Vintage c.1960 Harilela’s of Hong Kong cardigan in an ultra-soft lambswool/angora blend features a sunny marigold color and intricate hand-done beadwork along the neckline, plackets, and cuffs.
The foliate-patterned beadwork consists of seed beads in dark and pale gold, accented by dimensional clusters of round faux pearls, and sprays of single round and marquise faux pearls.
The sweater closes with 9 pairs of hooks and eyes, is lined in the body only with butter yellow rayon satin, and has bracelet length sleeves.
Label reads “Creations by Harilela’s, Hand-Beaded in Hong Kong, 70% Lambswool, 20% Angora, 10% Nylon”. A size tag on the left shoulder seam (inside the lining) states size is a 36.
Harilela’s was founded in Kowloon in the 1930s by Naraindas Mirchandani, who created the hybrid surname “Harilela” from his parents’ first names. One of the first tailoring businesses in Hong Kong, it catered to British soldiers during WWII until forced by the Japanese occupation to close; post-war, four of Naraindas’ sons joined him in the business and they switched their target market to the American customer. A women’s annex was added in 1948, and by the early 1950s, the business employed 300, primarily Chinese, tailors. A 1962 newspaper article describes Harilela’s, at that point, as a “chrome and glass emporium”, and “one of the most successful department stores in the world"; in the early 1970s, Harilelas’ gift shops were opened on two cruise lines. The family, which formed the “Harilela Group” when it branched out into hotels and other real estate in 1959, became the wealthiest Indian family in Hong Kong, presided over by patriarch and philanthropist Hari Harilela.
Measurements are: Bust 36”, shoulders 15”, width at hem 31”, sleeves 19.5”, and length shoulder to hem 21”.
This lovely sweater from a legendary Hong Kong emporium is in excellent condition, clean and with the beadwork intact. Only issue, not visible when worn, is two tiny tea spots on the lining at the right armsceye (photo #8).
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