Category Archives: Holidays

Christmas Windows, Asheville NC

I went to Asheville today to see what was “new” in my favorite vintage places, and also to check out the Christmas windows.   It had never occurred to me that Asheville might have great holiday windows, but I saw in the newspaper that there had been a design contest on the theme “A Star is Born,” and I felt I owed it to myself to see them.  I had no illusions that the Saks and Bergdorf’s and Macy’s windows were facing stiff competition, but for a small city like Asheville I thought the display was pretty impressive.

Over the past twenty years, the civic leaders in Asheville have worked hard to revitalize downtown.  After most of the stores and restaurants abandoned the area and relocated at the mall, downtown Asheville was a rather scary place.  Only a few stores were able to hold on.  But they did, and slowly they were joined by other urban pioneers.  Today downtown Asheville is a wonderful place to shop and eat.  Best of all, almost all the businesses are locally owned.

But enough bragging on my little city.  Here is a tour of some of my favorite windows.

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This window was made entirely of layers of cut paper.  It really was a showstopper.  Note that there is no product to be found!  This was one of the windows at
Sensibilities Day Spa.

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This sock monkey carolers window was at the yarn shop, Purl’s Yarn Emporium.

Windows are really hard to photograph, so I’m sorry about the quality of this one at clothing store, Caravans.

I cannot resist polar bears.

This is one of the windows at Spiritex, which is a clothing store.  All the clothing is made here in Western North Carolina.

This is one of four star windows at the Chevron Trading Post.   These stars are made of paper and they are stunning.

This is the window at Mountain Lights, which is a seller of locally made candles and crafts.

Hip Replacements had a retro theme and won the Judges’ Favorite prize.  They sell retro and vintage clothing.

I couldn’t help but notice that some of the most effective windows I saw today were the ones that featured only a few, or even one product.  Some of the windows that I did not photograph looked like windows from the turn of the 20th century where shopkeepers piled the windows high with as much merchandise as possible.  I think people are attracted to visual clutter (like the star windows) but the clutter has to make sense.   Trying to show everything in the shop is just confusing.

So, what are the holiday windows like in your corner of the world?

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Filed under Curiosities, Holidays, North Carolina, Shopping

Mid Century Christmas in Aqua and Pink

This vintage apron is made from what I think to be the best Christmas novelty print ever.   Not only are the 1950s colors fantastic, just look at those reindeer.

Several years ago I decided to forego the traditional red and green decorations, and instead began searching out vintage blue and aqua things.  While finding vintage ball ornaments in blue is pretty easy, I  was stymied when it came to finding textiles such as tablecloths.  I do know there was an aqua Christmas tablecloth made in the 1950s, because I’ve seen it and its hefty pricetag on etsy and ebay.

But I was lucky to find this apron.  I’ve seen a lot of Christmas textiles, but I’ve never seen any other this whimsical with these colors.  I know some of you readers are mid century collectors, and I’d be interested to know if you have ever encountered any textile items that are similar.

The apron goes nicely with my snowflake glasses, even though my photos make the apron look too blue.

I don’t collect, nor do I wear, aprons.  I bought this purely for the textile design, just like I bought the other five aprons in my possession for their textiles.

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Filed under Holidays, Vintage Clothing

Vintage Halloween Costumes

I love Halloween.  I’ve always loved it, though I think it was a lot more special when I was a kid back in the 1960s.  That was before people were too afraid to let their kids wander about after dark, dressed in weird clothing and begging for candy.  Today Halloween is “safe” and “organized.”  Not really to my taste, but I do have my memories.

By the time I started trick or treating in the late 50s and early 60s, most of us were buying costumes at the dime store.  They were cheap, and you could “be” pretty much anyone.  One year I was Lucy Ricardo.  Looking back, I can see how cheesy the costumes were.

But go back even further, to the 1920s and 30s, and you’ll see that kid’s costumes used to be downright scary.  The commercially made masks were constructed of a stiffened gauze with the features painted on.  Above you can see a black cat mask from the 1930s.  I found this mask, believe  it or not, in the Goodwill clearance bins.  Since then I’ve seen photos of the entire costume that includes a black glazed cotton jumpsuit and a white ruffled collar.

The costume was in a box like this one, only I do not have the entire box – just the lid.

Today all the photo sites like pinterest and instagram have been full of vintage photos of kids and adults in creepy costumes.  It’s amazing how truly scary some of them are, all without the benefit of stupid fake blood.  I never see these photos when sorting through stacks of them at flea markets, so I’m betting that they are popular with collectors.

In the good old days of the 1980s I collected Halloween decorations, but then someone published a book and the prices soared.  I rarely buy anything to add to the Halloween stuff, but it is interesting that the last two items I bought were things to wear.

I recently bought this crepe paper party hat because it was too good a deal to pass up.  Plus, I really, really like the pumpkin guy.

I spent some time on ebay today, looking at the sold prices of vintage Halloween collectibles.  I only wish all the investments I’ve made in life were as good as the dollars I spent on Halloween tin and paper.  And that does not even take into account all the fun I had finding my treasures.

UPDATE:  My friend Amanda alerted me to a fantastic page of vintage photos of people in costume.

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Filed under Collecting, Holidays, Proper Clothing

Vintage Miscellany – March 31, 2013

I hope that everyone has a new hat for Easter, but without the dead birds, or live birds for that matter.

*   Tonight is the US debut of Mr. Selfridge, the story of the founder of  London’s  Selfridges department store.  I’ve heard that it is quite good.  PBS Masterpiece Classic, 9 pm ET.

*   Celine’s Phoebe Philo takes inspiration from Geoffrey Beene, 2004.

*   I really bet there is more to this story of Francesca di Damon designer Frances Rappaport and a family dispute.

*   The story of Willis and Geiger, the “Lost” expedition clothing brand.

*    Here’s a great reason to travel to Washington, DC, this summer – the National Gallery is hosting a huge exhibition on the art and costumes of the Ballet Russes.  May 12 through September 2, 2013.

*  The Savannah College of Art and Design is holding their annual event, SCADStyle and they have a great line-up this year with Betsey Johnson, Stephen Burows, Pat Cleveland, Lisa Vreeland and Fern Mallis.  April 15 – 19.

*   Jody at Couture Allure has written a good biography of largely forgotten designer, Nelly de Grab.

*  And Jenn at Hatfeathers profiles the other Nelly - Nelly Don.

*  An article at Forbes tells how Jen Guarino bought a dying  100+ year old leather goods company, J.W. Hulme,  and turned it into a $5 million a year business.

*   Ghosts of D.C. found some super photos from the Library of Congress  of girls in 1899 exercising in a gym.

*   The April issue of American Vogue features the 1950s inspired clothing of spring 2012 in a fashion feature based on the Hitchcock film, Rear Window.     Starring Tobey Maguire and Carolyn Murphy, it’s beautifully staged by Grace Coddington.  Weirdly, the name of the film is not mentioned until the ninth page of the story.  I can’t help but wonder if the connection to that movie was immediately obvious to readers who are not classic film fans, or is the imagery from Rear Window so much of pop culture that they did not need to identify the “classic Hitchcock film.”

* Last of all, with all the talk of the death of Google Reader  I decided to take a closer look at Bloglovin’, the site where many people say they are retreating to for their blog feed.  I signed up for Bloglovin’ years ago, but honestly, have never used it.  But after seeing how easy it was to see blog updates in one place, it made me wonder why not transfer all my blog links to it.  My gosh, but I am enjoying it, and I was able to follow all but a very few of the blogs I regularly read.  It is a real timesaver.

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Filed under Holidays, Vintage Miscellany

Show a Little Love

I need a Valentine like you,

To help me paddle my canoe!

Gosh, a whole day dedicated to love!  So spend the day doing the things you love, or being with those you love, or just finding something new to love.  And then feel free to share it.  I’ll go first:

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Filed under Holidays

Bonne Annee

Enjoy this first day of a new year!

Thanks to Poppy’s Vintage Clothing for the great postcard!

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Filed under Holidays, Winter Sports

Greetings!

I hope each of you has a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holiday.  Thanks so much for reading The Vintage Traveler, and for making this such a fun experience for me.

It’s time to relax, put your feet up and just enjoy the season!

Vintage card by Hallmark

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Filed under Holidays