Just down the street from the hotel in Downtown Scottsdale is Fashion by Robert Black. This wonderful vintage clothing store opened in 2008 and has been a local favorite ever since! They specialize in dresses but also carry separates and accessories. The shop is full of hard-to-find items, all in pristine condition. An average dress goes for around $150, though there are some truly special pieces that are over $1,000. You will find well-made items from the 1920s through the 80s. No two pieces in the store are ever the same, so you’re sure to find a one-of-a-kind item!
Owners Robert Black and Doreen Picerne have always had a love for fashion. Robert formerly owned Ford Robert Black modeling agency, and Doreen is known in the Valley as a philanthropist and fashionista. We stopped in to talk to Robert about the shop and his passion for vintage!
What are some of your favorite items in the store right now?
I love this 1940s gown. I grew up watching old movies in black and white, and I never realized the color that the clothing had! It always amazes me. The fit and flow of vintage dresses is so beautiful, especially ones from the 40s. We also have these fabulous Hermes shirts. Our inventory is constantly changing so I’m always finding new items to admire!
What pieces tend to be most popular with your customers?
1950s and 1960s dresses; they are the most feminine and girly. They have really pretty lines and fabrics. Even if customers don’t always realize why they like these dresses, they are just drawn to them. Our jewelry is also quite popular; it’s easy to find something that fits and it’s a great way to add a little bit of vintage to a modern outfit!
How did you become interested in vintage clothing?
When I was a little boy, I was very close to my aunt. I used to stay at her house sometimes, and the room I slept in had a closet full of 40s and 50s ball gowns. I was so intrigued, and the time I spent working in the modeling world also added to my interest; I was exposed to so many great designers. Vintage clothing is my favorite because it’s simply better quality. People used to buy less clothing, but clothing that was made really well. Pieces were designed to last a long time. That’s why all the clothing in our store has held up so well after all these years!
Have you had any interesting experiences with buying clothing?
I had a fascinating experience last season; I purchased clothing owned by the late Dorothy McGuire. She was a member of the famed McGuire Sisters trio and sang with her siblings Christine and Phyllis. I never met her, but I would have loved to be her friend! She must have been such a fun person; her style was amazing and her taste was exquisite. Her pieces sold so quickly in the store. She had a lot of dresses from the 50s, and some from the 60s to 80s. She and her sisters always wore couture on stage, not costumes, so the collection she had was just wonderful. Even our everyday gals always have a story when they come to sell something. They remember who gave it to them and where they wore it. I love the way vintage clothing has a history that you can pass on.
Do you have any tips for wearing vintage?
First of all, you’ve got to be open minded. Some styles will look better on your body than others. I always recommend mixing vintage with modern — a classic dress with contemporary accessories, hair, and makeup. When you wear vintage, it’s amazing how many compliments you’ll get!
How do you see vintage fashion influencing the looks this fall?
This season, the 40s is coming back! The beautiful cuts and shapes of the decade really complement a woman’s body. It’s all about vintage.