One Thing in a Neesh Day

Curly Hair, Finally Embraced

Now I know that everyone wants what they don’t have.  And I have curly hair.  Somehow in my lifetime, curly hair has never been “the fashion”, and I spent more than half my life trying to figure out how to coax my hair into that beautiful sleek and straight look.

First there was Twiggy.

So I tried that. No high-powered blow dryers or flat irons. Just a big jar of Dippity-do, wrap it tight and hope for the best…and no humidity.

Didn’t quite make the look here.  (Especially since I was not willing to cut the hair around the ears.)
Then came Pattie Boyd.  She was amazing and she snagged George Harrison, which was beyond my wildest dreams.  Plus the whole Eric Clapton scandal! She was really something.

Here I am trying to rock that look. In uniform no less!

Then we made it into the 70’s and there was FARRAH!

Oh boy, did that take work.  To get those soft, loose layered waves was a multi-leveled process, ending with hot rollers, some spray and a toss of the head.  Yikes.

The 80’s were no picnic either.  Even though the hair was HUGE, and I mean BIG HAIR, it was still brushed full and straight-ish. (A-la-Morgan Fairchild.)

 Yes, I had the puffed bangs and the brushed out frizz.  Yes, it was the worst.

 Finally, the 90’s, and something happened about the time I turned 40.  Acceptance and appreciation!  I had curly hair, damn it!  And it was time to embrace the curl!

No more flat irons, hot rollers, Dippity-doo, ironing boards, tin can rollers and only going to dry, cool locations for fear of the wave and frizz.

All I needed was a good cut with lots of layers and some product and away I went! Never to return to the battle of the curl. What freedom, what joy, what a relief! So now, I am happy happy happy with my easy breezy curly hair.

 And as we all know, happy is pretty!

Want tips on how I get my curly girl look?  I’m happy to share. A curly girl always loves to talk shop.

The Legend of Mr. Gantarski

Paris is my favorite place in the world.  Just in case you didn’t know that.

The best part of my profession is that Paris opens up a world of awe, wonder and inspiration. It’s a place I must return to again and again to get my “fix”. And so I do.  Most of the Neesh fashions and fabrics you see are inspired by these little trips to my favorite land and home away from home.

 When I first started my business back in 1991, my label was D.A.R. Do you remember it?

Why so simple? Initially I only made two sweaters for a friend of mine (she had an adorable store in Boston on Newbury Street). I had no intention of making any more so I quickly embroidered my initials on some satin ribbon and added a small lingerie rose and VOILA! My label.  Who knew some 10,000 sweaters later I would still be hand embroidering all the labels?  (More specifically, my Mom embroidered them for me).

One of the features of these special handmade sweaters was the vintage buttons that I used on every single sweater.  And as my business grew, so did the need for vintage buttons.  How lucky was I to discover that the largest supply was in a stall at les Puces de St Ouen in Paris? What a find!

For those that don’t know about this flea market, it has been operating in some form since the Middle Ages! It is open every weekend, year-round and is filled with the most wonderful treasures (though first you have to maneuver through traditional flea finds like tube socks, cheap leather jackets and old sneakers).  If you are lucky, you may also see a very luxurious doggy like I did.

It took a little time to get to the level of importance that the owner, Mr. Gantarski, would speak to me.  My French was very poor and his constant chess game and cigarette smoking was not to be interrupted.  But with time, he warmed up to me and handed me off to one of his employees to take a trip to the excitingly mystifying and off-limits basement. From there I pointed and picked out all the buttons I wanted to purchase.  It was divine!

My trips to Les Puces continued. At first I would pack all the buttons in an extra empty suitcase brought specially for them.  But with time, the suitcase was too heavy and so the buttons were shipped to Chicago.

Mr. Gantarski was a mysterious man. There were many stories that circulated…Where did he come from? Where did all those pre-World War II buttons come from?   How many packs of cigarettes did he smoke a day?  Was he once a professional Chess player?

 Regardless of Mr. Gantarski’s origins, it appeared that these buttons survived the Nazi occupation of Paris.  Many of the buttons were still on the original cards.

 The story goes that during the Paris Occupation, the buttons were loaded up into trucks and parked somewhere in the South of France where they were left alone and discovered some time after the war. It was a charming story to think that they survived and were now being used all over the world as well as adorning my beautiful handmade sweaters.

 Sadly, Mr. Gantarski has “graduated” and is no longer seen with a puff of smoke and a hand held up, pausing all conversation while he contemplates his next chess move.

But many customers may still have their original D.A.R. sweaters from long ago and now will have a little legend to go along with them.

Meet Neesh!

Today I would like to introduce you to Neesh!  She has had many adventures since her creation years ago.  She is an adventurer and dreamer.   Impetuous and fashionable.  She has unusually long legs and is resolute in her commitment to army boots!  She is dedicated to wearing Neesh by D.A.R. and quite frankly, can’t understand why others would not do the same??!!

Some would say she is a little eccentric, but you can decide for yourself………..

Others would call her a visionary. Sometimes from the trees she could hear the sound of one hand clapping.

Some might wonder how she managed to tame King Kong.

Or how she was able to paint an elephant in her spare time?

She has a way of getting around, even time-traveling.

She has been painted and hung in a gallery with other famous works of art.

She can be very gentle and kind.

And at the same time, she can shoot an arrow like the wind.

She defied gravity in space (even in her army boots).

Some might think she’s too impressionable (do YOU think she took it?)

And quite the French snob. No one seemed to notice that she liked to pose like a French Fashion model when in Paris.

But mostly………….she is a peace loving feminist who loves the statue of liberty, because she was BORN ON THE FOURTH OF JULY.