Scarves have always been a bit of a passion. I revel in their unique colors, patterns and textures. They can elevate the simplest outfit and completely change mood of it – and often me as well.
With the ability to be worn in a multitude of ways, they are the chameleons of the accessory world. Few things are as versatile as a scarf, neck candy, head scarf, halter, belt, wrap… the options are almost limitless. Scarves answer so many fashion questions effortlessly. Want to dress up your plain t-shirt? Having a bad hair day? Need an elegant top for a warm evening? Lacking that just-right belt? Feeling a little evening chill? Looking to make your broken arm’s sling a true fashion accessory?
It’s fun to rock a period look too – especially in the head scarf. Depending on how it’s tied suddenly you are channeling Grace Kelly or Jackie Onassis, cruising Cannes in a convertible or sailing the Amalfi Coast in a period yacht. And, if you were wondering about the broken arm fashion accessory comment, Grace Kelly made fashion history when she used a Hermes scarf as a sling – how positively chic!
I caught the scarf bug early. While other children collected charms and other things on their travels, I collected scarves. Traveling the world those colorful pieces of fabric recalled many an adventure. Sadly, far too few of that early collection exist now, a casualty of the rather nomadic lifestyle that I offered them. Today my scarf collection is one of my most prized and carefully guarded.
Chatting with Tammy Chedid, the resident scarf expert at Neiman Marcus Palo Alto we agreed every scarf tells a story. While it’s often a souvenir of a place for me, the story doesn’t have to be that of a keepsake.
I learned exactly how special those stories can be from Tammy. She shared how scarves – and the stories that go with them – have enriched women’s lives. She told me about the time a client was able to make her cruise but had only the camisole and pants she was wearing and how a beautiful scarf rescued her for dinner; how a new scarf saved a tourist from San Francisco’s evening chill – and then how when the scarf was lost she had to drive up from Monterey just to buy the same one again, as she loved it that much; how coming across the scarf a woman purchased with an old friend years ago inspired a call to that same old friend – who she hadn’t seen in 15 years; personally, how while spending time with her mother in the ICU Tammy and her sister started using scarves as blankets, which then progressed into a scarf tying fashion show – lightening the mood through some serious scarf bonding.
Recently I was able to do a little scarf bonding myself when Tammy hosted a scarf tying event at Neiman Marcus Palo Alto. How fun it was to meet other scarf collectors, see and touch some beautiful new collections and watch Tammy work her magic. And work her magic she did.
One by one she demonstrated the most creative knots on a variety scarves, cashmere stoles, traditional silk twills, silk chiffons, and blends. Tammy was inspirational in her mix of unique techniques and her agility in executing them. All of the knots were so imaginative but I was particularly taken with the dramatic and elegant long “ruffle,” the handy and attractive “magic” for securing a scarf as wrap and the clever “secret” to give volume and a flower-like effect.
I enjoyed taking a close look at the scarves after the demonstration; it’s always fun to compare the look and feel of the tied scarf with seeing it flat. There was a nice variety of designers represented, vibrant Farragamo florals, bold Pucci prints, charming Gucci designs, edgy McQueen sculls among them.
The artistry of scarves, particularly silk ones, never fails to inspire; it was difficult to choose what would go home with me. After flirting with a couple of designs I settled on a striking Farragamo silk with bright flowers on a deep black background. It has such depth; the colorful flowers almost seem to levitate. I love how it’s finished with a lavender rolled edge; it offers such a nice edge to to my favorite new scarf knot, the ruffle.
It’s named Desiderio or “Desire” in English, what a perfect name; the colors draw you deeper and deeper into the design until you simply must possess it.
Leaving I thought about the new scarf story created today… Each time I wear my beautiful new Farragamo, I’ll be reminded of this day of discovery and inspiration.
What is your favorite scarf story?