Fiona’s Findings: A Great Find

Back in the day, my family owned a popular women’s specialty department store in White Plains, N.Y., called L.A. Schulman. My grandmother Toni was a buyer, my mother Barbara worked there, as did her sister Ami and cousin Gussie. It was THE place for stylish women and “Where Smart Westchester Shopped.”

Recently, my mom was in Millerton. She stopped into a corner antique store that she had discovered a few months ago because it has a booth in which the consigner has lovely handbags. She had bought a small handbag months back and thought, “Oh well, I’ll just stop in again to look.”

This time my sister Camille was with her. There was nothing in the handbag booth that my mom wanted. Camille wandered off and so mom started walking around looking into the other booths. Hanging on a hanger was a coat, which she immediately recognized as a Bonnie Cashin coat.

How did she know? My grandmother Toni had a Bonnie Cashin jacket from the L.A. Schulman days that my mom loved. That jacket was an A line reversible coat (leather outside, raccoon inside) but my mom always loved the toggles! Freddy Weiss was the store’s coat buyer in those days, but it was my grandmother Toni who had discovered Bonnie Cashin and loved her coats so much.

Anyway, my mom saw this coat and immediately opened it up to see if in fact it was a Bonnie Cashin. But the first thing she saw was the L.A. Schulman label. She nearly had a heart attack.  She started calling for Camille. “CAMILLE CAMILLE!” And when Camille came over my mom had her try on the jacket so she could send a photo to cousin Gussie, aunt Ami and grandma Toni.

“You see,” wrote my mom. “L.A. Schulman’s was ‘Where Smart Westchester Shopped.’ ”