I wasn't yet eighteen when I graduated from high school. I remember sitting in the family room as my mother handed me a package that had arrived that day from Chicago, impressively wrapped and addressed by long-standing friends of my parents. Inside was an embossed gray box that read "Gucci" on its lid, and I looked up at my mom inquisitively, almost as though there may have been some mistake in recipient. She smiled, and I continued with the box, opening the lid to reveal crisp tissue that enfolded a beautiful silk scarf.
The pale pinks, golds, and soft olive greens were like nothing I'd ever seen before. The border of ropes and acanthus scrolls surrounded a central design of stately antique chairs, settees, and stools, furniture I'd only seen in my grandparent's house, or in my research on private collections for a paper I'd written on a dream career in the auction house industry earlier that year. Surely something this elegant couldn't be meant for me. "Where on earth would I wear something like this?" I thought to myself as I held the scarf out to admire it, and then looked down at my tennis shoes--I'm pretty sure I had just come from practice.
I folded the scarf, putting it back in the box and replaced the lid, and there it stayed until my sophomore year in college. I had been studying American Furniture as an Art History major, and I had--to my great delight--secured an internship at Christie's in New York for the month of January. Outfitted with new suits, jackets, and heels, I made my way to Manhattan, and, at the last minute, I tucked the gray box into my suitcase, just in case I had an opportunity to wear it. Somehow, the timing never seemed right, and I kept it hidden away in my suitcase during my time in the city.
Not even a year later, I found myself living in Paris for studies abroad, and the scarf came, too, ready for the fashionable adventures that surely awaited. Where else might a stunning silk scarf make its debut if not in the City of Lights? Though I made a trip to Hermès to purchase a small silk neckerchief for myself--the experience as much a souvenir as the scarf itself--the Gucci graduation gift never left its box that semester.
Fast forward through graduate studies in New York, endeavors as a growing jewelry designer in the south, births of two children, and, all the while, the scarf remained unworn...until another trip to Paris presented itself with a dear friend a few years ago.
As I went to put some final things in my bags before heading to the airport, I noticed a worn square orange box from Hermès with a hand-written note atop sitting next to my luggage. I sat down, realizing my mother must have snuck this last-minute gift in to my bedroom before saying "bon voyage," and I read her card with a smile. She explained that she and my father had purchased the enclosed scarf as a gift for my grandmother, and that my grandmother had worn and loved it many times before eventually passing it back to my mother to enjoy. Now it was mine to keep and perhaps take on this trip. I did, along with the long-folded and unworn Gucci scarf.
That trip to Paris marks a turning point in many ways for me--I subtly came to several realizations during the course of those ten days. I rediscovered my passion for travel, I found pleasure in aimless wandering again, in spending time alone, and in the things I've always loved but had maybe forgotten. I was confident in my dress in a way I don't think I'd considered before (something about being in Paris inspires choices you'd likely not make at home, but it completely works there somehow) and I wore both scarves with such ease that I laughed about how long it had taken me to do so before. Maybe I was finally becoming that woman I was convinced I would never be. The irony is, I wore one of the scarves with tennis shoes.
Later, my mother graciously added another scarf to my collection, a Gucci design of my great-grandmother's that has the most glorious butterflies, leaves, and mushrooms across its silk twill surface, and I faithfully wear each of the scarves as often as I can. Whether draped lightly over my shoulders, tied in a knot at the side, wrapped twice around the neck, twisted as a belt, under one of our statement necklaces like a beautiful backdrop, or even tucked around a favorite handbag, they're a way for me to bring that long-awaited touch of sophistication and elegance to my every day. A way to keep those I love close. A way to honor the style that is my own, that came in its own time, and that will surely deepen in the years ahead. And maybe even be passed along to my own daughters who will find their own ways to wear and enjoy these treasured heirlooms one day.
I hope you'll enjoy the collection of vintage scarves I've curated over these past months for our Spring Collection. Some hail from famed fashion houses like Gucci and Hermès, others have no label at all, but are simply lovely nonetheless. Each is reminiscent of the designs I own and love, and they've been selected with timeless style and unique elegance in mind, qualities I love as much in the jewelry I create as in life itself.
There's lots to which to look forward this spring, friends...mark your calendars for these upcoming fun times:
Wednesday, March 8th - Spring Collection 2017 arrives online!
Friday through Sunday, March 10 - 12 - Our first spring show with the Junior League of Louisville's Tulips and Juleps at Louisville Slugger Field!
Thursday, March 23rd - Learn to make a beaded necklace in our next in-studio jewelry workshop. Register here!
Happy ElvaLENTINE's, friends! We're celebrating in style with lots of heart and would love to share the love...sign up to access a special promo code that will offer 20% off anything on the site, now through Valentine's Day AND you'll receive a free gift when you order that is sweet and stylish and oh-so-love-ly! Click the image above or right here, and you'll be on your way to the love-liest fun!