February 15, 2012 — A Fashion Interlude

Recent­ly I had the good for­tune of meet­ing one of Ling-Ai’s nieces who had saved many of Ling-Ai’s papers and pos­ses­sions.  I am cur­rent­ly por­ing through doc­u­ments and pieces of paper, look­ing for clues that tell more about the mak­ing of KUKAN.  It can be a tedious job.  So I took an after­noon off to explore some of Ling-Ai’s fash­ion acces­sories that had been painstak­ing­ly packed away.  Ling-Ai had an obvi­ous flair for fash­ion.  And the vin­tage clothes lover in me went gaga as I opened this eye-catch­ing tres MOD turquoise hat box.  

Photo of Li Ling-Ai's Hat Box.

Li Ling-Ai’s Mod Turquoise Hat Box could be a fash­ion acces­so­ry in itself

 

The con­tents of the box did not dis­ap­point.  I dis­cov­ered three exquis­ite­ly craft­ed lit­tle num­bers.  A pink bro­cade small saucer hat with a stun­ning plume was my favorite.

Photo of Li Ling-Ai's Nick Savage pink brocade hat.

Plumed pink bro­cade hat by Nick Sav­age

 
I had a lot of fun imag­in­ing the type of occa­sion Ling-Ai chose to wear this hat to.
 
 
Photo of pink brocade hat.
 
Photo of Nick Savage pink brocade plumed hat owned by Li Ling-Ai
While pho­tograph­ing this hat, I noticed the amaz­ing crafts­man­ship that went into it’s con­struc­tion.
 
Photo of detail from pink brocade hat by Nick Savage

Detail of pink bro­cade hat.

A signed label was sewn into the inside lin­ing of the hat.  Nick Sav­age appears to be the tal­ent­ed milliner who made it.
 
Photo of inside of pink brocade hat
These next two pieces were also made by Nick. And are equal­ly exquis­ite.
 
 
Photo of gold ponytail hat by Nick Savage.

Gold pony­tail hat by Nick Savage.Gold-banded camel­lia hat by Nick Sav­age

 
 
 
Photo of gold-banded camellia hat by Nick Savage

Gold-band­ed camel­lia hat by Nick Sav­age

 

The lit­tle details are mar­velous. Check out the sep­a­rate braid­ed strands that start this gold pony-tail plume.

Photo of gold ponytail saucer hat by Nick Savage

 And the per­fect posi­tion­ing of the bro­cad­ed fab­ric.
 
Gold ponytail saucer hat by Nick Savage.
The camel­lia on this inven­tive piece was a lit­tle a squished, but I imag­ine it was pret­ty sump­tious when Ling-Ai wore it back in the day.
 
Photo of gold-banded camellia hat by Nick Savage
Gold-banded camellia hat by Nick Savage
 
I couldn’t find any infor­ma­tion on the inter­net about the tal­ent­ed Nick Sav­age.  But I did find a lit­tle label in the inside of this camel­lia hat. 
 
 
 It had a New York City address — 350 East 50th Street — from Google Maps it looks to be a build­ing just off Lex­ing­ton Ave.  If any fash­ion­istas have any more infor­ma­tion on him, please let me know.  I have Mr. Savage’s millinery gifts, Li Ling-Ai’s fash­ion sense and her niece’s fore­sight to thank for a won­der­ful after­noon spent in a world of gamorous fan­ta­sy. 
 
Black velvet rhinestone and pearl studded hat from Li Ling-Ai's collection.

Black vel­vet rhine­stone and pearl stud­ded hat from Li Ling-Ai’s col­lec­tion.

 
To top off my post I’ll leave with a few shots of anoth­er gor­geous top­per in Ling-Ai’s col­lec­tion (by an unknown mak­er).
 
 Detail of Velvet Hat
 

Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to February 15, 2012 — A Fashion Interlude

  1. Lus­cious pho­tos Robin! Save these for the FINDING KUKAN cof­fee table book! st

    • robin says:

      Great idea — I just need a size 4 model/mannequin with 5AA feet to mod­el the Chi­nese gowns and vin­tage shoes. 🙂

  2. Lisa Usher says:

    Oh! you must real­ly ask Bill Cun­ning­ham , the delight­ful gen­tle­man pho­tog­ra­ph­er who is in his 80’s and rid­ing his bike around mid­town Man­hat­tan snap­ping away for his NYTimes
    fash­ion pho­to column,“On the Street”. I once read he had a millinery in that same part of town ‚dur­ing his younger days. There is also a recent doc­u­men­tary about him,which I
    haven’t watched yet.

    • robin says:

      That’s a great idea, Lisa. I’m a fan of Cun­ning­ham — I used to live in NYC and start­ed watch­ing his “On The Street” pod­casts when I moved to Hawaii. They always make me feel like I’ve tak­en a short trip back to NYC with­outh hav­ing to deal with jet­lag :). The doc­u­men­tary was won­derul. Make an effort to see it. I for­got that Cun­ning­ham was a for­mer milliner. He seems to have an ency­clo­pe­dic mem­o­ry so per­haps he can shed light on who Nick Sav­age was.

Leave a Reply to Lisa Usher Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *