Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Schiap Shop

I am thrilled to share below my inaugural article for Classic Chicago Magazine - 'Schiap Shop'. Please check in monthly to read my column, Vintage Vantage and all of the other great columns and Classic Chicago news. A link to Classic Chicago Magazine can be found here: http://classicchicagomagazine.com/2015/10/31/vintage-vantage/


Schiap Shop

I recently returned from a trip to Paris where I had the opportunity to visit Maison Schiaparelli at 21 Place Vendôme — the Elsa Schiaparelli boutique. It was opened in 1935 and closed in 1954, but it was reopened in 2012, in the exact location where the original boutique had been. As a huge fan and collector of vintage Schiaparelli, I was thrilled to have an opportunity to see where it had all started and to get a glimpse of the new collections.

Elsa Schiaparelli (1890–1973) was an Italian-born French designer. She and her rival, Coco Chanel, were regarded as the most prominent figures in fashion in the period between the two World Wars. Schiaparelli’s designs were worn by society ladies and Hollywood actresses. Her clients included the Duchess of Windsor, Daisy Fellowes, Marlene Dietrich, Lauren Bacall, Millicent Rogers, and Mae West.
Schiaparelli defied the convention of her time by pursuing a more idiosyncratic style of fashion. She considered fashion to be art and was known to be as much of an artist as she was a dress designer. Schiaparelli often collaborated with the Surrealist artists of the 1930s, such as Salvador Dali, Man Ray, and Jean Cocteau. Her longtime admirer Yves Saint Laurent once described her as “The fiery Italian intellectual who introduced the world of Dadaist and Surrealist art to the world of fashion.”
Schiaparelli opened her salon in 1935. The interiors were originally designed by her friend Jean-Michel Frank, who also designed the Paris salon of Chicago-born designer, Mainbocher, on the Avenue George V. Notably, Mainbocher was the first American to open a couture house in Paris. 
The ground floor of 21 Place Vendôme was used as a boutique. It was called the “Schiap Shop.” One entered the perfume section of the shop through a black and gold bamboo birdcage designed by Frank in 1937. In later years, the birdcage was sold to a private collector, but the Maison Schiaparelli was recently able to reacquire it. It is now located on the fourth floor of the building where the collections are shown.
Schiaparelli "Shocking" perfume bottle
Schiaparelli “Shocking” perfume bottle
1937 Frank designed black & gold bamboo cage
1937 Frank designed black & gold bamboo cage
1953 Marcel Vertes Collage
Currently, over the fireplace in the boutique’s second floor salon, there is a collage that was designed for the Schiap Shop by Marcel Vertès in 1953. The collage is made up of images cut from fashion magazines of Schiaparelli’s most significant designs. The images are incorporated into a surreal landscape of dinosaurs and butterflies.
Throughout the boutique, there are many examples of Schiaparelli’s artist collaborations: glasses designed by Man Ray in the 1930s; a powder compact from 1935 designed in the shape of a phone dial by Dali; and a dress from Schiaparelli’s famous 1938 circus collection made out of fabric printed with a design by Vertès.

1930s glasses designed by Man Ray
Powder compact designed by Salvador Dali in 1935
1938 Schiaparelli dress from the circus collection. Print designed by Marcel Vertes.
In Chicago, we are lucky to have an amazing example of an artistic collaboration between Schiaparelli and Cocteau housed at the Chicago History Museum. It is a very rare silk crepe dress, jacket and belt ensemble from 1937 — only three examples are known to exist. Cocteau created the design on the jacket that was then beaded and embroidered by the House of Lesage. The design features a woman’s head in profile. Her long, golden hair flows down the full length of the right sleeve, and her hand is holding a bundle of silver-colored ribbons. Just below the woman’s arm, the word “Jean” and a star are embroidered in pink thread. The ensemble was once owned by Chicago resident Elizabeth Fuller Goodspeed (1893–1980), known to her friends as Bobsy.

Evening ensemble, 1937 (front oblique partial view). Silk crepe, metallic and silk thread, glass beads. Elsa Schiaparelli and Jean Cocteau, France.
Elsa Schiaparelli/Jean Cocteau ensemble 1937. Collection of Chicago History Museum

Goodspeed was at the heart of Chicago’s social and cultural scenes and was married to Charles Barney Goodspeed, a member of a prominent Chicago family. She was a patron of the arts, the President of the Arts Club of Chicago (1932 –1940), a writer and amateur filmmaker. Goodspeed often made trips to Paris, where she spent time with notable artists, writers, dancers and gallery owners. It was there that she met and became friends with Gertrude Stein, who then visited Goodspeed in Chicago in 1934. It was Stein’s first trip to our city, spawning her strong relationship with Chicago.

 Elsa Schiaparelli/Jean Cocteau ensemble 1937. Collection of Chicago History Museum
Elsa Schiaparelli/Jean Cocteau ensemble 1937. Collection of Chicago History Museum
Even though the Schiaparelli line has been relaunched and is now being designed by Bertrand Guyon, the house is still looking back to Schiaparelli’s philosophy of art as fashion and the influence of artists on fashion. Here, we can see another Chicago connection. In the Schiaparelli Fall 2015 collection, colorful pieced fur jackets were featured on the runway. According to Vogue’s Dan Thawley, these jackets were inspired by Chicago artist Nick Cave’s Soundsuits.

Schiaparelli Fall 2015 Couture
Schiaparelli Fall 2015 Couture
I guess the more things change, the more they stay the same!

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 ladybugvintagemail@gmail.com 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.