While we ride up the elevator to her Greenwich Village penthouse apartment, Fabiola warns me: “Savannah has a metal brace in his mouth. It looks a bit shocking. He got shot in the face by his previous owner.” Fabiola is referring to one of the four dogs she rescued. She found Van, as she likes to call the 4-year old black lab mix, while browsing petfinder.com. The poor dog had one hour before he would be put to sleep, horribly disfigured and devastated. So Fabiola intervened, adopted the pup and had him transported to New York. The same fortunate fate was bestowed upon two cheerful chihuahuas and a 13-year old retired black pug that loyally follow her every move.
Fabiola’s dressing is the most central and captivating attraction of the 3-floor apartment. I admit I was a little dazzled – this is how I imagined the perfect closet. Shoes are neatly lined along the edge of the room; bags and hats are color coordinated and stacked on shelves; jewelry and sunglasses are readily laid out in a few drawers; dresses, shirts and jackets hang per category. Fabiola has been collecting vintage since she was 14. Most of her prized pieces are in storage, but the things she loves, she wears a lot. She keeps a little note book bulging with addresses and business cards of all her favorite vintage stores in the city. “One day I will make a real, printed guide out of this,” she announces.
For now, she is my own personal guide, on a tour in her stunning closet. Now and again she asks me if I think she’s crazy. “Some people take offense to my cooky sense of dressing. But I love it, I don’t care.” She describes her own style as “dark romantic and bohemian”. And she’s very creative. For the Vionnet party, she pinned two jeweled brooches on a ribbon and tied it around her neck like a Victorian choker. For the Met Ball she customized a Vera Wang dress. For days she worked with the designer until it fit and looked to perfection. Her passion for clothes and vintage has become a joyous routine. “I could do this all day!” she giggles when I start taking pictures. “It would be my dream job!”