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Tuesday, 3 June 2014

FOUND - Scarf Unwraps a Trailblazer

Yesterday I found this unworn silk and wool Oscar de la Renta scarf, still in its charming Lord & Taylor box. A high-end men's neck warmer designed by a Dominican and made in Japan, vintage 80s, originally purchased at an American department store ends up in a charity shop for Polish orphans in West London - this scarf has wrapped itself 'round the globe. While researching the distinctive L&T rose logo and packaging, I found out that a woman named Dorothy Shaver was President of Lord & Taylor from 1945. She was the first woman in the United States to head a multi-million dollar company and is credited with much of the east coast retailer's success. She was an early proponent of American designers over the more ubiquitous French fashion set. Dorothy began work for Lord & Taylor in 1921 when she was hired to lead its Comparison Bureau, the arm of the company tasked with spying on other big retailers (the original "secret shoppers" I'd say). For more on the rise of the modern department store, read Emile Zola's novel "The Ladies Paradise." This slash of scarlet silk will be perfect tucked into the neckline of my black coat come winter. I'll have to keep up standards as now that I've made her acquaintance I wonder if Dot isn't "spying" on my style? The scarf and box cost £5.   

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