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Vintage Vendor Mixes Present and Past with Online Sales and a '70s Trailer

By Meredith Hoffman | March 6, 2013 7:12am | Updated on March 6, 2013 5:08pm

WILLIAMSBURG — If you're craving a 1960's floral print bikini once flaunted on the Coney Island boardwalk, lace lingerie from the mid 20th century or sweeping dresses from a defunct department store on Avenue J, Laura Lanz-Frolio is just a click away. 

And now the online style maven, whose La Poubelle Vintage store has blown up on online marketplace Etsy since it opened in 2009, is taking her business back in time — with a 1970's trailer.

Lanz-Frolio, 27, is plotting to open a mobile vintage boutique that will rove all over Brooklyn, lower Manhattan and parts of Queens with housecoats, hats, heels, jewels and frocks that she's collected by combing through estate sales and second-hand stores around the city.

Now all she needs is the money — and the vehicle.

"They're popular, they go fast so you have to buy one as soon as you find it," she said of 1970's trailers. "I hope to be open five days a week during summer, spring and fall."

Other mobile boutiques have cropped up elsewhere in the city, including one in Harlem.

Lanz-Frolio's full-time vintage gig would completely transform her childhood passion into her career, if she funds the project through Kickstarter. The route to street fashion vendor started during the recession, she said.

"I've always dug through old clothes. I have this distinct memory of my mom taking me to Salvation Army to buy clothes to play dress-up," she recalled.

"I started my Etsy shop right after I got laid off from my job in 2009...I'd never thought of [vintage] as a career but it's been amazing."

Lanz-Frolio, a Maine native who studied journalism at Ithaca College and now lives in Williamsburg, said she journeys all over the boroughs in search of the proper throwback threads — but the stories are the best part of the apparel.

"I went to a sale a couple of weeks ago in Coney Island and there was this woman who was moving out of her apartment and all her family was there," Lanz-Frolio said of a resident in her 90s who was selling "the bathing suit she wore as teen, her housecoat and dresses she wore to parties."

In Lanz-Frolio's shopping quests, she considers not only the backstory but the current trends.

"The most popular is usually '40s and '50s clothing, like shirtwaist dresses from the 1950s," she said, "and also 1960s and '70s bohemian stuff, which is my personal favorite."