Spring Style: Sprung!

By Karen Parr-Moody

 

Like most women, I delight in the fashions of spring. Their color and lightness is a balm to the dreary – and oh-so-practical – garb of harsh winters. And with the brevity of clothing, accessories shift to the forefront, luckily for fans of GasLamp fans, where fabulous accessories can be found in abundance.   

 

Milliners of today – and antique dealers who sell vintage hats – should include in their prayers the phrase, “God save the Queen – and Duchess Catherine!” Queen Elizabeth has donned decorative hats for decades, but it is the stunning Duchess of Cambridge (a.k.a. Kate Middleton) who has brought hats back with a vengeance. Her penchant for dainty fascinators is a boon to us all.

 

In bright sun or bitter cold, hats fight the elements, but otherwise they are pure frivolity, as is this vintage carnation-covered hat in the photo, right ($18; Booth T-119). This lovely hat, in floral tones of peach, cream and sage, bears the label Albrizio Hat. This was a firm founded by legendary milliner Ann Albrizio, whose career spanned 70 years and included a millinery teaching career at New York City’s Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT).

 

Such close-fitting, flower-bedecked hats were popular from the late 1940s through the early 1960s and were often called “cocktail hats” or “garden hats.” As hairstyles grew in volume 1960s – think beehive – hats got accordingly smaller, much like the fascinators preferred by the Duchess of Cambridge. By the late Sixties, hats faded away; in 1967 the Catholic Church abandoned its dress code that required head coverings for women. Thank goodness I am seeing fascinators out and about again.

 

These heels in the photo, left, are in such a colorful print from the Eighties; if you are a size 9.5, they will fit your feet, Cinderella ($31; Booth T-261). They join a fabulous array in Booth T-261, including some yellow Sixties pumps in a size 10 that look straight off of the TV show “Mad Men.”). Bonus: The booth is currently offering $5 off all shoes.

 

(Interestingly enough, high heels were originally worn by the men, not women, of Persia, who brought the trend to Europe in 1599 during a diplomatic mission.)

 

Oscar Wilde made the statement, “When I was young I thought that money was the most important thing in life; now that I am old I know that it is” – and you will certainly make a statement about money with this vintage Enid Collins Money Tree box purse (photo, right; $93, Booth T-194). It is one of the many bags that Collins and her husband made on their ranch near Medina, Texas, beginning in the 1950s. The brand was known for tote bags and wooden box purses, all graced with a sprinkling of bling.

 

Over the years I have seen a number of handbags in the Enid Collins style known as Mille Fleur at GasLamp. These are bags in a bucket silhouette bedecked with jewels and beads. But currently, GasLamp has a nice smattering of the wooden box bags. Booth T-395 is featuring a Carriage Trade box bag for $48 (photo, left) and Booth T-194 has a Flower Box bag for $58 (photo, right). Both include a bit of bling and will certainly be conversation pieces wherever they arrive.

 

Booth T-194 is currently featuring a Caro-Nan basket bag that was handmade in Mississippi (photo, below left; $23). “Caro” stands for Carolyn McDaniel and “Nan” stands for Nancy Steele; these were the two women who founded a business in Jackson, Mississippi in 1960s in which they sold hand-painted and découpaged bags. This Caro-Nan signature bag, like many of them, has buildings painted around the bottom; such bags would feature the names of landmarks or traditions in the towns in which they were sold. This particular bag says “Memphis State,” “Court Square,” “The John Gerber Co.” and “Cotton Carnival.” Many of the Caro-Nan bags also had a penny stuck on the top of the bag, which this one does, as well

 

Both GasLamp and GasLamp Too are known for a wide array of antiques, but they also feature purveyors of vintage clothing and accessories. And with the weather warming up, it's time to buy retro clothes, bags, shoes and jewelry so that you can see and be seen.  

 

 

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