Archive for October, 2012

To trivialize fashion is to rob ourselves of a great tool.

Fashion stylist, Stacy London.

I completely agree! Fashion is expression for some of us in addition to helping us look our best. Personally I would be bored to tears without interesting clothes to wear, look at, and study.

By the way, Stacy London has just published a memoir, The Truth About Style (Viking Adult, 2012). Watch for my review coming up in November.

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I like things that never go out of style, that are rooted in utility and the hand of the artist.

Fashion designer, Ralph Lauren.

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Every fashion enthusiast from designer to collector must own at least one reference book on clothing history. I have several but nothing that quite matches the breadth of information contained in  Fashion: The Definitive History of Style and Costume (DK Publishing, 2012).

Definitive is the word for this book as it traces 3000 years of men’s and women’s clothing. Each of the ten chapters  includes:

  • timeline
  • highlights of social and political issues that influenced fashion
  • detailed descriptions of trends
  • features on fashion icons of each period
  • discussion of top designers
  • and of course, lots of illustrations

Additionally there is a quick reference section with pictures, a glossary, and an index.

I am most impressed with Consultant Editor Susan Brown who made sure to discuss subtle changes in fashion from year to year as well as organize an amazing amount of information into a manageable format. What a helpful resource to have at hand when researching a period, looking for inspiration, or to just gaze at the eye-candy.

Fashion: The Definitive History of Style & Costume is a bargain at $50, but I have to point out that it’s printed and bound in China. Having said that, the quality of the paper, print, and binding is excellent. I say a perfect holiday gift for your favorite fashionable.

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For new garment construction, we pore over 1920s images to come up with a design that makes sense for the character and is also doable in the short amount of time we have. We use vintage beaded dress pieces, trims, and fabric remnants that we try to weave into every piece to give it a more authentic look. Sometimes we design the entire costume around one small vintage element.

Lisa Padovani, Co-Costume Designer for Boardwalk Empire told to The Costume Designer.  (Boardwalk Empire was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Costumes in a Miniseries. The winner this year was Game of Thrones.)

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The old Minnie and the new Minnie.

Once upon a time there was a mouse called Minnie. Everyday she liked to look nice and wear a dress, a pretty bow, pink pumps-like-her-mother’s and white gloves. She was happy.

One day a witch, perhaps you could say a stylish witch, from a place called Barney’s descended on Minnie and said rather loudly, “You are too plump and too short and you just won’t do for our spectacle holiday display. You must have a makeover!”

A crowd of  Fashionable People appeared and scurried about telling Minnie that they were  going to re-style her. The Fashionable People tugged off her gloves and pulled out her pretty bow. Minnie squealed just a little as the dress and pink pumps-like-her-mother’s were tossed aside.

Then some of the Fashionable People took hold of Minnie’s feet, some held her paws, and the rest grabbed her neck and all at the same time they stretched and stretched poor Minnie until she could stretch no more.

She was put in a dress with ruffles that she thought was too grownup for her and higher heel shoes than she was used to. But Minnie did kind of like the long gloves.

When all was done the Fashionable People stood back and commented to each other, “Ooh, doesn’t she look fabulous?” One of them said, “What an improvement!”

Minnie wondered why the way she was before wasn’t good enough. She missed her bow and she teetered so high on her stilt-like legs, she thought she might fall over. The worst part was that Minnie just didn’t feel like herself anymore and now, she was sad.

The End

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A designer designs, a stylist presents a point of view.

Carrie Donovan (1928-2001), fashion editor.

Ms. Donovan started sketching fashions at ten-years-old and went on to study at Parsons School of Design. But she didn’t possess a knack for sewing, so instead Ms. Donovan pursued a career in fashion journalism starting at the New York Times. Later over the course of her career she was the editor for Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, and New York Times Magazine. With a slight distaste for typewriters (not to mention computers), Ms. Donovan wrote all her copy by hand.

As for personal style, she was known for sporting over-sized glasses and turbans.

After she retired from journalism in the 1990s Ms. Donovan appeared in over 40 Old Navy commercials, many of which can be found on YouTube.  She died in 2001 at the age of 73.

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Learning to ice skate I was the only one on the rink sporting a helmet. Sure I felt self-conscious but hey, I thought better safe than sorry after hearing more than a few gruesome stories and actually seeing someone fall backwards on her head. But I have to admit I didn’t warm up to my helmet, it was merely a necessary and unattractive safety precaution.

Then I discovered Helmet Band-Its. Although originally intended for skiing, these simple faux-fur bands wrap around any helmet and voila … instant chic. Now I’m wearing a fabulous hat for skiing, skating, and biking.

Helmet Band-Its was designed by Robin Dorman, who became a helmet safety advocate after sustaining an injury in a skiing accident. As a stylish woman herself working in the fashion and design industry, Ms. Dorman was inspired to create an accessory that would make a fashion statement while promoting helmet safety.

What I like about the Helmet Band-It is the versatility it offers – each band spruces up my sporty look and when off the ice/snow/road it can be worn as a headband or a collar. The faux-fur is super soft and comes in a variety of colors from black to pink, leopard print, lynx, and chinchilla.  Also available are matching cuffs. Added bonus? Helmet-Band-Its are made in the USA.

Adding flair to safety – that’s genius.

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Never be afraid to take risks, and never take the clothes you wear too seriously.

– Perry Ellis (1940-1986), American Fashion Designer


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