Ivory & Certain Types Of Fur Are Basically Banned From All Markets

For a long time, antique and vintage ivory and furs were in a different category from the new ones. It was generally considered okay and ethical to buy and sell these items if they were classified vintage or antique. I have never had much attraction to buying vintage fur, with the exception of some mink hats and headbands, and a few items with genuine fur collars. The list of banished furs includes fur from all big cats, all primate fur, and all types of bear fur. Sealskin products cannot be exported to the USA, European Union, Mexico, or Taiwan. Canada is one of the few countries that permits the sale of sealskin items.

Ivory has become a taboo product due to the poaching, endangered elephants, and the skill artisans have to make it look antique. Although it is not illegal to own inherited or antique ivory, it can no longer be exported or sold. Some of these laws are fairly recent and expanding to include other countries. The only way to identify the age of the ivory is through carbon dating. Recently an antique dealer in Toronto was fined and charged for having carved elephant tusks for sale. As it turned out, they were able to identify the age of the tusks, which placed them in the seventies when poaching was a real problem.

Over the years, I have picked up some ivory necklaces and bracelets but cannot be sure how old the pieces are. It seems the best thing is to donate them to a museum or educational institute. Different types of ivory can be identified by the pattern of the schreger lines. The location the ivory came from can also be identified because they can determine the diets of the elephants by the tusks.

One of the many sad things about the poaching, is that of all the elephants that die naturally, the ivory cannot be used because of the illegal activity associated with it. It’s too bad the elephants were not protected from poachers in the first place. There should have been a method of making sure all tusks were matched to the death of the elephant. The product made from the tusks of elephants that died naturally should have been hallmarked as such. It would be a good idea to have a method of marking during the creation of the piece, similar to what they did to help people avoid buying blood diamonds. Ivory is very beautiful, especially since it has often been combined with some of the most exquisite carving known to man.

As far as the example set in Kenya where tons of confiscated ivory was burned – on principle, I disagree with the destruction of artifacts. However, the issues surrounding the endangerment of these beautiful and intelligent creatures, the horrors of poaching, and the difficulty in accurately dating the ivory – makes the bans understandable.

There can be some confusion in terminology surrounding vegetable ivory and what is referred to as “French ivory”. Vegetable ivory is from tagua nuts and can be carved, decorated or dyed. French ivory is a type of celluloid or plastic that looks like ivory. French ivory and vegetable ivory have nothing to do with elephants or endangered species.

Now it’s time to see if any of the feathers on the hats are from endangered birds! I do have one hat with a real bird on it. It is a black hat embellished at the front with a small blackbird – dating it prior to the 1909 ban on such practices. The moral of this story is an anthropomorphic oxymoron. From an animal’s perspective – humans do some very strange things!

 

 

 

Where Do Women Stand In Small Business Ownership ~ When It Comes To Canada’s High Potential For Growth In E-commerce?

According to the Federal government SME research and statistics (2012-2016)  Canadians are among the most wired in the world with Internet access available to 87% of the population. Some of the northern and rural areas do not have the same service as the urban areas do. Within Canada, BC and Alberta are the biggest users (according to 2012 stats).

As far as small to medium businesses in Canada, more than half are located in Ontario and Quebec. The average number of people owning SME’s is 45.2 per 1000 population nationwide. Western Canada has consistently demonstrated a robust growth in small business development. The majority of small businesses (78%) offer services. The highest percentage of small business is made up of micro-entrepreneurs consisting of businesses with one to four employees.

Small businesses have a revolving door element. Out of 13,820 start-ups, there were 12,590 deaths. A high percentage of those are in the professional, scientific and technical service sectors. BC and Alberta combined, contribute more than the national average in SME according to GDP measurements.

How do women fare in the participation surrounding business ownership? Unfortunately, we do not fare that well. According to stats from 2014 – small businesses with the majority of male ownership was 64.7% while the majority of female owned businesses was 15.7% The female owned businesses tend to be concentrated in the service sector, mostly in information, administration, aesthetician services, decorating, daycare, health care and recreation. Outside of these service areas, the business ownership by women drops to around 8%

The average educational levels for SME owners is a Bachelors or Masters degree for 30-60% of them. This comes as no surprise since Canada already has a high percentage of tertiary level education among its population. Since women tend to be more cautious when it comes to business, we are also inclined to do more research. The reality of it is that only 4.5% of the population establishes a successful small business. It doesn’t take much math comprehension to see what a minuscule representation women have in the bigger picture. But women do tend to be strong in semantics at a time when there is value in being able to write semantic HTML. Many women also have a good eye when it comes to colours, layout and design.

What are the barriers for women in business? It cannot be denied there are many barriers, when there is such a dramatic gender difference in business ownership. Whatever the reasons, women do face an uphill battle. The most obvious barrier and lack of support pertains to financing. But the gender barriers are far more complex, longstanding – and much more deep-rooted than money alone. They surround us. Maybe even engulf us, in the amount of disdain we have to endure.

E-commerce provides an opportunity for female owned micro-enterprises to gain some ground in developing and owning businesses. Ten years ago, a website could not be developed without learning how to write code. Five years ago you had to take hours and hours of computer instruction just to be able put a blog and online store together on the same website. And if not done correctly from a technical perspective – it would slow your site to less than a crawl.

Another valuable tip for E-commerce start-ups is to ignore all advice (advertising and hype) telling you it is possible to set up an online store in minutes. No such concept (of instant gratification or results) exists when it comes to building something with lasting value. Businesses do not get built in minutes. You need to have a long-term commitment to task, combined with some clear day to day directives. I set mini mottos and foundational criteria in my head for almost everything. Otherwise I get sidetracked.

Before they started doing automatic file compressions and cloud computing, you would be charged bandwidth on images. In some cases, they took your credit card number and titrated it according to some non-identifiable bandwidth usage. It was very limiting in the number of pictures you could upload, as well as in trying to estimate what the bandwidth would cost overall. Plus every single image had to have several captions, alt tags etc. which made it tedious and prohibitive if your site relies on showing multiple images on thousands of products. Now you can upload as many pictures as you want to. The one thing to note is that once uploaded, they are lossy images and cannot be photo edited. In looking back at some of the bad pictures I took, I thought maybe I could use a photo editing plug in to make improvements. But the photo editing has to be done before uploading – due to the loss of resolution in the compressions.

Web developer costs range between 65-100 dollars an hour. Don’t be taken in by the cheap outsourcing costs you read about. For 35-50 dollars an hour you get a language barrier, which is not conducive to developing anything. You have to learn how to do things on your website without hiring a web developer. There are too many changes and tweaks to make, never mind allowing someone you don’t know onto the admin panel of your site. There is nothing worse than a bunch of cluttered up code. It can break your site. Whoever made up the slogan “Code is Poetry” must have different neuronal pathways than I do!

Just a few years ago you could not set up payment gateways without going through rigorous and complex settings that required you to store all credit card data on your site. It put a huge burden of responsibility on the web developer or business owner because of the threat of hacking and phishing. In an effort to overcome that hurdle, they set it up so when the customer paid they were re-directed to the secure payment gateway. But it was only a partial solution as it had the disadvantage of taking the person away from your website at the critical point of conversion, and disrupted the continuity of your branding.

The technical advances now are such that the purchase goes to the secure payment gateway using screen shots so that it gives the impression of staying on the site while the payment is being made. This means the website does not need to store any credit card data or a customer’s personal banking information on the site. In addition, the newer platforms are connected to QuickBooks. All of the parameters surrounding taxation, shipping etc. can be entered and tracked on one site. As they streamline these attributes, they improve them. For instance, they added a feature to enable an Ecommerce business to give partial refunds. Such features permit compromises to be made between the business and customer, without losing customer satisfaction or losing the sale.

As a micro-enterprise, I have not launched the online store yet. But, as I have been doing the research and photography – working quietly on getting product listed, I have also noticed that advances in technology have already passed many of the concerns I had. Once the store is launched and up and running – I hope to be able to encourage other women to look toward E-commerce as something that can be achieved, without facing such astronomical hurdles. After all – we have a lot of catching up to do!

The Variety Of Vintage Necklace Clasps ~ Ideal For Short Hair & Updos

Similar to the extra little details that make luxury scarves stand out – beautifully crafted vintage costume jewellery will have interesting, decorative and secure clasps. In some cases the clasp is the most decorative part of the necklace. Often there is a brass hook with an extra trailing of beads or gemstones dangling from the clasp. In the case of multi-strand necklaces – there will be a decorative metal clasp, with the strands attached in rows on each side.

The hook clasps are the most common. I have seen a cylindrical bar clasp on a few bracelets, but the one shown in this post, is the only necklace I have come across that has one. It is a mix of crystal and chalcedony. The following are some examples of vintage necklace clasps on some costume – and some sterling silver necklaces. The first example is a classic vintage Oscar de la Renta very realistic string of pearls with a purple art deco clasp. A good tip to pass on for collectors and vintage enthusiasts – is to check the clasps on a rack of necklaces as a shortcut to finding the authentic vintage ones.

Oscar de La Renta Faux Pearl Necklace With Art Deco Purple & Clear Glass Clasp

Martha Sturdy Clunky 1980’s Necklace With Large Hook Clasp & Signature

Silk Cord Asian Knot Necklace With A Loop & Nephrite Bead

Sterling Silver Square Clasp On A Wood & Amber Three Strand Necklace

Mini Glass Bead Covered Clasp On A Torsade Necklace

Vendome Faceted Crystal Aurora Borealis 1950’s Three Strand Necklace With Fancy Clasp

1950’s Four Strand Necklace With Flowers As Joiners

Chalcedony Powder Blue Necklace With A Unique Sterling Silver Double Hook Snake Clasp

Antique Rock Crystal Necklace Made in Spain

Multi Gemstone Vintage Necklace With A Bar Clasp

Japanese Blown Glass Necklace With Round Beaded Clasp 1950s

Panetta Vintage Necklace With Safety Chain On Clasp

 

1950’s Cerise & Burgundy Hat Made Of Individually Hand Cut Leaves

This delightful 1950’s hat has an American made Union label. It is made of hundreds of individually cut-out leaves, alternating between cherry and burgundy colours. The hat has a netting with a small velvet bow on the top. It would be unlikely to see someone wearing a hat like this today – but in the fifties, this type of hat would have been a coveted treasure in the top shelf of the closet, and saved for special occasions. It would have been matched to an outfit, possibly a dress and jacket set, and accessorised right down to the gloves and bag.

Shirokiya Japanese Silk Kimono From The Showa Era ~ With Breathtaking Scenic Art

This silk kimono features a mountain scene with people – some walking, and others on donkeys or horseback, others with carts, as they wind their way down the mountainside. The scene is on the back of the kimono only. It is in a dark grayish-green base colour, with other muted blues and some luminescent colours blended into the grandiosity of the mountain scenery. Underneath the main image – there are abstract looking gold tone trees, giving an appearance of being uprooted and blowing in the wind. It is lined in a muted, lighter coloured silk.

Thankfully it has a label dating it to the Shirokiya department store in Japan somewhere between 1903 and 1940’s. It looks to be twenties or thirties to me. The store burned down in the thirties. Apparently the women in the building on the upper floor did not want to jump because they wore no underwear underneath the kimonos. As they looked down upon the growing crowd of onlookers – they could not bear to be so exposed. The story might be myth though – however widespread. Regardless – it led to a surge in the sales of western undies and pantaloons!

After doing a little more reading – this kimono would be from the Showa era 1929-80’s placing it in the thirties or forties, based on the label and artwork. Once you examine the imagery on this kimono – and then compare it to the earlier period kimonos depicting wealth, stability, prosperity and brightness – you can see this one has a more somber tone. Instead of having bright floral scenes and birds – it shows people leaving an area. It represents being dispossessed as opposed to being carefree, happy, stable – and able to demonstrate the artistic elements of a fanciful existence. There are no signs of light-hearted whimsy on this one. They are not chasing butterflies.

In looking at the political time frame that brought about the upheaval – it makes sense. This kimono would be from the thirties or possibly the forties – as displacement and unrest became increasingly prevalent in Japan, and the rest of the world. Nevertheless – it is a poignant and beautiful scene. Whatever emotions reside in the human spirit – will be expressed in the art of the time period. It is a deftly transposed reflection of their experience – and the overwhelming power that looms larger than they are. It creates a majesty all around them in the mountains as they weave their way to a destination on a downward journey.

It is a depiction of just one stream of humanity in our human history – as they were caught up and swept along by external forces beyond their control. It is another reminder, as we approach this Remembrance Day weekend – that peace and democracy has great value to all of us, regardless of what culture or historical time frame we come from.

A 1960’s Bold Scarf Pattern That Resembles Fractal Geometry

Back in the late eighties I did a career change for a few years – into advanced remote sensing technology and satellite image mapping, which was in it’s infancy at the time. We ordered data by plotting the scene centres on a large paper path-row map. For the most part we used the Landsat satellite data. We created and published the “Satellite Images From Space” series. We also did special applications contracts using advanced remote sensing technology. The data came rolled in big movie-like reels and covered the entire range of the electromagnetic spectrum, limited to a thirty metre ground resolution. The data had to be read into the computer through a tape reader. Once loaded, the data could be used for a variety of things. Different band combinations would enhance certain features on the earth’s surface. Without digital image processing the Cities From Space would have been in bright neon colours – instead of the natural looking blue water and green foliage. It took hundreds of hours to do the image processing on each scene.

In addition to the advanced remote sensing data – different equations could be entered into the computer and left to do the number crunching overnight, or over a weekend. We would marvel at the colourful imagery created as the equation worked it’s way into infinity. This scarf looks similar to some of the fractal geometry images. We were so impressed with a few of them, we made transparencies, then enlarged the images photographically on ciba-chrome prints – and hung them up in the office!

Rare & Absolutely Stunning ~ Three Dimensional Carved Rock Crystal Necklace In A Floral Theme

This is one of the most beautifully made necklaces I have ever seen. In most cases a carved rock crystal necklace will have one flower with a couple of leaves. It may have a single faceted (or round orb) as a pendant. Other than the pendants, there are only two carved flower and foliage rock crystal necklaces that I could find on the Internet. One is by Seaman Schepps and is listed as a rock crystal, pearl and diamond silver suite to include a pair of earrings (for $97,632.00). That one depicts alternating foliage (leaves) with pearls, diamond accents, and rock crystal.

The other carved flower rock crystal necklace on 1stdibs is by Russell Trusso (sold). It features a row of five single dimension clear rock crystal flowers at the front of the necklace and is accented with clear crystal leaves. When we hear the term “pools of light” – we think of round rock crystal. The clear smooth orbs look like marbles. They do not string or wire them through the bead. The beads are either encircled in order to be held in place, or as in this example – the clear beads are attached at the tops.

What makes this necklace so outstanding and rare? The fact it is three dimensional, which captures the light like magic. Plus the entire necklace is made of carved and faceted rock crystal, to include every single flower petal. It has five large clear faceted orbs that alternate with three dimensional carved flowers, in delightfully luminescent pastel shades of carved quartz. Because it is all rock – it is fairly heavy and is strung on steel wire. It has smaller faceted quartz beads toward the top, and a round sterling silver clasp. This necklace is quite a masterpiece. It is a design that literally brings rock to life. And with great finesse – enhances the enchanting, light-catching beauty of the gemstones.

Carved & Faceted Rock Crystal & Coloured Quartz

Interplay Of Colours On Carved Flower Petals

Copyright Valerie J. Hayes and Quiet West Vintage (2017). Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author/owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Valerie J. Hayes and Quiet West Vintage with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Stroheim & Romann Exclusive Hand Printed Fantasy Garden Textile ~ With A Palette Of A Dozen Colours

This artful textile is labelled along one side “Stroheim Romann Inc. Exclusive Hand Print Fantasy Garden” and shows the colour palette with a dozen colours. Thinking in terms of offset printing – this is one expensive printing job! It never ceases to amaze me how some textiles can stay so vibrantly alive, almost increasingly so – as they age. The aliveness is in direct proportion to the time and effort that went into creating it.

Can Dresses Be Compared To Musical Notes? There is Comfort in DGAC – But Try On An F#m!

Yesterday, I wanted to learn the song “Sweet Old World” by Emmylou Harris. According to the guitar chords and lyrics in chordie.com, the song is marked as difficult to play. I transposed it to -4 semitones to find a somewhat familiar chord sequence. In that combination most of the song is in D Em and A, which is great.

There is one F#m to go with the lyrics “cradled in your arm” and “together with another one” – just a few words, twice in the whole song. But you simply cannot dance around them, or skip over them. I never play an F chord. You have to be a contortionist within limited fretting space (like a real guitar player). Now I might be motivated to figure it out, just so I can play the song. Never having taken a music lesson means you can avoid anything you want. The lyrics and the songs are the driving force. They stay alive forever. I know there is a cliche “it’s the singer not the song” but I think they got that one backwards.

I started thinking about musical notes and what they convey. How many other things are comparable (especially dresses). The notes trigger emotional responses and have a predictable harmony. As I think about what dress style goes with an F#m – I envision it would be light and wispy, very noticeable but at the same time, diaphanous and ethereal.

The personality of the F#m is mysterious. She is made of silk chiffon, fluid in movement, and neutral in tones. There is a subtle nuance to the way she flows, from a comfort zone, shifting seamlessly into an artistic resplendance. The melody is in her movement, for the undulations of rhythm, is flowing right through her.

Not everyone can wear her, because it is not easy to emulate her style. You must be limber and coordinated, to learn how deftly and quickly she changes. The embodiment of an F#m is for a special time and place – in life as it is in a song. With unwavering confidence, she slips through the crowds effortlessly. Her memory is sweet. She is like the scent of hyacinths wafting by, as fleeting and elusive as a leaf in the breeze.

It is the range of little things, the small and unexpected notes, that brings beauty to our days. Check back. As soon as I find an F#m dress – I will post it here!

Once defined – it didn’t take too long to find one. This gorgeous silk dress fits the description for an F#m. The fabric is a muted blend of gossamer-thin patchwork patterns. A jacquard coloured silk with ribbon-like accents and gold metallic threads running horizontally across the fabric (like guitar strings of the imagination)!

Meanwhile – I’m going back to playing and singing “Silver Threads & Golden Needles” in good old DAE. If a song can bridge the difference in style between Janis Joplin and Emmylou Harris – there must be a key to the room for the rest of us!

Without a belt it has a 1920’s drop waist silhouette

A melodious blend of colours…

Shown with a narrow gold tone & pave crystal snake belt. Exotic!

Gossamer silk with gold metallic thread shown in morning window light.

Copyright Valerie J. Hayes and Quiet West Vintage (2017). Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author/owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Valerie J. Hayes and Quiet West Vintage with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Raincoats & Torrential Rain ~ Which Ones Keep You Dry & For How Long?

Living on the west coast can be a water logging experience, especially as we approach the month of November. Some people prefer snow instead of rain because it is usually much brighter out when it snows. I much prefer rain instead of snow and ice. With a few exceptions, that’s mostly what we get here during the winter.

If you want to spend time outside in heavy rain, a good raincoat is essential. The triple ply Gortex coats with taped seams are the best for keeping your core dry. A wool sweater layer or two will give extra warmth, breathes – and if the rain soaks through anywhere, the wool will help prevent you from getting wet and chilled.

But the typical Taiga or MEC Gortex jacket is short, giving coverage to the waist or hip level only. Your legs, especially your thighs, will get soaked in no time flat. It means buying a pair of Gortex pants to go with the jacket. But who wants to gear up and walk around the city looking like you belong in a boat and are heading out to do some wilderness fishing?

The Icebreaker brand (although their clothing is made in China) is ideal for wet winter weather conditions, like we get in Vancouver. The pullover sweaters come in a variety of weights for layering, depending on how cold it is outside. They are labeled 150 for the lighter ones, and go up to 300 or more. In addition, they make good front zip merino wool sweaters with hoods, which is ideal for when it is really blowing and raining. Icebreaker also designed a knee length coat that is water repellant on the outside, has a detachable hood, and is lined with merino wool. It has zip pockets on the outside and one on the inside. This is a much better coat than MEC’s knee length coat, which is light and flimsy. The zipper broke on the one I had, so I switched to Icebreaker.

As far as raincoats like Mycra Pac Now, and the wide variety of other lightweight jackets and coats – they are good to pack for travel to a warm location where it might rain, or to wear from the car to the building, but not much longer. A nylon coat will soak right through in a matter of minutes if you are out in a downpour.

The very best raincoat I have ever come across for torrential downpours, is one that provides full head to toe coverage. It is the Herluf Design and was made in Denmark. The exterior is a fluid, somewhat shiny black vinyl. It is lined in a very light wool blend fabric, and is a full-length maxi coat with a big cloak style hood. Of all the raincoats I have worn that have soaked through, including Helly Hansen, Taiga and MEC – this black vinyl coat has yet to soak through, no matter how much it is raining or how long I have been outside. It is loose enough when buttoned so it does not constrict your stride. The hood buttons right up to the chin so it does not blow off in the wind. The water off the hood is deflected, which prevents it from running down your neck, like it does with some coats.

I think the trade off between the vinyl Herluf Design and Gortex – is that the vinyl will not breathe that well if you are really active. For urban walking and standing around watching a football game – the long vinyl coat wins hands down. I looked up the Herluf website and can see this company makes a variety of good quality, stylish and functional outerwear. But if you are a hiker, an outdoor enthusiast – or heading out to the west coast to slay a thirty pound salmon – stick with the Gortex!

 

 

 

Raised Velvet Pussy Willows On Sheer Silk ~ Mitra Abedi Haute Couture

This open front sheer silk jacket is a delicacy of refinement. It is enhanced with richly coloured raised velvet pussy willows. The label as shown at the bottom of this post, is mostly unknown and enigmatic. The colours and textured shapes used on the black silk create an optical illusion with an alluring – yet subtle interplay. It is one of the finest examples of something that “flows”. This jacket scores high in artistic merit. It is among the top ten per cent of the most beautiful items in the Quiet West collection.

Incredible Haute Couture Gold Metallic Embroidered Kaftan Ensemble With A Hooded Cape

Since all the photography is done in window light – I hope the sun shines this weekend! There is no other kaftan ensemble like this one on the Internet. Although I have looked at them and studied the photos of a variety of kaftans often, I spent several hours researching vintage kaftans again last night. I enjoy looking at the range of gorgeous, exotic, and loose flowing examples of such decorated finery. Many of them are listed on the 1stdibs website, a site that brings together a collection of the most beautiful vintage items in the world. So I am very enthusiastic about sharing some photos of this amazing outfit. It is a stunning and rare example of a haute couture kaftan ensemble.

It is even more striking with the added dimensions of the hooded cape. When it comes to ethnicity – the arts is where we can see that every culture has created things with jaw dropping beauty. I believe this outfit is Moroccan, possibly with a special kind of Turkish gold thread that was used on elaborately decorated high end textiles in the Middle East. I have to do more research on the type of needlework techniques used. It may help narrow down and confirm where this outfit was made. Is it any wonder most of the famous designers created their own versions of this type of outstanding elegance?

Reverse Side Of Embroidery

Some Idiosyncratic Pendant Necklaces You Will Not Find At The Mall

Openwork Sterling Silver Pendant Necklace With A Blue Bottle Of Smelling Salts Inside

Never Leave Home Without It!

Erica Weiner Miniature Harmonica Necklace

Wood & Brass Monocular Spyglass Necklace

Pendant With A Fairy, Glass Tube & Movable Pixie Dust – A Last Resort!

Don’t Get Mugged For A Molar!

Stones Eggs In A Wire Sculpted Bird’s Nest

This One Must have Been Tricky To Make!

 

Arella A 1970’s Western Outfit That Flirts With The Fringe

With a voice, boots and a guitar – this would be a great outfit for a Western or Bluegrass performer in any era. If this outfit could sing – she would sound like Emmylou Harris!

Cape Like Top With Studded Pattern & Patterned Cut & Stitching

Great Detail On This Outfit

Zig-Zag Cut & Stitching On Both The Top & Skirt

A Bona Fide 1950’s True Blue Poodle Skirt ~ From A Wool Felt Dying Breed!

The 1950’s dyed wool felt poodle skirts have been copied many times over the years, using a wide variety of different fabrics for both the skirt and the appliqués. They were especially popular among the swing, rockabilly and jive dance enthusiasts. The original ones are easy to spot, as they demonstrate a stand-alone authenticity. The real ones have been few and far between in vintage circle (skirts) for a long time, probably since the seventies. The reason they are so scarce is likely due to the difficulty in cleaning this type of wool. It is prone to all things that make one shudder – such as shrinkage, moths, and stains that become embedded into the fabric. To make matters worse, the colour will immediately begin to bleed out when immersed in water (death for the dogs!). I have seen a few poodle skirts over the years, but mostly they were in poor condition. This is the only one that has made it into the Quiet West collection. I love the way they managed to make the dog’s hair and tail so distinctively curly on the appliqué!

Trifari & Alfred Philippe Designer History ~ From Cartier & Van Cleef & Arpels

Trifari became one of the world’s most recognizable names in collectible costume jewelery. Italian immigrant Gustavo Trifari founded the company in New York City in 1910. In 1930 Alfred Philippe joined Trifari as the head designer. Prior to joining Trifari, he had been with Cartier and Van Cleef & Arpels. Phillipe preferred using individually hand set imported Swarovski crystals. Similar to mid-century Ciner and Panetta jewelry – the designers first worked with precious metals and gemstones. When the glamorous era of the thirties caught on – the objective was to make costume jewelry of such a quality as to mimic the real thing.

After the war Trifari developed their own type of base metal called “Trifanium” . During the fifties and sixties the company continued to grow and thrive in the business of ritz and glitz glamour. In 1968 the legendary designer Alfred Philippe retired. Andre Boeuf (also previously from Cartier) became a lead designer. During the seventies notable designers Kenneth Jay Lane, Kunio Matsumoto, Marcells Saltz, and Jean Paris created designs for Trifari.

Trifari remained a family run business until the early sixties. It was sold to Hallmark in the seventies, and then purchased by Chase Capital (Monet Group). By 2000 Trifari was sold to the Liz Claiborne Corporation and moved production overseas. Certain luxury vintage costume jewelry will occasionally be unsigned (such as Chanel, Weiss, Sherman and some unknown early and mid-century master craftsmen and designers). One little known fact to share about Trifari – is that their pieces are always signed. The patent numbers and corresponding dates can be researched on Google.

The following are a few examples of Trifari jewelry in a range of dates prior to 2000.

Copyright Valerie J. Hayes and Quiet West Vintage (2017). Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author/owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Valerie J. Hayes and Quiet West Vintage with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Thankful For Old Friends

 

Thankful For Old Friends

Old friends who are growing frail and tired –

If we are wise, we will esteem them higher.

For experience and wisdom knows no bounds –

And among old friends is abundantly found.

 

Treasures have often been tossed away,

Because they don’t fit with the present day.

Now we see the value in many old things –

Like artifacts, gems, antiques and rings.

 

But we race around in these busy times,

Chasing the elusive ~ the ladders we climb.

While our older helpmates quietly sit –

Patiently waiting – hoping for a visit.

 

If we forget about them, what a tragic mistake,

Old friends are precious for everyone’s sake.

A nation’s history and culture take stock…

Lest she become lost – amidst the tick of the clock.

Valerie Hayes

Copyright Valerie J. Hayes and Quiet West Vintage (2017). Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author/owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Valerie J. Hayes and Quiet West Vintage with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

For Reflection

 

For Reflection

Foliage responds when nature talks

But weakest is the central stalk –

Wavering wildly ~ “The Thinking Reed”

Subjects nature to its greed.

 

Brambles & briars – bushes & thorns –

Gouge the flesh of pride and scorn.

They weave together close to the ground –

Whispers among them make no sound.

 

Flowers rejoice – lift faces to the sun,

Pulse out energy – bursts joy from each one.

Trees in the forest make great requests ~

Call for the clouds & their needs are confessed.

 

Harmony is balance – hearing each other,

In hundreds of years – this we discover,

That frail and feeble is our tact –

& Rapid change to what we know as fact.

Valerie Hayes

Copyright Valerie J. Hayes and Quiet West Vintage (2017). Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author/owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Valerie J. Hayes and Quiet West Vintage with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

The House Of Rodier ~ With More Than A Century Of Excellence In French Knitwear

The French designer Rodier has maintained a certain obscurity or subtlety over the past century. But once acquainted with some of their product, this brand is worthy of accolades for its long tradition of excellence in knitwear.

The House of Rodier was formally established in France during the mid eighteen hundreds. With a primary focus on knitwear, they began redesigning shawls of the Kashmir, which brought them acclaim for their creative divergency. The elaborately decorated shawls from the late eighteen hundreds through to the twenties, created stunning examples of the arts and culture of the time.

During the 1920’s and 1930’s Rodier assisted Jean Patou as he embarked on his career in fashion design. They also redesigned a fine knit jersey commonly used in undergarments, which was later made famous by Chanel. The looms of Rodier attracted much inspiration from other cultures. Like a laboratory of looms, they experimented with a variety of fabrics to include spun rayon called senellic. Some articles claim Rodier made sweaters for Chanel, Patou, Lanvin and other luxury brands during the post war years. Since inception – they were central to the “sweater and knitwear source” coming out of France.

Rodier created its first ready to wear line in 1956, and like all luxury brand companies has gone through many changes over the years. In the 1980’s they did an expansion with a focus on the US market. Over the following decade they spiced up their line and sold to multiple luxury boutiques.

As the century came to a close Rodier opted to do a number of licensing agreements. Alas, the tradition of excellence may now be compromised, which makes the earlier Rodier knitwear as distinctive and coveted as it was during Napoleon’s reign.

Below are some pre-millennial examples of Rodier sweaters:

When Organic Matters Are Just Beachy ~ The Popularity Of Seashell Jewelery

Contemporary Artisan Shell Collar Necklace

 

Shell Pin Accented With A Tiny Shell Bug

Baroque & Keshi Pearl Statement Necklace

Large Shell Set In Sterling Silver

Large Shell Set In Sterling Silver – Mexico

Sterling Silver Bracelet Elaborately Decorated With Abalone Shells

Shell Necklace In Shades Of Pink & Coral

Stretch Bracelet Made Of Matching Shells

Raffia & Shell Necklace

Carved Mother Of Pearl Earrings

Abalone Set In Sterling Silver With Decorative Bail

Abalone Set In Sterling Silver Setting

Open Shell Belt Buckle With Gold outlines

Thinking Outside Of The Box ~ Paying Homage To Canada’s Lucrative Second Hand Markets

Pair of Carved Stone White Howling Wolves

Wood Carving With Teeth Of Bone

The second hand market in Canada is flourishing with the buying, selling and swapping of a wide range of interesting products. It has given rise to some near maniacal television shows like a modern day gold rush with lots of buzz and excitement. Thanks to the Internet – no one has to go panning for the valuables in creeks, cross uncharted mountain ranges, or even risk their lives. According to Kijiji alone, Canadians bought sold or swapped used products to the tune of 1.9 billion dollars in 2016. It’s interesting to note that British Columbians buy four times the national average in second hand goods.

Thrift stores are magnets for serious collectors. It has only been since the nineties that thrift store shopping has been trending upward. The stigmatization of buying second hand began to vanish and soon after became trendy. The idea of collecting a product line in the second hand market makes so much sense. Everything from old Levis, to antique glass and porcelain, limited edition and original art, concert band T-shirts, motorcycle memorabilia, and my favourite – vintage clothing and textiles, has gone up exponentially. The value of certain things has increased as online selling has become easier to get into. Along the same lines as the theory of like aggregates, like items are more easily accessed and compared by interested consumers. The more unique, artistic, rare, made by famous designers, in demand or outlandishly quirky – the more likely it will increase in value.

I find it very intriguing when I come across other collectors and gradually begin to notice what they collect. In one case, it was a tennis player who knew the pricing and quality of tennis rackets. He would select certain brands for five bucks or so, have them restrung and then resell them for several hundred dollars each. Another man was buying 35mm camera lenses and combining components of them to rebuild lenses with uniquely exaggerated fish eye or bokeh capabilities.

For several years there was a man with a thick Russian accent looking for and buying cashmere. He accumulated an entire roomful of sweaters. Apparently no one was sure what he intended to do with them. After he died, I learned through the rumor mill that he had planned to send them back to where he was born in Russia. He had grown up impoverished and it was “always so cold”. It’s really too bad the cashmere didn’t get packed up and sent to his hometown.

The second hand market is filled with eclectic hobbyists and hidden professionals. Most of us have no clue what motivates another person to collect what they collect. The more knowledge the person has about the specific items, the more he/she will spot authentic items with value. Glass is a good example. It ranges from hand painted moriage in Japanese porcelain to the incredible spectrum of murano glass from Italy.

The differentiation between hoarders and collectors is easy to make. Hoarders have a diminished capacity to make selections. Therefore they do not collect based on knowledge and a larger vision, but rather on fear of throwing things away because they might need or want them some day. Hoarders tend to be disorganized and non-sensical in what they stockpile and do not like to get rid of things.

Collectors on the other hand are always culling and getting rid of mistakes because that’s how we learn. It is also how a collection is refined and built to higher standards. In addition for collectors, the collection becomes increasingly organized. Whereas with hoarders it is the exact opposite and everything piles up uncontrollably. The collector is motivated to a large degree by curiosity and learning. The collection itself has a systems component.

In my opinion there is no other place but the second hand market to find high quality items and products for resale, at a fraction of the cost. You could not buy the buttons for a designer jacket for what it costs to buy one in a second hand store. And then you would still have to sit and sew them all onto the jacket.

Canada’s high standard and good reputation in the online second hand market can be credited to Montreal and Toronto. Montreal mid-century designers are now being recognized in the upscale International vintage clothing markets. Canada has turned out some world-renowned luxury brand names such as Claire Haddad, Wayne Clark, Bill Tice, Gustave Sherman, Patricia Fieldwalker, Val Hughes and Madame Runge as some examples. Next to Italy, France, and the US – we can hold our own quite well in comparison to most other countries.

There are countless good reasons to promote the Canadian second hand market. We are an affluent country with much history and culture – due to the diversity and widespread travel. We have a great selection and clean well organized second hand stores. I skim through roughly 30,000 new items per week. Of that I might select six to ten items on average.

With everything from obscure coins, antique glass and art – to old typewriters and some very unique hand made musical instruments with wooden tuners, we have enough abundance in our second hand stores to contribute to eCommerce, education, niche markets, hobbyists and recycling. The identification of unique product lines and global trends – is continually increasing the scope and opportunities within the second hand markets. It also creates an eclectic exhibit of our diverse Canadian heritage.

Taxco Mexican Sterling Silver

Leaded Glass Crystal 1950s Germany

Antique Claret Jug Or Decanter For French Bordeaux Wines

Porcelain Bust Made In Germany

A Tribute To Beethoven

Antique Asian Symbolic Figures

Antique Carved Bamboo Three Dimensional Images

Mid-Century Porcelain Fish Teapot Made In Japan

Antique Wooden Child’s Toy

Cloisonne Owls

Carved & Signed Figural Animal Head

Alligator Covered Box With Artwork On Lid

Antique Asian Wooden Cigarette Box

Antique Carved Wooden Serving Dish Haida Gwaii

Cylindrical Wooden Jar With Inlaid Lighter Coloured Wood

Carved Stone Owl On Peach Coloured Quartz

Antique Wooden Hens

A Stone Trinket Box

Copyright Valerie J. Hayes and Quiet West Vintage (2017). Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author/owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Valerie J. Hayes and Quiet West Vintage with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Fine Feathers Are A Fetching Sight ~ & Fanciful By Day Or Night

Turn Of The Century Egret Feather On A 1950’s Hat

1950’s Feathered Brimless Hat

1940’s (Faux) Bird Revival On Hats

1960’s Single Feather On A Wool Hat

Feather & Matching Trim

1940’s Feather On Velvet & Grosgrain Ribbon

A 1920’s Sequinned Skull Cap With An Ostrich Feather

1930’s Or 1940’s Hat With Purple Feathers

1950’s Special Occasion Blue Feathered Brimless Hat

1960’s Or 1970’s Feathered Fall Hat

1950’s Original With Blue, Black & Red Glistening Feathers

A 1950’s Feathered Hair Band

The Inside Passage Legendary Map Theme Poem ~ About Grief & Hope

 

Music reaches the wandering herd,

Timeless tunes of twittering birds ~

Fallen and fractured – Swallows sleep

Wind O’less waves churn dark and deep.

Feathers find warmth – Still silence hopes

Sunlight shimmers upon scattered notes ~

Through all history one promise remains —

Birds sing a new song ~

After it rains.

Valerie Hayes

 

Sky So Blue

Like me – The sky is so blue ~

Then the setting – With a purplish hue;

Bruises & bleeds – Clear across the skies ~

‘Til absorbed by the darkness – & Shadows our lives…

Valerie Hayes

1992

Copyright Valerie J. Hayes and Quiet West Vintage (2017). Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author/owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Valerie J. Hayes and Quiet West Vintage with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Featuring A 1970’s Opulent Green Maxi Coat With Extensive Beadwork & Laid Work ~ Made In Africa

This one needs some retakes to show the detailed needle work better. When I bought it I was told that it was brought back to Canada by the wife of a Canadian diplomat in Africa. It is a heavy garment with yards of fabric in the skirt to create a wide sweep. The lower portion of the skirt also has the detailed couching and beadwork patterns.

When It Comes To Vintage Fashion Experts ~ Does Anyone Really Know It All?

As much as we can appreciate and learn from the expertise of others, beware of the collectors and sellers who claim to know it all. For those who are truly immersed in vintage textiles and design, it is a never-ending learning curve. When we seriously delve into the arts, like many other vast topics – it will increase our awareness of how little we know. A stubborn superiority will do nothing to alleviate our ignorance.

There are thousands of different types of fabric. Rayon alone has fifty different types and descriptions. The difference between hand loomed and machine loomed requires knowledge and a close examination of the garment. Fabrics such as mock crochet and many of the silk satin blends used in vintage clothing are now obsolete. Historical textiles from Egypt, India and Japan, for instance – can be traced back two or three thousand years. One could study textiles alone for an entire lifetime and still not know it all.

The same goes for jewelry. For example, there are thousands of sterling silver markings. I believe Mexico alone has around twenty-five hundred. Jewelry is fairly easy to transport and save – therefore it is more likely to survive the test of time. The country of origin in both textiles and jewelry design shines through in the product. Mexican sterling silver is artistically superb – especially the early and mid-century Taxco. Scandinavian and Navajo sterling silver has a very different and distinctive look compared to Mexican sterling silver. Gemstones in the jewelry also reflect the country of origin, such as the old turquoise mines, gemstones in the particular location, various treatments, settings, and alloys used.

One of the big questions in vintage clothing is in the perceived authentication of designer pieces. I don’t dispute that the vintage clothing market is complex, because it is and always has been in a state of flux and change. It is easiest to see this once you compare the same brand from decade to decade. Louis Feraud clothing from the sixties is highly desirable and recognizable. The eighties Louis Feraud is not as distinctive or as creative, however some of the scarves and certain pieces are drop dead gorgeous regardless of the age.

In my opinion the primary way to authenticate a designer garment is twofold – one is by the labels. The other is by the fabric and design. The best designer vintage has all labels to include the brand, fabric and where it was made. Pre-seventies clothing will often not have fabric content because it was not a legal requirement to have the fabric and care labels until then. Experience does help with evaluating the authenticity of a garment. However, if that information cannot be passed onto the consumer logically and without the pretense of knowing something they don’t know – how is that fair to the consumer or to the industry?

The art and history surrounding fashion design and textiles is as vast as any field can be. We are studiers and stewards of things that came before us – things we ourselves did not create. As human beings we are prone to making mistakes. There are hundreds of little tricks to help us identify things. If you use a jeweler’s loupe to examine fabric, it helps differentiate types of embroidery, the warp and weft of the fabric, loomed versus printed, damask versus brocade, etc. Gradually more and more criteria gets added to the list in your head when evaluating vintage garments. Anything that has covered buttons and/or silk lining warrants a second look.

A jeweler’s loupe will also help identify hand painted versus transfer decal, because you can see the dot pattern in anything that is printed. To determine if cinnabar is real, you hold the loupe at an angle and look for the layers in the lacquering. There is a very strong intuitive sense one gets from certain things. In some cases I will know immediately if the item is authentic – without looking at any labels. I do not buy anything designer with a Made in China label with the exception of vintage and antique Chinese silk embroidered pieces and Chinese export porcelain (and mud men). A small percentage of things in the collection are made in Hong Kong.

In many cases with jewelry I cannot identify markings that are worn or too faded. Another example is that designer labels like Dries van Noten were originally made in Belgium. Now many of the luxury labels are made in India. Dries van Noten also has clothing made in Romania on newer items. My philosophy is to be honest and up front about where an item was made and price accordingly. I do not consider famous brands to be authentic unless they are made in the country of origin. It may be a purist attitude but that’s how I see it.

In reality vintage designer clothing has become the crème de la crème of high fashion. Certain iconic pieces by Versace, Alexander McQueen, Thierry Mugler, Karl Lagerfeld, Rudy Gernreich, Christian Dior, Valentino, Courreges as just some examples – are now fetching prices between five and twenty-five thousand dollars per item. Some of the well-preserved dresses from the twenties are now listed on various sites for several thousand dollars each. I checked a textile auction in New York and saw that designer dresses with significant damage from the fifties and sixties sold for close to a thousand dollars each.

The clincher is that certain pieces by certain designers at specific times in their careers – are like original or limited edition art pieces. They represent the creative genius that drapes the human form – with rich colors, textiles, fluidity of movement and multi-dimensional ideas. The art in design has no room for know-it-alls. It is one big mirror room – both dazzling and dizzying in scope. A vintage clothing collection reflects the culture of a country. Online collections of vintage clothing from different locations are a unique representation of local talent as well as the migratory nature of things from faraway. I love to look at collections of vintage kimonos from Japan. The artistic elements of the Japanese kimonos surpass most textiles. A collection of vintage kaftans from Morocco would create an awesome and inspirational show.

We are all partakers of fashion to some degree. Some of us like to keep fanning the flames of fame for those with vision because they created beautiful things with lasting value. We pluck what we pluck for many reasons. I believe it is best to be dedicated to learning and willing to admit and correct mistakes. Why? Curiosity is a driving force. The field is sweeping and boundless. The biggest mistake is to get arrogant and convey to consumers that we know-it-all. It is completely acceptable to cite ones credentials – with specifics, not braggadocio hot air. We are more or less prone to filling in gaps with mere conjecture. I do accept and respect the knowledge of others, but it is not based on what they claim to be, more on what they are interested in and have experience with.

To create a division between “us and them” from those who declare to be experts – is the kind of limit the arts neither needs nor accepts. Just as in poetry, we get to pick and choose our words. That’s the beauty of art. Quite simply when it comes to vintage fashion and design – no one knows it all. The flow and finesse surrounding beauty and creativity in the arts contains a central hypothesis. Since it applies to almost all things requiring talent or knowledge – not only in the visual arts, but also in sports, literature, music, academia and technology. The bottom line is – show me your stuff. Don’t tell me how great you are. When it comes to vintage fashion – we are talking about material things. Besides all that – it is probably wise and a better reality check, to let those with less of a cognitive bias, be the ones to decide how great we are.

Copyright Valerie J. Hayes and Quiet West Vintage (2017). Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author/owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Valerie J. Hayes and Quiet West Vintage with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

A Poet’s Parallax ~ Raja Hand Woven Silk Damask Textile ~ Translated Into A Lustrous Splendor

This hand woven silk damask textile by Raja is absolutely stunning. It is very large, with an ivory backdrop, rich in depth and texture, yet vibrantly reflective. The pictures below show each side of the design, as well as some close ups. Although there are many hand woven rugs from India and Pakistan, hand woven silks, and beautiful hand embellished saris – so far, I cannot find anything comparable to this on Ebay, 1stdibs, or any of the other sites on vintage textiles. From the Antique Textile History, the following information sheds some light on the origin of such a textile, not including the selection and preparation of the silk, or colours, but enough to enhance our appreciation:

“BROCADES – THE TRADITION OF BRINGING SILK TO LIFE
Brocade weaving, especially with gold and silver, has been an age-old tradition in India. There are two broad classes of brocades. Brocades of pure silk or silk and cotton blends and zari brocades with gold and silver threads. The most important material in brocade weaving is silk. It facilitates lovely weaves, is durable, strong, fine and smooth. There are several varieties of raw silk of which the chief ones used for brocades are Tanduri, Banaka and Mukta. Tanduri is imported from Malda and other places in Bengal. Banaka is thinner and finer variety and is mostly used to weave soft fabrics such as turbans and handkerchiefs. Mukta is a coarse and durable silk used for kimkhabs, as fine silk would not withstand heavy gold patterns.”
“MAKING NAKSHAS (DESIGNS) ON BROCADES
Making of nakshas (designs) forms an important part of brocade weaving. Banaras is the main center where the nakshabandha (designer) tradition prevails. The skill and imagination of nakshabandha plays a prominent part in making of designs. Designs are associated with legends and symbolism. The most popular motifs are drawn from nature. In Banaras, it is said that nakshabandha families were brought to this country during the reign of Muhammed Tughlak (1325-1350 A.D.). They were supreme masters of the art of tying designs into the loom. Local artisans and weavers learned this art from these great craftsmen. Some of these craftsmen were also great poets-perhaps they wove their poetry into their designs. One such renowned poet was Ghias-I-Naqsband, mentioned in Abul Fazl’s ‘Ain-I-Akbari’. The nakshas are first worked on paper. This part of the work is called likhai (writing). The nakshabandha then makes a little pattern of it in a framework of cotton threads like a graph. This pattern gives guidance to the working of that design into weaving.”

The example in this post, is a much heavier silk than most. The design on one side does not show through or impact on the other side. I am guessing it was part of a special ordered bridal trousseau, and estimate it to be from the sixties or seventies. It is truly extraordinary – with many components in the design and fabric, from dimensional rose floral outlines, to small raised slubs on the fabric, and a periwinkle contrast. The centre on one side features a large round design, a bouquet, outlined in coloured lines. In the very centre, there is a small red symbol or signature. The condition is pristine. It is one of the most beautiful textiles I have ever handled and photographed. It is visually tactile, a fascinating sight to behold, with a luminescent glow and vibrant colour and synchronization. It creates an exhibit with features unique to the richly exotic and historical textile artistry from faraway lands.

It demonstrates how the non-material world – beginning with the vision of a poet or artist, can be woven into the material world – and will always retain the beauty and vision of the soul that went into it. Initially as a concept it may seem overwhelming and elusive. Eventually it turns out to be, a fine representation – of soulful materialism and poetic realism.

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1940’s Plum Dress Silhouette – With A Sample Of Laid Work On A Detailed Bodice

Couching or laid work is an embroidery technique dating back to 1070. It was one of two main techniques used in the Bayeux tapestry, a European historical work of art, consisting of fifty different scenes, and measuring 230 feet long. Laid work was also used traditionally on textiles in medieval England and Japan, with extensive use of metallic thread. Another location with a strong tradition for this intricate embellishment, was in Palestine, with production centred in Bethlehem. The Wikipedia definition is:

In embroidery, couching and laid work are techniques in which yarn or other materials are laid across the surface of the ground fabric and fastened in place with small stitches of the same or a different yarn.[1]

Once you take a closer look at this type of embellishment, as shown in the last picture of the post, it is mind boggling to absorb; how much time and attention to detail, goes into this type of needle work.

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1970’s Missoni ~ Glitter & Multi Colour Bold Stripes ~ Bent On Being Curvy-Linear

Missoni created some of the wildest (and coolest) outfits in the sixties and seventies. My favourite dress in the mid seventies, was a brightly striped Missoni, likely from the sixties, found at a thrift store in Calgary. I loved wearing it. It was similar to the shorts in this post, in that it was brightly coloured with shimmering vertical stripes. The stripes on these Missoni shorts are curvilinear – adding a dazzling and dizzying dimension to the design!

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A Fall Scene ~ 1970’s Lemay Embroidered Denim ~ Get Fresh With Flowers & High On Mushrooms

Check out this fabulous Lemay seventies embroidered denim shirt. It is heavy enough to be worn as a jacket. The scene on the front depicts sprigs of flowers only; but on the back, the mushrooms are taking over! The logo on the label, is of a dog (at least I think it’s a dog) smoking a pipe. Overall – this shirt is happy and well done. I bet she was donned, and danced like a diva – at a few hippie music festivals over the years!

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Gottex In Bright Hues ~ A Sybaritic Summer ~ From A Walk On The Beach ~ To A Picnic On The Dunes

Leah Gottlieb (1918-2012) and her family, were the founders of Gottex. The company was started in 1956, in Tel Aviv. Her vision was to design luxury brand swimwear and beachwear; with the relaxed versatility, enabling seamless meandering – from the beach or poolside, to luncheons, cocktails, and romantic summer evenings.

Gottex swimsuits have graced such figures as Diana Princess of Wales, Elizabeth Taylor and Brooke Shields. In 1975, the company was approached by Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Cardin, with a request to design swimwear lines for them. Instead, she chose to remain independent and grow her own brand. Vintage Gottex resort wear, made in Israel, is deluxe in artistry, colour, and uniqueness. True to her word – it is an all around uplifting brand!

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The Finale ~ Celebrating Canada’s Best Mid-Century Designers ~ Montreal Is The Winner!

To sum up the Canadian Designer Celebration mini series, a high percentage of Canada’s best mid-century designs and designers, have their roots in Montreal. The more I delve into the collection, and the labels – the more I realize how much of our great fashion history can be credited to Montreal. When it comes to fashion, the French do not disappoint. Toronto as a second runner-up, retains a mid-century vibrancy, with its legacy of notable designers.

The Montreal designed little black cocktail dresses from the sixties, are as sleek, and as wearable today, as they were back then. The hallmark of a great designer, is in the timelessness of their creations. I will happily share some exclusive examples…Starting with a late fifties, or early sixties Irving Nadler lace cocktail dress with a cape style top.

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Irving Nadler, Montreal Late 1950's or early 1960's Cocktail Dress

Irving Nadler, Montreal Late 1950’s or early 1960’s Cocktail Dress

DSC_0302DSC_0313The next 1960’s little black dress from Montreal is aptly labeled – After dark Cocktails.

After dark Cocktails, Montreal 1960's black halter dress.

After dark Cocktails, Montreal 1960’s black halter dress.

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Another Montreal classic little black dress, 1960’s black velvet, with gold piping at the waist.  This one has the musical label – Beau Time Melodie Frocks.

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An impressive 1950’s full circle skirt by Montreal designer Val Hughes.

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To end the series on a brighter note, this very artistic, abstract printed silk skirt, is labelled Cocktail Montreal. Thanks to these fabulous and talented designers of the eras  – they put Canada on the runway, when it comes to mid-century chic.

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Celebrating Fabulous Canadian Hat Designers ~ Lilliput, Nadelle, Leopold, Andre & M’Sieu Leon

These wonderful hat designs are mid-century Canadian, made in Montreal and Toronto:

Lilliput, Toronto feathered fedora with velvet accents.

Lilliput Feathered Vintage Fedora in brown tones. made in Toronto, Canada

Lilliput Feathered Vintage Fedora – Toronto, Canada

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Featuring Nadelle, Montreal 1960’s velvet lampshade hat, and Nadelle 1960’s elaborate beaded turban.

 

DSC_0424Nadelle, Montreal
H072frontviewH072nadellesatinhatLeopold Original, Toronto 1960’s Velvet Hat With Big Satin Bow.

DSC_0478DSC_0469Andre, Montreal 1960’s Gold Brocade Turban.

H0058mainH068close2M’Sieu Leon, Montreal 1970’s Beaver Fedora.

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Accolades To Mid-Century Canadian Designer & Retailer ~ Madame Runge

Madame Runge was an upscale retail shop on South Granville Street in Vancouver, from the late thirties until the seventies. I believe most of the clothing designs they carried, were commissioned and made by Montreal designers. Some of the examples are; Harold Taub For Madame Runge, Silverworm For Madame Runge, Gerson For Madame Runge… Regardless of the different designers, vintage clothing with Madame Runge labels are of exceptional fabric, style and quality.

The last image in the post, is a 1960’s double breasted green wool coat. It shows both the Madame Runge label, as well as “Styled By Gerson Inc. Montreal”. Although Madame Runge was based out of Vancouver, it is a rarity now, to come across the label in Vancouver.

The first dress and coat set in this post has been in the Quiet West Vintage collection for about thirty years. The green silk fil coup dress below it, is a more recent purchase. One thing for certain, Madame Runge labels are, and always will be, sought after and treasured by vintage clothing connoisseurs.

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Madame Runge Dress & Coat Set

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Madame Runge Dress With Ruffle & Trim

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Madame Runge Close Up Buttons & Trim

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Madame Runge 1970’s Silk Fil Coup With Plunging Neckline

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Madame Runge 1960’s Double Breasted Wool Coat Co-Labeled Styled By Gerson Montreal

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Styled By Marek Gerson Inc. Montreal

Celebrating Canadian Designer Wayne Clark ~ Featuring A 1980’s Silk Chiffon Couture Cocktail Dress

This exceptional 1980’s Wayne Clark Couture dress, is made of layered silk chiffon, with  rhinestone embellished lace inserts in the bodice, and sheer balloon sleeves. The dress has rows of satin piping down the length of the skirt, satin cuffs, and matching trim on the bottom layers, of an asymmetrical hemline. The back is open, plunging to the waist, and ties at the back of the neck, with a dangling satin ribbon.

For those who love the floating and fluid movement of a silk chiffon skirt, and being well covered; in a pose to behold. Those watching your back, will know… A Wayne Clark dress – is worth its weight in the folds!

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Celebrating Canada’s Finest Designers ~ Gustave Sherman ~ A Cut Above & A Shine Beyond ~ A Lifetime

Gustave Sherman of Montreal made costume jewellery from 1947-1981. The company logo was “made to last a lifetime”. He sourced out, and used the highest quality Swarovski crystals, and set very high production standards. The backing on Sherman jewellery is heavily rhodium plated, japanned, or sterling. The stones are brilliant, cut with precision, into narrow marquise stones, with cluster elements, and stunning designs.  Sherman jewellery lasts to this day, and will last much longer, therefore the jewellery was made to last more than one lifetime.

Sherman jewellery has always been recognized as high end costume jewellery, and was sold through luxury retailers and jewellery stores. The jewellery continues to be highly collectible. Certain pieces, in particular full sets, and the colour Siam red, command high prices, and have set off bidding wars on Ebay. Gustave Sherman passed away in 1984. His legacy, and commitment to the highest standards in craftsmanship, has left us with sparkle and shine – to wear and to admire, for many years to come. From the Quiet West collection, the following are some fine examples of the lasting quality in Sherman jewellery.

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Sherman Pink Earrings & Matching Pin

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Sherman Script Signature

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Sherman Earrings With Blue Marquise Cut Stones

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Sherman Signature in Block Letters

 

Gustave Sherman stunning vintage necklace - signed

Gustave Sherman Stunning Vintage Necklace

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Sherman Signature On Necklace

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Sherman Bracelet With Coloured Stones

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Sherman Bracelet With Safety Chain On Clasp

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Sherman Signature On Coloured Bracelet

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Sherman Fabulous Large Rhinestone Pin - Signed

Sherman Fabulous Large Rhinestone Pin

Gutave Sherman Blue Crystal Pin Signed on the Back

Gustave Sherman Blue Crystal Pin

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Celebrating Canada’s Finest Designers ~ A Six Part Series ~ Featuring A 1960’s Kaftan By The Brilliant Claire Haddad

Claire Haddad: Born July 17, 1924 – May 17, 2016. Her bio states she is “an Order of Canada recipient, and fashion designer to the stars”. One of her dresses was on the front cover of Vogue magazine in April 1966, worn by model Veruschka von Lendorff, and photographed by Rubartelli. Based out of Toronto she was known for creating eclectic lounge wear, and luxurious high fashion sleepwear from the early sixties until the eighties. She was forward thinking enough to envision loungewear, worn as elegant evening attire outside the home.

From the Quiet West collection – it is a pleasure to share a fabulous 1960’s Claire Haddad kaftan featuring a desert scene on a vivd background of electrifying colours, which was so hip in the sixties. The trim is black, loopy cord, and outlines the neckline downward to the V opening on the front. The trim changes into looped cord buttonholes, for small, rounded black buttons. The two front slits and sleeves are also accented with matching trim. The overall portrayal is so sixties trippy – of swaying, shocking pink palm trees – and camels heading into a psychedelic oasis. It really is brilliant!

Claire Haddad 1960’s Kaftan

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1920’s Silk Chiffon ~ An Ethereal Embroidered & Beaded Dress Ensemble

This 1920’s silk chiffon dress ensemble, is remarkable in how it is made, and even more so, in that the condition is near mint. The base dress was originally without a zipper, and would slip over your head to put it on. Wisely, this dress had a back zipper put in, to avoid stretching and pulling the delicate fabric, when putting it over your head, especially so, given the dress has sleeves. The zipper was put in professionally and stitched by hand. The entire dress is made by hand, to include all of the embroidery and beadwork, as well as the edging and seams. It is rolled and hand stitched, similar to a luxury scarf. The base dress is sheer, and is also covered in the same complex pattern of embroidery and beadwork.

The second layer, like the base layer, is extensively embroidered and beaded. It slips over your head, and attaches at one shoulder, draping diagonally over the dress. This makes one side semi sheer, and risqué, while the other side is draped in folds of silk, like a Roman goddess. The other minor change that was made, was on the left shoulder, where the second layer of the dress is attached. It was changed to a narrow strip of velcro. This too, saved the dress, since the weight of the fabric pulling on hook and eye fasteners, would have eventually torn the fabric. Thankfully, the dress has maintained all of its original glory and design, without damage, which is a rarity in 1920’s clothing.

It is of the calibre of the Callot Soeurs dress designs, when life was seen to imitate art and drama. A few breathtaking poses, show the remaining posies, of the most intricate dresses – ever put on the stage.

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Avante-Garde Hand Painted Silk Dress ~ With Carved Faces On Red Headed Buttons

Another beautiful vintage/antique dress to share, with a handkerchief  hemline, and the 1920’s stylish silhouette. The pattern on the front is both magical and mesmerizing. Many of the 1920’s dresses are lavishly beaded and embroidered. This dress features a hand painted design so avant-garde – it vacillates between sophistication and the desires of her heart. A damsel so charmed, she fans the coquettish. One would suppose – she is a wee bit standoffish, and so very hard to get – as to command a chic nonchalance. For she knows when she arrives she will steal all the glances. The buttons are so done up. With little carved faces, heart shaped lips, and wild red hair, standing straight up on end. What an eloquent way to dress for a smile. She scores a ten on being a classy and fanciful exclusive. She is an original and we get to admire – another fine example of how Art marries Style.

DSC_0482DSC_0474DSC_0472DSC_0475DSC_0485DSC_0470Copyright Valerie J. Hayes and Quiet West Vintage (2016). Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author/owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Valerie J. Hayes and Quiet West Vintage with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Country Of Origin In Clothing Design & Manufacturing

The reality is that most luxe brands are now outsourced to China, India, Tunsia, Sri Lanka, Romania, Turkey, Bangladesh, and so on. In many cases, the label will have Italy or Paris written on it, but the fabric content and care label, will give the real country of origin. Items without a country of origin label; can be assumed to be outsourced, unless they are authentic vintage, and the item holds up to scrutiny in the textile, workmanship, and design.

With years of experience, in looking through racks of second hand clothing, the country of origin can often be recognized without even looking at the label. One of the rising values in the spectrum of the vintage fashion market is that – it is fast becoming the only place one can buy authentic luxury brand fashion items, from the original country of origin. Regardless of advertising to the contrary, there are inherent differences among the countries:

Canada & UK – tend to manufacture clothing of good quality and materials, however the style or design, often leaves much to be desired. Both countries have turned out some awesome luxury brand designers such as Frank Usher and Mulberry in Britain, and Claire Haddad and Wayne Clark in Canada. However, the frumpy, conservative and stodgy – is definitely in with the mix.

USA – with New York as a global fashion hub, the US has turned out many luxe brands, with vintage hats near the top of the list. Similar to Canada and Britain, there is generally good quality and workmanship, with some fantastic designs, and others to pass by.

China, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh – for the most part, the clothing is flimsy, fast fashion.

Japan – turns out the most beautiful textiles, with the kimonos being works of art. Textiles made in Japan, are not that common, but in my experience, tend to be of good quality and construction.

India – with a rich history in textiles, turns out the most beautifully embellished fabrics, using beads, embroidery, tiny mirrors, and appliqués, often on vibrantly coloured silks. The clothing is usually casual, like the summertime free flowing dresses and skirts, so commonly seen. The problem is – so much of the clothing from India, does not have proper closures. If they do, they may not line up quite right. In my opinion, it is like there is greater focus on the textile, than there is on the garment construction.

Switzerland & Belgium – are at the top of the list when it comes to cost of labor. Dries Van Noten is a luxe brand originally from Belgium, and now outsourcing to India. I have items from this designer, from both Belgium and India, and do notice a difference.

Germany – has made luxe brands such as Louis Feraud, and Escada (originally made in Germany, now made in India) and several other well known brands. They tend to make quality clothing, with some great historical designers, but with a tendency (like Canada and the UK) to maintain high values for quality, practicality and common sense.

Australia & New Zealand – are also very high in labour cost. Similar to Canada, and Britain, they tend to make clothing of good quality and workmanship. I seldom come across things from Australia and New Zealand, and have only picked up a few items made there.

Italy & France – I concentrate on finding clothing made in Italy and France especially, and would estimate less than 1% of items in the second hand market are made in France. There are a half a dozen French labels I don’t buy when they turn up, such as Morgan de Toi and Copine. Some of the Italian labels are also categorically not worth buying. But, for the most part, the best clothing items, superior in fabric, quality, design and workmanship – are made in Italy or France.

In summary, Italy and France can never be displaced, or replaced – when it comes to the innate and historical savour-faire in the soigné circles!

Copyright Valerie J. Hayes and Quiet West Vintage (2016). Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author/owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Valerie J. Hayes and Quiet West Vintage with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Alexander McQueen ~ Fit For The Inclusion In Savage Beauty ~ A Very Foxy Silk Scarf

Alexander McQueen committed suicide in 2010, at the age of forty. His suicide was on the heels of his mother’s death. Their funerals were just two weeks apart. In the following year, many accolades were given to him, through exhibits and the media. He had illusory visions, translated into designs for movies, celebrities, and most notably – incredible theatrics for his own shows.

The New York Metropolitan Museum of Art did a tribute to Alexander McQueen in 2011, in a show titled Savage Beauty. The exhibit turned out to be the most popular exhibit ever held at the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art. When it was over, there was a public rally to reopen it. When I read about the show, and looked at some of his designs, I associated it with this unique Alexander McQueen silk fox scarf. It is so alive, and life size – it looks like the hair of the fox stands up, three dimensionally, and like his eyes are looking up at you.

In putting together a designer collection, and learning a bit about the lives and history of some of the famous designers, it becomes apparent; there is often a tragic correlation among them, similar to the music industry. The most talented, have a window of time, where they step out and shine. Briefly, the conditions are optimal, to work on and share their talent – and eminent creativity. Then, tragically, they are gone. From plane accidents, to overdoses and suicides, their lives are cut short. As it so often is with human nature – the recognition and appreciation after they are gone, is greater than when they were here…

DSC_0469DSC_0474DSC_0468DSC_0479Copyright Valerie J. Hayes and Quiet West Vintage (2016). Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author/owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Valerie J. Hayes and Quiet West Vintage with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

To All Loungers ~ Get The Show On The Robe!

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Christian Dior

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Patricia Fieldwalker

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Conrad Lingerie 1960’s Montreal

1960's Lounge Things By Style Rite

1960’s Lounge Things By Style Rite

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Vera Ramsay Vancouver 1940’s Satin

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1940's Ivory Satin Robe With Quilted Accents

1940’s Ivory Satin Robe With Quilted Accents

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Confezioni Di Lussi Dini 1950's Hand Embroidered Short Robe

Confezioni Di Lussi Dini 1950’s Hand Embroidered Short Robe

DSC_0328Copyright Valerie J. Hayes and Quiet West Vintage (2016). Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author/owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Valerie J. Hayes and Quiet West Vintage with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Beautiful & Opulent ~ 1950’s Fuji Kogyo Gold Damask Robe Featuring Embroidered Velvet Accents

This beautiful vintage robe boasts breathtaking distinction. It is embellished and embodied in the warmth of the Mt. Fuji silk patterned textile. The luminescent textile is further enhanced by an extensive amount of pin tucking around the lapel, collar, sleeves, and pockets. The embroidery is done on a backdrop of black velvet, contrasting with the gold, to enhance the vibrant colours of the embroidered floral accents. It is completed with a black trimmed, gold tasseled belt. It has a western design, with the artistry and beauty of the Japanese aesthetic. This robe, like the Cantonese piano shawl in the previous post – captures the culture and talent of an era, to give us another shining snap shot of the rich history and artistry in textiles.

DSC_0428DSC_0432DSC_0440DSC_0446DSC_0419DSC_0433Copyright Valerie J. Hayes and Quiet West Vintage (2016). Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author/owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Valerie J. Hayes and Quiet West Vintage with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Get A Fix On This ~ 1920’s Fringed Cantonese Embroidered Piano Shawl Featuring Birds & Flowers

I realize vintage clothing hunting is an addiction, but ironically it can’t get the best of you, because you are looking for the best in it. Every score is a fix. Unlike gambling and certain other addictions – you don’t lose it before you get (it) homeYou can wake up in the morning and look at it without regret. Certain things can be marvelled at every time you look at them. There is the initial amazement when you first spot it. Following that, the enthusiasm and desire to get it home and spread it out, or put it on a mannequin to photograph and examine it more carefully from different angles.

The Cantonese piano shawl featured in this post, is in my top ten highest of vintage fixes. The biggest rush is in the colourful array of embroidered birds. The embroidery technique used to make the feathers looks so real, vibrant and alive. It features several different kinds of birds, some perched, others in flight. The macrame around the edges and long silk fringe, is almost like extravagant hair. It is a large and most impressive work of Cantonese textile art, which was so avant-garde in the fashion circles of the twenties. There was another flurry of dramatic piano shawl poses in the sixties.

It is a show don’t tell true treasure from the archives of the past. The first picture in the post represents the 1960’s iconic comeback of the piano shawl. It is a stunning photo of Raquel Welch taken by Franco Rubartelli for Italian Vogue magazine in 1969. She is wearing a Valentino 1920’s inspired piano shawl, complemented with an amazing sterling silver and turquoise squash blossom necklace.

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Photo by Franco Rubartelli for Italian Vogue Magazine 1969 Raquel Welch Wearing A Valentino Piano Shawl & A Squash Blossom Necklace

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A Poem Finding Flowers ~ With A Festoon Of Flowers In Bloom

 

Finding Flowers

When I was a child ~ I mistakenly thought…

A weed was a flower ~ Until I was taught —

Then I grew up & found out wrong;

Some weeds are flowers ~

Grown wild and strong.

Valerie Hayes

 

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Copyright Valerie J. Hayes and Quiet West Vintage (2016). Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author/owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Valerie J. Hayes and Quiet West Vintage with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Bee In Bloom ~ A Dilettante’s Exhibition Of Vintage Photo – Shopping

A few years ago (more like ten years), when I was first exposed to the whole photo shop concept, I dabbled with a variety of photos, filters, and other tools in photo shop – to see what the images would look like.

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Limoges & Crystal

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Parlor Guitar

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Front of Peignoir Set

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The Kitchen

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The Work Room With Stained Glass Shapes & Faces

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A Bedroom Full of Stuff

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One of the Octagon Rooms

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A Portion Of A Scene On A Copper Fireplace Guard

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Acoustic Gibson Custom Vine Among Grecian Goddesses

Honeysuckle in Bloom

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Ocean Kelp With Blue Outlines

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Frozen in Winter Spirit Lake Trail

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Camouflaged Gulls & Rocks – Blending The Edges

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The Vastness of North Beach

Approaching The Islands at Sunset

Copyright Valerie J. Hayes and Quiet West Vintage (2016). Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author/owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Valerie J. Hayes and Quiet West Vintage with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Ciner ~ Among The Most Glamorous Mid-Century Costume Jewelry

There will always be artisans and master craftsmen who make beautiful jewelry. The biggest difference between today’s costume jewelry makers, and the early mid-century jewelry makers; is that, jewelers like Ciner, before he started making costume jewelry, was a designer and master craftsmen, who made fine jewelry using precious metals and gemstones. He was not just artsy – he knew the trade, and the commitment to task required to make high quality jewelry.

Emanuel Ciner started his jewelry making company in 1892 in New York City. In the thirties and forties, when glamorous costume jewelry became the craze; Ciner, along with several other fine jewelers (such as Panetta and Marcel Boucher), started making jewelry to emulate the real thing. They used designs and production standards on costume jewelry that is equivalent to settings in platinum and gold, replacing diamonds and gemstones with exquisite Austrian Swarovski crystals. The faux pearls were developed in Japan, using a fine nacre-like glaze, set in multiple layers, over glass beads – thus replicating the lustrous sheen of real pearls.

This level of quality and finery in adornment, attracted the celebrities, who loved the glamour and the spotlight. Ciner continues to make jewelry to this day, but apparently the vintage pieces, in particular, the necklaces, remain the most sought after by collectors. The necklace in this post was made after 1955, and is fairly heavy. The pieces in this post are most likely late fifties and early sixties.

Ciner Dramatic Mid Century Ear Clips with black centers surrounded by pave crystals

Ciner Dramatic Mid Century Ear Clips

Ciner Ear Clips 1950’s or early 1960’s

Ciner gold tone bamboo patterned necklace - signed

Ciner Gold Tone Bamboo Patterned Necklace – Signed

Ciner Gold Tone Choker Necklace - Signed

Ciner Gold Tone Choker Necklace – Signed

Italian ~ Mosaic, Micro-Mosaic & Pietra Dura Jewels Of The Past

As an update to this post – I stand corrected. I read on an antique jewellery blog, that the term for this example would be simply mosaic. I described it as micro, because it has tiny bits of glass arranged in a mosaic. The term micro mosaic actually refers to mosaics so fine, they look like a painting. The finer micro-mosaics were usually set in gold. Another term in the same genre, is pietra dura. It is the Italian term for the use of (gem)stones in a mosaic, as opposed to glass.

vintage micro-mosaic pin made in Italy

I. Magnin & Co. ~ Among The First To Bring Parisian High Fashion To North America

As with many brand names, there is now an I. Magnin, making licensed product, using the I. Magnin name, without the Co. at the end, and without the same level of quality. Due to mergers and takeovers, it was bought out by Macy’s, who now uses the name or trademark, for a house brand of clothing. The original I. Magnin & Co. was a department store started by an enterprising couple in the late eighteen hundreds in San Francisco. After the earthquake and fire in 1906, the couple managed to keep the business alive by selling product out of their home during the period of rebuilding.

By 1912, the company had secured several retail locations in high end hotels. They expanded from there, creating a large, luxury brand department store footprint in the west. One of the most notable locations (they moved into in 1948) was in Union Square, and was referred to as the White Marble Palace. Once in the high end market (from 1912 on), they began importing the latest Parisian styles, attracting a growing and upscale clientele. The earliest I. Magnin & Co. items will have “Paris” or “Imported” on the label. They focused on couture, and bought from designers such as Christian Dior, Lanvin and Chanel. This was during a time when these designers were keen to get into the North American market.

The I. Magnin & Co. also designed and made luxury brand clothing in the U.S. The following link shows the many locations, and how much they expanded during the post war years:

http://www.thedepartmentstoremuseum.org/2010/11/i-magnin-co-san-francisco-california.html

The hat featured in this post is a gem from I. Magnin & Co. when they were still at their peak, in the Fashion Square concept that was started in 1944, following a merge with Bullocks.

The dress featured in this post is an earlier I. Magnin & Co. Imported dress. As an educated guess, I believe it is a 1930’s or early 40’s (pre-war) full length Lanvin dress with a softly draping, very wide full skirt, in a fun-ky fruit like print, with a matching hood! It’s gorgeous. The following link is a good article on the history and background of Lanvin:

http://www.businessoffashion.com/articles/education/jeanne-lanvin-1867-1946

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I. Magnin & Co. 1960’s Wool & Fur Hat

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Copyright Valerie J. Hayes and Quiet West Vintage (2016). Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author/owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Valerie J. Hayes and Quiet West Vintage with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

On Valentine’s Day ~ Give Whimsy A Shape ~ & Pique The Waiter ~ With A Tip Of Grapes

DSC_0418Copyright Valerie J. Hayes and Quiet West Vintage (2016). Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author/owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Valerie J. Hayes and Quiet West Vintage with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Versus Versace Leather Trousers – A “Juxta ~ Pose” – In Rock Chic & Hip Flowers

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Copyright Valerie J. Hayes and Quiet West Vintage (2016). Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author/owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Valerie J. Hayes and Quiet West Vintage with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Celebrating Textile Art To Wear

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Embroidered Applique Of A Dancing Woman On The Back Of A Robe – Estimated 1970’s. Made in India.

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Japanese Yuzen Dyed Silk Kimono

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Richilene 1980’s Formal Gown – Bodice Of Gold Metallic Embroidery & Sequins. Made In USA.

Henri Bendel Silver & Blue Metallic Thread Weaved Into Floral Pattern. Made in New York 1980’s.

Galassia cropped trousers with faux fur and beaded flowers, made in Italy

Galassia Cropped Trousers With Plush Wide Cuffs, Studs & Beadwork. Made In Italy.

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1950’s Strapless Gown With Blue On Black Embroidery

To Harbor A Contrasting View ~ Same Scene In A Different Mood

Wide Angled Overcast Harborview

Overcast Harbor Village of Queen Charlotte

Harbour View

Clear Harbor Village of Queen Charlotte

Copyright Valerie J. Hayes and Quiet West Vintage (2016). Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author/owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Valerie J. Hayes and Quiet West Vintage with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

A Poem ~ The Thaw Of Spirit Lake & The Face Of The Trail

My favorite trail on Haida Gwaii is Spirit Lake Trail, and is located in Skidegate. True to its name, it is a dreamy, undulating and inspirational, loop through the trees, around the wilderness shoreline of a beautiful lake. There is a sense of privacy and privilege, in feeling so fully integrated with the forest. Big eagles perch on dead and broken trees jutting out of the lake, just feet from the trail. Moss and mist drape over sections, and then suddenly there is a brilliant contrast of azure blue. For just a few weeks in the winter, majestic white swans will often migrate through and spend some time, adding to the picturesque beauty of the trail and lake. They make a variety of strange sounds, like grunting and hissing. Apparently they mate for life, through mutual bill dipping and head to head posturing. The males are called cobs. The females are pens, and the young are cygnets.

During the time I lived on Haida Gwaii, I walked it nearly every day, and will always remember it as a highlight of living in such a beautiful place. Each time I trekked around it – it was different, with some new and delightful lighting, or an unexpected scene around the next bend. Occasionally, there were huge black bears near the trail, with thick, luxurious coats that added to their size. Haida Gwaii is home to the largest black bear in the world. They were in my yard more often than I saw them on the trail. They were never aggressive, and for the most part, remained shy and aloof – demonstrating they can run shockingly fast.

Curiously, although there have been black bear and grizzly bear maulings throughout the rest of the British Columbian wilderness, there has never been a serious bear mauling on Haida Gwaii. There is no documentation, memories among those who grew up there, or even in Haida Gwaii storytelling and folklore – that describes a bear attack on Haida Gwaii. The main “bears becoming an issue” is about a resident (many years ago) who was feeding, attracting and habituating bears to be his friends and companions. He lived with his mother who was frail and elderly. In addition, they lived right on main street where children had to pass by on their way to school, so it was a problem. The imbalanced resident and bear lover, when under pressure to stop it – ended up shooting the bears and then himself.

The climate on Haida Gwaii is similar to Vancouver, with most winter storms being more wind and rain, as opposed to snow and ice. The poem called The Thaw of Spirit Lake was written during a period of time in the winter when the lake was frozen.

Later in the spring on another walk, I stopped and snapped a picture of the face in the trail, without even fully realizing it, until I saw what looked sort of like a porcelain dolls head in the thumbnails of the photos. The camera I was carrying at the time, was just a small, very old 4 mega pixel point and shoot. When I saw the picture of the face, I was surprised to see I got the whole face in the picture. The face in Spirit Lake Trail goes with the poem. I felt awed and delighted to be out there enough to capture them both!

The Thaw of Spirit Lake

The lake is like milk – To nourish the tenseness

Like the soft rush of silk – Slides over the senses

And threatens to thaw our daily defenses.

While frozen reflections

Skim past expressions.

For what lies beneath, no one can see ~

Cannot be dredged or warmed a degree…

Until winter releases & shows the first cracks,

On a face that it teases ~

Until spring makes it laugh.

Valerie J. Hayes

snap shot of a face in Spirit Lake Trail

The Face in Spirit Lake Trail

Copyright Valerie J. Hayes and Quiet West Vintage (2016). Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author/owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Valerie J. Hayes and Quiet West Vintage with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Classy Canadians ~ Vancouver’s Fashion Historian Ivan Sayers

Whenever I meet someone and start talking about vintage clothing, they ask me if I know Ivan Sayers. One of the most memorable highlights of my vintage clothing experiences; was when he gave me a private tour of Panache 2000 fifteen years ago. It was the most beautiful display of vintage and antique dresses that one could ever imagine. Each one of the lavishly elegant dresses chosen for the exhibit, was posed on a white porcelain mannequin, that had been specially ordered. The show was taken on tour, was featured in several major fashion magazines at the time, and won a global designers award. The accolades were well deserved. Ivan Sayers is a life long dedicated fashion historian – with a keen eye for the sublime.

He is thought to have the largest private collection of vintage and antique clothing in Canada. For many years now – he has shared his wealth, and breadth of knowledge and inspiration in vintage and antique clothing. The contribution he has made to Vancouver’s history and culture is immeasurable.

In addition to the various shows and talks he gives, there are classes offered through Simon Fraser University. We are fortunate to have someone who can demonstrate both the tangible and the intangible, the theoretical, and the theatrical – the visuals, the hands on, and the transfer of knowledge. It shows us that the best of our material roots, full of provenance, change, story telling and travel, can be saved and suspended – depicting the talent and richness of each era.

 

For The Fall Flair ~ A 1960’s Kool-Aid Coloured Bell Bottom Jumpsuit With Laces At The Back

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Featuring Gene Shelly’s Boutique International California ~ A 1960’s Thousand Hour Gown

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The Hourglass ~ Fashion Is Figurative

The Hourglass

The Hourglass Figure ~

So hotly admired;

 The “Our” need-les through –

The heart of desire,

Holds all that she dreams…

As thread from her gown,

Came apart at the seams –

She could not have known;

What she needed to mend,

‘Til she went back again –

In her search for the end ~

& The good she could find.

It was then she was shown —

How the darkest of skies –

Has put stars in her eyes ~

As she rides in that chariot,

Called the “Passage of Time”.

Valerie Hayes

Copyright Valerie J. Hayes and Quiet West Vintage (2015). Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author/owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Valerie J. Hayes and Quiet West Vintage with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Roger Freres Elegant & Exclusive ~ Open Weave 1970’s Formal Gown Made in France

Featuring French couturier Roger Freres – a stunning late sixties or early seventies formal gown, made of a most unique and decorative textile. The fabric resembles blue and white string, wound and looped into a lace-like theme pattern. It may be described as macrame or guipure – but is not like any other fabric I have seen. The material and design is enhanced with a concentric floral motif to accentuate the hemline, bodice and sleeves. The patterned, open weave fabric is draped and fitted over a thick ivory satin – which makes the dress fairly heavy.

When I bought this dress, I was fascinated by the fabric and design, but was not familiar with the designer. I soon learned that vintage Roger Freres dresses are a vintage rarity. The few I have seen in doing research on this designer – are listed on 1stdibs. Each dress is exquisitely unique – made with the highest standards and most incredible fabrics. Check this one out and see for yourself – if you have ever seen anything like it!

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DSC_0313DSC_0305DSC_0317DSC_0315DSC_0286Copyright Valerie J. Hayes and Quiet West Vintage (2015). Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author/owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Valerie J. Hayes and Quiet West Vintage with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Chanel Vintage Pate de Verre Earrings ~ Three Dimensional Pale Pink Flowers On Hoops

Pate de Verre is an art glass technique where a mix of molten glass and enamel is poured into a gold dipped frame. The method was first introduced in Paris by Maison Gripoix in 1869. The process is delicate and time consuming, however, the results are quite stunning. The jeweler has many options – such as adding a subtle opalescent shimmer, in a dynamic range of colors. Each component of poured glass encased in a gold frame, is treated as a gemstone – and polished to smooth perfection.

The Chanel Pate de Verre earrings in this post are an impressive example of poured glass artistry. They have individual flower petals, in perfect symmetry – encased in the miniature gold frames. As an extra touch – each earring has a tiny gold Chanel logo on one of the flower petals. The additional ingenuity of the design, is in how they dangle. They consist of smallish gold hoops with a rounded stopper at one end. The three dimensional Pate de Verre flowers slide onto, and dangle from the hoops.

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Copyright Valerie J. Hayes and Quiet West Vintage (2015). Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author/owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Valerie J. Hayes and Quiet West Vintage with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Read Between The Lines ~ 1970’s Striped Summer Lounger

This 1970’s summer two piece outfit has coloured stripes of opaque red, blue and yellow – alternating with enough sheer stripes to let them – read between the lines…

1970's Summer Lounger Made in Italy

1970’s Summer Lounger Made in Italy

Copyright Valerie J. Hayes and Quiet West Vintage (2015). Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author/owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Valerie J. Hayes and Quiet West Vintage with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

If You’re Hot ~ Lace Trimmed Vintage Summer Dress Embellished With Plastic Flowers

DSC_0287DSC_0285DSC_0295DSC_0291Copyright Valerie J. Hayes and Quiet West Vintage (2015). Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author/owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Valerie J. Hayes and Quiet West Vintage with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Waiting For Her Ship To Sail ~ Vintage Hats With A Bokeh View

For those not familiar with the term, bokeh is taken from the Japanese language and means “to blur”. When taking photographs, there are various different methods, lenses, lighting and techniques to achieve the blur of the background, while getting clarity in the foreground image. These photographs were taken in direct sunlight on an upper deck using a 50mm Nikon lens set at the widest aperture. Other than cropping, there has not been any photo editing done to them. The feature image is a 1950’s straw platter hat. The embellishment on the hat is made of human hair. The last image of the post was taken in the fading light of the afternoon sun. They show variations of ocean background that is blurred, yet retains the outlines of islands, foliage, water and clouds. It creates a naturally beautiful backdrop for some pictures of  vintage hats – from another metaphorical vantage point!… She looks out with a face so pale – waiting for her ship to sail…

vintage hat with human hair accent and bokeh ocean view

Vintage Hat With Bokeh Ocean View

Vintage Hat With A Bokeh Ocean View

Vintage Hat With A Bokeh Ocean View

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Copyright Valerie J. Hayes and Quiet West Vintage (2015). Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author/owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Valerie J. Hayes and Quiet West Vintage with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

 

 

 

Clematis – Capture The Spell Of A Spring Backdrop

It has been an early spring in Vancouver. The kind where you suddenly notice that all the trees lining the streets are in full bloom. The hyacinths, crocuses, and daffodils have been braving the cool breezes too, this past couple of months.  We still have much to look forward to. Like how spring hats and spring flowers go together, reminding us of garden parties,  and the long sunny days ahead. The following pictures were taken on the deck a couple of years ago when the clematis was in full bloom.

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pink velvet 1950s hat with clematis back drop

DSC_0465Copyright Valerie J. Hayes and Quiet West Vintage (2015). Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author/owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Valerie J. Hayes and Quiet West Vintage with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Oh How Wilt Thou Pose ~ As A Full Bodied Rose?

This funky 1960’s red linen mini dress features a gold hand painted rose, that goes from the shoulder to the thigh. If you love roses – why not wear one? It’s guaranteed not to wilt!

1960's hand painted red linen mini dress

1960’s Hand Painted Gold Rose on Red Linen Mini Dress

Hand Painted Rose on 1960's Red Linen Mini Dress

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Copyright Valerie J. Hayes and Quiet West Vintage (2015). Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author/owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Valerie J. Hayes and Quiet West Vintage with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

 

Poet-Pourri ~ Words Like Petals Form a Poem ~ To Become The Rhyming Riddle On The Map

This Inside Passage Legendary Map poem was written as a “rhyming riddle” to enhance the lyric voice on the map. It is placed in two line segments in the cameos around the border of the Inside Passage Legendary Map. One of the extra detailed features of the map – is to be able to figure out the order of the verse in the border of the map.

Poet-Pourri

Words like petals – Form a poem;
Flower blooms – Then bows her head.

Sheds thoughts upon the ground ~
Moss – Prepared – Has made a bed

Poetic petals flutter down.
Depart from proud, stately stems

‘Til Nature has them land
Bathed in dew – Just humble gems.

Nature inspires deep respect,
Sweet pot-pourri recants…

Woods are made fresher yet ~
For the poet-pourri – Enchants.

Valerie J. Hayes

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Copyright Valerie J. Hayes and Quiet West Vintage (2015). Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author/owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Valerie J. Hayes and Quiet West Vintage with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Springtime ~ Hats That Blossom With Their Buds

Among the highlights of millinery craftsmanship, the vintage flowers are almost as uplifting as the real ones. The first hat in the post features a 1950’s hat with a Macy’s New York label. Covered in white flowers with a bright pink flower and pussy willows adorning the front ~ it sings of spring. The underside of the brim is lined with green cut out leaves. The pink hat below it is from the sixties. The flowers on this hat are layered between an organza fabric. The third one is a veiled hair band, that came in a small clear box labeled “Date Hat” for a spring prom or dance. The others are examples of past decade arrangements and colours that show the once very popular practice of putting flowers on hats.

1950's Macy's New York, spring flowers hat

Macy’s New York 1950’s Spring Flowers

Hudson’s Bay

A Date Hat

Modern Miss 1960’s

Copyright Valerie J. Hayes and Quiet West Vintage (2015). Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author/owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Valerie J. Hayes and Quiet West Vintage with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

 

 

 

 

February Feature of the Month ~ 1950’s Art to Wear Beaded Sweater

For those who have done extensive needlework, embroidery and beading on fine garments – they can readily see the time and craftsmanship involved in these creations from the past. However – it is hard for most of us to imagine the time and patience required to bead such a sweater as the one featured in this post. The fifties era holds claim to some of the most beautifully artistic beaded sweaters of all time. These fine beaded sweaters have what it takes to hob nob with the most cherished mid-century vintage and luxury designer pieces. It is rare to find them in good condition (especially the lighter coloured ones) – that have survived the rigours of the past sixty five years to age as gracefully as this!

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If you happen to have a hand beaded sweater from the fifties that needs cleaning; the following description is a common-sense method of care and cleaning that I use for beaded woollens:

– Rule number one is to handle it very gently, for the sake of the beadwork as well as the wool. Create a bath of water that is blood warm or body temperature, not quite tepid. Add and mix Zero and then gently insert the sweater.

– If the sweater has a stain, you can put some Oxiclean directly on the stain and see if it will lift it out. Swirl gently. Don’t soak it for very long.

– Empty the bath and add water to rinse two or three times until the soap is rinsed out. Lay it flat on a rack with a big towel over it and gently shape it.

– If the lining has stains or colour bleed from the exterior, in my experience, they are less likely to come out than stains in the wool.

– However, if the lining is white cotton and lifts away from the sweater, you can insert a white linen hankie between the lining and the wool. This enables you to treat the stain on the lining without coming in contact with the wool on the sweater.

In the case of the sweater shown in this post, the lining is synthetic. It appears that the colour from the surface beading and thread, over time, has leeched onto the lining in certain spots. I have not attempted to treat that, because it is not visible, and is not likely to come out. It is not worth taking any risk that might damage the exterior of the sweater.

The other tip to share with those of you who have an interest in preserving this type of artwork on textiles, especially with wool – is to put the item in a snap lid plastic container and freeze it for 24 hours. You can do this even before washing it. Freezing kills moth larva and is a good practice for maintaining fine vintage woollens. But, don’t wash it immediately after freezing it. Let it return to room temperature first. The idea is not to shock it too much. Also, a drop or two of neem oil can be mixed with the Zero for washing certain woollens – as an extra prophylaxis.

 

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Copyright Valerie J. Hayes and Quiet West Vintage (2015). Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author/owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Valerie J. Hayes and Quiet West Vintage with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Fashion Designer Ronit Zilkha’s Story – A Poignant Insight

Certain designer labels seldom turn up in western Canada’s second hand clothing market, with London’s Rhonda Zilkha being one of them. I have found one item so far with her label. When I started researching her history, I was surprised to see the list of celebrities who wore her designs, in particular Princess Diana – because she was consistently gracious and model-like in the way she dressed and carried herself.

Ronit Zilkha’s story in the link below, provides us with an honest and poignant insight into the fashion industry – as she gives a detailed description of the rise and fall of her own label:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-1233459/When-empire-collapsed-I-numb-shell-shocked-fashion-queen-Ronit-Zilkha.html

Below is a black maxi skirt with a front slit by Ronit Zilkha, likely from the nineties:

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DSC_0392Copyright Valerie J. Hayes and Quiet West Vintage (2015). Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author/owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Valerie J. Hayes and Quiet West Vintage with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Valentine’s Day Topper ~ A Cape Fit For The Opera

This prodigious, heavy cotton velvet opera cape is accented with a fur trimmed hood and red satin lining. It is a perfect topper for an evening out when the weather is still cool – as it is in Vancouver in February. The vintage cape was made in Canada, shown in contrast over a more contemporary skimpy lace dress. The long sleeved lace dress would most likely be worn with a slip or undergarment, depending on how risque one wants to be. I chose the dress to go with the cape for this shot, because of the way the lace covered arms look when the cape is buttoned up. There is a label on the cape “Royal Emblem” – but so far, I have not been able to find any details on the designer. Judging by the buttons, it is estimated to be from the fifties.

Fur trimmed, red lined, black opera cape made in canada

Vintage Fur Trimmed Velvet Opera Cape

 

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A Looming Canadian Love Story ~ Marni Knits

In 2013, the founders of Marni Knits in Toronto, retired and closed shop after more than fifty years in business together. The story of this company is so inspirational because it shows us; not only the teamwork and longevity surrounding their union and marriage, but also, that their designs and creations came from a true “hands on” labour of love. The following CBC story provides the background and history of this sweet Canadian love story – giving us a glimpse into how they managed to knit their lives together:

 http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/after-50-years-toronto-couple-quits-knit-wear-business-1.1320559

Below is an example of a hand loomed dress by Marni Knits. So far, it is the only Marni Knit item in the Quiet West Vintage collection. It is estimated to be from the seventies:

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Copyright Valerie J. Hayes and Quiet West Vintage (2015). Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author/owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Valerie J. Hayes and Quiet West Vintage with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

January Feature of the Month ~ 1920’s Embroidered Piano Shawl

This gorgeous silk hand embroidered piano shawl is still luxurious and vibrant, almost a hundred years after it was made with painstaking patience. This one, fortunately, has been stored away from dust and direct sunlight over the years. Piano shawls have to be handled with great care to avoid knotting and tangling the fringe. Originally made to cover pianos, these shawls were used in elaborate fashion photo shoots in the twenties with a revival featured in Vogue magazine in the late sixties. The last two pictures in the post show the reverse side of some of the embroidery.

1920's hand embroidered silk fringed piano shawl

1920’s Hand Embroidered Silk Fringed Piano Shawl

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Reverse Side

Reverse Side

Reverse Side

Reverse Side

Copyright Valerie J. Hayes and Quiet West Vintage (2015). Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author/owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Valerie J. Hayes and Quiet West Vintage with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

The Grand Tour ~ Italian Antique Mosaic Jewelry

Tesserae is the term that is used to describe one of the smallest components of stone or glass used to create a mosaic. During the Renaissance (14th-17th century) Italy – with its famous glass makers and master craftsmen, began to create micro mosaic jewelry. They created scenes and religious icons by arranging tiny bits of cut glass within a setting.

The real trend or popularity of wearing micro mosaic jewelry followed the Renaissance period into what is described as the Grand Tour between the 17th and 19th century. This promotional tour consisted of the European upper class traveling to Italy to take in the famed Italian arts and culture. During this time, the Italian peninsula became a popular tourist destination for the scenery, the enhanced social status, education and cultural adventure that was part of the Grand Tour experience.

Micro mosaics were used in other art objects in addition to jewelry. It was generally considered that the finer and smaller the tesserae, the more valuable the piece. The pin and bracelet in this post are examples of Italian mosaic jewelry. You can click on the image and then maximize it for a closer look at the tiny tesserae – as well as the detailed metal work within the setting.

vintage micro-mosaic pin made in Italy

Italian Mico-Mosaic

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Copyright Valerie J. Hayes and Quiet West Vintage (2015). Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author/owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Valerie J. Hayes and Quiet West Vintage with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Projecting Image, Fashion ~ And Embodied Cognition

Happy New Year to all, with much gratitude toward loved ones. I always feel a sense of relief when we get into January, mostly for the longer days and anticipation of warmer weather.

Some of the most fascinating research is being done in the field of embodied cognition. It is still in the early stages of study and somewhat vague in definition, but nonetheless it represents a leap of understanding in cognitive science. My interpretation of what it means, is that instead of our brains being locked away inside our heads with only our unique perceptions and mental representations to stimulate behavior and solve problems – we actually have cognitive resources that are distributed across our brains, our physical bodies – and our environment.

One of the essential meanings of embodied cognition is that states of the body modify states of the mind. So far, the only real study I have been able to find on clothing and embodied cognition is one involving a white lab coat and the perceptions it creates. That study alone, indicates that what we wear creates a significant impression with regards to the way we feel, as well as to how others perceive us.

With advanced and increasing knowledge about the brain, psychologists and philosophers have delved more and more into the field of embodied cognition and question how words, objects and events are perceived or made meaningful to us. The research so far demonstrates that language comprehension depends on emotion, perception and metaphor. This becomes the primary motivator of our behavior. It is the motivation and resulting coordinated action that links us to other people. The most compelling aspect of the linguistic component, is the extensive use of metaphor. Every conceptual metaphor from a “couch potato” to looking and feeling like a “million bucks” or saying it “fits like a glove”  to a “wolf in sheep’s clothing” provide us with examples of metaphors that describe concepts, some of which are highly complex and abstract.

What the increasing awareness and knowledge regarding embodied cognition brings to the fashion industry, is that if our physical bodies share in our cognitive processing, perception and interactions – then the way we dress and care for our physical bodies is far more important than mere vanity or practicality. It is an outward representation of at least some of the elements of cognition. The notion of intellectualizing fashion is not based on whim or fancy, but on a much wider and more holistic framework than has been previously acknowledged.

Just as the medical world began to recognize the need to treat the whole person (body) in the seventies, we now have that holistic element extending to our brain, mind, body, outward appearance, emotions, perceptions – and the environment. This means that if we are able to “pull it together” – it could be what brings us closer to self-actualization and the authentic self – which is the opposite of narcissism and mere vanity.

The food for thought that I leave with you for the New Year – is that all of our potential is wrapped up in embodied cognition – to enigmatically include many facets of existence that are outside and well beyond our concept of self.

Copyright Valerie J. Hayes and Quiet West Vintage (2015). Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author/owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Valerie J. Hayes and Quiet West Vintage with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

The Elusive Film Noir ~ Without A Backward Glance

From face veils to fedoras and super sultry dresses, the film noir look is full of high tension sex appeal, intrigue and mystery. This post features an outfit that has the film noir allure with sparkles that outline your shape – even in the shadows.  It is a 1950’s silver metallic jacquard weave, shimmeringly provocative, slinky party dress.  The hat is a simple beaded skull cap with a silver trimmed flower and feathered hair clip attached to it. Add your jewels and stilettos – and you will be sure to leave the party without a backward glance!

1950s film noir outfit

Film Noir Without A Backward Glance

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Fashion Spin Cycles

In the eighties and nineties I organized a few vintage fashion shows and did some basic research in order to do the narration for each show. What I learned then, is that fashion has traditionally had a thirty-five year cycle, where the styles of one era would be revived and re-created again, with some innovative variations. Because of this, there were distinctive things that “dated” clothing. For example, in the seventies, we wore bell-bottoms that were so wide and long that the bottoms became frayed and you tripped over them while crossing the street. Or, when those high-rise jeans that fit snugly around your waist went to the other extreme, followed by several years with clothing racks full of jeans and slacks that were so low in the rise that they had a one-inch long zipper. If you wore the style from a previous decade – it was ridiculed. But, let’s face it – some styles are ridiculous. Absurd actually. But, it’s not necessarily their age that makes them absurd.

Sometime into the eighties the fashion cycle began to shrink. During that time the frequency of the changes in fashion began to increase. The thirty-five year cycle went to twenty years, then ten, and early in the millennium, I recall reading that it had shrunk to seven years. This rapid cycling has become known as fast fashion. The mass produced disposable end of the clothing market has been churning out vintage inspired trends faster than we can follow. The underlying reason for this is that constantly changing trends and low prices will drive volume sales and increase the fashion industries profits. But ironically, what it has also done, is to increase individual freedom and create a much broader horizon for individual style and choice. Sort of an “anything goes” scenario that is a fairly new concept in the  scope of fashion history. Therefore, this rapid spin of fast fashion might be losing its point, or its sustainability, as others predicted would happen years ago.  On the up side, it has resulted in a significant blurring of the line between what’s in and what’s not in style. Since things so often swing to extremes, and fast fashion is filling up the landfills – maybe now we can swing back to the foundational quality and garment care that our wiser forefathers embraced.

To be rational about all the vintage buzz, a high percentage of vintage clothing is not worth keeping or copying. Just because it is vintage doesn’t mean it has style. And just because it is second hand doesn’t mean it is vintage. When clothing is advertised as vintage inspired or vintage styled – it is simply a capitalization of a now popular buzz-word, in order to increase the sales of their mass produced clothing. The other thing to be aware of – is that a percentage of authentic vintage clothing is made with exceptional style, quality of workmanship and material – yet it may not have a designer label. I know this statement seemingly contradicts a previous post I wrote about licensing brands, fakes and knock-offs, but in that case, the reference is to designer and contemporary clothing. Vintage has a different knowledge base regarding fabrics and sewing techniques, with some unusual quirks in the placement and types of labels used. Some of the beautiful and professionally made dresses from the thirties, forties and fifties don’t have designer labels.

There will always be trends. I believe the trend that is developing now is one of a much more sophisticated consumer. One who is inclined to research, to be more environmentally aware – and will wear what suits her personality and body type without being swayed so much by the spin surrounding fashion trends. Perhaps another off the grid trend is a reduced willingness to sacrifice comfort or mobility for style. After all, it’s pretty difficult to look effortlessly chic with a grimace on your face, or by tripping over twenty-four inch wide bell-bottoms. The truly fashion savvy women will seek both form and function – without sacrificing too much of either.

Copyright Valerie J. Hayes and Quiet West Vintage (2014). Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author/owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Valerie J. Hayes and Quiet West Vintage with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

A Poem Called Fallen Nature

 

Fallen Nature

Calm and quiet as a devoted monk,

Bows strong and steady from his trunk.

For a century or more he stood –

And cast strange shadows in the woods.

 

Age and loyalty – Twist and hide,

Invaluable rings he wore inside.

Arthritis creeped into every fold –

Kind moss cloaked him from the cold.

 

Pray for fruit on each gnarled limb

Until the dawn of day deluded him…

He goes unnoticed…

It’s been so long

That when he’s gone

Sad mist surrounds ~

Drips dew drops down…

On the tombstone stump –

Deep in the ground.

Valerie Hayes

 

Copyright Valerie J. Hayes and Quiet West Vintage (2014). Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author/owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Valerie J. Hayes and Quiet West Vintage with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

Vintage Reflections ~ In Sunlight & Shadows

For those of us who love the intrigue and beauty of vintage fashion, it often extends beyond the way we dress to the way we decorate our homes. The linens, lace, artwork, and furniture are part of the quintessential blend of vintage expression and reflection. The use of textiles with the varied patterns, stained glass to catch the changing light, hand made Persian carpets, and fine hand-painted Asian porcelain are among my favourite things for home decor. Whatever attracts us to a bygone era, whether it is a form of escapism, or the realization that some things, especially things that are created as a labor of love – are worth our appreciation and care.

Creative efforts generally produce positive values. Every creative endeavour that has lasting value requires intensive effort. For some, it is an immeasurable effort that may never bring recognition to the individual in his or her lifetime. But, as we all know – creative effort and energy, freely shared, as a labor of love – provides returns that are rich in intrinsic enjoyment and fulfilment. Once an idea is captured and turned into something tangible – it takes on a life of its’ own, often outliving the person who created it.

The best summary of creative effort that I read many years ago, simply stated that “creativity is judged by the number of people who are moved by it.” It brings joy to the individual and has the potential to make a lasting impression. Of all the things I have collected and studied closely, marvelling at the time and attention to detail that went into creating it, I feel gratitude toward whoever made it. It makes me think of the philosophical aspects of materialism and how it paradoxically (in my mind) contrasts and competes with idealism. Because essentially, without idealism  – nothing matters.

vintage home decor

Vintage Reflections In Sunlight & Shadows

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Copyright Valerie J. Hayes and Quiet West Vintage (2014). Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author/owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Valerie J. Hayes and Quiet West Vintage with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.