For nearly 20 years, Susan Lieberman has been the owner and sole employee of Paris 1900, a vintage bridal shop in Santa Monica specializing in antique lace and garment restorations.
Although the 21st century brings new trends in bridal fashion, Lieberman finds that lots of customers are looking for classic gowns from the turn of the century the 20th century, that is.
Kristin Wilder spoke with Lieberman about turning something old into something new.
"I opened my store in 1981 doing this sort of business. In '76 I actually started in retail and I had a partner. We did antiques and Art Deco and vintage clothing for men and women. In '81 I took the space next door and began specializing in turn-of-the-century white lace garments.
"The name was thought of because I had an art nouveau fa & #231;ade built so it looks like a metro station in Paris. I was doing a fair amount of buying in Europe at the time.
"At the turn of the 20th century, white was very popular for ladies' wear. I primarily specialize in white cotton and lace garments for women and children. I have nightgowns, camisoles and christening dresses. I stock authentic turn-of-the-century restored antique garments from 1900 to 1930, as well as newly made garments of antique laces and a small selection of vintage-inspired new gowns.
"I do the restorations, and I have two designers that I have worked with for a number of years. I travel extensively to find the antique garments. I have sources in the U.S. and overseas. It's a real ladies' boutique. It is very feminine. It's like taking a step back in time.
"Gowns are anywhere from $300 to $3,500. A lot of my business comes through word of mouth. I have had articles in Victoria magazine. I have also done period film costuming. I have something coming out in "The Legend of Bagger Vance," a film being released in August (starring Matt Damon and Will Smith). One time, the costumer from "The Little Princess" needed a '20s wedding outfit. The makers of "Titanic" bought a lot of things like hats, lingerie and dresses. That was kind of fun.
"I like to keep it small. People appreciate an owner-run shop. It makes it feel more special. I love finding a garment that has been in storage for 70 to 80 years and bringing it back to life. You have to love to iron, though."
For reprint and licensing requests for this article, CLICK HERE.
Stories You May Also Be Interested In
- HOME - Chairs Extraordinaire
- Small Biz
- Disney Adds 'Blossom' Flower Girl Gowns to Bridal Line
- Long Beach On The Rise: Long Beach: A City Rich in Diverse and Dynamic Neighborhoods
- WEEKLY BRIEFING: Businessman Has Time For Pursuit of Lost Art
- Former Teacher Finds New Work in Disguise
- Small Business Profile: Metal Workers