Shannon Hoey may be the queen of vintage clothing, but she’s an ultra-modern working woman. We caught Hoey, the co-founder and CEO/Creative Director of New York Vintage, just as she was flying to Peru for a project with Madonna and wrapping up a Fashion Week collaboration with avant-garde icon Suzanne Bartsch. For this innovative stylist, it’s all in a day’s work.
Who Is Shannon Hoey of New York Vintage?
Hoey has dressed everyone from Beyonce and Lady Gaga to Michelle Obama. She and business partner Jon Schneck established New York Vintage in 1999, a museum-quality clothing collection of designer vintage fashion that makes its rental showroom available only to those in the fashion and entertainment industries. Pieces from their collection have been worn in films like Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby and on TV shows including Sex and the City and Boardwalk Empire, as well as featured on the pages of countless top magazines such as Vogue, Vanity Fair, and Harper’s Bazaar. The New York Vintage Archive, a digital fashion tool, makes creative inspirations available to designers and fashion industry professionals.
But beyond her work in making pretty people even more glamorous, Hoey is a master artist with an impressive knowledge of fashion history. Bold, brassy and brilliant in the classic sense of Old Hollywood leading ladies, she has a star power all her own that blows you away - a genuine fashion pioneer skilled in reimagining past designs and taking them right into the future. (And if you need more proof, just check out her work on Mellow Rackz’s look in our 15th issue's cover story!)
HONEYSUCKLE MAGAZINE: Why did you choose to work with vintage fashion?
SHANNON HOEY: There’s a lot of reasons why [I chose] vintage fashion. You’re saving the planet. Everybody’s on this sustainability kick right now and we’ve been pioneers in this industry for 20 years, recycling the past and dressing the stars. [Vintage is] exclusive. It’s personal, it’s political, it’s not easily attainable, depending on the garment you’re looking for. So you’re not showing up in Us Weekly as a “Who Wore It Best?” situation.
What is your inspiration?
Fantasy is my inspiration. Working with creatives or creating looks or building out sets that tell a story that are fantastical and are reimagined through vintage.
What would you say is a signature couture piece of yours?
The collection spans 150 years, so I have signature pieces from every decade. I can probably name at least one signature piece per decade. For example, I really love all the Paco Rabanne in our collection. His use of unconventional materials that were never used in fashion before. For me, it’s about pushing limits and overcoming boundaries in the fashion world. So, I mean, Paco Rabanne against Schiaparelli - the oddities, the conversation pieces, the things that you don’t see on a day-to-day basis. That’s truly the art of fashion for me.
Who are some of the photographers and fashion houses you love working with now or would like to work with someday?
I work very closely with Gucci. I love working with them - I think that they are really strong in the fashion game and I quite enjoy [their projects]. I would love to work with Schiapparelli. I have not done so yet. But my interest in fashion and my passion for it began with Schiapparelli, the surrealism and the outlandish, very Dali-esque inspired looks. Works of art, really, is what that is. For photographers in fashion, I love working with all of them. But a few standouts - Steven Klein, Terry Richardson, Tim Walker. Tim Walker’s amazing, working with proportions, and again, fantasy and storytelling.
How would you describe your personal style?
Very androgynous. When have you seen a fashion designer walk down the runway after a show in couture or in their own collection? I’m a jeans and T-shirt kind of girl. For me, my clients and the creators I work with - that’s my canvas. But for my personal style, it’s very androgynous. It’s avant-garde, it’s architectural, it’s structural, very masculine. I did wear a cocktail dress the other day, but it had this trained cape that just went to the floor. And I like very strong silhouettes.
What’s sexy to you?
More is sex. More is more. Sexy for me is not bodycon dresses or [being] half-naked. It’s more about the mystery of what’s underneath. The layering upon layering, upon layering. That’s sexy.
So if I came to New York Vintage and wanted to look down to fuck, like super dripping sexy, how would you style me?
Again, just layering it on. We have all that in our showroom. We have those pieces - drippy, sexy rhinestones and crystals, that are accessible in our showroom. So we would just layer it on.
What is the future of fashion and where are you and New York Vintage in that evolution?
Oh, I think we’re all going to have avatars. It’s going to be very technical and everything will be digital with the NFTs. We will buy [clothes digitally] and have avatars. And where am I in it? Really, my focus right now is building out New York Vintage Archive, which is a design and media resource for the fashion industry and other creatives to be able to source vintage and utilize pieces from our collections that span 150 years. It’s for professionals’ creative projects and their use, whether that’s film, TV, media, or simply to wear. So [right now] I’m building it out and making it globally accessible.
For more about Shannon Hoey and New York Vintage, visit newyorkvintage.com.
A version of this article was originally published in Honeysuckle's milestone 15th print edition. Click here to get your copy now!
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Featured image: Shannon Hoey, co-founder and CEO/Creative Director of New York Vintage (C) Sam C. Long / Honeysuckle Media, Inc. @tissuekulture