Archive for October, 2022

I’ll stop wearing black when they make a darker color.

Wednesday Addams, fictional character from The Addams Family.

Happy Spooks Day!!

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One stormy night, 87 year-old Nancy Drew found herself exploring the back roads of Farrington, PA in her sky blue roadster.

Nancy tossed back her blonde curls while pondering her blessed life and remarkable stamina after more than sixty years of solving crimes.

“I owe it all to my readers,” she thought. “They’ve kept me young and alive all these years.

Suddenly, out from the depths of obscurity came a figure standing right in the middle of the road. Nancy couldn’t make out the form in the dark and wet conditions. She screeched the roadster to a halt. Grabbing a flashlight from the glovebox, Nancy wasted no time hopping out of the car to investigate.

“I’ve been waiting for you,” came a sinister voice from the tall figure draped in a black cape.

“Are you a poor, helpless person in need of my selfless assistance?” Nancy asked.

“No, Nancy Drew,” the voice barked. “I am the victim of your perfection, slick style, and syndicated values. I am Judy Bolton and your time, Nancy Drew, has finally come.

I wrote this! In graduate school I studied children’s literature while pursuing an MFA in creative writing at Mills College. One semester I wrote a research paper titled Nancy Drew and Judy Bolton: Rival Girl Detectives of the 1930s. I wanted a fun way to start the paper so I came up with this exchange for my cover page.

The Nancy Drew series was created in1930 by syndicate publisher Edward Stratemeyer and written by Mildred Wirt under the pseudonym Carolyn Keene. Two years later the Judy Bolton series was published. (Created and written by Margaret Sutton.) What’s interesting about Judy is she ages over time and even gets married halfway through the 38-book series. Nancy stays forever a teenager.

My Nancy Drew costume. The dress is vintage 1960s from Bonwit Teller in NYC. (A classic silhouette works across the eras.) The hat is a vintage 20s cloche. The book is Nancy’s first – The Secret of the Old Clock.

Nancy crosses my mind every Halloween, probably because one year I dressed up as the girl detective. I wore a simple A-line dress in navy blue with red insets and a blue cloche hat, which is really a 1920s style, but she wears a cloche on the cover of her first book.

Nancy’s appealing fashions were depicted in the books with illustrations by Russel H. Tandy. In my paper I said that Tandy created for Nancy “sleek, simple, but elegant fashions.” Judy was no fashion slouch either, always well dressed in styles of the day.

This year will find me at home wearing a spooky jack-o-lantern black T-shirt and settled in for night of creepy old movies – like House of Wax with Vincent Price. How about you, readers? What are you up to this Halloween?

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The classic suit. Moschino, fall 2022.

I really like the suit. I like that it takes time to make, that you don’t need to buy many, and that when you find a good one, it becomes your safe space.

Peter Do – Vietnamese American fashion designer.

Suits are a trend this season for women. I agree with Mr. Do. A suit is a staple in anyone’s wardrobe. It does all the heavy lifting and not only does it look polished and professional, it gives the wearer an extra boost of confidence.

I particularly like his last line – “it becomes your safe space.” What a nice way of putting it. Indeed, a suit can be our sartorial comfort zone.

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Museum of the African Diaspora (MoAD) in San Francisco is celebrating its 17th anniversary with their latest exhibition, The New Black Vanguard: Photography Between Art and Fashion, on now through March 5, 2023.

Photo: Raquel Adrienne. Courtesy of Aperture.

The New Black Vanguard features 15 Black fashion photographers who create images that step outside traditional fashion expectations and provide a space for the Black aesthetic. MoAD Executive Director Monetta White says: The works in this exhibit signal a dramatic and long overdue transformation taking place in fashion and art today, one driven by the bold vision of a breakout group of Black creatives who are stewarding the representation of the Black figure in the marketplace.

Photo: Daniel Obasi. Courtesy of Aperture.

The fifteen esteemed photographers are: Campbell Addy, Arielle Bobb-Willis, Micaiah Carter, Awol Erizku, Nadine Ijewere, Quil Lemons, Namsa Leuba, Renell Medrano, Tyler Mitchell, Jamal Nxedlana, Daniel Obasi, Ruth Ossai, Adrienne Raquel, Dana Scruggs, and Stephen Tayo. These young artists are from places such as New York, Atlanta, London, and Johannesburg. Their work includes photoshoots for Vogue and Allure magazines as well as ad campaigns for the likes of Dior, Stella McCartney, and Marc Jacobs.

The exhibition of 100 photographs and several publications is arranged in two galleries. In a third gallery visitors can view videos of various ad campaigns created by the artists.

Photo: Jamal Nxedlara. Courtesy of Aperture.

I found the images to be striking for the composition, the styling, and the use of bright colors. They definitely occupy a unique space between art and fashion. I was particularly taken with the photograph above by Jamal Nxedlara, South African image maker and founder of the fashion label Missshape. The more I look at it the more I fall into it. I’m drawn to the color combinations and the sculptured hair echoed in the large earrings. I love details such as the texture in the jacket and the shadow of one earring on the model’s neck. It’s beautiful!

Photo: Ruth Ossai. Courtesy of Aperture.

San Francisco is the only West Coast stop for this traveling exhibit created by New York critic/curator Antwaun Sargent and Aperture magazine. Photographers, photo enthusiasts, and fashion followers will find much to learn and admire at The New Black Vanguard: Photography Between Art and Fashion.

MoAD is located at 685 Mission Street @ 3rd in SF. Hours are Wednesday-Saturday, 11-6, Sunday, 12-5.

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Photo by Campbell Addy, Adut Akech, 2019, from the New Black Vanguard (Aperture, 2019)

Fashion has always been a barometer for measuring privilege, power, class, and freedom. To play with fashion is to play with one’s representation in the world.

Campbell Addy – British fashion photographer.

Mr. Addy is one of fifteen Black fashion photographers featured in The New Black Vanguard: Photography Between Art and Fashion, on now at Museum of the African Diaspora in San Francisco.

A graduate from Central Saint Martins in London, Mr. Addy studied Fashion Communications. Since then he has worked to give a voice and presence to overlooked youth cultures through photography.

Come back tomorrow for more on The New Black Vanguard.

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Hair von Katja Spitzer

Did you know that out of 100 people, only two or three are natural redheads? In Scotland and Ireland one out of ten people is a redhead. Go redheads!

There are more hair facts to read in Katja Spizter’s new illustrated book, Hair: From Moptops to Mohicans, Afros to Cornrows (Prestel Press). Hair is complicated, but Ms. Spitzer has approached the subject head on (pun intended), briefly covering the history of hair and hairstyles from various cultures. The text is straight forward, aimed at young readers 5-7. The fun and color-saturated illustrations are appealing to all ages.

Ms. Spitzer is a Berlin based freelance illustrator. She’s won many awards and has exhibited her artwork in Germany and the UK.

I truly enjoyed this book for the information, the illustrations, and the celebration of all hairstyles from braids to beards. I think kids will love Ms. Spitzer’s Hair and perhaps find a style in her illustrations that they want to sport themselves.

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Illustration by Katja Spitzer from Hair: From Moptops to Mohicans, Afros to Cornrows. Prestel Press

Even though Native North American tribes had been using the Mohican for over 2,000 years, most people in 1970s London had never seen a hairstyle like this. That’s why the punks, with their heads shaves except for a narrow strip of hair from the forehead to the nape of the neck, shocked so many older Londoners at that time. Their crazy hairstyles, holey T-shirts, studded leather jackets and jewelry made from safety pins became a style that still influences fashion, art, and music to this day.

From Hair: From Moptops to Mohicans, Afros to Cornrows, by Katja Spitzer.

Come back to ODFL tomorrow for my review of this clever children’s book all about hair.

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