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Archive for September, 2017

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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.

 

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Congratulations to Chris Black who won Best Grand Picnic Site at this year’s Gatsby Summer Afternoon. As the picnic site judge it was my pleasure to recognize Chris’ attention to detail for her Egyptian Revival themed site, aptly named Temple of Hathor after the Ancient Egyptian Goddess of Love, Mirth, and Joy.

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Chris and her award winning Egyptian Revival Picnic Site.

In addition to how Chris handled her canopy (by nicely covering it up both outside and inside, including the ceiling) as well as adding charming touches like beverage glasses  painted with Egyptian images and papyrus plants, she also tied in her dress to the theme. All of that is what made her a winner!

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Photo: Chris Black.

A seamstress, Chris sewed her own 1930s-style dress using a pattern from Decades of Style. On Ebay she found the perfect reproduced vintage print fabric with hieroglyphics and pharaohs. It gets even better … the green buttons she used pick up the green in the dress and are truly vintage. A lucky find for Chris on Etsy.

Hats at Gatsby Summer Afternoon are a must and Chris topped her ensemble with a crushed crown straw chapeau onto which she added one of the dresses’ buttons. Love. It.

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Agatha Christie as inspiration. Photo: The Christie Archive.

Chris says that her inspiration came from a photo she saw of Agatha Christie: I’ve been collecting the vintage Egyptian prints for a couple years, but this pic of Agatha Christie in 1922 was thrilling because it’s an example of Egyptian Revival dressmaking that is not evening wear – you’ll see lots of beautiful beaded and embroidered frocks as well as coats on Pinterest, but I haven’t seen many casual prints like this in the 20s and 30s. Demonstrates to me that this trend extended beyond nightclubs and drawing rooms.

Thank you, Chris, for a job well done. I’m looking forward to seeing what you come up with next year!

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Susan Sarandon as Bette Davis in Feud: Bette and Joan.

I don’t know what we would have done without fabric painting. Since it was too time-consuming to locate the good vintage fabrics and prints, we relied on CADFab digital printing to replicate the fabrics we needed, From Baby Jane’s floral dress to Bette Davis’ 1978 Oscar caftan. 

Katie Saunders – Costume Supervisor on the television limited series, Feud: Bette and Joan.

Ms. Saunders was nominated for an Emmy for her work on Feud.

Congratulations to the winners in the costume categories last night.

Period Series: Michele Clapton – The Crown 

Contemporary Drama: Alix Friedberg, Big Little Lies

Variety/Non-Fiction/Reality: Zaldy Goco, RuPaul’s Drag Race

 

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Who are all of these people? I’m not against social media, but I don’t think the doors should be flung open wide so the whole world is at every presentation. It’s become a public convention. At times it feels like Comicon.

Ken Downing, fashion director and senior vice president, Neiman Marcus talking about fashion week.

Yeah, from what I hear New York Fashion Week has become an unpleasant madhouse.

Too many shows, too spread out (now that there’s no central location), and most of all – too many people, apparently, according to Mr. Downing, dressed like clowns. Also the shows never start on time. All this makes it very challenging for those who are  there just trying to do their job.

Oh, and did you know that some of the celebs sitting in the front row are paid to be there? Yep! According to the New York Times Beyonce gets $100,000. Julianne Moore only gets $60,000. (Don’t tell her … we don’t want any cat fights next to the catwalk.)

Meanwhile, the fashion powers that be are pondering the idea of opening up the shows even more and selling tickets to those willing to pay the big bucks. Traditionally one had to be invited and connected to the business – a fashion reporter, editor, buyer, retailer, etc. Or a friend or family member of the designer. Even today you must be invited. But, perhaps eventually the shows will become a real spectator sport and all you’ll need is a few hundred bucks to buy your way in.

 

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Gucci Fall 2017

RINGS! Large, chunky and one on just about every finger. Allessandro Michele for Gucci started the look a few years ago. He himself sports lots of big rings, many of them antique. When he took over as creative director in 2015, he shared the idea.

Other designers are picking it up with their individual spin. I see it in product ads as well.

Take a look at just a few I picked out.

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Tiffany’s approach is many smaller rings.

 

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Tacori is an even more delicate look.

 

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Chanel makes edgy elegant. Note the strand of pearls – a Chanel classic and another trend for fall.

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This is an ad for NARS and it’s my favorite chunky-ring-on-every-finger look. I think these are the most interesting collection of rings – not too big but big enough. They vary in shape and size.  Of interest but not obnoxious.

My style is small usually antique rings that I can stack. I learned this from my mother and we’ve both been doing that for years. I also like big chunky rings but I stick with just one at a time. However, I love this Gucci look on others and I hope to see more of it.

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IMG_20170821_171928Your new hat is small … and round … and deep … made of melusine … the silky soft felt that is this year’s fashion sensation … in the subtle shades of a degas painting … flattering and romantic … from a collection … millinery, second floor. 

Agnes Farrell, fashion director & advertising director at Bullocks Wilshire, 1930s-1960s.

Speaking of a Degas painting, there’s a little more time left to catch Degas, Impressionism, and the Paris Millinery Trade at the Legion of Honor in San Francisco. On now through September 24, 2017.

Click here to read my review.

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