The Olympic Winter Games, Seventeen Magazine, February 1988

In honor of the 2014 Winter Olympics, here’s a look back to 1988. This is from a story called “The Contenders” by Meg Lukens. It highlights Tamara McKinney, Alpine Skiing; Pirmin Zurbriggen, Alpine Skiing; Josh Thompson, Biathlon; Bonnie Blair, Speed Skating; Debi Thomas, Figure Skating; Katarina Witt, Figure Skating; Brian Boitano, Figure Skating; Gunde Svan, Cross-Country Skiing. Here’s what Meg writes:

If they’re in Calgary this month, they’re the best in the world. For some, there will be quiet triumphs and a return to their life out of the spotlight. For others, Olympic metal will mark the beginning of a public life in which their names will become household words. When the XV Winter Games convene, keep an eye on these athletes and learn their names. They play to win.

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Native American Indian Jewelry Coming Soon!!

Native American Indian Jewelry

Native American Indian Jewelry

Last weekend I went to one of the most amazing Native American Indian jewelry estate sales.  The owner was a reputable dealer that was selling all of her stock and moving to Italy.  (I was envious about the Italy part.)  I manage to get my hands on a few of the stunning pieces.  Most of the Navajo and Zuni pieces will be added to the shop within the next two weeks.  If you have any questions or are interested in any of the pieces, please email us.

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FREE Vintage Lamps

Anyone looking for vintage lamps? Tanya and I grew up with these beauties. They’re from the 1960s or 1970s. Take a look here and if you’d like one, email me by the end of the week at lisa@bunnystrunkshow.com. We’re giving them away for FREE!

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vintagewroughtiron_bunnystrunkshow

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vintageamberlight_bunnystrunkshow

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Remember Esprit Fashion? Totally Rad.

In the 1980s, Esprit fashion was super hot. Here’s a story by Mara Altman nabbed from the June 1987 Seventeen Magazine.

Vintage Esprit

Once upon a time two women from California, Susie Tompkins and Jane Tise, traveled to Europe and returned with a fashion bug. They shopped high and low for the kind of clothes they had seen in London and other cities, but America just didn’t have the styles they craved. So with no previous design experience, they started making close-fitting minidresses from magazine pictures and their own little sketches.

By 1969 they had started a small company called Plain Jane, and with business help from Susie’s husband, Doug, they began expanding their designs. As the years went by, Susie and Doug became sole owners, and the little company grew into Esprit, a fashion empire with four thousand employees in twenty-four countries and seven clothing and accessory lines. Nowadays they are opening retail stores and franchises in extremely out-of-the-way places (from Aspen to Australia) and are turning their attention to all sorts of new products, including Esprit for the feet, for the beach, for the bed and bath, and even Esprit to eat.

The secret, you see, is that the Tompkinses didn’t just make clothes, they created a lifestyle–one that has massive international appeal. “We just used ourselves as a barometer,” Susie says. “I’m totally instinctive–not a conformer. And if I find myself feeling like one, I do something quickly to offset it–you know, like when you sometimes see what you’re doing and it’s too normal?”

Esprit all over: Plans for next year start with sheets, towels, eyeglasses, fifty new stores, and a takeover of China-stylewise.

This sense of nonconformity is largely what’s behind the Esprit look. The clothes that put Esprit on the fashion map grew out of this attitude: They are comfortable, fresh, funky, colorful, energetic, interchangeable, and most of all, creative. They are casual clothes that are easy to live in, designed to allow people to put together their own version of the Esprit look.

In the past four years that look has been expanded with accessories: earrings, socks, belts, scarves, and handbags. And shoes. After Susie found herself dyeing sneakers in a bathtub to show with the clothes in one of their catalogs, Esprit decided that shoes were a must. In 1983 they began designing them in earnest, and now they’re up to about forty women’s and kids’ styles, including strappy sandals, lace-up boots, dressy pumps, and ballet flats.

Vintage Esprit

Last year they even ventured into the kitchen, with the opening of Caffe Esprit next door to their factory outlet in San Francisco. The restaurant was started by the two employees who ran the company’s cafeteria for three years and who were renowned for their interesting, attractive, and fun-to-eat food (sound familiar?). The café–which opens up to include an outdoor dining area in warm weather–has turned out to be a major attraction for the shoppers who flock to the outlet. The menu features trendy California cuisine, with items like a “garden composée” of baby garden lettuce and edible flower blossoms, Apple Thyme Pie, and iced black currant tea. Each dish is painstakingly styled to look as good as it tastes.

At Caffe Esprit–where what you eat is as important as what your wear–fresh and healthy is the order of the day.

Vintage Esprit

The road to happily ever after, however, didn’t always run smoothly. For several years after the Tompkinses had started Plain Jane, they worked with partners–in the United States and Europe–turning out clothes under nine different labels. Shortly after they agreed to buy out their American partners, in 1975, catastrophe struck: An unexplained fire destroyed their San Francisco facility and most of their inventory.

They didn’t have enough insurance to cover the loss, but within a week they were back at work in a temporary space. “We fell on our fanny,” says Susie, “but our feet were always on the ground.” In 1977, when the smoke had cleared, they consolidated all their labels under one name–Esprit de Corp (after the French for “spirit of the group”)–and established themselves in a huge San Francisco headquarters, complete with a running track and tennis courts.

By the late 1970s the Tompkinses had two daughters, Quincy, now twenty-one, and Summer, nineteen, and their company was expanding around the world. Today Esprit operates on five continents, and it had estimated retail sales of more than $800 million in 1986 alone. Recently they were even granted a charter from the Chinese government to do business there. Those dreams are still on the drawing board, but Esprit’s world-class status is secure regardless. This summer they plan to open a European headquarters in Milan, Italy.

Vintage Esprit

All this growth has occurred within the innovative framework of Esprit “concept”–the driving force behind everything they do. For Doug, forty-four, a born entrepreneur with an eccentric management style, the key to establishing and maintaining Esprit’s images lies in his compulsive control of the details. From the copy in their ads to the decor and music in each of their retail outlets, Doug has a hand in every particular and insists that everything–the napkins for Caffee Esprit, a factory opening in Hong Kong shopping carts for their stores–be exactly right. The office is run with the same strict eye for harmony: Employees are forbidden to wear high heals on the office’s softwood floors, chew gum, smoke, or eat at their desks. The receptionists must answer the phone, “Hi, Esprit!” Though Esprit’s image is spontaneous and fun, it’s maintained by a rigorous system of rules.

Yet, Doug, who spends nearly as much time mountain climbing and skiing as he does running Esprit from his office, upholds the Esprit attitude in other ways. In keeping with the company’s total-lifestyle approach, employees are treated to a variety of off-beat perks, including subsidized theater tickets, wilderness field trips, free haircuts, aerobics classes, and language lessons, to name just a few. In many cases having the company involved in their lives makes employees feel they are more involved in the company, and it inspires enthusiasm and the kind of corporate spirit that keeps Esprit on the cutting edge.

Interestingly, even as Esprit has expanded and the lines have multiplied, their style sense still grows naturally from what the designers like and feel is right for them. As design director, Susie regularly travels with her staff of ten designers to check out the global fashion scene, collecting inspiration and living out of suitcases. As a result of that shared experience, Susie says, they are all looking for the same thing in their clothes: comfort, style and low maintenance.

Susie, forty-three, notes that as the company has grown, their clothes have evolved, too. “In the late 1970s, everyone was having a good time, and it was really sporty and just . . . puppy love. But today the world’s a much scarier place. Kids are more directed, and they’re not going through so much experimenting.”

In response to this view, Susie says Esprit now caters to a “well-rounded, assured young woman who’s confident but very curious about life. She isn’t as frivolous as maybe ten years ago.” To meet her needs, they are making more classic clothes in beiges and neutrals and coming out with styles that can be worn to work as well as to play. They’re clothes that “don’t need to scream, ‘me, me, me,'” Susie says, “because today it’s you, not your clothes, that should be the priority. Things can’t look contrived, like you had to work to put it all together–it has to be natural.”

Vintage Esprit

Esprit’s newest design direction, ironically, is coming out of the past, derived from styles found in a big thrift-shop archive the designers keep for inspiration. “Right now there’s a great romance with romance,” Susie says. “We want to bring back some kind of traditional authenticity but do it in a new way. That’s modern to me.”

Also on the agenda are a new denim line, licensing agreements with Optyl for sunglasses and Martex for sheets and towels, new stores, and more “shops within shops” at chains such as Bloomingdale’s and Macy’s. The Tompkinses say they have their hands full and would like to slow down, but the Esprit tide show no sign of turning. Whatever they do, it will be with a “combination of physical, intellectual, and emotional awareness,” as Susie describes it. “When you understand all three, you equal the spirit and you equal the Esprit.”

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Oh, Provence, Seventeen Magazine June 1988

Another photo shoot from the 1980s – I remember wearing a flowered, mint green, short sleeve button down top with matching capri pants. I did not pull off the same style as below, but instead looked like Hawaii threw up on me.

Sunny Days Spent in Romantic Peasant Clothes of the French Countryside

Seventeen Magazine June 1988 You don’t have to close your eyes to imagine strolling through the rustic beauty of southern France. It’s as easy as slipping on a floral-print cropped top and skirt, both in sea-blue (above left), or a “French”-plaid jumper in carnation-red (right).

Seventeen Magazine June 1988Adorn yourself with the colors of the earth . . . like this celery-green cable-knit sweater and paisley shorts in plum. Tie a terra-cotta sash around your waist and a golden-brown bandanna around your neck.

Seventeen Magazine June 1988You can almost see the romantic lavender fields of Provence when you wear this lovely blossoms-covered sundress in chambray-blue.

Seventeen Magazine June 1988The traditional colors of Provence–sun-bleached white and French-blue (a color somewhere between the sea and the sky)–inspired this pretty striped tand and folkloric-print skirt.

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Desert Bloom, Seventeen Magazine June 1988

I was digging in my basement and came across my Seventeen Magazines from high school. Yes, I kept them! No, I’m not a packrat. So, this was a surprise that I still had them. The text on these pages is dramatic just like the vibrant colors – oh 1980s, you were so funny.

Seventeen Magazine June 1988Hold onto you hot! Your sizzling summer is about to get just that much hotter. It’s your turn to burn in blazing-bright clothes that combine the best of the zest: Spanish, south-of-the-border, even Indian influences, rich with authentic peasant touches. Strike a match with a midriff-baring ribbed sweater in patent pink (notice the Mexican-style trim at the neckline) and cropped calypso pants in a primitive print.

Seventeen Magazine June 1988 Milla JovovichLet it simmer with warm glimmers of color–a light-beige shadow across the lids, a sheer-peach blush over the cheeks, a burnt-coral tint on the lips. Do you recognize this model? It’s twelve-year-old Mila Jovovich!

Seventeen Magazine June 1988Raise some temperatures–and a few eyebrows–with makeup in soft, dusty shades and ethnic clothes in rich, radiant colors. A natural wonder, the face is bare but for hints of pale pink stroked across the brow-bone and the lips and a smoky rose swept over the cheekbones.

Seventeen Magazine June 1988Adding some spice for flavor–a saffron peasant blouse paired with La Bamba-inspired cropped pant (with ruffles down the sides). Extra impact: a sash in red-hot red around the waist.

Seventeen Magazine June 1988 Fanning the flame . . . passion flowers in full bloom. A hot rosette adds a torrid touch to a shoulder-shunning peasant top. Underneath, a flowing peppermint-pink skirt in the softest satin.

Seventeen Magazine June 1988 Vibrant florals also lend a bit of flair to the hair, worn slicked back off the face to emphasize dramatic violet-lined eyes and intense wine-colored lips.

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Friday’s Find- Victorian “Rose of Sharon” Amethyst Ring

I recently picked up a gorgeous amethyst ring at a northern Chicago suburb and was pleasantly surprised by it’s wonderful history.

"Ring of Sharon" 14k Gold and Amethyst Victorian Ring

“Rose of Sharon” 14k Rose Gold and Amethyst Victorian Ring

It is called a “Rose of Sharon” ring.  These rings were at the height of fashion in the Victorian Era between 1860’s to 1880’s, but were produced up into the 1900’s.  They were know to be used as engagement rings, promise rings and love tokens.  This style of ring has become highly collectible today and is pretty rare.

The ring I acquired is in great antique condition- the gold etched flower is in near perfect shape.  You can even see some of the veining in the leaves.  I was also told that this ring has a table cut diamond set into the amethyst stone and that it pre-dates the rose cut diamond.  It must have been very carefully kept- the designs on the sides of the band are barely worn.  I also love that this ring has been etched on the inside in beautiful script with the name “Minnie H.”  You can own this beautiful piece of history (almost 150 years old!) by purchasing it through our Etsy shop.

A special Thanks to Meg at Mag Wildwoods Closet for teaching me about these beautiful rings!

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Bunny’s on Pinterest

Bakelite jewelry

We’ve started a Pinterest page! This is fun – what took me so long to jump on the bandwagon? And I’ve added a ‘Recent Pins’ to the side of our page. Please follow us! Thanks!

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Our Etsy Shop is on Vacation

fur clip bunnystrunkshow
Tanya has made the trek from Chicago to Phoenix – yep, our girl has moved to the Southwest desert to be among the cacti, javelinas, hippie healers and conservative politicos. She’s lived outside of Chicago many years and finally convinced her hubby to move. It’s too cold in Chicago! Anyone have friends there that you can introduce her to?

Anyway, our Etsy Shop is on vacation mode until she gets settled. It’ll probably be back up and running on Monday, February 25th.

Take a look at the photo above – she picked up this 1930s golden bird fur clip on her journey though Springfield, MO. Now you’ll get to choose from super cool vintage jewelry and accessories from Chicago to Phoenix – imagine the selection!

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Vintage Furniture For Sale

I know, we sell vintage jewelry, but I thought I’d post a few other vintage items that I’m trying to sell. I have more photos available upon request. Email me at lisa@bunnystrunkshow.com.

Antique Stain Glass Built-In Cabinets

Gorgeous built-in cabinets with three removable shelves (one shelf is missing). They measure 4′ height x 21-1/2″ width x 11″ depth. Some of the stain glass is broken. $180/OBO for the pair.

Mid Century Modern Tan Leather and Steel Chrome Chair

Classic mid century modern chair with tan leather wrapped around a steel chrome frame (frame is a little wobbly). It has an Italian leather label underneath the seat. $50/OBO

Vintage McCalls Metal Patterns Cabinet

Vintage McCalls beige metal file cabinet. The unique drawers with the dividers are great for organizing. It measures 27-1/2” width x 37” height x 25” depth. $90/OBO

Vintage Metal Storage Cabinet

Get organized! This beige metal multi-sized drawer cabinet (on wheels) is good for organizing because your small stuff won’t get lost in big drawers. It measures 30” width x 30” height x 24” depth. $75/OBO

Nanna Ditzel Candlestick

Mid Century Modern wood and brass candle holder by designer Nanna Ditzel. It includes the original box. I found it online, selling for $400 out of England. My price is $250 – bargain!

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