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Photo: Richard Aiello

When I think of Pierre Cardin I think of the sweet scented Pierre Cardin aftershave in the Space Needle bottle that sat on top of my dad’s dresser. I think of the cream ribbed sweater with a scoop neck, which I bought for myself back in the 1990s. Also what immediately comes to mind is Cardin’s 1960s space-age fashion for which he is best known. But there is so much more to know.

On now through January 5, 2020 at the Brooklyn Museum is Pierre Cardin: Future Fashion, a retrospective of this iconic designer’s work.

 

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Mod Cardin, 1960s.

Cardin was born in Italy in 1922. Two years later the family immigrated to France to escape fascism. Cardin began his career in fashion as a tailor’s apprentice. After working with Schiaparelli and Christian Dior, he opened his own house in 1950.

Pierre Cardin: Future Fashion features over 170 pieces from the Cardin archive, exploring all of Cardin’s phases from his more conventional beginnings to his other worldly creations. Included are men’s, women’s, and even children’s clothing as well as furniture, hats, and jewelry. Still photos and videos add to the viewing experience.

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An early Cardin design. Circa 1950.

 

Cardin was among the first to licence his name but he always kept control, which allowed him to make some big bucks without diluting his brand. He bought the famous Parisian restaurant Maxims’s in 1981 and still owns it today along with several other well-known properties, including the Bubble Palace. At 97, Cardin still works and maintains his fashion house showing up at the office every day.

 

Cardin was fearless in experimenting with fabrics, silhouettes, and pattern which helped him get and stay ahead of (sometimes step outside of) the fashion curve. In 1968 he used a synthetic fiber he called “Cardine” (also known as Dynel)  to create molded dresses.

There is much to see in, and learn from this exhibit. A must for any fashion history enthusiast.

On a side note – the museum restaurant, The Norm changes its menu and decor with each major exhibit. To go along with the Cardin exhibit they have recreated Maxim’s. My partner and I decided to treat ourselves. It was lovely to sit in this elegant, quiet environment and feast on delicious soup, salad, and a cocktail of course, while discussing what we just saw in the exhibit. I recommend any visitor to do the same.

If you’re in the Brooklyn area or are planning a visit soon, make sure to see Pierre Cardin: Future Fashion, on through January 5, 2020.

 

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That’s always the challenge. You have to bring it back so that a person can walk down the street and not look like she walked out of a costume epic or a time machine. It’s got to fit how people are dressing today. 

Anna Sui, American Fashion designer.

I found this quote while viewing The World of Anna Sui, a fashion exhibit at the Museum of Arts and Design in Manhattan. She was speaking about the influence vintage fashion has on her designs.

 

 

 

“I guess I’m known for for Bohemian Fashion …” says Sui. Here are some of her vintage inspired looks included in the exhibition. She has made these designs modern by styling with layers, boots and chunky accessories. Each outfit is worn unexpectedly. Photo courtesy of The Museum of Arts and Design.

 

Originally from Detroit, Sui knew when she was four years old that she wanted to be a fashion designer. To pursue her dream, as a young adult she moved to New York City to attend Parsons School of Design. Since then Sui has developed a unique voice, inspired by everything from history to rock and roll to fairy tales. She says storytelling is important to her in every collection and accessories are key to her overall style – hats, big jewelry, belts, and handbags. The more, the bigger, the better. Color and pattern, too. Sui loves it all!

I’d say her work is busy but fascinating in that there is so much to look at in any one outfit. Of course I’m drawn to her vintage inspired pieces and I agree that vintage has to be made modern to avoid looking like a costume. I really like how Sui does it.

The World of Anna Sui is on now through February 23, 2020 at The Museum of Arts and Design, 2 Columbus Circle, NYC. I highly recommend this exhibit to anyone in or visiting NYC.

 

 

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Dressy sneakers for girls available at Myara Children’s Boutique in Lafayette. 

In addition to this blog, I write a fashion column for the Lamorinda Weekly. To kick off the holidays my latest column is all about dressing up.

Check it out: http://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1319/Looking-Good-in-Lamorinda-Dressing-up-for-the-holidays-and-beyond.html

Let the crazy season begin!

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Spooky ladies who lunch. AKA Witchy Mom and Flapper Ghost. c. 2000

When I was nine or ten my mother really got into the spooky spirit and answered the door on Halloween ready to hand out candy dressed as a witch in a caftan and pointy black flats. At the time she was the only mom to dress in costume and all the kids loved it. (This was way back when Halloween still belonged to kids.)

Many years later we started a new tradition of a quiet mother/daughter celebration. We dressed in costume and went out to lunch or dinner. We were the only ones who did this and I added to the festivities by handing out candy to anyone who crossed our path.

My mother says Halloween is her favorite holiday so we continue the lunch tradition sans full costume but we might wear a spooky accessory, like skeleton earrings in silver or a black cat stole. I still hand out candy.

 

HAPPY HALLOWEEN from us to you!

 

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1016201722230562531Even witches have to have pockets. 

Margaret Hamilton (1902-1985), American actress best known for playing the Wicked Witch of the West in the 1939 film, The Wizard of Oz.

All ladies (witches too) like pockets!

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Lee Miller, war correspondent for Vogue, WWII.

… Lee has put herself together. She wears her new panne velvet* dress, peacock blue, tight through the hips and flaring out in graduated pleats that twirl around her legs as she walks. She worried before she arrived that it was too dressy, but now that she is here she doesn’t mind standing out. If there is one way to make herself feel better, it is by getting dressed up.

Whitney Scharer, author of The Age of Light (Little, Brown and Company).

* Panne velvet is velvet fabric with a particular finish that creates luster.

The Age of Light is a fictional account of Lee Miller’s time in Paris in the 1920s when she, an American former model and aspiring photographer, meets and starts a professional and personal relationship with Surrealist Man Ray.

I have read a lot about Lee Miller (1907-1977), who was a unique woman in her time and who led an interesting life of fashion and art, travel and war. She was hired by US Vogue magazine to photograph and write about what she was witnessing in Europe during WWII.  I must say that I prefer the non-fiction books on Miller. Although The Age of Light is well written, I found that I didn’t enjoy reading what Scharer thinks were Miller’s thoughts and feelings. It kind of spoils my own view of her. But I do like this quote.

I would recommend the biographies –  Lee Miller: A Life by Carolyn Burke and Lee Miller in Fashion by Becky E. Conekin.

 

 

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Youngmin Lee and Steph Rue.

Last week I had the pleasure of attending the opening reception of From Fabric to Paper, an exhibit of works by bojagi artist Youngmin Lee and hanji artist Steph Rue at The Consulate General of the Republic of Korea in San Francisco.

 

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The two artists were recipients of the Alliance for California Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program. This exhibit features both their individual work and the pieces they worked on together over the summer.

 

 

Bojagi is traditional Korean wrapping fabric and hanji is traditional Korean handmade paper. Ms. Rue says when she was in South Korea studying hanji she constantly saw bojagi, which is made of fabric scraps and used to wrap gifts, store things, and carry objects. Once something common and used every day, it has now become an art form. Intrigued, she wanted to learn more.

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Indigo Study. These are traditional pouches men would have carried in the Joseon Period (1392-1910) in Korea. These are made with mulberry paper, silk, and ramie fabric.

She says she was excited to have the opportunity to work with Ms. Lee, who is considered a master in bojagi making. With a degree in fashion design Ms. Lee came to the craft after moving here from South Korea more that twenty years ago. She says that living in another country moved her to the traditions of her own culture. Now, she shares her knowledge of, and passion for bojagi by teaching classes all over the Bay Area.

This is a lovely exhibit and well worth a visit to The Consulate General of the Republic of Korea in San Francisco, 3500 Clay St. @ Laurel. On now through December 27, 2019. Open hours are Monday-Friday 9-5. And it’s free.

On another related topic: today (October 9th) is Hangul Day in South Korea. Hangul is the Korean alphabet. Koreans celebrate their alphabet because at one time there was no written Korean language and only scholars could read and write Chinese characters. Hangul was created by King Sejong in the 1400s to allow everyone the opportunity to read and write in their own language.

Hangul Day is a national holiday in South Korea.

Happy Hangul Day!!

 

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