Sunday, August 19, 2012

This Girl Had Style

Allison Kimball with Troy Donahue in 1959

Tall, blonde and beautiful, Allison Kimball embodied good taste and sophisticated style. Think Julianne Moore's character in the Tom Ford movie A Single Man. 

I first met her in the 70s as a college friend of her daughter, Lynn.  I had no idea moms could look like her.  She was stunning. Once she complimented my shoes-Capezio T-straps-and I fell in love with her. 

Allison with Troy Donahue in 1959
Allison is on the left and Lynn, her daughter, is second from right. They are dining with friends-Helen Crane McClure, wife of the actor  Doug McClure, Tane McClure and Steven Crane, Jr. 

By the late 60s she was back in Memphis training Labrador Retrievers for field trial 
competitions. One can only imagine the excitement of the other trainers as this stunningly beautiful and poised woman walked onto the field. Memphis had rarely seen the likes of Allison Kimball.

Stylish and quick witted, Allison had friends in high places. In the early 70's you might find her at the Carlyle Hotel in New York or on the estate of friends in Middleburg, Virginia.  She went to the races in Deauville and the yearling sales in Saratoga. It was during this time that she began collecting Hermes scarves and D.Porthault linens.

Allison, right, with friends Betsy and Richard Ohrstrom in Deauville, France

In the 80's Allison divided her time between Memphis and Cottage #1, Round Hill, Jamaica. She always said that Round Hill was her favorite place in the world!!

Like many beautiful women of the time, she was influenced by the great style icons of the 20th century. In Memphis she shopped at Francis Wright where she bought clothes from the designers Norman Norrell, Halston, Geoffrey Beene, to name a few. Her collection of Hermes scarves is impressive-and she knew how to wear them!
This girl had style.

With the Hamiltons in the 70s. From left to right Bill Hamilton, Allison, unidentified man, Ann 'Teensy" Hamilton, George Hamilton, and Lynn 

Tragically, Allison died of cancer in 1993. She made a profound impression on everyone who knew her and is deeply missed. 

Following are some of the things she owned that are for sale at Many were passed down to her from her grandmother who was an antiques dealer and jeweler in Knoxville, Tennessee, and some were collected by her. All are examples of her exquisite taste and unerring style.

A Pair of 18th Century Fruitwood Tea Caddies

18Kt Gold and Diamond Brooch

Gold Tiffany (not marked, but purchased at Tiffany ) Earrings with an unusual clasp. This clasp has been identified as patented by Tiffany.
A Pair of D. Porthault Cotton Hand Towels

Hermes Scarf, 1963-LVDOVICVS-MAGNVS

Hermes Scarf, 1963-LVDOVICVS-MAGNVS

Hermes Scarf, 1960s, By Philippe Ledoux 

Hermes Scarf, The Hunt Scene

This Hermes scarf is probably the most wearable of all of Allison's scarves. The soft gray, tan, and pink are tres chic! 

Hermes Scarf, 1968 by Cathy Latham 

Celine Scarf

All images of Allison courtesy of Lynn Barrasso and can not be published or copied without permission