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Archive for the ‘Arts’ Category

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Toni Morrison chose to wear Kiss of the Wolf to accept the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Obama in 2012. 

You are your own stories … The theme you choose may change or simply elude you but being your own story means you can always choose the tone. It also means that you can invent the language to say who you are and what you mean.

Toni Morrison (1931-2019), American writer, Nobel prize winner for literature, Pulitzer prize winner for fiction.

This quote is from Ms. Morrison’s 2004 commencement speech at Wellesley College and can be applied to so many aspects of life, including personal style.

Toni Morrison, who died last week, carried herself with graceful intent. Her talent and wisdom will continue to uplift us for generations to come.

RIP.

 

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August is almost here and that means not long off is back to school, back to work, and a new season of fashions. Oh, and did someone say Christmas in July? How about The Holidays in August?

To get a head start on it all, my favorite outing is the American Craft Council Show at Fort Mason Center, August 2-4, 2019. This is our chance to check out high-end handmade items such as furniture, home décor, fashions, and jewelry. Think new for fall, think gifts, think one-of-a-kind.

The American Craft Council Show is the largest juried show west of the Rockies and one of a handful of shows across the country that highlight the best of the best in handcrafted works of art. Over 250 American artists gather at Fort Mason to display and sell their unique wares.

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Laura Tanzer. Photo courtesy of ACC.

Among the array of new fashion designers this year is award winning Laura Tanzer from Tuscon, AZ. Laura designs simple silhouettes in natural fibers. She offers jackets, vests, tops and bottoms all USA made. With a commitment to sustainability, accessories such as scarves and handbags are made from remnant material. Check her out at booth #518.

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Bela Monde. Photo courtesy of ACC.

Bela Monde by Lisa Limer is a lounge-wear line from Providence, RI. As a contributing photographer for Conde Nast, Lisa has traveled the world. It’s while experiencing new cultures that she gets inspiration for her designs. Made in USA from silk, each piece screams luxury. See for yourself at booth #303.

 

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Nettle. Photo courtesy of ACC.

The local San Francisco line Nettle combines a little femininity with urban edge. Designers Alex Lunt and Lili Pham are committed to sustainable small batch collections, which means you won’t see yourself coming and going. I see some Asian influence in the unstructured silhouettes. Stop by  booth #614-2

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MakeShift. Photo courtesy of ACC.

MakeShift Accessories  is Devin Johnson from Northfield, MN. Devin takes found metal objects and recycles them into new pieces such as money clips and bracelets. Find Devin in booth #420.

 

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MoMurray. Photo courtesy of ACC.

Totes! Wallets! Pouches! Oakland resident Morgan Abbott from MoMurray makes them all from waxed canvas on a old industrial sewing machine. With added pockets and details like copper rivets and top-stitching, these bags are practical and stylish. Find MoMurray at booth #812.

 

 

These are just some of the impressive artisans featured at the ACC show. Additionally there will be events such as food and wine tasting, crafting with local artisans, and more.

The American Craft Council Show is at The Fort Mason Center, Festival Pavilion, Marina Boulevard at Buchanan Street, San Francisco. $14 one-day pass. Children 12 and under are free. Become a member of the American Craft Council and receive entry to ALL THREE days of the American Craft Council Show in San Francisco and a one-year subscription to American Craft magazine.

This is a summer event not to be missed!

 

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Photo: Julia Johnson.

I’m always photographing people, I always observe people when I’m traveling. Just looking at what a person has on is like looking at a piece of art to me. My parents are from the South, so I come from texture. I come from velvet at Christmas, seersucker and patent shoes at Easter, suede shoes in the fall. 

Michelle Cole, Emmy-nominated costume designer. Currently she is the CD for the ABC television sitcom, Black-ish.

I want to hang out wherever Ms. Cole does! Where is she seeing these “piece of art” people?

This quote is from a Q&A with Ms. Cole from The Costume Designer: The Official Magazine of the Costume Designers Guild. The focus of the interview was contemporary costuming for television.

 

 

 

 

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Costume designer Ellen Mirojnick and Glenn Close at the CDG awards ceremony. Photo: The Costume Designers Guild. 

From the muslin prototype to the finished masterpiece, stitch by stitch, thought by thought, revelation by revelation. My characters would finally emerge. 

Glenn Close, American film and stage actress.

Ms. Close was recently honored by the Costumer Designers Guild with the Spotlight Award.

This quote is from The Costume Designer, the official magazine of the Costumer Designers Guild.

It’s nice to see appreciation for costumers. Once, way back when I did costumes for community theater, a director said to me, “I don’t care if the actors go on stage naked.” That’s how little regard he had for the costumes in his show, which was always a puzzle to me. Really? Because the costumes set a visual tone not to mention help to create the characters. Oh well, at least his disinterest allowed me a lot of freedom and there was no pushback. No appreciation but no criticism. It could have been worse.

Congratulations to Glenn Close and all the winners of the CDGA.

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Gloria Vanderbilt and her jeans, mid-1970s. 

All art, from the paintings on the walls of cave dwellers to art created today, is autobiographical because it comes from the secret place in the soul where imagination resides. 

Gloria Vanderbilt (1924-2019), American heiress, designer, author, artist.

The great-great-granddaughter of a railroad magnate, Gloria was an only child and very wealthy. Her father died when she was just a baby and her mother left her with nannies while she traveled the world spending her daughter’s money. Gloria’s aunt sued for custody and the press thrived on that for weeks, calling the 10-year old, “a poor little rich girl.” That attention sealed her fate as a non-Hollywood celebrity. After her aunt won custody of Gloria, the two lived together in a New York City mansion.

Fast forward to three marriages and many creative endeavors including model, artist, author, poet, and what she might be best known for –  fashion designer, specifically women’s jeans. In the 1970s a clothing manufacturer signed Gloria to market their jeans, which were specifically cut for women’s figures. Hers was the first “designer jean” complete with the Vanderbilt signature on the back rear pocket. The deal was a big success and grew into Gloria Vanderbilt Apparel Corporation, which was eventually sold to the Jones Apparel Group in 2002.

Any American woman alive in the 1970s probably sported a pair of Gloria Vanderbilt jeans.

RIP, Gloria.

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Cover image, EMMIE AND THE TUDOR KINGToday OverDressedforLife has a guest post by Natalie Murray, who has just published her first Young Adult novel Emmie and the Tudor King.

Natalie is sharing with us the continuing influence of Tutor fashion.

Here’s Natalie …

Fashion isn’t typically a first thought when someone mentions the Tudors. Beheadings or high treason, anyone? However, the sixteenth-century Tudor court was not just a place where the king or queen might make you a head shorter; it was an haute couture catwalk for the English upper classes, with many trends lingering today. Here are six Tudor staples influencing fashion in 2019, from volume dresses to boxy toes:

1. Bold is beautiful. Cashed-up ladies in Tudor England exhibited their status through elaborately embellished frocks with plenty of layers. While hidden fabrics were typically left plain to save money, any visible part of a bodice or skirt was usually made from expensive fabric and richly decorated with everything from jewels to ribbons, feathers and lace. This theatrical aesthetic has graced the 2019 collections of Marc Jacobs, Valentino, Chanel—and many more—with voluminous skirts, extravagant detailing, and layers of romantic ruffles.

 

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Puffy sleeves by Ronald van der Kemp, spring ’19. Photo: Allesandro Viero.

2. Statement sleeves. With arms always covered during the pious Tudor era, the rich and royal had fun with inventive sleeves that were slashed, puffed, tied, and even embroidered with secret messages. From Alexander McQueen to Balenciaga, Loewe to Rodarte, this year’s spring and fall catwalks presented dramatic feature sleeves including ruffled, trumpet, rounded, puffed, and decorated with fanciful motifs.

3. Pictures and patterns. Tudor nobles adorned themselves with illustrations of the natural world, hunting scenes, mythical creatures, food varieties, and even their own initials. Fashion in 2019 has embraced motifs—particularly florals—evident in the embroideries and prints used by Valentino, Chanel, Maison Margiela, Alexis Mabille, and more. Iconography in fashion is no more OTT now than it was four hundred years ago.

4. Ruff around the edges. Synonymous with the chicest women and men of Queen Elizabeth I’s court, the Elizabethan ruff is enjoying a renaissance. Sprouting from necklines across this season’s spring and fall catwalks, the likes of Chanel, Valentino, Givenchy, Giambattista Valli, Christian Dior, and Schiaparelli, are proving that the ruff still rules.

5. Beneath the hood. Married women covered much of their hair during the Tudor period, and King Henry VIII’s six wives can be expressed through a tale of hoods: Catherine of Aragon wore the English gable hood with its conservative triangular frame, Anne Boleyn preferred the more modern crescent-shaped French hood, and Jane Seymour reverted back to the English hood as a strategic shunning of Anne Boleyn’s image. Designers bringing back head coverings this year include Marc Jacobs, Rodarte, Armani Prive, and Christian Dior.

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Square toe is making a comeback in fall ’19. Roberto Cavalli. Photo: Filippo Fior.

6. Square steps. While there isn’t a great deal of evidence about Tudor footwear, it’s believed that both men and women of the earlier sixteenth century favored square-toe slippers cut low to the ankle. This look is seen cushioning the tootsies of King Henry VIII in his famous portrait by Hans Holbein. This year, we’re seeing a square-toe revival in the form of winter boots at Eckhaus Latta, high-heeled boots at Roberto Cavalli, and pumps at Erdem.

Thanks, Natalie and congratulations on the publication of your first YA novel. I love this Tudor influence. I am particularly looking forward to “pictures and patterns” in fall ’19. 

Readers, check out Emmie and the Tudor King, Literary Crush Publishing. Great summer reading. 

 

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Wearable Art by Kaisik Wong featuring metallic checkered fabric. Photo: Wong Family.

You need a certain confidence to carry off a major piece of clothing so that you are wearing it, instead of it wearing you. 

Melissa Leventon, curator, professor of fashion history, principal at Curatrix Group.

This quote is from an episode of the PBS show Craft in America, which features craft in California. Quite a bit of time is spent on wearable art and wearable artists based in California. Ms. Leventon spoke to this subject.

When any garment is its own thing, whether that be wearable art or a vintage piece, even something off the rack, it can be challenging to wear. What makes it its own thing might be a particular color, an unusual silhouette, or a funky fabric. I say, tailored clothing is hard work. A pencil skirt shortens your stride. A fitted jacket limits your arm mobility. How about stilettos? To pull those off you better step gracefully. Hats? I love them but often you can’t just plop on a hat and not expect to rise to the occasion. (If nothing else you’re going to have to respond to nice people commenting/complimenting you, so there’s no hiding beneath a hat.)

 

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Ensemble designed by Louise Brown. My mother pulled it off.

My mother has a dress and coat outfit that was designed by my grandmother back in the 1960s. Oh my gosh, I can only imagine what a task it is to wear that piece. For starters the dress is made of plaid wool and has 62 buttons. Small ones up the back and along the sleeves. It’s fitted and therefore, requires foundation garments. Then there’s the burnt orange wool coat, which is large and boxy and has no shape. The combination is actually quite fantastic, but you have to be up for it, or as Ms. Leventon says, it’s going to wear you.

Even just everyday items of clothing that are comfortable, still might require some energy. I was recently reading a middle-grade novel (The First Rule of Punk, by Celia Perez) in which the 12-year-old protagonist is the new girl in school. She’s into punk music (no one her age knows anything about punk) and all things edgy so she decides to show up for her first day dressed in ripped jeans, a t-shirt with something punk on it and … heavy black eyeliner circling her eyes. OK, we know where this is going. She was immediately labeled a “weirdo.” But she made those sartorial choices and she stood up in them with confidence, like any good heroine would.

When I don my vintage clothing, I know that part of the look is going to be me and my attitude. I have to stand a little straighter, move a little more precisely, wear my ensemble with intent and confidence. Otherwise, it’s not going to have the right effect and for sure it won’t feel right.

 

 

 

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