I’ve never been a huge vintage shopper, but Fox + Cat Vintage, a new Midtown boutique owned by Katie Gore, is about to change that. Carefully curated with both mainstream designer and old costume house pieces, Fox + Cat Vintage is a place for the collector that’s looking for unique, whimsical pieces with a true history. Owner and creative director Katie Gore is well-versed in each piece’s history: she’s a true vintage aficionado, so she knows the story behind each garment or accessory’s origin (“this piece was part of the costuming of Grease”.) plus can usually give you a funny or interesting tidbit to how she sourced it.
I recently met up with Katie to learn more about the boutique, her love of vintage, and to play dress up (because how could we not?) Keep reading to learn more about our fun day of play!
Handmade late 60’s empire waist paisley print cotton maxi with ruffled hem* | 60’s milky blue bakelite bangle* | 50’s mustard yellow and gold tone bracelet* | Mid-century pink fabric belt | 80’s Sepcoeur gold metallic bucket bag* | 50’s Ciner white bead and rhinestone dangles*
When did your love affair start with fashion, specifically vintage?
As soon as I could walk you can find photos of me draped in my mom’s slips, long necklaces and old pieces of lace. Even for Halloween I didn’t carve the pumpkin, I styled the pumpkin. My love with vintage really spiked after I studied abroad for a semester in Prague, where I returned with an intensified desire for singularly unique expression of style, coupled with a more mature appreciation for the quality of well-constructed clothing (while, also, being on a budget).
How did that translate into you opening Fox + Cat, and how did you come up with the name?
I went down several different career paths, none of which felt quite right. It’s like putting together a puzzle, trying to fit the wrong piece into a place just because you can’t find the right one. I couldn’t find the “right” me, because I so badly wanted to match this idealized version of myself that only existed in someone else’s fiction. It wasn’t until I went through an extremely difficult break-up that I realized I wasn’t living for me. It was the catalyst that led to FOX+CAT, my pursuit to discover who I was and what I loved independent of anyone else. The name is a play off of my dog Sally, a fox-colored British Lab, and my name. We were starting over.
How does your personal style influence what you sell (and vice versa)?
My style is incredibly multifarious, so it lends itself well to selling because I truly buy what I love, and that genuine enthusiasm shines through. Now just because I love something doesn’t mean I want (or am able to) wear it. I know what silhouettes don’t work for my body type, certain colors that wash me out… but I can appreciate the singularly unique quality of each piece in my shop. I work hard to get a range of styles without compromising my aesthetic scruples.
Where do you find inspiration?
I always dread this question because I feel like I need to have a really weirdly cool answer like the “electroluminescence of plants” or “fashion prints in the age of Louis XIV.” I know I am influenced by everything I encounter without even realizing it – just the other day I pulled out one of Juergen Teller’s photobooks, Stephanie Seymour: More, and realized I chose a typeface to brand FOX+CAT nearly identical to the font on the cover. I don’t, however, actively seek out inspiration, particularly from artists or designers, because I want FOX+CAT to be as organically my own as possible.
Do you remember the first piece of vintage clothing you ever owned?
I remember the first piece of vintage clothing I ever loved, and that was my mom’s old 1970’s mustard yellow Lacoste polo she had gotten in France after college when she was an au pair. I can’t wear it now, it’s so tiny!
70’s Faded Glory button fly high-waist cut-offs* | 80’s St. Lucia, West Indies cut off t-shirt* | 80’s gold metallic oversized hoops with black cabochon centers | 60’s oversized sunglasses | Nude patent Christian Louboutins | 50’s orange fabric kiss-lock clutch*
What’s your favorite piece in the store now (I know it’s hard but choose!)?
Goodness. Hard question! I just got the most incredible early 50’s gown by Howard Greer, who I believe to be one of the best Hollywood fashion designers of his time. His pieces are super rare, so the fact that I now have two of his dresses is quite special to me.
When I stumbled upon a good shoe or top that I know that I’m going to love like crazy, I instantly get goosebumps. Does anything similar happen to you when sourcing pieces for the shop?
I wish there was film footage. I’m like a four-year-old who just simultaneously saw Santa Claus and ate a Muddy’s cupcake for the first time. I will admit that trying on every single piece in the shop (that I can get on) can sometimes be a little tedious, but the thrill and excitement of finding something fabulous, it’s unparalleled.
70’s custom-made Sara Fredericks purple white and bronze/amber/gold tone flutter sleeve silk jacquard dress with ruffled hem and fabric tie* | 50’s metallic box clutch* | 80’s bronze engraved circle earrings with amber tone bead dangles | Nude patent Christian Louboutins
What’s something that you wish more people knew about vintage fashion?
For me, vintage fashion is like a life-long art history class. Every style reflects something about the social and political mores of that time it was produced, and each garment or accessory is a little piece of living history. The quality, construction, and attention to detail in vintage clothing is also just miraculous – particularly for the price. I research every item that comes into my store. The misconception that vintage should be less expensive just because it is older and has been worn is just silly to me. The rarity and previous life of a vintage garment are two of the things I love most.
Don’t you just love her?? There’s so much good stuff there, and Katie is the sweetest. Pop in to shop whenever you can!
*denotes items that are for sale.