Wednesday, August 5, 2009
Viva La France and the Victorian Era
Because I personally have never shopped Ybor City’s 7th Avenue for ladies’ vintage clothing, I’ve never even seen the storefront on Ybor’s main street for La France. The store has had a very successful run for over 30 years and is still going strong. It has a loyal and devoted following. Not spotting a store that’s practically an institution in Ybor City didn’t keep me from spotting the rear of the store from 8th Avenue. When you’re really looking hard for the offbeat and unusual to photograph, sometimes it’s not the wild and colorful scene that’s screaming at you. Sometimes it’s more subtle and makes you do a double-take. That was the case with La France. Admittedly, I have not been inside or seen the front of the store, which I imagine is fun, frilly and very vintage (I will check it out when I can.) But this is the second story balcony behind the store and it is clear that they don’t sell woodworking tools, Harley buckles or Ybor's famous handrolled cigars. Nope, it appears to be women’s unmentionables hanging on a line. Plus a hand lettered sign below that says something about "Save the …" something. It's hard to make out exactly from across the back parking lot and the next street over. Nonetheless, I thought the store and its unique offering of vintage clothing, hats, shoes, handbags, jewelry and other objects from the last 100 years was worthy of your attention. La France is said to offer Victorian nightgowns, hats with veils, silk bed jackets …everything from the turn of the 20th century to the present. Lots of ladies’ vintage stuff I’m told and women do love the store and its selection. I promise to find it, peek in the front window and give a more informative and authoritative report. First I want to ask the owner about the clothes line on her back balcony. There has got to be a good story there.