One Sunday a little over a month ago, I was opening up the store when three people came in: a woman with bleached platinum hair and straight across, long bangs; an olive-complexioned man; and a teenaged girl. The man picked up the Vogue lying on the red velvet bench and said in a French accent, "My baby is in here."
It turned out that the blonde was the designer, Erin Fetherston, and the man was her fiance (Fetherston had the chicklet-sized diamond to prove it). Not only was she in the December issue of Vogue, but she was also the "It Girl" in the January issue and showed up again in February. She was a CFDA finalist and has a high-end collection as well as a line at Target. She lives in New York--just moved from Paris--and was in Portland. "Portland has the best vintage shopping in the country," she said. Xtabay was her first stop and one of her favorite shops.
It wasn't the first time Fetherston had shopped at Xtabay. She said that she bought a 1950s tulle prom dress at Xtabay a few years ago. She cut the dress shorter, then sponged it with fabric dye to give it a Monet-esque, watercolor look. She said the dress was a big hit, and that she lent it to Lindsay Lohan, who loved it. ("This was before Lindsay was drinking so much," she said.)
As you might expect, Fetherston has a terrific eye. She pulled from the racks clothes that were girly but a little wacky--things that other people pass by but that looked great on her. "I'm pretty fearless about what I wear," she said, and she tried on a 1970s flowered hostess gown in a venal green; a pink 1980s cocktail dress; and a peach 1920s beaded flapper dress, among other things. She ended up buying an armload of clothes: a Roehm 1980s dress, Dior lingerie, a Lilli Ann coat, A Diane von Furstenberg nightgown, a 1970s wide-brimmed hat, a penguin pin, and more.
When she left, I straightened out the dressing room and looked around at the store with fresh eyes. You know, we really do have some pretty great stuff.