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Trunk Show

A trunk, also known as a traveling chest, is a type of luggage that was historically used for extended periods of time and long stays away from home. The trunks travelled with individuals to such places as boarding schools and trips abroad. Whereas chests have been traditionally used as storage containers, trunks were created in more rugged materials, with more divots, hardware, and nails, to withstand rougher wear. Even though trunks have been around for thousands of years (in China, but also elsewhere), the most common styles recognized hail from the late 18th century to the early 20th. Since trunks were so heavy, they were often not carried by the owner or traveler, but usually by servants via its handles. Trunks have been replaced by lighter and cheaper suitcases. These newer forms of luggage also have heels allowing the item to become more easily mobile.

The Louis Vuitton “Library Trunk”. In 1923, Louis Vuitton created a trunk for books, the use of which was not exclusive for travel but also for at home. Many well-known writers joined the bibliophiles and collectors acquiring these trunks, including Ernest Hemingway and Françoise Sagan.

Trunks can be wood based (usually pine) or metal based. The trunks can also come in a bevy of styles including steamers (or flat-tops), hat-trunks, barrel-staves, bevel-tops, wardrobes, and dome-tops. Victorian trunks are especially prized because of the intricate customization and compartments held within each piece. Trunks from the Victorian era had complex tray systems, hat boxes, coin purses, and hidden compartments. Those trunks were sometimes also decorated for lady owners with chromolithographs of flowers, village scenes, initials, and other personalizations.

The home of Jon and Paige Ashcroft via DesignSponge, HERE. 

Trunk via Restoration Hardware as part of the travel inspired “Richards Metal Trunk Series”. 

Whereas a CHEST was actually created to be a piece of furniture, TRUNKS were not. It is only recently that they have been used as coffee tables, side tables, and decorative storage. I have not one, but FIVE vintage trunks in my apartment – three are stacked as a decorative accent. One is in my living room as an end table that stores books and blankets. The other is my board game cupboard! I found my trunks at vintage stores for around $50-200 each. If you don’t feel like lugging (literally) your luggage back from a store – try Etsy! Your vitange trunk is filled with history; think about all the places your trunk as gone and secrets it has hidden. One particularly amazing Etsy shop called SalvageShack creates pet beds, tables, and shelving from old luggage.

This trunk stack becomes a high table for the entryway. Designed by Ron Marvin in San Francisco. 

This French inspired room, complete with pewter accents, and nailed hardware on the trunk is extremely romantic. Image from Traditional Home found HERE.

Modern, masculine, and somehow with a minimal desert vibe. Image by Birdhouse Interior Design Consulting in Omaha, NE.

Ornate, busy, western, and yet awesome -like visiting your quirky Great Aunt Madge. Image by by Period Homes, Inc. from Fort Worth, TX.

Like living inside a rustic boarding school. Image by Alicia via Houzz.

When in doubt, spray paint your trunk white! This gives the object a sculptural look. Image via a Beach Cottage.

Via The Foundary.

The perfect accent. It allows a new home to have a “lived-in-old-home vibe”. Image via Desire to Inspire.

A French, provincial, country cottage! Not one, but TWO trunks in the photo. Image found HERE.

Vintage Luxe meets Liberace meets Versailles. Image via Gypsy House Designs.

This is the Vuitton trunk in the library of US fashion designer, Tommy Hilfiger’s house in Greenwich, Connecticutt. If it’s good enough for Tommy, it’s good enough for me. Image found via Fashionphile, HERE.

Trunks don’t have to be rustic. By softening the color palette, the one above is pastel, feminine, modern, breezy, and warm. Photograph by Jon Day via House to Home, HERE.

In the end, I love the idea of reinventing an object’s use. A trunk would obsolete had it not been for creative designers and homeowners. Now it is functional again in the 21st century! Reduce, Reuse, Recycle!

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Silver Screen Scenes (2)

I remember my first love. It was a summer in the 1960’s. I was on holiday. We met in the Catskills. He was a tough, misunderstood, ne’er-do-well dance instructor with great hair. I was a naive, privileged, daddy’s girl who wanted to take a walk on the wild side. Wait, Wait, Wait, that wasn’t me.  That was Frances ‘Baby’ Houseman (Jennifer Grey) and Johnny Castle (Patrick Swayze) in Dirty Dancing. I have watched this movie an uncountable and incalculable number of times – case in point – I used to have “CRAZY FOR SWAYZE” sleepover nights with girlfriends.

Keep Calm and Carry a Watermelon (Screencaps Here).

Dirty Dancing is meant to capture a time in American history before families vacationed at Disney World or took International Cruises, before people were heading to the Bahamas or Cancun, families wholesomely vacationed in New York’s Catskill Mountains. From the 1920’s until the 1960’s, families often traveled to now mostly defunct summer camps – colloquially termed “Jewish Alps” or the “Borscht Belt”. The movie is scripted to take place during the decline of these camps and the onslaught of commercial airline travel. Well-known resorts of the area included Brickman’s, Brown’s, The Concord, Friar Tuck Inn, Gibber’s, Gilbert’s, Grossinger’s, Granit, the Heiden Hotel, Irvington, Kutsher’s Hotel and Country Club, the Nevele, The Laurels Hotel and Country Club, and The Pines Resort.

c. 1940s postcard of the Pine Tree Villa, a primarily Jewish resort at Kiamesha Lake, New York in the Borscht Belt of the Catskill Mountains!  Finely detailed image, showing layout of many of the resort’s buildings, including the casino and tennis courts to the left.  Was run by Greenberg & Son. The unused postcard can be purchased HERE.

GROSSINGER’S: The resort’s huge pool in the 1950s (Here).

The indoor and outdoor pool at GROSSINGER’S, dilapidated and in disrepair as of 2008 (Here).

My mom remembers a time when she used to visit these summer camps! She told me that such comedic legends at Woody Allen, Don Rickles, Rodney Dangerfield, Carl Reiner, George Burns, Mel Brooks, Fanny Brice, Bea Arthur and Joan Rivers got their start at these hotel resorts. Amazing actresses and entertainers such as Carole King, Shari Lewis, Mel Torme, Barbara Streisand, and Joel Grey also performed yearly at the establishments. These establishments were also some of the only places wherein African American performers were allowed to frequent (before Civil Rights) and was referred to as “The Chitlin Circuit”. The Supremes, Duke Ellington, The Four Tops, Etta James, Cab Calloway, and Smokey Robinson are some of the famous acts who frequented east coast resort towns. Clearly the performance halls and boarding houses nestled in the counties of Upstate New York have had an everlasting effect on the landscape of entertainment. However, has anyone yearned for the decor of this time period?

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Take Off Your Gloves

“See, how she leans her cheek upon her hand!/O that I were a glove upon that hand,/That I might touch that cheek!” – Line 24,scene 2 Act 2 of Romeo and Juliet, William Shakespeare

(Found Here.)

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(Vintage Christian Dior Ads)

Kid Gloves were made from the skin of a young goat (a kid) or sometimes a lamb. These gloves were softer, more delicate, and finer than gloves made from cow leathers (or other hard leathers). Eventually wearing “kid gloves” and using the phrase “to handle with kid gloves” became a symbol of elegance, aristocracy, and gentility in the early 1800s. The cliche “handle with kid gloves” therefore means to be very tactful, mild, and docile. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the term was first used in that sense (or written, anyway) in the 1830s.

Introducing THE WALL O’ GLOVES spotted at the 5th Avenue, Flatiron District J. Crew: 

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