Archive for the ‘Vintage Clothing’ Category

Down to the Knitty-Gritty

Monday, November 8th, 2010

Wait…is that a long hand-knit vest with MATCHING LEG WARMERS? Yes!

You won't find one of these ensembles every day, that's fer sure!


Just in time for the brisk weather, some killer vintage hand-knit ensembles that we’ve dug up here in Phoenicia.


Happy Halloween!

Sunday, October 31st, 2010

Exhumed from the crypt, one of our favorite pieces from our personal collection. An incredible piece of folk art. Masonic robe? Yale’s Skull and Bones Club ritual robe? 1920′s Halloween costume? We have no idea what it is, but we thought we’d share.

We picked up this early skull and crossbones black ceremonial robe from one of our favorite dealers at Brimfield many years ago. He got it out of a Connecticut estate, but that’s all we know about it.

The front says CONN 370. The back, the skull and crossbones and again, 370.

Any guesses? Let us know!

Vintage black robe with skull and crossbones (back).

Vintage black robe with skull and crossbones (front).

Close-up of hand-appliqued skull and crossbones and number 370.

Fall Fashions a la Spot!

Tuesday, October 19th, 2010

We’ve been saving up these beauties ’til the first leaves turned. They’re now in the Mystery Spot. Come get ‘em!

1970s Martin Bear faux fur belted coat with fur trim.

Fifties iridescent glamorous metallic pewter gray ensemble – cocktail dress with fitted peplum jacket and belt.

No, your eyes are not deceiving you. Every inch of this dress's collar, cuffs and floppy bow is made from teeny tiny intricate beadwork.

Amazing 1920s black silk velvet dress adorned with….CAN IT BE?

It’s Never Too Early to Think About Your Holiday Frock

Friday, October 1st, 2010

Our favorite score of the year? Probably this gorgeous Fifties vintage Ceil Chapman burgundy brocade full circle cocktail/party/dancing dress! Are you the lucky lady who will take it home?

Our very first Ceil!

The all-important Ceil label.

We love the open neckline and the nipped waist.

See Who’s Shopped the Spot Lately!

Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010

We’ve been so busy shopping barns, basements and attics and getting ready for our fall season, we’ve been remiss in posting photos of our recent visitors, customers and friends. Herewith, forthwith, and toot-sweet: some favorite recent Mystery Spotters!

Right before they stepped out onto our front porch to play an amazing free show with Mercury Rev for the townsfolk of Phoenicia, Dean Wareham and Britta Phillips browsed the vintage wares of the Mystery Spot. Dean scored a stack of used vinyl, and Britta scooped up this beautiful vintage 50s deep blue velvet halter top, among other goodies.

World-famous artist/illustrators Jordin Isip and Melinda Beck and their daughters Chloe (6) and Simone (8) came up for a visit and rocked the Spot. Jordin and Melinda are prom-worthy in a Sixties Rat Pack gold dinner jacket ($95.) and Sixties red chiffon cocktail dress ($85.), Simone is clad in a vintage girl’s plaid Fifties frock ($20.) with purse, hat, sandals and garish 70s piggy bank ($8.) , and Chloe the cutest cowgirl this side of the Rockies, complete with cowboy boots, cowboy book, and unusual handmade confetti-cellophane cowboy hat!

Vinyl overload! Holly, Louie and Kate raided our record room and found these treasures. Singer/songwriter/all-around wonderful person Holly Miranda recently performed a free show on our front porch which you can see clips of here and here. Kate Moennig (The L Word) is an amazing actor soon to be seen in The Lincoln Lawyer. And Captain Louie is a lifelong close personal friend of the Mystery Spot! Their vinyl scores include Patsy Cline, To Kill a Mockingbird, and Jaws ($3 – 12.)

People often ask us who created the beautiful Mystery Spot log hanging above our entryway. Full credit goes to artist and dear friend Keith Strahan. When we moved to the old Gormley Hotel on Main Street last year, our biggest concern was whether or not the log would fit the porch (as it was custom-made for our previous location). It fit perfectly! A sign from the heavens indeed.

A while back the editor of The Believer in San Francisco contacted us and invited us to contribute artwork to the magazine. We weren’t familiar with this McSweeney’s publication at the time, but once we took a gander, we were hooked. Have you seen it? In our opinion it’s absolutely the best publication out there. Books and culture, art and photography; a cover-to-cover must-read every month.

Anyway, this is a long-winded way of getting to the photo above. That’s the aforementioned editor, Andrew Leland on the left. We’d never met in person until this summer, when he made a special trip to see us and our shop. Accompanying him, Betsy Wright Milton and Lily Gurton-Wachter. Behind them, the original painting of Songbirds of the Catskills, which was published as the inside front cover of The Believer in 2008. In their hands, some of their Mystery Spot loot: a vintage Fifties yellow and white kitchen wall clock ($35.), an old children’s storybook, and a Lily Tomlin LP. Needless to say, we had a wonderful time hanging out and cooked up all sorts of future projects. Can’t wait!

Cassandra Jones and Ben Olson made out like bandits here at the Spot. Cassandra – who, as a buyer for Macy’s, knows a thing or two about fashion – scored a vintage 50s NOS (that’s New Old Stock) brown wool coat with mink collar, with original tags ($130.) and a vintage Sixties Hong Kong hand-beaded silver shell top ($95.). Ben, a NY-based painter, whose work is currently being shown at The Gallery Bar on the Lower East Side, worked the vinyl room. Cassandra left us with these words: “This place is fabulous – I’ll be back many times!” Looking forward, Cassandra!

The Watershed Post out of Andes, NY, is our new favorite local news blog here in the Catskills, and the women behind it are Lissa Harris and Julie Resichel, holding daughter Ruby, who, btw, is holding a book called Ruby – Heart of Gold from 1895, which we just happened to have on our shelves. You can’t really tell from this photo, but the 1895 version of Ruby eerily resembles 2010 Ruby. With them is their friend, writer Alison Cherry. OK, now go click on their blog – it’s great reading!

Summer’s End

Friday, September 3rd, 2010


1950's LUX electric wall clock with month and day ($65).

To slip on that Fifties Bombshell Hawaiian Sarong Swimsuit from B. Altman

1950's pink floral pin-up Hawaiian sarong-style swimsuit ($75.)

Grab some good old classic American literature

And head down to the creek as your Summer Vacation gently winds down.

But don’t cry for these waning days of summer……

…As more fun awaits in the Big City!

A Summer’s Weekend (or Two)

Friday, August 13th, 2010

Visits with some of our friends, neighbors and customers who’ve popped into the Mystery Spot recently. We’re deep into the summer rush here at the Spot, so forgive us lagging behind on posts. Do keep checking back for more updates, including photos (and video!) from Ida, The Naysayer, and Holly Miranda’s porch shows.

Our friend Michael Gira has been very productive lately. Case in point: new son Swan (left) and a new Swans release (My Father Will Guide Me Up a Rope to the Sky) coming on September 27. And an upcoming world tour. (Extra Credit Fun Fact: we (that is, Laura Levine) took the photos for Swans Children of God album cover.

Swans, NYC, 1985 © Laura Levine

This photograph (above) isn’t from Children of God, but it’s one we took around the same time.

World-renowned mezzo soprano Maria Todaro has sung the title role of Carmen and numerous other lead roles on opera stages around the world, and was tickled to find this 1895 libretto of Carmen in our book room (Homer’s Books d’Arte). She and her partners will be bringing the Phoenicia Festival of the Voice to the Catskills in mid-August and it promises to be an amazing event. You’ll be able to see her perform al fresco in the park in Falstaff on the evening of Sat. Aug. 14. (And the next day come on by the Spot to catch Jonathan and Grasshopper from Mercury Rev and Dean and Britta on our porch at 1 PM for a free show!).

Molly models our favorite vintage Forties child’s green smock (ties in the back) with white piping ($40.). Since we last saw her, Molly has  learned to do a handstand.

More Pretty Dresses all in a Row

Wednesday, August 11th, 2010

Sweet pink and white gingham frock with center ruffle and belt.

Sixties electric lime green chiffon baby doll nightie.

All in a Weekend’s Work and Play

Sunday, July 18th, 2010

It’s always a mystery when we open the doors of The Spot for the weekend because we never know who’s going to enter our little world. This past weekend brought us a mix of old friends, fun new customers, an actress, a television personality and a crossword wunderkind.

This lovely lass is Lauren Messing, a young actress who you’ll be able to see this summer in The Electroscheme. She studies acting at NYU (as once did her delightful cousin, Will & Grace’s Debra Messing).  Lauren declared this vintage Fifties white rayon crepe spinworthy dancing dress so laden with rhinestones it has a life of its own ($100.). was the dress she had to have, and we  found it hard to disagree.

So the next time you spot a sparkling vision in white gliding up the red carpet at the Emmys or Oscars, take a close look – it may very well be Lauren, in her stunning new dress.

We suspect that Kelly Cutrone and Ava Cutrone fall under the classification of a Force of Nature. They burst into the Mystery Spot with a wave of energy and  fun and had us on the floor laughing for half an hour. It took us a while before we even realized that Kelly is a world-famous publicist (People’s Revolution), TV star (MTV’s The Hills and The City, Bravo’s Kell on Earth) and best-selling author; and Ava, well, she may only be eight but she’s well on her way to greatness as well.

Of course, they didn’t come just to entertain us – they came to shop! And so they did – check out Ava’s killer mod 60’s flower power culotte romper ($20.) and NOS 60’s “Celebrity” Miami Beach striped vinyl tote ($20). – just perfect as a carry-all for her new puppy Lola. (And waterproof! A feature which came in handy about 3 minutes after this photo was taken).

Liz Pulos is a dear customer friend. She started out as a loyal Spot customer (and still is!), but she is now officially a Friend. And we couldn’t be happier! When people plan their trips months ahead just to come visit the Mystery Spot, we know we’re onto something good. Liz, Donny and their other friend Liz spent the better part of their vacation weekend here in the shop, and everyone emerged a winner.

Liz didn’t buy this 60s Mad Men Style black-and-white striped NOS ensemble (cocktail dress underneath; bolero jacket on top – $65), but it looked so great on her we just had to take the photos. Don’t you love the hat, purse, and two-toned shoes she picked out?

Liz’s husband Don Undeen went (natch) straight to the record room where he loaded up on some killer jazz vinyl as well as a 1971 copy of Rolling Stone with Miles Davis on the cover ($15.)

Their friend Liz Linstrom was on a lamp quest, and she was most successful! As Liz and this 1950s abstract mauve ceramic lamp with fiberglass shade ($68.) lamp are united for the first time, you can feel the love in the air.

But really, did anyone charm us as much as young Caleb Madison? He asked if we had any old crossword items, and our brain churned a bit and then immediately recovered the latitude and longitude of The Little Folks Cross-Word Puzzle Book circa 1949 ($14.)  which has been suffering in obscurity for at least 8 years in the back of the book room, just waiting for someone like Caleb to come along and rescue it. Caleb was thrilled, we were thrilled, and we suspect Will Shortz will be thrilled as well when he opens his Christmas presents this winter. (Shhh….!)

Caleb is a pretty modest fellow, but we were able to get him to spill that he’s the  youngest person to ever have a crossword published in the New York Times Sunday Magazine, at a mere fifteen. (He’s all of seventeen now). And we have some crossword pals in common (shout-out to Andrea Carla Michaels! When are you coming to visit my shop already???)

The Mystery Spot Rocks! (Part 1)

Friday, June 25th, 2010

The Mystery Spot must be sending secret rock star pheremones out into the mountains. How else to explain the outstanding musical talent that stepped through our doors the other weekend?First, two old friends of ours’, Ira Kaplan and Georgia Hubley of Yo La Tengo stopped in. OK, this wasn’t a total surprise, as they told us they were going to stop by, but it’s always so nice to see them and catch up on old times and new doings.

Ira and Georgia headed straight back to the vinyl room (no surprise there) and stocked up on a pile of great vintage 45’s ($3. each) including the original single of CAT NIP by Dave “Baby” Cortez. Kismet, as just recently, Ira recorded a cover of that very song with his friends the A-Bones, with none other than Dave “Baby” Cortez himself joining the session.Here’s a little piece of Yo La Tengo trivia you probably didn’t know: the very first time Ira and Georgia performed together in public  (the debut, as it were, of Yo La Tengo) was in May 1982, at my twenty-fourth birthday party at the offices of the New York Rocker, where we all worked. (I was Photo Editor/Chief Photographer, and Ira was Record Review Editor). In fact, here’s a photo of that fateful, historic moment:

That’s me (Laura Levine, the birthday girl) attempting to carry a tune as Ira and Georgia back me, and Will Rigby from the dB’s is up to his usual shenanigans. (I wish I could remember who took this – Ina G., perhaps? I know I handed my camera to someone when I took the mike….)

Here’s another – this one’s by me – that’s Ira on the left, Georgia on drums, Managing Editor Glenn Morrow (of the Individuals) on vocals, and Peter Holsapple (of the dB’s) on guitar.

It was an annual tradition to host my birthday parties at the Rocker offices – any excuse for a beer-soaked musical free-for-all. The office was on the second-floor loft of a building on on lower Fifth Avenue (166 Fifth). A few ratty sofas and broken metal desks, with an amazing array of records and posters taped up to the walls. All thanks for our editor, Andy Schwartz for making it so homey. As Andy recently pointed out in his blog, most all of our little group still remains friends to this day.

Not to go off on too much of a tangent here, but for those of you interested in reading more about my early days as a downtown New York music photographer, here’s a good, thorough read – a three -part interview conducted by Scott Woods of which really got my brain cells firing on all cylinders as I mined the past to answer his questions. You can also see more of my music photos on my website.

OK, that’s just Part One of our rock star weekend! Keep reading to see who came in next….