Auction house and fashion atelier by John Hadeed, founder of Torso Vintages
When Torso Vintages began over 25 years ago, it was a groundbreaking sustainable vintage fashion house. Today, on the shoulders of Torso, we’ve launched Space Lace to bring vintage fashion collectors a bespoke range of purchasing and disposition options — most notably, the thrill of live auctions. Our thoughtfully styled auctions feature high fashion and accessories, fine jewelry, and home goods.
Space Lace broadcasts auctions live online from The Carriage House, a landmark building in San Francisco’s historic Jackson Square neighborhood. Built just after the California Gold Rush of the mid-1800s, The Carriage House showcases the future of Earth-minded living at its most natural and unprocessed. An obsessive focus on textiles informed our desire to present timeless high fashion against harmonious interiors. You have to see it sometime!
Most importantly, our new home gives us an abode to pursue the preservation of items of cultural value, as we dedicate ourselves to a regenerative and hopeful vision of the future. Now, please enjoy a look back at a few Torso Vintages highlights from the past 25+ years.
Love and Peace,
John Zakour Hadeed
P.S. Connect with us now for your private or virtual tour of our out-of-this-world style.
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Bastille Day 1994 And so it begins…
Torso Vintages becomes a landmark, establishing one of the first fine vintage fashion houses in the world. We chose the name to reflect a part of the body that we all share, no matter how different we may seem. Our mission was simple: Elevate vintage high fashion and sustainability. Little did we know that our goals, while simple, would take decades to see adopted more broadly. In these early years, vintage fashion was still quite subversive, as were fluid concepts of self-expression. Our Portland hometown was the perfect city for our counterculture fashion statement.
I was inspired by the arches of Damascus on a visit to Syria, my ancestral homeland. Here, very early print collateral reflects our love of Art Nouveau aesthetics and classical Arabesque arches. It is the blending of ancient and modern that defines cultural relevance.
DVF and Me
We made a surprise visit to our friends at Saks Fifth Avenue as soon as we heard Diane Von Furstenberg was re-launching her iconic wrap dress from our no-fashion-week city. Designer royalty in Portland! So, we brought six models and wowed DVF with a retrospective of her own work.
David and I made our film costume credit debut in Davenport, a short film by noted New York photographer Mario Lalich. We even made cameos! (pictured here) Thomas Lauderdale, early in his Pink Martini days, made an appearance and scored the movie. Such exhilaration to see the obscure yet influential subculture of our hometown given thoughtful consideration by a tried and true New Yorker.
Sustainable West Coast made since 1998. We needed a creative outlet to re-imagine fine vintage textiles… and a platform to highlight waste. Though we encountered some harsh criticism for being so unorthodox, our Repurposed garments helped spread a regenerative vision for fashion. Being early adopters isn’t always easy. Despite the noise, our unbranded and tagless one of a kind in-house Creations were received with great interest by other fashion houses, film/fashion industry professionals and stylists. Many have worn Torso Creations without knowing. Widespread notoriety was never necessary.
Tilda in Adrian
We met Tilda Swinton in 2003 while she was filming a movie in Portland. She stopped in our store, and we fell in love with her at first sight. Here, Tilda wears an incredibly iconic Gilbert Adrian pulled from the Torso Archival Collection for an outing with couture designers Viktor & Rolf.
On the Road Again
Being totally outside a fashion industry city and the accompanying mentors/peers/investors, we never saw runway shows as a viable option. Instead, we hosted intimate salons and soirees. It was a better way for us to showcase hospitality amidst our immersive fashion installations. The early 2000’s were a constant loop of excitement as we shuttled between Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, and Portland. Those in the know could always find us tucked away in a bungalow at the Chateau Marmont or a string of rooms at The Bowrey.
Making an underground club-culture driven fashion house work in Portland required forward thinking. In the mid-2000’s vintage had gained some acceptance, but we were still hard at work elevating the status and visibility of fine high fashions of the past. It was always the dream to have a dedicated boutique inside a famed luxury department store. We wanted to see important wearable art of the past treated with the same deference as the latest runway fashions of the day.
After years on the road flirting between setting up shop in Los Angeles or New York, we chose San Francisco – another outsider city. We loved the freedom of thought. The possibilities seemed endless. Our first Christmas at the original Sutter Store was a fairytale. We found the massive showroom of our dreams because downtown was so undervalued at the time. The store’s beauty and prime Union Square location allowed us to showcase vintage on par with the most exclusive retail fashion boutiques nearby. There is a silver lining in every cloud.
Renowned San Francisco vocalist Veronica Klaus has always shared our passion for fine vintage fashion. And as a Torso Vintages Ambassador, she also shared her expertise and kindness with so many! Please view her wonderful work at VeronicaKlausMusic.com
San Francisco has neither fashion nor entertainment industry-driven events. Here, charity events showcase the latest high fashion looks. Before social media, being photographed was everything! Torso Vintages quickly became the need to know go-to place to be styled head to toe for red carpet looks.
Torso + Pamela & Gela (Pamela Skaist Levy & Gela Nash Taylor) of Juicy Couture go way way back. They always popped in whenever they were in town. These ladies pulled THE best items every time. Enough said.
Our wildly talented Torso alum José A. Guzman Colón shot this video of legendary Sonique gracing our last downtown showroom. José and Sonique highlight the cavernous mysteries it beheld. We were so proud to have Sonique, fresh off of a powerful performance on Season 2 of RuPaul’s Drag Race – where she had just made history as the show’s first trans performer.
Torso Vintages was honored to be one of only 15 inaugural fine vintage dealers on 1stdibs. The online luxury marketplace allowed us to expand our reach to an entirely new global audience. 1stdibs continues to be a tremendous partner and advocate for fine vintage preservation. (Visit Torso Vintages on 1stdibs.)
The Ladies Man
Liz Goldwin of MGM fame and Burlesque beauty Dita Von Teese are such vintage connoisseurs. It was a delight to show them around the archives. Our very own production stylist, Vanessa, is peeking her head over the top.
There are no words to convey the ultimate honor of my career, working with Grace Jones. I met Grace through her long-time stylist – the inimitable Lady Jane. On this first occasion, Lady Jane asked me to pull items befitting the Queen. The fondness was mutual. I was escorted by Grace’s brother himself back stage to tour her incredibly important performance wardrobe, including the piece de resistance – a crated Eiko skull headdress.
The Three Muses
Portland was always fashion headquarters for us, the place from which creativity sprang. Our first muse Michelle (center) was the guardian of our home showroom since the very first days of Torso. Here she is shown with Zöe Kravitz and friend snuggling in the attic of our Portland house. As you can see, beauty is undeniably ageless.
We love to assist film industry professionals in creating the rich period looks needed in a visually convincing scene. This dramatic Lilli Ann of San Francisco suit jacket fitted the haunting mood of a brooding Metropolis perfectly on the show Gotham.
Cookie On Empire
Taraji P. Henson’s riveting performance as Cookie Lyon on Empire was hands down the best fashion show on TV for several seasons running. We were hooked! So, it was a thrill beyond to provide this sizzling feather-trimmed Versace frock for the fabulous wardrobe created for Ms. Henson.
Galliano and Me
Another career highlight was spending time with John Galliano.Without doubt one of the most talented designers of all time, period. His gentle presence, appreciation of vintage and unbounded creativity are everything we love.
Neiman’s Very Best, 2017
Neiman Marcus San Francisco invited us to stage The Love Boutique, a month-long trunk show commemorating the 50th Anniversary of San Francisco’s 1967 Summer of Love. We live to spread the sprit of peace and love. So, we mounted a HUGE fashion exhibition. Legendary Creative Director Ken Downing paid me a big surprise pre-opening visit with our dear friend, Designer Import Specialist, Vicki Winston. Ken’s enthusiasm was just what I needed to open the show in high spirits.
Lenny And Laurie
It’s true, we love surprises. Lenny Kravitz and Laurie Stark (of celebrated Chrome Hearts fame) made an impromptu visit to our top-secret interim atelier with Lenny’s pooch in attendance. Our Silicon Valley high-rise location was a bit unusual, but these vintage experts arrived ready for anything.
Restoration Hardware, NYC
What an honor to be a small part of such a monumental endeavor! The Meatpacking District Flagship sets a new standard for aesthetic excellence. Moments like this remind me of just how much we can all accomplish together. Here is a little flower arrangement I threw together on a lark to make a powder room more inviting. That is the hospitality of Restoration Hardware.
Style Lounge, LA
It was January 2020, and we set up the most fabulous mid-century trunk show in Beverly Hills for The 62nd Annual Grammy Awards. We had no idea the COVID-19 pandemic was looming. Looking back, it was such a lovely and innocent moment to spend time with our brethren in Los Angeles. And we will be back!
Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained
Meet Space Lace! At once an auction house, sustainable fashion atelier, and home showroom, Space Lace endeavors to continue making innovative aesthetic contributions. Stay tuned for more exciting announcements coming soon.
Virtual shopping, consignments and auction previews are all available by scheduled appointments at this time, with contactless curbside pickup and global shipping available. Chat with a member of our showroom staff now 415-660-8350 to start your experience.
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