May/June 2020 edition
Issue #10 AutoMobilia Resource Magazine
Bonnie Singer - Guest Columnist
There were scarves produced by the auto manufacturers themselves: Ferrari, Porsche, Bugatti and Mercedes-Benz, among others. And there were scarves produced for specific events or races, many by auto clubs or automotive artists of the day. Let me share some of my favorites with you.
The most recently produced scarf of this group is the wonderfully graphic steering wheel and gauges originally offered by Ferrari in dealership stores and online. It is a scarf that lends itself perhaps more for framing as a piece of art, than wearing where most of the image is lost. In that same category, I would include the fabulous Italian Isotta Fraschini scarf, produced by Bolaffi with the iconic image of the early Leopoldo Metlicovitz poster.
In the mid-1960s a new upscale store, Hunting World, opened its doors in New York City. Specializing in luggage, leather goods and fashion accessories, it produced the magnificent scarf, Les Grandes Bugatti, in 1988. [Editor: Hunting World was owned by world renowned car collector the late Robert M. Lee] By designing the scarf with a different Bugatti in each corner, as well as a central image, this scarf was easily as beautiful to wear as to frame. As with many scarves produced by fashion companies, it was available in a number of different color combinations.
Also, in 1988, Chopard, the Swiss manufacturer and retailer of luxury watches and fashion accessories, became a corporate partner of the Mille Miglia Storica. In this role, it has produced over the years, a number of exquisite scarves honoring the event. Included here are two that I love: a route map of the rally in fresh pastel colors with bright red highlights, and a very different scarf (produced in multiple color combinations) showcasing some of the event automobiles overlaying a muted background map.
The Mille Miglia is not the only event that inspired multiple scarf designs; the 24 Hours of Le Mans did as well, with many produced by the Automobile Club de l’Ouest. In one series, the brilliant checkerboard design allowed updated revisions with the passing years. Each square was illustrated with the winning car, also noting the year of the race, the marque and number of the car, average speed, the drivers, and in some years, additional performance information. Versions of this design most commonly found are 1923-1964, 1923-1971, and 1923-1981. The scarf shown here for 1923-1992 though more recent, is more rare.
Lastly, is one of the rarest vintage automotive scarves: Le 24 Heures du Mans, circa 1955-56 illustrated by Geo Ham with his printed signature in one of the corners. With unfaded colors, a near flawless example in natural silk twill, this is a perfect scarf to be framed and admired by any serious automobilia collector. In more than 30 years of scarf acquisitions, I have not seen another.
Most fine automotive scarves are 100% silk, and with some exceptions generally measure approximately 35”x35”. I use the term “vintage” as an indicator that most of these were produced in limited numbers in the latter half of the 20th century. Prices vary greatly by rarity and condition. The scarves I’ve shown here range from approximately $300-$800, except for the Geo Ham Le Mans at $3,300.