Faux Fuchsia has been having a bit of a Festival of Scarves over on her blog, and it's had me thinking a bit about The Magic that is a Scarf, not least because my Sisters and I finally sorted through the remaining things of our Mum's a couple of weeks ago, and a large bulk of what we had left to sort was her Scarf collection.

There were perhaps 100 scarves in Mum's wardrobe. The number made my Father go somewhat pale when he realised how many there were and mentally tallied up the cost (one thing about the Magic of The Scarf is that they do not take up a lot of room, so Mum had squirrelled away quite a collection over the years without him noticing). Mum was not wedded to a particular style or brand. She had scarves from all over the place, from designer to no brand, collected from the early 1970's onwards, and it would appear that a large proportion of them were souvenirs for her - printed silk scarfs from various Museums around the world (the Picasso Museum for example), or from places like Thailand, where she'd purchased a lot of Thai Silk scarves in small market boutiques. For Mum, these scarves reminded her of her travels. For my sisters and I sorting through, they just remind us of Mum, especially those that were her favourites and that she would wear often.

I brought home a few of them with me.



This first one is one of Mum's Hermes scarfs - Grand Aparat. Mum loved horses, and Greys in particular (she would always bet on a Grey horse for the Melbourne Cup, although they would never win...). Grand Aparat has been issued many times since it was first designed in the early 60's, although Hermes never reissue the same colourways, so that is a good way to date a scarf (my guess would be the early 90's or late 80's for this one).




I used to borrow this Chanel scarf above quite frequently in the early-mid 90's (back when everyone was wearing scarves, as they were a "thing"). I would wear it to work in my part time job at Witchery (mid-range Australian chain store). Witchery did not at that time sell accessories, and I would constantly be asked by customers if my scarf was anywhere in the store on sale, which always made me laugh (Chanel logos were not particularly recognisable by the average person back then).

This post was going to be about how I wear my scarfs (I like to avoid looking like I've just finished my shift as a flight attendant, so will never wear them with a navy blazer). I tend to wear them as belts on my jeans, as headbands, as tops, tied around the handle of my handbag, and in winter around my neck in a couple of different knots that I favour. But as I was writing the post and looking for images, I decided to write about all the other things that you can do with scarfs. A lot of people do not have the lifestyle for scarves, or do not like the look on themselves of a scarf, but still love the artwork and designs, and the beauty from the lustre of the silk.



One thing that I am constantly asked about as a Designer is where to find artwork, and what to put on the walls. I am not terribly fond of what I term "filler" art - meaning something that has little artistic merit, but that fills a blank space and blends in with your interior decor. Often these artworks are not actually that cheap, either. I really think you should love what you put on your walls, and that it should add to your home.

So instead of spending a lot of money on an original artwork of dubious merit, you could instead purchase a scarf and frame it. Ebay has a lot of Hermes scarfs listed on it - the ones without boxes sell for less money than the ones in their boxes, and older designs are often sold for half the cost of retail (Hermes scarves sell for $580 Australian for a 90cm Carre). Of course you could find a scarf by any designer, however from an artistic point of view, Hermes really does lead the way with their scarves.



The beauty of using a scarf as art for your walls, is that you can choose something modern or traditional, something pictorial or graphic - there are so many options. You'll find the colours that you want to use in your space easily in a scarf as well. And for around $400 (average cost of a second hand or new with tags scarf on eBay) you get a very large, and quite exquisitely detailed artwork for your money. The image above uses the same scarf in 4 different colourways to great effect.



Another option for your scarf is to use it as a cushion. Now, for this you'd want to be certain that your cushion is well taken care of (this is not the case in the AV household - it would be on the floor within 30 seconds and probably repurposed for a fort by the children). I think the 70cm Carres work best for this, although the 90's do look good as a European pillow, as on the bed below (and isn't it beautiful with its scolloped back and nailhead trim)



Naomi, who writes the blog Coulda Shoulda Woulda is a bit of a collector of Hermes scarfs, and wrote recently of her experience having a cushion made up with one of them, which was so interesting to hear about. Here's her Tres Kelly Hermes scarf after it's been made into a cushion (which is removable in case you want to wear it again in the future and convert it back from a cushion).

via Coulda Shoulda Woulda

However if you do not have a scarf at hand, but like the look then etsy has a few sellers that sell ready made cushions made from scarfs - at $225US a cushion for a Hermes one they are actually quite good value when you consider that the scarf itself would have originally been more expensive, plus you can easily pay more than that for a standard silk cushion that is 70cm square.




For me there are lots of memories wrapped up in scarfs, both the ones that were my Mum's, the ones that Mr AV has bought me, the ones I've bought myself and where they've been worn. And the magic of the scarf is that not only will they instantly transform an outfit from basic to interesting (check out MaiTai's posts where she shows how a basic outfit is dressed up by the way she adds her accessories if you don't believe me), but they can add a lot of personality and colour to your home as the Art that they really are if you're not inclined toward wearing them.

36 comments:

  1. On the walls is my favourite chic when it comes to scarves, they look stunning in the pic above with the blonde.
    I wear one of mum's when I have the notion ( like your mum, she has a huge lifetime collection) but I'm not a huge fan, they are terribly ageing on me, they don't make me look chic, just middle aged and frumpy.

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    1. I just don't believe you don't look chic in them - the two photos I've seen on your blog of you with a scarf, you look stunning! But a scarf is not for all, and I think the wall option is perfect. There are some scarfs that I think work better as artwork, rather than worn. xx

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  2. hello darling, I LOVE everything about this post!!!!!! EVERYTHING. I wish you lived here so we could watch the RHW of Melb together….thinks of the fun.

    thanks for the link x

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    1. Of course you'd love the post, being Queen of Hermes scarves in Australia and all. Would love a companion to watch RHW of Melb with. Mr AV does not cut it. Too much loud groaning, eye rolling and leaving the room at crucial points. xx

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  3. As FF says - I love everything about the post!.

    You must have had some lovely stories and memories stirred by the scarf collection...
    That Grand Apparat is a classic for sure. I think that frames so well. Every French lady worth their salt has an issue for sure. I like that Chanel one too though I havent seen one similar in a LONG time!

    Thanks for the shout out but I must say that even the 70cm comes out larger than you would think. I am going to try the small pocket squares next and see how they fare as I hardly ever wear my gavroches and is a waste. But as the seamstress says the curled edges of the Hermes scarves makes it tricky and a lot of work - I think she is going to charge me more next time as she did only charge me twenty pounds which was actually more than fair.

    The scarf prices have gone up recently( although the GST makes it still more expensive than here) so going for older vintage styles like you recommend is a great way to go the only downside is making sure they are genuine. I would love to see one of you showing us as the blouse - I have only seen in real life once but it looked so complicated otherwise I see girls wearing it as a beach top but I worry about ruining it with water and sand. I hope you are storing in acid free paper / low humid area to protect your beautiful things xx

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    1. So annoying that the prices recently went up!! Ebay is actually quite a good option for Australians (if you can find what you want) as they end up generally being cheaper, even factoring in shipping, than buying new in the store. I have done the maitai halter top a few times, and posted very early in the blog days a pic of it. Am planning to do another stye of top, but am waiting for the magnets I ordered to arrive before I try it out - they often end up with big knots somewhere you don't want them, which makes them tricky to me. I'd never wear them as a beach top though!!
      The ones I have are in their boxes, so presumably with acid free tissue. My mum's have just gone off to be dry-cleaned. The Chanel one is particularly grubby, so it will be interesting to see how it comes out. Mum never kept boxes or stored them properly - they were all shoved in her long wide drawers in her wardrobe, so they were scrunched up a bit. She wore them all a lot and didn't view them as "collectable" per se. xx

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  4. Hello Heidi:

    What an absolutely stunning post!

    We are both addicted to the wearing of scarves and can think of very few occasions or situations where a scarf would be inappropriate. Also, as you point out, they are so very versatile and can be used in so many different ways and, of course, as room decoration. You have included some excellent suggestions here, which are beautifully illustrated, to give one further ideas.

    Your mother clearly had an amazing collection and we are sure that it would have been interesting for you, although perhaps a little sad, to go through them all. Your father's reaction brought a smile to our faces!!

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    1. Glad you enjoyed the post! It's been a nice thing to have a few of Mum's bits and pieces to wear as every day things - they bring back a lot of happy memories... as for poor Dad, he still shakes his head over the scarf collection we unearthed in her wardrobe. He was not the most observant...! xx

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  5. Dear Heidi,
    What a visually spectacular and wonderfully post. I love the look of scarf's as decor and one of my clever friends first did this when she was gifted identical Hermes for her birthday. I think the cushions in particular are a decadent and wonderful.
    I've worn scarfs since Lady Di as she was then rocked the neckerchief with a casual windcheater look.
    Up in the sub tropics I go through phases wearing them, but always pack a few when I am travelling mix up outfits and I am a sucker for a cashmere one (can we still call them pashminas or this that too passé?) when I see one on my travels.
    I am thrilled to say that I was with FF on the auspicious day when she purchased her first Hermes. Boy we had some fun in the store that day and the assistants thoroughly enjoyed our visit.
    My Mum was a great scarf wearer. I think in later years she felt they would good for camouflaging aging necks! I still have a favourite leopard print one of hers. I keep in my drawer and pull it out every so often. Usually I bury my face in it and my scent memory of my Mum comes flooding back after 28 years.
    Kate Bx

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    1. The images are so pretty aren't they! How nice to receive two H scarfs for a birthday... and what a good idea of your friends to turn one into art.
      I've always thought it's hard to wear a scarf in QLD - I haven't worn one around my neck now in months, but there are so many options, they really are very versatile (and perfect for travel). Love that you were with FF when she started her H addiction. Wish I had been a fly on the wall...
      The scarf memories were the same for us - they all smell like mum. I added a few no brand ones that were pretty to the dress up box, and E wound one around her neck and commented that it smelt just like mum, which made me a bit teary, as she was so little when mum died, I was surprised she still associated that scent with her. xx

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  6. This was a really gorgeous post Heidi, I love all of the images and will be pinning them for sure. Thanks for sharing the story of your Mum and her scarves, she sounds like a wonderful lady.
    I have the Grand Apparat in navy and pale blue with bits of gold, I bought that one on etsy and I agree that this is an excellent way to collect the older Hermes, and at better prices. I have two other Hermes scarves, one being that Maxi Twilly that was so popular when it was released in the fall.
    Creating art out of a Hermes scarf is such a brilliant idea! A cushion wouldn't survive my house either but framing is certainly a terrific method of preserving.

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    1. Your scarfs are all gorgeous Dani, and that maxi twilly looked fabulous on you. I was hesitating to buy one, and then they sold out - whould have got it while I could!
      I'd say a cushion would definitely have a short lifespan in your home with young Scout on the loose! And unfortunately, while children bring great joy, they are not so good on the soft furnishings in a house, and adding in a puppy is definitely in that category too! xx

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  7. What a bittersweet experience it must be, sorting out the scarves. Your father's reaction made me smile. J can't believe how many I have - they are easy to conceal in the wardrobe.
    I used to think that scarves made me look middle-aged, but seeing as I am middle-aged, I no longer worry.

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    1. The Jenny Kee scarf I've been mentioning to you went home with one of my sisters - we were trading scarfs in a way! I couldn't take them all, although it was tempting.
      I think that scarfs are all about how you wear them. They are only ageing if you wear them in that very classic style (or around your head like the Queen does). I've seen such great images on Pinterest etc of young hip girls in their scarfs... and I can't imagine you ever looking middle aged Ruth - you're far too cool for that! xx

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    2. Dear Heidi
      Love/love this post! As you'd expect. So wonderful that you shared your Mum's scarves with your sisters and have all those lovely memories of her wearing them. I'd so like to think my grand-daughters will feel the same about mine, one day. They'll certainly inherit them. Must be a bit like your Mum as I often collect them as happy mementos of travel. When I first started doing overseas work trips (specially in Europe) I used to bring back at least one designer scarf each time (plus ties for G and later for A) - in the nineties Harrods had a really good selection in their shop at Heathrow. But also bought non designer scarves too, just like your Mum, eg Jim Thompsons from Bangkok. And pre-loved designer scarves from French markets and vintage shops in Italy. Op Shops have also furnished quite a few, including an Hermes 90 for $5.00, in perfect condition. Strangely enough also have a super Jenny Kee, a huge black opal print from the National Gallery Shop way back when it first opened. Love it to death and would look wonderful framed. But because it's so special and probably irreplaceable don't wear it often. Which one did your Mum have? Always keep the designer ones in their boxes, or packages, though. But my Op Shop and market finds are boxless.
      Do love the framed scarves, particularly that great wall of them! Magnificent! But our walls are already full of pictures collected over the years, including G's own water colours. Pammie xxx

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    3. G does such beautiful paintings - you're very lucky to have such personal art for your walls Pammie. Mum's Jenny Kee is one of her red backgrounds with splatter-ish sort of design over it in black/ blue/ yellows. She had matching bathers I remember, and the scarf was probably a 140 x 140 size as it worked as a sarong. It would look good framed - I'll have to mention that to my sister. You are a bit like Mum Pammie, you definitely share a love of travel and the scarf thing too.! I'm very envious of your Op shop finds, you've been very lucky! xx

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  8. A gorgeous post Heidi! And I think I would have liked your mum…squirrelling away such a fabbo collection….!!

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    1. Mum was a lot of fun Virginia.... she definitely had her vices - travel, scarfs and art were a few of them. xx

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    2. umm…they sound like fabulous "vices" to me….x

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  9. This post made me smile- all those works of art your mother squirrelled away without your Dad's awareness!!! Art work looks phenomenal. Am going to wear a scarf today in honour of this post x

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    1. Snap! I wore a scarf today as well - definitely had scarfs on the mind this morning... love your new scarf on you by the way, and have a feeling you're definitely starting a lifelong collection there. xx

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  10. What a fabulous post in so many ways. Your Mum certainly had a collection of beautiful scarves and many telling a story. Scarves are a lovely souvenir to bring back from a holiday (and need very little space in a suitcase!) and can be passed down through the generations too. I love to wear all types of scarves and I think they really add interest to an outfit (without too much effort). I've not yet tried to use scarves in my home but there are plenty of inspiring ideas here and I absolutely love the headboard with the vibrant cushions. The orange and pink are wonderful and make me want to redecorate!!

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    1. They are a very handy thing for a suitcase from a souvenir point of view, so I can see why so many made their way home with Mum! Agree re the headboard - love the orange and hot pink combo, it would be such a cheery space to be in xx

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  11. Wow, this is just so lovely about your mother (would love to see an old photo of her wearing one of her scarves), what a chic woman and really enjoy that she was so eclectic in her collection. Like you I need cushions to not suffer from the forts and flurries and floors, in fact we've had fewer and fewer cushions at the years get on. Having said that I just got some on the chair recovered in quite a bold graphic, getting a bit zazzy in me old age.

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    1. Chairs sound brilliant Jody - you'll have to post some pictures on your blog. Funnily enough I think of you as quite a colourful person in your house decor choices.. but maybe that's completely wrong? Will have to unearth a photo album and see if I can find a photo of mum in a scarf xx

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  12. I would also love to see a photo of your mum with a scarf at her neck!... had to giggle at the thought of her many scarves coming to light!! I love scarves and too often forget to wear them... they are more about winter for me though and I've also taken to tying them onto my handbag! xx

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    1. I love a scarf around a handbag - surprisingly gives quite a lift to a very boring outfit. It's too hot in Australia to wear scarfs for a lot of the year... I'm looking forward to slightly cooler weather and being able to pull a few of them out of mothballs xx

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  13. Gorgeously curated post! I love the equestrian set of 4 framed ones!! I would love it for my fictitious country house where I had stables!!!
    Your mum sounds so lovely! She has left your girls some really nice stuff!! How many sisters do you have? Any brothers?

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    1. Laughing about your fictitious house Laura - I wouldn't mind that either! I have two sisters, I'm the middle one. No brothers. Mr AV spends a lot of time feeling sympathetic toward my father for having 3 girls....he thinks we were all hard work! xx

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  14. I love your comment about looking like an air stewardess - this is exactly my fear. I haven't really built much of a collection yet, just a couple of Hermes ones, which I should use more to be honest. I might invest in a scarf ring and check out mai tai's site for some inspiration.
    One of my colleagues was telling me to buy Hermes at the airport duty free and then just go to one of the main stores and exchange for a pattern that you prefer. That way you save 20% VAT (if you are in the UK) and you get the choice of the full store. I might just try this next time I am going through terminal 3.
    xx

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    1. I think it's an easy thing to fall into with a scarf... and it does make me a bit nervous about certain knots or wearing a scarf with certain things like a blazer. Maitai's latest thing is magnets!! So clever - you'll have to have a look at what she's come up with.
      That's very clever about the tax free H. The airport stores are always so small, and you're right they don't have the best scarf collection all the time... let me know if it works! xx

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  15. Hi Heidi, have watched your extension with interest. I adore steel windows, but was wondering, do the windows have screens??

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    1. Hi Katie, No the windows don't have screens - this is part of our legal dispute with the window manufacturer as we had ordered and paid for them, but they were not delivered.
      Having installed the windows, and in discussion with my builder, we actually can't see how the screens could be put over the windows successfully from the way that they were designed (so it's likely the window manufacturer didn't actually know how either), so we probably won't get any made up. For the doors we looked at the invisible screens that roll out from recesses in the wall, but I was concerned that one of the children would run through it one day, and they're really expensive... so we don't have any. We get a few flies inside, but it's not been too annoying so far.

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  16. Ugg, I now understand the dispute! Have been researching steel windows and there is never a mention of screens - have always wondered. Good lunch with the dispute, I look forward to reading how you go!

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    1. Oh goodness no! If it was just about the screens we wouldn't bother - far too much effort and expense to sue someone over a few thousand dollars. Unfortunately that's just the tip of the iceberg... I just have to wait until it's resolved before I can write more about it on the blog.
      The problem with the screens is that they are awning windows, rather than sash windows and the lock system that you use sticks out from the frame - there's no way to fix a screen to it due to the thinness of the steel profile (and the screen would be inside the house, as the windows swing out, so would look terrible most of the year anyway).

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  17. Fabric is a great medium for art - it can be a cushion, a curtain or a hanging.
    I bought a batik from Sri Lanka - need to get around to hanging it!

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Architect & Interior Designer. Mother of three. A sometimes Cook, Baker, Reader, Gardener, Fashion Lover, Renovator, Writer of random things in South Australia email me on anadelaidevilla@bigpond.com
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