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It’s that time of year. When your mailbox fills up with catalogues. I toss many of them into the recycling bin, but I found myself captivated by the latest offering from the Hudson’s Bay Company. The Point Blanket collection is really well done.

The Cashmere hot water bottletravel mug and snowboards. Nice!

Gotta love the dog sweater. Not sure if I’d buy the candle, but I do like the umbrella.

The Hudson’s Bay company was the world’s first department store. It’s been around for 300 years. The traditional multi-stripe point blanket in green, red, yellow and indigo is a classic. It was introduced by the company in 1790. These colours were simply popular at the time and easily produced using colourfast dyes.

For the aboriginal community, the colours do have some significance. Green means new life, red often stands for battle or hunt, yellow relates to the harvest and sunshine and the blue represents water.

The point blanket comes in a number of colours. It was brought to North America by Hudson’s Bay Company traders and used for trade with aboriginal people. Today the blankets are still made in England from 100 percent wool. The points are the short black lines woven into the blanket just above the bottom bar or set of stripes.

The millennium blanket is my favourite.

The grey point blanket would be great in a boy’s room.

 

The scarlet point blanket, multi-stripe wool scarf and green point blanket

The Smythe swing coat

A few years ago when The Bay launched it’s HBC collection, the company invited 10 Canadian fashion designers to create one-of-a-kind coats from a Hudson’s Bay point blanket. Here’s what Smythe came up with. You may recognize their style. Designer Sarah Richardson often wears Smythe jackets on her shows. Fun fact: Smythe co-owner Christie Smythe, is designer Tommy Smythe’s sister and longtime friend of Sarah’s.

Tommy Smythe and his sister Christie – co-owner of Smythe.

photo by Della Rollins for The Globe and Mail.

If you’re interested in learning more about HBC, check out this new book published by Assouline. It’s written by Winnipeg journalist Mark Reid, with a foreward by Vanity Fair’s Graydon Carter. It’s an interesting read – even if you’re not Canadian!

For more info on the HBC collection check out the company website here. Search under the HBC collection – Get your stripes. Have fun.

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