Oct 20, 2013

A Helen Bond Carruthers Gallery

Helen Bond Carruthers 


Helen Bond Carruthers was a very talented lady. She elevated the decorated sweater to an art form. Despite living not all that far from her hometown of Versailles, KY, where she also had her workroom, I don't see that many of her pieces go by. The gorgeous one shown above and below is only the seventh one I have seen here in KY, and only the fifth I have been able to offer in 20 years. 

Helen Bond Carruthers  did one thing, and did it beautifully. She and her workers decorated purchased cashmere cardigan sweaters with hand sewn appliques. And then she customized the lines of the sweater with hemmed sleeves, a shorter waist, buttons, interior lining and a very large label. That's it. I've never seen a pullover from Carruthers, much less a non sweater item. In other words, HBC was the antithesis of the modern mode of marketing a designer, with perfumes, high end line, Target line, purses, socks, underwear, just about anything they can put a label on. Of course, as a result of the labor intensive nature of these sweaters, they were always expensive boutique items and are not what you would call common today.
Some links for your further reading:

1950s Helen Bond Carruthers Appliqu├ęd Cashmere Cardigan Sweater SZ L - XL , 
currently available at Past Perfect Vintage

And from the Past Perfect Archives, a small gallery of Carruthers: 

Cream with embroidered appliques

 Black with beaded strawberries and embroidered vines

 Unlabeled, black with cotton print floral applique

Chestnut brown with printed cotton leaves

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