I am constantly amazed at how many times my collections of vintage pieces or family heirlooms reappear in my daily life. I come from a long line of pack rats, so hanging on to handwritten notes from my son when he was little, old love letters, and postcards from places I've visited, is just a fact of life for me. So I had to laugh when I was playing around with the camera today, trying to set up a few shots to use for this blog, when one of my "office assistants "decided to help me out. London is such a beautiful kitty, but I had no idea what a fabulous model he was! I happened to grab a strip of rhinestones out of my jewely stash to accessorize my subject and he must have known that this was going to be a great gig on the soft fake fur and warm lights judging by the purring that was taking place! So I snapped a few quick shots, downloaded them into the computer and turned around to find him zonked out, but still draped in his divine collar! As I was telling him what a good boy he was to allow me to share his beauty with all the world, I was thinking about that collar. Way back in the dark ages of about 1970, before cell phones, blackberrys and blogs, that collar was on the most glamorous black pantsuit belonging to my Mom! I can still remember the texture of the fabric, as it was something she sewed for herself at home. My Dad was in the Air Force at the time, and we were living in Germany. I was 10 when she made it for a New Years Eve Party!
It was a very chic sleeveless tunic over bell bottom pants and that mandarin collar might as well have been made out of diamonds to me! I loved when they dressed up, and they did often. Not just for special occasions like holiday parties, but almost every Friday night brought at least a fondue buffet at someones house with us kids invited! Our family forged many friendships then, some we haven't seen since those days, but still get holiday cards and updates about their lives. I remember her friend Doreen made an outfit out of the same pattern, this time with long butterfly sleeves with braiding around the neckline...hers was made of the palest pink blush. It didn't matter that they went to the same party together...they knew how to make their own versions to reflect their own styles. I know Mom has photos of the two of them together...Mom, find me that picture!
Years later, when the pantsuit was transformed into a daytime outfit, off came the rhinestone trim, to be put into the sewing box for a few years until one day in the 80's as I was trying to recreate my own version of Yves Saint Laurent's womans tuxedo(I still love that look!) I needed something fabulous at the neckline and grabbed the strip of bling, made a choker out of it with some black satin cording in back, and off I went to party at many a club, getting loads of compliments for styling my way. I used that piece in many a fashion show I styled, both for cocktail and for a sparkling bride, again being asked by many..."Where did you get that?"
So now that I am spending my time at antique shops and shows, flea markets and the garage doing projects that don't require such formal accesssorizing, I'm thrilled to once again pull out this piece and share it with you. I encourage you to think about not only repurposing old things, but thinking of the value of them in our lives and memories.