MILAN–It’s a busy, hot Thursday afternoon in Milan’s upscale Brera district, and Benedetta Jesi of Cavalli e Nastri vintage has a black lace nightgown from the 1940s draped over her diminutive feature, mumbling about how she could update the piece to fit into the 21st century.
With an academic background in cultural conservation and contemporary art, Jesi decided to switch gears 15 years ago to help her aunt Claudia run her Milanese shrine to vintage.
“I decided to choose this world of unique pieces – they are not art pieces, well actually some ARE art pieces and some are absolute masterpieces,” Jesi told BACO in an interview.
About 20 years ago, her aunt started out with one shop near Milan’s canal-threaded Naviglio district. The store soon began to attract the fashion world’s top taste makers, who were drawn to her keen eye for spotting yesterday’s most iconic, elaborate and elegant second hand garments.
Together Claudia and Benedetta, also known as “Bibo,” travel around the world in search of trendy garments and accessories, as well as period pieces worthy of being showcased in a museum.
While Cavalli e Nastri sells a great deal of Chanel and Hermès bags and scarves, and contemporary pieces for under 50 euros, they also sell gowns that were made by designers from the 30s to the 70s.
Designers like Pirovano, famous in the 60s for their silk embroidery and others like Elvira Leonardi Bouyeure, known as Biki, who was one of the first designers to organize runway shows and whose designs were worn by opera diva Maria Callas.
“If I say Balenciaga everyone knows what I am talking about, but Italian tailors from 50 to 70 were amazing and sometimes the best part of our world is finding these types of dresses with exquisite materials, handmade stitching and ornate embroidery,” Bibo said.
ALSO IN THIS ISSUE: BACO Style: Uberta Zambeletti of Wait and See, Cavalli e Nastri: Masterpiece Vintage, Romain Brau’s Enchanting Vintage, Silvana Venturini’s American Dream, Angelo Caroli: Signor Vintage, Paolo Crescimbeni: The Culture of Travel, Artisanal Luster of Vintage
WHAT: Vintage Couture, vintage accessories, reworked and recycled vintage, contemporary accessories and leather goods.
WHERE TO BUY: The main shop on Via Brera, 2, as well as two shops, a men’s and a women’s store with a more curated, researched selection, both on Via Gian Giacomo Mora, 12 and 3.
PRICE RANGE: EUR20 to EUR2000