This is a tale of a 1980s Christian Dior pegnoir set that I stumbled upon while shopping on eBay for a 45th birthday gift for myself. Curiously, the seller had it listed as a 1960s set, but by the style alone, my instincts made me investigate further. Upon perusing various Vintage Christian Dior listings from different vendors (all on eBay), I discovered the same perplexing trend – all of these pieces from the 1980s and 1990s were being passed off as items from the 60s. But why?
Long story short, I figured it out. The secret lies in the reference number on the interior tags coupled with a cunning bluish-black ILGWU union label printed alongside it. Now, do I believe these sellers are deliberately trying to deceive? Not really. I chalk it up to a case of unfamiliarity. Interestingly, many garments, even in our modern era, still bear sometimes archaic RN numbers as they denote the initial issuance of that particular garment or style (ie the first long nightgown CD ever made), not the date it was actually produced for sale. Another glaring clue of the misdated Dior was the presence of care instructions, not to mention the tag's typography seemed to be suspiciously computer-generated by DOS. Wink wink to my fellow GenX-ers out there. If you know you know.
Nevertheless, here's the lesson: sometimes delving deeper than the RN is imperative for ensuring you are getting what you are paying for when buying online. Here are a few tips:
1) Care labels, for the most part (there are exceptions) made their debut in the 70s (ie machine wash cold/ dry clean only etc). Earlier items didn't have those pesky little tags.
2) Investigate the brand labels themselves. For instance, Christian Dior usually refrained from incorporating more than one city on their brand labels until the late 70s or early 80s. Thankfully, we owe a debt of gratitude to the Vintage Fashion Guild and its remarkable label catalog. If you're curious, you can explore the Dior tags and many many more labels on their site.
3) Check out the typography. Check out the typography. Check out the typography.
4) IGLWU labels. There are a few rare ones out there, that aren't documented on our favorite resource sites. Example: the Dior one referenced here. When that happens refer to 1-3 of this list.
5) Style. Color. Stitching. (This is a post for another day ; ) ).
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