Scarfing Art, Ascher-Style

I've never been much of a girl for silk scarves, but in the wake of Hermès going on a mission to give its own silk squares an image makeover, my interest was piqued enough to go digging around the Internet for more info on scarves that served as something other than a clichéd feature in most people's image of Parisians.

The story of Ascher's artist scarves (as they're known) began during World War II, when Lida and Zika Ascher of Ascher Textiles began asking leading artists of the day to collaborate with them on the design of a series of silk scarves. This, as a concept, isn't exactly a new one: one could imagine that scarves provide artists with more flexibility to work in two dimensions than, say, a dress, and art/fashion collaborations weren't unknown (e.g. Dali and Schiaparelli, Chanel and Cocteau, Dali illustrating covers for Vogue...) . What is staggering, however, is the roll call of some of the 20th century's greatest artists who designed limited-edition (probably by necessity, since finding materials for the line in post-war London in the era of rationing can't have been easy) scarves for Ascher, which went on sale in 1947. The artists, you ask? Take a deep breath first: Alexander Calder, Henry Moore, Feliks Topolski, Cecil Beaton, Jean Cocteau, Zao Wou Ki, Graham Sutherland, and Henri Matisse, among others.

Eighteen of the scarves were reissued in different colourways earlier this year in limited editions (which is how they came to the attention of the wider public recently), and even though they're staggeringly expensive, I'd still recommend taking a look- here, because that is how fabulous they are.

all pictures from ascherstudios.com. Images, top to bottom, 1. La Mer, by Alexander Calder 2. Le Jour et la Nuit by Oscar Dominguez 3. Nocturne, by Jean Denis Malcles 4. Landscape Fantasy, by Andre Beaurepaire 5. London 1944, by Feliks Topolski 6. Black Trellis, by Graham Sutherland 7. Visage, by Jean Cocteau 8. Echarpe no. 1, by Henri Matisse 9. Paysage Bleu by Zao Wou Ki 10. Contrabandier by Pedro Flores


Of Guts And Gore(y)

This is probably the oddest post I've ever written, but any Edward Gorey fans among the miniscule number that read this, should definitely have a look over here. (it's not that often that vintage fur coats acquired and worn by Edward Gorey himself over the course of three decades- from 1950 to the 1980s- are put up for auction by his estate, as will happen on the 9th of December this year).

Given the fact that the 14 coats in question are described as 'well taken care of' and belonged to the great Gorey himself- in fact, coat no 10 in the lineup at the link is the spitting photographic image of the coat on the gent in the above picture- I reckon they won't go cheap. But fur isn't completely evil here- one of the beneficiaries of the auction proceeds is the Edward Gorey Charitable Trust, which works to benefit animals.

If you're still squeamish about fur and/or don't have the money to spend on Gorey memorabilia, there are other things getting auctioned that weren't once alive and which you can view at the pre-auction exhibition on the 4th and 6th-8th of December at Bloomsbury Auctions in New York- namely, Edward Gorey's illustrating pen, a couple of hand-carved figurines and- deep breath here- around 50 signed editions of his books.

image copyright of Edward Gorey

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Fondest of upbeat music and brightly coloured sweets.