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L.A. Frock Stars: A Review

“Fashion trends go in and out, but really good vintage clothing...is forever.”



In comparison to the modern-day’s mass marketing of chintzy, cheap clothing, vintage fashion remains of impeccable quality. The beading, stitching, textures and fabrics feature exquisite, dainty detailing, hard to find in today’s designs. In the fashion capitals of the world, including New York, London, L.A., and Milan, hundreds of stores specialize in the distribution of vintage clothing, dating from the 20s, 40s, 70s and 80s. Each decade features its own characteristic trademarks: bell bottoms in the 70s, stuffed shoulders in the 40s, and frilly flapper dresses in the 20s. Creativity in fashion has made impressive strides from the Middle Ages to the present day.


The Way We Wore, a cute pun on “the way we were,” is an unusual, upmarket vintage fashion distributor located in the heart of Los Angeles. The store is owned, managed, and maintained by Doris Raymond, a 50-year-old aficionado on all things antique. She’s tall, brown-haired, olive-skinned, and absolutely chic. When it comes to fashion, Doris is experienced, professional, curious and analytical. Give her any article of clothing, and she’ll be able to tell you when it was sewn, what types of fabrics were used and whether it’s authentic, or a replica. Doris thinks beyond the name of the couturier. Fashion is more than just a label. Every article of clothing comes with a story.


L.A. Frock Stars, a weekly nonfiction program that recently debuted on the Smithsonian Channel, is a fascinating, eye-opening television show that is designed to give a peek into the world of high-end consignment shops. Consigned clothing is characterized by being gently-worn and well-made. These pieces are usually the types of clothes that one can wear only once: white wedding dresses, pristine Oscar ball gowns, outlandish pantsuits and the like. On L.A. Frock Stars, the viewer is given a peek into the obtainment and distribution of, specifically, vintage clothing.


Doris Raymond’s employees are lively, droll, and knowledgeable about all things vintage. You have flamboyant, comely Kyle, aka “The Ambassador,” Jacsmeen, “The Stylist” and an enthusiast of all things 80s, and Sarah, “The Vintage Virtuoso” who’s been working with Doris for over 20 years. Doris’s employees greatly add to the show’s vibrant personality and edge.


The Way We Wore also features notable entertainers from Hollywood glitterati, including burlesque performer Dita von Teese, soulful songstress Alexandra Starlight, Linda Ramone (wife of the late Johnny Ramone) and Debi Mazar. Doris’s team frequently mentions how they love to address chart-topper ADELE as well. In addition to Hollywood entertainers, Doris is given frequent visits from stylists, chapeau designers, and purveyors from high-end fashion brands such as Paige Premium Denim. Her store even contains an “inspiration room,” featuring swatches of delicate, dainty fabrics, seams, and unique antique garments.


L.A. Frock Stars enlightens its viewers on designers besides Christian Dior and Coco Chanel. Each time Doris, or one of her employees, mentions a specific designer, there is a cutaway to a screenshot containing a brief biography of that particular designer. This little information box is helpful and attractive. The show discusses influential but unknown couturiers such as Oleg Cassini, Pauline Trigere, and Paul Poiret, but Doris also appreciates the aesthetics of today’s prominent fashion designers, such as Yves Saint Laurent and John Galliano. The show is educational and informative about careers in the arts; yet it is a vibrant, upbeat guilty pleasure. L.A. Frock Stars is novel, fresh, inventive and imaginative.


Some of the show’s most memorable moments include Doris’s trip to a vintage fashion expo in Dallas, Texas, going into her store at 2 a.m. in order to find a GRAMMY’S outfit for wild pop star Lady Gaga, and a business trip to New York City for the competitive Augusta Auction. L.A. Frock Stars is chock full of excitement, joviality and chic, sleek style. And lastly, don’t forget to tune in on Thursday nights at 7!



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