Archive for March, 2011

Balenciaga was influenced by the culture and traditions of his native Spain.

Fashionable San Franciscans are lucky indeed to host the fabulous Balenciaga exhibit running now through July 4th at the de Young Museum in Golden Gate Park.

Click here to read my coverage on Examiner.com.

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Click on the Mom’s Closet tab above for the latest installment – Yes, I’m a Hat Gal.

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Kate's fascinator.

Well, you know that cute little hat number Kate Middleton sported on her first outing as princess-to-be? I called it a cocktail-style hat, but it is in fact a fascinator.

A fascinator is more of a hair adornment rather than a hat. Originally in the 1600s it was a simple cloth that covered a woman’s head. In recent times it has refashioned into elaborate head pieces, although still light in weight, worn to the side of the head with embellishments such as feathers and flowers. What makes a hat a hat, is a hat covers the crown.

Kate is bringing fascinators into vogue, with ladies asking and milliners supplying for weddings and garden parties. Fascinators just may be The Accessory for spring and summer 2011.

I like this fascinator idea. They’re lightweight and have a tremendous chic factor.  Good for weddings, parties, graduations, and other special occasions. What do you think? Are fascinators in your immediate future?

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William and Kate Paper Dolls published by Dover.

My mother and I started collecting Dover paper doll books ages ago. Between the two of us we have a couple dozen including Chanel, Schiaparelli, and Greta Garbo. Now there is one more to add to the collection: William and Kate Paper Dolls.  

Dover has released the William and Kate edition just in time to commemorate the wedding-of-the-century on April 29, 2011. The couple each have seven outfits illustrated by Tom Tierney. (Plus we get the future king and queen of England in their skivvies … ha!)

Dover is one of my favorite publishing houses for providing historical documentation of fashion and the fashionable. But I also appreciate their commitment to going green by using recycled paper and printing their publications in the USA.

If you’re a royal watcher, a fan of Kate’s fashion sense, and/or have a crush on William, The William and Kate Paper Dolls is a must-have.

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Mom sports monogram Oxford shirts.

Click on the Mom’s Closet tab above for the latest installment  – Monograms are Hot Shit.

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Heart Hat. Photo by John Ross, model is Connie Chai. Image courtesy of Primitive Streak.

Listening to BBC Radio Woman’s Hour last week, I learned about a unique fashion project created by leading British fashion designer Helen Storey and her sister Kate Storey, who is a developmental biologist at Oxford University.

Started in 1997 the project is called Primitive Streak, which in developmental biology refers to an essential moment in the early embryo when cells move into place to start making internal organs like the heart, muscle, and kidneys. Helen and Kate collaborated to design and build 27 pieces of clothing representing the first 1000 hours of life from fertilization to recognizable human form. The collection toured Britain in the late 90s and ten of the pieces are on tour again with the additional new Lung Dress.

Included in the collection are representations of:

  • sperm as a white lacy coat
  • cell division in a long flowing dress with a red and black applique
  • and the heart as a structured hat (pictured above).  

Using vivid colors and innovative design, the clothing turns complicated science into desirable chic.

On the Woman’s Hour segment, Helen said she enjoyed the opportunity of experimenting with textiles and in creating the various pieces, biology had to suggest the material. For her part, Kate is pleased to be able to convey these amazing human development sequences to a different audience.  

Click here to read more about Primitive Streak and see photos.

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Mom is stylish while cooking dinner, sporting her usual Oxford shirt and tweed skirt.

Click on the Mom’s Closet tab above for the latest installment – No Frippery in this Family.

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Photo courtesy of BRELLI.

With the arrival of spring come rain showers. But sudden downpours need not put a damper on your spring look. Not with the tres chic (and über green) BRELLI.

Looks like a parasol but works like an umbrella, the BRELLI is a handy accessory for spring.  These lightweight umbrellas come in serveal sizes and are handmade in Thailand from bamboo and biodegradable plastic. They stand up to wind and heavy rain while providing a lighter look for the new season.

The BRELLI has quickly become a celebrity favorite. Jamie Lee Curtis is a fan, loving the fact that they biodegrade in a landfill in less than five years (it’s estimated to take a regular umbrella 40-80 years). Rachel Bilson, Imogen Heap and Paula Abdul are also BRELLI carriers.

I used the BRELLI during our recent rain storms and was impressed with their strength. I would, however, recommend getting a large size to ensure complete coverage.  It’s a bit stiff at first, so make sure to open and close it several times before you’re caught in a downpour. I also think the parasol look is perfect for spring through autumn, but too light for winter.

The BRELLI comes in an organic cotton case and is available in clear or tinted.  And … for that part-sunny part-rainy day, there’s the sunBRELLI. The sunBRELLI offers the same rain protection with additional 99% UVA/UVB sun protection. Ha, how fabulous is that?

Let’s recap:

  • biodegradable
  • fair trade
  • stands up to wind and rain (and sun with the sunBRELLI)
  • a very sharp look for spring

That’s a winner!

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Behida Dolic´ showing off her one-of-a-kind cocktail hats.

I recently had the pleasure of meeting Behida Dolic´, a very talented milliner located in Berkeley, CA. Inspired by hat fashions of the 20s and 30s, Behida creates all her hats by hand, from the draping to the stitching.

Read more about milliner extraordinaire  Behida Dolic´ in my fashion column on Examiner.com.

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