Archive for April, 2012

Fashion is experimentation, and if you keep the sophistication it can also be eccentric. You have to break rules, if there is a good reason! And now is the right time to be daring.

– German fashion designer Jil Sander, who recently took back creative control of her brand.

Read Full Post »

Image courtesy of Steve Madden.

I got excited a few years ago when I noticed that designers were showing slinky socks. Socks with flats, socks with ankle boots, socks even with pumps and platforms. Every season since then socks have shown up on the runways and in print ads, but not on the streets.

Until now. Steve Madden Legwear has designed a line of socks to cover every foot’s desire – print, lace, neon, footies, anklets, and my favorite over-the-knee.

I’m a sock gal from way back. In high school I sported anklets with 1940s-style wedge shoes and often I layered my socks combining colors like pink and gray or red and black. So I was over the moon when Steve Madden Legwear sent an array of styles from their new line for me to try.

Sheer Neon Blue Anklets: It’s all about color this season and what a simple way to add a bright hue. These are thin and easy to wear – perfect for summer. For a museum exhibit opening, I layered mine with black tights and paired with 1940s platform shoes. The unexpected bright color was quite the eye-catcher among the artsy crowd.

Over-the-knee in Gray:  Super comfortable these are made from a soft light cotton with ribbing. I like the fact that they’re warm without being too bulky.  They’re good with boots as well as with a walking shoe and I think they’d be super cute with a pair of Kork-Ease on those occasional chilly summer mornings. Notice the top of the sock is a thinner slouchy material. They tend to slouch down below the knee, but that’s kind of a cool casual look.

Sheer Over-the-knee: The design detail around the leg feels very 1920s and reminds me of something Daisy in The Great Gatsby might wear under one of her chiffon gowns. A sheer soft violet color these are dressy and perfect for a summer garden wedding or any festive event. The only problem is they fit very tight above the knee. That’s great for keeping them up, but a little painful. I rolled them down below the knee and that was fine, but of course they should be worn with a longer hem.

Fancy Anklet: My friend Lauren Devenney, who studied fashion design at California College of the Arts, wore these and likes the soft texture as well as the diagonal ladders in the knit. Lauren feels the ruffle at the top looks unintentional but she likes the casual feel of the design. “They haven’t been slipping or slouching at all and the lack of constriction is actually quite lovely.”  She also comments that they machine wash really well with no snagging or pilling.  

Multiple Ruffle Anklet in Oatmeal – The ruching detail is another unexpected touch. These are quite comfortable and fit nicely – not too thick and not too thin. Pair with bright-colored Capris and a pump and we’re talkin’ 80s retro. Love it!

I am impressed with Steve Madden Legwear. They are stylish, comfortable and fit well, which says a lot because most socks these days are too big for me. But I do have one disappointment – the selection I received were all made in China. Regular readers know that I prefer to support Made in America. I’m hoping as more and more apparel manufacturing returns to the U.S., so will Steve Madden Legwear.

Read Full Post »

I’m interested in creativity, the evolution of creativity and the relationship between creativity and the times we live in.  

– Designer Raf Simons who is the new couturier at Christian Dior.

Read Full Post »

Image courtesy of the ADSC.

My mother and I had a festive Easter Sunday this year enjoying tea sandwiches, strawberries, and champagne. But the best part was spending most of the afternoon sifting through my closet assembling the perfect outfit for the upcoming Art Deco Preservation Ball on May 5th, 2012 at Bimbo’s in San Francisco.

This year’s Ball is extra special because we’re all celebrating the Diamond Jubilee of the Golden Gate Bridge. In honor of the bridge’s opening in 1937 attendees are encouraged to dress 1930s, which is one of my favorite eras. I’m keeping my outfit a secret but I will say that it has Mom’s approval.

My beau and I are looking forward to dancing to Don Neely’s Royal Society Jazz Orchestra with Carla Normand and Frederick Hodges. Vocalist Sara Klotz de Aguilar will perform and The Dimestore Dandy Ricky Quisol will be playin’ his old-time tunes. Plus local businesses and individuals who work to preserve and promote the Art Deco period will be recognized.

Won’t you join us? Come dressed in your formal vintage finest! Click here for tickets and more information: http://www.artdecosociety.org/decoball/index.htm

Read Full Post »

Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months.

Oscar Wilde

Read Full Post »

Poster art by John Mattos. Image courtesy of The ADSC.

The Art Deco Society of California continues to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the opening of the Golden Gate Bridge with the unveiling of this fabulous poster designed by local artist John Mattos.

“John Mattos was a perfect choice to illustrate our poster,” says Karen Geer, ADSC Print Director. “He’s worked with the Parks Conservancy before and has illustrated other Art Deco buildings including the Fox Theatre in Oakland. His style has a real joy in it that plays out here beautifully.”

I agree. Mr. Mattos nicely captures the bridge’s angular Deco quality that we all love. I particularly like the rich colors he uses and inclusion of the nattily dressed lady and her dog.

The poster measures 16 inches by 32 inches and is printed on 30 percent recycled archival quality paper.

The ADSC is selling this poster as a fundraiser for the organization. A mere $75 will bring this collectible to you and support the ADSC, which strives to increase awareness of the Art Deco era as well as to preserve and promote its art, architecture, music, fashions, and other aspects of the period.

I see this poster as the perfect gift for any admirer of the Bay Area, Art Deco enthusiast, SF native … heck, anyone with impeccable taste!

For more information check out the ADSC website: http://www.artdecosociety.org/poster/

Read Full Post »

January Jones as Betty Francis in Mad Men. Photo courtesy of AMC.

… that’s an amazing freedom that we have now, that there’s no real set style. It’s just however you want to represent yourself each day. It’s kind of an art form.

January Jones, actress on Mad Men.

I agree with Ms. Jones, that today there is no particular style nor any rules like there was during the Mad Men era of the 1960s. To me that’s good and bad. It’s great that we have the freedom to experiment and use fashion as an art form, but the down side is most people no longer know how to dress well and we don’t have many role models. Without a set style and guidelines we are confused and frankly the default look is often inappropriate and/or sloppy. Personally, I think that’s a shame.

Read Full Post »

Lorna Doone's patched jeans are part of the 1968 Exhibit at the Oakland Museum of California.

 1968 was a memorable year:

  • Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy are assassinated.
  • The Vietnam war rages on as more and more youth protest against it.
  • Feminists demonstrate at the Miss America Beauty Pageant.
  • Confrontations and riots close down the National Democratic Convention in Chicago.
  • African-American athletes give the Black Power arm symbol at the Summer Olympics in Mexico.

All of these events and more are explored in the current exhibition at the Oakland Museum of California. Using multimedia and artifacts from the period the exhibit dives into the social, political, and economic events of a pivotal year in American history.

Included in the exhibit is an array of clothing and accessories popular in the day. What people chose to wear plays an important role in the 1968 story. Baby Boomers are coming of age and rebelling against everything reeking of mainstream authority. Clothing quickly becomes a powerful and visible way for youth not just to rebel but to identify themselves. Hippies deck themselves out in long hair, patched jeans, and fringed vests. Liberated women go braless and sport miniskirts. Black Panthers show their determination in black leather jackets and black berets.

Back in 1968 teenager Lorna Doone sported a favorite pair of jeans (pictured above). Every time the jeans ripped or got a hole she’d add a patch until eventually the jeans were nothing but patches. In the exhibit she is quoted: Back in those days you could be considered weird and hippie if you wore, like moccasins, or if you wore a jean jacket. You didn’t have to look that much different to shock people.

McCarthy for President dress in the 1968 Exhibit.

Fashion even merges with politics in 1968. Eugene McCarthy challenges incumbent Lyndon Johnson for the democratic presidential nominee. As an anti-Vietnam War candidate he’s favored among college students. To show their support, young coeds attend campaign rallies donning McCarthy dresses, miniskirts, scarves and hats. Men “Get Clean for Gene” and shave off their beards.

In 1968 badges replace expensive jewelry as the latest must-have accessory. Rather than show off wealth, young people want to send a message: Ban the Bra, Get Out of Vietnam, Ringo for President, High as a Kite.

Among the fashions in the exhibit are costumes from the television show Laugh In, pieces worn by Janis Joplin and everyday clothing from hippies to college students to housewives.  

The 1968 Exhibit offers a great slice of fashion history and much more as it unfolds for us the events of 1968 month by month with audio interviews of Vietnam Vets, excerpts of popular television shows of the day, and select video of important speeches and news broadcasts. There’s also a related exhibit of posters – All of Us or None: Social Justice Posters of the San Francisco Bay Area.

The 1968 Exhibit at the Oakland Museum of California now through August 19, 2012.

Be there or be square!

Read Full Post »

If you can’t eat it, it’s not food, and if you can’t wear it, it’s not fashion, it is something else.”

Alber Elbaz Lanvin creative director.

Read Full Post »