Fashion & Beauty

A Piece Apart

Glamorous vintage kimono wraps from Susan Bradley.

By Janet Kelly

THE SUDDEN chilly turn in the weather last weekend has got us thinking about outerwear. Happily, this coincides with the arrival in DC of the Smithsonian’s  Craft2Wear show on October 20-22. What better opportunity to snag a one-of-kind coat or jacket! We can’t help but remember Nicole Kidman in last year’s HBO twisted murder mystery, “The Undoing,” donning a succession of long, dreamy coats in many colors. Who cared what she was wearing underneath?

And that’s the point, the best coats transform any outfit and make you look instantly put together. It’s a wardrobe essential that’s worth the investment.

The unique designs of one show veteran and and a newcomer caught our eye:

Puffers have been the outerwear du jour of late, but the Yarrow Collection of first-timer Cindy Spolek reminds us of the cozy warmth, good looks and durability of shearling.

Santa-Fe, New Mexico-based Spolek selects the best-quality sheepskin hides from global sources. She embellishes the suede exteriors with appliqué, quilting, piping and beading and chooses buttons of resin, silver or pewter for accents. Unlike the shearling of old, there are lots of color choices, including contrasting shades. Silhouettes include classic, straight hemlines as well as asymmetrical and tulip shapes.

As a flight attendant at Delta for many years, Susan Bradley traveled the world. With a passion for luxurious textiles and high fashion, she purchased vintage kimono fabrics and turned them into glamorous wraps. Recently she has focused on neoprene and industrial mesh, creating all-black, dramatic and architectural jackets. “Wear them for black tie or on a boat,” says Bradley. They’re perfect for travel, says the woman who has spent her life as a globe trotter.


Smithsonian Craft2Wear, October 20-22, 2022. National Building Museum, 401 F Street NW, Washington DC. 

Hours: 10:30am to 5:30pm, Friday, October 21, and Saturday, October 22.

Preview benefit: Thursday, October 20, 6pm to 9pm: Drinks, hors d’oeuvre, meet and mingle with the artists.

Admission: Preview tickets are $100 per person. General admission is $20 at the door or  online after October 17. Advance online tickets are $17 each. All at Smithsonian Craft2Wear.

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