Sunday, February 28, 2010

the process

 Pencil study for Dance in the Country, 1883

We went to the Renoir exhibit today at LACMA and what we were really excited about were the sketches. I think it is incredibly interesting to see the process of artmaking. This is why I loved "Coco Before Chanel," because it offered the viewer a glimpse into the way clothing is made.

Dance in the Country, 1883

(Neither of these works is featured at the LACMA, for information on the exhibit go here.)

DIY5: Skull Jacket


This look was created by cutting an ordinary jean jacket from a hand drawn image on the inside of the jacket. 


Friday, February 26, 2010

Alice In Wonderland

I'm very excited for the new "Alice In Wonderland" movie, and not because I, like everyone else, am I'm love with the collaborations between Johnny Depp and Tim Burton but also because I truly enjoy the story of "Alice in Wonderland." It's one that can be told and re-told because it's so bizarre and exciting.
I'm not going to send any links to any merchandise (because everyone and their mom is doing an "Alice in Wonderland" line including, but not limited to, Hot Topic and Urban Outfitters), and I will probably buy something related to "Alice in Wonderland" (because I like shirts with rabbits on them), but I just wanted to state my appreciation for the story as an inspiration to design. I think that fashion needs to have a sense of humor and arguably Johnny Depp (both as a celebrity and a performer) draws attention to the humorous (and often the humorous macabre). The icon of Johnny Depp (complete with those fashion and costume designers who help clothe him) reminds us that we too can have a sense of humor in the way we dress. I mean, a poster like this reminds me of the whimsy of dress.
Check out this article from The Washington Post featuring the Alice trend.
And remember, don't take yourself too seriously.

know the terms

There can be confusion between the terms "vintage," "thrift," and "consignment."

We thought the attached article would be helpful to our readers.

Basically, Vintage clothing is sold by a private owner who purchases the items, Thrift stores sell donated clothing, and Consignment shops are "where individuals can sell their used clothing through a dealer."

Thursday, February 25, 2010

shoe rant

A friend of mine sent me the following e-mail. After reading it I was reminded of the relationship between women and shoes. Here is her story:

"Ok, I need someone to complain to.

I found the perfect shoes a few months ago. You might not think that they exist, but they do. At least for me. I have this magnificent pair of Kate Spade shoes. I used to visit them at Nordstrom until one day I tried them on and the day I did that turned out to be the start of their sale and they were half off. And that's where it all started. These however are not the perfect shoes. They are ALMOST perfect. They are sandals. Strappy, ankle wrap, calfskin, black, comfy, tall, cute cut out design. They are wonderful. The only way they would be perfect is if they were pumps. Then I could wear them everyday, everywhere. Dresses, pants, to work, jeans, summer, winter, fall, and spring.

So I have this image in my mind. Maybe a year after I buy these shoes I see a woman in the pumps I have imagined. With a nice pencil skirt. I actually tried to follow her to ask her where she got the shoes. But she was too far away. That night I set out to find out if Kate Spade had indeed made a pump out of these shoes. And if anyone had them and wanted to sell them. The answer is no.

Last month I found them. They obviously aren't the same pair. They were on Gilt. Simply entitled "High Heel Mary Jane" by L'Autre Chose, Pre-Fall 2009. They weren't even sold out. The bastards however had two sizes, a 6 and a 9.5. The price was even reasonable. But I am a 8.5-9. They would not fit well. I should have bought them anyway.

It is just so sad. I have dreams of confidentially walking down the street in these shoes. Men looking at me, women being envious of my flawless figure and amazing taste. And I know that they exist. These shoes are no longer just in my mind as an ideal I made up, but I saw them for sale. And I can't find them again. They are NOWHERE. How is that? So I want to tell you that there is something worse than not finding the perfect shoes ever. Finding them in a size that is not yours. Because you will dream of them. They will haunt you. You might even clean out a space in your shoe collection reserved just for them when you can finally claim them as your own. But they will never end up there, no. By Murphy's law we cannot have the shoes. I want them so badly. I envision having talks with people who have scorned me in these shoes, and my legs look amazing, and I am just indestructible. I make them bend to my will. Those who have scorned me in the past now look to their current person and think "You are nowhere near as hot, what was I thinking." Even gay men think I am pretty in these shoes. But I have never worn them, I have only dreamed of them. And my almost perfect shoes cannot be worn during the holidays when I am most sad and in most need of feeling fabulous.

I need year long clothing that I can wear and just feel spectacular in. I need to go on "What Not to Wear" and have them make me feel fabulous. Because I know it's not the shoes anymore. It's the delusional thought that shoes could actually make me a better person. And if I did get the shoes, what if I never took them off for fear of the feeling that I was inadequate without them?!? And I don't even LIKE wearing shoes. I drive barefoot. But in my dreams I am wearing them being awesome, and I want them. I can't have them and it makes me frustrated."

When I was a little girl and got a new pair of shoes it was such a thrill. I remember wearing one pair in particular to sleep. I only had one pair at a time and when I wanted a new pair I would ruin the ones I was currently wearing, scuff them up and trash them so I could go shoe shopping. It was in my blood at an early age. I'm older now and it never goes away. I was born a fashionista.

JQ. Laurent:
I bought a pair of shoes during the Super Bowl. I was actually watching the Super Bowl this year (and was hoping the Saints would win!) but I dropped a friend off at home in the middle of the game a stopped in a store near her house to buy a pair of shoes that I had been lusting after. I got home, finished the game, felt good about the Saints' win and my magical shoes.

I spend a long time browsing stores and the internet for the right shoe. It not only has to be cute but it has to say something profoundly me. Shoes are by far my favorite accessory. A male friend of mine once caught me staring at a pair of shoes in a club. His response was a surprised “are you checking out her shoes?!” Guilty. I have shoe envy. And shoe desire. A lesson well-learned is to never buy a pair of shoes unless you feel that you will be really satisfied with the purchase.

DIY 4: Tie-Dye


Rit Dye
Rubber gloves
Rubber bands or string
white vinegar to set the dye in the fabric

This is the shirt after we tied it all up.

The next step was to immerse it in the blue dye and let it sit for a while, then pull it out, wring it out, and let it dry. After it was almost dry, you can cut of the twine and hang it up to completely dry. Then, to set the color you need to soak it in a sink with cold water and a cup of plain vinegar. Vinegar will set the color. Then let it dry again and iron.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

breaking the rules

In general I don’t believe in “fashion rules.” But I suppose it’s important to know and think about these things, and wonder why they were rules in the first place (or why they have become commonly accepted practices in our culture), and then dismiss them accordingly. However, it’s also important to have a freedom of expression rather than worry about what rules we are trying to conform to in order to “dress well,” because after all, should society tell us we dress well, or should we feel we dress well for ourselves?

1. Never wear white after labor day. This is seriously the dumbest rule I’ve ever heard. There are plenty of great white clothes and accessories for fall/winter. Should we all dress as dark and depressed as the weather? Perhaps a pastel or two in the winter or fall would pick us up a bit. Colors do not necessarily match functionality (black might keep you warmer, but if you have a white coat you can still be warm. Layers, layers.). Also, if you live in a warmer climate white all year round makes complete sense.

2. Always match and never wear black and brown (and/or navy). I break this rule all of the time. Black and brown can look great together if mixed up correctly. Plus if you match too much you look like the teacher from the Magic School Bus.

3. Don’t own lots of black (unless you’re a Goth or a New Yorker). I am neither and I love black. It’s a basic and it matches with everything. I wear it any time of the year as well. Rock what you’ve got. Spend a lot of money on basic blacks that you can keep forever.

4. Buy clothes that fit. I have to agree with this. Certain styles fit certain shapes better. End of story.

5. Wear correct undergarments. I agree with this too. No one likes a panty line. Or wants to see black underwear through your white shorts. And a good bra can boost your assets. (Although, I'm under the belief that seeing your bra is ok when done right.)

6. Cover up. As applicable. Everyone likes a little mystery, but we also like to have a taste.

7. Never mix metals. This trend has been emerging. Mix what you want.

8. Match your purse to your shoes. I had never even heard of this until I searched the internet. Who matches purses and shoes?

9. Never wear tights with open toed shoes. This is broken all the time and it’s totally worth it. It gives you a chance to wear your spring shoes all year round. (I also like Chole Sevgny’s quirky use of socks with dress shoes.)

10. Keep in mind time and place when dressing. Yes, I suppose this is common sense. If you are at work you are not going to wear your pajamas and if you are going to play baseball you will probably not wear a formal evening gown. (However, there are always exceptions, and arguably you cannot teach common sense, and practical application differs from person to person.) Although, if you feel comfortable wearing heels to a baseball game, who am I to tell you no? Rock the style you fell good in, even if it means being bold sometimes. People will read your confidence.

Breaking the rules all amounts to confidence.

fashion imitates art

This is an old cover photo of Nicole Kidman from Vogue in May of 2004.

It reminds me of this painting by John Singer Sargent, Madame X. (Which I'm sure is an oft replicated painting, or often used as an inspiration.)

"It's not your painting anymore. It stopped being your painting the moment that you finished it."
[Jeff Melvoin]

Santa Barbara

I went to Santa Barbara recently (again, the definition of "recently" being applied very loosely). I couldn't stop taking pictures. It was the kind of place where you wear rolled up jeans and a shirt for days on end, and the days begin to blend together and you forget how long you've been there, only to wish you were there longer.

"Life is a hungry thing."
[Scott Westerfeld]

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Designer: Shout Out

Maria Francesca Pepe

“The vulnerability of a vintage glamour’s woman is enhanced by the dropping silhouettes and the elegance of the cuts. Textured silky jacquards resemble the waiving of water and the light's fragments that it reflects. The deep turquoise of a swimming pool fades into the pale greenish beige of the sea at the twilight, mixing artificial with natural references.”

DIY 3: Resurrection of a Purse

Problem:  Black patent leather purse with a broken handle. 

The faux leather handle had ripped and there was no way to repair it. Also, the shoulder strap was broken. The brass hardware broke on one side: it had a brass pin that worked like a pair of glasses and was unfixable. So basically, the purse was thought to be a total loss, un-usable. I cut the handles completely off and rounded the edges to make them match the rounded edges at the bottom of the brass bars on the front. I removed the brass pin that was attached to a brass ring and then used the brass ring to connect the shoulder strap. Now it's like a new purse!

DIY 2: Lace-up Jeans


This can be done on a pair of wide/loose leg jeans that you want to make skinny (or just for the look of lace-up jeans).

Take a pair of jeans and cut out a long triangle with the point of the triangle hitting the back top of your leg. Then, with the scissors, knife, or razor edge, punch holes along both sides of the triangle all the way down each side, 1/4 of an inch away from the cut edge.

Finally, starting at the top, lace up like a pair of sneakers with ribbon, leather laces, or satin cord (which is what I used). The bigger you cut the triangle, the more skin will be exposed. This can also be done on the side, or as i've seen recently in the front.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

ephemeral beauty

"There was never any more inception than there is now, 
Nor any more youth or age than there is now, 
And will never be any more perfection than there is now, 
Nor any more heaven or hell than there is now."
-Walt Whitman, "Song of Myself"

The power of the photograph is that it commits all ephemeral beauty to memory. I have a habit of taking pictures of every bouquet of  flowers I receive to remember and appreciate what they were like.

"Houses and rooms are full of perfumes, the shelves are crowded with 
I breathe the fragrance myself and know it and like it, 
The distillation would intoxicate me also, but I shall not let it."
-Walt Whitman, "Song of Myself" 

Coco Before Chanel

I finally saw "Coco Before Chanel," which had amazing costumes, but most of all I loved the hats that Audrey Tautou wore in the film.
Urban Outfitters has some adorable inexpensive versions of these. (Check out this one too.)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

taking pictures in the dressing room

Sometimes I realize that I want to buy clothes just because I like the way they look, but not necessarily because I like the way they look on me. I kind of wanted to buy this dress and make someone else wear it...

(photo was taken in D & D Fashion in Orange County)

It has a 90's throwback style that made me nostalgic.


“If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.” 

(for more on this collection click here)

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

fashion as art

I went to a lecture at the Getty not long ago (for me that could mean I went there months ago but I don't recall, exactly) and one of the designers who presented was Jasmine Shokrian. A graduate of art school in Chicago, Shokrian is inspired by the moment in which art and fashion meet. Since I think of "art" as a broad term and I believe that all forms of art should be in dialogue with one another I think this is an excellent concept to keep in mind when designing, rather than the drive of pure commercialism.

I think my favorite collection of hers is the Spring/Summer 2008, which she said is based on the "impact scents can have on people."

parking lot fun

Let me make it clear that I am in no way a foodie. I know nothing about food other than the fact that I like to eat it. Having said that, I would highly recommend the Old Vine Cafe in Costa Mesa. I thought the food was delicious (I must, however, be honest and admit that I generally find most food that I did not prepare to be delicious) but am also told by a bonafide foodie that this place is legit.

But I digress.

The reason I liked this place is that there were motivational (or inspirational) words in each parking space. I found myself walking around to all of the spots and reading each of the sayings. It made me think that if we're going to have something boring and functional like a parking lot (and there are many in such urban areas), we might as well make it fun! (I am also told that there's a Blockbuster in Hollywood with celebrities names in the spaces.)

(please note the irony in the photos above)

The restaurant was in this cute little area called the CAMP where there was a yoga place and a bunch of stores in an awesomely ecclectic "nontraditional" shopping center.

recycle, reuse

Too often I see people throwing their clothes (or other belongings) out by the dumpsters. If your clothes are still in working order, please consider donating to Goodwill. Not only is this a “green” thing to do, as you are recycling goods, but are helping to provide jobs! (And you might make someone happy by their discovery of your old items!) Goodwill also gives receipts for their donations that you can use for your tax purposes. If you need more information here are links to both Goodwill and The Salvation Army.

On another note, if you have items that you would like to try to get money for, Crossroads Trading Company purchases slightly used “name brand” clothing.

Remember, one woman’s trash is another one’s treasure!

Do It Yourself 1: Lace Shoe Straps

Problem: vintage shoes that won't stay on in the back. Solution: ribbon ankle straps!!!

A great vintage pair of shoes but with one big problem: the back of the shoe won’t stay up on the heal and falls off when you walk.

Take a piece of ribbon about 2 feet long and fold in half. Put the loop around the back.

Put the ends through the loop and pull tight.

Wrap around your ankles and tie in a bow. For a bigger bow use more ribbon or tie the bow in the back for a sexy surprise as they watch you walk away!