Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Arts’ Category

IMG_20180325_113517751_HDRPeople laugh at fashion. ‘It’s just clothes,’ they say. Right. Just clothes. Except, not one of the people I’ve heard mock fashion was naked at the time. They all got dressed in the morning, picking clothes that said, ‘Hey, I’m a successful banker.’ Or, ‘I’m a tired teacher’ … a decorated soldier … a pompous judge … a cheeky barmaid … a lorry driver, a nurse … You could go on for ever. Clothes show you who you are, or who you want to be. 

Ella, 14 year-old character in the Young Adult novel, The Red Ribbon by Lucy Adlington.

The Red Ribbon tells the story of Ella, who as a prisoner of “Birchwood”  (a WWII concentration camp in Poland) struggles to keep hold of her dreams to become a dress designer. With her advanced skills as a seamstress she works in the camp’s sewing workshop where young women make clothing for the wives of Birchwood officials.

I heard an interview with author and costume historian Lucy Adlington on BBC Radio 4 Woman’s Hour. Promoting the book she talked about her research and the facts behind slave labor in the camps, including the making of beautiful clothing. Ms. Adlington based her novel on the true story of the Upper Tailoring Studio at Auschwitz, which was put in place by the Commandant’s wife, Hedwig Hoss. She had skilled women prisoners recruited  to make bespoke clothing for her, other officials’ wives, and female guards. Eventually there were 23 seamstresses working in the Upper Tailoring Studio, one of the better jobs to have in such a place.

This is a very interesting piece of fashion history woven into a well crafted novel of horror and hope. Although at times it’s shocking and upsetting, I highly recommend it for just that kind of truth.

I have also read Ms. Adlington’s non-fiction fashion history book, Stitches in Time: The Story of the Clothes We Wear (Random House UK, 2015). Another excellent read for those who love all things fashion history.

Check out her web-page: http://www.historywardrobe.com/index.html

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

IMG_20180328_112055

Easter Egg pendants by Faberge. Note the bunny in the middle. Image from The Art of Faberge by Alexander von Solodkoff.

Holiday jewelry can be fun, although, it has to be understated to be chic. I don’t really go for Christmas baubles but I do like to sport a collection of antique heart charms in February and this time of year I pull out my gold-filled Easter bunny pendant, which is a Faberge copy.

Carl Faberge was the jeweler to the Russian Tsars in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Known for exquisite quality, he favored enamel and opaque stones like jade and coral. His subjects were also unique –  flowers, animals, and eggs.

Russian royalty liked to give each other gifts at Easter. In 1885 Alexander III asked Faberge to make an egg as a special Easter gift to his wife. The very first egg was simple in white enamel with a surprise gold hen inside. A big hit, the Faberge Easter Egg gift became a tradition and carried on by Alexander’s son, Nicholas II. Over time the eggs became more and more elaborate.

 

IMG_20180328_121658

The first Faberge Easter Egg, 1885.

As well as the large eggs, miniature egg pendants were also created by Faberge and many other jewelers at the time. The pendants were popular small Easter gifts to distant family members and important friends.

IMG_20180328_112624My little bunny is a copy by the Museum of Modern Art for their 1996 Faberge in America exhibition. That exhibit came to the de Young (the old building) and my mother and I attended. I couldn’t resist this charming Easter bunny. I think he’s a quiet adornment to celebrate all that is new and fresh in spring.

(On a side note, click here to read a rather disdainful review of Faberge in America by Kenneth Baker for the San Francisco Chronicle.)

Wishing all OverDressedforLife readers a very Happy Easter. 

Read Full Post »

IMG_20180320_142326 (1)I always need a hat. Whether I’m traveling, drawing, or going out to a show, whether I’m keeping the sun out of my eyes or the rain off my head, I have a hat for each occasion.

Paul Madonna- artist and writer, creator of the comic strip All Over Coffee, which ran in the SF Chronicle for 12 years.

A fella after my own heart. I also always have a hat. In fact I often will pack with me an extra hat or two for a change in weather. Or if I’m going to be out all day and into the evening, I must have a hat suitable for nighttime.

Straw hats, felt hats, wool berets, modern and vintage … I love them all for that added bit of style.

Now that spring is here and Easter is fast approaching, time for a new hat?

How about a Paul Madonna for Goorin? Mr. Madonna has collaborated with the local hatter to make a series of hats with original SF skyline illustrations. What a fabulous idea to have the inside lining illustrated, while the outside of the hat is, “… understated but fashionable,” says Mr. Madonna.

Keep the lining a secret or tip your hat and start a conversation.

Click here for more information.

Read Full Post »

IMG_20180306_215609

Superstar Collection by Yuka Uehara for Tokyo Gamine

The private room was packed when I arrived last Tuesday evening at Dirty Habit Cocktail Bar in San Francisco for the launch of fashion designer Yuka Uehara’s latest collection. The crowd included guests invited by SFLUXE Damion Matthews and Nob Hill Gazette editor, Erin Carlson, as well as friends of the designer and friends of the performers.

Performers? Well yes, we were promised a “performance” and that was the talk of the evening. Under a cloak of mystery, there was quite a bit of chattering speculation:

I think there’s dancing …  I heard there’s a singer … What about the clothes? 

Ms. Uehara found her way to fashion after leaving medical school and working with her father in film. Originally from Japan, she now makes San Francisco her home where she’s found a fan base for her wearable art clothing and has developed a reputation for unusual fashion shows.

IMG_20180306_194449 (1)

Simone Vianna

Interior designer Simone Vianna drove from her home in Sacramento to attend the launch and honored the evening by wearing a vintage kimono from her collection.

“My friend is performing tonight,” said Jessie Boote, who was wearing a fabulous cut velvet kimono under an equally fabulous vintage coat.

IMG_20180306_194235

Devlin Shand and Yuka Uehara

After about an hour it was finally showtime, which started with three ballet dancers in white over-sized shirts embellished with hand painted silk fabric. The short dance routine lead to disembodied singing and … a gasp of delight as doors flung open to reveal local photographer and singer Devlin Shand belting out a ballad by The Carpenters, I Need to Be in Love. He effortlessly donned a long halter gown with applied strips of silk and a fierce pair of stilettos that captivated many an eye, “Do you see those shoes?” someone whispered.

IMG_20180306_182225692

Jessie Boote

When Mr. Shand broke into another Carpenters 1970s hit Close to You, a guy standing behind me expressed a little puzzlement as to what his reaction should be to the unusual choice of retro tunes. He soon gave up and started singing along to the third Carpenters song,  Superstar. A dapper fellow standing next to me in a burgundy velvet suit joined in and so did I. What the heck, we knew the lyrics!

Turns out the the name of Ms. Uehara’s new collection is Superstar. I asked her what was the inspiration and she was right on top of her answer, “My family and friends, always.”

Five models closed the show strutting the runway in the Superstar collection: white shirts with silk fabric embellishments, palazzo pants, and hand painted leather jackets. The small selection is a standout for it’s creativity and quality.

Congratulations to Yuka Uehara!

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

debra-photoThe costume designer dresses somebody from the inside out. We care about what kind of underwear they’re wearing. It’s really important when you’re dressing somebody for a film to kind of think about what they’re wearing after they take their shower; what’s the process; what goes on underneath; what makes sense. And it’s a real internal process. The process of fashion is completely external. It’s disposable. It’s changeable. 

Debra McGuire, Hollywood costume designer.

Ms. McGuire is the go-to costume designer for television. Most recently she has designed for Fresh off the Boat, New Girl, and Speechless. From 1994-2004 her main designing gig was Friends.  She has worked on many a film as well. including Knocked Up and Righteous Kill.

 

Read Full Post »

downloadThe reason that I am a costume designer is because it is everything that I am interested in, and did on my own as a kid, all put into one job. There’s the drawing and painting of sketches. There’s the fascination with the history of clothes. I was always into fabrics. Costume design is giving an external look to a character. It gives an indication of things unsaid. 

Mark Bridges, American costume designer.

Congratulations to Mr. Bridges for his Oscar win last night – Best Costume Design, Phantom Thread.

 

Read Full Post »

BirthdayParty4-e1516660410786-800x450

Scott Wentworth as Mr. Goldberg and Judith Ivey as Peg in ACT production of The Birthday Party.

“… you like my dress, Mr. Goldberg?”  and he says, “It’s out on its own.”

Mr. Goldberg, fictional character in Harold Pinter’s play The Birthday Party, first produced in London in 1958.

That line got a laugh on the night I attended the recent ACT production of The Birthday Party, as much for the way it was delivered as for anything else. But the dress itself should have caused at least a chuckle.

Peg, the character that dons this dress, is middle-aged and a bit “daft” as the Brits would say. When she comes down the stairs in her “party dress” there should be some awkward humor in the air as she comments that her father gave her the dress. I’m thinking her father bought this dress A LONG time ago, when Peg was a teenager. The play’s setting is the late 1950s, so he bought the dress in the late 1920s. Well then, that dress would be kind of old – right? Out of style for sure and too youthful. It all should be slightly uncomfortable and absurd (it’s Pinter!) as a women of a certain age prances around attired in an old dress meant for a girl. Hence Goldberg’s response – It’s out on its own.

Although the dress chosen for Peg in the ACT production is bit low cut with a loud print, it’s otherwise not so outlandish. It’s of the era (a mistake) and looks rather nice on Peg. Particularly from a distance, which is the perspective of the audience. I suppose the dress is a minor detail in the overall production, but it was a glaring misstep to me.

All that aside, I love this statement and I think we should add it to our fashion lexicon.

Oh wow! That dress! It’s out on its own!

 

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »