"Since its opening on the Place Vendôme in Paris in 1906, Van Cleef & Arpels has played a leading role in style and design innovation. Its timeless pieces have been worn by style icons including the Duchess of Windsor, Grace Kelly and Elizabeth Taylor. This exhibition will explore the historical significance of the firm's contributions to jewelry design in the 20th century, including the establishment of Van Cleef & Arpels in New York with the advent of World War II. On view will be more than 350 works including jewels, timepieces, fashion accessories and objets d'art by Van Cleef & Arpels, many of which were created exclusively for the American market. The exhibition will examine the work through the lenses of innovation, transformation, nature as inspiration, exoticism, fashion and personalities, and will include design drawings from the Van Cleef & Arpels archives." (Smithsonian)
If you've been reading my "Tales" for any length of time, you know all about my predilection for old~world style & fashion. The way things were. Ladies dressing like ladies. Gentlemen holding open the door for said well~dressed ladies. Bartender's who know how to shake up a true Negroni Capriccio. Main streets lined with small shops & boutiques that open at 10:00 am and close at 5:00 pm, except for Thursday nights, and are never, ever open on a Sunday. Well~dressed and well~mannered shop clerks who greet you and are eager to provide the best customer service in town. A new window display every Saturday morning to tempt all the ladies in town as they cruise down Main St. in their husband's new Chevy Impala...you get the idea.
(photo courtesy of Ancestry.com)
While the chance that all my dreams of yesteryear will converge upon me and life will, at last, be the way it "was" is practically null, there is one small part of it that seems to be making a comeback:
The 1980's are guilty, not only of some really horrible fashion trends, but of introducing "The Mega Mall" shopping concept. Yes, The West Edmonton Mall in Alberta, Canada, opened in 1981 - with more than 800 stores and a hotel, amusement park, miniature-golf course, church, "water park" for sunbathing and surfing, a zoo and a 438-foot-long lake. Not to be out~done, the US hired the builders of that monstrosity to design the infamous "Mall of America" and it was down hill from there. Small, family owned shops & boutiques couldn't compete with "The Mega Monster Mall" concept of shopping and one by one, they closed their doors. With more than 16,000 similar shopping centers/malls built in the decade from 1980 to 1990, it is no wonder we drive down Main Street after Main Street in small town America and see this:
Saving some wonderful brick & mortar building from this fate by giving The Red Velvet Shoe a "proper" home is my dream. And, apparently, I am not alone. Apparently, way over on the other side of the USA, in Porltand, Oregon, lives a gal named Liz, who, after hours of studying her blog, appears to be my very own "Alter Ego".
From the silk taffeta curtains on the dressing room
to the antique French settee....
From the gold gilt mirror & leopard print rug
to the Pomeranian perched on the perfect antique french~blue chair...
I wouldn't change a thing...not to mention the amazing vintage frocks she manages to get her hands on. So insist the children ARE taking a nap today, fix yourself a cup of tea (or a glass of something else), and treat yourself to a virtual tour of Portland's amazing Xtabay Vintage.
(photos courtesy of Xtabay Vintage)
Just promise me you won't leave me for my alter ego!
Since most of us enjoy a leisurely stroll down a smart city street looking at fabulously turned out mannequins (aka window shopping) but may rarely have a chance to actually indulge such a luxury, I thought I would bring a virtual window shopping stroll to you! Some of these lovelies are available for purchase, others are just favorite images I've saved from surfing the net. . .enjoy!
*you may learn more about this gorgeous frock here .
I have a big list of Maybe Someday's. . .but at the top of my list is: Own a Vintage Clothing Boutique. A Vintage Fashion Atelier, of sorts.Yes, I have this Virtual Boutique and it allows me to indulge in my passion for working with Vintage Clothing. However, if I were able, I would love to have an actual Boutique. In a beautiful old building with lots of character and hard wood floors with lots of antique chandeliers and mirrors. . .something like this:
I love the tall windows~~how fun it would be to do window displays!! I would invest in some beautiful antique dress forms. . .this storefront is home of The Wedding Club in the UK.
I also like this one:
I lost a bit of photo quality when I edited it but you can see the great architecture, and again tall windows! I found this from a site called The Ped Shed, I guess it was in a town they did a feature on.
This one is sweet, too. My husband and I actually walked past this when he was in Washington D.C. on a business trip. We stayed in Alexandria, VA and the entire town was cobblestone streets and old historic buildings~~I had a blast shopping while he was at the seminar!
It was the prettiest shade of pink and my favorite shade of blue. . .wow, I wonder if this was the inspiration for my website colors????
And maybe someday it would become the most fashionable place to shop (of course with Valet Parking!) the place to see and be seen, a place to meet a girlfriend for an afternoon of shopping and then coffee and pastry in the tea room, a place where the sales clerks are immaculately turned out from head to toe and address you as Mrs. So and So, where they carefully wrap each beautiful item you choose in crisp, clean tissue paper, where the doorman holds the door for you and says "Have a Wonderful Day".