SATURDAY MUSINGS: MUSIC BOXES AND STRAUSS WALTZES

The Vienna New Year’s Day Concert.

Every year, for as long as PBS has broadcast them (since 1959) I have watched the New Year’s Day concert from Vienna. This year’s was, like everything else, quite different and somewhat strange due to the continuing pandemic. The Vienna Philharmonic played, exquisitely led by our own Riccardo Muti, in the glorious Wiener Musikverein.

Maestro Riccardo Muti

The difference was the orchestra played to an empty hall but had millions of us watching and listening to this annual tradition, now hosted by Hugh Bonneville, who was in the UK. The broadcast will be repeated, in Chicago on WTTW, this Sunday, January 3. It has just been announced that Daniel Barenboim will conduct the 2022 Concert.

Johann Strauss II

This years program was, as usual, mostly Strauss, some of my most favorite music. Why you might ask…from the time I was very young, actually I could say from birth, I was exposed to many types of music in my home. I have always liked classical music, as did my parents…you by now know my taste, in just about everything (including my brain!), is very eclectic that continues in my music choices. At an early age I became obsessed with music boxes and asked Santa for one that played a Strauss waltz. Santa always delivered my wishes and I got a quite charming Swiss music box playing the Strauss waltz, Tales From The Vienna Woods, composed in 1868. https://youtube.com/watch?v=Og3joyCntrI&feature=share

Here is the top of my very old music box which, by the way, still plays!!!! I played it every night to lull me to sleep after Daddy either read me a beloved story or told me his own stories….loved those most of all!!!! Through the ensuing years I always have sound on, when working, reading, doing nothing at all, and even all night. It is truly the background to my life.

The beginnings of music boxes can be traced to Switzerland in 1796 and were small enough to be carried in a pocket, like a watch and often contained a timepiece. The music box as we know it became extremely popular in the mid 1800’s.

A stunning music box

Also, Automatons became highly prized and are now quite collectible

Remember the Monkey Automaton in Phantom of the Opera, it was a pivotal part of the story. He plays the hauntingly beautiful “Masquerade”.

I have, obviously, just scratched the surface of this fascinating subject (perhaps more in-depth research and a second post is in order!) and have mixed several stories in one post….but as I said my thoughts take many, many different directions and I don’t see that changing in this New Year! Stay tuned to see what I’ll explore next!

You knew I’d leave you with a suggested book or two….

All images from Pinterest photo credits unknown. Image of my music box taken with my iPhone.

MONDAY MUSINGS: ROMANCE NOVELS

BRIDGERTON the new NETFLIX series.

First of all a confession, I have never, to my knowledge, read a Romance Novel. No Barbara Cartland, no Harlequin, and no Julia Quinn. That statement will, probably need some research, to see exactly what a romance novel really is. In my mind’s eye it is the bodice ripping damsels, shirtless rogues gracing the covers of said books, perhaps I’m wrong! For an example in other genres Louise Penny is often listed in Cozy Mystery round ups…I don’t think of her fabulous books as “cozy” but that’s just me!

Well you might ask why am I doing this post…the answer is I have become addicted to the newseries BRIDGERTON on NETFLIX (FYI this isn’t a sponsored post, I’m not fortunate enough to have sponsors, with the New Year approaching maybe that will change….I live in hope!). I must admit I am totally enjoying it.

Why, for several reasons which I will get into in a minute. Let me begin at the beginning with the first episode. I started watching because I am a major Anglophile and enjoy most English period pieces. The Regency period intrigues me with its manners, clothing, interiors, gardens, etc. again more later. We all know this has been an extremely challenging year and I wasn’t looking forward to Christmas which all of a sudden arrived. I usually go to a new movie on Christmas Day with friends, obviously this wasn’t happening this year but there were lots of choices to watch (read this as what to stream) and I choose BRIDGERTON. Almost immediately I said to myself, “this seems to be a live action romance novel and I seem to be enjoying it!” I needed something pretty to look at, I certainly found that and with “romance” thrown in. Is it a bit silly, sure, does it draw you in, yep, do you want to know how the characters evolve, absolutely. This isn’t WAR AND PEACE, it’s an escapist fantasy.

Now for some of the interiors, not necessary period authentic (think the Kristen Durst Marie Antoinette film, hardly correct but totally delightful).

The costumes identify the characters (that is the point after all!)….the socially established, understatement and soft colors and the nouveau riche, bold color and pattern.

Lots of feathers, fans, fluttering, flirty, fainting…manners, etiquette, duels, balls, court intrigue…marrying well (usually to improve the family’s fortune), gossip, lots of gossip, it has it all. It most certainly isn’t a documentary, just a fun interlude in our current very dismal year. Watch it for the fun of it and perhaps you too might become a Romance Novel convert!

Photos courtesy Pinterest photo credit unknown. Mostly still from NETFLIX.

FASHION FOREVER: VINTAGE DESIGNER SCARVES

Vintage Designer Scarves … Always Classic, Always New

An easy and highly collectible statement that is always in fashion….the vintage designer scarf! Of course, a new designer scarf is an accessory to add panache to one’s wardrobe, but we are for purposes here, talking vintage since this is a Randolph Street Market post (RSM IS ON HIATUS), after all! The knowledgeable dealers love to tell you the stories behind their wares, learn from them particularly when shopping designer labels. We seem to gravitate to European fashion houses but should also consider a very American brand VERA whose whimsical prints have been with us since 1947. The variety of designer brands, pattern, color, ways to wear the scarves and how to use them in home décor seems to grow in popularity rather than be a fading fad. Let’s take a look at the big names, how to style them and display them at home.

HERMÈS

Vintage Designer Scarves Randolph Street Market

“The scarf made its debut in 1937, exactly 100 years after Hermes was founded. The design of the very first scarf was based on a woodblock drawing by Robert Dumas, a member of the Hermes family. It was made with imported Chinese silk which made the scarf twice as strong than any of the scarves available at the time and, thus, became an immediate hit.”

Vintage Designer Scarves Randolph Street Market

Le Carré (The Square) first appeared in 1937.

“Since 1937, Hermes has produced over two thousand silk scarves, all produced in an Hermes factory near Lyon, France. Given that Hermes always catered to the very rich, the scarf was quickly adopted by royalty and celebrities. It was (and still is) worn as a headscarf by Queen Elizabeth. Audrey Hepburn wore it in countless iconic photos and Grace Kelly famously used it as a sling for her broken arm.”

Vintage Designer Scarves Randolph Street Market

Queen Elizabeth II in her signature headscarf.

Vintage Designer Scarves Randolph Street Market

Audrey and Grace both huge Hermès supporters.

Vintage Designer Scarves Randolph Street Market
Vintage Designer Scarves Randolph Street Market

From my wardrobe purchased in the 1980’s….love wearing it like this tucked into a suit jacket.

Vintage Designer Scarves Randolph Street Market

When not wearing them…..frame them!!!!!

Vintage Designer Scarves Randolph Street Market
Vintage Designer Scarves Randolph Street Market

GUCCI

Vintage Designer Scarves Randolph Street Market
Vintage Designer Scarves Randolph Street Market

1966 Floral Scarf created for Grace Kelly, I had it then….did you, or will you find one on your quest!

Vintage Designer Scarves Randolph Street Market
Vintage Designer Scarves Randolph Street Market

Another Gucci floral print…stunning!

CHANEL

Vintage Designer Scarves Randolph Street Market
Vintage Designer Scarves Randolph Street Market
Vintage Designer Scarves Randolph Street Market

Who doesn’t covet a Chanel anything….well I do and like to add the scarves to my wardrobe. Look for special editions in silk, challis and, in some instances, cotton.

LIBERTY

Vintage Designer Scarves Randolph Street Market

Let’s cross the pond to England where we find wonderful collections of scarves from Liberty of London. Always a favorite “bring home” remembrance especially the peacock print. The one below, in challis, a favorite of mine brought back for me by a favorite friend!!

Vintage Designer Scarves Randolph Street Market

Liberty Of London started producing light silk scarves that became extremely popular during the post-World War I years.

Vintage Designer Scarves Randolph Street Market

Vera Neumann was a very talented artist and produced over 7000 works of art in her lifetime. The book on her work is a fascinating study of this unique creator.

Vintage Designer Scarves Randolph Street Market

The last photos of Marilyn Monroe, before her untimely death, have her behind a thin veil….a Vera scarf…

Vintage Designer Scarves Randolph Street Market

The material below, from a Google search, gives us a detailed timeline of the label. A perfect “bring with you” when seeking a Vera piece.

“Vera Neumann (1907-1993), primarily a scarf designer, was a wonderful colorist with great graphic style. She signed her textiles Vera. Her fabrics are also seen in blouses and dresses from the 1960s and 1970s, using silk as well as cotton. Vera also designed textiles for the home, such as napkins and tablecloths. The Vera label is seen starting about 1947.

Here is a timeline to help date Vera scarves using the signature printed on the scarf.

1947 to mid-1950s: The earliest scarves were signed vera in a very small print. All the letters were lower case.

Late 1950s- The Vera signature became capitalized.

Early 1960s: The ladybug symbol and © copyright symbol (registered 1959) were added to the Vera. The signature and the bug were about the same size.

Mid- to late-1960s: The ladybug was used less and less, and the signature got larger. The ladybug became much smaller than signature.

Early 1970s: The Vera signature continued to get larger and bolder. Usually no ladybug.

Mid-1970s: Bug sometimes present, but disappears totally after 1976.

Late 1970s: Signature started to slightly shrink.

1980s: Smaller signature with © copyright symbol.

Vera died in 1993. At that time her name was licensed. The post-1993 scarves have a small “vera” signature and the copyright symbol.”

Written by Lizzie Bramlett, fuzzylizzie.com

Books… always…

Vintage Designer Scarves Randolph Street Market
Vintage Designer Scarves Randolph Street Market
Vintage Designer Scarves Randolph Street Market
Vintage Designer Scarves Randolph Street Market
Vintage Designer Scarves Randolph Street Market

There are literally zillions of tutorials available (including one from Hermès) on how to wear scarves. I find a casual look works well for me. How about you…how will you wear your new Vintage Designer Scarf that you scored at RSM!!!!????

Vintage Designer Scarves Randolph Street Market
Vintage Designer Scarves Randolph Street Market
Vintage Designer Scarves Randolph Street Market

I have just touched the surface of the vast world of vintage designer scarves….what treasures will you find to add a bit of flare to your wardrobe!!!! The possibilities are endless…

Vintage Designer Scarves Randolph Street Market

Richard Quinn Fall/Winter Fall 2018

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

All photos from Pinterest photo credits unknown.

ORGINALLY PUBLISHED FOR THE FASHION TREND REPORT EXCLUSIVELY FOR RANDOLPH STREET MARKET BY NENA IVON, nenasnotes. REPRINTED WITH PERMISSION.

HOLIDAY COLLECTIBLES

The Christmas Sweater and Holiday Pins: Always Classic….Always New

The trend of the “Ugly” Christmas Sweater started in the 1980’s on television and in movies, and more importantly were worn with pride by all genders and ages especially in the UK…in my opinion they weren’t that ugly as evidenced by those worn by Colin Firth, above, in Bridget Jones’s Diary, 2001…but then what would look ugly on him….Seriously!!!!!

The truly amusing, over the top sweaters have become so trendy, in the States, that parties are thrown, awards given, major competitions held to see who can be more outrageous. Many are now homemade, light up, have themes, I think, in some ways more fun than Halloween costumes. Let’s look at some of my Pinterest finds (photo credits unavailable), they might give you some inspiration….ho, ho, ho!

The Christmas Sweater and Holiday Pins

Of course, A Christmas Story lives on and on…

The Christmas Sweater and Holiday Pins
The Christmas Sweater and Holiday Pins
The Christmas Sweater and Holiday Pins

Rudolph has had too much egg nog, watch that you don’t over indulge when driving your sleigh.

The Christmas Sweater and Holiday Pins

Be your own tree, why not!

The Christmas Sweater and Holiday Pins

More themes and, I must add, they need embellishing without question.

The Christmas Sweater and Holiday Pins

To wear when seeing the new Grinch movie, watching the original at home or reading the original book, another classic.

The Christmas Sweater and Holiday Pins

Perhaps a food theme…pizza anyone!?

More possible theme and interests…start with these and make them your own. All genders and ages. No one left out!!

The Christmas Sweater and Holiday Pins

What could be ugly with Santa on your shoulder.

The Christmas Sweater and Holiday Pins

Even Whoopi has gotten into the act with her own on-line collection, way too much fun…love them, love her!!

The Christmas Sweater and Holiday Pins

How about a couple of rather pretty ones and to serve at the party, cookies, of course…

The Christmas Sweater and Holiday Pins
The Christmas Sweater and Holiday Pins

Love this one worn with red or white skirt or jeans.

The Christmas Sweater and Holiday Pins
The Christmas Sweater and Holiday Pins

Perhaps hightops to finish your outfit.

The Christmas Sweater and Holiday Pins
The Christmas Sweater and Holiday Pins
The Christmas Sweater and Holiday Pins

And, for our furry friends.

CHRISTMAS PINS..

My friend, Tommy, collects Christmas pins and displays them in a gilt frame. There seems to be room for more but I think a larger frame is in the future

The Christmas Sweater and Holiday Pins

A few that caught my eye to start my own collection or consider for gifts…could be a fun dinner table place gift, a tree ornament, when not adorning your Holiday outfit or tied to a special package.

The Christmas Sweater and Holiday Pins
The Christmas Sweater and Holiday Pins
The Christmas Sweater and Holiday Pins

Let’s consider a snowflake in diamonds, yes, please!

The Christmas Sweater and Holiday Pins

A snowflake pendant, why not…

The Christmas Sweater and Holiday Pins

Some suggestions on ways to display your collection of pins or collectible jewelry pieces. A great way to use broken or perhaps only one earring, dramatic, personal and most certainly, one of a kind. I think they are smashing.

The Christmas Sweater and Holiday Pins
The Christmas Sweater and Holiday Pins
The Christmas Sweater and Holiday Pins

Books for established or beginning collectors, you bet…

The Christmas Sweater and Holiday Pins
The Christmas Sweater and Holiday Pins
The Christmas Sweater and Holiday Pins

EXCLUSIVELY FOR RANDOLPH STREET MARKET BY NENA IVON, nenasnotes REPRINTED WITH PERMISSION

COLLECTIBLES: CERAMIC CHRISTMAS TREES

COLLECTIBLES EXCLUSIVELY FOR RANDOLPH STREET MARKET BY NENA IVON, REPRINTED WITH PERMISSION

I started thinking about this post when I did the Paint By Number piece, and while I don’t have any Ceramic Christmas trees in my collection (I actually collect Christmas Angels), I do find them charming. I found several at the Randolph Street Market….while the Market is on hiatus you might try Etsy or EBay. Many of the vintage versions commend mega dollars….again educate yourself or just buy what you like.

Ceramic Christmas Trees Randolph Street Market
Ceramic Christmas Trees Randolph Street Market

Both the above examples were found at RSM…delightful. Photos taken by Nena Ivon.

“Ceramic Christmas trees were a common sight in the late 1960s and early ’70s. They usually came in green or white, had colorful twinkle lights, and occasionally rotated and played music. By the 1980s, the kitschy keepsakes had declined in popularity, but today they’re experiencing a nostalgia-fueled comeback.” The originals were painted and decorated in craft classes. Most of the original molds have been lost or destroyed. (Quote from the Mental Floss website).

“Back in the 1960-1970’s, Mom or Grandma wanted to create their own gifts, keepsakes, pots, and dinnerware so they went to learn how to paint their own ceramics at a local shop. This lead to holiday decorations and – you guessed it – ceramic trees!

Several different ceramic mold companies in the Midwest started producing their own version of the now classic Ceramic Christmas Tree. The earliest versions of trees had tiny electric bulbs that lit individually. As technology developed in plastics and lighting, the older versions of tiny individual bulbs were replaced by trees that lit from within using only one light bulb to light and entire tree that is decorated with small, colorful plastic “bulbs.”

Vintage trees from this era are painted in a variety of colors, styles and textures. Some are glazed, some finished in acrylic paint, some with snow and many without, but one thing is clear — people still love those remarkable handmade ceramic Christmas Trees!

Since these trees are made from fired clay, little care is required, making them perfect for holiday decorations and gifts that easily last many, many years.” From Ceramic Christmas Trees Info website.

A few unusual ones….plus some display ideas.

Ceramic Christmas Trees Randolph Street Market
Ceramic Christmas Trees Randolph Street Market
Ceramic Christmas Trees Randolph Street Market
Ceramic Christmas Trees Randolph Street Market

Ready to be adorned…

Ceramic Christmas Trees Randolph Street Market
Ceramic Christmas Trees Randolph Street Market
Ceramic Christmas Trees Randolph Street Market
Ceramic Christmas Trees Randolph Street Market
Ceramic Christmas Trees Randolph Street Market
Ceramic Christmas Trees Randolph Street Market
Ceramic Christmas Trees Randolph Street Market
Ceramic Christmas Trees Randolph Street Market
Ceramic Christmas Trees Randolph Street Market

Perfect for a Mid-Century Modern home…

Ceramic Christmas Trees Randolph Street Market
Ceramic Christmas Trees Randolph Street Market
Ceramic Christmas Trees Randolph Street Market

You knew I would include a book, here you go.

Ceramic Christmas Trees Randolph Street Market

Several ceramic vintage and modern menorahs to celebrate Hanukkah, stunning examples to honor the tradition. Definitely not DIY!

Ceramic Christmas Trees Randolph Street Market
Ceramic Christmas Trees Randolph Street Market
Ceramic Christmas Trees Randolph Street Market

All photos unless otherwise noted from Pinterest credit unknown.

BOOKS-BOOKS-BOOKS: HOLIDAY BOOK SELECTIONS

A peek at some of my fashion library.

When I was asked to do a piece for The Book Stall Newsletter I was overwhelmed with excitement. Why you might ask, the answer is a simple one I’ve been in love with books, one could say, obsessed, since I was a child. I have read and was read to, I think, since birth. I loved my library at my Evanston primary school, where I spent many hours helping in the stacks…as well as visiting the fabulous Evanston Public Library with Daddy every Saturday morning, and the amazing book floor at Marshall Fields State Street (remember that!), where a special friend of my family, “Aunt Harriet”, held court in the fiction area. She always let me select a book from the children’s area that she would give me, pure Heaven.

Marshall Field’s book department early 1900’s. Photo courtesy of James McKay of the Marshall Field & Co., History & Future + Memorabilia by Field’s Fans Chicago Group on Facebook.

My copy for The Book Stall….reprinted with permission…I’ve added some photos….

My love for Independent Bookstores began with The Main Street Book Store on Michigan Avenue, just down the street from my work, where I spent many a lunch hour browsing and buying the newest fiction, mysteries and lifestyle books. And now my Independent Bookseller of choice is the amazing The Book Stall in Winnetka. I live in downtown Chicago so I must take the Metra to visit this perfect environment.

With this history of loving books it was an easy transition to start a Book Club thus nenasnotes The Fashion Book Club was born and who better to partner with me to provide our reviewed books than The Book Stall. I also do book reviews, as well as many topics that strike my fancy, for this blog.

I wanted to share some of my current, and a couple not so current but important for my list of recommended titles, books to add to your library as well as think of as gifts. I am an extremely eclectic reader with emphasis on Fashion/Lifestyle books for my Book Club. Other interests are historical fiction especially English or French themes with a bit of the Gilded Age thrown in. Also think of the new books from Fiona Davis and Rhys Bowen. I’m learning toward some Russian fiction, think A Gentleman in Moscow for an example. Mysteries, not thriller nor anything scary, more Louise Penny (who doesn’t love Armand!), Charles Finch, Cara Black, Charles Todd, Steve Berry and an occasional Cozy such as Laura Child and, of course Christie.

A very small sampling of my cookbooks.

I also collect cookbooks, not only for recipes but to read as well…the usual suspects, Ina Garden, her new one is, of course a must have, Nigella Lawson, Mary Berry, some of the books by Food bloggers such as Half Baked Harvest, love anything from Edna Lewis, as well as anything on New Orleans, Jubilee, a true gem and the new bio on James Beard, The Man Who Ate Too Much, a must read.

Now my recommendations for Fashion/Lifestyle (my fashion library is 1000 volumes and growing!). NORELL, one of many monographs by the uber fashion insider, Jeffrey Banks, you can’t go wrong with anything he writes.

The brand new book from the exquisite writer and lifestyle guru Hamish Bowles, Frederick Forquet: Fashion.Interiors.Gardens, it is breathtakingly beautiful and features a fabulous designer many are not familiar with, it is my December nenasnotes The Fashion book Club selection.

Here are a few more for your consideration, by the way, The Book Stall always has an extensive fashion and lifestyle collection. Here we go…Supreme Models; André Leon Talley A memoir; the brand new bio on Richard Avedon, What Becomes A Legend Most (an upcoming Book Club Selection);

About Time: Fashion and Duration (be sure to read Virginia Wolf’s Orlando the Met’s exhibitions inspiration) and finally, this list could fill pages, Cecil Beaton’s Bright Young Things.

Of course no fashion book list could be complete without some Chanel books and there are several new ones, both non-fiction, (perhaps an oxymoron in Chanel’s case) and fiction, I recommend Gabrielle Chanel Fashion Manifesto, Chanel’s Riviera, Mistress of The Ritz, The Queen of Paris, The Last Collection, The Real Coco Chanel and the upcoming The Chanel Sisters, there is no end to the fascination with Chanel!

I hope I have given you some new titles to add to your list…the selections are endless…happy reading!

PLEASE CONSIDER PURCHASING ALL YOUR BOOKS, YEAR ROUND, FROM MY INDEPENDENT BOOKSELLER OF CHOICE, THE BOOK STALL (THIS IS NOT A SPONSORED POST!!!!)

FROM THE BOOK STALL VIRTUAL NEWSLETTER…

“Dear Customers,

As we watch Covid-19 cases in Illinois rise to alarming levels, it’s clear that we need to alter our operations to keep you and our staff safe. Starting this Monday, November 23, we are temporarily stopping in-store shopping. Fortunately, there are still many ways we can help you with your holiday list, and we’re committed to making this season as merry and bright as possible!
For more information, or if you need help with gift ideas, call us at (847) 446-8979, or email us (bookrecs@thebookstall.com).

  • Shopping from the comfort of your couch? No problem, we’ll deliver* or ship!
  • Feel like getting out of the house? We’ll continue to offer front-door pick-up.Need a puzzle? Browse our windows and choose your favorite! This is a difficult time, but please stay tuned as we refine our efforts to get books into your hands.

Our Red Invitation Sale will be entirely online (and by phone!) and we’re happy to extend the 20% discount from Friday, December 4 (starting at midnight Thursday night) until midnight on Sunday, December 6.
*Delivery is $4 and available in the following communities: Winnetka, Wilmette, Kenilworth, Northfield, Glencoe, Highland Park, Glenview and Evanston.”