More Still

You know, I thought I was finished, too. I thought I’d had my little run with style icons and their affinity for needlepoint. (You’re kidding, she’s still on this?) I know. But. As I have been stalking the mail slot – my big city friend has had his Elle Decor for over a week – Vogue arrived and offered additional evidence that stitching is bewitching.

Polly Mellen, a fashion editor at Vogue for 28 (!) years with an additional eight years as creative director at Allure is interviewed in the current issue of Vogue by the equally beguiling Marina Rust.
Mellen exclaims, “I am a big needlepointer.” I must agree. She stitched the plaid rug, above, in small squares while biding her time at shoots and shows.

She has a large collection of pillows that she has made based on artists she admires and pieces of her mother’s as well. Rust writes, “in the 1950’s her mother, Leslie Smith Allen, won first price in the world needlepoint exhibition.” Says Mellen, “I miss her, and I will always miss her.”

How I do hope I’m in the garden, serving strawberries, wearing red, talking needlepoint with my granddaughter someday.
Images, Vogue, April, 2009. Photography by Eric Boman.
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23 thoughts on “More Still

  1. You’ve motivated me to round up all my mom’s needlepoint work when I’m back in Indy. I wish I could find the time and patience to finish one myself!

  2. Mrs. Blandings . . . I can only assume that you’re in safe company here.

    If we began throwing stones at people’s obsessions, there’s not a one of us who’s escape unscathed. lol.

    and, yay, that carpet is astonishing.

  3. …and if your destiny shall remain a boys club only, then I do hope that you will teach one of those fine young things the art of needlepoint whilest wearing red, sitting in the garden.

  4. Love the gallery wall. This is fun in a connect-the-dots sort of way too, because of Gloria Vanderbilt and her interest in American craft.

    No need to stop the needlepoint posts!

  5. As a huge fan of needlepoint I’m enjoying all of your NP posts. My friend Sarah creates her own plaids and can recreat most any design too. I am happily the recipent of many of her projects after she finally gave up trying to teach me to stitch. At least she know how much they are appreciated.

  6. Lara – I’m all for you swiping your mom’s needlepoint. If you really want to do a project, start small. Christmas ornaments for the kids are easy and fast, but pick them up by July or so as the finishing deadline is Halloween. (There could not be a worse deadline for a mother of small children.)

  7. tartanscot – should have known you would like this! Not only is it an amazing piece it’s so unique. I have not seen anything quite like it.

  8. The garden image is lovely and I paint in almost all of my spare time, however I adore needlepoint. Maybe if I could get myself to bed earlier, I could relax myself to sleep with this honored craft!

  9. mrs b- time to start on a rug!

    god, how long would that take? years and years, i’d think. maybe you’ll finish it in time to pass to it on to your granddaughter yet to come!

  10. And how many grandmothers, even if stylish would dare to wear red platform sandals. She is an inspiration in so many ways…

  11. I ADORE Polly Allen Mellen! She is one of the last of that Vreeland/Carrie Donovan era – obviously must renew my subscription to Vogue immediately…. am becoming obsessed with needlepointing now – how do you get the pattern you want – do you paint it on? with my draughtsmanship, I would be needlepointing blobs…

  12. Emily – the best canvases are hand painted (not surprised I’m sure) and any good shop will have a variety on hand or can create a custom one for you. This is one of the few times that custom isn’t really more expensive as hand painted canvas is hand painted canvas. There are some things I draw onto the canvas myself – these plaids would be an easy project as they are all straight lines – like the nautical flags I did for the boys. (To which they are completely indifferent. Maybe their partners will like them someday.) The thing is, it’s completely relaxing, sort of mindless and zen. I dread the day when my sight it too bad or my arthritis won’t allow it.

  13. I worked with/for Polly at Allure. In my brief experience in her presence, she was all that and more.

  14. I’m not in love with rug, impressive as it is, but with all the layers of patterns. The picasso pillows mixed with traditional roses, and the plaid throw and the ikat like print on the divan…I know this was an eighties thing, but I have never gotten over it.

  15. LOVE the post on Polly Mellen……..
    I was the luckiest girl on earth….in 1979 or 1980; I was picked by I. Magnin to be a guest at a "symposium" at Vogue for 5 days in New York City.
    (I lived in Pasadena California)

    Vogue's guest..they flew us first class……. we stayed as their guests at the loveliest hotel. 12 women from all over the United States….and beyond!…..Parties.and dinners .at night with all the best designers….symposiums and discussions during the day….which were published in the magazine!….you have no idea. I could have flown home without a plane! All the way to California!

    Grace Mirabella was the editor then!

    Anyhow; Polly Mellen was one of my "escorts"……..the most wonderful and delightful woman ever………..I adore her. I will never forget anything about being with her…….I still remember everything she SAID!!!

    I sat next to Perry Ellis…….and Giorgo Sant'Angelo the first night…….

    (I had a Giorgio dress on that was made of chamois with multicolor beading……I bought at the 7th markdown at Bonwit's) He saw me across the room… was like a long-lost pet! He loved seeing it…..they only made two! It was so hard to get the skins…..and the beading……….I lost all my clothes in a fire in 1982; it is really the only thing I truly miss. t was a masterpiece!

    What a wonderful post about a wonderful woman…..and I know you will be having tea with your granddaughter!

    Polly is about as cool as a person could possible be!

    ps she is mislabeled in your index….it says Peggy……know you would want to fix that!


    Again; Mrs Blandings…….a coinkidink! And thank you for it!!


  16. to basamfir……this is what makes "horse-races" as my lovely Southern mother used to say. We each must be individuals…..and make (or not) our individual statements!

    That room makes my heart sing! sixties…seventies eighties nineties….good grief…what do we call this?

    It sings! I could move right in there!

    Great post…..great comments as always!

  17. and, I forgot to tell will be sitting forward; with your hand on your chin……completely focused on your granddaughter……..and what she is saying.

    just like Polly is! Look at the expression on her face!

    that is just like she looked talking to me 30 something years ago!

    What a wonderful character…….Astonishing!


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