Sunday, September 23, 2012

Chicken feathers

Bedroom from Serena & Lily catalog
Ever had one of those.... "I told you so" days?
In 2008, my destination was the Windy City for a business meeting.  Don't be impressed with my recollection of the date... I looked at the time stamp on a digital photo from that Chicago trip.  Anyway, while shopping (just off) North Michigan Ave, a store display featured a red African Feathered Headdress. 
Not certain if I screamed with delight or needed a quick round of CPR to revive me... nevertheless... it was love at first chicken feather!
So, like on "Who Wants to be a Millionaire," I  phoned a friend. 
After our discussion, she was convinced that I had lost my mind!  I believe the rhetorical question was:  "What in the Hell are you going to do with THAT?"
Fast forward about four years.  And, yes, I realize that this has been a previous topic on this blog (February 2012)... but work with me!
After the departure of my weekend visitors, my perch was on a patio chair with a stack of magazines beside me.  Completely unamused by most of the recent home magazines, my focus became catalogs.  In the newest Serena & Lily, one of their room designs displays.... wait for it and a drum roll please.... A BIG OLE CHICKEN above the bed. 
Not only have those little Bamileke headdresses been featured in Elle Decor in the home of George Stephanopoulos and his wife Ali Wentworth in DC....
...but, they are also in the newest style "trend" in none other than Neiman Marcus.

HA!   ..... told you that I wasn't crazy.    

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Vintage hat stands

Two views:  1920s millinery stand for hats from
True confession..... vintage hat stands are one of my favorite things! 
Poetic justice might explain my admiration.   I look simply dreadful in hats.  As the saying goes, we always like what we can't have. 
But, millinery stands are different... NO hat is required.  Tee hee.
For the purpose of clarity, a milliner is a "hatter."  Specifically, milliners typically create hats, bonnets, and head-dresses for women.  Millinery stands are, therefore, hat stands.  Sometimes, they are referred to as millinery hat stands... but that is probably a bit redundant. 
Anyway, MY admiration of hat stands started in Memphis. 
One day shopping at Toad Hall Antiques, I found a vintage hat stand and immediately fell in love with it!  There were, unfortunately, two problems.  One... there was NO place to put it in my tiny apartment.  And, two... it was terribly overpriced.   Granted, it WAS much cheaper than the $3500 Belgian Apothecary chest that I wanted to follow me home, but... you get the idea.
Over the past few years, hat stands have been on my radar.  But, they are painfully difficult to find.  Trust me, I've looked! 
Recently, I thought:  It is rather silly to admire hat stands yet know absolutely nothing about them.  So, after a little internet research.... voilà.
Fortunately, a blog from an Australian stylist and event organizer, StephieB, was found.... courtesy of Google.  And, that Aussie girl knows her hat stands.  The following three photos and captions are from her blog.   I take no credit for them.
 On the left: Antique wood hat blocks.  In the center: Antique style hat stand.  On the right: Vintage "Capital" hat block, Bowler hat block, and vintage hat block on a turned base.

Top row: Wire hat stand, vintage metal hat block, and vintage wire hat stands.  Bottom row: Two vintage velvet-covered wire hat stands, old department store display stands, and a pair of antique metal hat stands. 

Top row:  Set of four vintage hat stands and a vintage miliners block.  Bottom row:  Vintage industrial hat blocks from, shelves of hat blocks, and antique English Oak hat stands. 

So, the proberbial take home messages are:  Millinery forms are usually blocks, stands can take a multitide of forms, and... yes... they are still a pain in the a$$ to find. 
A couple of weekends ago, I found myself on  Generally speaking, the organization of that little website makes it difficult for me to find anything.  But, it WAS a rainy Saturday!
Then.... Oh.My.God!   A vintage hat stand........ great price.   PayPal to the rescue.  Oh crap:  What was that PayPal account password?
After some online PayPal tech support and thanks to the US Postal Service, it finally arrived at the office a few days later.
Much to my amusement, only our office manager, Jackie, knew that it was a hat stand.    {Never claimed that my taste was anything other than ecclectic.}  After taking it home, I realized: I am now the proud owner of an antique millinery stand.  "Booyah!"

Vintage hat stand on the mantle in my sunroom.
The same hat stand beside sputnik. 
It's a good thing that I love it... because I still can't wear hats!