Four Inane Questions with Wonderland Vintage’s Andy Chambers

0 1

Courtesy Andy Chambers

Hey, fashionistas! Want to step into the wayback machine? Andy Chambers has your back. And front. In fact, if you need it, he’s got you covered from head to toe. 

Chambers is the purveyor of fine vintage goods at Wonderland Vintage in Westport. The store—which is poised to celebrate its 12th anniversary—just underwent a recent expansion. As Chambers mentions, his shop is “a Westport staple of fun and fabulous historic fashion!”

Shoppers who have spent any time perusing his wares know that Chambers knows his stuff—right down to the stitching of almost every old-school garment and accessory in the store. Claustrophobics beware, Chambers has the place “filled to the brim,” which is code for also charmingly full of costume jewelry, tchotchkes, and throwback bric-a-brac. 

Chambers works alongside Alan, his partner of nearly 35 years. “We work together daily —so it must be love,” he quips. When not selling dead folks’ clothes, Chambers is busy spreading joy throughout the metro as Sister Glamarama Ding Dong, the glitter-rific founder of the Kansas City chapter of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. You may have spied this group of drag do-gooders who wear nuns’ habits out and about. (How could you miss them?) Chambers et al. do “charity work in our LGBTQ+ community while looking glamorous,” he adds. 

We caught up with the forever-bearded, oft-bejeweled Chambers in-between helping customers to pepper him with our litany of lame questions. We may have also purchased an original late 60s low-rise paillette skirt. It fits perfectly. 

The Pitch: You have one hour. What fashion designers do you take for cocktails to pick their brain?

295760523 10224675739735045 3116046642038621074 N

Courtesy Andy Chambers

Andy Chambers: All my favorites seem genius and insufferable, not to mention so many are dead.

If the hour doesn’t include a seance, I will say Elsa Schiaparelli because she was a true visionary whose ideas permeate her label to this day! That’s a strong influence. She also hung out with Salvador Dali, so you know she had the good drugs. 

Finish this sentence: The worst wig I ever encountered was … 

I love a good-horrible wig—especially if it’s supposed to look realistic. I’ve followed people around public spaces to get a better look at their obvious wigs! Your average shake-and-go won’t amuse me but if that wig has been teased and fluffed, I’m in bad-wig heaven.

The worst wig I’ve ever encountered? It was a brown mullet I fished out of a drainpipe believing it was a dead rodent. After realizing it was not, in fact, a dead rodent, I washed and styled that hideous wig and used it in a Late Night Theatre production. I take a budget very seriously. 

Shhh—tell no one. What’s your favorite local place to eat breakfast that no one knows about, but should…

My favorite place to have breakfast, which I do mostly during the week so I don’t have to suffer hordes of glassy-eyed, mimosa-seeking brunch-goers would have to be City Diner in River Market or Mildred’s in the Crossroads. Both for very different reasons, but both have fabulous food and great people watching. Also, I have yet to spot a good wig. 

You’re a guest judge on RuPaul’s Drag Race. What happens?

I get a good look at Michelle Visage up close to see how much is filter and filler while finding out that RuPaul is a lot nicer than we imagine her to be while I attempt to block out Ross Mathew’s braying. 

I would hope a couple of the queens would get into a fistfight on the main stage over something terribly insignificant. They’d use a clip of me laughing hysterically intermittently cut with Ru looking horrified in the previews. 

Bonus 5th Question: What is the single most amazing/significant piece of fabric/clothing that you own—or is in your store?

That’s like choosing your favorite child! It’s so difficult. I own a red silk Chanel evening gown, couture, not boutique. It’s lined in silk georgette and has its original label. It walked through my door and was a filthy-good deal. It’s in my vast private collection—and not for sale. 

Categories: Culture