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Archive for March, 2019

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Francesco Risso. Speaking of inspiration, the window in the background reminds me of bojagi.

I’m a passionate collector of images. I like to imagine characters in a story, but you need a reference – a flower, a piece of art, anything that can connect you with that story. Today I found this incredible Chinese  man holding lanterns. I hope one day, opening my drawers, to bring out a story that will be an inspiration for something. 

Francesco Risso, creative director of Marni since 2016.

This quote is taken from an interview that Risso did with Joshua Levine for W magazine, v.2 2019.

The Chinese man that he refers to is an English brooch from the 1940s. The man is made of gold and the hem and cuffs of his robe are encrusted with diamonds. I can picture that charming brooch and I hope one day to spot the inspiration it brings to the Marni line.

It is said that Risso has “put his own stamp on Marni,” which was initially an upset after 20 years of designer/ owner Consuelo Castiglioni in charge. (Castiglioni sold Marni to  OTB Group in 2012.) Risso admits that he didn’t follow the codes of the house. But he has since settled in and earned widespread respect for his sense of individuality and diversity in his references.

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The whimsical designs of Francesco Risso for Marni. How ironic that an outside the box kind of designer works for a large fashion conglomerate. But it’s the outsider types that the corporations are hiring  these days. Quirky sells.

 

 

 

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Franklina Gray in Milanese lace veil, 1875.

English girls dress in the worst possible taste … German ladies dress without any regard to taste, the prevailing colors being purple and yellow … The Milanese ladies have a pretty fashion of wearing long black lace veils instead of hats. 

Franklina Gray (1853-1934).

At age 22, Ms. Gray embarked on the Grand Tour of Europe with her mother, aunt, and stepfather. From 1875 to 1877, the four traveled together visiting such countries as England, Germany, Greece, and Italy. As she traveled she kept a detailed journal and wrote letters regularly to her fiance left behind in Oakland, CA.

When the family returned they settled into what is now called the Camron-Stanford House on Lakeside Drive in Oakland. In 1878, Ms. Gray married her fiance, William Springer Bartlett at the Lakeside Drive home where they also lived for the next few years.

On now at the Camron-Stanford house is the unique exhibit, Franklina C. Gray: The Grand Tour, which features photos and excerpts from Ms. Gray’s writings about her travel experiences as well as personal mementos and articles of clothing, including gloves and shoes from her wedding ensemble.

I’m a big fan of local history and interesting characters, of which Ms. Gray certainly was. I’ve toured the house several times, but something new is always added (this time details about Ms. Gray’s family) and the old information sometimes doesn’t stick. For example, I should have remembered that the Camron-Stanford House (the last standing Victorian mansion on Lake Merritt) was once the Oakland Museum and we nearly lost this historical treasure back when the new museum was built.

But we didn’t lose it and tours of the house and the current exhibit are available on Sundays only. I highly recommend a visit to the Camron-Stanford House to my local readers for a leisurely Sunday afternoon out.

Franklina C. Gray: The Grand Tour runs through November 17, 2019.

Click here for more information.

 

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Ensemble by Itang Yunasz displayed as part of the Contemporary Muslin exhibit, de Young Museum, fall 2018.

Last fall when I attended the exhibit Contemporary Muslim Fashions at the de Young Museum, I began to wonder if elements of what we were seeing on display would crossover into mainstream fashion. In particular, the hijab.

Sure enough, headscarves are all over the pages of recent fashion magazines. Perhaps not exact copies of the hijab but there is an echo.

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Headscarf by JW Anderson as seen in Vogue, February 2019.

The headscarf is a natural progression since scarves in general have been in fashion for quite some time as a year-round accessory worn around the neck. Also, it’s an easy baby step into modest dressing, if designers have any thoughts of going in that direction.

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Beautiful designs by Khanaan Luqman Shamlan at Contemporary Muslim Fashions,

 

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Ensemble by Givenchy in Vogue, February 2019. Note that the model is pretty well covered up, too.

Although headscarves are nothing new, they were a mid-century staple for Audrey Hepburn, Elizabeth Taylor, and Queen Elizabeth among others. But its been awhile since they were in vogue and this time around the look is a bit different, perhaps influenced by the chic yet still modest hijab.

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Illustration by Jessica Lanan from Good Fortune in a Wrapping Cloth. (Shen’s Books)

Feel the fabrics … Ramie, light and easy to stitch. Cotton, cool in summer and warm when quilted for winter. Hemp, strong like an iron kettle. Choose fabrics of the same weight and place them in matching piles … Colors should blend like blues in the sky and yellows in the sunrise over mountains or contrast like purple and gold in iris flowers. 

From the picture book Good Fortune in a Wrapping Cloth by Joan Schoettler. Illustrations by Jessica Lanan.

It’s a treat for me when I find a quote for OverDressedforLife in unexpected places.

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Bojagi, image from Ewha Women’s University Museum.

Wrapping cloth, called bojagi in Korean, is traditionally made from fabric remnants and then used for many a practical purpose such as gift wrap, covering plates of food, bags for storage or transport. What a charming and environmentally friendly alternative to paper and plastic.

Bojagi is similar to western quilts but in my opinion much more interesting in terms of the fabric and the very different techniques used.

I learned about bojagi on a textile trip to Seoul, South Korea last fall. The craft of bojagi has been around a long time and was commonly used in the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910). It fell out of favor mid-20th century but as with many traditional Korean crafts, it is making a comeback as a serious art form.

Intrigued by this craft, I’m taking a basic bojagi class with Korean textile artist Youngmin Lee. It’s always such fun trying something new and I’m interested to see how bojagi might be used in fashion.

Wish me luck!

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