Vintage Maven Blythe Marks On Her 75-Piece Issey Miyake Collection and How to Find the Best Deals
Blythe Marks’s Instagram is equal parts hilarious and chic. The Los Angeles-based writer, vintage dealer, and social editor at Old Navy is well-versed in fashion history, and matches her “understated melodrama,” aesthetic with witty and at times touching captions. An Electric Feathers pale mint dress with a fanned-out sleeve (that she’s styled with black leather Tabi boots) she describes as, “CATEGORY IS: Turn of the century ERTÉ muse decamps from GAY PARIS to settle down in SILVERLAKE.” In another Instagram, Marks wears a crinkly Dries van Noten blouse with puffed, Charles Worth-style sleeves with the caption “we’re currently in the “PUTTING ON A SILLY LITTLE OUTFIT JUST TO FEEL LIKE YOUR MERE EXISTENCE IS POSSIBLE” stage of things”.
Once a Tumblr teen, Marks grew up on a steady fashion diet of the Antwerp Six and issues of Vogue. One of her most collected designers is Issey Miyake, and she currently owns over 75 pieces. She purchased her first piece from the label—a pair of drop-crotch pants—in 2018. The caption read, “A childhood fantasy, forged in the flames of endless hours spent on Tumblr and flipping through old issues of FRUiTS, fulfilled!” Marks, who fell in love with them, bought a second pair off The RealReal last year as a back up.
While Issey Miyake makes up a large portion Marks’s wardrobe, she has a wide range of designers in her collection including Yohji Yamamoto, Comme des Garçons, and Bernhard Willhelm. Though, there is one item that she hasn’t gotten her hands on yet, “An original Mariano Fortuny pleated Delphos gown!” A girl can dream.
Here, learn more about Marks’s collection and collecting habits.
Where you grew up? How did you dress as a child?
I grew up between Phoenix, Arizona and a beach in Southern California – what a contrast! Art and music were two subjects my parents encouraged me to explore without borders from an early age, so the beginnings of my personal style came from meeting British nu-rave artists on MySpace, trips to local art museums, pictures of Antwerp Six clothes on Tumblr and Vogue topics that she read obsessively in the high school lunchroom.
From when I wore a uniform until eighth grade, my unconventional style became very heavy. Vintage Picasso-print satin jackets, cowboy boots and thick-rimmed glasses with raised lenses; XXL viscose button-down shirts, double-fold shorts and tassel loafers for men; sequin-encrusted knit sweaters with sweatpants and patent leather tuxedo shoes. Lots of irony and absurdity! (Yes, I’m one of those ubiquitous Zillennials who are too young to be in the original independent scene seriously, but had enough lunch money to buy terribly low-cut American Apparel T-shirts.)
What is your purchasing process?
I search everywhere and everywhere, all the time. Real estate sales, flea markets, other dealers giving me my first shot at something that works for my core aesthetic. I’m obsessed with certain eras or runway looks and take a lot of time scrolling, researching, and reaching out to mentors to learn about their experiences. The pandemic has also changed my online shopping for a long time. It helped me take my detective skills to new heights as I was forced to apply all my accumulated fashion knowledge to work in an arena where I couldn’t feel clothes. I had to learn to be patient, precise and communicative in order to assemble parts that I would otherwise assemble on my own offline. eBay, my primary partner, is a generous lover allowing me to date apps like Poshmark, Etsy, and Gem Search. Pro Tip: Unless expressly stated otherwise, feel free to ask the seller what their best price for the item is. You may have the perfect number in your head; they too. It never hurts to ask about pricing flexibility and let the salesperson lead the way.