Today, vintage is not just a tribute to conscious consumption, but also a hunt for those who know at least a little about fashion. Clothing and jewelry from the last century are increasingly appearing on the red carpet, glossy covers, street style chronicles and even modern collections - as an imitation of individual elements (as in the case of the buckle of the 50s, which now flaunts on the new Gucci Horsebit bags). Nostalgic sentiment creates demand and thus supply: Farfetch has expanded its archived collection, Burberry has partnered with one of the largest vintage luxury stores in The RealReal, and Selfridges has teamed up with Vestiaire Collective. But there are also more niche local projects that today especially need support, such as the Russian More is More.
More is More differs from many other domestic resellers of vintage by its expertise. Its creator, Anna Koltsova, was educated as an art critic in Rome, and has been searching and selecting interesting subjects for almost her entire life. More is More features gold earrings from the 1990s, cameos from the 1960s, necklaces from the 1920s and antique brooches from the 1890s that virtually no one in the world offers. RBC Style talked to Anna Koltsova about how she manages to find antiques and integrate them into everyday looks, how American flea markets differ from Russian ones and why people want to buy jewelry even in times of crisis and quarantine.
- The style of girls is largely influenced by the style of their mothers. Is this relevant in your case?
- Mom always loved to dress up and conveyed this love to me, but we have a completely different approach to clothes. She is a man-pencil skirt: she adores everything that is fitted, feminine, very elegant. Her suit made of a skirt and a top with long sleeves and a high blind collar was etched into her memory - the top was made of transparent woolen lace in burgundy. I am a supporter of a more relaxed, comfortable and distinctive wardrobe. Favorite things from childhood: a plaid sleeveless shirt tied at the bottom with a bow, and a green denim suit with a bright flower.
- Did you sew to order or buy?
- They sewed something, bought something. I grew up in the Far East, so we often went shopping in border China. Before that, I looked out and marked the desired things in teenage glossy magazines like Elle Girl, so I went in search with specific settings. Now I understand that this is somewhat reminiscent of vintage selection: finding the very same thing among all the fuss.
- When did vintage clothing first appear in your life?
- At the age of 13-14, I came across blogs of American guys who dressed in vintage clothes and published their images. I was so captured and carried away by this that I began to go to second-hand shops in my native Vladivostok, and then to Tokyo and the state of Kentucky, where I moved for a while to study. I even remember my first interesting purchase - a big shirt in a red cage, which I also spied somewhere and tried to find for a long time.
- Shabby clothing is often associated with low income. Have you encountered such a stereotype?
- I know there is such a stereotype, but I have never come across it. Or she just didn't notice. The vintage world seemed to me very romantic and mysterious. I proudly wore the things I found and said to others: "Look, I have a vintage." Although I didn't really understand how vintage differs from second-hand. (Laughs.) The first is still called the clothes of the XX century with a certain history, and second-hand is any used things.
1 of 18 Imitation pearl clips, 1960s © instagram.com/moreismore_vtg Bracelet with gold plating and crystals, 1960-1970s © instagram.com/moreismore_vtg Brass clips with glass inserts © instagram.com/moreismore_vtg Crystal earrings 1950s © instagram.com/moreismore_vtg Cameo necklace 1960s © instagram.com/moreismore_vtg Shell earrings © instagram.com/moreismore_vtg Movable earrings 1980s © instagram.com/moreismore_vtg Silver earrings, 1980-1990s © instagram.com/moreismore_vtg Imitation pearl necklace, mid XX century © instagram.com/moreismore_vtg Onyx silver earrings, 1960s © instagram.com/moreismore_vtgСе
- At some point you wanted to create things yourself, to become a designer. Why did you abandon this idea?
- For reasons absolutely logical for that time. I graduated from school in 2010, when such a profession as a fashion designer was not widespread, especially in the provinces. Then in Russia there was only one fashionable empire - Kira Plastinina, daughter of the co-founder of the Wimm-Bill-Dann company. Therefore, it seems that only those people who are already financially stable thanks to their parents or spouse can do fashion design. Otherwise, it seemed impossible to unwind and make money in this area.
As a result, I, a girl who from an early age went to an art school and to all kinds of additional circles, decided to enroll in an art critic at St. Petersburg State University - a serious direction, but at the same time most connected with creative activity. Until the last year I did not finish my studies, dropped out in the second. She moved to the same specialty, but at the university in Rome. I was very lucky then: this university gave out large scholarships to Russian students, trying to attract the minds from the CIS countries. Therefore, it was not so expensive to study there.
- What is the difference between teaching creative professions in Russia and Italy?
- In Russia, teaching creative professions is not at all creative. Here the teachers say: "Do this, do it right." They just give lectures that you memorize and give assignments that you complete, getting the appropriate grades. While in foreign universities, with a much larger academic load, everything passes more freely, interestingly and creatively. You express your thoughts, you learn to express them, and you never hear that they are wrong. Any thought is correct, it has a place to be. The teacher does not evaluate you, but guides you.
- What at the university in Rome influenced your idea of beauty the most? A specific teacher, artist, painting?
- I was greatly influenced by life in Rome in general. This is a city with a long history, where the prints of different eras are visible on one building. I really like the symbiosis of the past, present and future, without refusal and “bleaching” this very past, as happens, for example, in Russia.
What we were told about at the university and exactly how it was done was also incredibly inspiring. I remember when I was studying at an art school in my homeland and writing a report about Leonardo da Vinci, I mentioned that the artist was probably a homosexual. The teacher slammed the table and shouted, “It doesn't matter! He was a genius! " That is, it was not customary to talk about the Renaissance as an erotically rich period of art in Russia, while in Italy it was not possible to reject this component. We even had extracurricular activities dedicated to the erotica of the Renaissance. They took place on the roof of the university, which supplied us with snacks and wine for this time. And so you sit by candlelight, gaze at the stars, sip chianti and exchange views with other students and teachers. Everything is very relaxed,there is no student-teacher hierarchy. At that moment we were all equally interested in and discussing this topic.
If we talk about a specific artist, then this is Alessandro Pianjiamore. I managed to work with him in my last year, and after graduating from the university I helped him at the Venice Biennale. Alessandro's work is difficult to describe briefly, but his main leitmotif is the consolidation of ephemeral phenomena into objects. He has a series of works called All the Winds of the World, in the process of creating which he placed clay casts on the highest mountains in India and allowed the monsoons to grind them over time. Outwardly, this is an absolutely unattractive pile of clay, but the meaning and work put by the artist made it poetic and beautiful.
- Why didn't you stay to live in Rome?
- In my student years, I started dating a young man from Los Angeles. We often traveled to America and after graduating from university we stayed there. It would seem that moving to Los Angeles is just a dream. But in reality everything turned out to be much more prosaic. I tried unsuccessfully to find a job in my specialty: the popular areas of museum activity in the city are very different from my area of interest. At some point, I finally lost heart and decided to return to St. Petersburg, taking with me a small collection of vintage items found over eight years of traveling to Japan, Italy, Armenia, America and other countries.
- Each of these countries has a different attitude to clothing. In Japan, there is an opinion that every thing has a soul, in America there is a cult of consumption, Armenia is characterized by adherence to traditions …
- It is interesting that in Armenia, as in Russia, renovation is more valuable today than antiques. Traditions are honored just in America, where, against the background of mass consumption, rare, unusual, historical objects acquire value. Therefore, this particular country is the most fertile soil for vintage shopping, if we talk about California, Texas, Arizona, for example Kentucky, and not about tourist places like New York.
- Have you been to flea markets in Russia? For example, the famous St. Petersburg Udelka?
- I did, of course. And even several times I found interesting things - for example, a porcelain cup of the Leningrad Porcelain Factory, from which I often drink coffee. But this is, rather, an exception to the rule: for the most part, junk is concentrated in such places - dirty, chaotic and depressing. Used things are brought there by all and sundry, while in America professionals are engaged in flea markets.
1 of 15 Rosebowl Flea Market in Los Angeles © Anna Koltsova Rosebowl Flea Market in Los Angeles © Anna Koltsova Rosebowl Flea Market in Los Angeles © Anna Koltsova Selective vintage marketplace A Current Affair © Anna Koltsova Rosebowl Flea Market in Los Angeles © Anna Koltsova Brimfield Antique Show flea market in Springfield, Massachusetts © Anna Koltsova Brimfield Antique Show flea market in Springfield, Massachusetts © Anna Koltsova Rosebowl Flea Market in Los Angeles © Anna Koltsova Selective vintage marketplace Aа Current Affair © Anna Koltsova in Los Angeles © Anna Koltsova Rosebowl Flea Market in Los Angeles © Anna Koltsova Rosebowl Flea Market in Los Angeles © Anna Koltsova Rosebowl Flea Market in Los Angeles © Anna Koltsova Brimfield Antique Show flea market in Springfield,Massachusetts © Anna Koltsova
- How do they find vintage?
- Very differently. Basically, they collect it from local residents in specially designated places. In America, whole generations of people live in the same house or apartment, so it is not surprising that in the process of cleaning they find old and unnecessary things from great-grandfathers, grandmothers or fathers, which they decide to take to the hoarders. Those, in turn, bring them to their proper form, and then sell them directly to the client or to the wholesale business. For this, there are large flea markets, some of which are held every weekend, others twice a month, and others once every six months. They are quite easy to find: the schedule, directions and fees for participation of both the flea market and the buyers themselves are indicated in posters and on websites.
- I have been to many places where vintage is sold, but I found either items devoid of any value, or something very beautiful, but expensive. Not looking there?
- Stores or points in the market, where everything is clean, neat, beautiful, but at the same time not cheap, reflect the work done by the owners. From all their stocks, they identified really interesting and valuable items, cleaned them, laid them out before the eyes of the buyer, thereby saving him from the need to rummage through the pile of things himself. They spent a lot of time and effort on this and, naturally, made a corresponding markup.
Plus, experience, intuition, observation and chance are very important in the search for vintage items. One day I can leave the flea market empty-handed, and on the other my two hands may not be enough for all the finds. It is important to do so-called field research, have a clear idea of what you want to find, and communicate a lot with the owners of vintage points. Let me tell you a secret: sometimes they can get something of value from under the counter.
- When did you realize that your passion for vintage can grow into your own business?
- Just at that moment when I returned from Los Angeles to St. Petersburg. I did not have a business plan - moreover, I had no idea at all how to organize sales in a fundamentally new market area for Russia at that time. Strength was given by a friend. At first, More is More brought additional monthly income of 10 thousand rubles, but gradually this amount grew, and the project began to require more and more of my time and attention.
- How did you sell the collection and how did you replenish it?
- I sold it on Instagram, and replenished it with what I was looking for in auctions and eBay. This is the same flea market just translated into online format.
- Why was the focus on jewelry at some point?
- From the point of view of logistics, this is much easier to do. Clothes bind the buyer to offline: he needs to try on a thing, feel it before buying. In addition, I travel a lot around the world and simply cannot carry everything with me.
- What criteria do you use to select vintage jewelry?
- I am guided by the feeling that I would like to see this or that thing first of all on myself. Three years ago, when I was just starting the project, large gold clips were in fashion, then pearl jewelry, in addition, branded products from Christian Dior, Chanel, Givenchy were always in demand. I can attract an audience at their expense, but in general I try to focus not on popular, but on distinctive, graceful and even sometimes strange items. They should cause delight and a feeling of butterflies in the stomach. So that you want to look at them, twist them in your hands for a long time, admire them.
- How does the education of an art critic help in the search and selection of vintage?
- I always approach this process as a research. I am proceeding not from the fact that pearls are in fashion now and therefore I need to read everything about pearls, but from a certain topic, period, phenomenon. For example, I am interested in the concept of memento mori (from Latin “remember that you are mortal” - “RBK Style”), the popularization of which in the XIV-XVII centuries led to the appearance of rings, pendants and earrings with symbols of death. This means that I study it in all planes, leaf through all the available sources, and only then I search and select those jewelry that can fit into today's wardrobe.
- What is more important in vintage - appearance or history?
- I think both components. But one point is important here. I meticulously asked each vintage shop owner the history of this or that jewelry, until at some point I met a woman of 80 years old, whose mother and grandmother were looking for ancient artifacts, and I heard: “Whatever story they tell you, in 99% of cases are lies. " Indeed, very few people are interested in, store and transmit the history of the product, especially if it is a professional dealer who has reviewed, touched and resold a huge amount of junk in his entire life. But having a lot of experience and observation, you can accurately determine the period of appearance of a thing.
Jewelry should evoke delight and the feeling of butterflies in the stomach.
- What things found during the three years of More is More's existence were the most memorable and valuable?
- I had about 2 thousand sales, so it's hard to remember specific products. A silver bracelet with green acrylic cones comes to mind. I don’t know the history of jewelry, but I’ve never seen anything like it. I also had a very beautiful Victorian medallion. It is not as rare as a bracelet, but it is really graceful, delicate and unusual. It had a small diamond on one side, initials engraved on the other, and a small portrait inside. A very handsome man was watching from him.
- Is it a pity to give such priceless finds to customers?
- On the contrary, I am very happy when a thing finds its owner. Although there was one necklace with a pendant in the shape of a fish holding a pebble in its mouth - an imitation of jade. I wanted to keep it myself, but I did not warn my assistant about it and she sold it on the first day. After some time, I found part of the same necklace that was broken in all places and was insanely expensive. Probably even more expensive than we sold it as a whole. But I bought the necklace anyway and restored it. Now this is my trophy.
- Things with a visible trace of the previous owners - such as a portrait of a man in a medallion - are often refused to buy because of the allegedly poor energy, "the seal of a dead person." Have you encountered this More is More?
- Naturally. Now I no longer pay attention to the comments in which people are persistently trying to convince me that vintage is things taken from the dead. I understand that these are not my clients, not clients of vintage shops in general. But when the project was just starting and I still didn’t know how to approach the audience, I tried to change its attitude to used clothes in two ways. The first one: "Girls, the thing created by Dior cannot have bad energy." Second: "Girls, take sprigs of lavender and sage on a full moon, put them together with the decoration in the refrigerator overnight, and by morning it will be like new." (Laughs.) I made it up myself, but the girls really believed. Seriously speaking, a jacket from the mass market, sewn by a young employee of a plant in Bangladesh, who works 18 hours a day without the ability to simply go to the toilet,has a worse energy than a thing that someone else has used before you.
- What did you lack in vintage that led to the creation of your own jewelry brand?
- I returned to my idea of becoming a designer - not only clothes, but jewelry. There are many fine examples in the world of vintage, but I wanted to do something different from what was already invented.
- What does the brand name Kaloskagathos.xxi say?
- This is the ancient Greek concept of an ideal person. A person who is beautiful, first of all, with his inner world, and only then this beauty is transferred to his appearance. Today - and this is especially felt in Russia - it is important for everyone to be perfect: enlarge lips, whiten teeth, trim eyebrows, do styling, buy an expensive car, live in a huge apartment. People seem to be unable to see beauty in something else: irregularities, roughness, flaws. If a person has a flaw or what he considers to be such for himself, then he wants to fix it. And for me, on the contrary, this is the essence of individuality and beauty. This is reflected in my jewelry: they are very complex in terms of technical processing, but not emasculated, not smooth or perfect. In addition, they are gender neutral: I advocate non-discrimination based on gender,as well as non-standard solutions. I think it's time for us to come to accept the diversity that exists on the planet.
- Why don't you tell about your jewelry brand in the More is More account?
- These are two different projects, and about the second I speak quietly, gently and accurately: "If you are interested, then I will show you." I want to treat the More is More audience tactfully: I understand that she came for one thing, and I don’t want to impose another, to talk about how men can actually wear jewelry too. Among my audience there are women over 45 years old who do not hold that opinion, and it is their right.
- How does your audience react to the changes in More is More - the transition from vintage jewelry to antique? What was he connected with?
- The transition from vintage to antiques is a natural stage of growing up and deeper passion for this topic. In addition, there are a lot of fashionable vintage jewelry now, and no one offers collectible antique ones. Perhaps there are small projects, but with a more historical, traditional, somewhat old-school approach. I would like to blow off the dust from the products of the XIX-XX centuries and bring down arrogance, to show that they can be entered into modern everyday images. I lost part of the audience, part remained loyal, part gained. There are many orders from girls from abroad, who write that they have never seen anything like this before. There are very few antiques in the world in general, its search and selection requires a lot of time, knowledge and skills.
1 of 13 Glass crystal necklace, 1920s © instagram.com/moreismore_vtg Silver amethyst ring, 1920s © instagram.com/moreismore_vtg Imitation pearl necklace, 1930s © instagram.com/moreismore_vtg Brooches, early XX century © instagram.com/moreismore_vtg Cigarette cases, early XX century © instagram.com/moreismore_vtg Necklace, 1920s © instagram.com/moreismore_vtg Choker, 1920s © instagram.com/moreismore_vtg Necklace, late XIX century © instagram.com/moreismore_vtg Necklace made of bronze and brass with opal and amethyst, 1890-1910s © instagram.com/moreismore_vtg Carved cameo made of gold with pearls, late 19th century © instagram.com/moreismore_vtg
- Are quarantined vintage and antiques sold?
- I was very worried about the fact that people would not want to buy jewelry in a crisis. Yet this is not an essential commodity. But they do. Of course, in smaller volumes than in peacetime, but I cannot say that the project is now suffering greatly. I think this is due to the desire of people to somehow please themselves: they can walk around the house in pajamas or a cozy suit, while adding vintage jewelry to the image as an element of bohemianness and luxury.
- Where are you looking for things to sell now?
- I still have the same methods: eBay, auction houses, personal contacts with sellers. This is a large supplier base, compiled over the three years of the project's existence. It is important for me to continue to shop and thus support them.
- Before quarantine, you managed to move to Los Angeles again.
- Yes, we parted with that young man, but I still have many friends in the city and, of course, I still have a love for the atmosphere, lifestyle, and weather. It is very difficult to gain a foothold in Los Angeles, because it is extremely expensive to live there, you need to earn money in a local unit. Now I have returned to Russia to see my mother, wait out the quarantine and, in general, think about whether my desires correspond to my possibilities.
- What is the relationship to clothes with history?
- In America, everyone dresses in vintage, moreover, vintage shops, charity projects and antique flea markets are the main places for young people to hang out. It is a large part of the economic chain and culture of the country as a whole. In addition, it is much easier to read people's reactions to the image there: if someone likes your pants or cap, he will definitely inform about it. A sincere compliment to your appearance is a great and most common way of dating.
- How often do you wear vintage yourself?
- I only wear it, I buy new things if I cannot find an alternative. The last time was six months ago: I bought jeans from H&M and a Uniqlo fleece shirt that I wear at home.
1 of 17 Vintage top Yves Saint Laurent, trousers from a thrift store © Anna Koltsova Hand-painted Iranian earrings mid 20th century © Anna Koltsova Top from a thrift store, Levi's jeans, antique 19th century Chinese belt, vintage Moroccan grandmothers, jewelry More is More © Anna Koltsova 1950s nylon negligee © Anna Koltsova Yves Saint Laurent vintage jacket, 1940s silk dress and lucite brooch © Anna Koltsova Prada shoes, Levis' jeans, Longchamp bag (all vintage or second-hand), H&M jacket (one of the rare purchases in the mass market) © Anna Koltsova Earrings from the 1880s-90s, dress My812 © Anna Koltsova Misty Harbor jacket, DKNY jeans, cashmere badlon (all from a charity store) © Anna Koltsova Longchamp bag, Geoffrey Beene glasses 1970 -x, Levi's jeans, velvet jacket,shoes with reproduction of Gauguin (all from the flea market) © Anna Koltsova Vintage collectible sweater of the 1990s © Anna Koltsova Uniqlo coat, Prada bag, the rest - from a charity store © Anna Koltsova 1950s necklace © Anna Koltsova Henry Bendell dress 1940- 19th century necklace © Anna Koltsova Silk caftan 1930–1940s, Levi's jeans and vintage Prada mules © Anna Koltsova Miu Miu shoes, 1920s silk dress with beads, 1940s handbag, H&M Studio robe © Anna KoltsovaLevi's jeans and vintage Prada mules © Anna Koltsova Miu Miu shoes, 1920s beaded silk dress, 1940s handbag, H&M Studio robe © Anna KoltsovaLevi's jeans and vintage Prada mules © Anna Koltsova Miu Miu shoes, 1920s beaded silk dress, 1940s handbag, H&M Studio robe © Anna Koltsova
- What is the reason for this attitude to clothing?
- This, again, comes from childhood: I always wanted to dress interesting and original. In addition, the quality of clothing and environmental friendliness of production are important to me. I cannot call myself an eco-activist, as I only show it in a gentle way, promoting vintage instead of new clothes. But I follow basic everyday principles: I don't abuse electricity and water, I don't use plastic, I go to the store with a string bag.
In general, this is a story about the manifestation of individual choices, decisions and desires. All our lives we are taught to act in a certain way: write essays on a given topic, go to university after school, be sure to finish it and get a diploma. I prefer to be guided only by my own principles, even if there is a risk that I will be mistaken and look stupid. There is a certain thrill in the fact that a person is honest with himself.>