Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Colour, Texture and Line - Works by Jim Telfer at the Westland Gallery

It always seems to be a "feast or famine" situation on weekends here when it comes to arts and culture events.  This past weekend offered a feast of visual art at exhibits that opened at galleries around the downtown area.    On Friday night, the Westland Gallery hosted an opening party for an exhibit of paintings and batik-influenced watercolours by Jim Telfer.  You may remember Jim as the man in the plaid from this post.

Here's Telfer in front of one of his paintings - a diptych titled "Day and Night".  A number of his paintings feature strong vertical lines representing trees and reeds, and he chose the perfect shirt to go with the art.

Telfer's latest work is influenced by batik technique of applying wax to fabric before dyeing it to create patterns.  Telfer applies a mix of latex rubber to the paper instead of wax and the process is extremely time-consuming as layer after layer is added to achieve the desired effect.  Jim is an avid traveler and his subject matter is taken from nature in various parts of the world.  Clockwise from top left:  "Everglade", detail of "Chicheniztza", "Stuff in Space" and detail of "Dirty Water"

My neighbor Natalie chilling on the couch under Telfer's painting "8 Ways To Explode"

I asked Natalie to take a photo of me next to the painting titled "Sagittarius" because I am one.  In addition to their bold colours, some of Telfer's paintings are heavily textured, which adds to their visual appeal.  It was an all-black night for me, although I did have some interesting textures going on.

The colours on the munchies table coordinated with the art on the wall

Telfer has a great eye for colour, in his art, and in his clothing, and his exhibit drew a very stylish crowd for the opening.  I complimented this couple, who are both medical doctors, on their splash of orange.

This young woman drew everyone's eye in her metallic trench and boots with gold spikes on the heels

This guy's jacket drew my eye with the interesting lapel design

This mother and daughter share a love of fabulous shoes

In fact, there were so pairs of stylish footwear on the floor that at one point I just sat on the couch and shot photos of shoes.  Telfer did the design on the colourful heels in the top right corner.

"Merida", with fresh shades of green and slashes of orange, was one of my personal favourites

The only work in the show that was subdued, colour-wise, was this painting titled "silver birches".

Telfer's exhibit is at the Westland Gallery in Wortley Village until May 9th

Friday, April 24, 2015

From One Visible Woman to Another

At least half of the items in my closet were purchased secondhand from thrift and vintage stores.  They had a life before they came to me, and in the case of some of the more unusual pieces, I am always curious about the previous owner - who was she?  Where did she wear this?  Did she love it?  Unfortunately, in most cases, I'll never know who used to own the items I now enjoy wearing.

A few weeks ago a friend emailed me a link to an online "Vintage Couture" auction run by Gardner Galleries, our local auction house.   The auction featured clothing and accessories that belonged to Rachel Heyndrickx, who died in November, 2014 at the age of 93.   Gardner's generally deals in furniture, household items and art so it was unusual for them to hold an auction specifically devoted to items in someone's wardrobe.   I looked at the photos of the items up for bid on the website and was intrigued enough to attend the auction preview with a friend in order to see the items in person.

I'm not a fan of bidding against other people for items I want and avoid Ebay for that reason, unless an item has a "Buy It Now" option.   I have attended a couple of live auctions but would get very upset when other people bid on items I really wanted, especially when they were dealers.  I couldn't wrap my head around the unfairness that whoever had the most money won.  Once I saw the beautiful items that had belonged to Miss Heyndrickx, I decided to dip my toe in the auction waters again.

The first thing I had noticed about the auction was Heyndrickx's  impressive and eclectic hat collection, all with their original hat boxes.  Clockwise from top left:  floral beauty by Kokin New York, Valentino pillbox, magenta leather and felt hat from De Lora New York,  leather and velvet Otto Lucas

According to her obituary, Rachel Heyndrickx's family was in the tobacco business, and she was the Office Manager at Imperial Tobacco.  She was a world traveler who loved her garden, never married and had no children. What the obituary didn't say, but was obvious to me, was that she loved her clothes, and dressing up.  This was confirmed by one of Heyndrickx's nieces who attended the preview, who told me  her aunt travelled to Toronto and Montreal frequently to shop.  Many of the items in the auction were from Holt Renfrew, Creeds and Saks Fifth Avenue.  She also had a good dressmaker as evidenced by the many custom made outfits in her closet.    The niece's husband mentioned that Heyndrickx's home was like a museum, and that she would buy hats that didn't necessarily get worn, but because they were beautiful or interesting and she liked to look at them.

photos from Gardner Galleries website
Speaking of beautiful things, above are three pairs of Heyndrickx' suede boots, all with lavish embellishments

It was obvious that Heyndrickx had very good taste - the clothing in the auction was simple and elegant in shape, and made of luxurious fabrics - silk, wool, silk velvet, fur and leather.  She loved hats - not just simple, tasteful hats but wild, extravagant ones as well and she was obviously not afraid to stand out in a crowd.  Her clothing and accessories had been carefully stored and cared for, as they were all in excellent condition.

Heyndrickx particularly loved fur, as she had at least 6 high quality designer fur coats, many with matching hats. This leopard fur muff matched her mink-trimmed leopard fur coat.  The furs drew a large number of bids.

If the clothing in the auction was any indication, Heyndrickx loved colour; of the many coats in the auction, five were in various shades of pink.

Yellow seemed to be a favourite as well.  The dress on the left is by Jean Patou, and the paillette-covered dress on the right (described on the auction site as a "wild 60's dress) appeared to be handmade.  Heyndrickx's wore the dress on the right to her niece's wedding, which confirmed the feeling I had that tea and a conversation with Miss Heyndrickx would be very entertaining.

If I had to define Heyndrickx' style in a word, I would say she was very much a "lady" in the way she dressed.   Of the items in the auction, many were elegant dresses with matching jackets or coats.  Left:  1960's wool suit with chinchilla pompoms with the label "Ducharme, the World's Finest Fabrics, Paris" Right: silk dress and coat with matching lining from Holt Renfrew.

I considered bidding on this silk dress, which I think sold for $10 or $15, just because of the cool colour/pattern mixing.

If any further proof was needed of Miss Heyndrickx' love of beautiful things, here is a photo of her 1970 Jaguar, kept in pristine condition and only driven in fine weather.  It sold for over $100,000.

(crappy quality photo courtesy of my phone)

I tried on most of the hats at the preview and loved a great many of them, but the bids on most went higher than I was prepared to pay for yet another hat (even though they were still very reasonably priced).   I made a last minute decision to bid on the flower-covered Kokin which was so over the top that it was more art than hat.  When I was looking at the hats, I thought it would have been wonderful to have seen photos of her wearing them.   The irony was that during the preview, a friend discovered a pile of photos of Heyndrickx, wearing some of the clothing in the auction, in a drawer of a dressing table that was part of the auction of her furniture that was happening the next day.  When we looked for the photos the next day, sadly, they were gone. They would have been a marvelous addition to the display of her clothing and accessories and would have fostered a connection between the buyers and the former owner.

In addition to the "Garden for your Head" (my description, not the designer's), I won two coats, the 1980's one I'm wearing in the photo above, and a teal and black leather one which needs a button replaced.   I thought I'd have to put them away until next winter, but with the cold temperatures and intermittent snow we've had this week, I was able to wear the pink one to work.  It was made in Canada, something you rarely see these days, and I was warm, and very visible.  I thought of Rachel Heyndrickx while wearing it, and hoped that she would have enjoyed seeing her clothing have another life with someone who appreciated her style, her love of dressing up, and her independent spirit.   Here's to you, Rachel Heyndrickx, from one very visible woman to another - I wish I would have had an opportunity to meet you.

Monday, April 13, 2015

So Two Bloggers Walk Into a Vintage Show....

Actually, this photo was taken just before we left - that's fellow blogger Suzanne Carillo on the left, and yours truly on the right.  We were both somewhat overdressed for the weather.  I'm wearing a vintage dress I found at Beacon's Closet in New York last fall, thrifted denim jacket, and a hat I purchased at the show from What'll I Wear, a vendor that had very reasonable prices, and from whom Suzanne also made a purchase, but I'm getting ahead of myself.....

Suzanne and I arranged to meet at Gadsden's Toronto Vintage Clothing Show held at Wychwood Barns this past Sunday.  I have attended the show in previous years, but Suzanne had never been, so I thought it would be a good opportunity for some shopping, eating, and yakking, three favourite  blogger activities.  The show is relatively small, with approximately 30 vendors taking part, so it can be covered in a couple of hours.

 There were floral patterns everywhere, reflecting the long-awaited arrival of Spring (the weather was beautiful - sunny and around 17 degrees celsius).  The 1930's dresses on the left are from Emma Paige and unfortunately, I can't remember where the tunic and pants were from.  It was a challenge to identify the vendors as very few had signs on their booth and some of them didn't have any business cards.

There were lots of bright, bold colours and patterns

Part of the fun of shows like this is being able to see some of the more unique items that cause you to shake your head and wonder "who the heck wore that??". The quilted (rayon?) two piece with a sailor collar was one of those such items.  This was from the same vendor that had the green flowered two-piece in the previous photo. (if you're the vendor and see this post, please email me and I will add your name).

Carry your own little mini-ocean with this bag from Claimed Vintage

This woman with the striking hat was working at Angela McCool's booth, where she purchased her funky silver earrings. 

McCool's booth had a LOT of jewellery, including this mind-boggling display of silver

Renee Piche always has great eye candy at her booth and this year was no exception.  The three large (horsehair?) flower brooches in the centre are by Hattie Carnegie.

 Piche carries a selection of vintage and modern plastic jewellery in fantastic shapes and yummy colours.  She also had a few bags, and I particularly liked the sweet multi-coloured suede on on the left and the sparkly blue evening bag on the right.

Robin Tillmanns of Factory Girl Vintage had a very unique way of displaying pieces of jewellery at her booth.  The photos are all of her mother-in-law at various times of her life. 

This lovely dress was on display at the Union Label Vintage Booth

Just look at the gorgeous ribbon detailing!!  Luxurious fabrics and stunning details are part of the reason I love vintage clothing, particularly pieces dating from the 30's - 60's.

Apparently rompers are big this year (one piece with shorts - romper, one piece with full-length pants - jumpsuit) as we found quite a few on the racks.  This one at Factory Girl Vintage was hands-down the coolest one at the show (many thanks to Suzanne for putting up with being asked repeatedly "can you hold this while I take a photo?").   The sleeves are open along the top with ties at the shoulder, elbow and wrist.  I'm wishing now that I had tried it on, because really, when is that opportunity going to come up again?

More rompers - Robin Tillmanns of Factory Girl Vintage holds a quilted cotton one, and the one on the right with the racy side cut-outs from Wild Thing Vintage.

I saw this young woman trying on this amazing bold print opera coat from Wild Thing Vintage  and she decided it was coming home with her.

This young lady was the coolest gal at the show.  Her sailor-themed outfit was just adorable, and if that wasn't enough, the extremely realistic tiger head at her feet is her backpack ( I couldn't stop thinking of Richard Parker from The Life of Pi).  She found the sailor's jacket at Factory Girl Vintage at the show and it fit her perfectly.   
I asked Suzanne to take a photo of me with actor, antiques expert, props supplier and charming guy, Yank Azman.  He was one of the first people I talked to when I started coming to the Gadsden's show a few years ago, and I took his photo, wearing the same hat, and same gangster face in 2012 (you can see it in my post from that show here).  He's been very supportive of my blog over the years, forwarding my posts about vintage shows to other vendors, etc., which I greatly appreciate.  

After a light lunch we visited our respective favourite bakeries in the neighbourhood.  I made my annual pilgrimage to Leah's Bakery for some of their chocolate peanut butter Rice Krispie squares while Suzanne picked up some eclairs from Pain Perdu Patisserie.  She raved about them, so I had to try one, and it was as delicious as promised, and they are small, with real custard filling, as opposed to those giant, edible oil product-filled things you can find at doughnut shops.

A thoroughly enjoyable day of shopping, eating and socializing came to an end and I reluctantly returned home.  Until next time!

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Happy Easter, Every Bunny!

I ran into the Easter Bunny while picking up stuff for Ruby and Ginger at PetSmart on Saturday, and he's much fluffier than I expected.  He was undercover, going by the name "ChouChou", no doubt to avoid starting a riot.

We don't have an Easter Parade here like they do in New York, and since I couldn't fly off to Manhattan for the weekend to show off my bonnet with my NYC friends, I decided to be my own parade for my Saturday morning trip to the Farmer's Market.  My outfit took up a lot of space.

I found the made-in-Canada hat at The Sentimentalist, and liked the simple but dramatic shape and of course, the bold colour.  I've had the animal print jacket for a few years, and don't wear it enough.  The dramatic collar and cuffs make me feel rather glam.

I've been meaning to mention that the lovely Sylvia of 40+Style asked if she could interview me for her blog.  Sylvia does a wonderful job of promoting us over 40 bloggers and I was very flattered when she wanted to feature me; there are lots of times I don't feel I have anything very interesting to say, so it's nice when someone else thinks I do.  The interview was published this week, and you can read it here.