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) home. You 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 long 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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