DESIGNER SPOTLIGHT

January 14, 2017
DESIGNER SPOTLIGHT

For years now, I have *ahem* “hoarded” some very special vintage pieces in my inventory. Not for myself, mind you, but because I was waiting for the right time to sell them. Some of them are going on 15 years in hibernation, but a few have recently seen the light of day and have even made it into my Etsy shop. So, for their patience, I thought they deserved a little time in the spotlight, along with the incredible designers who created them.

Emilio Pucci’s fashion career did not start in an Italian fashion house, but on the ski slopes of the Swiss Alps in the late 1940’s, where a ski ensemble he designed for a friend was noticed by a Harper’s Bazaar photographer. Next thing Emilio knew, his unique kaleidoscope print designs were featured on the pages of the magazine’s winter edition and a designer was born. From ski-wear to swimsuits to scarves to blouses and beyond, his name is synonymous with colorful geometric patterns in fashion. From the early 1950’s to the 1980’s, Emilio Pucci’s designs -“made in Italy” – used liberating, lightweight, stretchy, wrinkle-free fabric for his signature prints (literally! – as many of his prints included his signed first name). The Emilio Pucci product line continues to this day, carrying on his vision and iconic prints.

Random fact found online – Marilyn Monroe is buried in a green Emilio Pucci dress.

Born and trained in New York City, Adele Simpson’s fashion career began in the late 1920’s. She flourished as a designer from the 1940’s through the 1970’s at her own design company. She was known for creating beautifully made but practical and somewhat conservative clothes for ladies – “first” ladies even (Eisenhower, Johnson, Nixon, Carter). She traveled extensively to find inspiration for her designs; early in her career to France, and later to the eastern parts of the world, searching for fabric and print ideas. She was widely known for her use of fabrics, starting with the expanded use of cotton in the 1940’s to decorative synthetics in the 60’s and 70’s (like the dress in the shop!)

Random fact found online – Adele was a child vaudeville performer who danced in a production with Milton Berle.

As a young man, upon leaving his home in the Dominican Republic, Oscar pursued his passion for painting. Soon he was lured into the world of fashion, but he remained a loyal patron of the arts his entire life. His career grew quickly, beginning in the early 1960’s, until his death in 2014. Over the decades, he dressed first ladies, married socialites, and served on the boards of the Metropolitan Opera and Carnegie Hall. He described himself as a “…restless person…always doing something. The creative process never stops.” Words used repeatedly to describe his designs are “feminine”, “casual luxury”, & “romantic”. Mr. de La Renta certainly appeared to be a pretty fancy man, but also by all accounts, a lovely gentleman.

Random fact, but not found online. This one is mine- While running my vintage shop I befriended a gentleman who worked many years in the clothing industry. We enjoyed talking fashion business and he was a wealth of information. On one visit, he gave me a little gift – a thread counter (or thread loupe), used in the business to magnify a piece of fabric to count the lines of threads within a square inch to help determine quality. This loupe was given to my friend by no other than – Oscar de La Renta!

Ah, Elsa – or Schiap as she preferred to be called. My favorite! Her original, provocative, and at times, shocking designs have long been right up my alley. I plan to devote a blog post just to her sometime soon, but until then…

Although Italian born, Schiaparelli mainly lived and worked in Paris, where she made her name in fashion throughout the late 1920’s, 30’s, and 40’s. Her designs included unique imagery like insects, signs of the zodiac, and lips! She was heavily influenced by her involvement in the Surrealist art movement at the time, even collaborating with Salvadore Dali and Man Ray. Although it seems her outrageous designs were born from her true passion, it was her more conservative pieces that paid the bills, mostly through her business connections in the US. Part designer, part artist – her designs were captivating and many remain museum pieces today.

Random fact found online – Her rebellious and daring nature, evident in her designs, began at an early age. My favorite act of defiance was when she claimed, as a child, to have been upset she could not attend a dinner party her parents were throwing, and she got back at them by opening a jar of fleas under the dining room table. This created such an itching frenzy, the guests promptly left, ending the evening early. What a punk!

Thank you wholeheartedly for your interest in this post. I appreciate it so much! As a little thank you, if any of these featured vintage designer items now in my Etsy shop have tickled your fancy, please enjoy an extra 10{9038aea28a3c5b00d28f71622caa555777272c5377295c939e979e16e5f9da1f} off, using the following coupon codes. Enjoy!

For the Emilio Pucci skirt – PUCCI10

For the Adele Simpson dress – ADELE10

For the Oscar de La Renta dress – OSCAR10

For the Elsa Schiaparelli jewelry set – SCHIAP10

Please note: The coupon codes are only good for that specific item. They are not for use with a layaway, or if the item becomes part of a store-wide sale.

All photos other than my own Etsy shop listing photos came from Pinterest.

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