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NYC Opera Costumes Get Encore At NoHo Vintage Shop

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Screaming Mimi's is known for its vintage clothes and costumes and just in time for Halloween, the NoHo shop has acquired some outfits from the New York City Opera. NY1's Roger Clark filed the following report.

Laura Wills of Screaming Mimi's knows a thing or two about dressing someone up. She helped create the iconic look for pop star Cyndi Lauper.

"Who worked in the store in 1980 before she had her solo career and we worked together for the next 15 years," Wills recalled.

Inside the store, located at 382 Lafayette Street in NoHo, an outfit from the opera Candide is just one of 185 costumes purchased from the New York City Opera, which recently canceled its season and filed for bankruptcy. She bought them in January when the company was liquidating its New Jersey Warehouse.

"My customers want something more one of a kind. It's not the crowd that likes costumes out of packages and they appreciate the history," Wills said.

"They're so beautiful and so intricate and there are so many amazing details and they actually have the wear of a real piece. They are so beautiful and they are such an important part of New York City history," said Nicolette Santos, a Screaming Mimi's employee.

Some of the pieces go back decades. The items can be purchased anywhere from $80 for a jacket to $800 for a full ensemble. The tags indicate which opera a piece was in. Wills says she is glad the costumes weren't simply discarded and get to have a new life at Halloween celebrations.

"It's kind of amazing to be able to share this with customers and have them own a little piece of that opera history," Wills said.

Screaming Mimi's has been around for 35 years, 22 at the NoHo location alone. So they are always busy, but not as busy as they are during the Halloween season -- something they have been planning for since last Halloween.

"It's nuts. It's so much fun. It's a huge party in the store," Santos said.

Santos adds one term that can always be heard in the store is go big, or go home.

For more information, visit screamingmimis.com.

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