You gotta hand it to her

Marjorie Mortensen is one of the best (AND reasonably priced) vendors selling non-vintage accessories anywhere around town. On any given Sunday, she can be found at the indoor/outdoor Greenflea Market, located on Columbus Avenue between 76th and 77th streets, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., where she has been a fixture for about 20 years. You can find her inside the school building, and you can’t miss her because she has the most dazzling displays.

This very interesting New Yorker – who studied literature and loves home decor as much as accessories (which she claims to “buy to sell” rather than to collect or wear herself), told me she was one of the co-founders of the Tibet Center on East 28th street more than 25 years ago, where she set up the first Tibetan Bazaar and taught Tibetan cooking. It quickly became a mecca for such acclaimed visitors as James Beard. The experience got her interested in selling. As they say, the rest is history.

Standouts among the items she sells, which range in price from about $4 to $165 (for a rhinestone bracelet) include her incredible selection of silk and leather flower pins which come in every size, shape, and variety imaginable. She admitted she does very well with them, since she began selling them 6 months ago. Also catching my eye were her colorful and fanciful jeweled nature friendly dragonfly and butterfly pins (the large dragonfly sells for $28). By the way, the butterfly was used throughout John Ray’s recent Gucci Men’s spring/summer 2005 runway show in Milan – a butterfly print was used on some shirts and caftans, and butterfly pins accessorized chicly tailored jackets.

And I can’t leave out her surrealist grouping of red lips (most of which sell for as low as $6 and $8) that undoubtedly would have made Salvador Dali smile. Coincidentally, Marjorie told me she met Dali and his wife Gala in the late 50’s through a photographer friend and frequently socialized with the couple in the early 60’s.

But speaking of surreal, my ‘hands down’ favorite is her 3 inch rhinestone hand punctuated with perfectly manicured ruby red jeweled nails. At a mere $55, it is one of the best buys in the city and the idea way to make a statement.

She counts major fashion magazine editors, designers, actors, and “Lincoln Center people” amongst her loyal customers. My suggestion: run, do not walk!

– Posted by Marilyn Kirschner

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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