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  • Writer's pictureTricia Scheer

Vera Silk Scarf

Today’s blog is all about my silk scarfs and the incredible backstory on the designer. I favor her red, white and blue ones.  They range in price from $10-$50 and can be found on Etsy.  They are very special, not only for the rich and vibrant colors, but also because  of who the designer was.  Her name was Vera.  Vera Neumann (born Vera Salaff; July 24, 1907 – June 15, 1993) was an American artist and entrepreneur best known for her boldly colored linen patterns and scarves signed "Vera" and featuring a ladybug. 

With World War II in full swing, Vera found linen supplies dwindling and went in search of alternative materials for her products. She came across some parachute silk at an army surplus store, an event which marked the beginning of her scarf business. She kept her signature on art transferred to the scarves, thus creating the first signature scarf in history. "Vera scarves" became immediately popular and Vera herself was soon on first-name terms with well-known women around the country. Marilyn Monroe was a fan [8] as were Grace Kelly and First Lady Bess Truman, who selected Vera fabric from Schumacher, Inc. to decorate the third-floor solarium windows and upholstery of the White House. Women from around the country also chose Vera products for their color and cheerful prints. The demand for Vera products and the untimely death of George in 1962 led Vera to sell the business to Manhattan Industries in 1967.[9] Both Vera and Werner Hamm became board members and Vera stayed on as creative director. The company expanded into sportswear, eventually hiring up and comer Perry Ellis to oversee that division, as well as luggage. 

Neumann's company "Vera Licensing" was purchased by Salant Corporation in 1988. She remained head designer, but Printex was closed later that year. She painted until the last months of her life and died of a cardiac arrest at Phelps Memorial Hospital in North Tarrytown, NY on June 15, 1993.[13] After her death, she continued to receive acclaim from museums and exhibits around the country. In 1999, Vera Licensing was sold to The Tog Shop, a catalog company which had licensed sportswear from Vera Licensing. The Tog Shop was put up for sale in 2005 and Susan Seid, then the VP of Merchandising of The Tog Shop, bought "The Vera Company". the firm's current name, of which she remains the owner. The Vera Company currently holds eight licenses for its products. In February 2012, Crate & Barrel has exclusively reissued 3 Vera dishtowels. In April 2013, Target stores began to sell 17 designs inspired by Vera, complete with her signature and ladybug.

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