if you're into extravagant vintage you'll love this account
Aside from Saint Laurent, Stacey Nishimoto has a handful of brands she’s combing the outer recesses of the internet for.
Photography Richard Ramirez Jr.
If you love thrifting you probably already follow Stacey Nishimoto, the high priestess of all things vintage on Instagram. Nishimoto’s aesthetic could perhaps best be described as a romp through the British countryside circa 1983, or as she puts it so succinctly herself, “Laura Ashley on crack.” What’s even better is that until last month, Nishimoto had never even been to England — she’s a dyed in the wool California girl, growing up in San Francisco before making the long drive to Los Angeles 7 years ago. Vintage is her day job too (it’s not all skipping around in floor length princess dresses), as she’s the proprietor of The Corner Store, the best corner of the internet for buying into big collars and even bigger ruffles.
“I think my love for vintage came as a teenager in the 90s,” she says on the phone from LA, freshly back from the London trip. “It was a time when high fashion and grunge were merging, and it was really easy to create that look through vintage stores.” Just think of Marc Jacobs for Perry Ellis and the shockwaves that sent through the industry, and the idea that a kind of decaying glamour was, well, glamorous. “As a teenager I’d always had extravagant taste but I was completely broke! So vintage stores totally fulfilled my desire to create my own world. And so vintage has just always been part of my life without realizing it — I’ve always been drawn to things with a past, a history to them. That’s just so much more special and mysterious to me. Anything that’s from another time.”
Central to the appeal of thrifting is the price, obviously, as one can dress like royalty by wearing their old clothes. Obviously the wares that Nishimoto sells are a little pricier than sifting through the rails at Out of the Closet — everything she stocks is exquisite, and you’re paying for her eye. Nishimoto’s background is in fact in styling, which is kind of evident from the pictures she puts up of LA locals in her wares. “What happened was, I was an in house stylist for a corporate job, at Nasty Gal. I was the head stylist for about 5 years, and then they started laying a bunch of people off. I was really scared, I lost the consistency of a regularly paying job. So I started selling my things on Instagram to make ends meet. And it was fun! And easy.” And that’s how The Corner Store started.
Key to the store’s success is her hyper femme aesthetic. “Well, I think that I happen to be an extreme romantic,” she laughs. “But also, a minimalist at the same time. So Saint Laurent is just easy to love and came naturally to me. But I’m obsessed with the early 1980s. I tumbled down the rabbit hole with Laura Ashley and other countryside, British styles from the 80s. And I really related to that. I really love that look, the Princess Di sophistication. How YSL did peasant as well, where a big sleeve and collar was everything.”
What’s also glorious about the project are the girls she finds to model her wares, a fabulously diverse bunch she finds on Instagram (naturally). “I live in Los Angeles, I come from a mixed background, and casting’s one of my favorite parts,” she says of the process. “I find these little beautiful angels on Instagram, and I DM them. Coming from LA, I think that I like to celebrate all the Latinas here, all the girls from a mixed background. I think it’s important, and selfishly I think that’s modern, and how it should be.”
It’s hard to talk about LA without also referencing how much it’s changed. On the one hand, the city’s ever busier and more packed, but on the other, the fashion and art scenes are possibly a mecca for creative types from around the world. “I used to think Southern California was quite tacky, but I think that was the arrogant part of me,” she laughs. “And then I moved here, and as time went by I felt differently. I think the fashion in Los Angeles right now is so distinctive and recognizable worldwide… I think Los Angeles is a really cool place, and I’ve never thought that in my life!”
Aside from Saint Laurent, Nishimoto has a handful of brand she’s combing the outer recesses of the internet for. “There’s a label called Leslie Lucks. It’s pretty damn amazing, super architectural, controlled volume, and pieces I want to hang on to because they’re too damn valuable to let go,” she says of her current obsession. “And then there’s other harder to find pieces, like this interesting 70s label by Angela Holmes called Droopy and Browns. It’s from the UK, and it’s a super insider label. And what else. I love Charles Jourdan. It’s kind of like, low key designer. It’s like an old Parisian brand that makes very sophisticated things. It’s like Laura Ashley on crack! Amazing textiles and super exaggerated bits of the dress.”
Obviously, with all this incredible knowledge, the next step has to be making her own designs. “That’s next,” she demurs, “launching my collection and turning The Corner Store into a brand.” She’s a fan of the decadence of Palomo Spain, and the modernity of Y Project — it’ll be interesting to see what she creates. As for what’s next in the world of vintage, “It’s hard to narrow in, but my gut feeling is decomposed Victorian style. I still feel very romantic, and I don’t feel like that’s going to fade away anytime soon.” As for Nishimoto herself, she’ll still be channelling dressing like the First Lady of Los Angeles. “You put on the perfect, romantic dress and you’re something else, you’re untouchable. It’s this fantasy armor, if you will.”