Category Archives: Road Trip

Emilio Pucci in America, Georgia Museum of Art

Emilio Pucci skiing at Reed College in the uniform he designed for the ski team there, 1937. Special Collections, Eric V. Hauser Memorial Library, Reed College.

Yesterday I took a museum day.  The Georgia Museum of Art in Athens had just opened a new fashion exhibition and I was anxious to see it.  The topic was Emilio Pucci, who needs no introduction from me.  What many might be surprised to know is that Pucci actually attended the University of Georgia in Athens after transferring from the University of Milan.  He then went on to Reed College in Oregon.

As the title tells us, the exhibition was not a comprehensive study of the career of Emilio Pucci, nor was it a history of the company.  It was about how the Italian Pucci had relationships with American institutions and companies.  The exhibition is quite small, and there are a few gaps in what was displayed, but overall it gives an excellent view of Pucci’s American relationships.  Photos were not allowed (although there was no sign stating such, and it took getting my hand slapped to find it out) and the photos supplied for press do not show any of the clothes as they are displayed, so I’m afraid I’m going to have to ask you to use your imagination somewhat.

Probably the best known collaboration between Pucci and an American company was that with the lingerie company, Formfit Rogers.  Throughout the 1960s and into the 70s Pucci designed undergarments and sleeping attire for Formfit.  On exhibit was a panty girdle, and four matching lingerie pieces in blue.

Braniff hostess modeling in a pink Pucci uniform holding an umbrella standing in the front part of a jet engine. Braniff Airways Collection, History of Aviation Collection, Special Collections Department, Eugene McDermott Library, The University of Texas at Dallas.

Between 1965 and 1974, Pucci designed uniforms for the stewardesses of Braniff Airlines.  The ensembles included everything from head to toe: hats, scarves,dresses,tunics,pants, leggings, shoes, and boots.  Archival photos show that the stewardesses were allowed to mix and match the pieces, though the staff was provided with clothing that corresponded to various activities and which involved two in-air clothing changes.

Braniff hostess wearing a pink Pucci uniform and a bubble helmet standing in front of a Concorde airplane at the Paris Airshow, 1967. Braniff Airways Collection, History of Aviation Collection, Special Collections Department, Eugene McDermott Library, The University of Texas at Dallas.

The exhibition had this tunic, and it also had the plastic bubble hood.  Archival photos show that the women often wore the tights with a solid dress.

Group photo of early Emilio Pucci hostesses uniforms for Braniff. Braniff Airways Collection, History of Aviation Collection, Special Collections Department, Eugene McDermott Library, The University of Texas at Dallas

Group photo of early Emilio Pucci hostesses uniforms for Braniff. Braniff Airways Collection, History of Aviation Collection, Special Collections Department, Eugene McDermott Library, The University of Texas at Dallas

The bubble hood was only used for a short period because of its tendency to malfunction.

My favorite outfit from the exhibition was a circa 1955 two-piece swimsuit and matching cape that Pucci designed for Canadian-American swimsuit designer Rose Marie Reid.  The print was a tiny Venice theme, and while I could not find a photo of it online, there is a similar Reid piece for sale.  That set just went to the very top of my wishlist.

I was really hoping that there would be some of the very rare pieces that Pucci did for White Stag in 1948.  They did have the copy of the Harper’s Bazaar in which the pieces were shown, but no actual garments.  And there was no mention of the mid 1950s collaboration between Pucci and the McCall’s Pattern Company, nor was there any mention of the patterns he did for Vogue in the 1960s and 70s.

Even though this exhibition was quite small, I’m glad I took the time to go see it.  The clothing was very well presented, and the lighting was good enough so that the details could be easily examined.  It is well worth a drive if you are in Georgia or the western Carolinas.

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Mint Museum Uptown

We can’t all be lucky enough to live in or near a large cultural center like New York City or London, but in most areas there are plenty of smaller museums and historical sites that are well worth seeking out.  The Mint Museum in Charlotte, is a two and a half hours drive for me, but it is well worth the effort and gas money, especially when combined with a bit of shopping.  It’s rarely crowded, never any line, and there are plenty of treasures to discover.

I’m a bit ashamed that I’d never visited the Mint’s uptown Charlotte location, especially since I was so pleasantly surprised by the exhibitions.   The facility houses the Mint’s craft and design collection, but it also has a great exhibition of American art.  As icing on this artistic cake, there are a few items of clothing from the Mint’s costume collection also on view.

The photo above shows a Charles Frederick Worth evening cape, made of silk velvet, point de Venise lace, glass beads, metallic sequins, and silk tulle.  M. Worth did not do “less is more.”  I love how the creator of the exhibit resisted the urge to add any additional items to this display.  I’ve had concerns about over-accessorizating in some of the Mint costume exhibitions.

This early Twentieth century bathing suit is labeled “Water Sprite.”  It’s perfectly accessorized with the black stockings and bathing shoes, which I love.

In the same vein a summer painting by artist William James Glackens is shown.  Good Harbor Beach, 1919.

This 1920s “Orientalist” evening frock is labeled “Pascaud, Paris”

The Mint also has a good collection of the works of Romare Bearden, who was born in Charlotte.  This work is Girl in the Garden, 1979.

The contemporary craft collection is also very interesting.  This bowl is actually made of wood which is painted.  The artist is Binh Pho, the work, Realm of a Dream, 2007.

This work is stitchery on paper.  The artist is Anila Rubiku, the work, Mastering Freedom, 2006

This installation by Hildur Bjarnadittir took up an entire wall.  The squares are crocheted wool which were dyed using plant material.

What makes Urban Color Palatte interesting is that Bjarnadittir gathered the plants from along roadsides and vacant lots in Charlotte.  Even though the dye stuffs were basiclly what we consider to be waste plants, or weeds,  the results produced a wide range of color and character.  The same concept might also be applied to humans.

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Liberty Antiques Festival, Spring 2014

Last weekend was the one event that try to never miss, the spring Liberty Antiques Festival.   Twice a year some of the best sellers in the region gather for a big two day sale in the middle of a large field.  I can honestly say that I always find at least one exceptional item every show.

And now for the virtual shopping:

I used to collect vintage Halloween before the prices went sky-high-crazy.  These cards were tempting.

Store and salesman display boxes always get my attention.  I loved this one from Kickaway because I have a pair of black wool Kickaway bloomers.

This was a huge table of just summer handbags.

I thought this display for hair nets was interesting.  “For the Woman in Every Stage of Life”

That’s a great pair of 1920s or 30s outing boots.  The wooden thing behind them is a sweater block for knitters or for reblocking a sweater after washing.

This great dress was in the booth of Down South Vintage.  It is actually two pieces, with the skirt being attached to a bodice, and the beaded top is worn over it.  Note the curving waistband of the top. This was an exceptional garment, and I was not surprised to find an exceptional label:

Helena Barbieri was a very high-end evening and cocktail dress maker.

I’m afraid I’m starting to enjoy the self-portrait in the mirror thing.  Here I’m modeling a 1940s tilt hat that was all one big bloom.

Nice travel tag

This is a reminder to always look under the tables.  This was a lovely 1950s suit with matching shawl.

1966 Ar-Ex cosmetics color card.  I sure wish I’d saved all the ones the Avon lady used to drop off at my house.

I’m not a big fan of  Catherine Ogust for Penthouse Gallery dresses, but this print is great.  Seen at Design Archives in Greensboro.

For years Shadowline was a family-owned business in Morganton, NC.   Then the business sold and production stopped.  Now they have reopened with many of the products still being made in the USA.  Seen at Granddaddy’s Antique Mall in Burlington, NC.

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On the Road

I’m traveling this weekend, and I’m having too much fun at an antiques festival to do any blogging.   You might check out my instagram to see some of what I’m up to.

I feel a bit bad for the traveler in my photo.  She (it is a she, right?) has on the most unbelievably fussy outfit, and what is with the two dinky little suitcases.  I do hope she also has a huge trunk full of things that are a bit more flattering.

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Vintage Charlotte Holiday Pop-up Market

I first went to the Vintage Charlotte Market in June, and I liked it enough that I made the trip for their holiday show.  I was not disappointed.  The show is not just for vintage clothing, but rather, is a mix of all kinds of old stuff.  The vendors were well stocked and prepared for the 10 am opening.  By 11 the place was packed.

Many of the vendors did have clothing, and so there was quite a bit to look through.  I bought a pair of 1960s bowling shoes from the owner of this booth.

With Christmas and the Holidays coming up, there were boxes of vintage decorations.  I can remember when these could be found for a dime each at the thrift stores.  That was before Martha Stewart showed the world how to make a wreath from them.

The fishy bag was unsigned, and was a craft project, maybe.

This basket bag was not a craft project, as it still had a JC Penney tag attached.  I can remember when these were popular in the late 1960s.  I made one from a fruit basket and some red, white, and blue canvas.

The dress does not look like much in my terrible photo, but it was very nice.  It is net with appliques and an attached under dress.

And here is a close-up of the sleeve.

I had these shoes in the 1980s, and if these had been my size I would have bought them.  Made by Hush Puppies, they were the most comfortable shoes ever.  It is a bit of a bummer seeing the very same stuff you wore not too many years ago being sold as vintage, though.

From 1968, this “Misses Gay Nineties Costume” might be something to carry in the back of my mind just in case a weird “old” bathing costume comes my way!

The market was held at the Fillmore Charlotte, which is a music hall located in an old industrial building.  The only real problem with the set-up is the terrible lighting.  The room is dark, as you can see, and all the lights are extremely bright.  The lucky sellers were located near a window because they could get a little natural light.

So pretty… so distracting…

Finally, the mustache craze makes sense to me.  Isn’t this the best food truck?

At the last minute I decided to drive a few miles to Concord, NC, to two malls I’d heard of but never visited.  First up was The Depot at Gibson Mill.  Housed in an old cotton mill, the building itself was very interesting.  Best of all it is huge.  I could have spent the entire day there, and by the time I’d seen it all, I was pretty much out of energy.  I did manage a quick walk-through at the White Owl Antique Mall, which was also nice.

Concord is in the middle of cotton country, and today there are dozens of the old factories standing empty.  It was great seeing the Gibson Mill being used not only as an antique mall, but also housing offices and other businesses.  The community around the old mill consists of mill houses, many of which look to have been restored and nicely maintained.

My eight-year-old self wanted this badly.

I’m always happy to see Vera Neumann designs.  This is a tablecloth.

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I’m looking at this Yuengling calendar, wondering why I did not buy it.  Why?

What is it about old letter sweaters?  I love them so much.

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This beautiful old tennis graphic was glued inside an old box, which I assume held lawn tennis equipment at one time.  Still, the box was a real find and it was in nice condition except for the crack.  It also was not for sale.

More tennis, a few decades later.  This is a poster ad for tennis shoes.

All in all it was a great day.  I’ll share what I bought in another post.

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South Carolina State Museum

Click to enlarge.

Last week I drove to Columbia, SC to visit the South Carolina State Museum.  This museum is a multi-purpose institution, with exhibits ranging from art to history to science and technology.   One of the most interesting things about the museum is the 1894 building in which it is housed.  It is a former textile mill, Columbia Mills,which was a large producer of cotton duck.  The building was given to the state in 1981 after the mill closed.

Some of the original textile-making equipment was saved, and is now installed as an exhibit.  Above are spinning machines.  The museum cleverly produced the look of many rows of machines by the use of mirrors.  There are actually only two machines.

This is a dobby loom from around 1940.  It came from a textile factory in Aiken, SC.  The cloth you see on the loom is what was being made when the factory closed in the early 1980s.

The product of the Columbia Mill was cotton duck, which is a heavy canvas used for tents and conveyor belts and such.  This is one of the last bolts produced before the “Duck Plant” closed.

 

A lot of the museum is concerned with cotton mill village and rural life in the past.  There was a great interactive model of a large mill village which showed how the village was pretty much an extension of the factory.  And they had a “country store” set up, with all kinds of products that made me want to go shopping.

It’s my guess that most states have a museum of this sort – a mini Smithsonian that is concerned with the history and industry and natural history of the state.  (Though North Carolina has an art museum, a history museum and a natural history museum.)  All the ones I’ve ever visited are well worth the time if only for the wonderful randomness that is often encountered.

I actually had a reason for my visit.  The museum had a special exhibition of items from Springs Mills in Fort Mill, South Carolina.  The company is best known for their production of Springmaid sheets and fabrics, but beginning in 1948 the company was also known for their racy ad campaigns.   I’ve written about this in the past, and tomorrow I’ll share a few things from the exhibition.

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And Just a Few More of New York

I’m the type of person who loves to plan.  When going on a trip I read and plan and usually know exactly what I want to do and see before leaving home.  The nice thing about this latest trip to New York was that I left some time for exploring and serendipity.  In a city as huge as New York, there is always something exciting to discover.

What else I loved, in no particular order:

Imagine all the people
Living life in peace…

You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will be as one.

The memorial to John Lennon in Central Park.

The shop windows are always a treat, and this time I especially loved the ones at Tiffany and Co.  There were little beach scenes with metal umbrellas, and a gold or silver bauble or two.

Louis Vuitton had a prehistoric theme.

There are little pockets of the luxury that existed along Fifth Avenue starting after the turn of the 20th century.  This window is by Lalique who designed the windows for cosmetics firm Coty in 1912.  The Coty building is still open, and is now home to Henri Bendel.

Bendel’s today is a shadow of its former self when store president Geraldine Stutz was breaking ground with her boutique-within-the-store concept.   It is owned by The Limited and sells mainly accessories.  Still the store is worth going into just to ogle at the windows and to think of how rich and powerful Coty was 100 years ago.

These might have been in any number of the fine jewelry establishments on Fifth Avenue, but they weren’t.  These earrings are in the Met, and are Byzantine, made in about the 6th century and found in Cyprus in 1902.

Honestly, the food stands in Chinatown almost made me wish I were a food blogger.

In the late 19th century this stretch of Sixth Avenue was known as the Ladies Mile.  All the elegant stores were located here, and so a lady could easily patronize her favorites.  Today it is home to many mass merchandisers, like TJ Maxx.

I had to laugh at this billboard about Little Edie.

I had not planned on doing any vintage shopping, but how could I pass by and not at least look?  This shop was a pleasant surprise.  With so many vintage stores these days selling nothing made before I graduated high school (1973) Ritual Vintage was a shop full of older clothing, beautifully displayed.

One of the many beautiful sweets shops

Breakfast in Bryant Park

Love, by Robert Indiana

A lunchtime friend, Baxley

I had to have a serving of vegetables…

Thanks to all of you who have read and commented on my many trip posts.   It has been fun sharing the museums and shopping with you who share my interests, and writing the posts made me sit and critically think through all that I’d seen.

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