Friday, August 26, 2011

Vintage Shop Interview: Mystery Mister

Vintage shop: Mystery Mister Sunday July 17, 2011

Shop owner: Graciela Ronconi

Address: 1506 Haight Street
San Francisco, Ca 94117
(415) 552-4226

Hours: Everyday 10am-7pm

While visiting San Francisco in July, Graciela, a resident of the city since 1971, was kind enough to take a few minutes and talk vintage!

Q: How long have you had your shop?

A: This shop in particular? About a year and a half, but I’ve had other vintage clothing stores since 1991. I had Guys and Dolls over on 24th Street, but I closed that one down 4 or 5 years ago.

Q: What made you want to open another one here on Haight and Ashbury?

A: It was just time for me. I was on 24th Street for 25 years. It was just time for something new. I actually was just going to sell online and I was for awhile, but this opportunity came up with a friend of mine (Rashelle Baker) to have a shop and Haight is the mecca for vintage clothing. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity. A lot more foot traffic than 24th Street. Over there it was mainly locals. It was a destination spot. Here, on Haight, people from allover the world come.

Q: As friends, what brought you together as co-vintage shop owners?

A: Rashelle managed La Rosa for awhile, and we’ve known each other since the mid-nineties. We were actually in a shared space down the street, and we just liked the way our merchandise blended with each others.

Q: When did your passion for vintage initially spark?

A: It started in the seventies for me really. I just always loved old black and white movies and the incredible fashion they had.

Q: Did you have a favorite film back then?

A: I loved Roman Holiday and still do.

Q: In the 1970's, you preferred the 1950's. What era do you prefer now?

A: I’m always so back and forth (laughs). I'm going to say early 1970's. Kind of a boho feel. There's a dress I love that is a cross between a 1970’s and 40’s secretary look. It’s a cute, I would say I'm often into combining eras.

Q: Do you have a favorite piece in the shop?

A: Wow. That’s hard. Everything I put my blood and sweat into. Right now what I love is this cranberry dress from the 1950’s. It’s a beautiful ball gown. Also I love this amazing brown suede Gucci jacket.

Q: Do you suggest items for your customers?

A: I let customers shop at their own pace. I’ll definitely help out if they need help though. We get a lot of customers in that are going to a party. Maybe a twenties party, and they don’t really know what the twenties looked like so we have to introduce them to that era. We also have customers that know exactly what they want.

Q: What was the first item you sold?

A: Yes. It was a 1950’s black rock ‘n’ roll type of sport coat.

Q: What was the most difficult piece to part with?

A: I had another Gucci coat here and it sold within a week. It was something I wanted to keep around a lot longer.

Q: You wanted to keep it as decoration?

A: (laughs) Yes. I did.

Q: Where do you buy your pieces?

A: I buy a lot from the public…people come in and sell to us. I also go out hunting as well. Estate sales. Thrift stores. Flea markets.

Q: I can’t help but notice the teeth and bones you have over here. How did this unconventional decorative choice come about?

A: My business partner does most of this stuff. She loves the decorative aspect of it, and she loves this era. Turn of the century. She loves to add things you wouldn't think of to decorate.

What vintage fashion tips can you offer my readers?

Mix eras so you don't look like a walking costume! Oh, and have fun with jewelry...right now I'm loving 1920's and 30's costume jewelry.

*The view from Haight Street.

*Graciella: Co-owner of Mystery Mister.

*Vintage 1950's red Prada dress--one of her favorite pieces.

*Vintage brown suede Gucci coat--her other prized possession for sale.

*The music that made the shopping experience complete.

*This was the most beautiful 1950's light blue and gold cocktail dress, but my little knockers were too small for the top...

...and I had to force myself to leave it there.

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