I lucked into a vintage pop-up shop on the streets of Asheville yesterday, and as I was hurriedly pawing through the racks this coat appeared. I was pretty sure it was a Bonnie Cashin for Sills, and sure enough I found the label in the side of the coat.
I went for the price tag and was shocked to see it priced at $8, and then I noticed the words, “As is.” Not a good sign.
It didn’t take long to find the reason for the cheap price. At the hem of the coat the leather had pulled loose from the wool in several places. In addition there were places where the wool was a bit worn looking, and the lining, which was jersey knit, was riddled with holes.
For a few minutes, my mind was working through the problems, and I had myself convinced that I could save this beautiful coat. It would involve removing the leather binding at the hem, cutting off an inch or two, and reattaching the leather. I actually did this with a Pendleton coat a while back, but the bulky textured wool of this coat would be trickier than the smooth Pendleton. And then there were all those holes to mend, and some reweaving to boot. Then it occurred to me that my entire wardrobe consists of cool colors with only a piece or so of pink and orange, and no yellow at all. I decided to leave this coat for someone who would love it, mend it, and wear it.
The wool was really special. It could possibly be one of the Bernat Klein tweeds that Cashin is known to have used.
The only closure was a leather tie slightly above the waist.
A real heart-breaker, this one.
But all was not lost. At the same sale I found a really special piece, which I’ll be showing off next week.