It’s a good week for vintage lovers. Between an auction of items from the estate of legendary Houstonian Ann Sakowitz and Lawndale Art Center’s annual Design Fair, rare pieces of clothing, jewelry, millinery and accessories are ready for their close-up.
It’s no secret I like to shop. That gene was undoubtedly passed along to me by my grandmother, who had excellent taste, style and never left the house unaccessorized and without her “face on.” Pieces of her wardrobe are shared between my mother, sister and me and many items, like her mink cape — a must-have for a social butterfly in the '50s and '60s — bear the Sakowitz label. The locally-owned upscale Sakowitz department store chain at one time reached from Post Oak to Nassau Bay and beyond, and from what I can tell, served the same discerning customer who today shops at Neiman Marcus and Tootsies.
I was more into Outback Red and Laura Ashley when the stores closed, but I'm thrilled there are Sakowitz memories that have lived on. Calling the auction “bittersweet,” Robert Sakowitz has gone through his late mother’s closets and cabinets, finding a wealth of treasures and even some curiosities. Among the items up for sale by the Lewis & Maese Auction Company Wednesday night are Adolfo hats in original Sakowitz hat boxes and serving pieces from France and England. Sakowitz said his mother certainly liked to entertain.
“She was someone who loved hats. We had an entire floor of millinery at our store at Main and Rusk. Hats were a sign of unquestionable luxury and people who wore them were elegant and showed a level of taste than those who did not wear them,” he said.
He combed through all 5,320 square feet of his mother’s home at 5050 Woodway and relied on his sister, Lynn Wyatt, for guidance. The auction is the first of two; another is planned for April 13. Sakowitz said while there are some costume jewelry pieces in this week’s auction, the next one will have much more.
“I would come across things and wonder, ‘”What is this for?,’” he said. “I just hope the people who have my mother’s things will appreciate and enjoy them the same way she did.”
Vintage jewelry boxes and sapphire earrings are among the items to be auctioned. Click here to see the complete catalogue.
Lawndale Design Fair
The first time I went to Lawndale’s Design Fair I was stunned by the vintage Pucci dresses and scarves. The second year I went, it was the swoon-worthy vintage skin bags from the closet of a well-heeled Dallas socialite who had gone to the big Neiman Marcus in the sky.
This year’s fashion vendors include vintage afficiando Dawn Bell; Beatniks, a local vintage duo; custom clothing designer Morgan Elizabeth (who also uses vintage pieces to make old things new again) and not-so-vintage designer David Peck’s CrOp collection.
The design fair isn’t just fashion-centric, there are furniture, art and home accessories too. But for my interests, the perfectly preserved bags, clothing and jewelry practically beg for a new home.
Lawndale kicks off the fair with a free lecture by Sotheby's James Zemaitis Wednesday night at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Brown Auditorium.
Much like a sample sale, the earlier shopper scores better stuff, so the Preview Party Friday night is the way to go to get a jump on other shoppers. Tickets are $75 and are good through Sunday.
Like other aspects of the local fashion community, the vintage throng is growing and organizing. The Heights Fire Station, an antique itself, is the site of a market, fashion show and party in September with more than 25 vintage fashion vendors.