Wednesday, December 18, 2013

In the Market Report: "Horsing Around"


Jackie Kennedy in Seville 1966
(Click on images for larger views)

While I wouldn’t quite label myself an equestrienne (okay, okay…actually, I think the last time I was on a real horse, was when I was a little girl on a pony), I have nonetheless always been drawn to the formal correctness and innate elegance of classic riding clothes; the timeless appeal of which cannot be denied. Regardless of the vagaries that define ‘in’ and ‘out’, ready to wear and accessories based on the age old sport (perfectly tailored hacking jackets, crisp white shirts with stock ties, jodhpurs, handbags decorated with sturdy horse bit hardware, and tall riding boots) are always “comme il faut” and always look just right.

Just think of the enduring images of past thoroughbred fashion icons Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and C.Z. Guest, on their beloved horses, clad in superbly cut tweeds and wearing various elements of a riding habit.  It’s a look that never gets old and is as perfect today as it was years back. And then there’s the ‘new guard’, perfectly exemplified by the beautiful 27 year old Monegasque noble, Princess Charlotte Casiraghi of Monaco. In 2012, the successful equestrian show jumper, was signed as the face of Forever Now, a campaign series that celebrates four of Gucci’s most iconic designs: the first three campaigns were in honor of the red and green stripe, the horse bit and the Flora print, and this latest one is a celebration of the Bamboo bag. (She is currently on maternity leave).

Vintage Marcus Brothers rattan wicker bag

Speaking of horses, most recently, I found myself inexplicably obsessed with a certain vintage 1960’s Marcus Brothers rattan wicker horse head purse after seeing images of it on www.pinterest. With mini bridle, brass nail heads, and lifelike green marble eyes, it proved rare and elusive but, yup! I eventually found one. (Actually, I should say “giddy yup” I found one!) And when I realized that coincidentally, 2014 is the Year of the Horse in the Chinese calendar, I surmised that I was prematurely on to something.

The Year of the Horse starts from Jan. 31, 2014 (the Lunar New Year / Spring Festival of China) and lasts to Feb. 18, 2015. The spirit of the horse (which is perceived as energetic, bright, warm hearted, intelligent, and able) is “recognized to be the Chinese people's ethos – making unremitting efforts to improve themselves”. By the way, is it me, or does there seem to be an uncanny correlation between the Chinese New Year and fashion? It’s not lost on me that 2013 was the Year of the Snake on the Chinese calendar, and weren’t snake and python patterns literally all over the fashion runways this past year? And 2015 will be the Year of the Sheep (many devoted followers of fashion can certainly be likened to sheep, no?)

Vintage Hermes silk scarf blouse with horses on Ebay

In any event, if you too, want to celebrate, and pay tribute to the noble creature, there’s no better, more authentic place to look than Hermes. Say the word horse, and the word Hermes immediately pops into my mind, (though I suppose you could say the same thing about Chanel, after Karl Lagerfeld’s recent Texas hoedown- LOL). There’s no luxury goods company whose storied history is as inextricably linked to all things equestrian; or who has so perfectly captured the regal spirit of the horse, than Hermes. Their website, www.hermes.com, has an entire “equestrian” category (items for him, her, and horse), and of course, many of their immediately identifiable signature heavy silk twill scarves, and scarf printed blouses and jackets, feature the horse and horse carriages. They are readily available in stores (Hermes boutiques worldwide, and in department stores like Bergdorf Goodman), as well as online.

Hermes horse printed scarf A Cheval Sur Mon Carre on Ebay

A quick search on www.etsy  turned up several vintage Hermes scarves with prominent horse prints, and on www.ebay.com, I came across a large selection of both new and vintage offerings, including one far more unusual horse printed silk scarf blouse, and  cream wool knit cardigan whose front panels are covered with a multicolor horse silk print. By the way, if you yawn at the thought of a silk scarf, and have run out of ways to wear one, Hermes has added a Silk Knots App to their website, which instantly reminds you how to instantly create different looks.  And don’t forget to splash on a bit of Caleche, or their newest, Kelly Caleche (caleche translates to “a two-wheeled one-horse vehicle with a seat for the driver on the splashboard”).


Curtis Jere Brass Horse Head Sculpture 1stdib.com

As for some notable non fashion horse related items, www.1stdibs.com is offering a 1953 Lalique crystal molded glass Horse Head, $16,920; a Curtis Jere Brass Horse Head sculpture from the 70’s/80’s, $4200; a Horse and Rider weathervane, $13,600; and an 1800’s carved wooden rocking horse, $1600. And don’t forget the upcoming Winter Antiques Show (www.winterantiquesshow.com), an annual benefit for the East Side Settlement House. Celebrating its 60th year Diamond Jubilee, it is considered to be the “most prestigious antiques show in America” featuring the “best of the best” from antiquities through the 1960’s. Held at the historic Park Avenue Armory, it is THE perfect place to search for, and find, the finest collectibles in all categories. The show runs from January 24th – February 2, 2014. The Opening Night Party is on January 23rd, and the Young Collector’s Night, January 30th.

For press inquiries, contact: Josh Schoenfelder, Senior Account Executive Sharp Communications, Inc.; js@sharpthink.com, 212 829 0002, ext. 136; Jessica Alter Account Supervisor: ja@sharpthink.com, 212 829 0002, ext. 104.




- Marilyn Kirschner






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