Ascher

Ascher art web site with brand new scarves and info on the old 1947 artist squares series – probably the most collectable and valuable scarves in the world!

Although Ascher did produce these amazing pieces of art in the 1940s there were many other scarves produced which are also very collectable – collaborations with Feliks Topolski for example are amazing works of art. Even a humble plain scarf is a thing of beauty by Ascher. Woven cotton scarves were also produced with simple geometric patterns.

Ascher was the leading textile designer and manufacturer of the post war years supplying Dior, Balenciaga, Givenchy, Saint Laurent et al with his fabrics; he also collaborated with the greatest artists of the time. Matisse and Moore, Cocteau and Toplski (amongst many others) worked with him on exquisitely printed head-scarves; Henri Mattise and Henry Moore also created vast wall panels for Ascher.

Jacqmar

Ok, so anyone who collects and loves vintage scarves will have heard of Jacqmar – but remarkably little is actually known about this ubiquitous brand.

In the 1930s Joseph (JACK) Lyons and his wife Mary set up JACQMAR. They were known for producing top end designer clothing but diversified into making scarves to use up oddments of silk.

Joseph actually died in 1938 but the company was taken over by Allen Allen who grew the brand. With the advent of WWII silk became harder to find but they would use parachute silk or diversified into the new fabrics of rayon. Most famous during the war and immediate postwar years for producing patriotic propaganda large scarves proclaiming positive messages such as ‘Salvage Your Rubber’, ‘Into Battle’ and ‘Time Gentlemen, Please’ , ‘Happy Landings’ etc with Arnold Lever as chief designer. His artwork is quite distinctive and highly prized. These were sold to help the war effort and tended to fall into 3 main categories: the armed forces, the allies and the home front.

The most famous and rarest of these scarves is ‘London Wall’ which commands very high prices whenever it comes available.

Over the years Jacqmar had always tried to keep up with fashion and the zeitgeist of every era; in the late 40s and early 50s scarf design was romantic, often floral or along themes such as ballet, the traditional setting and commemorative. Examples include the Lac des Cygnes, Les Fleurs Epanses or the ‘Sketchbook’ series which included Pubs and Inns, Around the World and many other titles which are much collected.

In the late 50s the scarves are more painterly, sometimes more abstract with more varied use of colour. The Toninelli series was produced with beautiful artwork designs from the Old Masters. (pic) In the 60s geometrics and monochromes appear eg these…

By the late 60s and early 70s the scarves were being produced in silk and also many in polyester and every woman of a certain age was bound to have one or two. The silk ones tend to be more treasured and have the better designs. Funky colours and bold design were a feature of these scarves right up until the company was taken over by Allen Allen’s son Richard Allen in the 1950s who continued the brand but also established his own label in 1962 (link)

The Jacqmar signature is usually present in two corners of the scarf but over the years the signature has evolved which can help you to identify the approximate age of your scarf…

Kreier

Most amazing swiss scarves – often quirky and not always politically correct in our modern age but always delightful….

Founded in 1954 Kreier were known for quality handkerchiefs and scarves in cotton, wool as well assilk. They were also know for home textiles and bed linens in linen and cotton. Max Kreier AG was located in St. Gallen, Switzerland which also had other textile companies in the area.

The company eventually went into liquidation in 1996.

Lovely scarves included translations of English and French, How not to annoy your husband (!), Diet tips (!), Cars, Cats and Dog designs. Just plain quirky and very collectable.

Les Leston

Of all the accessory companies that thrived in the 50's, 60's & 70's off all them probably the best known is "Les Leston".

Born Alfred Lazarus Fingleston in 1920, Les Leston, first came to prominence in the 1950's as a racing driver. He started racing in a Jaguar SS100 before acquiring a Cooper and later building his own Leston Special. He become a Cooper works driver in 1954 and took the national Formula 3 championship in that year. Les also participated in three Formula One World Championship rounds, but with no great success.

After he retired from professional motor racing he started selling accessories with a "Motorsport Theme". Lestons are probably best remembered nowadays for their range of beautiful after market steering wheels most of which were manufacturered by "Walsall Wheels" but he was also

instrumental in the adoption of many of the safety improvements seen during the 60's including the introduction of fireproof suits & crash helmets to motorsport.

The famous Grand Prix Headscarves were advertised for 29 shillings and 6 old pennies back in the Les Leston Accessories catalogue from 1968 when they were at the height of their powers – supposedly the idea was for the racer man to buy one for the wife in one of the four available colours, white, blue, green and red. At 35inches square they were quite generous in size. Made from Tricel, looking like silk but without the care issues that go with it these were fit for the racing environment…

Richard Allan

Whilst running Jacqmar Richard Allan founded his own label in 1962 and started producing his own range of scarves. These were printed at ‘World of Silk’, David Evans silk printing works in Crayford, Kent. These were very high quality as David Evans also printed scarves for Liberty and Christian Dior.

Richard Allan was taken over by Jane Shilton in 1989.

For more information and pictures of scarves visit the Richard Allan Scarves web site.

Thirkell

Roy Thirkell Limited was founded in November 1945 and produced scarves until 1988 when the company was dissolved. In those years they produced wonderful and distinctive quality scarves with a very British flavour – hunting, shooting, fishing and equestrian scenes were quite common. They also did a pubs and inns scarf and some London souvenir scarves as they were based in Old Bond Street. They also produced a ‘Cries of London’ square and several about the Caribbean too. Quite rare and collectable in their own right.

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