November 15, 2012

A vintage find

This week, for the first time in quite a while, I had the opportunity to go to the market on the day my favorite vintage stall is there. So, of course, I went there to have a look. Their offerings can be quite hit-and-miss and I didn't find anything nice in the racks. But, I was there early and they were still sorting through a couple of garbage bags filled with clothes... 
Under my eyes, this was thrown onto the '50 cent a piece' table.

I could see it was silk, so I took a hold of it straight away. The label confirmed my idea: thai silk 100%. Pink with polka dots. I think it ended up with the bargain stuff because of the state the sleeves are in. The dress doesn't have stains or signs of wear but it rather looks like someone abondoned it in the middle of a minor re-fashion. The white cuffs were taken off but are still with it and the sleeves were gathered at the bottom. Maybe they were originally longer?

Of course I tried it on but, as expected, it didn't look good on me at all. But what I really had in mind for it, from the moment I saw it is this:

I've wanted a good plissee skirt for years...

I don't really know how to date this dress. The label is woven nylon, the buttons are plastic, the bodice is lined and the skirt has french seams so no revealing seam-finishing. I would guess it's 80's sort of doing 50's...
Without really expecting anything, I googled the name on the label. It's designed like an autograph, so I wasn't even sure I had deciphered it correctly. The name was Jim Thompson. I didn't take a picture of the label, but you can see it right here, on the website of the still-in-existance company. 
And wikipedia provided even more information: mr. Thompson was very much a real person. Originally an architect who had a colourful carreer during the Second World War which eventually took him to Thailand. He stayed there after leaving the army in 1946 and devoted himself to revitalizing a cottage industry of hand-woven silk. His efforts had a major impact, establishing the fame of thai silk and helping some of the countries poorest people. After his mysterious disappearance in 1967, the company went on under his name although did start  producing in a factory.

I never expected to find out this much about the brand... It's quite fascinating.

1 comment:

  1. I live in the Philippines and whenever I visit Bangkok, I always check out the Jim Thompson stores. Their regular retail price is quite expensive, although they have beautiful merchandise. But they also have an outlet store easily accessible by public transport (better than suffering through Bangkok traffic) and taxi: 5 stories of beautiful Thai silk and cotton for both garments and upholstery at very reasonable prices! They also carry really cute souvenirs made out of their silks: cosmetic bags, jewellery rolls, picture frames etc. JIm Thompsons house, an antique original Thai house is also open to the public as a museum. Both places are really worth a visit if you are ever in Thailand!