Am I a collector of Eisenberg? Until last year I would have said "No, I'm a historian." But now I have too many pieces, and spend too much time investigating and looking at pieces to deny that I am in fact collecting the design house.
When I first met Sharon and began working with her in her Antique's business, I was frustrated beyond belief that when the Holiday season came aournd I had to shop generic for her. It seemed, on the outside, that she had no collections or specific passions I could add to, and that drove m crazy as I'm all about the presents. Then finally one day she shyly revealed to me her treasure trove. There were trays of jewelry of every conceivable material, style, and period. I was overwhelmed, and delighted, and finally believed we really were sisters at heart. While I was never able to buy her the most valuable pieces; I could now spend all year putting together additions that were fun, striking, or occasionally snagging those "amazing finds."
Through the years Sharon and I traded many gifts for our various collections, and many of the photographic images I'll get to posting in the Millinery section came from her or another friend Karen. Gradually I started not only looking to purchase for Sharon's business but for her own collections, and would every day send her any finds I'd discovered listed. So I had to learn about her pieces. She has the most amazing collection of Lucite figural pieces, and quite a stunning array of everything else. But one of her primary passions was her ever-growing Eisenberg collection.
As I learned about the designer from her, and her pieces, I was fascinated as well by the fact that after years attending shows, I didn't know about them; I'd easily heard the stories of Haskell, Schiaparelli, Chanel, etc., but somehow in all those shows and my textile experience, I'd never known the name beyond the jewelry, or that the clothing they had begun with had continued for almost 25 years after the jewelry had launched. Yet Sharon had acquired from the amazing Teresa Knowles pieces that proved they were still going into the later decades with not just fashion, but accessories. Then came the discovery of all the perfumes and cosmetic items...even mens things. So why weren't they known?
That's when Sharon and I came across Bobye Syverson and all those that contributed to her site. We realized that there were many collectors out there, but that everyone just kept saying the same story over and over. Was that story even true? And why was it the only story?
Sharon and I really wanted to know. That wanting to know, and a serious of unfortunate events that had left Sharon with too much time on her hands and a threatening depression, had me decide that the perfect thing for her to focus on was using her immense collection as a basis for a book. We had talked about it before, and now that she really needed something to put her energy into, it was the perfect thing for her to work on. We would research, gather the community together for pieces and samples, and we would get as many of the questions answered as we could. And even the two of us were taken by surprise by some of the details we hadn't known. And how wrong some of the most commonly believed things were.
Obviously Sharon decided not to involve the community the way I had thought we would. And the book went forward to print with information missing that I did provide, but for some reason doesn't seem to have made it in. But I have all that information, and all the reference materials used for researching he book, but I've also learned quite a few things since. I really look forward to sharing them with you.