As a fashion stylist for more than two decades, there were a few stops along the way where any feeling that I was working melted away, even in the midst of pulling clothes and accessories. At the tippy top of that list is the What Goes Around Comes Around warehouse showroom. For a visually obsessive person like myself, whose emotional state is dependent on beauty and authenticity, the experience of wandering through a hundred years, give or take a few, of the most well-selected pieces of each time period, erased all woes. To this day, the handful of things that I have bought from WGACA remain those special items that make me feel exceptional.
We have adopted a phrase for connoisseur collecting at SLU – Quest Ender. In other words, you never have to look any further for that item. It doesn’t get any better. Needless to say, Gerard, the co-founder of WGACA, has nothing but quest enders in his life, not only in his wardrobe and home, but in his other romantic half, Valeria. What are the chances that when you emulate perfection in the style of Brian Jones, that you will find your Anita Pallenberg by way of Russia? And then what are the odds that it will be at a Kings of Leon concert and it will be love at first sight? Marimekko caftans and Marni pumps aside, from the moment they met, Gerard and Valeria have shared everything from art and “old” rock and roll music to “Granny Takes a Trip” blazers, purple suede lace-up pants and Navajo jewelry. It all reflects the couple’s depth of taste and character and are the kind of items that could potentially render me homeless if I sought to own them all.
Gerard and Valeria have a home that mirrors their passion for all things genuine, especially Victorian, ’30s art deco, ’60s and ’70s. The interior design and their closets are the equivalent of a history lesson in the time periods that they cherish. Gerard proudly explains that his belt is the proper studded one with the ’30s American Indian detail stamping, that his tee shirt is THE John Lennon mind games one and that he owns an abundant collection of ’30s English silk print scarves, the skinny ones that are cut on the bias. For me, they finish off an outfit for a guy in a way that looks cool while sophisticated. Valeria deftly works concho belts, mixes of turquoise with Harley Davidson studded cuffs and English military belts over everything from black silk sharkskin and gold lame. She is killer in a ’70s French hat with feathers, velvet jacket that became iconic for having a pocket for acid and a ’60s polka dot blouse with a bow. Valeria wears two antique keys around her neck, one is for Gerard and the other for Jimi Hendrix. Valeria says they look over her, keeping her safe, sane and inpsired. I love how she equates the first two characteristics with the latter.