FASHION REMEMBRANCE: HUBERT DE GIVENCHY

6C698FF1-A8C6-44DC-ADDC-E30AD447BB89A week after we learned of the death of the last of the great couturiers I feel everything has been written about this extraordinary creator by those who knew him, wrote about him and treasured his memory. His creativity was unparalleled not only in the world of fashion but also in his homes and his magnificent gardens.

I wanted to briefly talk about my memories of the few times I met him.  The first time was at the launch of his first cosmetic collection in 1966. It was always a ”contest” to see which of the major stores, usually the Speciality Stores….Saks Fifth Avenue, Bonwit Teller, I. Magnin (Neiman Marcus wasn’t in Chicago yet) and, of course, Marshall Field’s, would launch the newest, hottest fragrance.  I must say Saks saw it’s share of these prestigious events. Obviously a cosmetic collection by one of the worlds most illustrious designers was beyond exciting. We had a huge fashion press in Chicago at the time and they were all vying for exclusives. I didn’t then believe in exclusives if the story doesn’t run you are ”dead in the water”. Instead, we always had a press party for visiting designers in addition to a reception for clients usually to benefit a charity. All was set, caterers in place, champagne chilled and I had the tuxedoed wait staff with their champagne ladened silver trays lined up on either side of the cosmetic aisle ready for the guest of honor, M. Givenchy, his people, the President of Saks, Corporate Cosmetic VP’s and our guests. I ran up to my office to quickly change, I am in ”mid-change” when my walkie-talkie (this is before tech thingies!) is swawking….”M. Givenchy’s car has just pulled up”!  My office was on the fourth floor, I finished pulling on my clothes torn down the stairs and made it to the door to escort the entourage into the store and the reception. Whew!!  I have worked with many, many wonderful creators through the years and I can say he was one of the most gracious, charming of all.  He made you feel like you were the only person he wanted to talk to, if only for a brief moment in time. This cosmetic line was short lived and we had the privilege of a second launch several years later. AFD15AD3-A8F0-45DC-9E8C-A92419EFF774.jpegThis photo, now in the Nena Ivon Archives at Columbia College Chicago, hung on my office wall was from the first launch.  Unfortunately, like several other designer photos, the salutation has faded into oblivion over the years.

In M. Givenchy received the Designer of Excellence Award from the Costume Council of the Chicago History Museum at a sold-out black-tie gala held in the Museum in 1995 sponsored by Saks Fifth Avenue. The front and inside cover of the evening’s invitation, the evening was planned with the direction of M. Givenchy’s dear friend, Victor Skrebneski (holding my hand) who took the photo on the invitation and is seen here with M. Givenchy and Bonnie Deutsch, the President of the Costume Council at that time.  The evening was a roaring success monetarily and prestigiously   It was the talk of the town. All the guests were given a small ivory silk pocket square with the Givenchy signature and rolled hem in grey. All three images courtesy of the Nena Ivon Archives at Columbia College Chicago.

BE6EFEC0-BE85-428B-ADA5-665DE01ABFCE.jpeg

A close up of another Skrebneski photo of one of my favorite Givenchy dresses….you by now know my love of lily of the valley…what could be more divine!!!!!  Photog found on Pinterest.

We all know of the deep friendship between Givenchy and Audrey Hepburn from the time she chose her garments for Sabrina through most of her many films, as well as her personal wardrobe.  One of my most favorite garments are in Charade, loved the film (what’s not to like) and the clothes are to die for…she seems to have a new outfit in every frame…each better than the last.

3623C97A-7AD0-4A2C-A9E7-D1D8AA59E6CB.jpeg03FD557A-1F4A-434E-A222-725670BDF860.jpeg

My favorite Skrebneski photograph of a Givenchy gown. Everything is perfection….the composition, the lighting the incredible staircase, the floor and of course the gown…oh my the gown!!!!  Found on Pinterest.

Of course, a few suggestions for your fashion book library….

I have very fortunate to have worked with the creme de la creme of the fashion world….lucky, lucky me!!

TIMELESS FASHION: TARTAN AND PLAID

Tartan + Plaid Always Classic Always New

Fall/Winter 2020/2021 ready to wear collections

Fashion Trend Report by Nena Ivon, nenasnotes, Originally published exclusively for Randolph Street Market. Updated and edited post republished with permission of Sally Schwartz.

During the confinement for our Pandemic I have been pondering, along with others in the industry, the future of fashion, retail and, in particular, fashion shows. How will the industry pivot to be not only relevant but how to present fashion…virtually…in person…both or….! ?Many of the “big” names will sit out this week’s New York Fashion Week as well as the upcoming London, Milan and Paris Fashion Weeks. I’ll be glued to all sites to see what our creative minds have up their sleeves. Time for change, time for reinvention, time for major creativity in a time like no other. I can’t wait to see how technology will play into the scheme of things. In a world, (fashion), of self expression individuality and newness….what a once in a lifetime opportunity to make things exciting! I, for one, can not wait to see our new world through the eyes of the creative fashion powers that be! Stay tuned for my impressions of Spring 2021.

Now let’s talk about the durability of plaid as a classic pattern…one that we see year in and year out and always says Fall to me.

Tartan + Plaid Always Classic Always New

I asked, Jeffrey Banks, a true Renaissance Man…designer, lecturer, fashion historian, and esteemed author of several books, most recently NORELL: MASTER OF AMERICAN FASHION, the first monograph on the iconic designer, to share a paragraph on the pattern. I encourage you to get his book TARTAN: Romancing the Plaid, to further explore its fashion story.

“TARTAN is one of two perennial patterns that seemingly never goes out of Fashion. The other perennial is animal prints. They are both all-time classics. And although some seasons they are more dominate a theme than others they are never more than a season or two out of the limelight. Because tartan is classic, romantic, subversive, and even sometimes ironic, its appeal never fails to fascinate. And it is the one pattern that even print shy men seem to always embrace!” Jeffrey Banks.

Tartan + Plaid Always Classic Always New

Tartan is often misused for all plaid it is by definition, “A woolen cloth woven in one of several patterns of plaid, especially of a design associated with a particular Scottish clan.” There are over 4000 tartan plaids.

Tartan + Plaid Always Classic Always New

Of course, the first brand we think of is Burberry, established in 1879 by Thomas Burberry. They trench coat “Its name derived from the trenches where military personnel were stationed in WW1, the original Burberry trench coat was designed in 1912 by Thomas Burberry to keep officers protected against wind and rain.”

“Initially developed for the military, each feature on a trench coat has been specifically designed for a reason. The epaulettes were added to display the rank of the officers while the storm shield, found on the upper back, enabled water to run off the coat and keep the wearer dry. A pleat was also featured on the back which allowed for ease of movement when running or on horseback.”

*The distinctive plaid lining was added in 1920.

I’m sure, just as Levi Strauss would be in awe at how his denim, originally for workman’s overalls, has evolved into classic fashion, Thomas Burberry could not have predicted the International success a military coat would have!

No plaid, to my mind’s eye, is more recognized. It hasn’t changed until recently….let’s look at the traditional and some newer versions.

Tartan + Plaid Always Classic Always New
Tartan + Plaid Always Classic Always New
Tartan + Plaid Always Classic Always New
Tartan + Plaid Always Classic Always New

The Chicago flagship store on Michigan Avenue…..who knew, plaid architecture, brilliant marketing and a stunning addition to what is arguably the most diverse architectural city, Chicago, where modern architecture was born!

Tartan + Plaid Always Classic Always New

A book, of course…

Tartan + Plaid Always Classic Always New

From Alexander McQueen

Tartan + Plaid Always Classic Always New

Sarah Jessica Parker and Alexander McQueen wearing the official McQueen tartan at the Met’s Costume Institute gala for “Savage Beauty”.

Tartan + Plaid Always Classic Always New
Tartan + Plaid Always Classic Always New
Tartan + Plaid Always Classic Always New
Tartan + Plaid Always Classic Always New

Vivianne Westwood

Tartan + Plaid Always Classic Always New
Tartan + Plaid Always Classic Always New
Tartan + Plaid Always Classic Always New

Yves Saint Laurent Couture

Tartan + Plaid Always Classic Always New

Jean Paul Gaultier

Tartan + Plaid Always Classic Always New

Want more…

Tartan + Plaid Always Classic Always New
Tartan + Plaid Always Classic Always New
Tartan + Plaid Always Classic Always New
Tartan + Plaid Always Classic Always New

To me plaid is always “in” as an accent, as an accessory, or as a complete outfit. It can be a traditional tartan or a new version of the classic Burberry plaid. It can be whimsical, think McQueen and Westwood, or line the classic trench coat that knows no gender. This season try it with a bit of leopard and what the heck a dash of a floral print, the point be confident in dressing and most of all have fun with your wardrobe styling!!!!

All photos from Pinterest photo credits unknown.
*Burberry quote from a Harrods editorial.


COLLECTIONS: TARTANWARE PART 2

Photo found on Pinterest photo credit unknown.

A first for my blog and something I would love to continue….a reader, (and more importantly a long time personal friend) of nenasnotes sent me photos of her Tartanware Collection, which is amazing. I asked if I could share the photos along with her comments on the collection, here you go!

From Lawrie Weed…

“As my father was of Sottish heritage it was the emphasis to start the collection which is about 40 years old. Most items are related to sewing, thimbles, needle cases, bobbins, etc. I have 22 napkin holders all different tartans. Ralph Lauren started having tartenware for his stores and the prices escalated dramatically so the average collector was hard pressed to continue finding the rare and wonderful pieces. My favorite pieces are a photo album and an Hourglass.”

From Lawrie’s Collection
Another view which includes the stunning mirror on the door of the exquisite cupboard.

Lawrie, thank you SO much for sharing your very special Tartanware Collection for us to enjoy!

COLLECTIONS: TARTANWARE

A Tartanware Collection.

I’ve been fascinated with Tartanware for years. I think I first saw these interesting highly collectible pieces at an Armory antique show in New York many years ago. Then in decorative art books and shelter magazine articles. When thinking of this post I wanted to talk with a Tartan expert and that person was Jeffrey Banks, a true Renaissance Man with so much knowledge about so many lifestyle topics. If you follow my blog you have read my interview with Jeffrey as well as a review of his current brilliant monograph NORELL: Master of American Fashion. I also talked about his first book TARTAN: Romancing The Plaid in a Randolph Street Market blog post several years ago and one that I am reprinting this week in this blog. All of Jeffrey’s extraordinary books are must haves in your library.

Nena with Jeffrey Banks

“Tartanware, was the name given the ‘souvenirs of Scotland’ that were usually small wooden objects covered in miniature tartan paper and then covered with varnish used to publicize a company’s connection with Scotland. These delicate small objects included egg cups, sewing kits, obelisk thermometers and napkin rings. Though never intended to be Collectables, these treasures were, if you will, ‘Cracker Jack‘ prizes for those doing business with Scottish companies. Made chiefly by the Mauchlin Company in Scotland around the turn of the century, these Objects were popularized by the almost fanatic following of anything Scottish loved by Queen Victoria. Never really meant to last for long lengths of time these items are much prized today by collectors as they have become exceedingly rare to find in mint condition. The most prized (and indeed most rare) are the larger Tartanware items like trunks and small pieces of furniture.” Quote from Jeffrey Banks.

When speaking with Jeffrey last week I asked him about the first piece he collected for his now vast collection, he paused, thought about it and said “I think a napkin ring.” This beginning of a carefully curated collection has become quite extensive. Here is a photo of some of his collection and several other photos he shared with me for this post.

From Jeffrey Banks private collection.

The following photos Jeffrey shared with me, not in his collection.

Notice gold lettering…Jeffrey shared that each piece has the name of the Tartan in gold on each Mauchlin piece.
A rare chest.
The only book on Tartanware

Tartanware was produced in the Scottish town of Mauchline from the early 1800s to 1933. The prime company was William & Andrew Smith of Mauchlin, from 1821 onwards. In 1852, Prince Albert purchased Balmoral estate in the Scottish Highlands for Queen Victoria. The Queen had a passion for Tartan and visitors to Scotland wanted small Tartanware items that were easy to take home, and something the Queen might endorse. Many pieces were what we would call today “gifts with purchase” and used as marketing other products…as Jeffrey mentioned in his quote “like Cracker Jack prizes”. Originally, they were hand painted, in 1853, new machines were invented to speed up the manufacturing process. Tartan designs were applied to paper and then glued to small everyday objects. The items were heavily varnished giving them longevity, thankfully for today’s collectors. In 1933 production of Tartanware came to an end after a fire destroyed the printing machinery.

The following are images I have collected, over time, found on Pinterest photo credits unknown. Some individual pieces and some decorating ideas….enjoy!

Sewing accessories
An example in tin.
Do you think there are any Royal signatures inside????
More sewing pieces
Modern piece from Ralph Lauren who has done entire home and ready to wear collections in tartan.
Just for fun!
Everything is collectible! I threw this in for a giggle!

COLLECTIONS: LOVER’S EYE JEWELRY

Lover’s Eye Jewelry

I’ve been fascinated by Lover’s Eye jewelry ever since I saw a collection at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum many years ago. And what better time to do a post on this unique short lived Georgian jewelry craze (1790-1820) than now when we are masked and can only see our loved ones, actually everyone’s, eyes! Perhaps a revival is in order, we all can use a bit of romance in our lives!

From the V&A collection

The story has a romantic beginning and takes us to the court of the future King George IV of England, then the Prince of Wales, and his secret lover, Maria Fitzherbert.

George IV
Maria Fitzherbert

Since Mrs. Fitzherbert was divorced it would prove difficult for them to be married. After many proposals, George sent her a locket containing a portrait of his eye, along with the note: “P.S. I send you a parcel … and I send you at the same time an Eye, if you have not totally forgot the whole countenance. I think the likeness will strike you.”

She replied to the sent image with a portrait of her own eye. They were married in a secret ceremony.

Most of the miniatures are painted in watercolor on ivory or gouache on card, the miniatures were set in pins, rings, and lockets for women and various containers such as snuff boxes or stick pins for men. Usually a decorative border of burnished or engraved gold, gems or pearls surround the portrait and often a hair compartment was included to hold a loved one’s hair. Obviously very intimate and meant for the recipient “eyes” only, they were small and to be concealed.

A charming portrait holding a portrait!

Here are some of my favorite finds….you can go to my Pinterest Board to see the many images I have collected pin.it/qnUPiGH

My most favorite.

It is said that if the miniature portrait was surrounded in pearls the subject was deceased.

From the Metropolitan Museum of Art Collections early 19th century.
From the V&A Collections early 19th century

A couple of books…..

Continue reading

ALWAYS IN FASHION: GLOVES

I have been thinking about this post for quite awhile and was excited to see such an abundance of gloves in the Spring 2020 Haute Couture Collections. I particularly love the play of color.Gloves… Always Classic, Always New

Gloves Randolph Street Market
Gloves Randolph Street Market
Gloves Randolph Street Market
Gloves Randolph Street Market
Gloves Randolph Street Market

Historical gloves…

Gloves Randolph Street Market

Tudor glove…

Gloves Randolph Street Market

From 1600’s V & A collection

18th Century gloves…

Gloves Randolph Street Market

Wooden glove molds are very collectible…perhaps you will find one at Randolph Street Market could be a fun collection.

Gloves Randolph Street Market
Gloves Randolph Street Market
Gloves Randolph Street Market

When I started my career in retail all ladies wore hats and gloves and, I must admit, I still like the finished look a glove gives to an outfit. Of course, in Chicago, we need them for warmth and why not have a fun color, pattern, embellishment or a fingerless pair to allow for texting!

Gloves Randolph Street Market
Gloves Randolph Street Market
Gloves Randolph Street Market
Gloves Randolph Street Market

The fashionable ladies of Downton Abbey…

Gloves Randolph Street Market
Gloves Randolph Street Market

Elsa Schiaparelli’s whimsical surreal gloves, way too much fun, don’t you agree!

Gloves Randolph Street Market
Gloves Randolph Street Market
Gloves Randolph Street Market

And inspired by Schiaparelli, designed by Salvador Dali and photographed by Cecil Beaton for Vogue

Gloves Randolph Street Market

Glove purses by Hannah Lamb

Gloves Randolph Street Market

Or perhaps a hat or two…

Gloves Randolph Street Market
Gloves Randolph Street Market

From the brilliant Rei Kawakubo for Comme Des Garçons

Gloves Randolph Street Market
Gloves Randolph Street Market

Or…

Gloves Randolph Street Market

Or make your own…

Gloves Randolph Street Market

Let’s travel to the 1970’s and, the doyenne of American Fashion, Bonnie Cashin’s revolutionary gloves…

“It was Cashin’s sixth decade in design. As she entered the 1970s, and her seventies, Cashin was something of a grande dame and the last of an old guard. Referred to as the country’s “longest blooming perennial designer,” … Cashin continued to be a top choice for companies in need of a revitalized image. The plea from Crescendoe-Superb, then the country’s oldest-running glove manufacturer still operated by its founding family, was among the most memorable for its lack of pretense. “We think our gloves are very bad and corny,” wrote the company’s owner, asking Cashin, “would you undertake designing your beautiful concept of what these … [designs] should look like, instead of our bad ones?” When the collection launched in 1972, the company wrote of her designs in twenty-two-inch-long lime suede (for layering as sleeves under ponchos) and grommet-knuckled kidskin (for fending off a purse snatcher), “these are the most expensive and beautiful line of gloves ever designed.”

Copy and following three photos courtesy of my friend, Dr. Stephanie Lake, Owner, The Bonnie Cashin Archive.

Gloves Randolph Street Market
Gloves Randolph Street Market
Gloves Randolph Street Market

Also from the Bonnie Cashin Archives and in Bonnie’s own handwriting, courtesy of Dr. Stephanie Lake.

Gloves Randolph Street Market

Michael Jackson’s iconic glove

Gloves Randolph Street Market

Karl Lagerfeld in signature mitts…

Gloves Randolph Street Market

Two of the most iconic gloves on film on two super stars of the silver screen…


Rita Hayward’s “strip tease” in Gilda! Fabulous….

Gloves Randolph Street Market

And the delicious Marilyn Monroe performing “Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend” in Gentlemen Prefer Blonds!

Gloves Randolph Street Market

And on the covers of magazines…

Gloves Randolph Street Market

A “pair” of books on gloves…

Gloves Randolph Street Market
Gloves Randolph Street Market

And a “bouquet” of gloves…

Gloves Randolph Street Market

All photos, unless otherwise noted, from Pinterest photo credits unknown. Reprinted with permission from Randolph Street Market Blog, January 2020. FASHION TREND REPORT EXCLUSIVELY FOR RANDOLPH STREET MARKET BY NENA IVON, nenasnotes

THURSDAY MUSINGS: DANCE FOR LIFE 2020: UNITED AS ONE

I usually don’t do prepared press releases for my blog posts but am so excited to share Dance for Life 2020: United as One with you I am bending my own rule. I have been a lifelong lover and supporter of dance, this love affair began sitting on my Daddy’s lap and being mesmerized by The Ballet Russe de Monte-Carlo. I have supported the incredible annual Dance for Life performances since they began and have seen the loyal audiences grow each year. Since we are in an unprecedented time, this year, it’s 29th anniversary, it will be a series of digital events with a spectacular World Premiere digital finale. Each day will highlight encore performances featuring the best of Chicago current and past dance companies. What a treat to be able to recapture the 29 years of DFL and see all the talent, drama and beauty of dance in Chicago. This amazing community of dancers are sharing past performances with us from August 10th through 14th and ending with a unique World Premiere on Saturday, August 15th which would have been this years live Dance for Life. Chicago loves its dance and dancers, I encourage you to support them by donating (information at the bottom of this post). Sit back with your beverage of choice and a selection of appropriate snacks and enjoy six days of once in a lifetime performances, we all are in for very special treats! I can hear the applause from here!

Here is the press release giving you ALL the details…..

Hosts for the August 15th finale World Premiere, Cortney Hall and Matthew Rodrigues, co-hosts of NBC Chicago’s program Chicago Today.

Chicago Dancers United (CDU) has finalized details for the finale of Dance for Life 2020: United as One, a digital event taking place August 10–15 through CDU’s website, chicagodancersunited.org. Dance for Life 2020: United as One is presented in partnership with Optum.

The culminating virtual event, which begins at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, August 15—the original date for the 29th anniversary of Dance for Life scheduled at the Auditorium Theatre—features a World Premiere choreographed by Hanna Brictson in response to COVID-19, performed by dancers from throughout the Chicago area. Serving as hosts for the evening are Cortney Hall and Matthew Rodrigues, co-hosts of NBC Chicago’s program Chicago Today. The finale event also features a Dance for Life highlights reel, remarks by a representative from Optum, details about resources available from The Dancers’ Fund, information about the 30th anniversary of Dance for Life in 2021, and more. Donors of $20 or more receive a link to “attend” this finale celebrationsEach day from August 10 through 14, CDU will highlight several videos of DFL performances from the past 29 years. Although these videos will be available at no charge, dance supporters and enthusiasts who donate $20 or more will receive a daily email with links to the videos, along with background on the works themselves. Videos will remain available on the CDU website and social media pages for a limited time. The lineup is as follows:

Partner Companies
Giordano Dance Chicago: Tossed Around choreographed by Ray Mercer, DFL 2018
Hubbard Street Dance Chicago: The 40s choreographed by Lou Conte, DFL 2018
The Joffrey Ballet: Round of Angels choreographed by Gerald Arpino, DFL 2016Current and past companies
Hanna Brictson and Dancers: My Darling choreographed by Hanna Brictson, DFL 2018
Chicago Dance Crash: Freshly Served choreographed by Jessica Deahr, DFL 2018
Ensemble Español Spanish Dance Theater: Bolero choreographed by Dame Libby Komaiko, DFL 2010
Joseph Holmes Chicago Dance Theatre: Oh, Mary Don’t You Weep choreographed by Joseph Holmes, DFL 1992
Luna Negra Dance Theater: Bate (excerpt) choreographed by Fernando Melo, DFL 2012
Muntu Dance Theatre: Djon Don Wolosodon choreographed by Marie Basse-Wiles, DFL 1995
River North Dance Chicago: Eva (excerpts) choreographed by Frank Chaves, DFL 2014
Thodos Dance Chicago: Getting There choreographed by Melissa Thodos, DFL 2013
Trinity Irish Dance Company: Curran Event choreographed by Sean Curran, DFL 2001
Visceral Dance Chicago: Impetere choreographed by Nick Pupillo, DFL 2014Past DFL finales
I’ve Got A Life choreographed by Harrison McEldowney and Jeremy Plummer, DFL 2010
Stand by Me choreographed by Randy Duncan, DFL 2015

Dance for Life brings Chicago’s dance community together thanks to dancers who generously donate their time, energy, and artistry to support The Dancers’ Fund, which provides financial assistance to dance company professionals diagnosed with a critical health need. The Fund has been temporarily expanded to help support dance community members who need financial assistance with routine medical expenses due to the pandemic. Dance for Life also supports two partner agencies: AIDS Foundation Chicago, which mobilizes diverse communities across Illinois living with HIV, and the American Cancer Society, which is leading the fight for a world without cancer.Dance for Life 2020: United as One takes place August 10–15. Donations of $20 or more provide exclusive access
to the finale event on August 15.

All programming is subject to change.
All events are available atchicagodancersunited.org.###
Photos top to bottom:
Cortney Hall and Matthew Rodrigues of Chicago Today, courtesy of NBC Chicago.

Hanna Brictson and Dancers: My Darling by Todd Rosenberg.
The Joffrey Ballet: Round of Angels by Herb Migdoll.
Trinity Irish Dance Company: Curran Event by C. Hoy Photography.
Luna Negra Dance Theater: Bate by Cheryl Mann.

Copyright © 2020 Chicago Dancers United, All rights reserved.
You are receiving this information due to your past interest in Chicago Dancers United, Dance for Life and/or arts-related activities in the Chicago area. If you no longer wish to receive this information, please unsubscribe. Thank you!

COLLECTIONS: LADY HEAD VASES

I have been wanting to do a post on lady head vases since I started my articles for The Randolph Street Market Blog, I got a bit of a “let’s do it now” push when I saw the following photo posted by my friend Toni Canada, when I asked if I could use it she informed that her mother-in-law collected them and sent me an additional photo along with the note I’m sharing with you…..it is an absolutely fabulous collection!

“The collection of Marguriete Canada handed down to her son Rick Canada. Rick is now the “caretaker” of the collection.

My mother-in-law would put little notes inside each vase, where she aquired the vase; if she purchased it, how much she paid for it; if it was a gift, who she received it from….. very sweet 💗”. A Nena’s note…what an excellent idea let’s all start doing that with our collections, brilliant!

Thank you so much Toni for sharing these treasures, the photos and your beautiful note, with us.

I became enamoured with lady head vases as a little girl. Looking at me today you wouldn’t think I was very sick as a child, but I was (we won’t go into details here!). With each bout of something or another my wonderful Daddy would bring me a lady head vase filled with 13 sweetheart roses (I believe now referred to as growers roses). He got off the El at Howard Street, we lived in Rogers Park on the Northside of Chicago, there was a florist underneath the station. Actually the vases began by being commissioned by florists to sell with their bouquets. I probably believed they were made especially for me…I’ve always been a romantic. I amassed a huge collection and totally adored them. They, I am sure, helped develop my interest in the glamorous world, to my young eyes, of fashion!!

These charmers were always very proper in their attire, hats…of course…pearls…usually…gloves…sometimes and always, always beautifully made up with lush mascared lashes and ruby lips….I was in fashion heaven. Theses were two of my favorites….want to find them again. Both are signed pieces and from Betty Lou Nichols.

In doing a bit of research for this post I found out the origins of these nostalgic pieces that occupied a place in time in the mid-20th Century, they, (like so many other objects) fell out of favor, they are now highly collectible.

There were several manufactures who produced these lovelies in the 40s to 70s. Here are some company names that can help you identify your vase: US manufacturers – Betty Lou Nichols and Henry Holt and Japan manufacturers – Napco, Inarco, Lefton, Enesco, Relpo and Reubens. There was also a trend for celebrity vases such as Lucille Ball, Grace Kelly, Marilyn Monroe, etc.

Lucille Ball

One of many Marilyn Monroe interpretations this one a rare example….

Grace Kelly

A beauty definitely a 50’s glamour girl….

I am concentrating on Betty Lou Nichols pieces in this post because I am familiar with them.

Betty Lou Nichols was a talented California artist that created some of the most sought after head vases in the collecting world. I found that most, if not all, of my collection were hers. Wish I had them now. When collecting anything always look for a hallmark, a maker’s mark anything that can identify it as the real deal. Always, always engage the vendors in conversation they are experts in their collections and want to share their knowledge with you. You will learn so much more about what you already have or when you want to add items to your treasurers or you are on the hunt for something new that you didn’t know you really wanted but definitely can’t live without!!

A book, as always….

Here are some ways to display or actually use your vases, with flowers and other suggestions.

Love this collection and its mirrors…I am obsessed with mirrors, are you?!

Obviously on shelves….or

For your make-up brushes et al…..or perhaps pens etc. on your at-home office workplace…

Flowers, of course…..beyond charming…

Love this collection….wouldn’t it be fun to do at a shower, luncheon or tea to put at each guests place as a remembrance…start collecting now for future events.

I have fallen in love with lady head vases all over again, have I tempted you…hope so!

Originally written for The Randolph Street Market Blog, reprinted with permission.

All above photos, unless otherwise noted, from Pinterest photo credits unknown.

COLLECTIONS: ROSEVILLE POTTERY

4E5387AA-CEBE-48F2-A168-B01961CBD44A

American Pottery… Always Classic, Always New

FASHION TREND REPORT EXCLUSIVELY FOR RANDOLPH STREET MARKET BY NENA IVON, nenasnotes

EDITED REPOST WITH PERMISSION OF SALLY SCHWARTZ

American pottery has been collectible since its inception in the mid-1800’s with its many manufactures, most of them based in the Mid-West, Ohio in particular. Let’s think Rookwood, Weller, Newcomb College, etc. In today’s post I’m concentrating, briefly, on Roseville Pottery, primarily it’s Magnolia and Thornapple patterns.

When I recently visited a friends home I found it jam packed with many, many collections one of which was Roseville. While I totally acknowledge that I have no previous knowledge of American pottery, I can appreciate it and want to learn more about its origins. There are many, many reproductions and fake pieces out there…as always educate yourself when collecting.

I particularly like these items being featured in Arts and Crafts homes, but find them charming in more modern settings. How fabulous in a solarium, or perhaps an enclosed porch.

Pottery Randolph Street Market

The Roseville Pottery began making decorative ceramics in 1892 in Roseville, Ohio. The company moved to Zanesville, Ohio in 1900. They became one of the largest pottery companies in the country before going bankrupt in 1954.

Roseville items come in many patterns, shapes and sizes. And, I’m sorry to say, there are too many “non-Roseville” pieces on the market. Research, research, research is the answer to authenticity!

Pottery Randolph Street Market

I took several photos of my friend’s treasures to share with you.

A wall pocket…popular with dealers and collectors.

Pottery Randolph Street Market

Pottery Randolph Street Market

A huge urn…

Pottery Randolph Street Market

Some of the vast variety of shapes are on display in a guest bedroom….lucky guest!!

Pottery Randolph Street Market

In a vignette…this and the three photos above it, taken by me with my iPhone.

Pottery Randolph Street Market

Pottery Randolph Street Market

Pottery Randolph Street Market

Interesting display of a vast collection. Here the collection doesn’t concentrate on one pattern but, in my opinion, it still works.

To continue your education…a couple of books.

Pottery Randolph Street Market

Pottery Randolph Street Market

As always when buying vintage items, do your homework, work with reputable dealers and most of all enjoy your collections.

Pottery Randolph Street Market

All photos, unless otherwise noted, from Pinterest photo credits unknown.

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by Nena Ivon
www.nenasnotes.com
www.facebook.com/Nena Ivon
www.instagram.com/nenasnotes

COLLECTIONS: VINTAGE COPPER WARE

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I THOUGHT THIS WOULD BE A FUN SUMMER PIECE…ENJOY

 

REPOSTED WITH PERMISSION OF SALLY SCHWARTZ

 

COLLECTIBLES EXCLUSIVELY FOR RANDOLPH STREET MARKET BY NENA IVON, nenasnotes

“Copper has been an essential material to man since pre-historic times. In fact, one of the major “ages” or stages of human history is named for a copper alloy, bronze. Copper and its many alloys have played an important role in many civilizations, from the ancient Egyptians, Romans to modern day cultures around the world.” Copper Development Association Inc. (Do explore their website…fascinating stuff!)

Mankind’s First Metal

“Copper has been in use at least 10,000 years, but more than 95% of all copper ever mined and smelted has been extracted since 1900. As with many natural resources, the total amount of copper on Earth is vast (around 10 to the 14th tons just in the top kilometer of Earth’s crust, or about 5 million years worth at the current rate of extraction). However, only a tiny fraction of these reserves is economically viable, given present-day prices and technologies. Various estimates of existing copper reserves available for mining vary from 25 years to 60 years, depending on core assumptions such as the growth rate.

While copper in its purest form is a very soft metal, almost any element that can be added to copper will increase its hardness. The addition of tin not only imparts strength but also results in an alloy, known as bronze, that can be readily cast in molds. Early on, man discovered that bronze would flow evenly into molds and produce reliable castings with intricate shapes and patterns.” From Kobett Metals website

Vintage Copper Ware

A copper mine.

Vintage Copper Ware

A vein of copper…Mother Nature at her best…

Vintage Copper Ware

Vintage Copper Ware

Copper nuggets…

What do we think of when we think copper….the Statue of Liberty, of course, a penny, naturally, some decorative accessory pieces one is likely to see in Mid-Century Modern homes but that is not what I’m concentrating on for this post but rather the kitchenalia we cook with (conducts heat to profection and in a mixing bowl whips cream perfectly) most particularly, Copper Pudding Molds…

Vintage Copper Ware

Vintage Copper Ware

Isn’t she glorious… now, of course, with her patina coat…

Vintage Copper Ware

Vintage Copper Ware

Pennies used as decorative floor tile… fascinating use for the lowly coin.

Vintage Copper Ware

Found at Randolph Street Market for décor probably originally ashtrays, now for bonbons or whatever you choose, my photo.

Vintage Copper Ware

Vintage Copper Ware

A couple of stunning Arts and Crafts pieces for a Mid-Century Modern home.

Vintage Copper Ware

I love the luster of these pans and kettles against the brick wall…very English country home… don’t you agree!!!!!

Copper Pudding Molds are shiny and ornate, these fanciful casts originated in Europe in the 1700s and remained in fashion through World War I. In England, “pudding” is a general term for desserts of all kinds, hence the term “pudding mold.” A perfect item to collect and you can find vintage “replicas” as well as the originals at the monthly Randolph Street Market. As always I suggest you use each dealers expertise to guide you through collecting no matter what form (pun intentional!!) it takes and remember don’t think about it buy it when you see it or someone else will! My warning for collecting…

Vintage Copper Ware

While I wouldn’t suggest you bake in very old molds, they make fabulous decorative pieces while newer, think mid-twentieth century to today, are fine for making any sort of “pudding”, jello molds (they too are back in favor), aspics, all can enhance your cooking year round but particularly charming at a summer picnic or back yard entertaining…easy to do and smashing to look at and devour!

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Perhaps you will find vintage drawings that could be framed and hung in your kitchen along with your copper molds. A couple of great examples.

Vintage Copper Ware

Vintage Copper Ware

 

 
Didn’t we all have fish molds and/or pineapple molds. One from my collection….all my copper went to friends collections. For years I had copper bottom pans as my cookware, they are also gone to homes that can use them and keep them shining. Many pieces today are coated so polishing them isn’t necessary, call me old fashion but I like the luster of the untreated…using a bit of elbow grease never hurt anyone plus the patina in the aging, like we humans, is beautiful.

Let’s enjoy looking at a few wonderful vintage pieces and perhaps how to display them in your home…

Vintage Copper Ware

Vintage Copper Ware

Vintage Copper Ware

Vintage Copper Ware

Vintage Copper Ware

Vintage Copper Ware

Vintage Copper Ware

Vintage Copper Ware

Several books for reference…..again look at RSM for all manner of vintage books…

Vintage Copper Ware

Vintage Copper Ware

Vintage Copper Ware

Vintage Copper Ware

Vintage Copper Ware

Perhaps a copper brocade dress to wear when hosting your dinner party having used your copper collection to impress your guests…

Vintage Copper Ware

Vintage Copper Ware

A solid brass sculpture, fascinating.

Copper, one of earths beautiful materials, can be enjoyed in so many ways and we can enjoy them in our homes, see the many statues with their years of patina or hold it in our hands in the form of a penny… no end to its delights.

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by Nena Ivon
www.nenasnotes.com
www.facebook.com/Nena Ivon
www.instagram.com/nenasnotes

All photos from Pinterest photo credits unknown.