Andre Munoz, curator of Consortiums New York, may be quick to deny any attempt at categorizing his store’s stock, but vintage prep seems to be a running theme. The Delancey Street shop’s secondhand clothing pieces are all simple and well made, consist of nicely faded primary colors and seem to encompass an affinity for ’90s prep icons like Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger and Nautica.
With everything old becoming new again, the revival of this era’s simple looks is no surprise—the style is just old enough to be nostalgic, yet sufficiently clean-cut to be seen as a denouncement of current prep counterparts (think youthful, boastful Hollister and Abercrombie pieces). While the prep school way of dressing has never really been our of style, autumn/winter ’10 catwalks from Celine to Chloe featured a minimalist vibe that harkened back to the days when New England chic ruled retail. “It’s a cleaner aesthetic with timeless pieces that you can wear when you’re 15 or 55 years old,” explains Munoz.
Consortiums’ brand of vintage prep avoids the era’s notorious pitfalls with sophisticated pieces like pristine mustard boat shoes by Bally, round Brooks Brothers tortoiseshell sunglasses and Ralph Lauren bags made of just-faded bluish green fabric and trimmed with leather. “When it comes to clothing, I always look for pieces that guys should have in their closet,” says Munoz. Although the stock isn’t exclusively vintage prep—a Chanel necktie with crisscrossing American and French flags and a blue crew-neck sweatshirt printed with Keith Haring art are unique standouts—the dominating aesthetic is clean-cut chic. In addition to these hard-to-find pieces (mostly hand-picked from collectors), Consortiums also carries individually selected art, music and books that are in step with the store’s overall atmosphere.
“The focus always remains on the store and what amazing pieces we get,” Munoz explained of Consortiums’ simple white interior. “The retail experience here is like an art gallery or museum for pieces.”