Audra Frizzell knows the allure of vintage all too well. She studied fashion and costume design at the University of Minnesota, and spent nearly 12 years working at the Uptown standby Via’s Vintage. Today she's opening her own store, the Golden Pearl Vintage. The '30s is her favorite era, but she's also filled racks with pieces ranging from the '20s all the way up to the '90s. (That said, don’t expect to find a bunch of Contempo Casuals boxy suede jackets; the Golden Pearl is a little more Breakfast at Tiffany’s than 90210.)
Before the big opening, City Pages took a sneak peek at the new shop, which is nestled near Find Furnish and Red Stag in northeast Minneapolis. We quickly discovered that Frizzell has taken the Golden Pearl Vintage to another level.
“The shop is trying to cultivate an old-school department store feel,” she says. “I want it to feel like you’re shopping for new clothes, and like every piece gets the credit it deserves.”
Above the jewelry cases, which are originally from downtown’s dearly departed Neiman Marcus, looms a massive mid-century chandelier that came from a '60s-era Holiday Inn by way of furniture shop Retro Wanderlust. Plushy, pink shell chairs are nestled near a full-length mirror, so you can bring along a captive audience to watch you try on piece after piece. Flattering shades of ivory and gold are employed as the main color scheme.
Everything has ties to Minnesota, with inventory sourced via Frizzell's tireless shopping at estate sales and on Craigslist. One of her best hauls came from the Cream of Wheat estate sale this past summer. But while the Golden Pearl offers a small amount of designer labels, that's not all Frizzell looks for. You’re just as likely to find label-less gems hanging alongside fancier pieces from Dayton’s (RIP). The best part about vintage is mixing it all up to create something unique to you, after all.
Like a department store, the Golden Pearl has a large women’s section, plump full of pretty party dresses from all eras, luxe fur stoles, shoes, and fun retro hats that sparkle under the lights. There are slinky polyester dresses from the '70s, and poofy '50s prom confections. There are dresses dying to be worn to garden parties and galas, and casual skirts and blouses to pair with items you’ve already got in your closet.
There's menswear, too, which is pleasantly surprising to see.
“I noticed there’s not a drop of men’s clothing [in the neighborhood], besides at Find Furnish," she notes. "There are lots of young professionals here, and men deserve to have fun, too.”
Golden Pearl will also offer alterations on vintage pieces (whether or not they’re from the store) and repairs, and there are plans to throw tea parties, cocktail hours, and styling sessions.
Prices at Golden Pearl range from as low as $5 to several hundred for fur coats and special pieces. The location is convenient, as you can stop in before shopping at Lund’s for groceries or on your way to meeting your bestie for a drink at Red Stag.
IF YOU GO:
The Golden Pearl Vintage, opening today
507 E. Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis