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Archive for February, 2019

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Chanel spring ad in Vogue magazine, March 2019.

When I heard about the death of designer Karl Lagerfeld earlier this week, I was surprisingly sad. I say surprisingly because, well, frankly, I wasn’t a fan of him as a person. I have read and listened to many an interview with Mr. Lagerfeld and he always struck me as a bit harsh. Still, I admired his talent and the loss of such to the fashion industry is palpable.

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Joan Collins dons a Chanel wool jacket, 1994. Marie Claire magazine, UK edition. Instantly recognizable as Chanel and yet quite different. 

Mr. Lagerfeld, born in 1933, shifted into celebrity status when in the early 1980s he took over the house of Chanel and turned what had become a stodgy label known mostly for its perfume, Chanel No. 5, which had declined in quality and was available at the corner drug store, into a global designer must-have.

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How appropriate that that final season of Karl Lagerfeld at Chanel includes  finger-less gloves, which was an essential part of his personal uniform.

What impressed me was his ability to take vintage Chanel – the suit, the fabrics, the handbags, the jewelry – and reinvent them time and time again. I always enjoyed the full page ads in fashion magazines each season showing yet another new Chanel look that STILL referenced classic Chanel. Perhaps it was a more edgy silhouette for the suit, a shorter hemline, or new bright colors used for the iconic tweed fabric. I particularly loved his use of frayed tweed. He often showed hats and gloves somehow making them hip instead of dowdy. His creativity was endless.

So, I tip my hat to Karl Lagerfeld for his amazing talent and I thank him for his unique contributions to fashion and style. Like Chanel, the Lagerfeld influence will live on.

 

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I spotted these two women at a trendy seafood restaurant in North Beach. The pair were sitting at the counter right in front of me and what caught my eye is that they are dressed almost exactly alike.

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It was a cold, damp afternoon in January and they evidently decided to think spring with their choice of beige sweaters and white leggings. I’m not a fan of dead white in the dead of winter  – it just feels all wrong – but I do like the color combo and these ladies are on trend as beige is the hot new color for spring.

I also like their sneaker choice and you can’t really see, but the woman on the right is wearing a classic Burberry scarf around her neck.

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It’s a little too early for these ensembles but they are perfect for upcoming spring 2019. Casual yet chic. Comfortable yet presentable. A nice balance for bumming around the city.

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Costumes for the film Black Panther by Ruth E. Carter.

What I discovered between the research, artistry, and messages in all the costumes I designed for the many historical and imagined figures is my contribution to Afro-futurism. I am honored to receive this recognition from the Costumes Designers Guild and look forward to telling more stories which can change the world. 

Ruth E. Carter, American costume designer.

This quote is from an article about Ms. Carter by Meera Manek in The Costume Designer (The Official Magazine of the Costume Designers Guild), winter 2019.

Ms. Carter recently received the Career Achievement Award from the Costume Designers Guild and she’s been nominated for an Oscar (her third nomination) for her work on Black Panther. In the business since the 1980s, Ms. Carter has worked on Amistad, Malcolm X, How Stella Got Her Groove Back, to name just a few.  For Black Panther, Ms. Carter says that she found inspiration in her research on ancient African cultures. I like her use of accessories such as the bold jewelry and the marvelous hats worn by Angela Basset. who played Ramonda.

Best of luck to Ms. Carter and all the Oscar nominees this Sunday, February 24th.

 

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Hangul print fabric with Chinese characters interspersed.

Regular readers might recall that when I travel I look for fabric to bring home and have something made (or make something myself ) as a memento of my adventures. Last October, while on a textiles tour in Seoul, South Korea I went looking for fabric at the famous Dongdaemum Market, known for many a stall selling wholesale fabrics, notions, and anything one might need for DIY accessories.

I was searching for something unique that reflected Korean culture in some way. I wandered around and around, in circles it seemed, and just as I thought I might not have any luck, turning  a corner I came across a few of the other women on my tour chatting excitedly over a bolt of fabric that immediately caught my eye.

It was cotton with printed hangul, the Korean alphabet that we had learned about earlier in the week on a museum tour. I’m really drawn to the shapes of hangul and I agree with Karl Lagerfeld, who once said that hangul letters are like Cubism. The fabric came in blue with white print and brown with white. I went for the brown.

The fun part of this process is pondering how to use the fabric. I considered napkins and placemats but I wanted something unexpected. Perhaps a dress but the weight is a little stiff for that. What about a coat? I began to picture a longish, slim coat with a touch of Asian flair. That’s it!

Once home I found exactly the silhouette I wanted in a pattern by Connie Crawford for Butterick – slim, no collar, unlined.

The next step was to bring the fabric and pattern to seamstress extraordinaire, Kathy Wharton . We had one fitting and decided on the length and no pockets to avoid any bulk. Within ten days my coat was finished.

 

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I chose dark red thread for the top stitch.

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I couldn’t be more pleased and I look forward to sporting my Korean Coat this spring. In the meantime I’m making a hat out of the same fabric. More on that later.

 

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Olivia Colman as Queen Elizabeth II in The Crown. 

You know, don’t behave badly; they may not ask you back. 

Olivia Colman – British actress who has taken over the role of Queen Elizabeth II in the third season of the Netflix television series, The Crown.

The third season is in production now. Joining Olivia Colman will be Helena Bonham  Carter as Princess Margaret. Now that’s an interesting choice as the actress is a good twenty years older than her character was in the mid-1960s. But I saw a couple of photos of her in costume and she looks great. I’m a big fan and so I look forward to seeing what she does.

As for the costumes, they are by Michele Clapton, three-time Emmy winner and costumer also for Game of Thrones.

The next season is due out later this year. In the meantime click here for all The Crown scoop.

 

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img_20190131_123421.jpg… Cousin stops under the overpass to the No. 3 Industrial Complex and gazes through the window of a hat shop, still open at this hour. As if she has just remembered something, Cousin grabs my hand and pulls me into the store. She tries on several different berets, the kind with a tiny felt stem in the center, before settling on a white one … The white beret goes nicely with the round collar of our spring/summer uniform. When I tell her it looks pretty, Cousin puts the hat on my head … “Let’s both get one.”

From The Girl Who Wrote Loneliness by South Korean author Kyung-Sook Shin.

 

The Girl Who Wrote Loneliness is a somewhat autobiographical story of two teenage cousins working for a stereo factory in 1970s Seoul, South Korea. After hours the girls attend school, hoping an education will lead them out of sweatshop work.

While I was in Seoul last October, I of course took note of street fashion and I found two things when it came to hats: 1. Hats were a a big hit with middle-aged and older women. 2. Not the case with young women, except for berets.

I came across a few hat shops in upscale shopping neighborhoods offering all kinds of hats including berets in an array of colors. Out on the streets I spotted stylishly dressed 20-something women topping off their ensembles with berets, just like the teenage girls in this novel way back in 1979.

The fashion pendulum swings back and forth and back and forth …

 

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