Thursday, February 19, 2015

The L. L. Bean Boat and Tote Bag

A few of the L. L. Bean boat and tote bags from my collection.

I have always had a sort of obsession with the L.L. Bean boat and tote bag. I love its sturdy construction, its adaptability, its classic style, and the fact that it can be monogrammed/personalized. I seem to never have enough of them. I even gave a boat and tote bag to each of my bridesmaids - monogrammed with their nicknames.

L.L. Bean catalog page from 1965 when the boat and tote was featured for the first time in its current form.

Originally designed as an ice carrier, the bag was bought and used by people to carry other things as well. It really took off in the 1960s when the tote was made smaller and red and blue trim was added.

Page from an L. L. Bean catalog from 1978

 The L. L. Bean boat and tote has become a beloved classic, a part of the lexicon of classic design and copied by many. 

Some of Michael Kors' favorite things from Harper's Bazaar 2012

 Michael Kors is a fan of the L. L. Bean camouflage tote. He has mentioned that it is one of his favorite things in articles in several magazines including Elle Decor and Harper's Bazaar where the image above came from. 

Photo of Gilles DuFour's collection of boat and totes from Beyond Chic, by Ivan Terestchenko, Vendome.

 Imagine how thrilled I was the other day when I was flipping through a book that a friend gave me called, Beyond Chic and saw the photo above of French stylist/designer Gilles Dufour’s Paris apartment and his collection of boat and tote bags! It made me feel much better about my obsession - so much so that I may have to peruse the Spring L. L. Bean catalog to see if there are any new styles that I should add to my collection....

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Getting Ready for the Year of the Sheep

February 19, 2015 is the Chinese New Year and marks the beginning of the year of the Sheep or Ram. I thought that it would be fun to find some vintage baubles to celebrate the occasion.

1970s pendant necklace by Razza

You are the sign of the Sheep if you were born in: 1919, 1931, 1943, 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991, 2003, or 2015.

1960s Pierre Cardin brooch
 People born in the year of the Sheep are artistic, creative, elegant, honest, warmhearted, timid and charming. They are also pessimistic, vulnerable, and disorganized.
1970s Ciner earrings
 Those born in the year of the Sheep do not handle pressure well but can find their own solution to a problem when given time.

1970s Trifari pendant
Celebrities who are the sign of the Sheep include, Michelangelo, Mark Twain, Barbara Walters, Nicole Kidman, Julia Roberts, Bruce Willis, and Claire Danes.

1970s Baccarat paperweight
If you are a Sheep, you are compatible with those who are the sign of the Pig and Rabbit but you should avoid people who are the sign of the Ox!

*All of the jewelry featured in this post is available through Ladybug Vintage. Email for details and pricing.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Kenneth Jay Lane and his Ethnic Inspirations

Kenneth Jay Lane photographed by Snowdon in the 1970s

Kenneth Jay Lane was born in 1930 in Detriot, MI. He founded his costume jewelry company in 1963. His designs were so popular that his initial collection at Saks Fifth Avenue sold out in one day. Lane's jewelry has been worn by Diana Vreeland, Jaqueline Kennedy, Audrey Hepburn, Elizabeth Taylor, and Diana the Princess of Wales. Lane has appeared in Andy Warhol films, was mentioned in a song by Lou Reed and appeared on numbers of Best Dresses Lists.

Jacqueline Kennedy wearing the now famous three-strand faux pearl necklace designed by Lane
One of Lane's best known pieces is the three-strand imitation pearl necklace that was worn by Jacqueline Kennedy. In addition to the ladylike jewelry that he created, Lane was also known for the ethnically influenced jewelry he made.

Kenneth Jay Lane 1960s Whale Necklace
One big influence was the Pre-Columbian jewelry from Central and South America that he saw in museum collections in Lima, Peru, Mexico City, and the Met Museum in New York.

Kenneth Jay Lane 1960s Pre-Columbian Deity Ring
He loved the pure gold that was used and the pieces' naturalistic forms which could be very simple or more complex and have the ferocious likeness of animal or birdlike gods.

Kenneth Jay Lane 1970s Pendant Necklace
Lane was inspired by many types of ethnic jewelry from all over the world. He sometimes found it difficult to pinpoint exactly where his influences came from.

Kenneth Jay Lane 1970s Pendant Necklace 
Kenneth Jay Lane 1970s Paisley Earrings
This caused him to invent his own "tribes" and to create jewelry for them.

Kenneth Jay Lane 1970s Necklace
On page 70 of Lane's book, Faking It he said, "I have taken great liberties with these (ethnic) motifs and used them in or out of their original context, to create fanciful earrings, pendants, bracelets, and even rings. I hope that the gods of the Mayas, Aztecs, and Incas do not become angry with me for creating my own deities."

**All jewelry featured in this post is available at space519 through February.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Viva, Viva!

Last week, I was thrilled to see an exhibition of the art of Viva Hoffmann at the Thousand Islands Arts Center in Clayton, N.Y. Viva Hoffmann is an artist, actress, and author and was one of Andy Warhol's Factory Girls in the 1960s.

Viva was born in Syracuse, N.Y. and spent her summers on Wellesley Island, N.Y. in the Thousand Islands. She came from a very strict Catholic family and was the oldest of nine children. Viva attended parochial school and the Catholic College, Marymount. After college Viva moved to Manhattan and rebelled against her strict Catholic upbringing. She worked as a model at the Art Student's League, became a regular at Andy Warhol's factory, and was featured in many of Warhol's films.

From an early age, Viva had a penchant for drawing. When she was just five years old her father (a renowned criminal defense lawyer) took her to court with him and had her draw courtroom portraits. She attended the Everson Museum School in Syracuse, N.Y. and during her Junior year of college she studied art at the Sorbonne in Paris.

Dying Willow - Swiftwater Point, Wellesley Island, 1991 Viva Hoffmann
Viva's painting style is that of the New York school of abstract expressionism - paint is applied rapidly and with force to the canvas in an effort to convey feelings and emotions.

Waterson's Marsh in Spring - Wellesley Island State Park, 1999 Viva Hoffmann
Old Bridge Road - Wellesley Island, 2000 Viva Hoffmann
Rock Island Lighthouse, Viva Hoffmann
Looking toward US Mainland shore from Swiftwater Point in Spring, Viva Hoffmann
Viva is best know for her landscape paintings although she has also done a series of self-portrait icon paintings depicting herself as a Goddess. They are based on iconic Tibetan Palden Lhamo images.

Palden Lhamo, Goddess of Destruction over Swiftwater Point with Loui Nehez on Dragon, Viva Hoffmann
In these self-portraits, Viva portrays herself as a Goddess flying high above the Saint Lawrence River. The pictures are filled with personal symbolism.

Quan Yin, Goddess of Empathy over Rock Island Lighthouse, Viva Hoffman

The show at the Thousand Islands Arts Center runs until August 29th.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Harry Tyler's Coverlets

Harry Tyler coverlet 1839, Cornwall Brother's Store & Museum
I am a lover of vintage textiles and was excited to find this vintage jacquard coverlet while perusing the Cornwall Brother’s Store  & Museum in Alexandria Bay, N. Y. Coverlets are decorative bed toppers that were at the height of their popularity from around 1820 - 1860. This one was designed by by Harry Tyler in 1839. Tyler was a prominent weaver in 19th century Jefferson County, New York. He was born to British parents in 1801 in Connecticut. He eventually settled in Butterville, N.Y. in 1834 where he began his career as a weaver. 

An original hand bill produced by Harry Tyler advertising his coverlets and rugs. Photo is courtesy of the Jefferson County Historical Society.
Tyler was best know for his bridal coverlets but he also produced coverlets for other occasions (births and baptisms) and rugs.

Harry Tyler coverlet 1839, Cornwall Brother's Store & Museum
Tyler's customers could choose the design and.......

Harry Tyler coverlet 1839, Cornwall Brother's Store & Museum
the border of their coverlet. 

Harry Tyler 1898, Columbus Museum
They could also choose either red........

Harry Tyler 1838 Metropolitan Museum of Art.
 or blue as the dominant color of the coverlet. The blue was sourced from indigo and the red came from cochineal - the crushed bodies of small red insects from Mexico. 

Harry Tyler coverlet 1839, Cornwall Brother's Store & Museum
The bridal coverlets were  inscribed with the name of the bride, her county of origin, and the year in which the coverlet was woven. This coverlet was made in 1839 for Mary Child of Jefferson County, N.Y. According to the Jefferson County Historical Society, “coverlets were an essential piece of every upper class bride’s ‘setting out’.”

Harry Tyler coverlet 1839, Cornwall Brother's Store & Museum
During the early years of his weaving career, Tyler signed his work with a lion (the symbol of England) as a nod to his British heritage. 

Harry Tyler 1852, James Wm. Lowery Gallery
Tyler's later coverlets which were produced with his son, Elman are signed with an American eagle. Tyler died in 1858 at the age of 57 and production of his coverlets and rugs stopped. Examples of Tyler’s work can be found today in many prominent textile collections and museums including the National Museum of American History in Washington D.C. and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.