Friday, July 31, 2009

Roses & Ruffles

Imagine my surprise when the J.Crew catalog appeared in my mailbox a few months ago with a model wearing a fabulous spray of silk and velvet flowers on the cover. How fast did I rifle through the pages only to find that they were not for sale?! "Oh," the wise old editor, said to herself, "they are going to hear about that."

Last week, I received a new mailing from J. Crew--with a velvet rose in several shades for sale. How long did it take me to order several for gifts? About the click of a key, my dears. Greg, our UPS delivery man, brought them this morning. OK. I bought them for gifts but I have a sneaky feeling that one or two will get pinned to my rose pillow and from there migrate to a jacket label this fall. My "pillow" is a small satin throw pillow made some years ago for a photography shoot. It did a lot of service on sofas over the years. Now it's perched on my mantel completely covered with roses in many fabrics and shades. Like a pin collection I have on a patchwork heart--when it gets too crowded, it's a message to pare down.

My roses are a perfect example of a "Nancy collection." I never try to go too overboard and just enjoy a few of my favorite things. But then again, when will I find velvet roses in lush colors at these prices? One of the roses on my pillow is an antique that I handle with care. One is wool, made from the material of a jacket I ordered from Katherine Hooker in England. She's since been making clothes for women the Royals date. I guess I can say I knew her when.

What struck me about the latest J. Crew mailing is how much the clothes seemed to be influenced by what I began calling Vintage Hip a few years ago. The models were in settings with paintings and roses in the background. There were definitely echoes of Victoriana in the ruffled shirts. Granted, they are paired with jeans--but the mood and spirit are there. I've always thought Victorian women were the most adventurous role models we could ever find. They were the women who settled this country--petticoats and all. They traveled the world as explorers. It's a great heritage to be proud of.

So, if roses and ruffles make me think of the Victorians, thank you, J. Crew. And thank you for bringing a bit of grace and elegance back into our fashion world. I can only vouch for the roses, however--they are well-made and very, very pretty. Have you found something wonderful you'd like to share with the rest of us?


  1. I've been quietly drooling over the velvety jacket featured in that catalog, contribution is to send your readers to view the TOAST catalog; a British clothing merchant whose intelligent looking models and inventive layout echo Victoria in its heyday. Fans of Victoria will feel right at home with the romance and sensitivity of the images...and the fact that it looks more like a peek into a marvelous romance than the typical parade of glaring, gaudy items that pass for clothing these days. Here's the link:

    Daydreaming, Karen Marline

  2. Nancy,

    I received a copy of the J. Crew catalog earlier in the week and thought how wonderful it was they are offering so many wearable vintage inspired pieces. Certainly the suede ruffled Mary Janes could have been featured in your Victoria!

    Thank you for asking J. Crew to sell their velvet flower pin. When velvet flower pins were featured in Victoria about 15 years ago I could only afford to dream of them. (So many of the beautiful things Victoria featured were on my someday list and by the time my someday arrived your Victoria was gone!)

    One such item on my list was the rose pin fashioned after the delicate rose in the Victoria logo. Do you know where I might be able to find one today?



  3. Love it!!! Pretty, pretty, pretty. :) Thanks so much for stopping by. If you stop by today's post, I have a fun announcement up (after the name of the Giveaway winner) :)

  4. I have started to notice a small shift in the fashion wind and do hope some classic romantic touches may be on their way back. I love the idea of your flower collection on display, making you smile each time you see it. So much better than stashed away in a drawer.

    Thank you so very much for starting your blog! I can't express how wonderful it is to "hear" your voice again. I hope you'll occasionally share more "favorite things".


  5. Apart from the beautiful JCrew catalog, did everyone see the darling ad for JCrew kids...2 girls shown from the back with their braids intertwined? Loved it, loved it
    Janet Harrington

  6. I absolutely love the velvet Roses also! I looked them up in the J crew site, would love a couple , but just can't afford them right now. I think that they would be so pretty clipped to the white cutwork pillow covers I use for display on my bed! Now that I am thinking about it,a couple of them would be so pretty pinned on the matching antique cutwork curtain panels for some tieback embellishments too!

    Speaking of velvet,My very favorite ever dream Victorian crazy quilt,made of velvet, silk, & satin, featured in an older Victoria magazine & also in the Victoria book called-"From Heart & Hand" on page -172.,It is in a bedroom,on a bed much like mine. wouldn't these velvet roses be the perfect finishing touch?-, esp. with that gorgeous quilt? Love,Valery

  7. Valery, keep in mind that there are many less expensive alternatives for what you want to do. At one time Papyrus had large roses, nicely done, for under $10. (It's the large white rose on the top of the pillow!) And I'm sure you can employ your decorating ideas if you are willing to shop for alternatives - maybe in some local vintage shops? Best, Nancy

  8. Thanks ,Nancy!-I do have a Hot Pink vintage Rose & a Black Velvet one that my Mother gave to me, from a Hat that she wore.I keep them in a drawer of special things things that she gave to me. My precious Mother passed away a year ago last March. I think I will put them on a pillow, like you did with yours.That is such a neat idea.

    Speaking of decorative fabric Flowers,& collections, - a very Dear friend of mine who is the current moderator of the Yahoo group I am a member of,called "Timeless Bliss"-{it's all about our beloved Victoria magazine}sent a gorgeous vintage Daisy to me- {as one of many pretty items she gathered & mailed}- it has the prettiest hand -sewn, pearl seed beads in the center of it.I wore it in my loose French braided hair lastnight, to the annual "Hot August Nights" event here in Reno. It is a fun thing, she calls it "Collected with Love" items. I had never heard that term before her,we have such fun sharing this.

    I make some very realistic looking Roses out of coffee filters, they are very labor intensive,& I have made a lot of them.The ones I made for my Mother,she kept at her bedside,& just loved them. It was the same week that she passed away.They look so real,that I also used them amongst her many other "real" Flowers from people at her memorial service, no one knew that they were paper coffee filter Roses. I wish there was a way to post pictures on here, I could show them to all of you.

    I do sew a little,but would never attempt making a quilt as intricate as the one in the "From Heart & Hand" victoria book. Maybe this winter I could try to make a few of the velvet Roses, & then send the fabric to North Dakota for my Aunts that still have "Quilting Bees", to make a similar one for me. Love, Valery

  9. Another nice source for inexpensive, yet attractive "silk" flowers is (surprisingly) New York & Co. They have a new pre-fall collection that features lightweight fabric flower pins--they show them pinned in trios. Lots of colors and they won't break the bank at less than $5 a piece. I went forth after your note, Nancy, about the roses and was tickled I could pick up several flowers for the cost of the rose I couldn't find! Thanks for the inspiration!

    Karen Marline

  10. Hi all! I was reading in an October 1993 Victoria magazine this morning- love it all, on page 40 & on Page 96, there is a gorgeous velvet rose that they sold through victoria in that issue, for 55$ in 1993! The ones from J-crew mentioned here are 30$ & it is 2009!Interesting to me...

    Today there in my inbox was a neat flyer from J-Crew for beautiful children's clothing & accessories, they are selling the most gorgeous blooms on a headband & a couple different ones on a clip,-for 10$ each in a choice of silk or chiffon, absolutely lovely, the children's clothing this catalogue looks almost like the children's corner photos in the Victoria, that I have missed so much!-Love,-Valery

  11. Hi,

    I have an antique one... from my grand-mother. It's real precious.

    My white velvet old rose look like the roses on your second photo. So cute!