08 June 2016

CHIC is where BONNIE CASHIN found it...

Stephanie Lake and Bonnie Cashin were lucky enough to form a rare bond, and for anyone that has encountered that special person though decades may separate them in age, they're simpatico.
It's a gift. Bonnie Cashin referred to Lake as her little sister, and together Cashin, years after her death, and her sister collaborate in introducing the timeless Cashin to today's fashion tribes.

Author Stephanie Lake writes she was determined “…to redress historical neglect of her career.” That she's done, with her in depth look, textbook weight & almost 300 page book about all American, and Original Bonnie Cashin. Lake inherited Cashin's personal archives-over 300 images of drawings, photos, garments, and fashion ephemera fill Chic is Where You Find It.

Fashion independent, American Modernist, Cashin was a true Original. Page after page of Bonnie Cashin Chic is Where You Find It attests to all that. Every personal photograph, sketch, chunky tweed, toggle. and fringe -all speak to Cashin's ease, done with an eye for just what modern American women wanted then, and still do. There was restraint, coupled with swish, sophistication to the max, yet so brilliantly idiosyncratic, Cashin still surprises with her unerring eye. Her pieces are coveted, for me not so much that I didn't hesitate to pass on a smart Bonnie Cashin butternut squash colored nubby tweed coat trimmed out in matching leather with her signature toggles to my niece when she was living on the West Coast. It's still in flawless condition-which attests to the quality of Cashin.

Quirky, and beautiful, Bonnie Cashin
 at her country house wearing a Korean scholar's hat, ca 1958
I think more clearly with something on my head. -BC

Cashin's T-square Coat, ca. 1963, with her signature leather trim and hardware.

Mass conformity in the name of Fashion is a complete bore. -BC

Bonnie Cashin's noted "firsts" include layering, and silhouettes women today can not get enough of- ponchos, tunics, and kimonos.

Bonnie Cashin is to layering what Thomas Edison is to electricity- Eleanor Lambert

I love anything you can fling around you. -BC
(oh yes, Bonnie)

Fine Feathers
Cashin's 1968 turkey feather bolero with jersey and leather

Nature is a most wonderful designer. -BC

The book is loaded with Bonnie's own words-quotes that keep the reader fascinated with Cashin the designer-the woman-and the intellect. She is without a doubt- spot on. Her sketches are wonderfully modern, her handwritten notes, scattered throughout the book, reveal the depth of her thoughtful design process. She brought every aspect of her life into her work.  Lifestyle-much loved in design and fashion magazines today, is apparent from photographs of Bonnie and her rooms. Cashin was one of the first in American fashion to embrace that too.

CHIC, Lake's book, immerses readers into Cashin's world, in-depth, and it is infinitely satisfying. Her habit of writing famous inspirational quotations, her "graffitti hallway" speaks to me. Over time it would be a fascinating road map to what I'm tuned into at the moment.

Colorful patches of color, scrawled in black marker with the words of my "intellectual heroes," I would have to include Cashin's Chic is where you find it.

“I worship at the altar of Bonnie Cashin”—Jonathan Adler
(move over Jonathan, you have new acolytes wanting to pay their respects..)

© Bonnie Cashin Chic is Where You Find It by Stephanie Lake, Rizzoli New York, 2016. Images, may not be reproduced in any way without written permission from the publisher.


  1. Amazing. Still of the moment. Thank you. xoxo Mary

  2. Thanks Gaye for the introduction. Wonder why I have never heard of her as she definitely was a trendsetter and, I think, from the future. Wonder what she was like around the dinner table?

    1. Donna, I hope this book will bring her into the light. She was the driving force of Coach at its inception. & I've no doubt extraordinary at table. I would've loved to have had that pleasure. pgt



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