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Archive for November, 2019

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Mary Alice Stephenson. Photo from Brooklyn Street Style.

Some people are just born with style and they know what to do and how to do it. I was born with a passion for all things stylish. I learned by being surrounded by stylish people. And I learned the ingredients and elements of style. Many of the most stylish people make it look easy, but there’s a lot of work that goes into it. 

Mary Alice Stephenson, fashion director and founder of Glam4Good an organization addressing social change through style.

Today’s quote is another one from Brooklyn Street Style (Abrams Image, 2015).

I agree with Stephenson that one can learn from being around stylish people. The best inspiration comes from other people – in our lives, work, community, and on the street.

Because I live in a place void of stylish people, I often wonder how I might be challenged and inspired if I were surrounded by other fashionables who stay on top of their game. What am I missing?

As it is, I dress for myself by myself with ideas that come from media like magazines, television, and old movies. Also, travel! I love to get AWAY and see how other people do it. I was greatly influenced by my trip to South Korea last year. The UK is also another place I like to visit and see what’s going on in fashion. After my trip in 2016 I came home and made a cape, which was inspired by Cordings in London.

(Interestingly, there are other cities that I noticed have no style – Portland, Seattle, Chicago, and Philadelphia).

This year I’m off to Brooklyn New York, where I’m sure to find lots of inspiration.

Let’s see what I come away with.

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Image: Legion of Honor.

On now at the Legion of Honor in San Francisco is James Tissot: Fashion & Faith, an exhibition of the French artist’s works from the mid-1800s.

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Detail of The Artists’ Wives, 1885.

James Tissot (1836-1902) is known for his depiction of modern society in France and England. He captured moments of time of everyday society life with such vivid detail that it’s as if the viewer might be able to walk right into the scene.

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Too Early, 1873. Image: Legion of Honor.

Featured in this exhibition are approximately 60 works including portraits and illustrations. From a fashion perspective Tissot is a visual treat of color, pattern, and style. The ladies and the gentlemen in his pieces are fully fashioned with each ruffle and drape, every layer and wrinkle documented so precisely one just wants to stand and stare.

 

Friends with the artist Edgar Degas, Tissot declined an invitation to exhibit with the Impressionists and instead moved to London where he began a relationship with his muse and model Kathleen Newton. Tissot returned to Paris 10 years later after Newton’s death of consumption.

At this point he was captivated by the popular spiritualism movement and his work took a turn toward his Catholic faith, as he focused on stories in the Old Testament. His approach to the stories were unique at the time –  for example in What Our Lord Saw from the Cross (1894) shows the crucifixion from the perspective of Jesus on the cross.

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James Tissot self portrait, 1865. Image: Legion of Honor.

 

A unique talent in his era but little known today, Tissot is a worthwhile discovery particularly for those of us who enjoy fashion history.

James Tissot: Fashion & Faith is on at the Legion of Honor through February 9, 2020.

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Halo headpiece by Jennifer Behr. Photo from the book, Brooklyn Street style: The No- Rules Guide to Fashion.

You have to be a bit brave to put something on your head. It’s something unexpected, a mark of individuality. It sets you apart from the average woman on the street. 

Jennifer Behr, Brooklyn-Based headpiece designer. 

A hat, a scarf, a flower, a bejeweled headpiece … anything atop the head is indeed something different. I agree that you have to be up for donning anything that is unusual. Hats, maybe not so much unless it’s a really dramatic hat. But a headpiece is unusual and will for sure provoke a few stares and comments.

To get ready for a visit to Brooklyn, NY I read Brooklyn Street Style by Anya Sacharow and Shawn Dahl. This is a fun book about the changing and diverse styles of  modern Brooklyn. Certainly nothing like corporate high fashion New York City, Brooklyn is a city of individuals.

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