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Archive for the ‘Arts’ Category

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Hanbok, reproduced from an 18th century painting.

Three years in the making, Couture Korea is the first major exhibition of Korean fashion in the United States and exclusive to San Francisco’s Asian Art Museum. On now through February 4, 2018 this fashion exhibit explores traditional Korean clothing from the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910) to the present. Included are reproductions and reinterpretations of traditional clothing as well as original modern works by top Korean designers.

The 120-piece exhibit covers three galleries starting with a look at tradition. What is Hanbok is the first gallery where we learn that hanbok is traditional clothing for men and women during the Joseon Dynasty, when modesty was the fashion of the day. For women the look was a high full skirt called a chima, paired with a longer blouse called jeogori, which would fit loose or tight. (The originators of layering.) Men sported a loose top, pants and a robe. Fabrics such as silk organza were used.

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Jin Teok’s reinterpreted  bridal robe.

Between East and West comes next and features designs by Jin Teok, including a video of a recent fashion show and a reinterpreted hwarot (bridal robe) combining  embroidered silk fabric with denim. Also in this gallery are pieces by Chanel’s Karl Lagerfeld from his Korean inspired 2016 Cruise collection, which premiered in Seoul.

My favorite is the third and final gallery. From Seoul to San Francisco is all about modern Korean fashion. Featured are two trendsetting designers Im Seonoc and Jung Misun. Each woman is inspired by traditional Korean clothing but with an understanding of modern needs and desires.

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A new twist on tradition by Jung Misun.

A video interview with the two explains their different approaches. Jung Misun says that while she’s inspired by traditional silhouettes, the fabrics are too delicate and she finds that modern women want more comfort and ease. “If someone were to ask me to wear hanbok and I were to think of an uncomfortable aspect of it – it would be the fabric … Therefore I replaced the delicate fabrics of hanbok with everyday fabrics, such as knits and wool.”

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South Korean fashion designer Im Seonoc.

Im Seonoc is a sustainable designer dedicated to zero waste in her clothing production. She uses only neoprene (usually used for wetsuits), which creates a nice clear cut. Any leftover scraps are incorporated elsewhere in her designs. Instead of stitching she glues or uses high-pressure bonding for seams. Speaking with Ms. Seonoc, she told me she’s created her own neoprene – something lighter and even easier to work with.

There is something completely unique about Korean style. Simple, elegant, refined and hard to capture, which makes it ultra chic. Couture Korea offers a rare opportunity to learn about traditional and modern Korean fashions and how they connect.

It’s a must-see! I also recommend an upcoming panel of fashionables on November 19th, 1-2:30. Moderated by the San Francisco Chronicle style reporter, Tony Bravo the panel will include fashion trendsetters and designers discussing what inspires them. This panel is part of K-Fashion Bash – a day of events celebrating Korean pop culture.

What fun!

Click here for more information. 

 

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Jin Teok with her daughter Ro Sungun at the Asian Art Museum.

American fashion is very artistic and at the same time very wearable and good for the market, as well as the look. 

Jin Teok, South Korean fashion designer.

I had the pleasure of meeting Ms. Teok and her daughter at the press preview of Couture Korea, the new exhibit on now at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco. Her fashions are included in this exhibit of modern and re-imaginings of traditional Korean clothing. I asked Ms. Teok her impression of American fashion.

Known for her reconstruction of the classic white shirt, Ms. Teok has been designing for over fifty years. She was the only Korean designer to be included among the top 500 world fashion icons in the UK publication, The Fashion Book (Phaidon, 1998).

Watch for more about Jin Teok and my review of Couture Korea coming out later this week on OverDressedforLife.

 

 

 

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Andy Warhol Illustration for Harper’s Bazaar, July 1958.

When I used to do shoe drawings for the magazines, I would get a certain amount for each shoe, so then I would count up my shoes to figure out how much I was going to get. I lived by the number of shoe drawings – when I counted them I knew how much money I had. 

Andy Warhol, American Artist.

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Shoe and purse c. 1956.

Before Andrew Warhola became Andy Warhol, Pop Artist he was a commercial artist and advertising illustrator. In the 1950s he illustrated for fashion publications Glamour and Harper’s Bazaar. He created ads in newspapers for Neiman Marcus and I. Miller, among others.

I have a thing for illustration as an art form and I really like Warhol’s style. It helps that his subject was fashion and done in an artistic era that appeals to me. Beyond all that, I like his sense of whimsy and fun. His illustrations make me smile.

In my collection of fashion books is – Andy Warhol Fashion (Chronicle Books, 2004), which is a little volume of Warhol’s illustrations from the 1950s when he was working in NYC. Every so often I slip this book off the shelf and flip through over 250 images, some in color and some black and white. I pause on various pages to feast my eyes on kitten heels, jaunty hats, and attractive handbags.

It’s a little candy box of visual mid-century treats.

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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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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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The (tarnished) copper and terracotta tower of Bullocks Wilshire, meant to be seen far and wide.

Art of every kind has a double job to do. First, it must be pleasing in itself. Second, it must present a faithful picture of the times in which it was produced. Good art – the kind of art that lasts for ages – always does just this. It invariably mirrors life as it is being lived. Through the art that is being produced today, future generations will come to know us. 

Jock Peters (1889-1943), Danish born architect.

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I found this quote in Bullocks Wilshire, a book by Margaret Leslie Davis which tells the tale of the impressive Art Deco building built in 1929 to house the upscale department store Bullocks Wilshire (pictured above).

Mr. Peters was the interior designer for the building and I would say that he certainly created an environment that reflects the aesthetics and values of his time.

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Art Deco elevators doors on the first floor.

Located on Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles, the famous department store had to have been the most fabulous of shopping experiences back in the day. Five floors of impeccable Art Deco design with attention to detail using materials including marble, copper, brass, crystal, and all kinds of exquisite wood. Murals inside and out by artists of the day reflected the building’s overall theme of transportation and commerce.

There was the Tea Room, the Studio of Beauty, a lounge for the ladies and a smoking room for the gents. Each department had a different Art Deco clock. Hollywood costume designer Irene sold exclusively at Bullocks Wilshire in her own department. Clark Gable bought his riding gear in the Saddle Shop. Angela Landsbury worked at the cosmetics counter before her big break in the movies.

Over the years, the building’s interior changed as styles changed. Things were covered up and painted over. Bullocks, Inc. which owned and operated several stores, merged with San Francisco’s I. Magnin in 1944. Many years later Federated Department Stores took over and then, sadly, in 1993 Bullocks Wilshire closed thanks in part to shifts in the immediate neighborhood and a decline in retail sales. The building remained unoccupied until Southwestern Law School purchased it in 1994 and immediately started a complete renovation.

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One of the many Bullocks Wilshire clocks.

On a recent visit to Los Angeles I was lucky enough to take a tour and I tip my hat to Southwestern Law School for their dedication to and appreciation of the beauty and integrity of this amazing historical structure.

 

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That’s me! In the Louis XVI Room,  which was designed to feel like Marie Antoinette’s boudoir.  This was one of two “period” rooms where ladies sat comfortably while mannequins modeled the latest fashions. There were no racks of clothing back then. Perish the thought!

Have I piqued your interest? Would you like to take a look-see yourself?  The building is not open to the public on a daily basis but twice a year in the summer there are tours. Click here for details. 

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