"Miami's best kept secret." - Vogue
For some, Miami may draw one's thoughts to EDM festivals, Mercedes-Benz Swim Fashion Week or a getaway haven for celebrities, for others, it's reminiscent of a glamorous and fashionable era in time that never really left. If you ask around, C. Madeleine's
is inarguably the pioneer in bringing vintage and high-end consignment to Miami
Lucky for us, we can call this iconic fashion magnate our new store partner. Boasting "over 100 years of fashions
" and a little something for everyone, we can't take our eyes off the luxe array that they have to offer.Whether you're looking to channel Betty Draper or let your inner material girl loose, C. Madeleine's has your sartorial self covered. We talk to the owner, Madeleine Kirsch
(known as Maddy to her friends), about her love of vintage, the evolution of contemporary fashion, and how she created a business that draws a celebrity and mainstream clientele alike.
1. How did C. Madeleine's come to be? Where did your love of vintage come from and why Miami?
My biggest influences in fashion came from my Grandmother and Mother. My Mother was a leading interior decorator in Palm Beach County, Fl, and she taught me to always insist on quality. "You were better off saving for a treasure then buying something which had no lasting value." This didn't imply the item had to be conservative but the best representation of any particular designer. My Grandmother was a bridal gown designer and taught me so much about structure, fabrics and again, quality. With this foundation I learned to love the designers from my youth. So for me, I don’t think of an item being vintage – they are inspirational whether they were made in 1926 or 2007. Miami was simple; it was our home and it was an emerging fashion market. All the designers come here at some point while growing their international reputation which made it ideal.
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Colorful Rack's of Designer Vintage Line The Walls of C. Madeleine's; A Perfect Representation of Miami's Emerging Fashion Market.[/caption]
"Vintage gowns and accessories you can't find outside NYC or LA." - ELLE
2. Being deemed “eclectic” with everything from “Edwardian blouses to motorcycle boots” by the likes of Tory Burch, what benefits do you find in curating a wide variety of merchandise?
When we first opened, I balked at such a large space [10,000 square feet]. However, it gave me the room to incorporate pieces from over 100 years of fashion
. People can come here and truly develop their own fashion identity. My experienced staff can help you discover what style you really love and you're most comfortable in. You could shop in the Mall but here, you're able to choose what designers in New York, Paris and Milan have already deemed best.
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Time After Time: C. Madeleine's boasts 100 years of fashion including these looks from the 50's 60's and 80's (from left:: Doreen Loc Jacket, Valentino high-neckline dress, Thierry Mugler zebra print suit.[/caption]
3. C. Madeleine’s boasts an impressive celeb clientele and notable press mentions as well; what is your secret to such success?
Because we have such a vast inventory, we have something for everyone. Celebrities love to be different and they know they can come here and find what they want
. The variety we carry also makes it easy for designers to shop for inspiration. People talk and the fashion press listens. They love a unique story [and we are different] so why not let their readers know about an amazing place to visit on their next trip to South Florida.
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C. Madeleine's is no stranger to hosting a bevvy of celeb clients. Famed stylist and reality star Rachel Zoe says of C. Madeleines "So overwhelmed with the insanity of C.Madeleine’s…vintage fashion mecca!”[/caption]
4. When you opened your original Palm Beach location, did you ever think your business would sky-rocket to the height that it has? What was your initial vision in opening your first store?
Our first store was an Antique Mall which rented booths to different vendors. My love of fashion convinced me to take over a small section of the Mall and I called it The Grand Closet
. It was a big success and I loved it. However, it was obvious that the place for vintage in South Florida was the greater Miami area. So we sold our property (which became an Irish Pub) and moved south.
5. While you’re often referred to as Miami’s “best kept secret,” it’s no secret that you have an array of fashionable items to satisfy even the most particular appetites. What can our readers and shoppers look forward to seeing in your store partnership with SnobSwap?
We will be offering a wide array
of items representing many of the classic couturiers from the past to many of the brilliant young designers from the last few years whose pieces will become classic in the future.
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Something For Everyone: C. Madeleine's carries a vast variety of names, all of which have either cemented themselves as fashion icons or are on their way (Clockwise from top left): 1980's Chanel Blouse, Versace Bathing Suit, Moschino Graphic Print Skirt, Dolce & Gabbana Denim Bustier, 1990's Donna Karan Belt[/caption]
6. What does style mean to you and how do you use your sense of it in curating your store and running a successful business?
Style to me is basically whatever you are comfortable in
. When someone asks me 'What qualifies as vintage and how old does the piece have to be?" I tell them I consider items that are a great representations of a particular designer. When Rudy Gernrich designed the topless bathing suit
, it was new but became an immediate classic. Those are pieces I always seek out and want to have in my store. It might not be for everyone but if that is what you want, I want to have it for you.