Melissa and Alison Houtte

Sisters Alison Houtte and Melissa Houtte are the co-authors of Alligators, Old Mink & New Money: One Woman’s Adventures in Vintage Clothing, which was published in the U.S. and Canada by William Morrow and in the U.K. and Australia by Orion.

Alison Houtte is the owner of Hooti Couture, a vintage store at 321 Flatbush Avenue, Brooklyn, that specializes in women’s and men’s clothes and accessories. Before getting into the vintage business, Alison worked as a model for more than 10 years in Paris and Manhattan, appearing in everything from Vogue magazine to a Dr Pepper television commercial. Her store has been featured in Women’s Wear Daily, The New York Times and many other publications.

Melissa Houtte, who lives near Miami, is an award-winning journalist who has worked as both a writer and editor for newspapers, magazines and the Internet. She is the co-author, with Dr. Dean Edell, of Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Healthiness (HarperCollins, 2004), and is currently working on a biography of Dorothy Shaver, who was president of Lord & Taylor from 1945 to 1959. Shaver was not only the first woman to lead a multimillion-dollar American corporation but was one of the earliest promoters of the first generation of American designers.

The photo on this page was taken by our sister Caroline Krenik, and Melissa (on the left) is wearing a two-piece wool suit by B.H. Wragge that our mother wore in the early 1960s.