When finally going through my Mom's clothing I knew there were 2 items I would definitely be keeping, turns out there were 3. These things had memories and meaning for me and whether I just hang them in my studio or a closet I was not going to pack them in a "giveaway" bag.
The first item was this coat:
My Mom bought this coat in the 1960's. I am sure it cost a pretty penny back then and if I know her she probably was able to buy it on layaway. The fabric is a really soft mohair and the collar is real mink. It was defintiely her "good" coat. It's small too. Sadly of all the photos I have yet to find one of her wearing it but then when she got all dressed up my Dad wasn't one to break out the camera to get a photo.
Lilli Ann was a company started in San Francisco in 1933 by a man named Adolph Schuman and named for his wife Lillian. They became known for their suits and coats. After WWII Mr. Schuman would go to France buying fabrics from textile companies in financial straits thus saving their companies and bringing the fabrics back to the states. Because of this his labels started showing Paris on them...as hers does.
So this is not only a sentimental garment but one with history as well.
The next garment was purchased to wear as a costume MANY years ago. I honestly do not know if it's an original vintage flapper dress from the 20's.
This dress is HEAVY! There are rows and rows of swinging fringe and the straps have rhinestones sewn on. There is a zipper down the back. It's been around as long as I can remember and everyone from my Mom to a brother (dressed as a girl one Halloween) to a niece when she was little (we pinned and it up and around) and others inbetween have worn this dress for a costume. The LAST time it was worn my Mom was 8 or 9 yrs ago when she was living in her Senior apartment complex and they had a talent show. She was heavier by then and had someone sew a panel inset on either side of the dress so it fit. I left work early that day to video tape her as she stood on a stage they set up, in this dress, with red tights and black shoes doing the Charleston! I couldn't believe my eyes as she kept going even though her ankles were swollen and I could tell she was getting winded - she received quite an ovation when she was finished. She was 79 or 80 years old. I can still smell her perfume on it.
This last garment was one I had forgotten about. It's a little black cocktail number, like the Lilli Ann coat, is very small.
As you can see the bodice is sheer on top with rhinestones on the front and on the front of the satin belt. There is a sheath acetate under layer with a sheer crepe overlay and on top of that is another crepe layer but more opaque with a ruffle at the bottom.
The back has ruffles going up to the waist and the belt snaps closed.
This is the top overlay. The flash makes it look like another color but really it's all black.
This is the interior label though it shows no size. The bottom says "For the girl who knows clothes". In researching the internet I was able to ascertain that this particular label style started in the 50's. It says the manufacturer, R&K Originals was a New York clothing company situated on Broadway that sold fashinable and well-made but affordable and moderately priced clothes.
My Mom definitely didn't buy this in New York so it was probably in a dress shop here in the Bay Area back then. Even though it says the label style began in the 50's my Mom would most probably have bought it in the early 60's as that is when my Dad's job would have social occasions requiring her to dress up more. Without her to ask for sure it could very well be she actually DID buy it the latter part of the 50's....whose to say. We were not a wealthy family so I just know, like the coat, it was probably purchased on layway. Back then all the shops did that, she'd pay a little each week and then get the dress or whatever when it was paid for. I remember as a wee girl (under 7) going to a shop with her on Piedmont Avenue in Oakland. There were 2 racks that went all the way around the shop (one on top and one on the bottom) and a center island display counter in a square (the sales woman in the center) Back then they would write up your purchases on a pad with carbon paper and carefully wrap the purchases. I can remember I wasn't as tall as the counter and as we walked around I would peer up and around at all the goods thinking how fun it was to shop like a "big girl" and sometimes we'd even go to lunch.
Funny, as an adult, we'd get together and shop til we dropped and ALWAYS she'd say "let me take you to lunch". Of all the things on the menu I'd order a tuna salad sandwich......I have no idea why. Not that many years ago we were talking about those days and she said "....and of all the things on the menu YOU would order tuna"! HA! Those were also the days she'd sneak in her bags so my Dad didn't see them because inveriably he'd say "what do you need that for?" He didn't begrudge her shopping but at the same time would question the need for it because to him she already had clothes in the closet and drawers. This from a man who wore strange patterned golf pants and HATED shopping and proclaimed "I don't need anything" whenever it was mentioned his wardrobe was looking a bit dodgy.
MEN!!!! Don't they know that shopping isn't always about NEED!?
So you can see why I couldn't let these items go. I only wish she had saved more of her clothes, bags or shoes from those early days. Much of what my Mom wore back then she made herself and they were stunning. I wish she'd saved one or two of those as well..
We are still in the throes of all our projects and truly I don't have all that much else going on. My posts are infrequent and so is my commenting I know.....as always, I hope you'll hang in there with me. It's NEVER anything personal if you see I may have stopped to comment on a blog for some reason but haven't on yours. Often times it's just in the moment.
Blogging isn't a competative sport my darlings.
Love you......mean it,
p.s. typead posting seems to be OFF these days......I can't get images to center anymore and if they look centered when in compose they aren't when I publish. Things want to jump around and the screen is smaller than the typed area so you have to use the bar at the bottom to move back and forth to edit. AND I haven't switched to the new Typepad yet.....eeks! Anyone having issues too?