Moxie : October 23, 2001

enokiworld's got moxie
Biz Buzz by Elizabeth Kessick

I'm listening to Billie Holiday's 'Lady in Satin' as I write this piece. She sounds so amazing -- moody and sublime. And, on the album cover she shines as well, in a strapless gown (satin, natch), beautiful jewelry, and her hair pulled back into a chic ponytail. There's just something about her look that so classic, and, well, vintage. It makes hanging-around-the-house me in my comfy pants and sweater feel horrifically understated in a bad way. Suddenly, I'm longing to find myself in something shimmery from times past.

And, with a few clicks, I'm there. After logging on to, I've found it. It's a 1960s Ferdinando Sarmi gown with tiny straps and an empire waist, covered in embroidered gold lace. Wow! They just don't make dresses like this anymore. A few more clicks, and I've discovered more designer treasures from the past-here's a 1970's silk Pucci dress with a whimsical bamboo print. Oh, and now I've found a gorgeous green silk Oscar De La Renta suit from the 60s. This could be addictive, and I haven't even checked out the separates or accessories yet. Apparently vintage glamour lives on. Viva Enokiworld!

The baby of native New Yorker Madeline Meyerowitz, Enokiworld is a site dedicated to 'vintage clothing for modern women'. She came up with the idea in 1999, after moving to the less cosmopolitan but more livable city of St. Louis. "After moving out of New York, where the shopping was better than I ever appreciated, I found myself really starving for good fashion design so I decided to launch a website for women in the same predicament," she says.

And even though Meyerowitz, who describes herself as "Dorothy Parker in Rhoda Morgenstern's body," hadn't had any experience working in retail since her teens, she was willing to take the plunge. After all, her past employment included a little bit of everything, from graphic design to hairdressing. "I'm like a shark," she says. " I gotta keep moving or I die."

The result is unlike anything else on the web. Because Meyerowitz and her team decided to focus on designer pieces, Enokiworld is a dream boutique filled with gorgeous, flattering styles from the past. "We're really into women designers and names that haven't been exploited to their fullest," she says, "but we have a little something from everyone -- from Azzedine Alaia to Zandra Rhodes."

Enokiworld is more than clothing as well. The boutique stocks accessories, furniture, and 'lifestyle items', such as books and music from the past. And the site is fun -- the pages are covered with cheeky pin-up girls, and if you click in the right spot on the main page, you're invited to write a crazy fashion mad-lib. Plus, Meyerowitz has come up with innovative ideas to help you shop, from an online vintage fashion magazine, to a girl-gang discount (when three of your friends buy from Enokiworld, you get 20% off).

All this hard work has paid off with accolades for Enokiworld in such magazines as InStyle, Vogue, and Women's Wear Daily, and a dedicated clientele of ordinary gals and celebs. Meyerowitz says the response has been phenomenal. "I had a feeling it was going to be good but this has been just great."

However, she's quick to add that this success comes as the result of lots of hard work and planning. "I think separating yourself from your pride is essential," she says. "Making coffee, taking out the trash, ordering boxes, waiting for the UPS guy -- you have to be able to do all of it yourself in the beginning and you have to accept the fact that you may not get a single day off for the next four years."

Thanks to Meyerowitz's dedication, the web now has a site that would do Billie Holiday proud. And, it's the perfect destination for all us modern-age ladies in satin.