Opening Hours
Today: Closed
Tues:
Closed
Wed:
12–6pm
Thurs:
12–6pm
Fri:
12–6pm
Sat:
12–6pm
Sun:
12–5pm
Location
240 West 10th Street
Neighborhoods
Madame Matovu 1 Vintage West Village

Tucked away in the West Village is Madame Matovu, the New York vintage world’s best-kept secret. The owner, Rosemary Wettenhall, is as decadently adorned as the colorfully vibrant space she has curated. She began our conversation with a coy shyness (“I like to let the store talk for itself” - it certainly does), but once the ball got rolling, she was a fountain of charisma.

Born in Uganda to diplomat parents, Rosemary became a seasoned world traveler early on and has worked in fashion for her entire life. She attended shows with top designers around the globe and scouted pieces for the US market before opening Madame Matovu in 2007. When I asked about the inspiration behind the shop’s name, she recalled, “I was coming back from France, and I saw an ad in the inflight magazine with this amazing woman. She was unbelievable, had everything going on; it was over the top but so clear - so strong, but playful. It was pure fantasy; she made you dream of being her. So I knew then if I ever opened a store, she would have to be a Madame.” The logo, the profile of a woman with a red and white striped head wrap and a pearl necklace, has a similar anecdote: “I was looking through postcards from the French Revolution and this one caught my eye. She had bright lipstick and the caption read, ‘Me Too, I’m Free.’”

Rosemary’s worldliness left me with one important question: what makes New York worth settling down in? “Other places are beautiful and all, but the energy in New York, you just can’t find it anywhere. My customers who come here from other places never want to go back. New York makes you a better person.” This does not mean that she has not seen the area change: “SoHo used to be filled with raw, beautiful artists, now it’s a mall.” She strives to keep authenticity and individuality as the focus of her boutique.

Rosemary’s personal connection to everyone she works with is clear. I complimented her skirt, which featured a collage of brightly colored Vogue Magazine covers, and she noted, smiling, “These are made by a local girl. Her name is Perry and she lives on Perry Street. Perry on Perry! The fun of it is finding the stuff, that’s what I like to call it, that specific treasure. It could be ugly to someone else, but I trust my gut and buy it if I believe in it.”

Rosemary described her ideal shopper as very secure, and attributes her success to the loyalty of her customers, who know she will always have what they are looking for. One of her many long term customers who has made an annual pilgrimage to Madame Matovu from Aspen, Colorado every year since 2002, happened to be in the shop when the Manhattan Sideways team stopped in. The customer shared, “This is why this woman is so amazing. I’ve been shopping with her for fifteen years. I come in with jeans and a t-shirt and I leave looking like a Paris Runway.” She modeled her look for us, wearing a black and fuchsia leopard print blouse with a high neckline and a white turban. It is this type of experience, these unique finds, and Rosemary’s radiant personality that makes Madame Matovu a central fixture of the West Village.

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Madame Matovu 1 Vintage West Village
Madame Matovu 2 Vintage West Village
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Madame Matovu 16 Vintage West Village

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