Gabriel Held is the in-demand New York stylist and vintage dealer whose archive is a colourful nod to fashion’s recent history. Held possesses an eye for collecting unique pieces, and his impressive vintage collection is celebrated throughout his popular Instagram account. His curation particularly emphasises the early 2000’s, an era of memorable MTV VMA red carpet looks and iconic R&B music videos. “I would describe my aesthetic as eclectic, maximal and somewhere between “good” & “bad” taste,” Held tells Something Curated.
Today, Held’s clientele includes the likes of Lena Dunham, Lil Kim, and Bella Hadid, among other eminent figures. He explains: “While I’ve always had a strong impulse to hoard clothing, styling was not anything I came to particularly deliberately. My background is in the fine art world, which I tried to pursue, but once I opened myself up to other possibilities I really hit my groove in fashion. Personally, I am of the opinion that the most interesting work in fashion is informed by things outside of fashion, so I don’t mind having taken a couple of detours to get to where I am today.”
He continues: “I grew up in a somewhat bohemian family, while attending in affluent prep school in New York, where that was not quite the norm. While there were countless benefits to growing up in a somewhat alternative fashion, having money to spare was not one of them. I would take my meagre allowance to the thrift store, buy things, and sell them back to the girls at school, which in essence is still my blueprint.”
In recent months, Held has been publishing a regular series paying homage to his favourite and often underrated female fashion icons with the hash tag #unsungsherooffashion. There are images of a glittering Denise Richards, the 90s actress Lori Petty, singer Kelis, Cynthia Garrett and China Chow. “My Instagram it’s something I never knew I was preparing for my whole life! Since childhood, I have been a collector of images, it used to be magazine clippings that I would carry around school and lay out on the table in the lunchroom, which I guess I consider my own primitive format of Instagram,” Held says.
“Though I try to make sure everything I work on is something I can be proud of, there are some standouts for me,” Held tells, continuing, “About two years ago, my childhood friend Lena Dunham bought a Todd Oldham skirt from my Etsy, not knowing it was mine, nor did I know it was going to her. When she got it and saw my address on the envelope she called me and said that for the final season of Girls press appearances she only wanted to wear vintage Todd Oldham, and could I source some for her. I did, but everything changed when Todd himself got involved and gave us unfettered access to his archives. Getting to work with someone I’ve known most of my life and someone I’ve admired most of my life altogether was a very proud moment, and it was really the first step towards making Gabriel Held Vintage what it has become today.”
Words by Keshav Anand | Feature image via @gabriel_held_vintage