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Vintage style? It must have been Moonglow

Posted on September 18 2020

By Carleton Varney-Special to the Palm Beach Daily News.

In the early 1950s, the jewelry rage was acrylic, which was often known by the trademarked term Lucite. Showcased in the fancy fashion magazines around the world were acrylic beads and bangles, colored with infused resin and often in the shape of flowers. These pieces adorned the wrists and necks of the fashionable and yes, there were acrylic rings, brooches and other baubles. 

Not only did the era bring acrylics to the front page of fashion magazines, but the 1950s fascination with the material also sparked chatter in the decorating world.

Designers appreciated these decorations. My decorating mentor, the late Dorothy Draper, created acrylic drawer pulls to adorn the bedroom chests in many of her decorating projects for hotels and residences.

In fact, many of her bedroom chests featuring rhododendron-shaped pulls still draw admiring glances at the Greenbrier Resort in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia. After all, rhododendron is the state’s official flower.

If you travel about, you will see the return of acrylic in the form of Moonglow bracelets and beads on the fashion runways of today. Moonglow beads look like pearls but have a lustrous appeal, almost as if they are glowing from within. I have seen Moonglow bracelets in pink, green, white, and even red and rose tones.

Draper loved the Moonglow look. She took to creating painted walls with a pearlized finish so the glow of moonlight surrounded you when you were in one of these rooms.

Many a Dorothy Draper bedroom, too, was painted a pale pink Moonglow, complete with furniture lacquered in the same color. The look was fashion-forward and very feminine, especially when the soft pink walls were accented by glossy-white woodwork.

If you inquire today, you’ll find paint manufacturers still make paint that delivers a pearlized effect when applied to wall surfaces.

Next time you are in a vintage jewelry boutique — and there are many such shops in South Florida — ask to see any Moonglow bracelets and beads. You’ll find that the beads, while resembling pearls, are even more magical, with a deep lustre that continues to fascinate.

In these days, when at-home isolation can be so wearing on one’s psyche, take a step outside at night when the moon shines bright -- and note that that wonderful silvery look could be just the right choice for a bedroom, powder room or even a living room inside your home.

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