Best Place To Buy Secondhand Chanel Suits And Beaded Ball Gowns

Déjà Vu

"Nobody in Palm Beach will buy used clothes, or sell them," locals told Maxie Barley when she opened the consignment shop Déjà Vu 12 years ago. But Barley suspected that residents of this exclusive isle shared her dual devotion to designer clothes and bargains. Indeed, one of her wealthiest big-name customers won't buy anything unless it's 50 percent off the already discounted price. Barley says she would go to jail before revealing a client's identity but claims her patrons include millionaires, movie stars, socialites, secretaries, police officers, and drag queens. She reserves the highest reverence for anyone selling Chanel -- almost a "sure thing" in the consignment business. The sacred suits, marked down to around $1400 from $4000 or $5000, hang in a shrine of sorts at the store's center, shielded by a locked glass door. Out on the floor are racks packed with such finds as an $1825 bubble gum-colored fox coat embroidered with the signature "Marilyn," a $115 creamy Valentino blouse with satin weave and sheer sleeves, and a $715 Egyptian-style Mary McFadden gown that flows from a beaded bodice into a crinkled-silk column. These gems, which Barley euphemistically calls "gently worn," may not even have been worn at all -- hard-core high society women would be horrified to show up at a function in last season's designs.

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