Obsessed With...Vintage Vera Neumann Scarves



Remember the vintage scarves from this post? Well, I wore the blue-and-white polka dot scarf while shopping in Yaletown one day. In one store, a woman walked up to me. Her eyes were transfixed on my scarf as she asked me in a strange voice, "Did you buy that scarf in Japan?"

"No, I bought it from a vintage seller at a craft fair," I replied.

It turned out that this woman had an identical scarf which came from "a family friend" who printed the scarves in Japan. She asked if there was a signature on it anywhere and I said, "No...I don't think so." Curse my ignorance! If I had looked closer, I would've noticed the little scrawl in the corner. Fast forward a couple months, and while browsing for vintage scarves on Etsy, I came across many beautifully patterned numbers with the same signature. I realized after some further research that what I had was a bona fide vintage Vera Neumann scarf.

Vera was an artist turned fashion designer who began making scarves and patterned fabrics with her husband, a textile manufacturer, during WWII. What began as a cottage industry (they had a silkscreen custom-built to fit their dining table) transformed into a huge brand and company with a history spanning the latter half of the 20th century. Grace Kelly and Marilyn Monroe wore Vera scarves. How can you tell if a vintage scarf is a Vera? They're recognizable for their artistic and unique designs as well as the "Vera" signature in the corner. On some of her earlier designs, there's also a ladybug adjacent to the signature. (And yes, the designs were screened and manufactured in Japan for much of the company's history.)

You can read more about Vera's life and company on Wikipedia. I'm more interested in ogling her scarves. Good news for aspiring collectors: Many Vera scarves are affordable ($5-50 from what I've seen) and available on Etsy. I'm trying really hard to refrain from going nuts and buying all of them, particularly the ones with geometric designs.







Are you familiar with Vera Neumann scarves? Would you consider buying or wearing them?

24 comments

  1. I've heard about "Vera" scarves and even think I own one or two, but never knew the backstory. Thanks for sharing it!

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  2. Very cool bit of research Lisa! I love the modernist prints of the scarves. I'll keep my eyes open next time I'm vintage shopping!

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  3. I've haven't heard of them until today but I would def wear one of I found one.

    I love the print in the last one!

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  4. Lovely scarves!
    Would so wear all of these!
    Gorgeous post, darling L!

    xoxox,
    CC

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  5. That is a really cool story! I am addicted to scarves, I think I buy a at least one every months :)

    I haven't heard of Vera Neumann, thanks for introducing her!

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  6. my mom loves scarves. thanks for giving me some gift ideas.

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  7. I bought a vintage Vera last year!

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  8. those scarves are gorgeous...loving the patterns and beautiful colours

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  9. so weird. i saw the scarves on etsy and was gawking at them when i saw your tweet about this post. will have to keep my eye out for these around here and maybe snag some from etsy!

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  10. OH wow! I can see why you are totally obsessed. They're just gorgeous. Fabulous for travelling too! Just imagine...you, the scarf, and Positano (or maybe Capri or maybe Provence...) Sigh!

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  11. These scarves are beautiful! No wonder that lady just walked up to you, though at the time that must've been quite the odd experience. Lucky you for getting one!

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  12. I went through a scarf phase awhile ago... got some pretty cool vintage ones, like one by Absolut Vodka!

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  13. Scarves totally make an outfit, and I'm loving these patterns!

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  14. Love the scarves - thanks for sharing!

    (Also, if you're interested, I'm hosting a giveaway for the Sex and the City 2 soundtrack on my blog - stop by!)

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  15. One of my favorite vintage scarves is by vera! It's yellow silk with red dachshunds and dalmations chasing each other all over it, totally adorable. Didn't know anything about it before either, thanks for sharing!

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  16. I was lucky enough to find a Vera scarf today while scouring my favorite Thrift shop! I knew nothing about the scarves, I just knew the colors & print were beautiful, so I scooped it up. I am so happy I did after reading about how collectible they are :)

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  17. found Vera scarf at garage sale,50 cents. It's an abstract black/white polka dots made in Japan acetate. luv it. Will keep looking. Hope next one is silk

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  18. Gorgeous! Thanks for the information. I recently found a Vera scarf from the seventies and mentioned your post in it.

    http://sixballoons.blogspot.com/2011/12/vintage-vera-neumann-scarf-with-ladybug.html

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  19. Love this blog and your entry about Vera. Check out The Lucky Fish on etsy - they have the web's largest collection of Vera Neumann scarves. (www.theluckyfish.etsy.com)

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  20. I have a vera from a thrift store. 4 actually. The first 3 have like peas or carrots on them and are red, white and blue. Red, white and brown. yellow, green, white. All made of cotton. I do see the vera signature with the lady bug. but I am concerned because the fourth one has NO signature yet the label says vera made in italy. hummm any advice. its multi colored pinks and white floral, mod pattern

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  21. I tend to go to https://thescarfboutique.co.uk/categories/SCARVES/Vintage/ for my vintage scarves. They update new ones and I like how they come in a box. I even buy them as gifts. Also I just wander around towns, amazingly excited when I find a vintage shop, however I find they dont care for their scarves and they are often strewn all over the place and get damaged.

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  22. I found a Vera scarf at my favorite thrift store purely by accident. I didn't even know what it was until I got curious about the brand mark and stumbled across her signature online. Wow. I had no idea.

    Mine is a long rectangular scarf that feels like silk, but there's no label to confirm that. It features several small-print geometric line/houndstooth patterns in black and cream, arranged in blocks of varying proportions. It may be the most insanely chic item I own. I love it!

    Somewhere online I saw a site that helps you date a Vera scarf by the signature changes.

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  23. I have been collecting Vera scarves for years. When I opened my Etsy shop last year, I was sure to include them as they are so desirable and classic. Perfect mid-century style. And bonus, my mother-in-law was a fabric designer in the same time period and talks about how Vera was their biggest competitor! Have a look as I just added new Vera scarves: Etsy/shop/IfYouPleaseVintage. Thanks, Lisa!

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