At the Reformation in L.A., vintage style gets a second life


The Reformation, Yael Aflalo and Chi Bui’s new La Brea Avenue boutique-slash-atelier, is all about recycling vintage style.

The designer-owners give a second life to vintage finds -- cocktail dresses, skirts and blouses -- by reworking them into chic contemporary pieces. And since the fashions are made on-site, with no exchange rates or shipping costs tacked on, shoppers can expect to spend less than $200 for a New Year’s Eve outfit such as a sequined tuxedo dress ($195) or a black silk cap-sleeve, knee-length number ($195).

New York-based Aflalo, who designs the 10-year-old line YaYa, says she and Bui launched the Reformation to feed a desire born from the exhaustion of meeting production deadlines for seasonal collections and preparing look books and fashion shows. “We dreamed about just making cute clothes that we could wear out that night, instead of waiting months to see our designs come to fruition,” she says.


Bui, who has been sewing since she was 6 years old, scouts flea markets for silk dresses in eye-catching florals, paisleys and plaids. Then she slims bodices and raises hems for a more modern silhouette. She and a full-time seamstress also craft basics from new fabrics -- gold silk tees ($115), fuchsia racer-back tanks ($95) and blue jumpers ($145) among them -- that can be paired with the reshaped vintage pieces.

The most expensive items in the store are those that have been transformed the most: A $205 peach silk, pleated strapless dress was once a skirt, and a $175 smock dress is made body-conscious with added ribbing in the back.

Refashioned knitwear and vintage denim and accessories round out the selection.

Aflalo and Bui plan to open a similar shop on Ludlow Street in New York’s Lower East Side as a way to spread their message: The next “it” fashion accessory is a blue bin.

The Reformation: 142 N. La Brea Ave. (323) 203-1102. 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday, noon to 6 p.m. Sunday; Monday and Tuesday by appointment only. Credit cards, including American Express, accepted.

Padilla is a freelance writer.