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Archive for the ‘Arts’ Category

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Colleen Atwood accepting her Oscar for Best Costumes, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. The ampersand pin she’s sporting is in support of  GLAAD – Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation. 

I was in a panic because I knew it was a massive project and there’s not that much stock actually left from this period, so the first thing I did was go to every costume house in the world and pull the stock that we’re working with, with the help of some assistants. I started in L.A., because they have a lot of that stock between all the different costume houses there and also I felt that America embraced the 1920s in a bigger way than Europe, in a fashion sense. I wanted it to have a real American feel to it.

– Colleen Atwood, American costume designer

 

 

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Some costumes were built for the film including Eddie Redmayne’s peacock blue coat.

Ms. Atwood is speaking about her work on the film Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (set in 1920s NYC), for which she just won the 2017 Oscar for Best Costumes.

A seasoned professional, Ms. Atwood has won now four Oscars, including for Chicago 2003 and Memoirs of a Geisha in 2006.

In an interview with online publication Pottermore, Ms. Atwood says she’s not a seamstress and she doesn’t have the time sketch every costume. As the designer she does the concept work and gives notes to her sketch artist. She’s known for always being on set and for having an keen eye for detail. No wonder she’s a Oscar winner!

Congratulations to Colleen Atwood and to all the 2017 Oscar winners.

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In 1990 Jeremy Irons won an Oscar for Best Actor, Reversal of Fortune.

I can make up excuses for why I wore sneakers to the Oscars. They weren’t actually trainers; they were a little smarter than deck shoes and had a thin sole. They were black and white, which is what I was wearing on the rest of my body. There’s a nice feeling of keeping your feet on the ground when wearing shoes with no heel, which maybe is an important thing to do on Oscar night.

– Jeremy Irons, British actor.

The 89th Academy Awards is coming up on Sunday, February 26th.

 

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Stylist Tyese Cooper from Project Intermission.

When my fashion friend Tyese Cooper announced last summer that she was moving to Paris I was super excited for her. Then I found out what she was going to do and I was super impressed.

In December 2016 Tyese launched Project Intermission. Hey, what’s that?

Project Intermission is a Fashion Experience.

Read on:

Using her skills and talent as a stylist, Tyese consults with visitors to Paris who want to step-up their look or want to incorporate something different to their current style. It starts with a coaching session at a neighborhood cafe where discussions are about clothing and style, art, and the influence of French culture. Then it’s off to a gallery or a long walk – some space and a little time to open the mind and get inspired by the art, architecture, streets, and people of Paris.

Next, Tyese introduces her client to exclusive independent Parisian designers. In these ateliers (not boutiques but working studios) you get to meet the designers, see first hand how fashions are put together, and order a bespoke piece of clothing. Tyese says, “It’s special because once you have an insiders view of the ‘how’ of fashion, feel natural textiles, and customize what you want from each designer, you wont ever want to let it go to the landfill.”

(A key aspect to these designers handpicked by Tyese is that each one is committed to ethical and sustainable fashion, something that is important to her and a current movement in France.)

I think this is such a unique idea. Anyone can pick up a whatever from a corporate- branded boutique but Project Intermission offers a deeper fashion experience. It’s a chance to make a connection with French designers and French culture. In the end you have a story to tell and something special to add to your wardrobe.

Click here to find out more about Tyese and Project Intermission.

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Edith Head design for Grace Kelly in the 1954 film Rear Window.

My favorite era in Hollywood costume design was the 1930s with Dietrich and Lombard and their glamour. But the films of the 1950s came about as close to that kind of glamour as Hollywood will ever see again. The films of the decade did not have the look of the 1930s, where everybody was rich and totally unrealistic, but they offered an opportunity to show different levels of society as well as different values.

Edith Head (1897-1981), Hollywood film costume designer.

Speaking of Hollywood and costume designers, the Academy Award nominees have been announced. Up for best costumes are:

Colleen Atwood – Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them

Consolata Boyle – Florence Foster Jenkins

Madeline Fontaine –  Jackie

Joanna Johnston – Allied

Mary Zophres – La La Land

 

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The London shop Christopher St. James offers an array of Lea Stein pieces.

Each visit to London I look forward to finding a Lea Stein brooch to add to my collection. I first discovered the whimsical works of Ms. Stein back in 2003 in a stall at the weekly Antique Market in Covent Garden. I’m drawn to her pieces for their multi-dimensional quality, unusual textures and … her images make me smile.

It used to be that these brooches were impossible to find in the US, however, Etsy has changed that. But for me part of the fun is searching out just the right one at markets and it’s become part of my UK travel tradition.

Although there’s a bit of mystery surrounding Ms. Stein, we know that she is a French artist who in the 1960s, with her husband, came up with a way to layer and laminate thin sheets of plastic. This layering technique allows Ms. Stein to create texture by adding pieces of material, such as lace or metal, in between the layers. After cooling, the plastic is cut into all kinds of shapes from Art Deco women in hats (an early design) to owls, cats, and dogs. Animals seemed to be favored and today they are among the most collectible.

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My small but growing collection. The cat on the left is the latest find. The pink bar in the middle is vintage and may be the most valuable. It came from a thrift store in Walnut Creek years ago.

My latest addition is a cat, which came from (ironically) an expat American dealer and his wife at the Bermondsey Antique Market. The couple told me they think this one is vintage 1980s but since Ms. Stein continues to produce older images (as well as new ones) it’s really hard to date her work. Many people say you just know from experience. I do think the cat isn’t brand new as the clasp isn’t stiff and it doesn’t have that shinny never-been-touched look.

No matter to me if it’s vintage or not. Any Lea Stein critter is a pleasure to have and to wear.

 

 

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Women’s March in Downtown Walnut Creek, CA

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Carrie says My Body My Business.

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Diana warns us.

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img_20161202_152514659Who doesn’t love a hoodie? They are warm and cozy and can (depending on the details and fabric) offer a modern, sharp look to any outfit. What I like is to sport a standard gray Champion hoodie with a skirt for an unexpected look. Sometimes I pin a large vintage rhinestone brooch on the shoulder for a touch of bling.

Part of the presentation assignment in Icons of the 20th Century, the CCSF class that I took last fall, was to design or style a look inspired by our presentation topic. My final presentation was on the history of the hoodie.

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Hoodie by Alessandro Michele.

The design I created is a black hoodie embellished with safety pins. I was inspired initially by Alessandro Michele for Gucci, who this season showed embroidered hoodies both on the front and hood of the garment. Thinking about what kind of embellishment to use, I was further inspired by the hoodie’s darker history and I decided to make the embellishment a statement using safety pins. After the election of Donald Trump, many people have taken to wearing safety pins as a sign of support for immigrants in this country who are now threatened with deportation by the Trump administration. (Wearing a single safety pin in support of immigrants started in the UK after the passing of Brexit in June of last year.) As a nod to Gucci styling I went beyond the single safety pin and used many.

img_20161202_143316125Of the four inspired designs I created for class, this is my favorite. I really enjoyed pondering how to embellish the hoodie and then when I came up with the safety pin idea, the fun part was the actual pinning. It was creative, it felt inspired, and I was proud of what I’d done.

I can’t think of a better learning experience.

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