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Archive for the ‘Events’ Category

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… today most consumers fail to understand the human cost of manufacturing garments at such low prices. Living in a discount culture, TV shows continue to perpetuate this misnomer through their steal and deal segments. A majority of people see the rise of fast fashion giants, such a Zara and H&M, as a revolution in democratizing runway trends, but does the consumer stop to think or even care that their new Celine-like ensemble comes at the cost of a human life?

Ariele Chantel Elia – MSL candidate in Fashion Law at Fordham University, Industry/Project Coordinator for MFA Fashion Design program at Fashion Institute of Technology.

This quote of from Scholars’ Roundtable Presentation, 2018 Costume Society of America Symposium. Printed in Dress: The Journal of the Costume Society of America, v.44, #2, 2018. The title of the discussion was Engaging Labor, Acknowledging Maker.

Some consumers do care and are thinking about the cost of fast-fashion. This brings to mind Fashion Revolution Week, the annual event that seeks to highlight the people around the world who make our clothes. Who are they? What are their lives like?

Behind Fashion Revolution Week is the UK based non-profit organization Fashion Revolution. Their intent with the week is to remind consumers of the Rana Plaza factory collapse, in which 1138 workers died and many were injured. Also during this time people around the world are planning various events to highlight the true cost of fashion and inspire us to think and question.

One of the many campaigns for the week is #whomademyclothes? Sport a piece of clothing inside out so the label shows. Take a selfie holding a sign that says – Who Made My Clothes? Post on Instagram and Twitter with #whomademyclothes? Make sure to share with the brand you’re wearing.

This year Fashion Revolution Week is April 22nd – 28th. It’s a time to consider and ask questions about what we wear. Join in!

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I recently had the pleasure of joining the Textile Arts Council on a private docent-led tour of Kimono Refashioned, on now through May 5, 2019 at the San Francisco Asian Art Museum.

The Kimono has been  a part of my world since I was a little girl. My dad owned an antique men’s Kimono in silk and my mother has a collection of colorful cotton Kimono that she dons at home. One of my first sewing projects was a Kimono style robe. The word Kimono means “a thing to wear.” That is a casual definition for such an important garment that has crossed cultural barriers from traditional Japan to modern America.

Kimono Refashioned highlights the influence Japanese Kimono – in textiles, aesthetics, and design – has had on western fashion since the late 19th century. The exhibit is two galleries with over 35 garments from the Kyoto Costume Institute.

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 Kimono made into a Victorian dress, c.1875. 

Among the displayed garments is a Kimono deconstructed and remade into a Victorian dress (are we thinking appropriation?) and later examples of how Kimono influenced western silhouettes with designs by Paul Poiret, Coco Chanel, and Madeleine Vionnet, among others. Modern designers featured include Tom Ford, Rei Kawakubo, Sarah Burton, and Christian Louboutin.

Kimono Refashioned at the San Francisco Asian Art Museum. Don’t miss it!

PS – No photo-taking allowed in the exhibit.

 

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Nicole Kidman in The Destroyer.

We took so long to find the leather jacket that I wear in pretty much every frame of the film. I became so obsessed with that jacket, I would wear it at home. I put it on first thing in the morning. My kids visited the set and were shocked at the way I looked.  

Nicole Kidman, Australian born actress.

In an interview for W magazine (v.1 2019) Kidman was talking about the jacket she wore in her most recent film, The Destroyer, which was released in December 2018. Costumes by Audrey Fisher.

I see how an article of clothing can help actors find their characters: Hercule Poirot’s spats; Holly Golightly’s little black dress; Columbo’s top coat.

Clothing or accessories are part of what defines us. For example my mother is known for her scarves. People think of me in hats, particularly cloche. I once worked with a woman who, every day, wore an armful of silver bracelets, many of them handcrafted with turquoise by Native Americans. We might have been a bit bewildered had she ever shown up at work without those bracelets. 

I call these signature piecesSome people have a signature piece and don’t even know it. They’re just wearing what they like.  It could be a ring one wears every day, like a class ring. It could be a  go-to jacket or a silk flower on a lapel. Perhaps a certain brand of distinctive shoe such as Dr. Marten’s. 

How about you? Do you have a signature piece?

 

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Franklina Gray in Milanese lace veil, 1875.

English girls dress in the worst possible taste … German ladies dress without any regard to taste, the prevailing colors being purple and yellow … The Milanese ladies have a pretty fashion of wearing long black lace veils instead of hats. 

Franklina Gray (1853-1934).

At age 22, Ms. Gray embarked on the Grand Tour of Europe with her mother, aunt, and stepfather. From 1875 to 1877, the four traveled together visiting such countries as England, Germany, Greece, and Italy. As she traveled she kept a detailed journal and wrote letters regularly to her fiance left behind in Oakland, CA.

When the family returned they settled into what is now called the Camron-Stanford House on Lakeside Drive in Oakland. In 1878, Ms. Gray married her fiance, William Springer Bartlett at the Lakeside Drive home where they also lived for the next few years.

On now at the Camron-Stanford house is the unique exhibit, Franklina C. Gray: The Grand Tour, which features photos and excerpts from Ms. Gray’s writings about her travel experiences as well as personal mementos and articles of clothing, including gloves and shoes from her wedding ensemble.

I’m a big fan of local history and interesting characters, of which Ms. Gray certainly was. I’ve toured the house several times, but something new is always added (this time details about Ms. Gray’s family) and the old information sometimes doesn’t stick. For example, I should have remembered that the Camron-Stanford House (the last standing Victorian mansion on Lake Merritt) was once the Oakland Museum and we nearly lost this historical treasure back when the new museum was built.

But we didn’t lose it and tours of the house and the current exhibit are available on Sundays only. I highly recommend a visit to the Camron-Stanford House to my local readers for a leisurely Sunday afternoon out.

Franklina C. Gray: The Grand Tour runs through November 17, 2019.

Click here for more information.

 

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Ensemble by Itang Yunasz displayed as part of the Contemporary Muslin exhibit, de Young Museum, fall 2018.

Last fall when I attended the exhibit Contemporary Muslim Fashions at the de Young Museum, I began to wonder if elements of what we were seeing on display would crossover into mainstream fashion. In particular, the hijab.

Sure enough, headscarves are all over the pages of recent fashion magazines. Perhaps not exact copies of the hijab but there is an echo.

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Headscarf by JW Anderson as seen in Vogue, February 2019.

The headscarf is a natural progression since scarves in general have been in fashion for quite some time as a year-round accessory worn around the neck. Also, it’s an easy baby step into modest dressing, if designers have any thoughts of going in that direction.

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Beautiful designs by Khanaan Luqman Shamlan at Contemporary Muslim Fashions,

 

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Ensemble by Givenchy in Vogue, February 2019. Note that the model is pretty well covered up, too.

Although headscarves are nothing new, they were a mid-century staple for Audrey Hepburn, Elizabeth Taylor, and Queen Elizabeth among others. But its been awhile since they were in vogue and this time around the look is a bit different, perhaps influenced by the chic yet still modest hijab.

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Chanel spring ad in Vogue magazine, March 2019.

When I heard about the death of designer Karl Lagerfeld earlier this week, I was surprisingly sad. I say surprisingly because, well, frankly, I wasn’t a fan of him as a person. I have read and listened to many an interview with Mr. Lagerfeld and he always struck me as a bit harsh. Still, I admired his talent and the loss of such to the fashion industry is palpable.

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Joan Collins dons a Chanel wool jacket, 1994. Marie Claire magazine, UK edition. Instantly recognizable as Chanel and yet quite different. 

Mr. Lagerfeld, born in 1933, shifted into celebrity status when in the early 1980s he took over the house of Chanel and turned what had become a stodgy label known mostly for its perfume, Chanel No. 5, which had declined in quality and was available at the corner drug store, into a global designer must-have.

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How appropriate that that final season of Karl Lagerfeld at Chanel includes  finger-less gloves, which was an essential part of his personal uniform.

What impressed me was his ability to take vintage Chanel – the suit, the fabrics, the handbags, the jewelry – and reinvent them time and time again. I always enjoyed the full page ads in fashion magazines each season showing yet another new Chanel look that STILL referenced classic Chanel. Perhaps it was a more edgy silhouette for the suit, a shorter hemline, or new bright colors used for the iconic tweed fabric. I particularly loved his use of frayed tweed. He often showed hats and gloves somehow making them hip instead of dowdy. His creativity was endless.

So, I tip my hat to Karl Lagerfeld for his amazing talent and I thank him for his unique contributions to fashion and style. Like Chanel, the Lagerfeld influence will live on.

 

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Costumes for the film Black Panther by Ruth E. Carter.

What I discovered between the research, artistry, and messages in all the costumes I designed for the many historical and imagined figures is my contribution to Afro-futurism. I am honored to receive this recognition from the Costumes Designers Guild and look forward to telling more stories which can change the world. 

Ruth E. Carter, American costume designer.

This quote is from an article about Ms. Carter by Meera Manek in The Costume Designer (The Official Magazine of the Costume Designers Guild), winter 2019.

Ms. Carter recently received the Career Achievement Award from the Costume Designers Guild and she’s been nominated for an Oscar (her third nomination) for her work on Black Panther. In the business since the 1980s, Ms. Carter has worked on Amistad, Malcolm X, How Stella Got Her Groove Back, to name just a few.  For Black Panther, Ms. Carter says that she found inspiration in her research on ancient African cultures. I like her use of accessories such as the bold jewelry and the marvelous hats worn by Angela Basset. who played Ramonda.

Best of luck to Ms. Carter and all the Oscar nominees this Sunday, February 24th.

 

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