Do You Know Vera?

Vera Neumann

No not Wang or Bradley.  Neumann.  Ive been in love with her prints for half a dozen years but only until recently did I figure out who she was.  The first time I came across her signature logo was at an old dusty dress shop on a town square in the middle of no where Tennessee.  My friends and I were antiquing and came across scarves and napkins.   We saw potential in the beautiful patterns to become pillows.   I was curious from the beginning about who Vera was but in my initial internet search many years ago there was nothing that gave me any knowledge about the person or company that illustrated these colorful patterns.

As the sewer of the group, I took home everyones Vera treasures to turn into pillows.  But I hung on to my set of napkins afraid to break them up until I knew who Vera was.  My napkins were pink tulips in various completed illustrated stages, some line drawings, some painted.  Being that they were pink and I had a 3 year old little girl at the time I gave them to her to use in her dress up and pretend play.  They were often set at her tea table or wrapped as blankets around her stuffed animals.

The first set of pillows I made for my friends were scarves in brown polka dot and floral patterns on cream backgrounds.  I sewed ice blue satin to the back being very careful not to cut the scarf incase we wanted ever wanted to take apart the pillow and reclaim it.    I loved them so much, it was hard to send them to her because they also matched my Dwell Studio bedding at the time.

Vera Neumann Scarves made into pillows

The third Vera treasure moved around with me from Tennessee to New York to North Carolina and back to New York again.  It was a larger scarf in two shades of springy green with polka dots and a center circle design.

Vera Neumann scarf

Then it was in New York this spring that I ran across a book about Vera Neumann.  Eureka!! I had finally found Vera!

Vera: The Art and Life of an Icon

image via: craftycookups.blogspot

Excitedly I searched and found so much information from recent product launches with Crate and Barrel, MAC cosmetics and Anthropologie to blogposts celebrating her endless illustrations, Etsy sellers crafting with the linens and information on her company history, which is still very much active.  Here is an excerpt from The Vera Company website:

“The Vera Company owns the extensive library of prints, original artwork, scarves, and the trademarks and copyrights of the late, iconic American artist, Vera Neumann. Vera was a pioneer in design who successfully cross-licensed her designs into linens, scarves and sportswear. Her company began at her kitchen table in 1947 and grew into a multi-million dollar international business. All Vera products started as original pieces of art from her own hand and sported the distinctive Vera signature (often with a ladybug) trademark. After years of being dormant, the beloved Vera brand is back and is experiencing a resurgence among old and new fans alike – for once you know Vera, you adore her.”

Between the 40’s through her death in 1993, with several company changes, Vera designed everything from wallpaper, bedding, table linens to dresses, blouses and her signature scarves.  All signed with her name and sometimes with a ladybug.  8,000 of her designs are copyrighted in the Library of Congress.  With so many works of art designed over a span of 50 years a Vera original can pop up anywhere.  An iconic Vera scarf was all Marilyn Monroe wore in her famous “Last Sitting” shoot in 1962 by Bert Stern.

Marilyn Monroe in Vera Neumann scarf

So I missed the boat on the Anthropolgie products released in 2009, the collection was called We Love Vera.  Apparently it happened during the month that I moved from New York to North Carolina.  So I see how I missed that,  I really wasn’t out shopping while I moved my family across the country and I guess my catalog wasn’t forwarded either.  Design* Sponge gave an excellent report on the launch here.

We Love Vera dress Anthropolgie 2009

We Love Vera skirt Anthropolgie 2009

We Love Vera dress Anthropolgie 2009

We Love Vera skirt Anthropolgie 2009

I also missed the MAC Cosmetics launch, but some products are still available online here.  The embossed “scarf” corner of the face powder is a perfect design element to represent The Vera Company.  Here is a good blog post on the rest of the collection (BTW this blog author gives EXCELLENT make-up tutorials on YouTube, I just realized she the same girl who taught me how to apply my Red Queen halloween make up).

MAC cosmetics Vera Collection face powder

But I did NOT miss the Crate and Barrel launch of dish towels and aprons.  Mainly because I receive the CB catalog every few weeks and I had already learned about Vera from the book.  So she was in my radar now.  I picked up a few dishtowels (the ones pictured below) and they go nicely with my green backsplash and orange Air Chairs.

After getting excited about discovering the beauty of Vera I realized I still owed my friend a pillow from the scarf that moved around with me for half a dozen years.  I turned that green dotted scarf into a large euro size pillow with luscious white silk envelope back.

Vera Neumann vintage scarf pillow

Vera Neumann vintage scarf pillow

Vera Neumann vintage scarf pillow

So now you know Vera and next time you are out vintage shopping or maybe just at the mall, pick up some brightly colored works of art and start your own collection.

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4 Comments

Filed under NBID, Paper + Fabric

4 responses to “Do You Know Vera?

  1. i didn’t know vera, and glad for the introduction, great prints!

  2. Cute patterns! I love your style and your ability to turn something into a beautiful new creation!