First Look: Golden Pearl Vintage

When Audra Frizzell was in middle school, she ventured into the attic and discovered her mother’s old clothes from the ‘60s—and a vintage fanatic was born.

More than 20 years later, she’s opened her own storefront, Golden Pearl Vintage. Located on East Hennepin Avenue across the river from downtown Minneapolis, the shop is dedicated to elegant gowns, party dresses, and all things fancy—from hats to shoes and everything in between. The store also carries a well-stocked selection of menswear, and offers in-house tailoring services.

Some may recognize Frizzell from her dozen years behind the counter at Via’s Vintage, which also specializes in special-occasion vintage clothing and accessories. “I learned a lot about how a vintage business operates from working there,” she says. “I definitely had the passion for the clothing beforehand, but I learned more from working there than I did from my education.” (She studied costume and fashion design at the University of Minnesota.)

Frizzell describes the shop’s overall look as “Deco disco with a nautical, yacht-rock leisure vibe,” and that tropical glamor is imbued in every surface of the shop, from its salmon-pink, seashell-shaped chairs to its curved Deco light fixtures. Its piece de résistance: a glittering, rectangular chandelier in the center of the room—a find from Retro Wanderlust that supposedly once hung in a Holiday Inn in south Minneapolis. The space underwent a painstaking renovation when Frizzell first leased it—she tore out the carpeting and refinished the original wood floor beneath and restored the 15-foot tin ceilings, which she painted white with gold trim.

The Golden Pearl’s merchandise spans the ‘20s to the ‘90s, with an emphasis on the Me Decade. It’s easier to find good-quality items from the ‘70s, she says—plus, she adds, “The ‘70s took a lot of cues from the ‘30s, and I love the ‘30s.”

And judging by the spring runways, we haven’t gotten enough of the ‘70s yet. So instead of buying the fast-fashion version, why not buy the real thing?

Now open, 507A E. Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis, 612-378-3978,

More images from inside Golden Pearl Vintage: 

all photos: Jahna Peloquin