Maiden Hong Kong

Neighborhood: Greenpoint
Type of Place: Vintage Clothing Designers Women's Clothing

Whew. I don't need to tell anyone in or around NYC that it's *hot.* Hot-first-thing-in-the-morning hot. Can't-get-enough-ice-water hot. Riding-the-subway-just-for-the-good-AC hot (I'm convinced there are some who do this--and it's a smart idea, really. As long as you avoid rush hour and bring work to do or a good book, why not?).

But in the midst of this recent steaminess, I found Wendy Yang hard at work at her sewing machine--and not seeming flustered at all. Yang's shop, Maiden Hong Kong, is actually a combination shop/studio: Yang's designs as well as vintage pieces are on offer, and she also takes custom assignments. She's currently working on a few wedding dresses, as well as the costumes for 2 upcoming plays and one Nightmare Haunted House (believe it or not, Halloween will be here eventually!). So she has work to do, and the temps outside were not causing her to lose her focus or her cool.

Though not handling the heat as brilliantly myself, I did start to relax once inside the shop. And then, browsing the racks, I started to smile. Vintage-wise, I loved a tiered skirt in soft white cotton and eyelet, for the cheering price of $23; the red-and-white-checked "picnic dress" ($48; again very reasonable); and the sleeveless pink party dress with black polkadots ($42; once again a good buy). The original pieces are beautifully made and also affordable: a lovely reversible dress, with striped fabric on one side and a floral pattern on the other, completed with a sweet lavendar ribbon at the waist, is $168; and chic, fresh skirts in red and white or black and white gingham, with colorful linen fabric bands added to the hems, are an astonishing $42. (For handmade original designs? Really!) Shoes, jewelry, and accessories are available to finish the looks. One display of vintage aprons ($16) made me laugh: "Good as hostess gift," the sign said, "or for naked baking." In this weather, can we make it naked salad-making instead--or just naked ice-tea-sipping?

Menswear is here, too, in good condition and variety. I'm sure no one wants to hear this right now, but there's a gorgeous vintage suit in grey wool available, in great shape, for $45. Hey, it will be November; it will be January; it will be March, with cold wind; and there will be weddings and work events and the like; and that suit will be damn handy. There are also good vintage ties.

Browsing here, you'll likely be inspired. You'll wonder if you, too, can figure out how to make good stuff with a sewing machine. And the answer is, sure--and Wendy will help you. One-day classes and longer workshops are offered here, at (once again) reasonable prices and for men or women (the "Sewing School" workshop will teach you how to make a custom-fit sundress or a jacket). See the website for class details; and stop in for some of the...well...coolest ideas around.
  - Pamela Grossman; July 20, 2008

Maiden Hong Kong
502 Lorimer St.
Brooklyn, NY 11211
(718) 388-8885