Vera (Neumann) had a prolific career as an artist and designer. Her hand painted designs have appeared on everything from scarves to dinnerware, bedding, fashion, and towels. Her first foray into licensing her name and artwork was with the fabric house F. Schumacher in 1947. It was a pairing of two textile powerhouses. The first design Vera did for Schumacher was called “Tibet”, a landscape of Himalayan pine trees and traditional architecture.
“Tibet” by Vera Neumann
One of Vera’s most popular and recognizable designs with Schumacher was her “Jack in the Pulpit” which was introduced in 1949. This fabric was used in the Sun Room of the White House by the Trumans in 1952. “Jack in the Pulpit” remained available in Schumacher showrooms until 1986 – a noteworthy long run for any pattern. It featured ferns, one of Vera’s signatures that she depicted in many of her patterns.
When I found this super cute vintage dress, I immediately had to start looking up the label. Most of the time I don’t come up with much on these general kind of name labels. There’s so many of them and most have long lost the history of their origins. Every so often I’ll read a blog post out there that unearths some great grandchild of the legacy of a lable and I always find it fascinating. Check out my friend Lizzie’s blog The Vintage Traveler if you’re fond of historical stories about vintage. Especially her interview with Vera Neumann’s nephew and Enid Collin’s son. Both excellent reads!
Sadly, I don’t have the killer detective skills of Lizzie, but I do love vintage labels and researching them a little for my own curiosity. This time around I took a gander around for Carlette. Turns out Emmanuelle Khanh was one of the lines contributing designers. I’ve had another Khanh piece in my possession some years ago. That one was for Youthquake and included her name on the label, so we know it was her design.
Lilly Pulitzer was one of those labels that early on in my vintage hunting career was one of those top labels you knew were a real score when you snagged one. Lilly’s fun prints and great preppy vibes were always a hit on the online action circuit. It’s been quite a few years since I’ve picked up a vintage Lilly in a thrift shop so it goes to show that the masses were totally picking up on the labels value.
Reading Lilly’s New York Times obituary, there’s one line that just crushed my soul as a vintage lover – “Although Ms. Pulitzer occasionally consulted with the company in recent years, once she retired, she threw out most of her archives and went on with her life, quite privately, in Palm Beach.” Ahhhh, that’s heartbreaking.