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Cary Tauben: How to Look Like a Dime with $50

If your teens are spending their weekends in secondhand shops, fret not! In fact, encourage them! Buying secondhand clothes is not only great for the planet and the wallet, but it’s a great way for them to get creative and develop their personal style. Need proof? Then look no further than celebrity stylist Cary Tauben who spent his adolescence in Value Village! While he was in town for Montreal’s Fashion and Design Festival, he confessed that it’s a place he still holds near his heart, and that he’s very proud of his 100% Value Village-sourced fashion show. I met up with him hours before his runway show. I was able to transcribe the interview because the background noise wasn’t too invasive (and Cary speaks a mean and very cute franglais).

Cary, what can we expect to see in your Village des Valeurs runway show tonight?

For the Montreal show, we’re doing a little remix of the collection we presented in Toronto. We kept the same items, but we rejigged them for the Montreal runway. I have some looks that were originally intended for men in Toronto, but now are being worn by women in Montreal and vice versa. For me, there are no rules at Village des Valeurs. Style is totally inclusive for me and I think that it can be inclusive for everyone in the world.

The fashion world, like the LGBTG world, has just suffered a huge loss. The young Quebecois designer MARKANTOINE was beaten in Charlevoix. How have you been processing the news?

My heart is broken. When I heard the news, I had chills. It’s still shocking to see something like this happen in 2019 — especially in the younger generation. It’s still not sitting well with me.  

Has something like this every happened to you before?

One time in Paris, I was wearing high heels and short shorts and some men chased me. I ran to a taxi. It was hard. You have to be strong…

You definitely have to be strong, but at the same time, it’s not a judgment because MARKANTOINE is some strong and it still happened to him. Everyone in Quebec was surprised. I realize now that even in our schools, racism, sexism and homophobia are still rampant in schools in 2019. This isn’t just about an older generation. It’s something that is still being passed on and reinforced in the younger generation.

I really believe that it’s important to have strong models who are from the LGBTQ community like myself and MARKANTOINE. It’s good for the industry, but also for Quebec.

What are you presenting tonight?

A collaboration with Village des Valeurs. It’s a place that I hold close to my heart. It’s going to be a runway show, but everything is from Village des Valeurs. All the looks cost around $50. I was inspired by the 80s to create look for everyone, looks that are timeless.

People who know you know that you’re no stranger to secondhand shops and Value Village because it’s a place you’ve been going to since your teens. Talk to me about these trips and what you and your friends did at Value Village.

When I was 15, I shopped at Value Village and my mom was dejected. My friends and I would go at the end of the week to put together looks for our nights out. There was a bit of everything for everybody  at Value Village. I don’t really have a type. Value Village really helped me develop my style.

I recently saw you wearing jeans with clothes bought from a secondhand shop, but with Chanel sneakers!

It’s the high-low look. You find something at Value Village for $15, but the shoes can be $500. Yes, it’s steep, but I like to mix it up. Also, I’m a stylist, so I get discounts sometimes.

You have an eye for it though. What should we keep an eye out for?

Yesterday, I was at Value Village and I found a Miu Miu dress for $15 and Miu Miu shoes for $20. It’s funny because when I was 15, I would always keep my eye on the labels to see if there was any YSL or Dior. Today, I touch the fabric, and if I like the fabric, I soon realize that it’s a designer item. I don’t have a trick. I have an eye for it.

What is your favourite section in secondhand shops?

The suits for women and men. The men’s suits are usually too big, so I bring them to a tailor.

You’re so cool in your life. I want to know what kind of pyjamas you sleep in?

My pyjamas are either tie-dye, or have some kind of print going on when I’m lounging at home.  But I only sleep in Versace underwear.

The environment and our carbon footprints are all things that we really need to focus on right now. What do secondhand shops offer in that particular context?

Secondhand shops give a second life to clothes. Also, Value Village’s mission statement is to recycle, reuse and reinvent. It’s about giving a new life to clothing. Buying something new, it’s just not great for the planet and Value Village offers everyone a place where you can buy secondhand clothes.

Did you surprise a star by dressing them in something from a thrift shop?

I had Ashley Graham wear robes that I found at Value Village for a lingerie shoot. I also used a coveted piece for a shoot with Dress to Kill. Vintage shopping, it’s all a part of my life.

What’s up next for you?

Next week, I’m going to be at Burning Man. When I get back, I’ll be working with Dynamite, Aldo and Simons.

How many suitcases will you bring to Los Angeles for Burning Man?

Hmmm…I already have one in LA and I’ve pack three others!

Well then, I think I’ve found someone other than me who doesn’t travel light. Here are some photos from the Cary Tauben x Value Village runway show. Do you like the styles?

From author

Cary Tauben: How to Look Like a Dime with $50