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?