‘Lady of the Fleas’

Yes, it’s cold out there – but if you’re like me and refuse to give up on your weekend trips to the 26th street flea market, a good way to get that vintage ‘fix’ and stay warm and toasty, is to walk around The Antique Collection, a ‘street of shops’ housed at 28 West 25th street, between 5th and 6th avenues. There you will find 23 different ‘galleries’ which sell vintage items ranging from fine oriental antiques, gold, silver, and bronze coins, decorative accessories for the home, and of course, clothing and accessories.

It was there that the wonderfully well-edited and eclectic booth of Charlotte Marler, a young (32 year old) dealer with an obviously well trained eye, caught my eye with her selection of designer and non-designer items.

She credits her love for vintage clothing to her distant cousin, the well-known dealer, Beverly Birks, who always shows at the New Yorker Vintage Fashion & Textile Show & Sale. About 3 1/2 years ago, she decided to follow her lead and she set up shop at the dollar lot at the 26th street flea market. This past October, she moved inside to her current location.

Among the items that stood out, were the ($650) Koos Van Den Akker collage blazer see photo, beautifully cut and colored, from the early 60’s; a generously sized late 60’s Mark Cross dark brown leather midi trimmed with wide horizontal bands of raccoon on the hem, at the wrists, and around the collar ($750) see photo; a silver Paco Rabanne ‘kit’ dress from the 60’s; and a black heavy wool twill Courreges dolman sleeved ‘pea jacket’ from the early 70’s ($450). And of course, she sells lots of bags and shoes. Just a note, her prices are of course, “negotiable”.

Charlotte told me that when she was outdoors, she found shoes and bags to sell the best, and now inside, handbags are still what the customer is looking for. And who are her customers? Fashion designers (and admitted vintage junkies) Anna Sui, Vivienne Tam, and Betsey Johnson are regulars, as are dealers, and she has quickly acquired a strong customer following as well. In fact, the day I was there, she was expecting a gentleman who is always on the lookout for Chanel items- like this iconic ‘very Jackie O’ vintage Chanel jacket from the 60’s- for his wife see photo.

You can find her at booth 14 and 15, and the building is open on Friday 11am- 6pm, Saturday, 8:30am- 5:30pm, Sunday from 8:30am – 5:30pm, and Monday 11am- 6pm. But contact her ahead of time to make sure she will be there (email: char_marler@hotmail.com, cell phone 646 369 3101).

Marilyn Kirschner

I am a long time fashion editor with 40+ years of experience. As senior market of Harper's Bazaar for 21 years I met and worked with every major fashion designer in the world and covered all of the collections in Paris, London, Milan and New York. I was responsible for overall content, finding and pulling in the best clothes out there, and for formulating ideas and stories.

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