|Items by Helen Bond Carruthers on Swank Vintage:
Helen Bond Carruthers sweaters are, bar none, the most sought after sweater by vintage collectors. Her one of a kind creations are truly works of art, but they are also very early examples of "up-cycling" vintage, as she used antique, pre loved scarves and embroideries to decorate her swaters. Helen was born in 1896, in Versailles KY, the daughter of Colonel Bolivar Bond, an auctioneer and real estate developer, and Helen Dean Bond. Helen Bond married Roy Carruthers, who was in the hotel business. Shortly after her marriage Helen took up sweater making as a hoby often custom embelishing each with sentimental items, like bits of a wedding dress or various family heirlooms to suit her friends and family. Soon this hoby grew into a true cottage industry, and she began buying up antique piano shawls and chinese robes to re-purpose the fine hand work into modern, fashionable creations. The top floor of her home became a work room, with up to 6 women working daily to create each individual sweater. Helen Bond Caruthers sweaters became all the rage in the 1950s and sold in southern resort boutiques, Elizabeth Arden Salons, and a few other high end shops around the country (they retailed in the $150 range, which was a pretty penny back in the 1950s). She often held trunk shows when she traveled, mainly to horse racing events where she would wear her creations, then sell them out of a small room in town after the race. Her sweaters were never mass produced, so today they are very rare, and very collected.