MY LA: Doris Raymond
Current Gig: Founder, President and Curator Queen of The Way We Wore: one of Los Angeles' most thorough vintage boutiques. It really doesn't get much better than this. Raymond handpicks each item in the store and stylists, freaks for fashion, and celebrities alike flock to her spot in Hollywood to get the very best of what used to be. She has clothing in every magazine from Vogue to Vanity Fair to Harper's Bazaar, and you too can park on the street, throw a quarter in the meter, and browse through each decade of fashion.. one frock at a time.
Neighborhood: La Brea corridor just south of beautiful sunny Hollywood
LA transplant or native Angeleno: LA transplant after thirty years in the Bay area. Originated in New York with a few other stops in between.
Who or what inspires you? I am inspired by people who transcend their inhibitions and fearlessly explore uncharted territory. That includes discovering their voice and personality with how a person dresses. I love people who do not follow trends because what we wear is a strong personal statement. Creative people like Peggy Guggenheim, Marchesa Luisa Casati, Iris Apfel and Daphne Guiness are artists and excel in creative dressing or what I call exterior decoration.
I love Bill Cunningham because he showcases wonderful people and revels in those that do not follow the trends. What inspires me is the cycle of finding something absolutely beautiful from the past and finding it's natural incarnation in the present and that can lead into inspiring someone to create something beautiful and relevant for the future.
Your favorite era? All of them. Something fabulous came out of every era but perhaps I am most drawn to the teens/1920's and the 1960's?!?! They were decades of great artistic periods and cultural upheaval with very strong parallels.
The best place to see nitty-gritty street fashion in Los Angeles? Downtown! The art scene is refuge to hipsters, artists, designers, street style cultists and all manner of shady characters. Fabulous! Also my store on any given afternoon -- thanks to the parade of stylists, designers, artists and the general fashion-forward clientele we attract.
Where do you go to recharge? I am a spa girl. There are several that I gravitate to whenever the need is great. I also love to travel so new places and people always recharge my batteries. I have trekked to Machu Picchu, hiked into remote hills in Burma and cruised around the Strait of Magellan. I believe in being fearless and exploring.
Did you ever imagine you’d find a career in vintage clothing? I believe everything happens organically if you let it. My early studies in anthropology made me very receptive to my current career. There were all sorts of life experiences that helped guide me and helped to make me successful at what I do. I had great adventures selling encyclopedias door to door (my moniker was door-to-door Doris) and I believe that chapter of my life helped me to not take no for an answer when there is something I truly want to happen. I believe in magic.
Biggest misconception about vintage? There are so many. The sizes are so tiny because people were so tiny (Not true: wearable sizes sell first and most often so the majority of what’s left over are tinier sizes. People haven't grown THAT much in the last century). Vintage clothing is fragile and un-wearable (Not true: some Victorian clothing will last longer than clothing you might buy today). The bastardization of the word "vintage" is a pet peeve of mine. Vintage clothing refers to pieces that are about one generation old, or at least 18-20 years old.
Best flea market in town? All of them - the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, the Santa Monica Airport, Long Beach and the Pasadena City College are all excellent. What's unique about this city is there is one every weekend. For vintage clothing specifically, there are several shows but the best is the longest running show, the Vintage Fashion Expo, which happens 5 times a year: 3 times at the Santa Monica Civic Center and 2 at the San Francisco Concourse.
Favorite dish at an LA restaurant? I am a firm believer in supporting my neighborhood and I’m lucky to be surrounded by Ca'Brea and Campanile. At Ca'Brea it's the free range Ossobuco, and at Campanile I love the pan roasted black cod.
There has to be a story behind your store's name, The Way We Wore. How did you come up with it? I was in San Francisco and I had gone down to City Hall to file a DBA. I had no idea what to call my business and I turned the radio on and there was Barbra. A moment of divine inspiration.
The Way We Wore features vintage clothing from the 1890s-1980s. At what point will you consider the '90s worthy? Or is that out of the question? Vintage fashion is an ever-evolving proposition. I carry iconic pieces from the 1980s and believe me, it was a quite a pill to swallow to re-examine items from an era I lived through to re-assess what is relevant and timely again. I imagine I will be going throughout that process again with the 90's. I have already begun to stockpile items from the 90's as well as current pieces for future consideration. There are absolutely items that I am sure will be of future interest.
What is your first memory of fashion or clothing?
One of my most vivid memories as a child was of my mother's youngest brother, Ferro Ettehadieh. At the age of 21, he was a young immigrant whose charm and great looks launched a career in the fashion industry. He opened an atelier called Chez Czar in Palm Beach on the Royal Poinciana Plaza. I remember going down to Florida to visit him (I was 10) and at the time, he was using gorgeous, vibrant silk jerseys that had huge, bold brush strokes. I had never seen or touched anything like it before and the most impressive part for me was that the fabric came from a faraway place called Lyon, France. This was in 1964 and Ferro had infused his Persian heritage into some of his designs. The "chador" landed him press in the January 20, 1967 issue of LIFE Magazine and the February 15, 1967 issue of Vogue.
One store in LA that you cannot resist? Maxfield
One beauty product you can’t live without? Shiseido concealer
Favorite LA movie? "L.A. Story." I love Steve Martin and that portrayal of LA in the 90's still makes me smile.
What is the craziest thing you’ve seen in this city? Bad cosmetic surgery that the recipient is completely unaware of.
Why do you hate Los Angeles? The city is not very small business friendly. Stunning how they really make it difficult to justify staying.
Why do you love Los Angeles? I love the diversity, the generosity of spirit and the climate.
What is one thing you try to do every day in this city? Count my blessings and never take anything for granted. I think of all the people I love who love me. Then I think about where to shop.