Black and white silk parasol with wooden handle and ferule and ivory rib tips, c. 1924, owned by Gertrude Sanford Legendre (1902-2000). In 1924, the long, thin umbrellas and parasols of the previous decades were replaced by short stubby models. The new parasol had a thick handle, rib tips, and stub end (ferule) of wood, ebony, ivory, horn, Bakelite or celluloid. The shape and size of this parasol, along with the materials and its Art Deco-feeling design motifs place it clearly in 1920s fashion.

The acceptance of the sun tan for fashionable women was the death knell for the parasol. However, they were still used for sun protection at garden parties, seaside visits and as late as 1936, parasols in ivory and black were still being designed for Ascot.

Gertrude Legendre (see her on her book cover w/in this posting) was married in 1929. Born in Aiken, SC, she came from the wealthy and socialite Sanford family and traveled around the world with her husband, even on African safaris. It is said that Gertrude was the inspiration for Philip Barry’s 1929 play Holiday and the 1938 film with Katharine Hepburn & Cary Grant. For more information about the fascinating life of Gertrude Legendre (a spy with OSS, big game hunter, etc), see her New York Times obituary and this Forbes magazine posting about her Charleston home, Medway Plantation.

TEXTILE TUESDAYS: Each Tuesday we post a piece from our textile collection.  Some items have been on exhibit, some will eventually be shown in our new Historic Textiles Gallery and some may be just too fragile to display. We hope you enjoy our selection each week – do let us know if there’s something in particular you’d like to see on TEXTILE TUESDAY! #TextileTuesday