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Marc Jacobs Redux Grunge Collection.  The entire look, without the jewelry, can be had for $1990. 

There are all these conversations in my head about, What is fashion anymore? Who is fashion for? Where’s it going? With the internet, it all becomes so overwhelming. 

Marc Jacobs, American fashion designer.

Jacobs has remade 26 looks from his infamous Perry Ellis spring 1993 collection. The one labeled “grunge.” The one that was a disaster as far as fashion editors were concerned and the head honchos at Perry Ellis, who promptly fired Jacobs.

Pushing back against the current fashion system, which he says isn’t working, Jacobs wants to “mix things up” and try something different. So here we go again with grunge.

But since we’ve been here before, is grunge different enough?

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Inauguration Day, 2009. Michelle Obama looking lovely in a dress suit by American  designer Isabel Toledo. 

Sometime during Barack’s campaign, people began paying attention to my clothes. Or at least the media paid attention, which provoked all manner of commentary across the internet. My pearls, my belts, my cardigans, my off-the-rack dresses from J.Crew, my apparently brave choice of white for an inaugurate gown – all seemed to trigger a slew of opinions and instant feedback … It seemed that my clothes mattered more to people than anything I had to say. 

Michelle Obama, attorney, mother, and former First Lady of the United States.

This quote is from Ms. Obama’s just released memoir, Becoming (Crown Publishing Group).

Michelle Obama was and still is the epitome of grace and style. But it’s not just the clothes she chooses to wear that make her such, it is her generous spirit, her confidence, and intelligence. What an excellent role model she was as First Lady and continues to be as an American working woman.

Fifteen days after publication, Becoming has sold more than two million copies proving that, indeed, what Michelle Obama has to say matters.

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Entrance to the East Meets West exhibit at Legion of Honor Museum.

For a festive treat with plenty of sparkle I recommend the current exhibition at the Legion of Honor Museum in San Francisco, East Meets West: Jewels of the Maharajas from the Al Thani Collection. On now through February 24, 2019, this exhibit includes 150 pieces of stunning jewelry and other accessories from 17th century India to modern interpretations by western designers.

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Turban ornament, India c. 1900, Silver, diamonds, emerald, pearl.

Much of what’s on view is from the private collection of His Highness Sheikh Hamad bin Abdullah Al Thani, including elaborate necklaces, strands of pearls, aigrettes, brooches, and turban ornaments – the most iconic of East Indian jewelry pieces.

In the west, royal women bore the task of donning the family jewels but in the east it was the men who had the pleasure. Interspersed among the display cases are photos of various decked out Maharajas. These images give an idea of how they wore their finest jewels – chokers at the neck, layers of necklaces covering the chest with dangling stones as big as chandelier drops, brooches adorning their jackets, and to top it all off  turban ornaments often featuring a large emerald, the favored gemstone for its green color. It seems the gentlemen wore their jewelry well and with surprising ease.

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Nizam of Hyderabad necklace. India, 1850-1875. Gold, diamonds, emerald, enamel.

In the early 20th century, with their mutual love of jewelry and gemstones, both the west and east cultures borrowed from each other. European designers began to use cabochon and carved gemstones in their designs, which we see in Art Deco jewelry, and  Maharajas brought their collections to houses such as Cartier to have them remade into modern designs.

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Pen Case and Inkwell. North India, 1575-1600. Gold, diamonds, emeralds, hubbies, sapphires, lacquer.

With six galleries there is much to learn and perhaps get inspired … to add to our gift wish list!

 

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Elephant Brooch, JAR, Paris. 2016. Titanium, diamonds, white cacholong (common opal), sapphires, gold, platinum.

 

East Meets West: Jewels of the Maharajas from the Al Thani Collection is a nice alternative to the holiday madness. Check it out.

https://legionofhonor.famsf.org/exhibitions/east-meets-west

 

 

 

 

 

 

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41UA57KzwQLConfidence. independence, and intelligence are the new and permanent must-haves to be a sexy woman. Carrie Bradshaw displayed these characteristics,  behind Carrie was Sarah Jessica Parker (SJP) – a natural example of the woman we are talking about. Behind Carrie and SJP was yours truly, making our combination organic and believable. 

Patricia Field – American costume designer and head designer for the television series, Sex and the City.

We continue to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Sex and the City, which premiered on HBO in June 1998.

If you’re a fan of S&TC I recommend a new book, Sex and the City and Us: How Four Single Women Changed the Way We Think, Live, and Love. by Jennifer Keishin Armstrong (Simon & Schuster).

With twenty years hindsight, Ms. Armstrong presents backstories on what went into creating and maintaining the hit HBO show. Having interviewed key players like SJP, producer Darren Star, writers Cindy Chupack and Jenny Bicks, she digs deep into the inspirations and intentions of each of the six seasons with commentary along the way on the impact the show has had across the country then and now. Armstrong opens the book sharing how the first seasons of S&TC influenced her life, as a twenty-something young woman in Chicago with NYC aspirations.

Sex and the City and Us is well written and a fun read for true fans.

 

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In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
    That mark our place; and in the sky
    The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
    Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
        In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
    The torch; be yours to hold it high.
    If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
        In Flanders fields.
John McCrae (1872-1918), Canadian medical doctor and poet.
Dr. McCrae served as a surgeon for the Canadian military during WWI. He wrote In Flanders Field in 1915 after the death of a good friend.
Armistice Day is November 11th. This year marked the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I. Since 1921, on Armistice Day it is customary, mostly in the UK, to sport a paper poppy on a jacket lapel on honor of those who who died in the “war to end all wars.”

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Voting looks good on you. 

Elle magazine, October 2018

Election Day is tomorrow, Tuesday November 6, 2018.

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A recent interest in Korean fashion led me to sign up for the Korea Textile Tour, a ten day exploration of traditional Korean culture and textile art. It was my first trip to Asia and needless to say, I was most excited!

Limited to ten women, our group included mostly quilters and a couple of us interested primarily in fashion. We were based in Seoul, South Korea with three leaders:

  • Youngmin Lee, a Korean transplant to the Bay Area and Korean textiles artist.
  • Mirka Knaster makes her home in Northern California and is a writer and an artist working in fiber arts.
  • Lissa Miner is a quilter who hails from Berkeley, CA but currently lives outside of Seoul, South Korea.

 

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Studio of Kyung Yeal Kim, master craftsman. This is where we took the safflower dye workshop.

The days were packed full but we kept to a reasonable pace. Each day we walked an average of five miles, so no need to worry about getting enough exercise. We took docent led museum tours, strolled neighborhoods, met master artists who led us in workshops, including indigo dye and safflower dye. We stayed in Insadong, which is an older part of Seoul known originally as the neighborhood of calligraphy and paper artists. It was a great place to be, located near two subway stations and within walking distance of many galleries and shops. Speaking of subways – I was very impressed with the efficiency (never waited more than 5 minutes for a train), and how clean the stations and trains are kept. Sure it gets crowded and the older folk will push you out of the way but overall the system was a pleasure to ride.

Our hotel was the recently renovated Sunbee. I’m told that it was bought by a retired pharmacist who handed the business over to her son to run. Each of us had her own room, which are remarkably spacious as are the bathrooms. At the end of a busy day, it felt good to come back to a comfortable space. There’s a cafe off the lobby where we met each morning for the included breakfast. Plus free laundry facilities and Wi-Fi.

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Public Library.

As for language, it helps to know a little Korean, at least hello and thank you. In general, many young people speak English and most older people do not. Traditional Korean restaurants don’t have menus in English but some do have pictures to point to. I was lucky to have Youngmin’s help  – often she checked ahead with restaurants to see what accommodations could be made for my egg allergy.  (Several meals are included in the tour.) Modern neighborhoods have English speaking staff  in shops and restaurants. I found that communication is possible and actually fun with a few words in common and a willingness to try.

Tourism in South Korea is on the rise, so people are used to non-Korean speakers. But Korea is not yet on the American radar and I spotted very few of my follow citizens.

What is on the radar of young Koreans is western food. Especially coffee, bread, and pastries. We saw many a French bakery and cafe. Also health food, such as organic salad, is very popular in the modern neighborhoods.

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Handbag Museum.

Among some of my favorite activities on the tour was the trip to Gwangjang Market. The first permanent market in Korea and the main market for fabric, this place is mecca for high quality rare fabrics such as ramie and silk. It was a treat to see. There’s also a food market on the first floor, offering just about any kind of Korean street food you’d like to eat.

I really enjoyed visiting Ewha Women’s University Museum where we had a docent led tour of the special exhibit – Undergarments from the Joseon Dynasty, 1392-1897 (undergarments worn with Hanbok).

On one of our free days four of us visited the Simone Handbag Museum. A few years ago I had read about this museum, which opened in 2012 and displays antique to modern, handmade to designer handbags. The building itself is in the shape of a handbag.

While exploring on my own one day,  I unexpectedly stumbled upon the public library in Bukchon. Another charming historic neighborhood, Bukchon is located near two palaces and is known as a center for traditional arts and artists’ studios.

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Really, I enjoyed everything because it was all new to me. Much of the tour is focused on Korean history and culture, which as Mirka pointed out, gives a context to the traditional art we looked at and talked about. I have come home with a desire to learn more about all things Korean.

This was the second year for the Korea Textile Tour and plans are already in the works for 2019. A list of interested travelers is growing. Click here for more information.

There are lots of photos of my trip on Instagram. Follow OverDressedforLife:

#overdressed4life

Check back for more fashionable adventures in Seoul, South Korea.

 

 

 

 

 

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