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The Curators: Belinda Humphris of Claire Inc. on Designer Vintage Fashion and the Best of Adelaide

About 5 years ago (to my delight) I stumbled across Adelaide based eBay seller Claire Inc. who had the most exquisite taste in designer vintage clothing. Belinda Humprhis, the founder of Claire Inc. has since grown the business into an online fashion destination for shrewd, well-dressed ladies searching for high-end vintage clothing – admittedly she has fed my own designer jacket fetish over the years with this Karl Lagerfeld number being one of my most recent purchases:

 Vintage 1990s KARL LAGERFELD Citron SHEARLING & WOOL Coat | The Curators-Belinda Humphris of Claire Inc. on Designer Vintage Fashion and the Best of Adelaide | meltingbutter.com

Vintage 1990s KARL LAGERFELD Citron SHEARLING & WOOL Coat – Photo: Claire Inc.

Last week when I was visiting Adelaide, I couldn’t help but notice how much the city has evolved over the 10 years since I’ve moved away. I thought to do my own Adelaide city guide but without the time to properly research all of the best hotspots, I decided to call on Belinda, an Adelaide local with a creative disposition (and clearly excellent taste) to catch up about running an online fashion business, the ins and outs of buying vintage fashion and of course mapping out the very best of Adelaide into a Melting Butter city guide!

Belinda Humphris | The Curators-Belinda Humphris of Claire Inc. on Designer Vintage Fashion and the Best of Adelaide | meltingbutter.com

Belinda Humphris, Owner of Claire Inc. – Photo: Claire Inc.

MB – Tell us about how Claire Inc. has evolved over the years.

BH – Claire Inc. began as an eBay store to make a little extra money while I was at university. I’d always loved the extravagance of the 80s so began specialising predominantly in this era. Claire Inc. branched out a few years later as many of our buyers were interested in designer vintage but just couldn’t find it. We saw a big gap in the global market for late era (80s and 90s) designer vintage that needed to be filled. Our obsession began there and resulted in the current incarnation of ClaireInc.com (and our supporting blog).

MB – Tell us about some favourite pieces you’ve sold that have been hard to let go of.
BH – There are so many things that have hurt to sell! Here’s a couple of my all time faves:

I was so so lucky to find an original Chanel opal print blouse for $100 (from Karl Lagerfeld’s first collection for Chanel circa 1983). The silk print is incredible and designed by Australia’s own Jenny Kee!

 

Vintage Chanel Opal Print Blouse (1983) | The Curators-Belinda Humphris of Claire Inc. on Designer Vintage Fashion and the Best of Adelaide | meltingbutter.com

Vintage Chanel Opal Print Blouse (1983) – Photo: Claire Inc.

Also a vintage Chanel silk dress in polka dots (think Pretty woman). This was circa 1987 and literally blew my mind:

Vintage Chanel Silk Dress (1987) | The Curators-Belinda Humphris of Claire Inc. on Designer Vintage Fashion and the Best of Adelaide | meltingbutter.com

Vintage Chanel Silk Dress (1987) – Photo: Claire Inc.

MB – Are there any people or celebrities you admire that are wearing Claire Inc.?
BH – We’ve had a lot of amazing people wear Claire Inc. over the years. Irina lazareanu, M.I.A and recently Azealia Banks for Harpers Bazaar & Lara Bingle for Oyster Magazine.

MB – Where do you find all of the clothes you sell?
BH – Predominantly we buy on trips to the USA, Europe and Japan. We also have established connections with international online buyers who know our taste and keep us up to date with exciting stock. Auction sites are a great way to pickup quality vintage too. Just ensure to check for reputable sellers and don’t be afraid to ask as many questions as you can.

MB – Are there certain cities around the world that are outstanding for luxury or designer vintage shopping?
BH – Paris is the obvious one, but of late we’ve loved shopping in Japan.  In the US iconic vintage stores such as Decades are unfortunately beyond most people’s budgets. For a honed experience (where the creatives have done all the work for you) Screaming Mimis and Vagabond in NYC. The Manhattan Vintage Clothing Show is also an incredible event to attend if you love vintage (it is worth co-coordinating your NYC trip around).

MB – What kind of pieces are you looking for when you’re on a buying trip?
BH – We look for quality of fabrics, tailoring, and innovation of vintage design. Authenticity verification is a major part of what we do. We are meticulous about fabrics, tags and authenticity marks (such as stamps, signed lining, signature features & serial numbers)

MB – What are some of the vintage fashion trends you’ve spotted recently?
BH – Fashion is still looking to the 90s for inspiration. Crop cuts, brights and bold accessories. I’m quite obsessed with the late 90s PVC range from Chanel. Fits perfectly with the 90s aesthetic but looks uncannily current

Vintage Chanel 90s PVC Cuff | The Curators-Belinda Humphris of Claire Inc. on Designer Vintage Fashion and the Best of Adelaide | meltingbutter.com

Vintage Chanel 90s PVC Cuff – Photo: Claire Inc

MB – Describe the Claire Inc. woman
BH – Individual, Creative, Loves a gag, Up for adventure!

MB – You live in Adelaide, a small city with a smaller creative community compared to the likes of Melbourne or Sydney – Do you find that living in a small city helps or hinders the creative process for you?
BH – The beauty of being an online store means you can be based anywhere.  We love Adelaide and supplement our time here with buying trips overseas.  The Adelaide fashion scene is small but with some great talent and our loyal clientele is worldwide. We’ve had multiple pop-up stores in Sydney (The Corner Shop) and Melbourne (Alice Euphemia) so you do see our bricks incarnation popping up in real life.  It’s amazing to see people appreciate the finds in the flesh

MB – Most of your customers are in Melbourne, Sydney or the rest of the world. Tell me what it is about Adelaide that keeps you from moving to where your customers are.
BH – My partner is a filmmaker and the film industry is well supported in South Australia.  We have a home here and work collaboratively on creative projects (eg. our recent fashion film).  Claire Inc. engages with our customers on a daily basis through the site and social media. I find it liberating to not be defined by geography.

 

BELINDA HUMPHRIS’ & CLAIRE INC. ADELAIDE HIT LIST

Adelaide City Guide | The Curators-Belinda Humphris of Claire Inc. on Designer Vintage Fashion and the Best of Adelaide | meltingbutter.com

Click on the map to access the city guide

THE ANTIQUE MARKET, ADELAIDE CITY

Dean & Kathy run this absolute treasure trove. My favourite place to get lost for a few hours.  Two floors of heaven!  Downstairs is antiques, jewellery, objects and upstairs is a wide array of vintage clothing and accessories

Best Bit: One stop shop. And Kathy is the best-dressed lady in town.

Address: 32 Grote St, Adelaide SA 5000, Australia
Phone: +61 8 8212 6421

The Antique Market | The Curators-Belinda Humphris of Claire Inc. on Designer Vintage Fashion and the Best of Adelaide | meltingbutter.com

The Antique Market – Photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/kmk_cyber_shot/


ALPHA BOX & DICE, MCLAREN FLAT

Delicious wine that keeps you on your toes. Well worth a visit to their cellar door – one of the highlights of the McLaren Vale wine region. Also check out their city incarnation in the form of Cantina Sociale.

Best Bit: Wine, Wine and truffle oil infused popcorn (YUM)

http://www.alphaboxdice.com.au/

Alpha Box & Dice Cellar Door | The Curators-Belinda Humphris of Claire Inc. on Designer Vintage Fashion and the Best of Adelaide | meltingbutter.com

Alpha Box & Dice Cellar Door – Photo: Alpha Box & Dice


THE NEW GUARD, UNLEY

Dries Van Noten, Stella McCartney, Isabel Marant. Owners Anna & Erin have the best buying eyes in the country. Their online store is open worldwide 24/7 but if you’re in Adelaide take the opportunity to visit their bricks incarnation.

Best Bit: Perfect palettes, staples and investment

http://thenewguard.com.au/

The New Guard Store | The Curators-Belinda Humphris of Claire Inc. on Designer Vintage Fashion and the Best of Adelaide | meltingbutter.com

The New Guard Store – Photo: The New Guard

 

LUCIA’S PIZZERIA & SPAGHETTI BAR, ADELAIDE CITY

Established in 1957 this place is an Adelaide Institution. Nestled in the Central Market it is tasty, authentic, no frills Italian food. Original décor too! Get in early to secure a table and try the tuna salad with ricotta.

Best Bit: Minestrone, coffee, their charcuterie next door

http://www.lucias.com.au/geninfo/pizza/pizzabar.php

Lucia’s Pizzeria & Spaghetti Bar | The Curators-Belinda Humphris of Claire Inc. on Designer Vintage Fashion and the Best of Adelaide | meltingbutter.com

Lucia’s Pizzeria & Spaghetti Bar – Photo: Around You


THE TENTH MEADOW, ADELAIDE CITY

Sublime floral studio run by artist Morgan Allender. Morgan and her team create beauty with all things green. I’ve had the pleasure of working with Morgan and she is a lovely as the blooms she sells. Highly recommended a visit.

Best Bit: Seasonal, native, creative blooms you wont see anywhere else.

http://tenthmeadow.blogspot.com.au/

Tenth Meadow Flower Arrangement | The Curators-Belinda Humphris of Claire Inc. on Designer Vintage Fashion and the Best of Adelaide | meltingbutter.com

Tenth Meadow Flower Arrangement – Photo: The Tenth Meadow


RUBY RED FLAMINGO, NORTH ADELAIDE

YUM YUM YUM.  More Italian fare…can you see a theme developing? Ostensibly a pop-up restaurant but the food was so good they never closed. Try the Gnudi (ricotta, spinach balls) and the Maccheroni Eggplant. Actually everything is good here Get in early to secure a table on weekends (I’m talking 5.30pm early). They also have a great bar upstairs (espresso martinis = A1)

Best Bit: EAT IT ALL

https://www.facebook.com/RubyRedFlamingo

Ruby Red Flamingo | The Curators-Belinda Humphris of Claire Inc. on Designer Vintage Fashion and the Best of Adelaide | meltingbutter.com

Ruby Red Flamingo – Photo: John McGrath

 

THE EXETER HOTEL, ADELAIDE CITY

Another Adelaide institution (but if it ain’t broke don’t fix it right??). I spent A LOT of my uni years drinking here. Yes there are more beautiful bars in Adelaide but there is something that resonates about this place. Honest, easy, non-pretentious, just good.

Best Bit: An oldie but a goodie

http://www.theexeter.com.au/

The Exeter Hotel | The Curators-Belinda Humphris of Claire Inc. on Designer Vintage Fashion and the Best of Adelaide | meltingbutter.com

Live band at The Exeter Hotel – Photo: Peter Tea

 

BECK’S BAKEHOUSE, MELROSE PARK

My friend Holly and I are on a constant search for the perfect tuna pie. So far Beck’s Bakehouse is the front-runner. Square format with piped potato and a sprinkling of melted cheese on the top. Saturday morning (afternoon) hangover must-have

Best Bit: Tuna pie! The cheese & veggie pasties aren’t bad either

https://www.facebook.com/BecksBakehouse

Beck’s Bakehouse | The Curators-Belinda Humphris of Claire Inc. on Designer Vintage Fashion and the Best of Adelaide | meltingbutter.com

Beck’s Bakehouse – Photo: Kristy C. on Yelp

 

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