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Tucked away in a private suite off Palm Canyon, Secret Back Room is bursting at the seams with vintage treasures from names such as Mainbocher, Trigere and Mr. Blackwell. The collection even features some of the most collectible 80s designers such as Thierry Mugler and Gianfranco Ferre. There is also an impressive collection of shoes ranging from 1930s baby doll pumps and 1970s patchwork boots to designer footwear such as Ferragamo loafers. Recently, the Russian shoe museum, Shoe Icons, purchased a pair of 1920s pumps from Joseph for their collection.
Prices range from about $60 for a pair of designer shoes to $275 for an excellent condition cocktail dress - the closet staple for charity event and party hopping Palm Springs residents.
When Joseph first moved in from Los Angeles, he soon realized that the L.A. wardrobe of dark colors, coats, jackets and minimal design were just not going to cut it in Palm Springs. He quickly scoured his expansive inventory for pieces that the Palm Springs market would go crazy for. Since Palm Springs is the eponymy of mid-century homes, it makes sense that dresses from the 1950s, '60s, and '70s are the first to fly through the door. Oranges, corals, greens, metallics, feathers, and anything glitzy and cocktail ready get plucked quickly. But Joseph hasn't forgotten the hip gentleman. Silk blend sports coats and dinner jackets are perfect for any of the many social gatherings in the desert.
Originally intended as a storage and prep area for online photo shoots, Joseph didn't anticipate how quickly his showroom would gain popularity. Many of Palm Springs' fashionistas began making appointments, and even L.A. shoppers made the trip for a day of sun and vintage. His sporadic sales were such a hit that Joseph is now opening the showroom every Saturday. But Marc Joseph vintage fever has surpassed his showroom. He now has a small collection of mid-century vintage at the Riviera Resort and Spa for guests to browse.
A floral Mainbocher gown.
An animal print and feather trimmed hostess gown by
After twenty years of being in the vintage fashion business, Joseph finally feels as if he has found a home in Palm Springs. "The people here are so friendly and they love dressing up. There's always some fashionable event happening in Palm Springs," he explained.
Joseph is currently preparing for his fashion show during Modernism Week, Feb. 12-21, 2010. Models and Palm Springs socialites sashay across the showroom, trying on gowns and being fitted for the runway show. Joseph raises his martini glass to his happy new home and great vintage success in glamorous Palm Springs.
Secret Back Room is located at 1055 North Palm Canyon, Palm Springs, Calif., (818) 823-6079 or secretbackroom.etsy.com.