Thursday, March 31, 2011

A Bit-O-Loot

In my world, it is a good day when you can score a vintage green Melmac divided bowl, and pair of pink vintage cowgirl boots that both coordinate quite nicely with the super mint Simtex Tablecloth found at the same location.   The boots will likely head with me to the Top Shelf Flea, the tablecloth will be added to the pile waiting for it to STOP SNOWING here in New England so that I can start washing them and getting them on the line for sale at Carmen and Ginger.  The bowl's fate is still undecided.

This cloth is super heavy, unstained and not faded at all!  (The drab lighting here is giving it a false washed out look.)  This will be one of the nicest cloths I will offer when these get into the shop, probably in about a month or so...

I almost never buy bulky housewares anymore but the decals on this 1950's Mirro set were in such great condition that I could not pass it by.  Ditto for the enameled vintage flower brooches.  So pretty all together they were calling to me like a vintage jewelry siren!  (These are headed to Top Shelf as well!)  The fact that I had a full 30% off coupon for my entire purchase made the moment even sweeter!  Ah, the silly things that bring me joy...

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Road Trip!

Save the date because Carmen and Ginger will once again hit the road this spring for a live event in Somerville, Massachusetts!  (Right beside both Cambridge and Boston and on the public transportation line!)  It is the third Top Shelf Flea event!  We have done two previously; one last spring and another this past fall; and both were a huge success!  We would love to meet any customers who can stop by - be sure to introduce yourself!  Here's the scoop:

Top Shelf Flea III
Sunday, May 22
Noon - 6:00 pm
George Dilboy VFW
371 Summer Street
Somerville, MA 02144
Free Admission; At the Davis square "T" Stop;
Free Parking Behind the Building!

Oh, and this awesome vintage 1960's travel set from Trina just plucked today?  It will be coming with me to the sale...

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Mary Suzuki Revisited

Today is a day of milestones for this blog.  First, this is the 200th post.  Now I know compared to other bloggers out there this is not such a big deal, and, those who know me are not surprised I could fill the internet with 200 opinions about various topics, but for me, reaching 200 is quite an achievement.  Now, if only someone other than my mom would read my blog...

The next milestone actually has to do with a note received yesterday, which proves that someone other than Mom really reads these posts on occasion.  It was a comment  in response to a Fashion Illustration post I had done last year in which I showed illustrations from Andy Warhol and Mary Suzuki. 

Mary Suzuki, Harper's Bazaar, August 1953
At the time of the original post, I had been struck by the whimsical similarities between the Warhol fashion illustrations, which I had become aware of several years before, and those of Mary Suzuki, another illustrator about whom I could find very little information on the internet.  That is, until this comment was posted yesterday:
My mother was Mary Suzuki and she did the Illustrations above. She was good friends with Andy in the 50s. He showed my mother his book when he arrived in New York and she told him to do shoes and got him some work with Harpers Bazaar. They co-illustrated "Amy Vanderbilt's Book of Etiquette" She also gave him his first cat.
Mary Suzuki was active in the 50s and 60s working for Vogue, Harpers Bazaar, and Seventeen Magazines. She was honored by the Society of Illustrators and was included in Marquise's Who's Who. She also participated in the first feminist art exhibition "Women Choose Women" at the Huntington Hartford Museum. She cited Ben Shaun and the Ashcan School as influences. She died in 1974 of cancer.
The person who provided this information, presumably the son or daughter of Mary Suzuki, did not provide their contact info, so, I encourage them to contact me via email if they wish.  I would love to post more info and a photo of Ms. Suzuki at work on this blog if at all possible!  For now, however, I am glad to have this info with the previous post and grateful to be able to share it in this new post as well.

Andy Warhol, Harper's Bazaar, 1958

In looking at these illustrations side by side, there can be little doubt that Warhol was influenced by his friend Suzuki.  Assuming the story above is true (and I believe it to be) it would have been especially generous for Ms. Suzuki to encourage a new young talent and to help him obtain work in a field where she was already working - especially if his designs were heavily influenced by her own!   I say this with no slight to Warhol, he would have been in his early 20's at the time, still finding his way artistically, and there is no doubt he went on to to become one of the great creative minds of our time.  With his work and theories firmly rooted in commercialism, however, it is interesting to know that this woman provided him guidance at such an impressionable time.

Andy Warhol, Harper's Bazaar, July, 1958

I thought I had found some additional illustrations from Mary Suzuki, but, once I sat down to compile this post, I realized some of the images I have are duplicates of what I already posted.  I do have some more, though, so will share those as well.  If you have more feel free to share!  Of course, we do know that Mary and Andy illustrated the first edition of Amy Vanderbilt's Etiquette book, and, I also noticed this photo on another blog.

Mary Suzuki, Esquire, January 1957

Mary Suzuki, Harper's Bazaar, August 1953

Mary Suzuki, Harper's Bazaar, August 1953

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


An eternal beauty.  This is a gorgeous studio shot I picked up somewhere in my travels.  Click and zoom for more details. Glamour personified.  Rest in peace, Ms. Taylor.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Girls will be girls....

I spied this vintage Kodachrome photo (dated 1951) in the shop of another Etsy seller and just had to have it!  I loved the expressions on their faces, the camaraderie, the lipstick!

I also love how, just like the young women of today, they are all dressed somewhat alike in the trends of the time.  At that time, it was blue jeans rolled up with wide cuffs, flats and a button down shirt.  Just the picture of sweetness except, wait...what is this?

Oh my!  Also a bit of rebel in these young girls!  That one has such a sweet expression on her face too!  I did not notice this detail until I had the photo in-hand and it just made me love it all the more.  I love candids of women from past decades and will continue to post them here on occasion for your enjoyment.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Spring Has Sprung!

And what better way to celebrate the first day of Spring than to feature some delectable vintage spring hats?  Here at Carmen and Ginger we just found a trio of beauties this past week, including a lovely Dior.  We decided to show some of them off, along with others in our inventory, and their cousins from 1955, as we prep them for listing in the shop.

This Mr. John dates to the 1960's and is quite the beauty!

Our Dior is a floaty chiffon turban - likely 1960's - in lovely spring colors!

We just love this one-size-fits all early 1950's Everitt Bucket Style Needlepoint hat!

Our Betmar is likely early 1970's and super mint!

This beauty has no tag.  Amazing quality though!  That embellishment on the front is stitched on and is not a brooch.  It includes molded glass stones and aurora borealis indicative of a higher end costume jewelry maker.  Any ideas on who may have produced this stunner?

All vintage images courtesy of, and, copyright March, 1955 Harper's Bazaar.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

On the Cusp of Spring...

I wanted to add the final photos of my glorious Amaryllis coming into full bloom!  I snapped a couple before I left town for a few days as it started to reach and extend.  Once I returned, it had bloomed into these fabulous blossoms!  All of this was from one bulb; one stalk produced two full blooms, the other produced four full blooms.  Amazing!  All photos are large for your viewing pleasure but copyright 2011 Christine Francis-Barta.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Should I Stay Or Should I go?

Yesterday, while at the local Salvation Army, (see previous post) I also spied this luscious full length espresso leather coat with bad-ass snaps up the front, killer leather lacing details and the original mod belt!  (actually, it's attached).  I do not know about your Salvation Army, but mine, being in a college town, I suppose, marks this sort of coat quite high, and, on a special red tag that is never included in the 50% off sales.  This coat, in fact, was priced at six times what I paid for the wool crepe coat

Look at those details!  And the leather is buttery soft.  So, how did I get from too expensive to photo shoot at home?  Well, I stopped by again today to see if I could find any matching skirts for those jackets of yesterday (no luck).  And as I made a quick pass by some areas I'd scoured the previous day, I noticed a handwritten sign I had not noticed before.  It read "Red Tags 50% Off."  What?  Wait, the red tags that are never on sale are 50% off?  I looked for this coat and at first thought it was missing, then, magically found it again.  At half off it is still three times what I paid for the wool crepe, but, it is a thing of funky beauty.

Now here's the kicker, I assumed the coat was too small for me.  Beauties like these tend to the small to extra small size and I completely assumed I was buying for resale.  Until I got home and tried it on.  It fits perfectly.  So here is the dilemma, does it stay or does it go?  I must fess up, I own at least 15 vintage leather jackets already.  Should I "release" one for this one?  I have done it before...hmnnnn......




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