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  • Writer's pictureC.T.Madrigal (

VOGUE Magazine

"Thirties organzas and chiffons, postwar haute couture, Liza Minnelli's castoffs, and just plain old pretty things."

VOGUE Magazine, December 2005

VOGUE’s news/features director, editor Sally Singer interviewed me in my San Francisco home for an article about that ran in their Dec. 2005 issue. 

Text from the VOGUE article is below (my portrait is from the publication, other photos are current offerings from the website.)

WHEN CHRISTIAN MADRIGAL, an art student and paralegal in San Francisco, realized that his private collection of Victorian and Edwardian mourning dresses and capes (amassed for the purpose of a photographic project) had grown way, way out of hand, he set up a website to offload it." Other paralegals had boxes of documents in their offices", he says, "I had boxes of dresses".

Hattie Carnegie 1940s tulle ballgown

Such  was the stampede of electronic buyers that Madrigal found himself steering a major business in antique and vintage clothing. For five [twenty now] years, has been a key site for anybody interested in browsing through and possibly buying Civil War capes, thirties organzas and chiffons, postwar haute couture, Liza Minnelli's castoffs, and just plain old pretty things. 

1930s satin and georgette gown

Even though the top sellers on the site are cheery Lilli Ann suits, fifties prom dresses, heavily beaded sheaths from sixties Hong Kong, and anything reeking of Jean Harlow, Madrigal's heart is still with jet beaded, fin de siecle funereal ensembles, as befits a man who loves in a chocolate-and-aubergine apartment and often wears a Victorian cape to play Dark Wave music with his band, The Organism.

(Our band's no longer The Organism, now we're Werewuss, and "dark wave"... not so much.)

The unifying motif of Madrigal's collection is not archival importance or curatorial zeal,  it's all about fabulous frocks that women have worn and loved for their beauty, unique details, and flattering silhouettes. He has an eye, simple as that, and one that is beholden neither to fashion trends (although lovers of the demure Fall 2005 fashionings of Rochas and Comme des Garcons should start clicking now), nor to camp and kitsch (just imagine La Minnelli's clothes look surprisingly wearable).

Junya Watanabe smocked dress

"But I also like a garment that's so elaborate it's confusing,"  he says, 

"something that—in some way—alters the shape of the human form."


Issue: Dec 2005

PHOTO 1: Hattie Carnegie 1940s beaded tulle ballgown (Sold)

PHOTO 2: 1930s satin and georgette gown (Available in our Antique section)

PHOTO 3: 1800s mourning ensemble (Photography project "Portraits from the Pit")

PHOTO 4: Junya Watanabe smocked dress (Available in our Late Vintage section)


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