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Lady Violette

The Romantic Lifestyle

Posts Tagged ‘Making Art’

Dainty Victorian Lace Vintage Cotton Gloves ~ An Inspiring Recent Lady Violette Flea Market Find

Saturday, April 21st, 2012

A pair of fine cotton knit lace long dainty Victorian gloves perfect for a garden party!                                                                                                                        

I recently found this amazing pair of delicate cotton lace gloves. They must be from the turn of the twentieth century. They are a machine made fine cotton knit with several different lace patterns going up the arms – almost like a sampler of different lace designs. I have had several photos taken to show the design and construction. The gloves are very old – near to falling apart – so can only be used as study pieces in the service of making similar pieces.

Note how the gloves fastened at the wrist with two snaps ....

They fasten on the inside of the wrist with two snaps – now nearly disintegrated – but this was where a lady would undo the glove and roll it back ( or have her escort assist her in doing so) to expose just her hand for eating or drinking at the garden party – without removing the gloves, a custom I described in a recent previous post.

Note the three lines of decorative ecru stitches on the back of the hand ...

I like the three lines of decorative ecru colored stitches on the back of the hand – I assume they assisted in shaping the glove as well as adorning it.

The gloves are about a modern size 6 – very small – and have hardly any give. They are in good condition considering their age, but not tough enough to last for more than one wearing. There are a few holes which have been expertly mended by hand ~ a touch I happen to like myself as it adds to their authenticity as a treasure of the original owner. Therefore I have decided to save them as study pieces. I intend to create a hand knitted summer glove pattern that is inspired by this lovely pair of vintage gloves. I am currently searching for the right yarn to use for this endeavor. Does anybody out there have any ideas on an appropriate yarn? I will be happy to take suggestions. When I finish making my pattern I will post it on my blog for other people to use.

Utterly beautiful feminine long vintage Victorian gloves

These gloves were knit as a flat piece, then sewn together. There is a seam up the outside of the arm, then along the inside edge of each finger. The seams  are very hard to see when the glove is worn which is as it should be. The thumb is also knit as part of the original piece but seamed together at the side gussets during the finishing process. The seams are finally cut very close to the edges upon finishing them so that they fit close up against the hand and become nearly invisible. All in all it is a very elegant and you are unaware of the seaming and construction of these gloves when you are wearing them.

The final effect is one of elegance and refinement.

I intend to knit my modern version on five needles in the round to avoid seaming. I also intend to use very small needles – probably size 0 to 00 – and the finest yarn I can find. This original pair has become a bit stiff with age – like a pair of cotton sock does. I am hoping to avoid that by using a blended yarn with some nylon in it for durability. I also intend to use small glass pearl buttons instead of snaps. I have ordered the tiny buttons already. The original snaps were made of the kind of metal that oxidized over time and now looks really bad! Pearl buttons and button holes should be a big improvement!

I think these gloves would also be lovely made up in bright colored yarns for winter use ~ such as royal blue or magenta. That will be period accurate as well because such colors were proper during the time these gloves were originally made. They were made in bright colors to show off the new dyes at the beginning of the industrial revolution. I hope to made a bright blue pair to wear with my long black velvet hooded opera cape lined in blue silk plaid to wear to next winter’s holiday parties. I will honestly have to start making them in the summer if I am to get them done in time for the holiday season.

Vintage Violet Easter Spool Bunny ~ Happy Violette Easter!

Sunday, April 8th, 2012

Delightful Little Violet Easter Bunny Made From a Vintage Wooden Thread Spool!

I was looking for something delightful and old fashioned to make with children ages 4 and 6 to put in Easter baskets when I came across this delightful little spool bunny. He is so sweet! And a perfect Vintage Violette make-it-yourself art project! I was enchanted. And he is easy to make! So, here he is, to wish you a Happy Easter! Spool Bunnies. and directions to make them from vintage wooden thread spools and bits of felt. Happy Easter Everybody!

This and other cute craft projects are from the website Fun in the Making. net.

Viktor Jessen’s Creative Editing of Gaite Parisienne – Amazing!

Friday, March 30th, 2012

Here is an Interview of Vida Brown by Mary Neal with footage of Vida Brown dancing in Gaite Parisieene. Vida was one of the dancer’s performing the part of the Flower Girl in the Gaite Paisienne film of Viktor Jessen. As Vida watches the film with Mary Neal who is conducting the interview she points out who is on stage in the part of the flower girl and how this is constantly changing! As she says at one point, “Have you ever seen anything like it?” Viktor just substituted one performer for another mid dance, even mid phrase if he had to to cobble the entire ballet together.

It must be remembered that he filmed the Ballet Russe for 10 years following them all over the country, attending performance after performance in order to do this! I find I do not mind the cast substitutions and rapid changes as the performances are so infectiously delightful the entire experience is just fun and joyous. Vida Brown didn’t mind it either, as she is smiling and laughing with delight throughout the film and as amazed as we are! She points out who is dancing when as they make their entrances and exits. It is amazing. The characterizations are very good. All the dancers are great! There is so much sheer joy and dancing with pleasure and abandon that dancers can only do if their technique is pure and perfect and they are performing a lot! The Ballet Russe performed constantly and traveled all over the country doing so. Those dancers got a lot of experience and owned the stage! So different than today. I just love seeing their great confidence and joy in performing. Of course some of the best ballet dancers in the world at that time were members of the Ballet Russe. The casting is perfection.

I recommend this film highly even though it is indeed a cobbled together version of the ballet with cast members changing (in mid phrase sometimes!) –  and the sound is not dead on, but it is a fascinating picture of what the ballet looked like on stage at the time. Gaite Paisienne was an incredibly influential ballet, it was the image of what ballet is for tens of thousands of people, and seeing it helps put that mid-20th century period of ballet in context.

Massine, the choreographer said, “It was popular in the United States because we gave the audience something they could relate to onstage: the working people, the waiters, the dancers, the cabaret, the charming shop girls, the dandies and the soldiers. It was rowdy and fun and full of an infectious energy. The Americans loved it. It was a great success in America, but it was not popular in Britain where the taste was more restrained and the audience wanted subdued ballets.”

The Daring Viktor Jessen – Filming Gaite Parisienne and The Ballet Russe

Friday, March 30th, 2012

Amazingly Viktor Jessen filmed the ballet without the Ballet Russe’s permission. This was an act of incredible daring as the administration was terribly strict!

Cameras are not allowed in the live theater to this day and it is strictly enforced. Here Gary Lemco writes about Jessen daringly sneaking into the performances to film night after night, about his amazing dedication to his project and his shear love of the ballet and its stars. The 12 minute segment of the DVD explains how it was done.

Gaite Parisienne by Viktor Jessen

Aren’t we fortunate!

Here is an exceptional experience for the film lover, the ballet enthusiast, and the history buff: a relatively unknown Danish film-maker, Victor Jessen (1901-1995) wanted, in his own words, “to make a permanent record on film of some of the most important works of the most perfect living art: The Dance.” Between 1943-1954, Jessen neglected his work as an engineer so he could sneak filmed performances–wearing black and shooting from high in the loge or balcony from the back of the box with a special camera wrapped to muffle its mechanical sound–of classic ballet works performed in Los Angeles by visiting ballet companies; to wit, the 1954 Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo production of Offenbach’s Gaite Parisienne as choreographed by Leonide Massine and produced and mounted by Frederic Franklin and company. Jessen called this venture “The Ultimate Daring,” since it required him to return each night to shoot with film magazines limited to 2.5 minutes of film and having to rewind every 30 seconds. He had to memorize which portions of the ballet he had missed to fill in the gaps. To capture the sound, Jessen returned with a tape recorder to capture the orchestra of the Ballet Russe in concert.
The result presents us an astonishing performance–a virtual circus of dazzling movement–of Gaite Parisienne, with its colorful cast of characters, with Frederic Franklin as the Baron; Alexandra Danilova as The Glove Seller; and Leon Danielian as The Peruvian. Rife with dazzling intricacies of movement, a perpetually busy stage, densely packed, the action follows the courtship by the Peruvian and The Baron of the lovely Glove Seller. Before she settles upon the Baron as her love, she leads the Peruvian on a merry course of poses and dances, including the famous Can-Can with the Corps de Ballet from Orpheus in the Underworld, only to dance the Barcarolle with the Baron and leave the Peruvian bereft.   The costumes, designed by Etienne de Beaumont, even in black and white, seem sumptuous–though in the documentary part we see them in living color–and they will remind more than one spectator of John Huston’s pageant for his film Moulin Rouge with Jose Ferrer. Many of the dances assume a Spanish sense of décor, not only French, though the movement of the waiters–their effortless athleticism–and the drooping gestures and pirouettes ooze with Gallic color by way of the Russian emigration into Paris. The lighting becomes another character on stage; and in the Barcarolle, the trail of dancers becomes a human gondola providing a backdrop for the lovely duet of the Glove Seller and the Baron.
The bonus track interview with principal Frederic Franklin and John Mueller proves equally fascinating. Massine joined the troupe in 1938 and immediately instituted his own concepts. He liked Danilova–whom Frederic Ashton dubbed “the Queen of the skirt-wagging roles”–and he liked Franklin because “Freddy does everything I show him.” Franklin recalls that while Gaite did not do well in Britain, it created a sensation in America: “we brought a ballet that was down to their level,” quips Franklin. “The piece did not have men in tights but cabaret people and waiters, the working class.
“We had some fine conductors: Efrem Kurtz, Pierre Monteux, Eugene Goossens, and even Stravinsky. We did have trouble once–with Leopold Stokowski–who led the Beethoven Seventh Symphony so fast no one could dance to it, so the dancers all left the stage in bits and pieces, leaving Stokowski to conduct a symphony instead of a ballet!” Franklin eulogizes Massine constantly, but also Mme. Karinska, the costumier who would lend Franklin Massine’s own pantaloons for The Baron, which were filled out in the calves to compensate for Massine’s bowl legs!
Franklin laments the difficulty of maintaining the Massine tradition in both dance and choreography: “the trouble lies in not having the same requirements–mostly theatrical–for ballet training any more. We came from the theater, and so we could project a character in mime and gesture. We had timing and characterization in our blood–and it’s very hard to teach. So some new choreographers are beginning to realize this passing tradition and insist that their corps de ballet do preparatory theater work.”
The 12-minute segment, “The Saga of Victor Jessen” uses still period photos from the 1920s and a few color shots to highlight this obscure pioneer in aesthetic film-making. His accidental discovery by Massine while shooting a ballet and making too much noise led to Massine’s angry remark, “Why don’t you use a blimp?” And that ‘blimp’ idea triggered the engineer’s design of a wrap for his camera that would muffle the sound; he even wrapped the shiny parts of the machine in black to make his entire presence ‘invisible.’ Once discovered in the balcony of the Met by an usher and anticipating the demise of his entire career, Jessen heard the usher exclaim, “That’s what I should be doing!” and found an ally. That anonymous usher is the recipient of a credit at the end of the documentary. “When I die I want my films to be shown to anybody,” stated Jessen. His wish is our command.
–Gary Lemco

http://audaud.com/2010/07/offenbach-leonide-massine%E2%80%99s-gaite-parisienne/

Victor Jessen’s Film of Massine’s Gaite Parisienne

Friday, March 30th, 2012

Here is information on the production details and how to procure the film of Victor Jesson’s Gaite Parisienne. This is the production starring Alexandra Danilova,  Fredric Franklin and Leon Danielian in its entirety. I have just ordered it and can hardly wait to receive it!

Here is another excerpt from the film of the Cancan scene: Can Can From Gaite Parisienne as filmed by Victor Jesson.

Here is an interview from Frederic Franklin on the Jessen Film: Frederic Franklin Interview – the Jesson Film.

This is totally fascinating!  A total treat for vintage ballet fans!

Enjoy!

 

Viktor Jessen and How He Filmed Gaite Pariesienne

Thursday, March 29th, 2012

Arts

HOME VIDEO/NEW RELEASES; Underground Ballet

By JENNIFER DUNNING
Published: August 21, 1988

GAITE PARISIENNE Starring Alexandra Danilova (in photo), Frederic Franklin (in photo) and Leon Danielian, with the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo. Video Artists International, Inc. 38 minutes.

Victor Jessen’s ”Gaite Parisienne” is the maddest of ventures. Mr. Jessen, a Danish-born engineer and single-minded balletomane, surreptitiously filmed Leonide Massine’s ”Gaite Parisienne” at performances between 1944 and 1954, using a primitive camera that had to be wound up every 30 seconds. In 1954, he spliced the pieces together to make a film of the whole ballet, set to a single performance of the Offenbach score.

The three stars remain the same: the superbly chic and merry Alexandra Danilova as the Glove Seller, a radiantly romantic Frederic Franklin as the Baron and a surprisingly sexy Leon Danielian as the giddy Peruvian. Some subsidiary roles are performed by a variety of dancers, with a new face showing only at the completion of a turn or a new performance indicated only by a sudden shift of lighting, for instance, at the top of a lift.

The keen-eyed will spot other ballet luminaries within the ranks. And the performances are not only of historical value, but offer an instructive antidote to American Ballet Theater’s hyperactive recent production. This ”Gaite Parisienne” is not for the novice. But balletomanes will treasure it.

Alexandra Danilova Was Champagne & What Was in That Tray of Gloves!

Thursday, March 29th, 2012

Arts
COLLECTIONS>FREDERIC FRANKLIN A wonderfully entertaining review with commentary of Frederic Franklin on Danilova ~ so worldly yet so utterly charmant!

DANCE VIEW; Alexandra Danilova: She Continues To Be Champagne

By Jennifer Dunning
Published: September 10, 1989

Alexandra Danilova is an indisputable legend in a time when legends in ballet are few. Recently named to receive a Kennedy Center Honor this winter, she soon will be presented with the Handel Medallion from the City of New York. In a career in dance that has spanned more than seven decades, from her days as a student at the fabled Maryinsky Theater in St. Petersburg (now the Kirov in Leningrad) to her teaching at the School of American Ballet in Manhattan, Madame Danilova, as she is referred to by many, has become an exotic institution in American dance and a link between very different eras.

There are new ways of thinking about dance today. Dancers are no longer so much the bearers of magic to a humdrum world as a part of the social fabric of that world, particularly in cities outside New York. But a century ago, ballet was represented in this country by exotic emissaries from foreign lands who settled in America to teach the art of chorus-dancing and deportment. There was the bewitching Anna Pavlova and her innumerable tours to every corner of the United States, as well as the Diaghilev company and the beloved Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo.

Madame Danilova is a product, of course, of the hardy yet unfailingly glamorous Ballet Russe. For many Americans, she personified the company, and box-office success was guaranteed by her partnership on stage with Frederic Franklin, the company’s English premier danseur. In his history of the company, ”The One and Only: The Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo,” Jack Anderson, a Times dance critic, writes that a 1944 Columbus, Ohio, engagement by the troupe was billed as ”Mlle Danilova, Frederic Franklin and Company.”

There was a piquant radiance about Madame Danilova that is undiminished today, epitomized in her heart-shaped face with its large, heavily lidded eyes. She was famous for her slender, tapering legs and well-turned feet. She was known best for her portrayals of three seductive characters in ballets by Leonide Massine – the Cancan Dancer in ”La Boutique Fantasque,” the Street Dancer in ”Le Beau Danube” and the Glove-Seller in ”Gaite Parisienne.”

Madame Danilova’s Glove-Seller knew, as Mr. Franklin put it, that her tray of gloves contained ”all kinds of stuff – contraceptives, everything.” Seeing her dance the role in a filmed record of ”Gaite Parisienne” by Victor Jessen, a balletomane and camera buff, reinforces that observation. Here, too, is a performer who is as self-contained as she is abandoned, dancing as much, it seems, for herself as for her audience. Effervescent miming and her relationship with Mr. Franklin, her ardent yet gentle Baron, add to the fascination of her dancing.

She was a spirited Swanilda in ”Coppelia.” The role of Giselle was not her forte, though her Swan Queen was considered hauntingly sad. She was champagne, her admirers proclaimed. Her famous legs were described by Lincoln Kirstein as being like ”luminous wax.” She was gaiety and elegance and wit.

”She has by nature and by artistry a wonderful legato that gives to all the sharp accents and spurts of cancan steps that the part calls for a musical grace none of the younger dancers have learned,” Edwin Denby, the noted dance critic, once wrote of Danilova in a review of ”Le Beau Danube.” ”In comparison to her they seem to trust to luck for their balance, and so their dancing loses flow and sweetness. Danilova makes her temperamental vivacity count because the movements are so well placed. Where others look happy, she scintillates. But it is her feminine presence, her air of dancing for the delight of it, that captures the audience’s heart.”

But her legend goes back farther than the Ballet Russe. Madame Danilova developed as an artist at the Maryinsky or Imperial Ballet in St. Petersburg, the cradle of 20th-century ballet and the leading interpreter of the ballets of Marius Petipa. She was also a participant in – and knowing observer of – the experiments in ballet that erupted briefly with the explosion of new art forms in Russia during the 1920’s. One of those experimentalists was George Balanchine, a fellow classmate at the Maryinsky, with whom she soon joined Serge Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes, thus becoming involved in another of the century’s formative artistic ventures.

It was all that experience that Madame Danilova brought to the School of American Ballet, where she taught dances from the classical ballets of Petipa and provided a vibrant connection to that hallowed but very distant-seeming past. To watch her in class at the school, where she has taught since 1964, was to see the transformation of coltish young American girls into dancers of distinctive style, often through the merest suggestion of detail.

That past is still vivid to Madame Danilova, but no more vivid than the world she lives in today. Though she retired from the School of American Ballet this year, she is still very active. Early next month, for instance, she will travel to Louisville, Ky., to participate in a seminar on the Imperial Russian Ballet, followed by a week of teaching master classes at Ballet Midland in Midland, Tex.

Ballerinas were dazzling public figures when Madame Danilova danced, and few were so conscious of their debt to the public. There is an edge of teasing to her charm today. Her conversation is laced with the gaiety and elegance of her dancing, its tart wittiness as well as its candor. There is a sense, too, of the aloofness, noted by Robert Greskovic in The New Dance Review, that is an essential part of Leningrad dancers. Madame Danilova is never less than a star, a prerogative maintained with graceful equanimity.

At 85, she has slowed her pace. But she has lost none of the sometimes poignant indomitability learned from a life lived in a world torn by revolution, war and the vagaries of her profession. It is a life captured with much of Madame Danilova’s spirit in ”Choura,” her autobiography, which was published in 1986, and in ”Reflections of a Dancer: Alexandra Danilova,” a 1987 documentary film by Anne Belle. A friend tells of a bad fall Madame Danilova had at home in June, in which she fractured her right knee. She was unable to summon help for many hours but finally managed to reach the friend, who took her to the hectic emergency room of one of New York’s hospitals. There, she waited again, in considerable pain. At last, a very young doctor approached her. ”How old are you?” he asked. ”Guess,” she answered. ”Are you 70?” he ventured. ”Close enough,” she said imperiously, winking at her friend.

A Beautiful Handmade Quilt of Vintage Gloves by Artist Susan Lenz

Wednesday, March 21st, 2012

Handed Down ~ a quilt made of vintage gloves by artist Susan Lenz

Today I found a fascinating work of art~ a quilt made by artist Susan Lenz using vintage textiles including a paisley shawl, and many pairs of vintage gloves.

Visit her blog artbysusanlenz for the story. This would be a great use for gloves you may have inherited or collected that are too small to wear! I love it!

Learning to Knit Gloves ~ Living Up to My 2012 New Year’s Resolution ~ Getting Started ~ Part #1

Thursday, January 26th, 2012

Knitting Gloves? Well Yes, that is one of the things I resolved to do in 2012. I love gloves. I have small hands with long fingers and new gloves never fit me as they usually come in one size fits all or med. & large only. And vintage gloves are hard to find. I figure if I learn to knit my own I can make the hands and wrists small enough, the fingers long enough, and choose the styles and colors I really want.

Red Fuzzy Mittens All Knit Up on Two Needles - Flat Technique - Ready to be Sewn Up & Finished

I really am learning to d it. It is a challenge! Fortunately I already know the basics of knitting. I began with a pair of red mittens – so I could learn to understand the basic structure and how to shape thumb gussets before attempting to do 5 fingers. I knit a pair of two needle mittens, on size 6 needles, in the red yarn, now all knit up and ready to be sewn together using mattress stitch so that they can be worn. Hopefully I get that done within the next couple of days. Blocking them and sewing them up all around is all that is left to do. I may also add a decoration of some sort to make them not so basic.

Next, I am knitting a pair of basic 5 finger gloves in violet Shetland wool. My purpose being to learn how to do the thumb and fingers perfectly on a plain pair of basic gloves before I take on making lace or decorative stitch fancy gloves.

Violet Shetland Wool Hank Knitted Gloves In Progress

Here they are, so far! I have done the ribbing for the cuffs, making them four inches long on size #4US needles, then transferred to size #6US needles for the section of the glove up to where the thumb gusset will begin. Next comes the thumb gusset, then the thumb, after that, the little finger, then a bit more knitting around on the hand to bring it up to the base of the other fingers, then each individual finger – each one has to be knitted using four double pointed needles in the round in a tiny circle to form a cylinder. The silver needles are my working set, the red needles are just being used as holders for the live stitches on the other resting glove. I am doing each section on one glove, trying it on to be sure of the fit, then moving over to the second glove so I do the same thing on it, then switching back to the first glove again to continue with the next step. It is very fiddly! Especially since it is being done on a set of 5 double pointed needles in the round instead of two needles, flat, as I did the red mittens above.

Gloves are definitely harder to make than two needle mittens. I highly recommend learning on a mitten first, then graduating to a harder glove with double pointed needles and five individually knitted fingers. I am using Jamieson Shetland DK weight wool here at a gauge of 6 sts per inch. This is a rather large gauge for gloves, but I wanted to be able to make them relatively quickly as my practice set, before moving into a more challenging tiny gauge fine yarn – which is my ultimate intention. I want to “graduate” to knitting fine gloves in refined styles in beautiful colors ~ using many of the interesting fingering weight sock yarns which are very well suited to gloves as well!

I love the yarns! I can hardly wait! Discipline, discipline! I have 2 skeins of lovely yarn picked out, on hold, for my next 2 pairs of gloves, but I won’t buy them until I get these finished. They will be my reward for getting through these first two projects!

I am off to do more work on these today, so will keep you posted with my progress. I am determined to finish them this week! I have to stay on schedule here to accomplish my goals! My first goal is to finish knitting the red mittens and the purple gloves shown above during this January. Then to move forward throughout the remainder of the year by knitting a pair of gloves every month. Each pair must be increasingly more difficult to knit so that I make technical progress. I feel that I will be quite a good glove knitter by next New Years 2013 if I manage to accomplish this. Plus, I will have a good collection of hand made gloves made up from practicing!

After I finish these two pairs I will be looking for glove patterns or a book of gloves to make! I want to make authentic vintage styles, of course! This is only the beginning!

A Knitted Kaliedescope of Colored Lace is a Work of Art Hat in Japenese Artist Eisaku Noro’s Fine Art Yarn

Saturday, January 21st, 2012

I am fascinated with the Yarn Art of Japanese painter Eisaku Noro. He hand dyes his yarns which are all organic and made of fibers from silk, through cashmere, wool, cotton, bamboo, etc. He dyes and spins the yarn in small batches all produced by hand – and they are absolutely amazing. I see his yarns, fall in love with one and must make something from them! They can be used any way a fiber artist/designer wants to use them – the sky is the limit and the possibilities are endless. I have made several garments from his yarns and have several batches of it stashed for future work. It comes out in extremely limited amounts so you must get it when you see it.

Kaliedescope of Colors in a Spiral Lace Knit Hat in the Making by Lady Violette de Courcy

Currently I am working on another knitted hat – my first experiment using Noro Yarn in a millinery project. I got the yarn, last Monday, came home and stayed up most of the night casting on and knitting until I had to get a little sleep. I woke up and started to knit immediately until I ran out of yarn! I had put more on hold, but I could not get to the yarn store to buy it as I was snowed in completely, now going on a week! But I cannot wait! I have to show you this as a WIP (work in progress) as I am so excited by the way it is turning out!

I am making this in Noro’s Silk Garden Yarn – a very soft blend of silk and wool. That is not a dark hole on the left side in the brown stripe! Just an indent in the lace prior to finishing and blocking the hat. The crown, which isn’t done yet, will be a round burst of all the current colors on the top in a spiraling snowflake~like shape. I underestimated the amount of yarn needed. In a project like this you never know until you make it. It is hard to tell now, but this again will have a 1920’s ~ 30’s vintage vibe to it when I am finished. And I’ll be adding a special surprise at the very end.

I hope I can get out of the house, off my steep Telegraph Hill like hill and back to the yarn store this weekend. Or early next week. The snow is not coming down now but we are experiencing really high winds. Branches are banging against the house and the trees are weaving and swaying. I can hear branches crunching and breaking off from time to time. This could be worse than the snow has been. Winds are whistling through the house too! When this happens here trees often fall across the roads and they are shut off. There is inevitable loss of electricity in the area as well. This is already up to 4,000 homes now which translates to a lot more people. My power is currently on – but It has failed 4x already. I will not be surprised if we are without power again! In nearby areas it has been out for three or four days and they cannot predict when it will get back on. The wind is so loud and violent it was impossible for me to sleep ~ so I got up and wanted to knit, but I am out of yarn on two current projects!

So I decided to write this blog post instead amidst the whistling wind. I imagine Wuthering Heights was like this. It feels very bleak! And it is dark and drafty and cold! I am feeling really housebound. I’m bundled up in knitted tights, mufflers and cloaks to stay warm and I haven’t been to the grocery store for over a week! The food choices are dwindling! Just like the yarn! This storm is difficult for someone who usually goes to the yarn store as often as she goes to the grocery store! At first the snow was nice, but now everything has turned to black ice and it is very dangerous. School has been cancelled for four days.

I am going to cook some old fashioned oat meal now. I am burning off calories trying to stay warm and I am really feeling hungry!

For more information on this hat in the works visit me at ladyviolette on Ravelry and check back to see this piece when I get it finished. The yarn is by Noro and the lace  pattern I have adapted is designed by Linda Medina. Details, including yarn sources and the lace pattern are available on Ravelry, the social website for knitters and  fiber artists.

 

Classic Museum Quality Child’s Vintage Scandinavian Sweater ~ A Successful Restoration Story

Saturday, December 10th, 2011

Classic Vintage Child's Norwegian Sweater~ Successfully Rescued & Restored From a Rag Pile

I am an avid knitter and am always on the lookout for amazing hand knit vintage sweaters that I can rescue from oblivion. I love hand knits and cannot bear to see them abandoned and unappreciated! I especially cherish children’s sweaters which were made with love by a grandmother, auntie or mother long ago. I know what is involved in making them since I knit myself and finding one and returning it to it’s original splendor is very exciting! Seeing it worn by children in my family and appreciated again is the icing on the cake!

The Inside of This Sweater is as Beautifully Done, Technically, as the Outside ~ a Really Good Example for Modern Knitters of the Stranding on the Backside of Two Color Fairisle Knitting

I recently found this little boy’s Norwegian sweater in a filthy thrift shop. It was dirty, and terribly damaged. And only $2. But it was a total disaster. I should have taken before pictures, but I was in a hurry to clean and repair it to send to a little boy as a present!I needed to get it to him quickly so he could use it before he outgrew it. As we know little children grow like weeds so no time was to be wasted!

First off, I gathered up the live unraveling stitches on safety pins, then I washed it very carefully in cold water by hand, as I was afraid of moth or other infestation. I washed it over and over to get the disgusting amount of dirt out of the wool. It is made of beautiful quality old style yarn – of the nice stiff type that is now very hard to find. It still contains its natural oils.

The Intricate Snowflake and Geometric Pattern Covers the Entire Sweater ~ Back and Front ~ Beautifully

The navy is a very dark inky shade, almost black, also impossible to find! I know as I searched every local yarn shop with the tattered, but now clean, little sweater looking for matching yarn to use for the extensive repairs needed. I could not find a match. I also want to find this type of yarn for my own knitting. Thus, if anyone reading this has a source I would be grateful if you would inform me of it.

The Sleeves Were Full of Holes When I Acquired the Sweater, But Now They Look as Good as New!

The ribbing on the wrists was unraveling and torn, the ribbing at the neckline was coming out and the sweater had holes in the elbows, the button placket and the back. It looked like it had been worn as the main winter coat by some child and his three older brothers before him as a hand-me-down and never mended or washed! But old wool wears like iron, fortunately!

Unable to match the yarn in it I finally had to unknit sections of the sweater in order to get enough of the navy main color yarn to make the necessary repairs. I undid all the ribbing at the bottom and both cuffs and then picked up the live stitches and reknit them using the resulting salvaged yarn and making the new ribbing sections shorter than the originals had been. The ribbing at the bottom of the sweater and the cuffs of both sleeves is now about an  inch shorter than originally. And it looks as good as new!You cannot tell that I have reworked it. I know this was often done during the mend and make do era. People also used to save a bit of the yarn and extend the ribbing to make the sweater larger as the child grew bigger.

Interestingly the B.K.S. Handmade in Norway label was still hanging by one thread so I resewed it on to retain the authenticity of the sweater.I think B.K. S. must be the initials of the woman or man who knitted this sweater. This nice touch makes me think I should get such a label made to sew inside the items I knit myself. I try to do as good a job as this and I want them to become heirlooms for my own family in the future.

Label of Knitter and Pewter Reindeer Button

The vintage pewter reindeer buttons are real beauties. And I was charmed by the fact that an extra was attached to the chest of the sweater with a red and navy striped grosgrain ribbon like a little military medal. The maker provided this extra button in case the child who got the sweater lost one! Fortunately none of the buttons were lost.

This Amazingly Detailed Sweater is Made to Fit a Boy of About 4-5 Years Old. Note the extra Button Sewn Onto a Striped Ribbon Like a Military Medal in Case the Child Lost a Button!

I took pictures of the sweater from all angles and both inside and outside to keep a nice record of how the fairisle work was done. It was both beautifully and expertly done. This is a textbook example of Norwegian knitting. It is worthy of a place in the Scandinavian Heritage Museum. I think it was made in the late 1940s or early 1950’s. It is a real treasure! Now restored to it’s rightful original splendor! I only wish the original knitter were able to know how much I appreciate her (or his) work! I would love to be able to tell her (or him) that myself! She (or he) so deserves it! I hope posting it on my blog garners the admiration and attention it deserves.

Expert Color Work! It Looks as Pretty on the Inside as it Does on the Outside ~ At least to an Avid Knitter!

I will include photographs of the stranding closeup so you can compare the way it looks on both sides. Here goes!

Fairisle Work ~ Another Detailed Shot of The Stranding

I shipped it off the restored sweater to the lucky little boy I repaired it for just in time for Xmas. He will wear it, his little brother will wear it and it will be a treasured heirloom in our family now for a few more generations! I made them new sweaters too. I love making small ones because they work up so fast! It is good practice in these difficult techniques prior to taking on an adult size sweater. I often tackle a little one for a family member before taking on the challenge of doing an adult one. After this repair job I feel quite ready to undertake a full size Norwegian sweater. I just have to find the perfect pattern. I want to do an adult one for myself and a man’s size with reindeer and snowflakes on it.

The Finished Restoration of This Museum Quality Child's Size 5 Year Old Sweater

I think this pattern is perfect for a child’s sweater. Does anybody out there have great classic vintage Norwegian sweater patterns for adults? Or know of a good source? I am looking now. Any suggestions will be most appreciated. I would like to find hat and mitten and glove patterns as well. And yes, I really will make them!

The red and white baby blanket under the Norwegian sweater in the photographs is my present for a new baby who is coming into the world in February! It is never too soon to start making hand knits and crochet heirlooms for the next generation! I am determined that they grow up with handmade knits so they enjoy them and learn to appreciate them! I did and that is what got me started as a knitter.

I was taught to knit by my grandma when I was only 4 years old. I was fascinated by it and couldn’t put the needles down! She later told me that she taught us to knit so she could busy us  and get her own work done! She said it kept us occupied for hours enabling her to work on her own sewing and knitting! Brilliant!

Under her supervision I very proudly made my very first scarf for my grandpa for Christmas when I was five! It was copen blue wool and consisted of knit and purl stitches only. She made me rip it out and reknit it until it was absolutely perfect! He wore it for years and told everyone that I made it! He even wore reading in  bed on cold nights and tied it around his bedpost so he could have it ready if a chill came on! They were very encouraging and supportive of the craft of knitting. They were sheep ranchers so their interest ran deep! They raised their own wool on their ranch in Southern Idaho. They sent it to the Pendelton Woolen Mills to be processed.

When I was a little older I went to the Pendelton Mill myself on Saturdays where they had knitting classes for children and teenagers. We were allowed to choose yarn for our projects from the overruns of the mil. It was a goldmine of fine wool in beautiful colors. I remember making my first sweater out of a beautiful emerald green merino held double with green mohair all the way from Italy. The yarn was free if you were a student there so cost was no object. The mill was interested in developing future knitters and demand for their products. I know of no such program these days! I attended those classes when I was in the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th grades. Then we moved away from the area. The teachers were excellent and I still remember what I learned there! It was an excellent  basic foundation. Amazingly I was only 6 to 10 years old when I took those classes. My mother went to the advanced adult knitting groups and they created amazing items some of which I still have and will photograph and post on my blog in the near future.

I decided yesterday that I should photograph these beautiful vintage sweaters and share them with others. Once again, the exquisite vintage needlework produced by these women deserves to be seen!

And One More Fairwell Picture of the Norwegian Sweater Because I Cannot Resist!

Revlon’s Ultra Violet Cosmetic Ad ~ Trick & Treat in Advertising & a Good Idea for a Halloween Costume!

Monday, October 24th, 2011

Dorian Leigh in the 2nd Revlon Ultra Violet ad of 1946

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE POWER OF ILLUSIONS IN ADVERTISING

There were two versions of the Ultra Violet ad I have been discussing lately made by Revlon in 1946 featuring Dorian Leigh. This is the second one. I love the way she looks and the colors in the ad, but I think some of the flowers are lilacs, not violets! Both types of flowers are purple so they are alluding to violets through color. Lilacs are tougher than violets and probably held up better under the hot photographic lights used on the sets in those days. They do appear to have used real flowers because you can see them drooping in places. They don’t seem to be holding up during the shoot as as well as Dorian did! The poor little things look like the heat from the lights was wilting them. Meanwhile, Dorian looks fresh as a daisy!

Also, I can tell that Dorian is wrapped in a violet colored sheet, not a beautiful designer gown. This disappoints me! I want to see her in an exotic creation ~ a dress or evening gown by Charles James or Christian Dior or Cecil Beaton for example. Cecil Beaton is the photographer here. I wonder why he wasn’t asked to make a special violet gown for this occasion? (Budget constrictions, perhaps?) She is wearing real jewels which were loaned out for the occasion by Harry Winston. She is every bit as beautiful as they are!

It is interesting to note, here, that Cecil Beaton was a costume and fashion designer par excellence and also created magnificent hats. He later did the costumes for the film My Fair Lady which included spectacular dresses and hats for the Ascot Races. He could have designed something magnificent for Dorian to wear in this campaign had Revlon been up for that! I’m sure it would have been worth the extra money!

Given that they had only a cotton sheet and a straw sun hat (again not a designer creation!) to work with for costuming, she and Beaton did a pretty good job of creating the illusion of glamor in these two photographs that made Revlon over $3 million dollars in 1946! Wow! On this one color alone! Ultra Violet was quite popular. Dorian was so elegant and charming that she could sell anything even wrapped in a sheet! They draped and tied it around her like a giant scarf, so this is an example of creative scarf tying and styling! Cecil Beaton was a master of illusion as a photographer, stage and costume designer. Between them, Dorian and Cecil were able to trick the female public into seeing this ridiculous set up as glamorous and treating themselves to the Ultra Violet cosmetics so that they could look just like Dorian.

Considering the amount of money Revlon spent on the ad campaign and the amount of profit they made back from doing it they should and could have sprung for a decent dress for their top model! Charles Revson was infatuated with Dorian and wanted to marry her. She turned him down repeatedly. I wonder why? Don’t you? I haven’t found out the reasons yet, but will post that juicy tidbit of information when I do. I suspect she may have found him cheap! Suzy Parker, Dorian’s sister, complained that Revlon paid them “peanuts” for modeling for these ads. The girls knew that Revlon was nothing without them, but Revlon hadn’t realized the value of its models yet. They didn’t until Lauren Hutten came along in the 1970’s and demanded an exclusive contract. That was the beginning of the big money for women who modeled in cosmetic ads.

This getup has gotten me thinking that I could make an Ultra Violet Girl costume to wear for Halloween! I always try to come up with a violet theme being Lady Violette. All I would have to do is apply my makeup like Dorian’s vintage makeup design in the picture; then, dye a white sheet violet in Ritt dye in my washing machine, artfully wrap and drape it as they have done in the photograph, pile on some costume jewelry, plop my big violet colored straw hat on my head and cover myself with artificial violets and lilacs which can be bought in garlands or individual stems at craft stores. I could even make myself a round box like the powder box she is holding, label it Ultra Violet, and hold it out for my treats! A little small for candy? I don’t want candy! I want big girl treats ~ some of those Harry Winston treats like Dorian’s will be just fine and should fit perfectly and discreetly in my little treat box!

 

Violet / Lavender Face Powder ~ Who Wore it First? John Singer Sargeant’s Muse, Madame X, of Course!

Sunday, October 23rd, 2011

Madame X by John Singer Sargeant 1884

It is always amusing to me to see who claims to have devised beauty treatments and colors first. I know for a fact that Revlon was not the first to come up with the idea of lavender or violet tinted face powder. Incidentally, both of these names refer to the same thing/color ~ a light purple. Whichever name is used is whichever appeals more to the creator of the face powder under discussion and works best for marketing it. The color and concept has been around for a very long time in France, England, Italy, Spain and the United States and there are many references to it in women’s literature and antique beauty manuals. Revlon claiming to have invented the color violet for face powder and cosmetic use in 1946 for their Ultra Violet campaign was simply a marketing ploy.

Lavender and Violet face powder ? … You may wonder, what is it’s purpose?

Well, originally it was considered an exotic makeup color, which it is, and it was scented delicately with violet or lavender perfume.

A Photograph of the Original Painting as Sargeant Displayed it in the Paris Salon of 1884 with Madame X Jeweled Strap Slipping Off Her Shoulder Which Caused a Scandal. He Repainted the Strap on Her Shoulder as We Know the Painting Now in an Attempt to Appease the Social Critics of the Time and Salvage His and His Subjects Reputations

Cosmetic and makeup specialists told women it would tone down a yellow complexion, making it much more attractive and desirable, giving it a more balanced white and pink look. Thus it was recommend as a color corrector. There is quite a bit of it available on the market today from various companies claiming to do this. Honestly, I do not know if it works. I cannot prove it by trying it out on myself because I do not have a yellow complexion. If someone out there has experience with this, please let me know how this works for you.

Study for Madame X

Next, it was marketed as an desirable colorful look in makeup as well as a delicate attractive floral scent. Honestly, I do know that this works! I have several violet and lavender colors of eye shadow powders, blushes, lip sticks and glosses, nail lacquers, and a luscious violet tinted loose face powder from Borghese which I love for its exotic color effect as a finishing touch to a violet themed face makeup.

 

 

 

 

I personally believe that John Singer Sargeant’s Muse, Madam X, who was Madame Virginie Amilie Avegno Gautreau in real life, used it this way and brushed it over her famous decolletage and white shoulders as well. I enjoy thinking about her doing that when I am applying the powder myself. I find the rituals of applying makeup very interesting and satisfying and filled with historical references. Women have always adorned themselves and I love getting inspiring ideas from history and literature on beauty and makeup. I have long been on the lookout for references in art and literature to use as inspiration.

Currently, purple, violet, and lavender is a very popular makeup color, and is offered in every conceivable shade and variation by many respectable cosmetic lines. These range from the most delicate hint of light violet to the darkest deepest almost black purple hue and every shade and variation of formula in between. Purples and violets and lavenders are made in nail polishes, lipsticks, eye shadows, blushes, mascaras, eyeliners, and powders of every imaginable type. I am always exploring these offerings because I love the color! The violet is my personal flower and violet is my personal color as well. As Lady Violette it is also my name, and it follows, of course, that violet should be foremost in my personal makeup palette.  And, as I have explained before having a personal flower and a personal color gives a woman a theme to explore in her dressing and grooming and the creation of her personal signature look. This is very useful as it gives one a starting point. I think Madame X would have loved all these modern purple these cosmetics!

Study for Madame X Sargeant 1883

Interestingly, there is no color on the current market that comes across as the ruby red infused with violet glimmer that Revlon’s Ultra Violet of 1946 claimed to be! I will be first to know if one comes out! And I’ll post that information immediately! I have not seen the 1946 Ultra Violet by Revlon in person. It came out way before my time! And I have yet to locate a vintage example, but I am looking for one! I deduce that the color so named was the color of the nail lacquer and the lipstick and the powder was a very softly, lightly violet tinted face powder sold to compliment the lips and tips that were done up in Ultra Violet.

 

Madame X Unfinished 1884

My own favorite wearer of this shade of face powder historically was Madame X ~ Virginie Amilie Avegno Gautreau, the Parisian socialite painted by John Singer Sargeant. She wore lavender face powder and prided herself on her appearance. Her use of this shade of cosmetic face powder was written about and documented as early as 1880. She was well known for wearing it in Paris. I doubt she actually invented it, or was the earliest person to wear it, but she became famous for her beauty and her use of this daring color was unusual at the time. Personally, I love Madame X and Sargeant’s drawings and paintings of her. And yes, I have seen many of them in person and they are masterpieces in my opinion. I am grateful to both the sitter and the painter for creating them. I am an ardent admirer of Sargeant’s art work and of Virginie Gautreau as a woman of great interest and beauty. I recommend seeing the painting in person if you get the chance. I also recommend reading about Madame X ~ there are several good biographies on her and several good books on Sargent the artist as well. They are both great inspiration to me ~ as people and as artists. I consider the great beauties of her type to be artists. Isn’t a beautiful woman, after all, a living moving work of art? A living sculpture? I think this way because I am a classically trained dancer and dancers are trained to think of themselves this way in relation to line, space, volume, form and color.

Madame X with champagne in an oil sketch by Sargeant

I, personally, first became consciously aware of violet and lavender face powder when I learned that Madame X had worn it so famously in Paris in the 1880s. Thus, for me, she is the person I know of who wore it first. When I ask the question, ” Who wore violet or lavender face powder first? ” her name immediately pops into my mind as the answer. So, you see, as far as I am concerned, just for me, she wore it first! Since no one really knows who dreamed it up initially, this answer will suffice for me! She is beautiful, exotic, mysterious and intriguing so her association with the color is perfect from an imaging standpoint.

Following is from the Wikipedia entry on The painting The Portrait of Madame X.

Portrait of Madame X

John Singer Sargent, Madame X (Madame Pierre Gautreau), 1884, oil on canvas, 234.95 x 109.86 cm, Manhattan: Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Madame X or Portrait of Madame X is the informal title of a portrait painting by John Singer Sargent of a young socialite named Virginie Amélie Avegno Gautreau, wife of Pierre Gautreau. The model was an American expatriate who married a French banker, and became notorious in Parisian high society for her beauty and rumored infidelities. She wore lavender powder and prided herself on her appearance.

Madame X was painted not as a commission, but at the request of Sargent.[1] It is a study in opposition. Sargent shows a woman posing in a black satin dress with jeweled straps, a dress that reveals and hides at the same time. The portrait is characterized by the pale flesh tone of the subject contrasted against a dark colored dress and background.

For Sargent, the scandal resulting from the painting’s controversial reception at the Paris Salon of 1884 amounted to the failure of a strategy to build a long-term career as a portrait painter in France.[2]

Background

Renowned for her beauty, Gautreau represented the parisienne, a new type of Frenchwoman recognized for her sophistication. The English term ‘professional beauty’, referring to a woman who uses personal skills to advance to elite status, was also used to describe her.[3] Her unconventional beauty made her an object of fascination for artists; the American painter Edward Simmons claimed that he “could not stop stalking her as one does a deer.”[4] Sargent was also impressed, and anticipated that a portrait of Gautreau would garner much attention at the upcoming Paris Salon, and increase interest in portrait commissions. He wrote to a friend:

” I have a great desire to paint her portrait and have reason to think she would allow it and is waiting for someone to propose this homage to her beauty. If you are ‘bien avec elle’ and will see her in Paris, you might tell her I am a man of prodigious talent.”[5]

Although she had refused numerous similar requests from artists, Gautreau accepted Sargent’s offer in February 1883.[6] Sargent was an expatriate like Gautreau, and their collaboration has been interpreted as motivated by a shared desire to attain high status in French society.[7]

Studies

Little progress was made during the winter of 1883, as Gautreau was distracted by social engagements, and was not by nature inclined to the discipline of sitting for a portrait. At her suggestion, Sargent traveled to her estate in Brittany in June, where he commenced a series of preparatory works in pencil, watercolors, and oils.[8] About thirty drawings resulted from these sessions, in which many poses were attempted. Like the eventual portrait, an oil sketch entitled Madame Gautreau Drinking a Toast (Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum), shows the subject’s profile and bare arms against a dark background, but is of a more freely brushed and informal character.

Just as she had been in Paris, in the country Gautreau was bored by the process of sitting; here, too, there were social engagements, as well as the responsibilities of tending to her four-year-old daughter, her mother, house guests, and a full domestic staff. Sargent complained of “the unpaintable beauty and hopeless laziness of Madame Gautreau.”[9]

Execution

As in his previous entries to the Salon, The Daughters of Edward Darley Boit and El Jaleo, Sargent chose a canvas of dimensions large enough to ensure notice on the crowded Salon walls. The pose proved to be different from any of those tried in the preliminary works. It necessitated that Gautreau stand with her body facing the artist while her head was turned away, her right arm extended behind her for support, her hand on a low table; the result was to create tension in the neck and arm as well as to emphasize the subject’s elegant contours.[10] For painting the artificial tone of Gautreau’s pale skin, Sargent used a palette composed of lead white, rose madder, vermilion, viridian, and bone black.[10]

Even when composition had been decided upon and painting started, work progressed slowly. In a letter to a friend Sargent wrote “One day I was dissatisfied with it and dashed a tone of light rose over the former gloomy background…The élancée figure of the model shows to much greater advantage.”[11] On September 7, Sargent wrote “still at Paramé, basking in the sunshine of my beautiful model’s countenance.”[11] By the fall, Sargent’s interest in the venture was nearing completion: “The summer is definitely over and with it, I admit, is my pleasure at being at Les Chênes (Gautreau’s estate).”[12]

Description

There is an assertion and showiness in the expanse of white skin — from her high forehead down her graceful neck, shoulders, and arms. Although the black of her dress is bold, it is also deep, recessive, and mysterious. She is surrounded by a rich brown which is at once luminous and dark enough to provide contrast to the skin tones. Most disconcerting is the whiteness of the skin, an overt contrivance of “aristocratic pallor”; by contrast her red ear is a jarring reminder of the color of flesh unadorned.[7]

Sargent chose the pose for Gautreau carefully: her body boldly faces forward while her head is turned in profile. A profile is both assertion and retreat; half of the face is hidden while, at the same time, the part that shows can seem more defined than full face.

Sargent in his Paris studio, ca. 1885

The table provides support for Gautreau, and echoes her curves and stance. At the time, her pose was considered sexually suggestive. As originally exhibited, one strap of her gown had fallen down Gautreau’s right shoulder, suggesting the possibility of further revealment; “One more struggle”, wrote a critic in Le Figaro, “and the lady will be free”. (Perhaps unknown to the critic, the bodice was constructed over a metal and whalebone foundation and could not have possibly fallen; the shoulder straps were ornamental).

The image’s erotic suggestion is of a distinctly upper-class sort: unnaturally pale skin, cinched waist, severity of profile and an emphasis on aristocratic bone structure all imply a distant sexuality “under the professional control of the sitter”, rather than offered for the viewer’s delectation.[7]

Classical sources, such as the figures in a fresco by Francesco de’ Rossi (Il Salviati), have been suggested as inspiration for the pose.[13] The painting features several subtle classical references: sirens of Greek mythology adorn the table’s legs, and the crescent tiara worn by Gautreau symbolizes the goddess Diana. The latter was not contrived by the artist, but was part of Gautreau’s self-display.[11]

Reception

Antonio de La Gandara, Madame Pierre Gautreau, 1898.

While the work was in progress, Gautreau was enthusiastic; she believed that Sargent was painting a masterpiece.[14] When the painting first appeared at the Paris Salon under the title Portrait de Mme *** in 1884, people were shocked and scandalized; the attempt to preserve the subject’s anonymity was unsuccessful, and the sitter’s mother requested that Sargent withdraw the painting from the exhibition. Sargent refused, saying he had painted her “exactly as she was dressed, that nothing could be said of the canvas worse than had been said in print of her appearance”.[15] Later, Sargent overpainted the shoulder strap to raise it up and make it look more securely fastened. He also changed the title, from the original Portrait de Mme ***, to Madame X — a name more assertive, dramatic and mysterious, and, by accenting the impersonal, giving the illusion of the woman archetype.

The poor public and critical reception was a disappointment to both artist and model. Gautreau was humiliated by the affair, and Sargent would soon leave Paris and move to London permanently.

Aftermath

Sargent hung Madame X first in his Paris studio, and later in his studio in London. Starting in 1905, he displayed it in a number of international exhibitions. In 1916, Sargent sold the painting to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, writing to its director “I suppose it is the best thing I have ever done.”[16][17] A second, unfinished version of the same pose, in which the position of the right shoulder strap remained unresolved, is in the Tate Gallery.[17]

Seven years after Sargent painted Madame Gautreau, Gustave Courtois painted her. As in the earlier painting, the portrait shows her face in profile. She wears the same style of dress, with Courtois’s portrait showing a bit more skin. The strap of her dress hangs off her shoulder much as it had in Sargent’s portrait. This time, however, the portrait was well received by the public. In 1897 Gautreau posed yet again for a standing portrait, for what would be her favorite version, by Antonio de la Gandara.[12]

Making Art & Showing Your Unique Style in Every Aspect of Your Life ~ Customized Coffee Drinks made for Lady Violette de Courcy & Decorated with the Cordate Violet Plant’s Pretty Heart Shaped Leaf

Monday, October 17th, 2011

Customized Coffee Drinks Featuring Cordate Violet Leaves Created in Foam for Lady Violette de Courcy

I have a particularly talented and artistic local barista who decorates each of his regular customers coffee drinks in a personalized design. I recently discussed violets with him and explained that the violet plants have cordate leaves which are heart shaped.  He always remembers your favorite coffee drink and your idiosyncratic order. When I went into the coffee shop Sunday with a friend he created these beautiful coffee drinks for us as a surprise ~ featuring the cordate violet leaf created in foamed milk especially for Lady Violette de Courcy! Lovely, isn’t it? These delicious coffee drinks can be enjoyed at The Cafe Lladro in Edmonds, Washington.  This proves you can even express your personal style in your coffee drink and a barista can make art while doing his work ~ art can be found in every aspect of life can’t it?

My name, Violette de Courcy means violet of the heart or heart’s violet in French. The violet leaf is heart shaped ~ a cordate leaf. By chance my name associates me with both the the flower and the leaf of this plant.and I love the flowers ~ thus I made them , fittingly, my personal flower and my personal symbol.

Having a personal flower is a lovely thing and a lot of fun. Thus, I recommend it to everyone. How do you get one? You just study flowers and choose one you like and adopt it. There is no formal process.

A Cuff For Lady Violette de Courcy Made From a Vintage 1905 Whiting Violet Pattern Sterling Silver Spoon

Friday, October 14th, 2011

Sterling Silver Violet Cuff Made From an Antique Teaspoon in the Whiting 1905 Violet Pattern for Lady Violette de Courcy by Artist Nancy Harrington of Woods Edge Jewelry Studio

 

A lovely new friend has sent me the violet cuff pictured above, which she made from a sterling sliver teaspoon, and, today, her favorite quote which is wonderful. and I want to share them both:It is: “The Privilege of a Lifetime Is Being Who You Are.” and is courtesy of Nancy Harrington, Jewelry Designer .

I met Nancy when I discovered her work on Etsy where we both have shops. She makes art jewelry out of antique and vintage silverware.

I recently found out there is an antique sterling silver flatware pattern called Violet, made by Whiting and designed in 1905. It is just my style. Of course I wanted some! With the current high price of sterling silver I cannot afford an entire set of silverware, so I decided a piece of signature  jewelry made of it would be the way I could affordably enjoy a piece. Nancy made this cuff out of a teaspoon.

There is a tiny leaf at the base of the bowl of the spoon. You can see the back of it in this photo. She has pounded the bowl out to shape it to the wrist. Her design respectfully preserves the violet leaf so carefully and delicately placed at the base of the handle by the original spoon’s designer. This was one reason I selected this cuff over the traditional style spoon bracelet made with two pieces of flatware. In that type of bracelet the flatware handle is cut part of the way down in order to make a pieces short enough to make the bracelet. In that case the charming little violet leaf would be lost.

The violet leaf is an important part of this design, of the original artist’s work and of the violet plant. It is the leaf that synthesizes light to nurture the plant and create the little flowers. Being a gardener and a botanist I am interested in this. I am interested in much more about the violet than its flower! I knew Nancy was on the same page as a jewelry artist when I saw that she had retained the little leaf in her design.

Nancy has just shipped me the cuff. When I receive it I will take a picture of it on my wrist and post it. I’ll take several if I need to so I can show the flowers and the leaves in the silver pattern. I like the idea of a cuff in this instance because it seems more old fashioned to me than a spoon bracelet.

Cuffs were worn in olden times and I think that suits Lady Violette de Courcy, Plant Hunter and Adventuress, more than a spoon bracelet would. They were made popular, from what I understand, by hippies in the 70s. Lady Violette de Courcy’s family originated in the 1100s in France and a silver cuff decorated with the violet flower and the violet leaf seems much more appropriate to her history and her image. Her family’s coat of arms bears a violet flower centered inside the cordate (heart shaped) leaf of the violet plant.  I think this cuff will look beautiful worn over the fitted velvet sleeve of a formal dress or with a hunting or field jacket. Nancy and I discussed my name at length which is why she shared her quote with me. I don’t know who it is from, but I wrote her to ask. When she tells me I’ll add that to this posting.

Someday I hope to be lucky enough to own a set of silverware in this pattern. It would be beautiful with the eclectic set of violet patterned dishes I have been assembling for a long time. I have been collecting all kinds of individual pieces of china and glass decorated with violets for years. I can set a violet themed tea or dinner table now for up to eight people. Each place setting is unique. All the dishes are patterned with violets, but all of them are different. I have also found violet colored stemware and two beautiful old wineglasses from the 1920s hand painted with violets. It is fine that all the pieces are different in this circumstance. It makes for great dinner conversations! So will the quote, I imagine! And so will the cuff!

 

Lady Violette’s Amazing Manicure Survival Experience Using Butter of London’s HRH Purple Nail Polish

Tuesday, October 4th, 2011

A Long Lasting Professional Quality Manicure Through Thick and Thin! This is Lady Violette de Courcy’s Amazing Survival Experience With Butter of London’s HRH Rich Royal Purple Polish! And how she did a manicure that lasted so extremely extraordinarily well!

My Butter of London pre-injury manicure using HRH color polish - in a rich royal purple shade - that lasted beautifully without a single chip or crack through this entire ordeal!

In my own words, of course, typed with my good left hand!

I recently bought 3 colors of Butter of London nail polish at Ulta. I loved it so much I went back and got 6 more, l loved them so much that I went back and got 12 more!
I bought them all at Ulta because they were having an amazing buy one get one free promotion! I have been longing to buy Butter for a long time, but it was very pricey so I was waiting for somebody to do this kind of introductory sale. The colors are amazing and very unusual. Many are truly unique to this company.

I read all the reviews on the Ulta website that people had written. This is what I concluded. Many of the writers don’t know how to do a decent manicure so they are not getting great results. I don’t think you can fail if you do it correctly! I did not buy Butter’s foundation or topcoat. (I do intend to soon!) I used the prep and finishing products I always have used with the many other polishes I own.

I am pretty experienced with polishes and doing my own nails and I own polish I love from the following companies: OPI, Essie, Revlon, L’Oreal, MAC, Christian Dior, Chanel, Estee Lauder, Nicole, Borghese, China Glaze, Orly and YSL. I have always bought polish from any company whose colors attracted me. FYI I get excellent manicure results with all these polishes too! I do not find the expensive ones to be a lot better than the others. I buy them for the colors! I have felt that all the companies make good products. I am sure this is because I have great manicure technique! It is really very simple. I think anyone can get professional results if they follow these steps and take their time. Drying time between each step is essential. So is thin even application. So is beginning with properly prepared clean nails. If you do all these things your manicure should last really well. Prepare to paint your nails as if you are preparing to make a great painting! I you do there is no way you cannot end up with nails that look like a work of art!

And, as I always say,”Rushing is not glamorous!” You must allow plenty of time, relax and pamper yourself!

When I was a little girl my mother had gorgeous natural nails. Every morning she redid her polish while drinking her coffee and reading a magazine or the New York Times. Reading allowed her drying time. She did her nails daily because she was a nurse and wanted them to look absolutely perfect and be very clean on the job. She was very concerned about hand sanitation. She put Christian Dior’s Creme Abricot on them every night. She had the longest, strongest, most perfectly shaped, and truly glamorous natural nails I have ever seen. She always wore red or bright polish colors: Christian Dior’s red called True True Dior or Revlon’s Cherries in the Snow were her favorites. She also liked a deep coral from Elizabeth Arden. She was so adept at painting her own nails that she could apply dark or bright red polish while leaving the white moons and tips perfectly exposed like a French manicure. She had seen this in an old Hollywood movie while she was in college and loved the look so she practiced it until she could do it herself. She never had a professional manicure. Being a nurse she was afraid of getting a fungus at a salon! She and her sister, who was my aunt, were home manicure fanatics. She kept a shoebox of nail polish colors in the refrigerator because she thought they lasted longer if cold!

Growing up in this atmosphere I was given great little girl manicures which consisted of filing and buffing and the use of clear pink polish. I was allowed to wear colored polish during the summer when school was out, but only light pink or white. They did not feel that the reds or the brights were age appropriate! When I grew up I cut loose! Many nail colors became available in every color imaginable and I had to try out a lot of them!

My Perfect Home Done Manicure Done As I Have Described Here

Here is what I do:

1) I begin with perfectly clean nude natural nails, file and shape as desired, wash hands again and dry thoroughly.

If you want to apply a strengthening product such as Grow Strong, Nail Tech II or Butter of London’s Horsepower do so on your natural nail before proceeding with the following basic manicure. Then:

2) I apply base coat ( any brand you have) and allow it to dry a few minutes.
This time I used L’Oreal Steel Stronger.

3) I apply two coats of nail color, I allow a few minutes to dry after each coat before the next step. I used Butter of London’s HRH a beautiful rich royal purple. Some colors may require three coats. I only needed two with this creamy polish.

4) I apply one coat of topcoat, and allow it to dry thoroughly.
This time I used Essie Good to Go

My manicure lasted 2 full weeks. Very unusual weeks as it turned out! The first week I had a normal life. Then, on Saturday night I turned my ankle and fell down and fractured my right hand, wrist and arm – a triple compound fracture, quite serious. The polish remained perfect through out! I was amazed!

I spent hours in the emergency room, I was examined, xrayed, sterilized with harsh hospital chemical agents, and put in a fiberglass splint and wrap. I went home until Monday when I went to see my hand surgeon who said I had 3! breaks and must have surgery immediately (the next day) and she would need to insert metal plates and pins to set the bones.

The next day, Tuesday, I checked into the hospital for surgery. My manicure was still perfect! I took nail polish remover and cotton balls with me and asked the doctor if I should remove my polish before the surgery. I thought they would want me to so they could see through my fingernails to check my circulation. But the color was so pretty and it was making me so happy I didn’t really want to take it off!

My doctor is a woman. She said, “You can leave it on! Why ruin a perfectly good manicure if you don’t absolutely have to? We can check your circulation by pressing the tips or sides of your fingers! By the way, what is that beautiful color?”

A Good View of The Color of Butter of London's HRH Purple Polish ~ I Now Consider This My Lady Violette de Courcy Signiture Purple Color & I Absolutely Love It!

I told her the name, HRH by Butter of London. She got a purple pen to match it, to sign her name to my right wrist and arm for the surgery! Only a woman doctor would do this! I was glad she was letting me keep my polish on and glad she liked the color so much!

When I came out of surgery and my anesthesia had worn off I was in a substantial cast wrap up to the elbow with only the ends of my fingers sticking out. And in a lot of pain! But my nails were sticking out of the cast at the end and looked really pretty and cheerful! And I could wiggle the ends of my fingers a little! and I could feel things with them! Yeah! What a relief!

I was amazed, honestly, that the manicure was still perfectly intact! The nurses all commented on how pretty my nails looked, too! They all wanted to know what brand and color I was wearing. Of course I told them, Butter of London HRH!

I’ve been home, recovering, for a week now. Today it was exactly 8 days actually.
I’ve had a really tough week! This afternoon I decided to change my polish because I had grown a little tired of the color and wanted to look at something else on my nails! I love the color HRH, I just want to try another one! I love purple and I felt it was time for me to try another of the Butter of London purple shades. I bought six of them and will photograph each one later so you can see what they look like on my hands.

I am able to use my left hand normally, but can only use my upper fingers on my right one. I wasn’t sure I could even do a manicure on myself! I was just terribly bored from having been confined all week! So I decided to attempt it.

I needed to remove my HRH polish. My first try was Studio -Tools acetone free nail polish remover on a cotton pad. I had a lot of trouble. I was unable to rub and apply enough pressure with my injured right hand to remove any of the polish on my left hand. This was discouraging. I thought, this polish has so much staying power it is hard to get off! Most of the time that is good! But with a broken hand, wrist and arm it was staying on too well when I finally wanted to remove it!

I was home alone with no one available to help me with this! I remembered that I had some Celine Polish-Off nail polish remover pads. I tried these. They are red pads saturated with non-acetone remover. Fortunately they worked and I was able to get the polish off by holding the pad around the nail for about a minute, then swirling it about to soften and finally remove the polish. This polish is long lasting which is what everyone wants! But when it comes time to remove it you have to have the time and patience to remove the polish – first by softening it so it dissolves the lacquer, then by carefully wiping it off. I held the red Celine Polish-Off pad against the nail for about a minute then swirled the pad around the nail to get the polish off. I had to do it really gently and carefully so I would not injure myself any further or disturb my healing process.

I got the polish off, then carefully washed my fingers which were sticking out at the end of the cast which could not be gotten wet! I used a washcloth so I could control the soap and water and where it went. I succeeded because I took my time and it worked out! I then towel dried my hands and took a rest! Everything takes so much patience and so much longer to do when you are injured! I succeeded at this because I was determined and I like a challenge!

I took a break and elevated my broken arm for awhile as I am supposed to do through out the day. Then I got up the courage to try to re-polish my nails. I was able to do my injured right hand by standing at my bathroom counter and propping it up on top of a kleenex box and using my left hand. I was actually able to do my my left hand by using the fingers only of my right hand to carefully paint them. I again used the kleenex box as a left hand support. I just took my time and rested a bit between coats which allowed my arm to recuperate and my nails to dry some!

A Close Up of the Very Royal Deep Dark Shiny Rich and Rare Looking Purple HRH Polish by Butter of London

I used a quick drying top coat from Essie this time called Good to Go because I was getting tired! I also find it works really well. I now have another beautiful perfect manicure!

I put a cuticle oil or cream on my nail beds every night. It keeps me from getting hang nails and my nails look absolutely perfect!

I am very limited by my right wrist, hand, arm injury! There are many things I can’t do for the next 8 weeks, then I will have to ease back into things and go through a lot of therapy. But, at least, I am relieved and a little happier to have found that I can paint my nails! I love painting and making art out of anything! I’m quite limited by this injury so it is good to know I have this way of expressing myself!

I have decided that I will try out lots of new colors and see how long I can grow my natural nails during my recovery time! Nail polish is a nice treat and I feel I deserve a few treats after going through all this! I see it as one of the lovely feminine arts! I am an artist and I enjoy painting my nails as a form of self expression. This injury is limiting me from making a lot of the art that I normally do so it is especially nice to have this colorful nail painting outlet at this particular time!

I am typing left handed by the way! And I keep my right hand elevated or in a sling I made out of a scarf while I do it!

Instructions for making a designer scarf into a medically functional sling and pictures on my pre-injury HRH Butter manicure are currently posted on my blog at ladyviolette.com. I cannot take a photo myself and my post-injury manicure, but I will get a friend to do so when somebody visits me and we will add it to this post!

I am so happy with the deep gorgeous purple of Butter of London’s HRH polish that I am officially making it my Lady Violette de Courcy signature purple shade of polish. I am also amazingly happy with its tough long lasting properties, no matter what happens while I am wearing it! This polish is no shrinking violet! Thus, I am officially proclaiming Butter of London’s HRH to be a fantastic formula all the way around ! In color, in durability. in fashion! It held up surprisingly well in my totally unplanned spontaneous testing experience!

Butter of London Made HRH Expressly for Her Royal Highness Lady Violette de Courcy ~ the Perfect Violet Nail Polish Colour

Thursday, September 22nd, 2011

I have been searching for the exact right shade of Royal Purple Nail Polish in the perfect formulation for literally years! Yesterday I stopped by Ulta because they were having a one day promo on Butter of London polishes. They actually had a two for one sale ~ very rare for Butter ~ at least in the US. I’ve never seen it on special purchase pricing before. Their goal was to get you to try it if you had been putting that off due to the fact that is costs twice as much as most other major brands. The colors are amazing. And the names are a lot of fun.

The minute I saw it I knew which one I wanted! The deep dark shiny and amazingly beautiful HRH purple one! It is the color of velvety dark purple petunia petals. And of the rare and beautiful purple precious stone Alexandrite. It is not gothic and it is not a vampy dark purple. It is more romantic ~ the color of very dark purple natural flowers and stones and shiny bird feathers and butterfly wings. It is the naturally risky natural purple color of the belle dona blossom and  the mysterious and highly poisonous monks hood flower!

HRH

I rushed right home and gave myself a manicure. It is so beautiful I just can’t stop looking at my nails! I recruited my friend to snap a quick picture of it this morning before running off to work so I could post it. I love it! I have never before been so excited about a nail polish color! I now feel as if I have a personal color ~ a personal trademark nail polish color! It is so perfectly Her Royal Highness Lady Violette de Courcy! There is no other purple nail polish like it. I have looked at every brand in every price range and bought and tried out many of them. None of the others even come close! HRH by Butter is, by royal decree, officially IT!

I had tried some other purple shades with disastrous results! I got a terrible allergic reaction to one that caused me to get horrendously split cuticles and rashes and itching hands and feet and become systemically really sick! I got terrible headaches and blurred vision. Yes, all that is possible from a nail polish! I am sensitive ~ like the Princess and the Pea. I am a perfect test case for cosmetic products because I will have an allergic reaction if anyone will! No kidding! I am a notorious dermatology patient! I am really careful about what I uses as a result! I was anxious to try Butter of London because I had heard it is nontoxic. I am happily wearing it reaction free! Which makes it even more beautiful! I do not feel beautiful when I am having an ugly allergic reaction or getting sick from a product.Nobody does!

The names are fun ~ This one  HRH, of course suits me perfectly! And there is another one called No More Waity, Katie! which is described thus ~  “A soft, elegant greige shade with a splash of lilac glitter is the perfect marriage to combine fashion and fun.” I was initially interested in this one because I like the new grey/plum shades and glitter, but it was sold out! I was very amused by the name too!

The Purple Alexandrite Stone in My Ring Looks Great with Butter of London HRH Polish

I chose British Racing Green as my second color. It is a dark hunter green and will be perfect with my winter tweeds and forest greens. And emeralds! Both HRH and this green are rich dark jewel tones which are perfect for me with my pale skin. I pulled out my Alexandrite ring too because it is a perfect match with the polish. There is too much reflection it the first photo above to see the color of the stone. It shows better in this one! I am a firm believer of matching ones nails to one jewelry! I love color and I love to paint everything. That is why I enjoy wearing nail polish and make up. I see it as artistic self expression. I enjoy people’s reactions to pretty color. It really seems to cheer them up. I had to do a few errands last night ~ go to the grocery store, my pharmacy, a book store, a local coffee shop for a meeting with friends ~ and everyone commented on my beautiful Lady Violette de Courcy nails. I was in these utterly mundane venues and people really did take notice. I was quite surprised because I could easily assume that no one in these places would ever take notice of what I was wearing on the tips my fingers! Because they did I am really convinced that this color is perfectly suited to me and I am meant to wear it. I have never gotten this kind of reaction to a nail color before!

If the masses notice it truly sets me, Lady Violette de Courcy,  apart as HRH,  a true Lady, a natural aristocrat! Everyone enjoys beauty. Not snobby fashionable intimidating beauty, but colorful, charming, enjoyable beauty. Like the beauty everyone enjoys in flowers! If one can achieve this she brings pleasure to the world. I got wonderful comments from people! They wanted to know what this color was, they were curious if the company made more colors, where to get them, how much it cost, etc. This kind of interest is good!  – it will get more people to take good care of their nails, try the polish, look for a signature color for themselves and express themselves!

Butter was getting their money’s worth from their 2 for 1 promotion sale through my exposure of their product alone!  In 24 hours I had at least 50 people ask me what nail polish I was wearing! That is absolutely amazing! And an experience I have never had with a nail polish before. I own more polish colors than I can count so this is really saying a lot! I am going to write Butter and let them know.  How else will they know unless a customer tells them herself? I imagine nothing is better that a real true testimonial.

My fun "Heirloom" Quality Synthetic Alexandrite Ring

Somebody said, I can’t do that, I don’t have beautiful hands like you do. I took a good look at her hands and told her she actually could. She just needed to choose a suitable personal nail polish color! In her case, because her complexion was dusky a medium rust colored wine would be suitable And, key, she needs to use hand cream several times a day and file her nails regularly.

I seldom indulge in professional manicures. I file my own nails religiously 2x every week and use hand cream several times per day. I always put it on before I go to sleep at night! I paint my own nails when I have the time to let them dry! As for pretty rings, I find rings in flea markets, and discount stores, and from artist’s booths. I love looking for artsy unusual rings in artist’s booths at art fairs and festivals. I have several very distinct ones. I have never bought an expensive fine jewelry designer ring in a jewelry store. Many beautiful high fashion rings make it to discount stores six months after they come out in major high fashion stores. When they make it to the discount stores they sell for approximately 1/3 of the original retail store price.

The beautiful ring I am wearing in the photo came from a small boutique and is a synthetic created Alexandrite. I looked at it for several months. I saw it and liked it, but initially waited and when I went back with a friend three months later it was still there. The little shop was going out of business and having a final close out sale. My friend also loved it! She agreed it was a Violette signature ring and that that was why no one else had bought it! She talked me into it! She said it looked like an expensive family heirloom and could easily pass for that. Her idea was, “Say it is a family heirloom and wear it as your only ring all the time! ” They had another version of it ~ the same exact setting with a synthetic created  Aquamarine stone ~ which she bought! She was on her way to Paris the next day. She wore her ring on the plane and every day she was in France for the next two weeks.  And it was a huge hit!  Everyone admired it and wondered where she had gotten it, how old it was, who created it!” We don’t know who made these rings! They are not signed and the store is gone!

I must confess ~ our beautiful “heirloom” Alexandrite and Aquamarine rings cost us very little each! We have both really enjoyed them. We also enjoy them because we both have one! That part is fun too! At that rate a girl can afford pretty colors of nail polish at $7.50 per bottle and gorgeous rings to compliment or match them. Oops! We were at the right place at the right time the day we got the rings so we got them on sale and I was in the Ulta store the day they were promoting Butter Polishes on a buy one get one free special. The normal price of their polish is $14 per bottle. I actually think it is quite worth it for the adventure of wearing it alone!

The rewards a woman receives in terms of appreciation and recognition for taking good care of herself and being colorful and entertaining and beautiful are well worth the efforts to do so! In fact looking great and having real style is often more about attention to details and creativity, knowing yourself and making the right selections than spending a lot of money!

I think it is a really good idea to paint your nails a lovely unique to you color for fall! It will give you a lift and make you feel happy. And you can get a lot of mileage out of one bottle of nail polish! You get about 30 full manicures out of one bottle of polish! That is very economical!

Are They Out of This Shoe World? Wild Shoes!!! by Kobi Levi Avant Garde Artist and Israeli Shoe Designer

Thursday, September 15th, 2011

Here are some really interesting designs. Sent by a friend in Spain! Would you wear these? They are from avant garde Israeli artist and shoe designer Kobi Levi.

You are invited to comment on these interesting designs! Are they Art? Sculpture? Shoes? Shoes to wear or furniture to sit on? At least they make you think!

About shoes and why you wear them, love them or hate them! They are not my cup of tea!

I like my shoes to be elegant, beautiful, flattering and functional! I actually do not even like any of these! I would not add any of them to my eclectic shoe collection!

And I consider myself quite open minded when it comes to shoes. These just don’t appeal to me. I feel as if they mock the beauty of the foot and the wearer.

But I know that that is just my personal reaction. And someone else may just love them! What do you think?

At least they make people look. And think. And analyze their reactions to shoes and footwear and that is a good thing! So, as art, they are succeeding on some level!

I encourage you to leave comments on these shoes and on the other shoes I am posting. We need to get commentary and interaction going!

Please express your opinions and feelings about shoes! These shoes, modern shoes, vintage shoes, antique shoes. any shoes!

That will be interesting!

The captions are mine. The shoe photos came to me without titles.

Stepped on Bubble Gum!

Slide

Swan

Tropical Bird

His & Hers Combined Shoes

Plastic Laundry Basket Shoes?

Lady Gaga & Her Microphone

Is She Coming or Going?

He Calls This One Mother & Daughter!

Homage to the Rolling Stones!

Sling Shot

Lounge Chair?

Bottoms Up!

Little Old Lady Shopping Cart?

Bow Wow!

Arf!

Banana Peel Shoes!

The Original Description For the City or Paris Goldenrod Hat!

Wednesday, May 18th, 2011

The Lovely Goldenrod Hat From the City of Paris

Goldenrod Colored Fur Felt Midinette Beret Hat from The City of Paris

This is a Goldenrod Colored Fluffy Fur Felt Stylized Beret style Hat made by the French designer Midinette for the grand San Francisco department store, The City of Paris and labeled accordingly. It was made in the early 1960’s. It appears to have never been worn or was worn only once or twice and was stored carefully in a hat box. It is clean and in excellent condition. It measures 21 inches inside the brim circumfrence. Inside the hat is stamped Empress Body made in Western Germany. The brim trim and bow are made of a stiffened knit fabric. There is a lot of elegant hand sewing and hand work on this lovely hat. I worked in NYC for a couture hat designer in the 1990’s  and learned to recognize and appreciate these techniques.

I found that this hat can be worn in at least 20 ways! See all the photos! I was only limited by my imagination. And my imagination was only limited by the fact that I had to get some other things done!

Inside View

I tried the hat on tilting and turning it in every direction I could think of. It is very versatile. For example, the bow can be worn in the front or in the back! It is adorable either way. Or you can position the bow to be worn on the side, tilted forward, up or down – front back or sideways! It can be worn over a French roll if you have long hair, or a bob tilted like a saucy beret. It would be darling over a short haircut too! I photographed the Midinette for city of Paris Goldenrod Hat in many positions and from many angles to give you ideas on how to position it on yourself. I was having so much fun figuring them out! The sky seems to be the limit with this piece! It has loads of personality! And I think it would work for many women of many styles and many ages! From a Gigi Ingenue to a Sophisticated Socialite to a First Lady! I could see it on one of the stylistas in Mad Men with a belted black sheath and matching yellow gloves, or on Michelle Obama with a black pencil skirt and chic silk print blouse! It would look lovely accented with gold jewelry! I would wear it myself as a stiffened high crowned French Schoolgirl Beret – think Madeline of Paris – with black capri pants, red patent ballet flats, and a short  black or yellow or tweed swing coat. The possibilities seem endless!

The ways you can wear this little beauty are only limited by your imagination…I can see the right person wearing it to church with an elegant matching suit or an artsy Bohemian type wearing it to a gallery opening with wide legged pants and long flowing hair………………New images of women in this Midiette Goldenrod Hat just keep popping up in my mind – like flowers popping into bloom in a meadow overnight!

Designer's Label

Incidentally, If you like the Midinette Goldenrod Felt Hat you might also like The Issa of London 1970’s geometric print silk jersey wrap dress I have listed. I think they are darling together and would combine to make a stunning ensemble!

I love vintage clothing and the history of fashion and I have amassed a vast personal collection over the last 20 years. Please check back often as I will be listing many more very special unique pieces over the next few weeks. I am at the point where I have to whittle down as I have no more space! Everything I have collected I have chosen for myself. You can be sure it is very special as my standards are very high. Alas, it is time to edit a bit and pass on some of my things to other people who will enjoy them. I do love to help people assemble wardrobes for life and outfits for special occasions. I have many things to list. It will take some time to sort through them, photograph and get them up. Please be patient and keep checking back. I will be happy to try to find you something unique from the depths of my collection if you have a special request as well. I always enjoy such a challenge. I just love matching a special piece or co-ordinating a costume for a special person or occasion. You never know! I just might have the very thing you are wishing for! Thank You for looking! And please visit again! Lady Violette

For my blog readers, this was the original description I wrote to accompany my listing to sell the hat on eBay for the listing of The Goldenrod Hat. It was accompanied by many of the pictures showing the ways it can be worn which I put on yesterdays blog post! This is how much work is involved showing and selling a used vintage item online!

Additionally you must answer many inquiries and re-list the item several times! I finally sold it at a substantial discount after 9 months! A crazy difficult sale wouldn’t you say? Poor little hat is worth more than all that! And it is such a cute hat! I really do miss it!

The Saga of the Goldenrod Hat & The Trials and Tribulations of Selling Vintage Clothes on eBay

Sunday, May 15th, 2011

The Glodenrod Hat from the grand old City of Paris department store in San Francisco

The Saga of the Goldenrod Hat, the trials and tribulations of selling vintage clothes online ~ on eBay, Bonanza and Etsy, ~ and the love of hats! And, the issue of custom designing things for people!

All of these topics have been churning in my mind lately as I am getting ready to list and try, once more, the daunting process of selling Some of my vintage clothes online!

People ask me all the time, “Why don’t you sell some things on eBay or Etsy?”  And “Why don’t you open an eBay or Etsy store?” or, “Are some of the things you are writing about for sale?  As I am diligently at work getting a series of new listings ready for my online vintage clothing sales venues and the experience of selling the   Goldenrod Hat churns in my mind reminding me to consider why I am doing it because online sales can be a mega watt nightmare! People ask me all the time, “Why don’t you sell on eBay or why haven’t you opened an Etsy store.” Well, I do sell online sometimes, and so far I have done it on eBay and Bonanza. That experience I will share with you below. Then you will see why it is not on my list of favorite ways to spend my time!I have been suffering from eBay burnout because of it! I did it for over a year. Now, however, I have some new and some formerly unsold items so I am  going to try it again, this time on all three venues: eBay, Bonanza and Etsy. It is a lot of work. But more about that later. I’ll write about my new experiences when I get those listings  up. Here is what I have already experienced below.

I am using a blogging theme here, on my blog site. That is a template for writing and posting  blogs. In Web Speak or Blog Speak it is called a theme. There are thousands (I think) to choose from. All with different features – it is complex and mind-boggling! I now call it Mind-Blogging.  I spent many hours going over them, trying to choose one to fit my needs. I actually need to be able to post a lot of text and a lot of pictures. I am not completely satisfied with this current theme. I’d like for instance, to be able to post all the photos I took of the pictured pretty Goldenrod Hat I sold recently on Ebay.

Label of the French Designer Midinette for the City of Paris in the Rim of the Goldenrod Hat

Thinking about both experiences (which include blogging, selling vintage clothes online, and the sale of the Goldenrod Hat) has led me to write about the selling of vintage clothing experience on eBay demonstrating what that is like with photos of the yellow hat.

I wished I could put a gallery of photos up – to show (as an example) many angles of the hat all the ways it can be worn, etc. I have about 20 of them. Instead I have decided to post them throughout this post. It is the only way the blogging software theme allows me to do it, but it will also add interest to the essay. This is an experiment! both in blogging and in writing about the eBay selling experience in this online format.

The Charming View Showing the Bow at the Back of the Goldenrod Hat

I took them to post that hat for sale on eBay. Where I finally sold it, for $60. The Goldenrod Hat that is. Not enough! After all the work I went to and the time it took! It was so much trouble! I had to repost it 9 times before someone finally bought it! That is about a $2 fee to Ebay every time. This is because you have to post it anew every 30 days. I had it up for sale for about a year! Then, when it finally sold, I had to find a clean and attractive box, use new tissue paper, buy all that, pay shipping which ended up being $15 w/ insurance and tracking. (I had under estimated that cost. And shipping fees had escalated – with 2 price increases – during  the time I had the hat listed.) Go to the PO, wait in line, and to top it all off pay eBay their high% commission and the commission to PayPal. The buyer wanted to barter. She wanted $15 off the original list price. It took about 7 emails back and forth to negotiate that. I finally took $12 off, but never again. I had listed it at Buy it Now pricing for a fixed price. That was $72! That means, like in a store, the price is the price. If you want to barter, go to the Middle East! This was aggravating and nerve racking and unpleasant! Conflict! The buyer wants to “get a bargain” and enjoys the breaking the seller down process – the seller is offering a total treasure for an already fair price and would like it to be left at that. The process becomes terribly unpleasant for the seller. (It is insulting!)

The Versatile Goldenrod Hat Can be Turned and Worn Tilted With the Bow in the Front!

Many eBay buyers enjoy playing a game with sellers which is the game of whittling down prices to the max, just for the thrill of doing so or seeing if they can. A Buy it Now Listing is an offer to buy it at a certain fixed price. It is not an auction starting price. Nor is it an opening barter price. I, as the seller, price an item at, let’s say, at $15. So, just like a department store. The item has a price tag on it and that is the price. Period. This is explained very clearly on eBay. Apparently there is a certain class of people who shop on eBay can’t read very well!

I was so frustrated in dealing with this customer and all the other people who had dinked me around on this particular hat, which had nearly sold 9x ,that I finally just sold it to get it over with. I was tired of dealing with it. Honestly, I feel insulted when I have to deal with this type of buyer. It is hard. They want to dicker, they have fun with that, it gives them a certain high. I know that, but I find it a drag. For the seller, you guys, this is no fun at all. But eBay buyers are usually very cheap. They want to feel like they are getting a steal. I am not selling steals. I am selling treasures. Period. If I own something it is special. If I post it for sale it is unique, in very good condition and rare. I price things very fairly. If a sale went smoothly and quickly it would yield me a bit of a profit or allow me to rotate things in and out of my collection, If it is as much of a hassle as it is it isn’t profitable, or fun and therefore isn’t worth the trouble it takes. It turns out to be a burn! This is why many eBay sellers have quit – over eBay burnout. But only one of the many reasons. eBay has also made all their policies favor the big box type of seller over the person with a few unique items.

Or Jauntily Tilted with The Bow on One Side

I owned this lovely hat for several years before I sold it. Now I wish I still did. After I have gone through all of this! I got to know it far more intimately during the eBay/Bonanza selling process and now, during the blogging process. Thus I am telling you this story. In brief, believe it or not! Really!

Now I really miss my Goldenrod Hat! It makes me sad! I’ve wanted to wear it several times and I don’t have it anymore! Tears! I can only hope the person/people who bought it , a woman who referred to themselves as we – (I wondered if she were writing/speaking in the royal plural?) – her tenses switched around in a confusing way just as I have demonstrated here – like or likes it as much as I do. This is always hard, usually impossible, to know once an item is sold and out of my possession.

BACK TO THE GOLDENROD HAT!I had it posted on Bonanza as well, also for 9 months. So, when I sold it on eBay,  I had to take that Bonanza listing down which was also sad as thhis hat had been selected for featured picks many times and thus was featured on the homepage of the Bonanza site and got written about by the other sellers and the visitors to the site over and over again. They liked the color and the style and the story and the pictures… It also led people to my site as a result. it was doing me more good on a PR basis than selling it! Live and learn.

In Profile: The goldenrod Hat Jauntily Tipped Down with the Bow in the Front & Tilted Up in the Back

By the way, – you, as a seller, – are allowed to list things concurrently on Bonanza and eBay and any other sites as well. Yes, all at the same time! You just have to take them down if you sell it on another site. Not a problem. It is so hard to find a potential buyer out there that you have to list items in as many places as possible. And yes, I do know how to use the search engines. Note, it took me 9 months to sell the Goldenrod Hat  that I had listed on two major auction sites and featured on Personal Picks regularly. I had good visibility, such as one can maneuver to get it on both eBay and Bonanza. It just took that long for a buyer who could finally make a decision to move on it to do so. That is the life of selling vintage pieces on eBay. It is very slow!

This particular piece was chosen many times by other sellers to be featured in personal Picks so it shows up immediately looking very desirable when anyone logs into the sight. I have an item featured on personal Picks almost all the time because of my appealing photos and high quality merchandise. But take note! It is the other sellers who select the the merchandise to be featured on personal picks. Not buyers.

DURATION: I began selling on eBay and Bonanzle a year ago. Over the last year, I have sold about 50 of my prize vintage items on Bonanza and eBay and I actually totally regret  it every time! Here is why. I lose the piece I sell. I do not make enough money to benefit from that, it takes me way more time than I end up being compensated for when all is said and done. And it just isn’t worth the time investment and the aggravation. The money I make barely pays the costs of maintaining the sites and the fees involved and I have to use funds from other sources to cover those some months. There are fees and commissions every step of the way. Shipping is expensive. I do not think the USPS postage service would even manage to be in business anymore if it were not dealing with online buyers and sellers.  You have to figure in the cost of the containers too. It just keeps adding up. I recycle as much as possible but I always ship attractively. I don’t want someone buying a pretty vintage dress and receiving it in a dreadful looking wrapper all wrinkled and torn. In the buyers mind shipping is part of the cost of an item. In the sellers mind it isn’t because the seller receives none of that money. It all goes to the carrier service that gets the item to the buyer.

A Complete Turn Around! Back in Front Dramatically Tilted Over One Eye!

To post and sell an item on eBay you have to put up an excellent well researched description, take and post an entire gallery of beautiful photos, deal with the immense amount of time it takes to set up the listing so it looks very appealing, and then, once it is up, inevitable tweak it a few times as problems with the listing and eBay or Bonanza tend to occur.

Then you have to wait, and wait and wait for a buyer, meanwhile you have inquiries you have to answer – almost every day – from flakes who have no intention of ever making a purchase but want to write to you and chat because they haven’t got a life! I have found that the person who usually ends up buying an item either has written me with a quick shipping question or has been able to come to a decision on his or her own and make the purchase. There is an entire subculture of buyers out there who just like to write back and forth.

Then there is one of the biggest aggravations of all! Waiting for and collecting their payments! I can realistically say that 50% of the buyers I get do not follow through and complete the sale! They tie up your merchandise, causing you all sorts of work to try to collect, deal with eBay to do this (there are complex rules that must be followed,) wait the alloted very long time (it is weeks actually) before eBay will allow you to re-list the item, get the fees they and PayPal charge for the un-consumated transaction taken off your account (this requires many emails and phone calls and hours of time per situation.) Now it is common to see notices “Bid only if you intend to pay!” posted on sellers sights. This is because there have been so many instances in which a buyer commits to buy and doesn’t ever follow through. It may sound negative to read such a posting but, if you had been through the process of selling and experienced the non paying sellers you would understand the reason for it.

The Options Are Seemingly Limitless! A Side Bowed French Beret!

When the hat or other item has finally been sold and some money from that is in my PayPal account, it is mostly eaten up by my monthly Inkfrog fees, and my eBay fees. And my PayPal fees, etc. I am not able to sell a lot on eBay. I do not have a lot to sell and I do not have the time it takes to nurse maid the sites and the possible potential buyers. Mostly it is the aggravation factor that I don’t have time for. It is terrible.

eBay CONTINUED : I never sell by auction anymore, that was a total bust, I sell only on the Buy it Now program where I set a fixed price for my listing so I can be sure to get some money for the item. At first I was all excited about the prospects of doing auctions on eBay, and I studied up on it, did it and lost big time on every item I posted that way. It was an awful experience! eBay buyers are notoriously cheap. They want to pick beautiful things up for a song. Like $500 brand new designer blouses in perfect condition with their tags still on them!  for $9.99. eBay encourages you to list an item such as that that way, in order to instigate a buying frenzy – you know the theory of how auctions operate, and they teach you that method will encourage bidding to start and continue to a fair market price! What a line! It doesn’t. For the first two months I sold I listed things on auction, the first two times using their advised low entry price method, and when I got terrible burned on that (actually selling the $500 blouse for $9.99 – stab me in the heart!) and about 10 more similar transactions, I changed to a starting bid of the lowest amount I would take, and for a month, that is all I sold the items for. I did list to properly utilize their search engines. I did a tremendous amount of research. I talked to a lot of other sellers who are selling vintage clothes. I found that all of them are having similar problems. The old timers told me eBay has really changed in the last couple of years. It is a very hard place to sell our type of merchandise now. Seasoned sellers who had been doing it for 10 years or 7years, etc. advised me to list items on Buy It Now for a fixed price, so I moved over to that and stuck with it.

Crisply Bowed in Back!

Crisply Bowed in the Back

Buy it Now! listing is the only way it is even barely worth the aggravation involved. You have to list at a fixed price and renew the listing every 30 days if you don’t sell it and want to keep it on the market. Now buyers are watching something for 3 months. Waiting to see if it has sold. If it hasn’t they contact you – after a listing has expired – wanting to circle around eBay and avoid paying your fees included, in their minds, as part of the price.  eBay doesn’t want you to do this, understandably. They want their commission from the sales, not just the listing fees. They get both. Many buyers practice fee avoidance. They wait for a listing they like to expire and contact you, the seller, right after it does so asking for a discount of $15 or so from the listed price. This happened with the Goldenrod Hat! The buyer, true to their pattern of behavior, contacted me the very day the listing expired offering $15 less than the asking price. I told her – “I still have to pay eBay their commission because you found me and the hat while I had it listed there.”  This is true.

The hard cold fact of the vintage clothing selling online world now is that you have to put an item up as if putting in a store for sale and wait for the right person who wants it to come along. This can take months! Maybe even years. It is a waiting game. The right person has to find the right dress or hat at the right moment!

I have been amazed that normal stores, like Nordstroms and Neiman Marcus, JC Penny’s, and Sears, (note my fair range of types of stores and price points used for comparison) can list an item of clothing for sale and use only one photo and sell it for a good fair price. While, on Ebay, you are expected to take and post 15 excellent photos to sell a vintage one-of-a-kind spectacular piece for a song. I realize they are Nieman Marcus and Nordstoms and JC Penny’s and Sears. and I am just little bitty Lady Violette, but my quality level is as high and higher and many of my items are as special and definitely more unique as they are rare and often one-of-a-kind. I also realize that I am selling antique and vintage and pre-owned and pre-used items, but I am extremely selective. People who buy something from me off my eBay or Bonanza sites are going to receive very nice items and the prices are very fair. If you are interested in taking a look go there, What do you think? It is pretty interesting.

Classic Profile ~ I Can Imagine A Girl in a Film Wearing this Hat in All of the Many Ways I am Demonstrating ~ and Becoming Known for That!

MORE SPIN OFF FROM THE GOLDENROD HAT LISTING EXPERIENCE :

The Goldenrod Hat came from The beautiful City of Paris grand San Francisco department store, now closed. When I was selling it I met an elderly lady who had shopped there, in a doctor’s office waiting room, who told me stories about that store. Including about the delectable treats served in the elegant mezzanine dining room. Those were the days in which women got dressed up to go downtown to shop and have lunch or tea, wearing gloves and hats and carrying beautiful handbags that matched their shoes. They dressed to be seen, to show off their elegant outfits or “getups”  as my mother called them. It was one of the main venues for doing that. You would go to lunch and try to get a good table to position yourself to see and be seen. The hosts and waiters knew it was their job to provide that strategic seating element, and they would be well tipped for doing so. What you wore that day would prove to be very important socially. You would meet your friends, your rivals would see you. Your costumes would be analyzed and gossip ripped to shreds, Your photo could very well show up in the paper, and hopefully some man like Cary Grant or Gary Cooper would just happen by. You know! Like in the movies… Anyway, I ended up with the recipe from this lady, for the City of Paris Dining Room’s Creme Brulee! She had asked the maitre d’ for it and gotten it just before the store closed down. I intend to make it soon and if it is great, which I expect, I will post it here for everyone to try!

Sophisticated and Stylish With Hair French Rolled in the Back

Dressing up to go shopping in those good old days was a performance art. Ladies planned carefully what they would wear, what handbag they would carry, which handkerchief, mirrored compact, shoes and lipstick would properly set off their outfit. They dressed to be looked at. They had their hair done and wore makeup and jewelry. This truly was their performance. Their version of an appearance on the stage by a broadway actress. Church was a similar event. These were socially important venues where you met people in the old days.

ADDITIONALLY, the GOLDENROD HAT EXPERIENCE LED TO THIS!

The buyer, asked me if I knew of anyone in NYC who could do custom hat designing for her! And, fortunately, I said, “YES!”  I did. That person was my old friend, Mindy Fradkin, now married and named Mindy Fradkin-Mousaa, but also now known, professionally, as Princess WOW! She used to predominantly design and sell beautiful couture level hats to private clients and high end shops. She also worked as a professional photographic shoot fashion stylist. she also designed hats for women to wear to The Kentucky Derby! and many other noteworthy events.

The Interesting Interior Structure of This Handmade French Couture Hat

She also was a talented entertainer and comedienne and showed her hats at events called Hat Happenings! She was known as the Mad Hattress! these were often held in places like the ultra-elegant Barbizon Plaza Hotel, (Yes! the one that Eloise lived in!) Mindy would dress up in wonderful costumes and wonderful hats and entertain the guests and, at the same time, end up taking orders for custom design hats. At that time her hats were sold under her then label, Mindy Fradkin, Important Hats! and she was also known as The Mad Hatress of Hat Happenings! She also did a comedy act, with her hats, in night clubs. She would use the hats to change characters. She was very good and very funny and triste! at times, and it all fit together marvelously. Mindy was a force of nature!

Over the years Mindy’s personal and career emphasis changed from predominantly promoting the wearing of hats because they are charming and fun, to predominantly entertaining and social consciousness raising work. she has become known as Princess WOW! and she still wears hats all the time to aid in promoting her causes, but she puts most of her time, effort and energies into her other projects. I have blogged about them, but please look back over the last few weeks of postings to see what they are about. And see links to these at end of this blog post/article.

I contacted Mindy/Princess WOW! for my eBay buyer, and put them in touch with each other. They are now involved in the complex back and forth give and take negotiations of the eBay buyer discussing with the milliner artist/designer the making and purchase of a custom design couture level hat. A one-of-a-kind hat creation. This is going on and on and on. Same as the transaction I experienced selling the same woman The Goldenrod Hat that led to this interaction. She/we can’t decide quite, she/we wants pure white, not off white, She/we will send a deposit at such and such a date, she/we has to change that and postpone to send money until the 26th of February.

The very busy Princess WOW! has sent the eBay referred buyer many photos of the kinds of hats she does. (She can make anything.) And written many very tactful and patient emails back and forth. – still no money has been exchanged, No actual order has been taken. This has gone on for over a month! It took the buyer 3 weeks to buy the Goldenrod from me.

The Glodenrod Hat is Made of Real Fur Felt ~ It Looks Very Rich and Soft ~ It is Shiny and Very Lush Like Silky Animal Fur Which Essentially is What it is Made Of!

I did not really expect her (mysterious eBay buyer of the Goldenrod Hat) to follow through, but she finally did. She dinked around, then called Princess WOW! back a month later. As they sometimes do! So I have explained all this to Princess WOW! And advised her to take the order and fill it if she receives a deposit, but not to put anymore effort into it until that transpires. Wow! lives an hour outside of NYC now. She will have to travel into the city to get supplies for making this white special order hat – only one, mind you, – and also, once it is under way again to take it to the blocker! It will require a lot of time and a lot of effort not to mention her expertise in making the hat. Her hats now are custom creations, she does them for private clients with whom she has experienced completely reliable follow through. She cannot economically, afford to be dangled along like this. This is the problems one has as a custom designer. The clients can be very high maintenance. It is OK once you have an established relationship. LIke MIndy has had with me for many years, but some supposed potential buyers are so bizarre and indecisive that they aren’t even worth working with! Ever! Under any circumstances.

I asked Goldenrod Hat buyer what she did. She told me she was in the medical profession. Princess WOW! asked her what she did, and she finally admitted she was working on a movie and she wanted the hats for the actress to wear in a film. She explained the reason for her delays by saying, “We only have $300 in her hat budget this month. But next month, on exactly the 26th at exactly 2PM I will be able to make a $120 deposit. Until then I will not be able to be reached by email.” This was to be toward a $300 hat.

$300 is not expensive for a hand made one of a kind hat custom made! It will take 16 hrs to make and, additionally, 2 or 3 trips into the city which take up to an hour each way. Princess WOW! told the buyer she had worked on movie sets and costumed films in the past and knows what is involved. WOW! is the most sympathetic and understanding person, but this buyer was so weird! Finally, after 2 months of talking about it it became impossible and WOW! had to tell the eBay buyer she could not do it for that price. WOW! decided it wasn’t worth her trouble at any price. And it isn’t.

Divinely Couture, Uniquely Chic!

I AM THE PERFECT HAT CUSTOMER: I figure out what I want. I look at her collection or supply her with drawings or photos of what I want. We discuss and decide and I place an order with a deposit. If I need to do so – to help her speed up the production process – I supply some of the materials, such as fabric or netting or flowers. Each case is different. I pay the balance and shipping as soon as I am notified that the order is filled and ready to ship. I receive my hat a few days later, Everyone is happy. I now own over 20 of her hats. I wear them often. I have written articles which were published in NY about my experiences wearing them. I will soon post these on my blog. I have been over 100% satisfied with every hat I have ever bought from MIndy Fradkin Important hats, now/ Princess WOW! I have never had a single complaint or even the slightest misgiving. She delivers! But, I must add, I know exactly what it is like to be on her side of the drawing board! Why? Because I am a designer myself and have been through the exact same types of things that she has with the customer/client interaction processes! I design and sell jewelry and clothing. In fact, that is how we both met, Princess Wow! and Lady Violette We met when we were both presenting our designs at Henri Bendle in NYC in 1992!

THAT IS HOW TO BE THE PERFECT CUSTOM ORDER/COUTURE CUSTOMER!

WHY DO I LIKE COUTURE? WHAT IS IT ALL ABOUT?  –

A Couture Hat by Joe Bill Miller Originally $400 ~ Listed on Bonanza & eBay for $85 ~ a Real Bargain!

It is about the unique experience. And the process, I like the uniqueness of the pieces. The custom designs and the colors, the fit, how well made they are, how I can make or have made an item that is a true work of art suited just to me. I love special unique, beautiful things. I am one! After all. And I embrace this fact 100%. The things I make and sell are not meant for everybody. Nor are Princess WOWS! I have most basic things I need. Beyond that it is about self expression! Dressing beautifully is an art form. By doing so we are able to bring pleasure to ourselves and others. I embrace this.

A Garden Party Extravaganza I Had Listed on eBay for 9 Months Without a Nibble! It's Spring so time to Try Again! It's Absolutely Beautiful in Person!

I am an artist and this is one of the ways I choose, as such, to present myself. and I greatly enjoy seeing it in other people, too.

BACK TO THE GOLDENROD HAT: FULL CIRCLE to THE CIRCLE OF HATS FRIENDS –

I had not spoken with Princess WOW! for quite a while when I got the request to from the eBay Goldenrod Hat Buyer to refer her to a custom hat designer. She wanted to know if I knew someone who could make her something extra special to order. She lived in NYC in Chelsea and wanted someone nearby. I’m in Seattle, on the West Coast, but somehow I am the only person she knew of to ask. In retrospect I am now wondering whether or not she may have gone through  all the hat designers within a 100 mile radius of her home and work!

A Gorgeous Hand Made Designer Hat of Italian Straw Designed by August ~ Prettier Than any of the Royal Wedding Hats! ~ Also Exquisitely Made ~ $400 New ~ and I Had asked Only $95 on eBay!

We reconnected at this exact moment only because of her request. I’d had Princess WOW! in the front of my mind and I had a box of vintage clothes to send her sitting in my hallway. But that is always there, – interesting suitably WOW! items I am collecting. I seek out unique items for her and other artist friends. eBay buyer of Goldenrod Hat asked me why I do this? And what kind of vintage clothes? I replied, “I know her style and I like to do this for her. It is what I do as an artist. And it varies as to kind.”  She didn’t ask me any more about it.

Well, Princess WOW! and I talked on the phone. She was in a huge whirlwind of promotional activity and high pressure performance schedules. In fact had a concert coming up in about 10 days and nothing exotic enough to wear for it that had not already been seen. I had just the thing – sitting in my box of costumes for her – a bright hot pink Indian Silk Sari Tunic and Harem Pants outfit with massive amounts of colorful metallic embroidery. I knew it was perfect. I offered to send it right away. And I did. It was perfect. It got worn for that performance and it was a huge hit. And it fit her perfectly. I know these things. This is my area of speciality. She knows this and knows she can trust me.

With a Profusion of Hydrangea Blossoms and Striped Grosgrain Bows! Again, I Tried to Sell it on eBAY and, After 9 Months Took it Down Due to Lack of Interest!

I sent that Sari and several other great things – Bright beautiful vintage silk scarves covered with bright flower prints. Quite a few of them. A flowered vintage chiffon negligee, a lacy green camisole, etc., several pairs of gloves. A great box of beautiful items.

While all this was getting done, eBay buyer of Goldenrod Hat was looking at many slides Princess WOW! had sent her showing pictures of her work and hemming and hawing over whether should she do this or get that and in what shade of white, etc. Nothing was actually getting started. Because she hasn’t been able to make a decision. This is a bit embarrassing to me because Princess WOW! was only willing to take her (the eBay buyer of my Goldenrod Hat) as a client because she was referred by me. And because I am her good client.

I Love the Over Head View of this Romantic Confection! I See Wearing it with a Brown Silk Dress With Fluttering Sleeves and with Huge Pink Polka Dots On It!

Unfortunately referring a flake to your custom designer is bad for you as a client. You have to be careful. It can negatively impact the relationship you have with your dressmaker or tailor or hat designer to refer a person to them who wastes their very valuable (financially) time and causes them unneeded aggravation. I am really quite worried about that in this current situation, Princess WOW! and I have discussed it. She is irritated about it. It is a touchy go so to speak. I am unlikely ever to do business with eBay Goldenrod Hat buyer again, but should she turn out to actually start buying Princess WOW! could, or could have, picked up a decent client. We have no way of knowing this in the beginning of a relationship with a new buyer.

Here’s why….Right now eBay Buyer of Goldenrod Hat and an unknown entity that emails with her and is included in the “we…….” references she makes write “we are unable to email or send any deposit until Feb. 26th.” Who’s we? She is the only one on her eBay acct. her PayPal acct. or her email. It is either her partner of some sort, (with whom she makes all fashion and spending decisions) or it is she alone speaking in the royal plural. This round about indirectness is bugging Princess WOW! (I know from personal experience that it is a totally typical of eBay buyers style stall. ) All I can do is tell WOW!  that and advise that she came through finally for me and paid and I sent the Goldenrod Hat. I think, based on my personal experience dealing with eBay buyers, that she just wants to wait until the end of the month to plunk down any cash. So, all we can do is wait it out.

BUT NOW I HAVE A PROBLEM:  Trouble is: I now want to order another hat. Princess WOW! has informed me, via royal decree, that, in order to consolidate her time, she wants to produce both hats – my new one and the one eBay Buyer of Goldenrod Hat may order – into one supply shopping trip and one production episode and one trip to the blocker, so she can make up both orders and ship them with one trip to the shipper at the same time. As a designer I totally understand this requirement. And I am willing to wait, but, the truth is, suddenly, this eBay Buyer of Goldenrod Hat is holding things up for me. I am having to wait longer for my order! And who knows how long. this person I do not even know, for whom I did a favor, is influencing, and to tell you the honest truth, slightly fucking up, my life!

A Designer Hat by Toucan Soon to be Offered For Sale by Lady Violette in One of My Shops ~ It Has Not Been Listed Yet & it Will be Interesting to See What Happen ~ It is a Really Lovely Hat Actually!

NEXT EPISODE; While eBay Buyer of Goldenrod Hat is dilly-dallying around, I have caught up with Princess WOW! on a personal friend basis, and finding her extremely busy and in desperate need of help I have jumped into my old role of personal assistant, designer and stylist with her.  I have gone into full gear and run around as a stylist and assembled and sent her a costume she has worn in one concert performance to positive acclaim. I have shipped her several boxes of accessories, and fabrics from which to construct hats to wear with her costumes. Additionally, I have designed from scratch, and made her, from the bottom up two more complete original concert ensembles. These are two evening length dresses/concert performance gowns that I have designed, drafted and constructed from the ground up. I have had numerous shipping trips to fabric stores and sewing accessories shops, and I have bought the shoes, stockings, and underwear that are to be worn with the costumes. I have designed and made the very elaborate jewelry to wear with it. And I have designed and procured the makeup she will wear with it. When Princess  WOW! gets her costumes from me she will open the box and everything she needs to put on and make up for her entrance onto the stage through the entire performance with several co-ordinated changes will be right there. All pre-assembled and ready to put on and go on with the show. The costumes are made to measure, hand beaded, and sequined, they are expertly designed, assembled and sewn – a couture creation from the get go. And they are one of a kind originals. They are also designed and made with the special needs of performance kept in mind. So they are comfortable, she will be able to move in them, and they will not come apart, etc. Everything that needs to be taken into account for her special performance need will have been considered. Needless to say we have had to send several emails back and forth to check measurements and such. But, because we know each other personally, and as clients and designers this is working out well.

Handmade Ribbon Flowers and Leaves

While talking about her sewing and clothing needs I was told about everything else going on her life and found out that she needed a letter of reference written to help her procure a grant, so I did that, The grant was granted. Amazing! good news! Then, she had me look at her Princess WOW! blog and Facebook sights, She needed help.And I flew into action. I studied the things already up, figured out what she needed done, cleared it with her, had her make me an author, and wrote a few blogs to put up to co-ordinate her sight. We have posted those an d have more in the works. She needed them up by yesterday and tomorrow, We did one on Valentine’s Day. We made it a day early! This is feeling so good! I co-ordinated all this activity with launching my own blog this two months ago. Thus we are able to run pertinent posts concurrently. A lot is happening!

Today, Princess Wow! just happened to ask me, in the middle of this flurry of activity, “What has happened with eBay Buyer of Goldenrod Hat? Have you heard from her? ” I had to say,  “No, I  havn’t. And we will undoubtedly have to wait to hear from her until she said she would call you next.”  WOW! said, “I just don’t get it, how anybody in this day and age can even be in business and not go online every day. That will be 3 weeks from the time she last emailed me. ” That is right, it will! and it remains to be seen whether she will ever get back to either of us. It is very rude, but she probably doesn’t realize this or see any of it in the way it effects us, that is, in the way her online shopping habits effect the artist/designers through the ultra slow trickle down to the order and the deposit and the payment way – finally, if ever, to the artist! I can bet you she is cluelessly ignoring the way this is effecting us.

Double Sided Burgundy Velvet Ribbon Band Woven Through the Felt to Decorate

Thus, I decided to write a blog post about the process. So that eBay shoppers such as the Golden Rod Hat Buyer might finally realize how they influence the market.

I myself have not posted any vintage items for sale on either eBay or Etsy over the last few months, but I have been getting a few more ready with the hope of selling some beautiful prom dresses and shoes and elegant little purses and accessories this Spring. To be honest, experiences like dealing with eBay buyer of the Glodenrod Hat and several other difficult ones have dampened my enthusiasm for listing and selling beautiful vintage treasures online.

I simply had to take a break! However, I am gritting my teeth and plan to try it again. I have been photographing and writing descriptions for listings all week. I have about 30 items just about ready to post.

Artists and designers are not bad business people. Just the opposite. They are excellent business people in my experience.

As a Seller I Have to Think Carefully About What I Choose to List Because it Costs Me to Offer the Item for Sale. Things can be Beautiful ~ Such as Many of These Hats, but if They Don't Sell You Lose Rather Than Make Any Money! There is No Telling What Kind of Things Online Vintage Clothing Buyers Want! It is Completely Random! Totally Unpredictable!

FULL CIRCLE OF HATS FRIENDS: The only good that has come from the sale of my Goldenrod Hat on eBay transaction so far is that I have reconnected with my old design friend/comrade Princess WOW! and we are working together again. I am happy about that. I wanted to fill in the Goldenrod Hat Buyer. I had no idea what she did as a career. So I asked, and found out she is employed in the medical field. I asked if she loved hats as we do and if she collected them, and I got a rather round about answer. I sort of understood that she sort of did and sort of didn’t. It was a vague non-commital answer! I told her, via email, that I was immediately starting a new hat group, a group of people who were committed to hats, hat-making, hat-wearing and hat-history. I told her I was doing it right here and now because we had all connected and she could be included if she wished. I included her because she was the reason that Princess Wow and I had reconnected. I added her name and address to my founders notice letter. It now included, Me, Princes WOW!,  and the eBay Goldenrod Hat Buyer. Princess wow! was excited. She jumped up and down at the opportunity! Yeah! So was I! the Princess said, “You must contact Opera Singer Client of MIne. She will want to be included. She is the second biggest collector of my hats after you! ” So, I contacted the Opera Singer and she did want to be included. I also made friends with her. I am now full tilt ahead enthusiastic about having started this new Circle of Hats Friends, but It is only for the committed. It is not for dabblers.

Every Listing is a Complete Gamble as to Whether There is Someone Out there who Will Want to Buy It! You Just Never Know!

I have to determine what to do with the eBay Goldenrod Hat Buyer person. She didn’t voluntarily join my circle. I offered to join her into it as a cool courtesy. I don’t think she appreciates this. I am going to proceed to make the circle a professional entity. This week. I have a wonderful picture I want to use with which to officially initiate it. It is a great photo of me, smiling, wearing a Garbo nautical style hat that was designed and made for me by The Princess of WOW! when she was known as Mindy Fradkin: Important Hats. It is a perfect wave to the old company and salute to the new one of my new hat enthusiasts circle. This will be a professional circle – an organization of designers and artists committed to the art of the hat from the design conception through its production through the act of wearing it. We must promote hats. In all directions. I am a writer, a dancer and a jewelry and clothing designer and a hat model,  Mindy is a designer, and entertainer, the Opera Singer is a stage performer who wears the hats. We all wear the hats in our work and as fashionable women. We are not alone as you can see from the Royal Wedding a couple of weeks ago! I was not enamored of most of the hats worn there but I am glad that they all had to wear hats per Royal decree. (Yes, it is required!) I like Kate Middleton’s taste in clothing and hats, but her wedding guests were another matter! ‘

Online Selling Seems to REquire Many Pictures of the Item From All angles ~ Unlike a Store's Catalogue Where 1 Photo is Sufficient!

I can see including a few photographers who like hats and like to photograph women in them.  The Circle of Hats Friends is for people who are serious about the wearing of hats  and the promoting of wearing hats. You can look forward to seeing a lot more about hats on this blog in the future!

I was initially bothered by the Ebay Goldenrod Hat Buyer issue. In no way did I want to kill my friend’s possible order of a hat. But now, since both of us have found her to be much too difficult to work with and decided not to work with her any more I decided it was fine to write about her to show how and why some buyers are impossible and selling online is not always a pleasant or smooth experience. ( I am not mentioning her name of course. )In every way online selling of vintage clothes is way too labor intensive for the money you make. Example: You have to take and post 8 photos of an item from every angle to sell it for $12! Versus a store like Nordstroms has to post only 1 picture in order to sell the same item at 10X the price! Each Photo has to be pretty good too – as if Avedon took it! I generally post way more photos than are really needed to be sure to cover my bases.

I have finally decided that it is necessary to teach buyers how to buy! And how to be good buyers. Companies fire customers who are too much trouble to deal with all the time. This makes it obvious that some training needs to be done on the behalf of designers, sellers, and customers so that people better understand each other!

The buyer of the Goldenrod Hat is a great example of buyer nuttiness. I feel that buyers need to understand this so they don’t act like that! Princess WOW! and I have discussed the fact that we need to inform buyers what is expected and teach them how to be good customers. Everyone involved will benefit from that! The hat designer or dress designer is an artist. She wants to please the client but must have the co-operation of the client to make a beautiful garment and have a good experience with great final results all the way around!

ABOUT SELLING ON EBAY, ETSY and BONANZLE

Ascot Worthy Don't You Think?

Everything I choose to buy and sell and list is in beautiful condition, immaculate, often carefully and expensively cleaned, and restored if necessary to make it as pristine as possible. Everything I have listed and sold and will continue to, when I do it, is top quality. I only buy for myself. I do not go out to buy stuff to sell on eBay , Etsy or Bonanza . Everything I have collected I own because I wanted it personally for myself. I would never have acquired it in the first place had I not really loved it and knew how beautiful and special it was. Therefore I am only offering things for sale because they are up to my own standards which are very high!

The Ever Important Label

I select things to list for sale from my own personal collection. I am completely different than the people who sell their mother’s and grandmother’s treasures that they have inherited and don’t appreciate for whatever they can get. (Thus insulting their mothers and grandmothers in my opinion! ) In fact I have a lot in common with those little old ladies who originally owned the stuff! If your mother or grandmother would have liked it, I probably will like it! And that brings me to size. I said little old ladies. Vintage clothing is usually quite small. It usually only fits women up to a modern size 4 or 6. Rarely do I ever see it in large sizes. This limits me to buyers who are small in stature, like vintage, like high maintenance clothing and accessory objects and are willing to take care of it. I am highly specialized! And I only ever have one of something, so far! This is not the way one makes big profits in this day and age. You have to sell in volume at low prices to profit now, most of the time. Look at Target for example, Nordtroms, Macy’s. Walmart. I am definitely not that!

Oops! Time to insert another picture so you don’t get bored reading this! Doing so also will show you how many for darn sake! photos I have to post of each item. Lots, huh!

This is the Amazingly Lovely Straw Hat by August Once Again!

I know some people who sell on eBay shop for new old stock, They go around and find locked up warehouses full of never sold or worn merchandise from say 1920 or 1930! Would I ever love to come upon such a thing! However, I do not have the resources to buy it at this time. I should mention scarcity. The kind of things I own are extremely rare. And are getting more and more so as they have gotten older and as people have sought them out. So the source’s are dying out. There is less to be had. Thrift stores have raised their prices to astronomical levels for items of terribly low quality. They have come to think that they should get the same prices they are under the allusion sellers receive on eBay. So they jack up the prices. It is common to see a very dirty old coat full of moth holes, with torn lining, no label, stains on it, missing buttons and so dirty no one would want it, in a thrift store for $29.99. I am tempted to quote Maria von Trapp in the first act of both the play and the film version of The Sound of Music. Maria, who apologized, when she came to Baron von Trapp’s home from the convent seeking employment caring for his children,  on the dismal state of her dress. She said that the clothing she had been given to wear by the nuns was so shabby, “Even the poor didn’t want it.” That is one of my favorite quotes. This can be seen in the beginning of the movie! It is worth watching it for. She was immediately given several adorable drindls to wear and looked very pretty. This must have helped the Baron to fall in love with her. Looking pretty always helps to kindle romance, Right?

And Here is the label to Show that it is Authentic!

There has been only one benefit from selling on eBay and that is some of the people I have met. I have met some very interesting sellers who have shared their experience with me. And I have had a few buyers who have been really cool and funny and made selling to them a good experience even though I didn’t make much or any profit. I have received a lot of compliments on the high quality of my listings. And for my photos. It is nice to hear that, and that, partly, has influenced me to start blogging about vintage clothes because I want to benefit from people reading what I know about the genre and seeing the photos I have taken of all these beautiful clothes. I think the efforts I have gone to in writing about them and documenting them will benefit more people this way. And I think I will benefit more from the blogging experience. Hopefully I will build up a good following of people serious in the genre of vintage clothing and the history involved in it who enjoy reading what I write and studying the pictures. I can write about more things too which I will enjoy because I feel it is all integrated.

I have also been asked about the hand sewing – millinery sewing techniques I mentioned,  were used in making the Goldenrod Hat. As far as the sewing techniques: You can see them in my other Goldenrod Hat photos. I am going to try to get them up later today.

Such a Beautiful Hat! there were times in History That a Woman would Have given Just About anything to Have A hat Like this! How Lovely it Would Have Been Worn With an Empire Waisted silk Dress in Brighton in One of Jane Austen's Novels! During that time Your hat Was Important Because it Got You Noticed! !

Such a Beautiful Hat! There Were Times in History That Such a Hat Would Have Gotten You Noticed!

Please realize that the formant of the theme I am using does not allow me to post a big thematically presented gallery of photos. Thus I decided to post the many angles of the Goldenrod Hat throughout this article to add illustrations and give a thorough “picture” of the hat.

You see? How intimately I have gotten to know that hat? And how my involvement with it even though I have sold it, continues to grow? Because I have written about it and used it to describe all that is frustrating about selling vintage clothing online! I am actually sorry I sold it! I really miss it now! I have gotten to know it so very very well! I posted it for sale because I hardly ever wore it. With all this activity surrounding it I have become more fond of it! I have wanted to wear it several times since I no longer have it! At least I have the photos I took, but alas, the hat no longer! It is a real work of art in every way and I feel sad about having let it go. I do know this though! Had the person who bought it been easy to deal with, appreciative and nice I would be happy to have sold it to her!

Goodbye Goldenrod!

I honestly wish my lovely little Goldenrod Hat from the grand City of Paris San Francisco Department Store had gone to a new owner who loved and valued it as I did! Hopefully it ends up being worn by an actress in a film who compliments it and enjoys it and wears it well. If I were the costume person who located it for this purpose I would have sent me the seller, a photo of it modeled by the actress and a nice note! The eBay buyer who ended up with it has not done so. She has eluded to Princess Wow! that it is for a movie, which is why I have concocted this possible scenario in my head!

If she really is a costumer for films she should be building relationships with vintage sellers of unique items for her future needs. That is how I would be doing it!