Vera Neumann Flower Explosion!

This came in the mail today, a gift from Holly at Holly Gab.  It has a tiny flaw that made it unsellable by her high standards, so she offered it to me, knowing I’d give it a warm and loving home.

Vera was, of course, known best for her scarves, but she was a prolific designer of other textiles as well: kitchen and bed linens, and clothing.  I’ve never been able to pin down a date when the Vera Company started producing clothing, but when they applied for the Vera trademark in 1959, blouses were mentioned as a product that would carry the trademark.  So they were either already planning to make clothes, or possibly had already started production.

According to a promotion film distributed by the Vera Company and verified by her nephew Fred Salaff, all Vera products began as a painted square scarf.  These were always painted by Vera Neumann.  Her team of designers then took her original and adapted it to the other products.  So this cute top was based on Vera’s original scarf.  It’s easy to imagine what the scarf looked like from the design of the front of the blouse.

So, how does one go about dating Vera clothing?  I’d start with a baseline of 1959, as the first clothes could have been made that early.  Look at the styling of the piece.  This style of overblouse wes very popular from the late 50s through the middle 60s.

Next, look at the labels.  The earliest Vera clothing I’ve seen have all been silk or cotton.  In the late 60s she branched out into synthetics – nylon and later, polyester.  The Union or ILGWU label is the one that came into use in 1963 and was replaced in 1974.

One last clue is the back zipper.  It is made of nylon, which was first used in commercially made clothing around 1960.

So, my conclusion is that this dates to 1963-1966ish.

One last thing I want you to notice.  It is not clear in my photo, but there is a notch in the neckline, on the opposite side from the notch in the hem.  See it?  And notice how the curve of the sleeve hem echoes the curve of the notch.  Just  small details that added a bit of interest to the design!

Thanks so much, Holly!


Posted by Joules:

This is such a pretty one! I love that it is done in the silk fabrication too. Jealous here, I will admit.

Tuesday, October 27th 2009 @ 5:54 PM

Posted by Karen:

Stunning colors on this one–beautiful!

Tuesday, October 27th 2009 @ 8:30 PM

Posted by Holly:

Lizzie–glad it arrived so quickly!

I love this blouse, too. It’s one of the best I’ve seen and you certainly get a sense that it would have been a gorgeous scarf. The notch details at neck and hem–fabulous! My seamstress said, “We could make it into a scarf.” As you can imagine, that idea was met by me with an emphatic, “Noooo!” You immediately came to mind as the best guardian of it.

I like to imagine this worn with very slim black pants and huge black sunglasses. By me!

Wednesday, October 28th 2009 @ 6:58 AM

Posted by samsara:

This is exquisite! I love these colors, the tendrils that reach across the blouse and those dear notches! As much as I love Vera scarves, I love her clothing even more. On a blouse or dress you can really see the delights of her patterns, that can get lost on a scarf when it is tied.

Thursday, October 29th 2009 @ 9:57 AM

Posted by Alex:

My wife adores clothes with bugs 🙂

Friday, October 30th 2009 @ 8:54 AM

Posted by Jen O:

Lucky you! this is gorgeous, probably the best I’ve seen, sigh….

Monday, November 9th 2009 @ 11:02 PM

Posted by Lizzie:

I’m so glad everyone enjoyed seeing this lovely piece!

Wednesday, November 11th 2009 @ 6:37 PM


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Filed under Designers, Vintage Clothing

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