Recently I had the privilege of setting foot into Handpicked, a unique store in Spring Valley, NY. The interior design of the store is visually arresting, with white marble throughout, gold accents, luxuriously spacious fitting rooms, and racks of expertly curated clothing. In the fitting room area stands an inviting white and gold vintage couch and a massive gilded mirror – perfect for taking a moment to appreciate the art that each designer piece represents.
Handpicked was founded and is owned by Blimy Wassertheil, and she sources all of the apparel and accessories for her clients with great care. The store has a combination of new, luxury-brand items and high-quality vintage pieces. Her contemporary pieces include designers such as Valentino, Chanel, Oscar De La Renta, and more, in everything from sweaters to ball gowns.
Handpicked also carries a comprehensive vintage collection, with each item showcasing beautiful detail, tailoring, and handcraftsmanship. From the gorgeous, sequined, blue and cream Bill Blass Jacket to the velvet 70s dress I tried on, each piece is luxe, unique, and reflects the aesthetic of its decade. What I love about Wassertheil’s vintage collection is that it is modern and wearable without losing its connection to the past.
To see the collection at Handpicked, visit the store at Kennedy Mall in Spring Valley, NY, or peruse a sampling of the looks from Handpicked on Instagram @handpicked_inc and online at http://www.handpickedinc.com. Wassertheil is offering Jewish Press readers a special discount code: Mention jewishpress25 for $25 off your next full-price purchase.
Michal Goldfein: What inspired you to start your business?
Blimy Wassertheil: I’m a lover of all things beautiful. As a kid, I’d spend hours looking through my grandmother’s huge collection of old buttons, beads, and endless yards of lace. Today, one of my favorite pastimes is scouting out antique shops and admiring magnificent antique furniture (preferably French!), luxurious vintage tableware, and turn-of-the-century clothes. I’m in awe and am wonderstruck by the amazing detail and supreme splendor of these pieces!
Today, you can only find artistry like that in very expensive, luxury items. But for most, a life of luxury is not attainable, and for me, living a life without all that inspirational art and beauty was just an incredibly dull proposition. I knew I wasn’t the only one who felt that way, and so Handpicked was born.
How would you describe the aesthetic of the clothes and accessories that you carry?
They’re beautiful clothes for beautiful souls. Current luxury labels hang alongside gorgeous vintage laces and breathtaking beaded masterpieces. Plush vintage mink stoles and buttery soft cashmere complement modern tulles, taffetas, and trimmings. I handpick each unique piece, and I’m always on the hunt for the best in authentic designer vintage.
You have a beautiful store located in Spring Valley, NY with marble floors and white and gold accents. What is unique about your store space and what inspired its decor?
I wanted it to be an entrancing place that’s part museum, part store – an enchanted nook for all beauty and design lovers! People come in just to experience the ambience, sit on the regal, vintage-inspired sofa, and take a fun trip down memory lane.
You have a comprehensive line of clothing, ranging from fur coats to sweaters to gowns. What is your process when buying pieces for your store?
I have two guiding principles when shopping: a) It has to be a piece that makes my jaw drop and my breath stop short. I’m literally a sight to behold when I shop for the store – very entertaining to watch! And b) It has to be something that will make the Handpicked ladies drool… I constantly get requests on Instagram, and there’s a customer wish list in the store, so I shop with my ladies’ wishes in mind.
Your price point on the myriad of designer looks, including Chanel, Oscar De La Renta, Gucci, and St. John, is very reasonable. How are you able to offer your clients more affordable options than other stores?
That’s the biggest challenge. My goal is to make beauty affordable, and I search far and wide for the best deals on authentic luxury brands. Our pristine, pre-owned line is especially successful with its price points.
The luxurious fabrics of your pieces range from velvets to lace to pleated silk. How would you recommend caring for these quality high-end garments?
Vintage fabrics are usually very high quality; hence the fact that they last so long. With that being said, I always advise to clean as minimally as possible, and to have a good dry cleaners for when necessary. My best hack is hanging the piece over a doorframe and spraying it lightly with Windex from a foot away. Does a great job freshening up and removes light stains.
What is your favorite decade of fashion?
Oh, how can I pick? Each decade had its own flavor and beauty! But if I had to pick a least favorite one, then definitely the 90s.
Which pieces from your store are you coveting?
Um, everything in my size?
What are your favorite gowns?
Ball gowns! Dramatic sleeves! Beads and sparkle! I eat glitter for breakfast…
What are your goals for the future of your store and brand?
Definitely expanding in other localities, as our Instagram Handpicked Ladies are eagerly awaiting a branch in their neighborhoods. I’m also working on incorporating my own line of fashion and accessories based on the vintage bestsellers. But shhh! Don’t tell! It’s a surprise….