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I’ve been working on an exciting and hush-hush design project for the last year and I’m now finally able to reveal it!  When the owner of Chandler 4 Corners (who has known me since Mountain Ladies & Ewe days) decided to add a knit pillow collection to his already wildly successful hand-hooked wool pillow business, we got to talking. Although I don’t know much about the home furnishings business, I do know a thing or two about knitting and how to get things made, so our collaboration was a no-brainer.

Chandler 4 Corners’ pillows designed by Laura Megroz are well known for their folk artsy motifs of bears and moose and Labrador retrievers. My knit designs would need to complement Laura’s, yet not duplicate her themes.

The first step in the process was to craft the story and to define the collection’s themes and look. Designing pillows both nostalgic and fresh would be paramount to its success. My creative juices really started flowing during a hut-to-hut ski trip in the Alps.

It was then that I decided to focus on alpine-inspired designs influenced by the traditional motifs and colors of vintage ski sweaters, and to incorporate patterns true to mountain traditions into the pillows. It would be a coup if they were equally at home in a hand-hewn chalet AND a light-filled Scandinavian-modern mountain retreat.

I usually start my design process with storyboards – images and colors that spark my creativity and give credibility to my ideas. Storyboards are a good tool for allowing clients to get a visual look at what’s inside my head. The storyboards below are from my first presentation to Chandler 4 Corners and give you a peak at the design process.

 

The Chalet Collection was introduced last week at AmericasMart Gift, Rug, and Home Show in Atlanta. Next stop: the New York International Gift Show August 17-21. Look for future blog posts highlighting The Chalet Collection. In the meantime you may follow Poppy Gall Design Studio on facebook by clicking here.

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I’ve been distracted by the bountiful snow I’ve been chasing from east to west and back again over the past few weeks, hence my laxness in blogging.  I promise to share some of my (in)sights from that adventure soon.

Today, my valentine (who shares my passion for winter and skiing) and I will be going on a ski tour, over the meadows and through the woods style, chocolates tucked into our pockets.

This sweet print found here. More of my valentines here.

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Winter Road Trip

With the Outdoor Retailer trade show successfully behind me it’s time to hit the open road for a bit of big mountain skiing.

As much as I’d love to be touring in a ’54 beetle with the top down I’ll be relying on an all wheel drive vehicle with studded Hakkspellitas. I’ll be sniffing for powder in the Wasatch, Tetons and Rockies before I head back to my beloved Green Mountains and get on with designing Fall/Winter 2014/15 product. It never hurts to do a little skiing to get the creative juices flowing!

Cover of the ADAC January 1954 (Issue 1, Volume 7) as a teaser for an article “Winterland Allgaeu, between road and slopes”

Via: Huimat

For more vintage VW inspiration click here.

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A friend with a shared passion for skiing recently discovered a January 1948 Ski issue of Town & Country magazine in perfect condition in her grandmother’s attic. This delicious edition shares many of the same attributes of today’s magazine, large format pages, beautiful fashion photography, advertisements for luxury fashion, jewelry and destinations, and articles focused on the rich and famous.

The issue is rich with articles about skiing. A many-paged article by Elizabeth Woolsey, a former national ski champion, is devoted to the U.S. Women’s Ski Team  a.k.a. “The Belles of St. Moritz” and their chances for winning Olympic fame in St. Moritz later that winter.

The most exclusive North American ski areas are listed with information about vertical drop, number of trails and lifts, ticket prices etc.

An article devoted on how to get in shape for skiing suggests classes at the New School of Exercise in New York City. Tips on how to avoid injury, which salons offer the best beneficial massages, and how to prevent chapping ones hands and face.

The issue is packed with advertising – including apparel and hard goods brands and ski lodges and even a two-page spread of a painting depicting skiers arcing through untracked snow promoting Chrysler motors. The ads allow us a peak at how glamorous and exciting the sport was sixty odd years ago.

A fashion and gear guide highlights the newest innovations and there is a lovely spread of illustrated après ski styles. I will be sharing this nostalgic skiing gold mine in the weeks to come. Below is a little taste of what’s to follow. I thought it particularly appropriate timing to post these as the the skiwear and ski equipment brands will all be unveiling the latest and greatest for next winter at the  Outdoor Retailer, the SnowSports Industries America and ISPO trade shows within the next couple of weeks. Maybe I’ll see you there!

An ad for Marjorie Benedikter’s ski fashions in the January 1948 issue of Town & Country

“Designed for action, the well-tailored three-piece suit on the left is of water-repellent Forstman wool gabardine in gray, by Irving of Montreal. An added accessory is a smart belt and belt-bag made of pony. Bally Boots. At Saks Fifth Avenue Ski Shop. Marjorie Benedikter, an accomplished skier herself, designs with an eye for the practical. Right: her becoming parka of white Byrd cloth may be worn in or out, and has a convenient drawstring around the face. Navy wool gabardine pants are essentially functional with front fullness achieved by trouser pleats. Dayton Co., Minneapolis; Frederick & Nelson, Seattle”

Saks Fifth Avenue had it’s own ski shop in 1948.

For more vintage ski inspiration click here.

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The recently released pictograms for the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics have jogged me out of my blogging lethargy .

The simple round figures used for the 1980 Moscow Olympic pictograms have been playfully reinterpreted and filled with a brightly colored patchwork representing a combination of the sixteen most famous and recognizable national crafts in Russia – many of them textile. (Can anyone identify those crafts?)

What is there not to love about the synthesis of sport and craft in these chubby icons? Below are a few of my favorites. To see them all click here.

And thanks everyone for your nice notes wondering where I was when I was off line!

For more Olympic inspiration click here.

 

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I spent a lovely and long day yesterday – 8:00 am ‘til 5:30 pm – tramping around the acres and acres of antiques, junque, architiques and vintage stuff at the Brimfield Antique Show. Billed as “the largest outdoor antique show in the world” it has 6,000 vendors and a festive flea market vibe. It is virtually impossible to see the entire thing in one day.

This was my first Brimfield experience so I hooked up with a fellow designer friend who knows the ropes. The show is divided into multiple sections, each having their own flavor and days of operation. We chose to go mid-week, even though all the shows weren’t yet open thinking it would be less crowded. Being a week day we called it “inspiration work”.

It was fascinating to see what people were selling (piles of rusty old faucet handles, vintage vending machines, plastic toys from the ‘70’s, old industrial lighting) and to see what people were happily toting away (taxidermy creatures, fixtures from old factories, wooden packing crates, chairs without seats). Regardless of how lowly, all this stuff had value to the buyers and the sellers. We never made it to the area selling Chippendale furniture and Chinese export porcelain, if there even was one.

There was so much stuff to look at we decided early on to focus our attention on textiles, paper, and ski related objects allowing ourselves the occasional sidetrack to check out free standing signage letters from old gas stations and super market signage. Here’s a sampling of the fruits our treasure hunting.

If you want to see it all for yourself, the show is open through Sunday.

Ribbon with skiers

Vintage silk scarf

3/4″ sterling snowflake skier pin

Lampshade made from vintage barkcloth from Lake’s Lampshades. My favorite find!

Detail from embroidered hankie

Silk scarf from the 70′s

Sweet Tyrolean themed ribbon

Vintage postcards from Snoqualmie Pass, Magic Mountain and Aspen

And here are some things that we passed on…

Vintage skis

In hindsight I should have bought this exquisite wooden flask covered in animal fur and decorated with tooled and braided leather and embroidery. The dealer had no idea of its origin or intended use. Do you? I’d love to know.

And am I crazy to have passed on an original of Lou Hechenberger’s New Hampshire ski poster for $1,200? Unfortunately the crispness of the design and clarity of color is lost in this image. It was a beauty.

An assortment of wooden skis and ski boots – various eras

Plastique. Antique?

More skis

This guy bought his Tyrolean hat for a steal minutes before we met him – darn! It was covered with beautiful souvenir pins from all over the the alps and is in mint condition.

Enjoy your weekend! (And Thank you A.N. for sharing your pix.)

 

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One of the highlights of my recent ski trip traversing the alps from Italy to Switzerland was staying in the new Monte Rosa hut. The old Monte Rosa hut was a lovely stone structure with painted red shutters built in 1940, and is my romantic idea of the perfect mountain refuge. When I caught sight of the sparkling angular architecture of the new hut as I skied down the Grenzglacier I was unexpectedly delighted by what I saw. Called the “Bergkristall” (mountain crystal) it’s modern design blends into its snowy and icy environment.

Built by the Swiss Alpine Club in 2009, it is a wonder of self-sufficiency. Isolated by mountain ranges and glaciers it sits alone at 2,883 meters and is accessible only by skis in winter, and foot in summer. The building’s shiny aluminum clad exterior is broken up by a band of windows and south facing photovoltaic panels. A small supplemental heat and electricity unit runs on rapeseed oil. Meltwater, collected in the summer and stored in a rocky cavern above the hut provides hot and cold water. Waste water is purified in a biological microfiltration plant and uses the grey water for flushing toilets. Surplus water is cleaned and returned to the environment. The new Monte Rosa hut is 90% self- sufficient.

The warm timber framed interior defies it’s cold metal exterior. The supporting timbers in the sunny dining room are digitally carved with lines that resemble the rings of a tree, or the contour lines of a map. The meals served by the hut keepers were surprisingly delicious. Tucked into my wooden bunk and covered with a duvet I slept like a log.

Photos Via

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I’ve wanted to write about my all time favorite dinner plates for a while. They are souvenir plates from the ‘40’s with ski scenes in the middle. Each one highlights a different Canadian ski destination stretching from Quebec City’s Hotel Frontenac through the Laurentian Mountains and west to the highest peaks around Banff. To me, part of their charm is the old-timey lack of ski lifts; all skiers are “earning their turns”. It’s complete supposition on my part that the plates were in some way connected to the railroads that shuttled skiers east and west. I haven’t been able to find anything out their origins. I’d welcome any insight.

Last Easter as I was taking the dishes down from the top shelf in my pantry I watched in horror as the entire stack of ten slipped from my grasp and smashed on the floor! I felt physically ill as I picked up the shards.

Within minutes I called a friend who shares a passion for collecting the same plates (in both blue and red) and told her my tale of woe. She gamely agreed to sell me a few of her extras, which raised my spirits considerably. I then went about re-building my collection.

In less than a year I piece-mealed together an entire new set, plus one. I acquired a few from my friend, and a couple on ebay. The best score of all however was an almost complete set I found in an antique shop in Maine while I was travelling by motorcycle. (I had to have them shipped home.) Because of this experience I’ve realized that hunting for the dishes was just as much fun as it is to actually own and use them. I loved the challenge of the hunt and the thrill of discovery. So really there’s no reason for me to cry over broken dishes ever again!

 

For more vintage skiing on my blog click here. Or on Pinterest click here.

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One thing always leads to another when I’m searching for something on the internet. I get side-tracked and discover things I didn’t even know I wanted to know about! Yesterday I found this amazing ski-themed blouse circa 1957-1960 on the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising’s blog. It’s just too great not to share. Here’s a bit of ski fashion history cribbed right from their blog.

“Until the 1950s, ski wear consisted of baggy woolen pants and knitted sweaters, topped with a bulky wool overcoat. Though warm and functional, these clothes did nothing to flatter the figure. This changed in 1952 with the introduction of Bogner ski pants. Created by Maria Bogner, member of a German skiwear producing family, “Bogners” were a form-fitting ski pant made of wool and a newly developed nylon fiber called Helanca. By 1955, Bogners were available in a variety of bright colors. Because they displayed the muscular curves of both male and female skiers, Bogners were credited with introducing sex appeal to skiing. According to Ski magazine, “Marilyn Monroe, Ingrid Bergman and the Shah of Iran wore them. Henry Ford ordered 15 pairs. Overnight, skiing had been transformed into a sexy and very visible sport.”

 

“Bogners appeared at the perfect moment, just as North Americans were experiencing unprecedented economic prosperity in the wake of World War II. Many individuals with surplus income turned their attention to the serious pursuit of sporting and leisure activities, such as skiing. Widespread interest in skiing was encouraged by simplifications in ski boots, skis and ski lifts, making it easier for a novice to get both up and down the mountain. At the end of the day, skiers could relax at comfortable resort lodgings, which often included spacious rooms for dining and dancing, along with heated outdoor pools. Skiing was now a fashionable activity, no longer limited to those rugged enough to withstand a cold slog through the snow.”

While the Bogner family might have stolen the limelight, there is historical evidence that in Megeve, a collaboration between skiier Emile Allais and the AAllard family brought about the first ski stretch pants. Armand AAllard was a skilled tailor in Megeve and made custom clothing for both on and off the slopes.  Unlike “Bogner” his was a custom not production affair which is why he likely has taken a backseat to the internationaly known ski brand.

The FIDM Museum ski-themed blouse seen here details the daily activity of a stretch pant clad skier on vacation. As you can see from the silk-screened images, actual skiing occupies only a portion of her day. Her brightly colored ski wear is typical of the late 1950s, when retailers offered ski wear in a variety of fashionable colors and patterns. Many urban department stores featured ski boutiques, and in 1959, at least one fashion writer suggested that ski wear would soon be seen both off and on the slopes. Not surprisingly, the slim silhouette of late 1950s ski wear echoed (or vice-versa) the slim pants then seen in casual sportswear.

For more vintage ski fashion click here or follow my “Vintage Winter” boards on Pinterest.

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Besides thinking it’s a little scary looking, and that it might be hard to breathe while wearing it, I’m at a loss for words regarding the aesthetic of this 1962 ski mask by Emellio Pucci. What do you think about it?

Enjoy your weekend!

For More vintage ski inspiration click here.

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.

I take the jumps,

And do them right,

But my heart jumps

only

when you are in sight!

 

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!

For more Vintage Skiing Inspiration on my blog click here, and on Pinterest.

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Bromley, “the sun mountain”, founded by brewery mogul Fred Pabst, turns 75 years old this winter. I love this mountain because I grew up skiing there.

These postcards were old when I got them as a kid. I wasn’t born yet when they were taken, but Bromley was enough the same when I was young that they make me nostalgic. They must be from around WWII as a skier on the Sun Deck in the top postcard is in uniform.

“Flags of Skiing Nations – The flags of the United States, Canada, Austria, Switzerland, Norway and other skiing nations make a colorful display on the Sun Deck at Bromley’s Wild Boar Restaurant. Located in the heart of the Green Mountains, the Manchester, Vermont ski resort is only 197 miles from New York City and 143 miles from Boston.

Most ski areas at the time hired instructors from Austria or Switzerland, many who stayed on and enriched the fabric of our communities.

When I was a kid the Wild Board lodge was jammed with taxidermy antlered beasts hung on pine paneled walls and above the stone fireplace. There was an old wooden telephone booth in the back corner where everyone ate their bagged lunches.

In this postcard season passes were $75 and a week ticket was $21. Sig Buchmayer’s Sportshop is beneath the deck. Wooden ski patrol toboggans are lined up along the front of the building. The lodge has undergone some change but it remains red, if not quite that fire engine shade.

“The Lord’s Prayer at Bromley – This popular novice slope at Bromley, Manchester, Vermont attracts thousands of skiers every winter.”

You could park your car right along rte. 11 and walk to the lift.  Metal J-bars and a surface Poma lift moved skiers uphill in those days. By the time I started skiing at Bromley, “Number 1″ chairlift had been installed at the bottom of The Lord’s Prayer slope to haul skiers to the top . Each chair was painted a different color.  Old Number 1 and all the J-bars, except the Lord’s Prayer J, have been replaced with newer chairlifts. I’ll never forget being hollered at by the lifties for bouncing on the J-bars.

Notice the sunbathers sprawled on the red adirondack chairs along then side of the lodge building. Bromley skiers always have a tan because the slopes face south.

A special exhibit of professionally enlarged black and white vintage photos from the 1950′s and 60′s are on display in the Bromley base lodge this winter. If you can’t stop in to see the show, you can view a slideshow  here . The photographers and skiers are mostly unidentified. If you know either, drop a note to the aforementioned website.

This wonderful video splices together clips of 1960′s vintage Bromley skiing antics and nightlife made by Bromley skier Bob Ellis. Does anyone recognize these swinging skiers?

For more vintage skiing inspiration click here or follow my Vintage Winter boards on Pinterest

 

 

 

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These photos are  jet-setty in a kind of 60′s way! I’m just as fascinated by the compositions, and the play between light and shadow as I am by the skiwear and equipment. Now, wasn’t that James Bond I saw jump out of a helicopter and schuss away?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photographs by Eugene Vernier via Trunk Archive

For more vintage skiing inspiration click here.

 

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I’m very fortunate that I love my work designing apparel to be used for outdoor activities. One of the best things about what I do is “testing” garments. I had plenty of time to consider the characteristics of various pieces of outdoor winter clothing during my recent trip to Iceland.

Two straight weeks of alpine ski touring provided ample time try different fabrics and garments and dream of ways to make them better. I was with a bunch of fashionista gear junkies who were always willing to talk about their likes and dislikes and wishes for the ultimate piece of apparel. Playing with others can spark great new ideas.

The fabric in one jacket I tested was super breathable while climbing, but once the wind kicked up I found it wasn’t as windproof as it claimed to be and I nearly froze until I put my down sweater on. Clearly I won’t be recommending this fabric for use in a winter alpine environment.

Venting zips on pants are always a hot topic – full side zips or partial, or inner thigh? Each has their merit. When Mother Nature knocks I prefer full side zips with a drop seat. Vents that operate easily on jackets are another topic completely.

There’s nothing worse than a hood that is difficult to adjust in a raging freezing wind when you’re being pummeled by tiny ice pellets. You just don’t want to be futzing around with your gloves off in conditions like that.

Pocket placement is also key if you’re wearing a pack with a hip belt and sternum strap. You need easy access to your pockets when buckled into your pack. I especially like my camera to be quickly accessible.

While a lot of my time is spent at my drawing board, a lot of it is spent in the mountains trying to develop better ways to build technical garments. Are any of you as thankful as I am that what you love to do, and what you work at, are so intertwined?

To become an interactive part of Poppy Gall Design Studio on facebook click here.

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©PennieRand2011

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I’m Iceland bound today for three weeks of skiing and poking around the island! I’m so looking forward to long creamy untracked runs to the ocean, being in those beautiful treeless mountains, getting into the daily rhythm of climbing and descending, soaking in geothermal hot springs, packing goat cheese and caviar sandwiches for lunch, enjoying almost 24 hours of uninterrupted daylight, laughing around the dinner table and dreaming about designs for new products. For a peak at what the skiing is like in Iceland check out Bergmenn Mountain Guides.

My first day there I plan to visit the Álafoss yarn mill to stock up on scrumptious colored skeins of their famous Lopi knitting yarn. My knitting needles are packed to start a project or two! I’m also excited to check out the many art galleries in Reykjavik before hopping a flight north to the Troll Penninsula. I may, or may not, be blogging during the next few weeks, but I am sure that I will have lots to share here when I return!

By the time I get back to Vermont in May, I hope that the foot of snow that’s piled around my studio will be melted, and that I can put my skis away and start riding my bicycle and gardening!

Photo: Andrés Kolbeinsson

Photo: Andrés Kolbeinsson - Fashion models at Arbaer Museum, 1961

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