Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Fashion’ Category

IMG_20200107_142019 clothes are never just garments. Each time we stand before our closet to pick out our clothes, we make a series of choices about how we want to appear before the world. This is just as true for people who claim not to care about clothes as it is for self-proclaimed fashionistas. It’s because we recognize that the way we adorn ourselves communicates something about who we are and where we come from. And everyone has experienced the discomfort of showing up somewhere dressed like they didn’t get the memo. We can think of our clothes, then, as a powerful social skin. 

Tanisha C. Ford, author, pop-culture expert, and associate professor of African Studies and History.

This quote is from Ms. Ford’s memoir, Dressed in Dreams: A Black Girl’s Love Letter to the Power of Fashion (St. Martin’s Press).

In Dreams, Ms. Ford discusses the important role fashion played in her African American community of Fort Wayne, Indiana. From her parent’s colorful Dashiki shirts to baggy jeans to the hoodie to knee-high boots, she shares her childhood story and how fashion influenced her life.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book for the interweave of fashion and the African American Mid-West experience in the 1980s/90s. Simply and distinctly, Ms. Ford offers readers a look at the point where politics and fashion crossed within her community and what that all meant to her at the time and now.

Dressed in Dreams: A Black Girl’s Love Letter to the Power of Fashion – it’s a good read!

 

Read Full Post »

Hi-Res-VERA-Logo-Script-with-ladybug

1960s Vera logo. Image courtesy of Museum of Arts and Design.

Although Vera Neumann (1907-1993) might be best known for her colorful scarves, which by the 1970s were a staple in any fashionable lady’s wardrobe, there is much more to learn about this artist, entrepreneur, and successful business woman.

Last fall I attended the exhibit Vera Paints a Scarf: The Art and Design of Vera Neumann at the Museum of Arts and Design in Manhattan. What I knew when I walked into the extensive exhibit was that Vera designed beautiful scarves and that is all I knew. I was amazed and excited to see examples of her life’s work from table linens, to bedding, to clothing, to needlepoint kits and more.

Vera was always interested in art and as a child growing up in Stamford, CT. she spent her time drawing and painting what she saw in nature. After high school she attended The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, a private college in New York City. Later she studied life drawing and illustration at Traphagen School of Design.

After working in fashion illustration she and her husband George, a former marketing executive, started their own business in their Gramercy Park apartment. It was 1942 and the couple had an idea to transfer Vera’s bold paintings onto fabric and create textiles to use in the home. They built a silk-screen just the size of their dining table and called the new company Printex.

A year later the Vera and George took on a partner, Frederick Werner Hamm who brokered Printex’s first big order – placemats for the NYC department store B. Altman & Co. Other orders came in along with licensing deals and within a few years Printex outgrew the dining room and relocated to a larger space, where Vera and George also lived and raised their children.

Vera-Neumann-at-Printex-c.1950s (1)

Vera at work in the 1950s. Photo courtesy of Museum of Arts and Design.

During WWII fabric was in short supply. While desperately looking for cotton, Vera came upon parachute silk in an army surplus store and bought some to try. The results were a series of scarves with a fern motif and her signature on the bottom right hand corner. That was an unexpected game changer as department stores such as Lord & Taylor lined up to place orders and the Vera scarf became a serious trend for decades to come. Ten years later she had designed more than 2,000 scarves.

080719_JBascom_2T0A4934

Scarves by Vera. (I love the telephone dial.) Photo courtesy of Museum of Arts and Design.

 

Vera Paints a Scarf: The Art and Design of Vera Neumann tells the entire Printex story with examples of everything the company manufactured. They were the first back in the 1950s to create a lifestyle brand. A lady could decorate her home entirely Vera with the first laminated placemats, napkins, dishware, wallpaper, pillows … By the 1960s she could also don Vera clothing in those distinctive bright colors and unique patterns inspired by nature and Vera’s world travels. Motifs in all her work included flowers, plants, insects and birds, but also coffeepots, an apple, carrots, school buses, even eyeglasses. Vera saw beauty in the details of everyday living and believed that art was not meant just to adorn the walls of the elite. She felt strongly that art should be affordable and available to all. (Other designers of the day were selling their scarves for $25 or more, while a Vera scarf sold for between $2 and $10.)

080719_JBascom_2T0A4981

Vera Paints a Scarf exhibit. Photo courtesy of Museum of Arts and Design.

In addition to examples of Vera’s work, included in the exhibit are several videos produced by the company back in the day, which help to tell the complex yet fascinating story of Printex from humble beginnings to corporate success.

Vera sold Printex a few years before her death in 1993 (George died in 1962). Since then the brand has changed hands a few times. As far as I can tell the most recent sale was to a holdings company based in Singapore. New issues of Vera’s designs are distributed through licencing deals.

080719_JBascom_2T0A4968

Photo courtesy of Museum of Arts and Design.

Hurry hurry, if you’re in the NYC area Vera Paints a Scarf: The Art and Design of Vera Neumann  is on now through January 26, 2020. If you can’t make it, check out the museum website.

Read Full Post »

IMG_20200110_134442128To me, fashion is an ever-changing art.

Vera Neumann (1907-1993), American artist, business woman.

She is known for her line of scarves but there is oh-so- much more to Vera Neumann.

Check back on OverDressedforLife tomorrow for the full scoop.

 

Read Full Post »

On the twelfth day of Christmas my true love gave to me … 

 

IMG_20191112_152336188

 

… a good laugh. 

Read Full Post »

On the eleventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me … 

 

IMG_20191112_151728614

 

… a man in an Oxford shirt. 

Read Full Post »

On the tenth day of Christmas my true love gave to me … 

 

IMG_20191112_151642686

… a world’s fair. 

Read Full Post »

On the ninth day of Christmas my true love gave to me … 

 

IMG_20191112_150352625

 

… a lesson on good manners. 

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »