lawn chairs, ceramic-topped end tables, ‘50s bamboo bars, a space age-style Warren Platner sofa are just the beginning. The new “Listening Room” displays vintage hi-fi and stereos.