She believed that everyone deserved the luxury of a hand-painted silk scarf. Designer, artist, and businesswoman Vera Neumann copyrighted over 8,000 designs in her lifetime, and the iconic handwritten signature “Vera” highlighted with a ladybug is still desired by many today.
Vera and her husband, George, began selling her hand-painted textiles in 1946 when they began to use a small silk printing machine to put Vera’s designs on placemats. After World War II, they bought the silk from parachutes left over in bulk and began to make the iconic scarves from their apartment. By the 1950s, the business had grown so much that Vera hired designers who took her original designs and designed them to fit a silk scarf.
The Vera designs were used for scarves, household linens, and finally into a clothing line by the 1960s. Vera continued to paint designs and was the head designer until her death in 1993. Her designs are sold all over the world, and a new line can now even be found in Target stores.
How to Date a Vera Scarf
Because of the lasting empire Vera and her husband built, the scarves she created have specific telling characteristics of the decades in which they were made. To find out which era a “Vera” is from, use these characteristics to date your scarf.
A Vera scarf made in the 1940s-1950s had Vera’s signature but without the copyright symbol. They would have been made of the parachute silk that was purchased in bulk after the war was over. The tag of the scarf would have been made with gray-colored text instead of black.
In 1959, Vera’s designs were copyrighted so the copyright symbol was added to her signature and in the 1960s, her “lucky ladybug” was added to her signature. There are some scarves that are few and far between that have only the “Vera” signature and the ladybug without the copyright symbol.
In the latter part of the 1960s, her signature became larger and the “V” in her name became more vivacious. The 1970s saw the end of the ladybug to her signature. Finally, in the 1980s and 1990s, her signature became smaller, and the ladybug was deleted permanently. With the adoption of the Vera scarves by Target, a left-slanted “Vera” signature has been included as well as the iconic ladybug. These scarves are not considered vintage scarves and are created for mass production in the retail store.
The legacy of Vera Neumann’s designs lives on with the increased interest in her designs rising to the surface once again. Vera believed not just the rich deserved to have gorgeous pieces to create beauty around them, but that everyone deserved to have a world full of rich colors that let them express just who they are. Here at ThisBlueBird, we provide access to the world of vintage fashion so that you can do just this.