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Last week fashion brand Gucci announced that they will no longer use fur in future collections. The official comment from the company was – It’s not modern.

c13c28c6e72f13f53196076b39897233--lucy-lucy-i-love-lucyFor sure it’s not! No matter how old or young you are, nothing says “stodgy old lady” more than a dead fox or mink or rabbit dangling off a shoulder. Now, having said that I will add that lately some designers have been using dyed fur in bright colors and that definitely is modern. But faux fur works just as well. In fact, didn’t faux do it first?

With this decision Gucci joins Calvin Klein, Armani, Ralph Lauren, and Tommy Hilfiger.

I’m thrilled that Gucci is taking such a stand and I hope it’s the beginning of a permanent shift away from fur in fashion.

 

 

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Andy Warhol Illustration for Harper’s Bazaar, July 1958.

When I used to do shoe drawings for the magazines, I would get a certain amount for each shoe, so then I would count up my shoes to figure out how much I was going to get. I lived by the number of shoe drawings – when I counted them I knew how much money I had. 

Andy Warhol, American Artist.

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Shoe and purse c. 1956.

Before Andrew Warhola became Andy Warhol, Pop Artist he was a commercial artist and advertising illustrator. In the 1950s he illustrated for fashion publications Glamour and Harper’s Bazaar. He created ads in newspapers for Neiman Marcus and I. Miller, among others.

I have a thing for illustration as an art form and I really like Warhol’s style. It helps that his subject was fashion and done in an artistic era that appeals to me. Beyond all that, I like his sense of whimsy and fun. His illustrations make me smile.

In my collection of fashion books is – Andy Warhol Fashion (Chronicle Books, 2004), which is a little volume of Warhol’s illustrations from the 1950s when he was working in NYC. Every so often I slip this book off the shelf and flip through over 250 images, some in color and some black and white. I pause on various pages to feast my eyes on kitten heels, jaunty hats, and attractive handbags.

It’s a little candy box of visual mid-century treats.

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Note the card – I love the London subway reference. 

As with any other accessory, sunglasses are an important part of every outfit. Over the years,  I have gone through many a pair, many a style. Including back in high school when I sported a pair of ultra Cat Eye frames in purple. (I still have them! See pic below.)

IMG_20171009_164957891A few years ago I was on the hunt for a more moderate Cat Eye look and I happened to pop into Optical Underground in downtown San Francisco. You go down down down a long flight of stairs into a super cool subterranean space.

Oh my, what a selection! I found just what I was looking for and at a discount, plus one more snazzy pair with rhinestones – I call those my Hollywood Shades. (Both pictured above.)

And there’s more. A few times a year I go back to Optical Underground to have my everyday sunglasses tightened and cleaned. They are happy to provide this service and with a great big smile, too.

Optical Underground opened in San Francisco in 1911. A family run business, the shop offers an array of sunglasses as well as eyeglass frames, many at designer overstock and other discount prices. What I appreciate is the selection of both modern and vintage- inspired styles.

Here’s what they say:

Optical Underground is a speakeasy for extraordinary eyewear, a secret find to satisfy your optical addiction. We are a fourth generation family business that’s been helping people see better (and look better) for over 100 years. We are craftsmen and appreciate the talent and toil that goes into designing original hand-made eyewear, and celebrate the people who wear them. We are socially responsible, and take our obligations to our community and our planet seriously.

Need new shades? Need new frames? Check out Optical Underground 280 Sutter St. at Grant, downtown SF. http://www.opticalunderground.com/

 

 

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Giorgio Armani. Photo: Serge Leblon

I’ve been away from London for quite some time. The city has changed, I’ve changed, and fashion has changed. But what has stayed the same is my desire to express myself. Because in this rapidly changing world, you can be influenced, dragged in one direction or another, and lose your own identity. But I have eyes and ears; I look around and listen, and I’ve noticed that you wear jeans in a beautiful way, which maybe 10 years ago you wouldn’t have done. 

Giorgio Armani – Italian fashion designer.

This quote is from an interview with Mr. Armani in London conducted by fashion writer Justine Picardie for the October 2017 issue of Harper’s Bazaar.

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Armani couture, Fall 2017. From Harper’s Bazaar. Photo: Serge Leblon.

I just about fell out of my chair when I read that Ms. Picardie wore jeans to interview a fashion legend such as Giorgio Armani.

In parenthesis she describes her outfit – flat ballet pumps, a floral chiffon blouse, and jeans.  I’m sure it was very nice looking, chic even, but still, too casual. How about that blouse with a skirt? Or a suit? Or even a pair of gaberdine trousers?

But as Mr. Armani says things have changed – fashion has changed. We have become more casual, everywhere all the time, especially at work. He points out that 10 years ago Ms. Picardie, a professional journalist working for a top fashion magazine, probably would not even have considered wearing jeans on the job.

Not allowing myself to be “influenced and dragged” into the casual direction, I feel more comfortable dressing professionally (usually in a dress with a blazer or a skirt and blouse) on an interview, at a press preview, or anytime I’m working. That’s me and I’m sticking to it.

 

0The people I most admire for their style aren’t those that follow every trend and dress in designer clothes from head to toe, but people like Sofia Coppola, Charlotte Gainsbourg, and Grace Coddington. These women are style icons not because they follow rules but because they make their own, and each have a strong sense of style and a clear signature look. 

Anuschka Rees, German fashion blogger and author.

A sense of style is something that takes time. Time first to figure out what you like and what likes you. And then time to put looks together, learning and developing as one goes along. But it’s all fun, right?

Ms. Rees has a blog that talks all about this and she has a book, which I took a peek at last year. It’s very complete. Detailed and perhaps a little overwhelming but if taken a bit at a time it certainly has something to offer and it’s a good place to start for anyone who needs a little guidance.

As far as “rules” go I don’t think they’re such a bad thing. Rules can help, actually. Like the following:

Don’t mix prints. Don’t! Unless you know how to do it.

Don’t show your bra-straps. Come on! Showing bra-straps doesn’t look cool or sexy it just looks sloppy.

Spend money on investment pieces. My personal fave. Invest in expensive staples like a quality 100% cashmere sweater (from England or Italy), a wool blazer, a good fitting pair of trousers and/or a skirt. Choose classic silhouettes that will never go out of style. Less is more and much better for the environment.

 

 

 

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Headpiece by Moschino Couture. Very Isabella Blow

… let’s discuss your crowning glory: a jaunty chapeau. The donning of a batty hat – a tiara, a basket of fruit, a steering wheel!  – is a fail-safe way to signal your strangeness. In the early 20th century, a lady named Baroness Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven delighted the denizens of Greenwich Village by wearing the lid of a filthy coal bucket on her head. Come summer, the taboo-busting Elsa would insert her head into a birdcage, complete with live canary. Her signature flourish? She might be the only person in history to have glued postage stamps to her face. 

Simon Doonan –  Creative Ambassador-at-Large, Barney’s.

This quote is taken from Mr. Doonan’s article in Harper’s Bazaar (September 2017) celebrating the virtues of strangeness in fashion.

The steering wheel reminds me of a “jaunty chapeau” I sported back in high school (early 80s). It was a broken vinyl record, painted blue with some of the broken pieces attached on top as decoration. I bought it from a vendor at a summer fair on Polk Street in San Francisco. Meant to be worn at an angle and tied under the chin, the hat was perfect for my New Wave look. I was all about pink baggy pants, vintage snakeskin pumps, and opalescent lipstick. Hello B-52s and Joe Jackson!

Fast forward to today and just wearing a hat is apparently strange, never mind a steering wheel or a bird cage. I sport a hat every day from caps to straw sunhats to felt cloches in the winter and I never fail to get glances and inquiries. Back in high school with my “record hat” I for sure was looking for attention but not so much now. Still there are times when I feel the same curious gaze as if I were once again balancing that broken record on my head.

I happen to like hats and I think they complete an outfit. How strange is that?

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For all the ladies (& fellas) who love a beautiful shoe, have we got a film for you! Opening Friday, September 22, 2017 is …

MANOLO: THE BOY WHO MADE SHOES FOR LIZARDS

A Manolo Blahnik shoe can make any woman swoon. In this new documentary fashion journalist Michael Roberts gives us an up-close look the unassuming Mr. Blahnik and his journey from a little boy in Spain with a thing for lizards to world renowned designer. Included is commentary from fashion celebrities such as Anna Wintour, Rihanna, and Naomi Campbell just to name a few.

Manolo: The Boy Who Made Shoes For Lizards (Music Box Films) runs at the Landmark Opera in San Francisco and the Landmark Shattuck Cinema in Berkeley, September 22-29. Check theaters for show times.

Click here to watch the trailer.