Lacy Susan

No, not the edible Lacey Susan, a buttery, sugary cookie. And most definitely NOT that spinning thing in the middle of the dining table called a Lazy Susan. (Don’t laugh, KB or EAS!) 

My fondness for lace has only been evident in the past decade or so. I hated to wear lace as a kid because it was always itchy, and as a young woman, I thought it was too prissy and frilly for me. 

Fast forward a few decades, and I have started to appreciate pretty lace and actually wear it on occasion. (But not that scratchy stuff from the 1970s!)

One of my first lace purchases was this beautiful 1920s lettuce green velvet shawl with beige lace trim. The lace is soft and lightweight, and it’s fun to wear. I’m pretty sure it’s machine made.



I wear a lot of black so of course I have been looking at numerous black lace dresses and shawls. This floral design on a 1930s dress really appeals to me. To my very untrained eye, it looks handmade but it could be high end machine-made lace. (Crafty friends, what do you think?) It seems too fragile to actually wear; there are some tears in the lace.

I also photographed this lace, which was on a different late 1920s/early 1930s dress. I like the texture, and it feels sturdier than the example above. The dress is a bias cut long sleeveless dress that’d be nice for summer.

This is a vintage bed jacket with lace trim and embroidery on peach colored silk.

This beige lace looks great with a bedjacket I bought at a really cool thrift store in Paris.

I wish I’d paid a little more attention to my grandmother’s crochet lessons years ago. The trim and butterfly on the chemise below are so pretty. I’ve seen it called filet lace or filet embroidery.

I don’t usually think of Coco Chanel and “lace” together but the photograph below illustrates her use of lace in evening wear. Beautiful!



French Magazine Advertisements from 1949

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I was thumbing through an old issue of France-Illustration today and was enchanted by the graphic design of many of the advertisements. It was a Christmas issue from 1949 but the few visual references to the holiday were discreet, as I’d expect a French magazine to be.

I’ve posted advertisements from this magazine in a earlier post, which included advertisements from perfumes, writing implements, and fancy combs. Perfume ads seem to be ubiquitous – very French!

Which of these ads do you like the best? I like the Hermes typewriter ad and the woman in the beautiful purple dress. I need to do more research on what company or “thing” the ad was selling.

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Happy New Year!!

I wish you all much happiness and good health in 2015!

The New York Public Library’s Digital Collections has a wonderful collection of vintage holiday postcards online. Below are some interesting ones. The one with the airship is horrifying to look at today but would have been very modern at the turn of the last century. I like the good luck symbols used in Europe, particularly Germany, the pig and the mushroom.

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All images courtesy NYPL Digital Collections.

Happy Holidays!

Veselé Vánoce! Czech Christmas card. Image from NYPL.

Veselé Vánoce! Czech Christmas card. Image from NYPL.

The New York Public Library Image Collection has a great collection of vintage Christmas cards that I’ve been perusing for hours. It’s interesting to see how some of the holiday images and styles have changed over the years. The card below with the yellow flowers doesn’t remind me of Christmas but it is a very pretty image.

The collection includes 74 cards from foreign countries, including the Czech one above. I really like the image because food is an important part of how I celebrate the holidays. A few images down, you’ll see an Italian card with an attractive couple ready to start dancing. I wonder if it was an early version of those photo cards with family photos on it?

Christmas greetings! Image from NYPL.

Christmas greetings! Image from NYPL.

1910

1910 Christmas card. Image from NYPL

merry christmas

Merry Christmas! Image from NYPL.

Buon natale! 1930s. Image from NYPL.

Buon natale! 1930s. Image from NYPL.

Iloista Joulua!  Finnish Christmas card. Image from NYPL.

Iloista Joulua! Finnish Christmas card. Image from NYPL.

Wesolych Swiat! Polish Christmas card. Image from NYPL.

Wesolych Swiat! Polish Christmas card. Image from NYPL.

Christmas card in Spanish.  Image from NYPL.

Christmas card in Spanish. Image from NYPL.

 Fröhliche Weihnachten! Happy New Year card in German. Image from NYPL.

Fröhliche Weihnachten! Happy New Year card in German. Image from NYPL.

Joyeux Noël! French Christmas card. Image from NYPL.

Joyeux Noël! French Christmas card. Image from NYPL.

Merry Christmas! Image from NYPL.

Merry Christmas! Image from NYPL.

Have a wonderful holiday season, dear readers!

Flea Markets in Paris

Pretty vintage petit point lipstick case, comb, and compact I found at Vanves.

Pretty vintage petit point lipstick case, comb, and compact I found at Vanves flea market earlier this year. Probably from the late 1950s.

A trip to Paris doesn’t feel complete till I stop by at least one flea market (marché aux puces). It’s a fun combination of other people’s interesting (or not) stuff, watching Parisian locals socialize with one another, and the thrill of finding something beautiful, interesting, or bizarre. Below are photographs of French flea markets from different eras.

Marché à la ferraille [tableaux, cadres et vieux papiers] : [photographie de presse] / [Agence Rol], 1910.

Marché à la ferraille [tableaux, cadres et vieux papiers] : [photographie de presse] / [Agence Rol], 1910.

Marche de puces, Marcel Bovis.

Marché aux puces de Saint-Ouen, Marcel Bovis, 1962. Donation Marcel Bovis, Ministère de la culture (Médiathèque de l’architecture et du patrimoine) Diffusion RMN

Marche au puces, François Kollar, 1932.

Marche au puces, François Kollar, 1932. Donation François Kollar Ministère de la culture (Médiathèque de l’architecture et du patrimoine) diffusion RMN.

Un coin du Marché aux Puces, le Marché Biron, Noël Le Boyer, 1940.

Un coin du Marché aux Puces, le Marché Biron, Noël Le Boyer, 1940. Ministère de la culture (France), Médiathèque de l’architecture et du patrimoine, diffusion RMN.

L'incorrigible ; [Sculpture au marché aux puces], 1930, André Kertész

L’incorrigible ; [Sculpture au marché aux puces], 1930, André Kertész. Donation André Kertész, Ministère de la culture (Médiathèque de l’architecture et du patrimoine), diffusion RMN.

Marché aux puces, deux femmes devant le stand d’un brocanteur, Noël Le Boyer,1940. Photo from Ministère de la culture (France), Médiathèque de l’architecture et du patrimoine.

La Foire aux Puces de la Porte de Clignancourt : [photographie de presse] / Agence Meurisse, 1923. Photo from Bibliothèque nationale de France.

La Foire aux Puces de la Porte de Clignancourt : [photographie de presse] / Agence Meurisse, 1923. Photo from Bibliothèque nationale de France.

You might also like:

Le Marché aux Puces de Vanves
Flea market fun in Paris

Paris Haute Couture Exhibit

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One of the highlights of my trip to Paris was a visit to the Paris Haute Couture exhibit curated by the Galliera, Musee de la Mode de Ville de Paris. The museum building is undergoing renovation so it has been presenting exhibits in various spots in Paris. I happened to be in Paris for the exhibit at the Hôtel de Ville (City Hall.)

Swarovski has provided support for the exhibit; many of the gowns are embellished with Swarovski beads. According to the Swarovski Facebook page, in 1895, Daniel Swarovski invented a revolutionary technique for cutting and polishing crystal, and in 1900 began collaborating with haute couture designers. Designers who made use of Swarovski crystals include Worth, Lanvin, Chanel and Schiaparelli. In the 1950s, Jacques Fath and Cristóbal Balenciaga were extravagant in their use of crystal in their collections.

©Marc Verhille / Mairie de Paris

©Marc Verhille / Mairie de Paris


Many of the dresses were enclosed in glass cases because of their fragility and because they’re valuable. They were organized chronologically, which illustrated the changes of style over time. No photography was allowed so I’ve used photographs from the Mayor of Paris, Swarovski, and the Museum.

Beer, silk evening dress, circa 1912. Collection Musée Galliera ©Galliera

This cream silk gown is embellished with lace, pearl paillettes, and crystal beads. 

CHANEL 1923

Chanel silk evening dress, 1923 © Collection Musée Galliera

I was surprised at how different this looks than what I expected a Chanel gown to look like. The colors are beautiful and it shimmers so beautifully.

Patou nuit de chine

Jean Patou, robe du soir, 1925. Collection Musée Galliera

The details on this Jean Patou evening dress are stunning. I envision a flapper dancing the night away at a lavish party, drinking lots of champage.

Worth tea gown

Worth, tea gown, circa 1895. Collection Musée Galliera

It was interesting to see how heavy this material looked compared to the gowns in the 1920s and 1930s. And who would get this dressed up for tea?

© musée Galliera, Ville de Paris, droits réservés, 2013

Jérôme, robe du soir, vers 1925. (détail) © musée Galliera, Ville de Paris, droits réservés, 2013

This 1925 dress by Jérôme is embellished with colored crystal beads, silver threads, faux pearl beads, and bright blue feathers. This was one of my favorites.

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Jérôme, robe du soir, vers 1925. (détail) Collection Musée Galliera

Additional Resources

Mayor of Paris Google+ page with additional photographs.

Judy Fayard’s WSJ article about the exhibit