Twice each year, vintage clothing lovers line up outside of Victoire Boutique down on Dalhousie Street. Usually filled with Canadian-designed goods, the boutique transforms into a vintage emporium, displaying racks of dresses from days of yore. With the spring edition of the vintage sale happening this weekend, we’ve got a treat for you: a sneak peek into the fashions available, and an interview with Victoire owner Régine Paquette about how this all got started five years ago.
Apartment613: The vintage sale is now a staple for retro-clothing lovers. How did you guys get the idea to do it in the first place, five years ago?
Régine Paquette: The way it all started is actually kinda funny and a magical series of events… One day in 2008 we received a flyer in the mail addressed to us about an auction in Cornwall of Miss Canada 1954’s estate. Katie & I had never actually been to an auction before, so I have no idea how we even got on that mailing list, but our curiosity was piqued, so we decided to make the trek out to Cornwall just for the heck of it.
Once we got to the auction, we were sucked in… we got the fever, auction fever! Now we’re hooked! There were all of these amazing pieces from her wardrobe up for auction, including some beautiful pageant swimsuits and amazing Canadian-designed dresses made for her during her “reign” as Miss Canada, so we couldn’t help but bid on some items. Before we knew it, we had been there over 10 hours, and had a car full of dresses and swimsuits….we didn’t even have a plan for what we would do with them, we just knew they were too good to pass up. So we had our first sale around this collection, and it was a huge success. That and the thrill we got from discovering all these past gems motivated us to keep looking for more beautiful vintage dresses for our customers, and now it’s a semi-annual tradition! And it all started with a mysterious invitation in the mail…
Where do you find these treasures?
The main reason we only do this twice a year is because it really is a lot of work to uncover these puppies! We’ve developed contacts in the Ottawa Valley & Montreal, but we also travel quite a lot. We’ve been on scavenging trips to New York State, Detroit, Portland, California. Most of these dresses are 50+ years old, and that is really old for textiles. The pool of dresses is just getting really small. We find ourselves falling in love with a piece to feel that it’s already disintegrated beyond repair. That is always so sad!
Have you ever come across a piece that you just had to keep for yourself because you loved it too much? Tell us about it!
What are some of the great pieces people can expect this year?
We’ve got a couple of sun suits and bathing suits which are always a special find. And more vintage wedding dresses as well! There is nothing more thrilling than outfitting a bride for her special day with something so special and one of a kind, so we set our sights on finding even more wedding dresses since those were so popular last year.
Victoire’s To The Nines vintage dress sale takes place this Friday from 4-8pm and Saturday from 10am-7pm at 246 Dalhousie St.