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Ruby vintage begins here

Vintage Gifts Better Homes & Gardens Editor Amy Panos

Vintage Decoration Christopher Radko

Vintage Holiday Christmas with Trisha Foley

All That Glitters Heavy Metals

Vintage Toys

December 2013

Published by

Table of Contents 6 10



16 32 36

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Letter from the Editor Marcia Sherrill Must Haves


Book Lust


Vintage Gifts


Vintage Decoration


Vintage Holiday


On Location


All That Glitters


The Calendar



Your Reading Pleasure

Better Homes & Gardens Editor Amy Panos

Christopher Radko

White Christmas with Tricia Foley

Brussels Fine Art Fair

Heavy Metals

Upcoming Events

Vintage Toys

Ruby Lane is the premier online community of over 2,400 individually-owned shops from around the world offering antiques & art, vintage collectibles and jewelry. Š Ruby Lane 2013 | Š Ruby Read 2013

With Christmas, Hanukkah and New Year’s Eve soon upon us, Ruby Read takes a look at the holidays, vintage style, as tradition and vintage often go hand in hand. Noted interior designer and author Tricia Foley visits with writer Candace Manroe, offering tips from her book White Christmas: Decorating and Entertaining for the Holiday Season (Clarkson Potter). Writer Elizabeth Hickman talks holiday design with designer Christopher Radko, who is synonymous with Christmas decorations. And if you are stuck on the perfect gift and want to forgo the crowds at the mall, Better Homes and Gardens Senior Editor of Home Design Amy Panos shares with us her favorite finds from the shops of Ruby Lane. January marks the start of the season of antique and garden shows. I was fortunate enough to attend Brussels Fine Art Fair that is one of the biggest international shows last year. A treasure trove of antiques and art from a variety of categories, it gave me an interesting window on trends in collecting. I was also fortunate so sit down with the powers that be at BRAFA who were willing to share their behind-the-scenes knowledge on attending and buying at antique shows. If you are an avid collector, live in Europe, planning a vacation, have airlines miles that are about to expire or Santa is extra good to you this year, try and attend! We at Ruby Lane wish you all the best for the holiday season and appreciate your support. And if you want to find me this season, just look in the attic where I will be rummaging through boxes of my own vintage items. It is hard to believe the holidays are almost here! Happy Collecting and Ho-Ho-Ho,

Letter from the Editor

Photo credit: Russ Harrington

Nothing says tradition like the holidays. As we retrieve the good china, polish the silver, and drag out the decorations from storage, chances are many of the items that grace our tree and dining table are treasured antiques and heirlooms.

Cathy Whitlock Editor-in-Chief


Marcia’s Must Haves



Ruby Read Brand Advisor and Creative Director, Marcia Sherrill, is both a fashion and interior designer. A member of the Council of Fashion Designers of America, she sells her accessories and home furnishings lines worldwide. Marcia shares with us her absolute Must Haves from the shops of Ruby Lane.


1950’s Red ‘Parachute’ Taffeta Dress This taffeta dress from Giddy in Chicago makes me giddy and while it may be too small for my size 12 frame, I might just buy it to hang it in my bedroom closet. And that way every time I open the door I can smile. With a crinoline underneath the full skirt and the parachute cloth that became wildly popular in the 1980’s, this dress is ready to fly away…. straight to me.


RARE Victorian Train or Veil Holder 14K Red Gold


Most often used as a wedding veil holder, these Victorian treasures are so rare that when you see one you need to snatch it up. Perfect as a gift for the bride, I use them on my dresses with trains. While a train may be glamorous coming down the stairs, going up is taking your life in your own hands. And talk about a conversation piece‌ they are worth their weight in gold.

Vintage Chinese Hand Painted Wooden Box with Lock


This little treasure box has traveled all the way from China. Made of wood with a porcelain knob, its diminutive size packs a big design wallop.



Mappin and Webb Silver and Red Crystal Bee Hinged Box I have a bee in my bonnet for this Mappin & Webb silver and crystal hinged Bee box. This box is as cute as a bug and oh-so mid-century in feel.

Vintage Czech Glass Buttons 6 Red With Geometric Design For under twenty bucks, I am updating an old Givenchy coat with these Vintage Czech Glass buttons. Perfect red buttons for the holidays, these buttons are the wardrobe booster that I need. They beat anything I saw last summer in Prague and the retro feel is so geometric and mod. Now to find my thread.

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Paul Jenkins Oil Painting Abstract Phenomena Red Bluffs Painted by artist Paul Jenkins, this abstract painting bears a gift message to Isabel O’Neil, legendary founder of the decorative painting atelier. Jenkins described himself as an “ abstract phenomenist” and this vibrant painting of Red Bluffs is a rare find.



Red Chinoiserie Decorated 19th C. Dutch Linen Press

Be still my heart. This 19th Century Chinoiserie and gilded Dutch Linen Press is the object of my desire. I will swear off new shoes for a decade if this could be crammed down my chimney for Christmas. From its serpentine pediment to its ogeepaneled doors, this press is a showstopper.

Vintage Original Authentic Roberta di Camerino Velvet Handbag Rare Find


As a handbag designer, I am the last woman on the planet to compliment a bag design but when it comes to Italy’s Roberta di Camerino’s Red velvet handbag, I fall over myself in awe. I may add it to my designer library or I can visit its cousin at the Costume Institute (but the Metropolitan Museum is a long walk from humble 68th Street).


Book Lust



Author and designer Tricia Foley, known for her eponymous fabric, furniture and wallpaper collections, has been redecorating homes

with bold patterns, strong hues and contemporary lines for over forty years. Her latest book, Tricia Guild: Decorating With Color takes an educated look at the five basic color families and demonstrates how to use color and pattern to create interesting, dramatic and personalized interiors. Showcasing memorable interiors all over the globe – from contemporary London lofts to the California Wine Country -- the book is as much a travelogue as a design tome. No matter what your profession is, choosing color for your home can be a hard decision and Foley takes the guesswork out of the equation. Photo Credit: James Merrell





American artist and designer Louis Comfort Tiffany’s stained glass is one of the most important contributions to the Art Noveau movement.

The Art Glass of Louis Comfort Tiffany celebrates the full range of the studio’s innovative decorative designs from the Flowerform and Lava vases to the trademark stained glass windows. Highlighting the history of the glasshouse with profiles of gifted glassworkers and scientists and never-before-published documents and archival photographs, the book is a must-have for any collector along with author Martin Eidelberg’s The Lamps of Louis Comfort Tiffany (Vendome Press, 2005). Photo Credit: David Schlegel





Louis Vuitton City Bags is the definitive history of one of the most recognizable and coveted women’s fashion accessory, the trademark monogram City Bag. Dating back to the turn of the century with the first Steamer bag in 1901, they have evolved into a variety of highly coveted and collectible bags of innovative shapes and forms. Devotees will no doubt will recognize the names – Keepall, Bucket, Papillon, Noe, Alma, Locket, and Speedy (many vintage versions are here on Ruby Lane) as the book details the history and development through archival photographs and ad campaigns. It’s a fascinating historical look of one of fashion’s biggest cultural sensations.

Photo Credit: @ KT Auleta


Credit: @ Louis Vuitton/Malletier



Vintage Gifts


Antique French White-Gray Opaline Glass Trinket Box I love how the streamlined shape and luminous white color of this trinket box makes it look thoroughly modern, though it’s 120 years old! This would be beautiful as a bedside table catch-all for jewelry.

Fine Georgian Hardwood Coaster Can one ever have enough trays? I say no. There are a million and one uses for this generous, sturdy round tray. And I love the chunky rim and the concentric routed design.

Mid Century McCoy Floraline Ivory Art Pottery Vase A gorgeous, graceful shape and a luminous ivory finish, for $12. Yes please! I’d be thrilled to add this to my collection of white pottery. Fill it with fruit, nuts, seashells, pinecones—anything natural to contrast with the smooth white.


Vintage 1970’s Faux Tortoiseshell Bakelite Belt Designed By Yves Saint Laurent Tortoise shell links that can be worn as a necklace or a belt. Forty years on, and YSL is still right on trend.

Vintage Culver Highball Glasses Piza Pattern Give your dinner party a hit of swinging 70s with these crackle gold patterned glasses. Shagalicous!

2 French Opalescent Hobnail Tumblers, 12oz Meet your new favorite flower vases. Fill with supermarket flowers for an instant dinner party centerpiece.


Vintage Decoration

Christopher Radko reflects on the importance of holidays and how they give us all a chance to pause and celebrate life. By Elizabeth Betts Hickman Photos Courtesy of Christopher Radko


Christopher Radko is excited, and not just because we’re in the middle of the festive season at the moment.

After all, the designer known by name for his exquisite glass ornaments that gathered a new generation around trees dressed with European decorations sold his company a few years ago. 20



While his eponymous ornaments are still being made, the change propelled Radko to reflect on the celebration of all holidays, focus on his next venture, and savor all of the seasons in style.

“I continue to cherish holidays,” he says. “All holidays give us a chance to take a break from the daily grind and say, ‘oh wow, I care about you and let’s celebrate.’ You can enhance that by decorating.”

“I think I have more balance in my life,” says the designer, author and lifestyle expert. “In my 20s and 30s it was all about growing the company.”

So what will the Radko home look like this Christmas? Think blue and green on a fantastic flocked tree, with some touches of fuschia.

That meant logging thousands of miles of travel every year and getting home just a few days before Christmas. He adored meeting customers, sharing stories and seeing new places, but it was a hectic pace, akin to being “at the North Pole” as he puts it.

“This year I’m doing circa 1963,” he says, noting that he uses some of the ornaments he designed but he also decorates with older pieces from the 1920s, ‘30s, and ‘40s. “I love the color blue and blue lights,” he says, recalling a childhood memory of a neighbor


who decorated outside with blue lights and how fun it looked. Indeed, when it comes to vintage decorations, though, holly has his heart at this time of the year. “I love holly – it’s just this wonderful evergreen,” he says, noting that holly, ivy and mistletoe are traditionally associated with Christmastime in England. He points out that Limoges made a lot of holly dinnerware, and his former company came out with holly china about 15 years ago. “I buy vintage holly Christmas decorations,” he confides. “It’s stuff I remember having when I was a kid.” In particular, he remembers a Santa’s sled with molded holly leaves filled with candy… “and I was always near the candy dish,” he says with a laugh. Vintage decorations are readily available depending on what one is seeking. “You can find a lot of the old cardboard decorations,” says Radko, noting that ornaments and decorations made in Germany in the early years of the twentieth century are more rare, whether they are glass or papier mache. The most frequently found vintage Christmas items are American-made decorations from the 1940s on, which were primarily sold at Woolworths and other popular stores, along with a lot of items made in Japan. Radko notes that the American brand ShinyBrite was hugely popular in the mid-twentieth century, and when the brand name became available some years back, “I picked up the name and re-created a lot of it,” he says, “and you can still see my version of Shiny-Brite in stores.” 24

Vintage decorations of all kinds, he says, can be wonderful reminders of your childhood or times past or people not with us anymore, and “there’s a sentimental value to them,” he says. Decorating with vintage items helps connect families and friends and create a joyful atmosphere in which to relax and enjoy good company and good times. “Every holiday gives you a chance to celebrate life,” he says, whether it’s Valentine’s Day or Halloween. And there are vintage decorations to be found for both of those holidays as well. “It’s been fun but I don’t want to rest on my Christmas laurels,” says Christopher Radko. “There’s so much good yet to come.”

Christopher Radko Christmas Poinsettia Pin

Tall Russian Knight Christmas Ornament by Christopher Radko 96-021


Christopher Radko’s newest venture is producing mindfully made spa products and home fragrances, and it is close to his heart since it focuses on the home and well-being and involves sustainable organic agriculture. “I’m an organic lavender farmer now,” he says with enthusiasm, referring to the 25 acres of lavender he’s cultivating in Poland and therefore also tapping into his Polish and French heritage. “I’m very excited about it because I love being outdoors.”

Christopher Radko Ornament The Bishop 95-127

He sought out traditional true lavender plants – not the hybrid lavender that makes up the majority of the market and that produces a more medicinal scent - and he notes that the organic cultivation means it’s a bee-friendly operation. Also, in keeping with his past tradition of creating ornaments for charitable purposes, 10% of the profits from Christopher Radko’s Hudson Organics will be donated to Doctors Without Borders in memory of Radko’s parents, who were both doctors. For more information visit 25

Vintage Holiday



WITH TRICIA FOLEY Photos Courtesy of Tricia Foley

Tricia Foley owns the color white, whatever the season. All year long,

the interior designer’s circa-1800 home on Long Island sports this cleanest of colors, from her collections of vintage ironware and creamware to crisp white textiles, old and new. White, no surprise, also is her steadfast signature on projects for clients.


But it’s over the winter holidays that her proprietorship of this color immortalized by Greco-Roman classicism shines its brightest: Tricia didn’t invent a white Christmas, but she did write the book— White Christmas: Decorating and Entertaining for the Holiday Season (Clarkson Potter, 1997).



“A white Christmas is a romantic notion in decorating,” says the author. “On the darkest days of the year is really lightens up a room. It’s also part of our American tradition. For the holidays, people either decorate in red and green, or white. The idea of a white Christmas became even more entrenched with the popularity of the White Christmas song and the movie.” The secret to a beautiful home decorated in white for the holidays is layering, according to the expert. “When you’re decorating with things that are tonal— white and silver—you just keep layering on the elements.” Depth enriches the visual pleasure, and it also “gives cohesion,” says Tricia.

Large Scalloped Edge White Planter

A white-themed holiday is an opportunity to pull out all the stops for displaying favorite vintage collections and an excuse to begin collecting vintage pieces anew. “Vintage ironstone, creamware, silver candlesticks and napkin rings, old sterling cups, and beautiful vintage glassware are perfect for Christmas decorating,” Tricia recommends. Mottahedeh, Italy, Museum Reproduction of Blanc de Chine Jardiniere

Child in Snowsuit or Snowbaby 1920s German Glass Christmas Ornament

1930s Germany Embossed Dove Glass Christmas Ornament

Antique German Silver Grapes Kugel Christmas Ornament



The more inventive the use of the collectible, the better. Here are some of Tricia’s creative ideas for a white Christmas:

“Most parties are about grazing,” insists Tricia. “This means we have a much more flexible, modular approach to how we serve.”

Mass vintage silver candlesticks on a silver or glass tray and enjoy the magic.

Plant paperwhites and tulips in white ironstone tureens.

Bring on the bling with vintage jewelry repurposed for holiday decorating. Vintage brooches tied with old ribbon make gorgeous ornaments for the tree; a vintage etched glass bowl full of sparkling vintage jewelry is eye candy for any holiday tabletop. “You can mix, or use all silver or all glass or all pearl,” suggests Tricia.

Glass jugs are ideal white Christmas vases for cut flowers.

Stock up on vintage fabrics in all shades and tone-on-tone patterns of white to make your own one-of-a-kind Christmas stockings. Decorate each place setting at a holiday table with individual flower vases using old silver cigarette cups. Arrange mint julep cups outfitted with a sprig or two of cut greens as a holiday decoration for the powder room or mantel. Line windowsills with vintage glass in all sizes and shapes and watch the sun or outdoor Christmas lights shine through. Tie white grosgrain or lace ribbon on napkin rings for an extra holiday touch to the buffet table. Or, hang silver napkin rings from the ribbons for an interesting visual at a kitchen or dining room window. Enjoy a character-laden holiday with a collection of mismatched patterns of old white bread and butter plates stacked high for a holiday noshing party.

Plant little trees in vintage creamware tea cups and arrange en masse for a holiday party, then share one with each guest as a party favor. Fill a favorite ironstone tray with an eclectic group of vintage crystal glasses for a party. “I don’t get tied down to having matching stemware,” Tricia says. Christmas is the time to pour over old family photographs. “Put them in beautiful silver frames for a mantel display,” suggests Tricia. Photocopy your old black and white photos for the most personalized gift-wrapping paper ever. Browse online vintage shopping sites and antiques stores for spools of old white ribbon for fashioning decorative bows for your presents (like Ruby Lane!). Tricia’s most important tip for creating a white Christmas is to “personalize it. Use your favorite collections. For me, that means bringing out a collection of milk glass I got in England and the Paris flea market. Or repurpose meaningful family pieces in some new way. I saved my younger family members’ old Christmas lists, and then gave them back to them in beautiful old silver frames. It’s about creating tradition.” 31

On Location




Photos Courtesy of BRAFA

From the casual collector and antique aficionado to the serious buyer and dealer, the Brussels Fine Art Fair (BRAFA for short) is one of the most interesting and prestigious of the international shows. Every winter – January 25 – February 2, 2014 to be exact – close to 50,000 attendees view treasures from Italy, France, Germany, Spain, Monaco,


The Netherlands, and the UK just to name a few. This year marks a special emphasis on the burgeoning primitive arts market with the show’s Guest of Honour the Royal Museum for Central Africa, Tervuren. Ruby Read recently caught up with BRAFA Fair Director Beatrix Bourdon with a few questions about the show.

Ruby Read: How is BRAFA different from other shows? Bourdon: First of all, we do not organize BRAFA in sections, as many other fairs do. We mix all specialties to encourage eclecticism and favorites. At the other hand, every year, the Board of BRAFA tries to give to the show a glamorous decoration. They also welcome each year a guest of honour. In 2014, it will be the Royal Museum for Central Africa, Tervuren. The fair becomes each year more international by welcoming high quality international dealers. 33

RR: What does the show do to create and distill trends in the art and antiques world? Bourdon: The show doesn’t try to create trends, the dealers yes. If you follow trends too closely, you also risk becoming old-fashioned very fast... but of course, our Board is very aware of trends at other fairs and on the market in general. RR: When is the best time for dealers and consumers to buy – early previews or last day? Bourdon: Both are good moments. In the early previews, you have the opportunity to be privileged to buy everything or almost everything you want. On the last day, it is possible that some dealers accept some negotiation. RR: Are these types of events beneficial for serious collectors who want to get a first chance at purchase? Bourdon: Of course, there are less people and you can better appreciate the objects. Also the dealers have more time and you have a better contact with them. The contact between the dealer and the buyer is important for both. Some dealers help their clients to constitute a collection … the dealer needs time to listen to his client. RR: What are the emerging areas of interest – is there a particular era that is showing increased strength and why? Bourdon: Haute Epoque, 20th century and non-European art. RR: Any areas showing weakness? Bourdon: Old and recent photography. 34

RR: What do you think dealers would like the public to know about BRAFA? Bourdon: That it is a fair with high quality standards and stringent vetting, that the selection to participate is strict and consequently it is difficult to participate, that it is a human scale fair (around 130 participants) with a broad diversity of specialties, easily accessible by car / train / flights (centre of Europe). Not only collectors buy at BRAFA but also museums ‌ RR: What constitutes “bad mannersâ€? by the buying public (i.e. is it bad to ask for a discount or best price?) Bourdon: To ask a discount is not considered bad manners in Belgium! And after all, that is the game of the market!

RR: Any interesting finds or record sales? Bourdon: Didier Claes, a specialist in African Art, had one three years ago, (and sold) only one single piece on his booth, but it was a masterpiece! He sold it during the gala dinner on the first evening. We always joke with him asking him what he did during the rest of the fair! RR: And lastly, are there any items or particular categories that are becoming harder to find? Bourdon: Without a doubt, 18th century French furniture. Also Chinese archeology and porcelain because of the high prices. China is buying everything back.


All That Glitters

. ttering bauble

iny, gli stuffer like a sh g in ck o st ys things. Nothing sa of our favorite w fe a e ar e er H

Rare 1970’s Tiffany & Co Multi-Gem Sea Life Heart Brooch

18kt Koala Emerald & Diamond Brooch


Fine 18K Diamond Ruby & 8.50ct tw Mystery Invisible Set Blue Sapphire Bee Brooch

Van Cleef & Arpels VCA 18K Diamond Lapis Onyx Interchangeable Bar Baton Cufflinks Boxed Set

18k Gold Tank Track Bracelet, Fabulously Heavy 1950’s Retro

Art Nouveau amethyst 22K yellow gold diamond cross pendant

18K Gold and Diamond Designer Dome Ring by Lalalounis Greece


Calendar of Events


Art of the Louvre’s Tuileries Garden Through Jan 19, 2014 High Museum of Art Atlanta, GA


Louis Comfort Tiffany Through June 29, 2014 Driehaus Museum Chicago, IL


David Hockney Through Jan 20, 2014 de Young Museum San Francisco, CA


American Art Fair New York, NY

ONGOING Dec Art and Appetite: American Painting, Culture, and Cuisine Through Jan 27, 2014 Art Institute of Chicago Chicago, IL




Design Miami Miami Beach, FL





Florence Biennalle Florence, Italy



Art Basel Miami Beach, FL



Holiday House Academy Mansion New York, NY


Greenwich Winter Antiques Show Greenwich, CT


12 Dames of Christmas Tree Exhibit Hollywood Museum Hollywood, CA 39


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Whether you are young or old at heart, there is something to make everyone smile.

SCARVES American artist and textile designer Vera Neumann’s boldly colored “Vera” scarves were all the rage in the fifties, sixties and seventies and worn by everyone from Marilyn Monroe and Grace Kelly. Here are a few vintage Vera’s from the Ruby Lane shops…


1. Vintage Vera Neumann Long Silk Scarf, Item ID: C&A369 2. Rare Vintage 1953 Vera Neumann Jewelled Red Silk “Tie-Scarf”, Item ID: aust8 3. Vintage Silk Blend Scarf Verasheer by Vera in Green, Blue & Purple, Item ID: 622 4. Big Poppies on Scarf – Unmistakeable Design by Vera, Item ID: 5514 5. Summer Citrus Silk Scarf VERA Neumann Scarves Vintage 1970s, Item ID: vc937 6. Wonderful Vintage Vera Blue Rose “Ladybug” Scarf, Item ID: scarf6 7. Vintage Vera Chiffon Scarf, Item ID: C&A347 8. Vintage Scarf Vera Neumann Designer Scarf Polka Dots Pink, Item ID: k178


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Ruby Read December, 2013  
Ruby Read December, 2013  

Ruby Lane's online magazine - Ruby Read - features the latest trends in antiques, vintage, interior design, and fashion.