Arcana NYC and Us- Two Niches one Philosophy

At Chess and the Sphinx we hunt for the best of vintage, yet we are always on the track of contemporary design. We search for clothing from the past that also blends into a modern wardrobe. Actually this quest really goes both ways. Every season those designers we love the most look to the history of dress for their inspiration- calling on different decades as a raw material from which new concepts emerge.

For Arcana NYC, a Brooklyn based label by designer Arianna Reagan, this practice is not just a tool, but a philosophy, and an ethical objective. She describes her designs as “heirloom fashion,” each garment has its own lineage, and in a sense has been "handed down." This concept informs almost every aspect of her process. She uses ethically sourced textiles, which are combined with vintage textiles such as antique kimono silks from Japan. Her silhouettes consistently reference past fashions- bustiers, shoulder pads, tap pants, and bias cut slip dresses are reimagined with the modern woman in mind.

As professional vintage devotees we feel in Arcana a kindred spirit. We have a shared objective to take the old and make it new again. So, we placed her Cameron peasant blouse alongside an antique lingerie blouse. A pair of Arcana tap pants match seamlessly with our painted 1920s robe. Her bone clock trousers and Horologist Blazer are perfect with one of our favorite Marni tops and a 1940s scarf tied as a blouse. Two hand embroidered dresses from the 1920s reference Arcana’s use of antique textiles.

The final result is an original amalgam of past and current- the shapes, prints, and patterns express a prevailing yet timeless dress code. There is almost a century between most of these garments and yet they harmonize to create the uniquely ethereal effect we covet.