Historic clothing is a unique specialty of The Cat’s Meow Antiques Store, in Midland, Texas. Owner Steven Porterfield is a native Midlander, but travels 50,000 miles per year on buying trips all over the United States.
The Cat Meow’s features more than 2,000 pieces of costume jewelry, some estate and some sterling jewelry, china, glass, furniture, a toy room, a hat room, books, a kitchen area, a jewelry section, clothing and numerous general antique items.
“I love it, but it’s a ton of work,” Steven said. “I work 14 hour days and I restore and repair antique clothing and accessories. Tina Melonakes assists him. The Cat’s Meow has been in business for more than 31 years.
Steven’s biggest business is clothing, and clothing accessories such as hats, 1970s vintage handbags and jewelry. He said all of these items are selling well in the store, but Steven also has a huge business selling historic clothing to the movie industry.
Historic Apparel Sold to American National Costume, Motion Picture Costumes
He works with two major movie industries: American National Costume and Motion Picture Costumes. The first major movie to feature his clothing was “The Titanic” and more recently his clothing was worn by characters in the movie “Hidden Figures” which won multiple Oscar nominations last year.
“Three or four times a year, I drive to Hollywood to sell costumes to the movie industry,” He said. “They buy a lot of stuff, but you do not know what they will actually use in the movie.”
“We just a got a call from Timothy Wonsik, assistant to Colleen Atwood (Timothy helps her accumulate things for her shows because she buys from all over the world). Colleen is one of the most important costumers for historic costumes in the world and she has won numerous nominations for her clothing.
Top Designers Purchase Historic Clothing for Design Inspiration
Steven was able to see all of the costumes that were nominated for awards and then featured in museums when he traveled to Los Angeles to visit FIDM, Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising in downtown Los Angeles, California.
He works with Museums and also sells clothing that dates back to the 1700s. These garments are very fragile and expensive so potential buyers must make appointments with him to see them.
Top designers in New York such as Vera Wang, Jay Peterman, Ralph Lauren, Oscar De La Renta, and Victoria’s Secret purchase historic clothing to use for design inspiration.
These 1890’s bodices were purchased by Warner Brothers for inspiration for Historic Costumer Colleen Atwood. The movie was filmed in London.