Thursday, November 6, 2008

Cape of Great Love

From Amber & Sasha at Violet Folklore

We recently added the most spectacular, well constructed, breathtakingly gorgeous, and absolutely one-of-a-kind piece to our shop. Behold:







We debated for a while about whether or not one of us should keep it (and if so, which one?) or if we should indeed make it available to the world. As you know, we chose the latter, though there's no saying one of us won't take it down off the site in a fit of passionate jealousy at the thought of its loving embrace coddling another in its draping warmth.

And warm it truly is. Not only because of the exquisite Irish lamb's wool that it's made from, but the vibe of the colors also serve to invigorate a cold body and sluggish state of mind. And of course the pockets are there for added comfort and warmth.

And did I mention that it's all lined in silky satin? Of course it is, a piece like this would be made of nothing less.

The labels on this one tell a fabulous story:




First, a gorgeous label with the cutest cartoon of Boru, High King of Ireland, reading :
"Made in the Republic of Ireland/ Boru/ By Jimmy Hourihan of Dublin".

Next, a label detailing the cape's origins: "Donegal Handwoven Tweed, Made from pure new wool from County Donegal". Donegal Wool is some of the finest in the world. But it doesn't normally come in such unusual colors as this!

A serial code includes the year 1967, which was, on the West Coast of California (and so many other groovy places in the world), The Summer of Love!

So how did this incredible Irish creation find its way to the U.S.?

The last label tells that story: "I. Magnin". This was THE luxury department store in San Francisco, still enjoying a heydey in the late 60s with an extravagent flagship store in Union Square known affectionately as "The White Palace". Some of you West Coasters may share our amazing memories of I. Magnin glamor-- even if your mom and aunties were cash-strapped fashionistas, it was a tradition to go inside just to walk around among all the gorgeous clothes! In 1967, bright hippie colors had influenced high-end retail clothing design, so a cape like this would have been in high demand for the discriminating fashion fan.




I think this history explains a little about the amazing, classic lines of this piece, mixed with "flower children" colors. It walks a perfect line between freewheeling psychedelic reverie and the completely practical craftsmanship of a piece designed for winter warmth, made using the finest materials available.

As we finished up this love poem to the Incredible Cape, it was discovered by Ashley, the Vintage Fashion blogger at About.com, who featured it in a post about "Cape Fever". (Scroll down just a wee bit).

If we needed any confirmation, now we have it: there really is some special magic in this cape! We hate to let it go, but we're excited to give it a new home... we wouldn't open a store if we didn't like connecting beautiful pieces with real Vintage lovers! Of course, if it should accidentally get misplaced... ahem.

1 comment:

Samy St Clair said...

Oh my, this is gorgeous!