Tag Archives: scarf

Dogs and Brooke Cadwallader

I saw (and bought) a lot of great things on my recent trip to the Liberty Antiques Festival, but probably my favorite is this superb silk scarf by Brooke Cadwallader. Seriously, how can you beat a scarf with a map of the world peppered with our best friend throughout. I’ve written about Brooke Cadwallader in the past, so here’s a refresher course.

Brooke was an American who went to France in the interwar period. There he met his future wife, Mary Pearsall, an Italian/American who was working at Maison Tilly, a scarf maker. They joined forces and began their own scarf business, where they attracted the attention of designers such as Schiaparelli and Molyneux. Success led them to marriage. Unfortunately, the Nazis arrived in Paris, and the Cadwalladers were forced to flee. They ended up in New York, where they restarted their textile printing business.

They were again successful, and produced scarves and also fabrics they sold to designers like Tina Leser and Nettie Rosenstein. The New York operation was small, but in 1950 they moved to Mexico where the business expanded as Casa de los Gallos SA. The business operated until some time in the 1970s. Due to a crooked accountant and government bureaucracy, Cadwallader lost the business. Before turning over the factory, he burned all the textiles that were in stock, his silk screens, and many of the original designs. (Thanks so much to David Noyes, Cadwallader’s great nephew, for this great information.)

Brooke and Mary were fond of old prints, and you can see how they incorporated an antique look into many of their designs.
Here’s the entire scarf. My photography does not give a clue as to how wonderful this is. Click the image for a larger view.
The design makes no attempt to place each dog near the country of origin. Instead, all the dogs are citizens of the world.

And here’s the signature to look for. These scarves are always winners.


Filed under Designers, Novelty Prints, Vintage Clothing

Peter Max Psychedelic Scarf

In the late 1960s and early 70s Peter Max was everywhere.  Or at least his products with his name in bold print were.  Max opened  a design studio in New York in the early 1960s, but it was his finely honed style of the late Sixties that combines op art, comic strips, astrology and Eastern mysticism that seemed so perfect for the Woodstock Generation.   In 1969 he was on the cover of Life, with the title of the article being, “Peter Max: Portrait of the Artist as a Very Rich Man.”

There were dozens of Peter Max labeled products – everything from blow-up vinyl pillows to kitchen wares to clothing.  Many of the designs were manufactured by clothing firms such as Wrangler, for which Max designed jeans, shorts, and shirts.  Others were advertising items like the decorated vinyl umbrellas that were made for Rightguard deodorant.  About ten years ago my friend Corky who owned a vintage store in Asheville went to the estate sale of an optometrist.   She found stacks of Peter Max scarves that were made for an eyeglass company.

In 1970 Max designed a line of junior dresses, tee shirts and neckties for the guys which Seventeen magazine featured on the cover and in an editorial.  These were only made for a year or two and are very rare (and valuable) today.   I guess the very rich artist decided he had enough money to last him for a while, because soon afterward he closed his design studio and semi-dropped-out.

The Peter Max scarves are a bit easier to find, but after spotting this one at Design Archives in Greensboro, I realized that I’d not seen one for sale (except online) in years.   So yes, I had to add it to my collection especially since the only Max examples I have are two of his Neo-Max swimsuits that he designed in the 1980s.

The only Peter Max items I remember having as a kid were several of the inflatable pillows.  After a while they started leaking, and eventually they were thrown out.


Filed under Designers, Vintage Clothing

Hurrah for the Red, White and Blue!

I realize the the old story about Betsy Ross and George Washington and the American flag was pretty much made up by her grandson and is probably about 95% false, but I’d still like to send a bit of gratitude their way.  It’s not that I’m particularly patriotic; it’s that I am really really fond of the red, white and blue color combination.

I realized that I must had sent the message out quite clearly when fellow fashion history blogger and internet friend Lynn recently sent a red, white and blue Vera scarf my way, and she mentioned that she had noticed I favored the combination.  And she didn’t even have the benefit of this view of my closet:

As far back as I can remember, I’ve associated red,white, and blue with summer.  Perhaps that is because the Fourth of July is in summer.   Even though the US Bicentennial was not until 1976, the lead up to it was a very big deal, with the flag colors being very popular throughout the early and mid 1970s.   I was reminded of that this week when I read the Joyatri blog, who had featured a series of magazine layouts from the early 1970s.

Look at Jo’s photos and you’ll see a lot of stars and stripes, but you’ll not see an actual depiction of the US flag, although that shoulder bag is pretty darned close.  That’s because according to the United States Flag Code, the flag cannot be used as wearing apparel.  In the late 1960s and early seventies there were all kinds of challenges to this law, including rock singers and hippies wearing the flag as a cape or as patches on their jeans.  This caused a furor, but times have changed and today we think nothing of the flag being printed on everything from tee shirts to boxer shorts.

My favorite flag/apparel story comes from Deanna Littell who was a designer at the Paraphernalia boutique in the mid 1960s.  She designed a shirt made from the little cotton flags that people wave at parades, and found a supplier who could provide the flags by the yard.  The design was ready to go into production when Paraphernalia learned that the DAR was looking for flag defilers, and that they were prosecuting offenders.  The design was scraped.  The Supreme Court has since ruled that violations of the Flag Code cannot be prosecuted as it is an infringement of the right of free speech.

I’m not the only one thinking of red, white, and blue.  Bill Cunningham’s On the Street video  for the New York Times this week features this summer standby as well.  As he said, “It’s a time for sporting red, white and blue!”



Filed under Collecting, Viewpoint

Winter’s Last Gasp

For the past two days here in the Southern mountains it has been rainy, sleety and cold.  But hopefully this is really the end of winter, and the weatherman is my new BFF, as he has predicted sunny skies and highs in the 60s and 70s for the next five days.  All I can say is that he’d better deliver.

I thought about saving this fantastic skating theme scarf for December, but then I realized that a good scarf is a good scarf, regardless of the theme and the time of year.

That must be the crazy scarf elf.  Is he matchmaking?

That little tyke is going to learn to skate whether he wants to or not!

Skate tag?


And I want to say a huge “Thank You” to Juliet of SixCatsFun Vintage for sending this lovely gift.  I don’t know what I’ve done to create such a nice bunch of readers, but believe me, I’m so grateful for all of you.


Filed under Collecting, Novelty Prints, Winter Sports

From Shawl to Scarf

If you are a regular reader of this blog you know that I’m not a fan of mindless “up-cycling.”  I didn’t arrive at that opinion quickly or lightly.  I’m a child of the 60s and 70s, and those of my generation thought we invented the re-crafting of old clothes.  Of course that was not true, no more than the DIYers of today invented the idea.

No, as long as there have been textiles, people have taken the old and tried to make it new.  Collectors of old clothes often come across garments that are reincarnations of an older item.  One favored material for such up-dating was the paisley shawl.

Shawls were popular during the age of the crinoline, the mid 1800s.  They were huge and rectangular in shape, and were used as a warm wrap over the voluminous dresses.   The very best ones were quite expensive.   After skirts began to shrink, so did the shawls.  Eventually, they became passe’.  But that did not mean that people discarded them.

I’ve seen many garments dating from the Edwardian era and the 1920s made from paisley shawls.  Many of them were cut into jackets and into robes.  Smaller pieces became handbags.  Here is an example form the 1890s.

Click to enlarge. From Handbags, by Anna Johnson

Even today, shawls are being made into new items.  A few years back, slipper-maker Stubbs and Wootton did a paisley slipper made from old shawls.

Several years ago I found what had once been a robe made from paisley.  It was missing an arm and most of one side, but the price was right – 50 cents if my memory is correct – and I knew that eventually I’d use it for something.  It was in such terrible shape that this was one piece that could be remade without guilt.  A few weeks ago it occurred to me that it would make a lovely scarf.

In order to get a good length, I had to piece the fabric.  I arranged and cut, and then resewed the paisley.

Then I had several larger holes to deal with.  I used a patch, but I’m not entirely happy with the results.  I may take off the patches and go with embroidery around each hole.

Finally, I backed the paisley with a length of black wool flannel.

To see more paisley, visit Brenna Barks’ blog, where Monica Murgia has written about an exhibition at the Allentown Art Museum.


Filed under Sewing

A Liberty Scarf, and the Value of Not Being Unusual

I bought this Liberty of London scarf at the Metrolina Flea Market several weeks ago.  I pulled it out of an overflowing box of scarves because the print was practically yelling “Liberty!”  Although it is not terribly old, it has that wonderful British Arts and Crafts-William Morris-Art Nouveau look about it.  And that is what Liberty is all about.

One thing some on-line sellers love to say about their items is that they are “rare.”  I also read the word “unusual” a lot in descriptions.  Of course most of the time the item is not rare at all.  But what about the items from a known designer or company that are truly unusual?

As an example, I love the sportswear designs of Tina Leser, but occasionally I run across a suit designed by her.  They are quite rare, but does that alone make them desirable?  For my part, I’d much rather have a well designed play ensemble than an awkward-looking suit made by a person unaccustomed to designing suits.  You don’t go to LL Bean for a bridal gown any more than you would go to Vera Wang for hiking boots.

For a person or institution who collects only garments from Tina Leser, the suit would be a very nice find, but for those of us who want an example of the designer at her best, we would rather have the more common playsuit or bathing suit.  If I have a scarf from Liberty, I want it to look like a Liberty print.

It is often the quintessential design that is most valuable.  Liberty scarves in the famous Peacock Feather print always fetch a nice sum on ebay.

If anyone knows the name of this print, I’d be eternally grateful if you would share it with me.


Filed under Collecting, Viewpoint, Vintage Clothing

Luck and Brooke Cadwallader

This post is about luck, on several different levels.  I feel so lucky to live in a time when communication with other collectors, history lovers and vintage nuts is so easy.   It seems like all I have to do is make a post about some obscure designer or store or manufacturer, and the information just starts flowing.

A year ago I posted photos of a Brooke Cadwallader scarf I had found.  The Cadwallader name is well-known to scarf and textile collectors, and anyone who has ever found one of his scarves will know from the quality that they have a special object.  But for the most part, Brooke Cadwallader has been forgotten and information about him is hard to come by.  Information is so scarce that if one does a google search for him, my old blog post is first in the results.  Because of that, I still get lots of hits to that post, and people are continuing to share what they know about Cadwallader and his textiles.

One poster, Janis, mentioned that the Cadwalladers designed a special scarf every year that they gave out as Christmas gifts.   I’m asking you, how lucky were those friends, when the cost of a Brooke Cadwallader scarf was about $175 in today’s dollar?

Then a few days ago, another reader, Beth,  posted that she had found some of the Christmas scarves at a sale some years ago.  Again, I’d say Beth is pretty darned lucky.  And she’s nice too, because she sent photos for me to share, and she gave some links to some very informative old articles about the Cadwalladers.  If you want to learn more about Brooke Cadwallader, you must read this article from Colliers, 1944, and this one from the New York Post, 1947.  Especially interesting was the story about how he and wife Mary left Paris as the Germans were occupying the city.

Note the poodles.  If you look at the New York Post article you’ll see a photo of Mary holding her poodle.

All images courtesy and copyright of Beth Walker.


Filed under Curiosities, Designers, Vintage Clothing