Monday, February 28, 2011

Gather 'round children, it's vintage time with Auntie C

So last week The Nana and I went to this Parisian flea market. It wasn't really a "flea market" per se, nor was it Parisian in that it was set in Paris, but it was basically a couple small warehouse rooms crammed full of antique French things like ceramic poodles, dainty pillbox hats, little Eiffel towers, jewelry boxes, lace everything, rings, bracelets, framed art, the list goes on and on. Imagine a Francophile having an orgasm and it would look like the innards of this warehouse. 

A group of ladies runs this "Parisian flea market" and they only open it to the public once a month after they've scoured the land for new trinkets and baubles and restocked their warehouse. As you can imagine it's a Big Deal with the antique crowd when this place opens its doors. (And of course, needing to be in on every Big Deal, I was there.)

I bought a few things, most notably this (prepare to be jealous):

And was ready to drop serious bread on a tiny empty glass perfume bottle, when Nana stopped me saying she had "a bunch" at home she could give me. "I didn't know you were into those kind of things," she said. "You can have mine." 

Um, okay. Since when do I not seem like I'd be "into those kind of things?" I die over vintage anything, even hideous carved wood wall art circa the Witco movement. She of all people knows this. Anyway, I was stoked about these alleged perfume bottles she owned, but also took her offer with a grain of salt. After all a few months ago I mentioned that I loooved vintage fur, especially mink stoles, and lo and behold, turned out The Nana owned a mink stole that she'd kept wrapped in the back of her closet for the last 60 years. 

She took it out and let me try it on and then said "no one could have it" (meaning my younger cousin had first dibs on it).

Concerning the perfume bottles Nana actually came through with her promise. She picked me up for lunch on Friday afternoon and handed me a little bag with these four perfume bottles:

These two specifically are my great grandmother's (her mother's) perfume bottles that were bought in the early 1940s and never opened:

The brand is Sortilege by La Galion and my great grandmother gave them to Nana as a going away present when Nana moved out to California with her husband and children in 1962. Since 1962 they have sat in the same house, in the same room, on the same bureau, until now. It's amazing to think that in the last 70 years or so of two womens' lives, these perfume bottles have been a constant. And now they enter my life and hopefully, when we have kids and they're grown, I'll pass them down and they'll be a constant in one of my daughter's lives.

But the best thing of all? After she handed me the perfumes, she pulled a little bag from her purse and said that she also wanted me to have her pearls from high school. Real pre-WWII pearls set on a swatch of satin with a little tag underneath that says Made in Japan. I just about died. They're exquisite and I can't wait to wear them:


  1. Those pearls are gorgeous. Dying.

  2. I love it when things get passed down from one generation to the next. Those pearls are AMAZING. What a great grandma!

  3. Heya girl! I had lost the link to your blog :( Ma sono tornata!

    Wow how fantastic!! It is amazing indeed to think that it has been owned for so long and it still looks splendid as if time never passed by...!

    Hahaha, it's hilarious how you describe your cousin....

  4. Wow how lovely, how great to have a little story behind your family heirlooms to pass down to your future children, PS I've very jealous, the poodle is so cute! xx

  5. Love. It. All!! =D Those pearls will look fabulous on you.