Tuesday, June 22, 2010
Inspiring Icons/ Vera Neumann
For many years I have been an admirer of Vera Neumann’s work, I first discovered her when moving to NY and finding a collection of plates bearing her name at a thrift store, pretty soon I started to see her name pop up everywhere, It is the iconic signature that always grabs your attention, The Vera trademark also is a ladybug, which features on most of her designs, Apparently she chose it because of its symbolism for good luck and happiness. I love ladybugs so naturally I was drawn to her identity.
Vera was an Artist turned textile designer, She began the business at her 57th Street Manhattan apartment kitchen table in the late 1940’s, and by the 1970’s it was a $100,000 million dollar, worldwide business. For Fashionistas, think of vintage scarves and the name "Vera" instantly resonates, Scarves were actually her first product when venturing into business in 1946 when she and her husband, George Neumann founded Printex along with partner Werner Hamm. In the post- WW2 period, army surplus silk from parachutes became available cheaply and so she used this as her primary material.
Business grew quick and by the 1950’s Vera had expanded the business to include a team of designers. The teams of designers were responsible for taking the original design that was done by Vera herself in the form of a 36" scarf, and translating it into other products. She also increased her line to include clothing and also kitchen/ table/ bedroom linens and dinner/ plate ware and wallpaper. The plate ware and table linens, which I love, is which is mainly what I choose to personally collect. About 500-600 different designs a year were produced, Geometrics, especially dots, were very popular, as were bold florals.
Vera worked nearly up to her death in 1993. After that, the company was bought and sold, actually the artwork and 20,000 scarves ended up sitting in a warehouse in Georgia and it was not till 2005 that purchased assets of Vera’s were starting to surface and being were used again to produce new lines available again. The evidence of this can be seen with the new “We Love Vera” collection at Anthropologie. The clever bunnies at Anthropologie have licensed some of Vera's one of kind designs and are using them in a collection of clothing, bedding, and tableware. There is also a great book available there called “Vera, The Art and Life of an Icon” by Susan Seid, who is the driving force behind reintroducing Vera to a new generation. It is published by Abrams, New York.
You can check out more at www.theveracompany.blogspot.com, also another great site is mrpeacockstyle.blogspot.com to read more about Vera.
As a Stylist I admire her taste and drive for design, Pictures of her homes in the book are amazing and awe inspiring, I hope you become as inspired by her as I.