Winter Sports, a new design debuting in our 2018 Christmas Collection, depicts a pattern of airborne skiers carving down tree scattered mountain slopes in flurries of snow. This playful and modern pattern, which trending this season on cozy, lodge-themed holiday tables, was first created in 1937.
Hand-painted or likely stenciled by an unknown artist, the repeating pattern of red, green, white and gold skiers and snow-laden pine trees was applied to a full-length black silk dress. A tape sewn inside the lower hem of the skirt gives the name of the dress as 'Indoor Sports.' It currently resides in the collection of the V&A.
The dress, slimline with a straight skirt, raglan cut bodice, short sleeves, and a high round neckline, features a collar and cuffs trimmed grey-gold fur, a short peplum at the waist, and a front center slip up to the mid-calf. Its button-front bodice fastens with miniature plastic ski buttons and the soft black suede belt is faced with leather and fastened with two white plastic skis threaded through metal hoops attached by a silver chain to the belt. The attention to detail and craftsmanship are stunning and the hand-painted pattern is quite impeccably applied.
The lucky wearer of this dress was a young woman named Leah Barnett Ross (1915-1969). She was painted wearing the dress in the same year it was made, 1937, by the society portrait painter James Penniston Barraclough (1891-1942). In this oil painting, she is seated on a fur rug against a black background, her engagement ring prominently displayed on her left hand, wearing her ski-patterned Indoor Sports dress.
The snowy pattern of trees and skis is making its next appearance now, 81 years later, in the Caspari 2018 Christmas Tabletop & Gift Collection. Charmed by the design we now call 'Winter Sports,' we adapted the pattern to create festive and cheerful tableware, napkins, gift wrap, and more. Available in three colorways, Winter Sports brings a fresh, chic, and slightly whimsical touch to holiday occasions and decor this season. Paired with our new Plaid Check design, Winter Sports becomes a modern take on a winter lodge look that cozies up tabletops and gift presentations with a perfect wintery theme.