Walking into Love Saves the Day in New Hope, PA is like walking back in time, not only to eras ranging from the late 1800s to early 1980s, but also into my bedroom when I was in fifth grade. What my father would call a pigsty, but really just a cluttered mess of clothes, toys, and memorabilia.
The two-story emporium of vintage items, mainly clothes, showcases merchandise draped from the ceiling, posted on the walls, and folded in trunks on the floor amongst antique furniture and arcade games. While the clutter may overwhelm some visitors, there is a unique sense of organization to co-owner Leslie Herson’s madness.
“Everything before the 1900s is hanging from the ceiling,” said Herson to one of the store’s many visitors with the usual curious look.
While items from this era are usually more so adored rather than purchased by customers, this is Herson’s favorite era of clothing. She even incorporates these centennial items into her own wardrobe.
The mixture of colors and fabrics above will leave some visitors leaving with kinks in their necks and wondering what debutante may have walked the historical streets of New Hope carrying the hot pink fluffy umbrella or wearing the checkered hoop skirt that now serves as Herson’s artistic expression.
“I consider my business not clothing stores, but three dimensional art expression,” said Herson. “I’m no longer in it for the money, just for the expression.”
However, when Herson and her husband opened their first clothing store in East Village New York City more than 40 years ago, it was just for the money. Herson explains vintage was easy and popular then, because it was in style.
“I started in 1966, so I’m one of the original vintage clothing people,” said Herson. “I’m a hippy. That was part of the era. You wore old clothes.”
Herson’s store in East Village is one of a few stores left in the city that represents the tumultuous era in which Herson lived. The store today continues to attract many tourists and celebrities looking for an acid taste of what the East Village once was. Even the stores abbreviation, LSD, is an ode to the free love era.
While Herson’s stores may just be a novelty to some, they are a hodgepodge of inspiration for designers today.
“Today a lot of designers come in to copy the patterns,” said Herson. “Today they just reproduce. I don’t know about you, but I see very few people actually wearing vintage.”
Lack of attention to vintage clothing does not stall Herson’s attraction to the fashion. As a former art student and forever stylists, she continues to be amazed by old clothing.
“I couldn’t resist fabrics and sensuality of things from the 20’s and 30’s,” said Herson.
In the windows of her New Hope store you can really see her affection for vintage as she styles her manikins in mixed era trends. It’s the type of style that most may adore, but could never pull off.
Herson opened the New Hope store about 20 years ago attracted by the history of the town and longing to move out of the city.
“I didn’t want to spend my whole life in the city,” said Herson. “I wound up here cause there were great places to find things, but it’s very difficult to make it here.”
It’s hard to imagine Herson having a difficult time prospering in New Hope, as her store is one of the town’s main attractions. There is no way one couldn’t stop into Love Saves the Day when they walk by the side gate where mannequins dressed as though they are in line to get into Studio 54 peer out.
The store may be a lot to take in, but it is a collectors dream and an average person’s amusement. One can find everything from Beatles bobbling heads to Greta Garbo flapper dresses in this store. Anyone interested in vintage can fill an entire wardrobe at a reasonable price by just shopping here.