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Ginnie or Vintage Genie?

Updated: Apr 11, 2023


Almost two decades before I purchased my first vintage hat, Virginia Louise Bell opened Vintage Vogue in Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia; a shop of fashion fantasies lovingly collected by Ginnie herself, from San Franciso to Cape Breton. For just over two decades, lucky customers of Vintage Vogue - among them a few movie stars- benefitted from Ginnie's expertise and exquisite taste in long ago fashions.


I was thrilled when Ginnie contacted me shortly after my arrival in Lunenburg (Ginnie lives a mere 12 K away) and we met to share our passion. I know what you're thinking. Yes, she has hats, lots of them; even an Irene of Montreal!


We laughed when she showed me Irene's obit, a Lives Lived piece clipped from the the Globe and Mail, and tucked behind a photograph of one of the great designer's hats. "Do you know who wrote that?' I asked.


She took a close look and smiled, "Norma Shephard, it says".


I was so pleased to see that someone with Ginnie's appreciation for vintage millinery had saved my tribute to Irene, but that isn't all of the fashion history that this collector and former shop owner has preserved. Ginnie's remaining collection now resides in a private, upperlevel trove along with memories of her New York Times-level media attention; when, in 1988, she scored four pair of Imelda Marcos' shoes at a Christie's auction.


I'd say Ginnie has earned her Vintage Genie status.

Ginnie is seen here (as she puts it) 'pulling her ostrich out of its cage' in preparation for our local pre-Coronation celebration.



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1 comentário


Bobbie Smith
Bobbie Smith
11 de abr. de 2023

Wow, Norma. What a great experience to write about. Imagine that; she saved your article!!! Fantastic.

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