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Archive for the ‘Events’ Category

Buy Nothing

Make Something, Cook Something, Bake Something, Sew Something, Repair Something, Write Something, Draw Something.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Today is Buy Nothing Day, an international day of protest against consumerism. On Buy Nothing Day participants pledge to refrain from the whole Black Friday madness and keep their wallets in their pockets (or handbags).

I think this is a great idea. We all know the horrors of overbuying – it’s hard on our finances and it’s hard on the environment to manufacture all the stuff, which ends up in the landfill or in the case of clothing, headed on a big container ship to another country.

What to do with the free time? How about making something? Or read a book. Watch a movie. Write a letter. Call a friend. Volunteer. Take a nap!

Today is also the 35th annual Fur-Free Friday, when animal rights activists gather at large retail stores and protest the selling and wearing of fur. (Of course the only stylish fur is faux fur.)

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I’m thankful for our autumn harvest: pomegranates, butternut squash, spaghetti squash.

On Thanksgiving Day, instead of it being about pilgrims and eating and football, I prefer to spend the day pondering what I am thankful for (gratitude is always in style). There is so much – good health, good health care, family, friends, time to pursue what’s important to me; and one of those things is this blog. ODFL allows me to combine two of my favorite things in life – fashion and writing.

I am also thankful to YOU, my faithful readers. Thank you for coming by, reading, commenting, and supporting ODFL.

Wishing all of you a Happy (and safe) Thanksgiving. What are you thankful for? Please feel free to share in a comment.

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On the set of And Just Like That this past summer. I don’t know about the boho look for Miranda.

I’m inspired as a costume designer by what I see young people doing. Either on the internet or standing right in front of me – street fashion.

Molly Rogers – American costume designer.

Ms. Rogers is currently working on the costumes for And Just Like That – the Sex and the City reboot due to air on HBO Max in December of this year.

Her past gigs include the television show Ugly Betty and the hit movie The Devil Wears Prada and she also worked closely with Patricia Field on the SATC series as well as both movies. Rogers had been working with Field since 1984 when she popped into the stylists’ shop and asked for a job.

Now she’s going solo with And Just Like That, as Field is busy working on Emily in Paris.

There are several Instagram accounts following the series production around NYC and providing us with a sneak peek at the costumes, which are getting mixed reviews.

As for the quote – there’s nothing better than street fashion IF you happen to live in a place like NYC or London or Pairs. People watching in such places offers amazing inspiration. But elsewhere there is little to no inspiring fashion to be found. So we have magazines, Instagram, and television shows like – And Just Like That.

I’m looking forward to indulging on some serious fashion candy come December.

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This is a photo of my maternal grandfather, who was an officer in the Navy. I never got to meet him, but from what my mother has told me he liked nothing better than being on a ship way way out on the sea. That, and a good stiff drink.

A great BIG Thank You to all who have served to keep us safe.

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Whitney Peak donning all Chanel for Elle magazine.

My style dictates how I want to feel throughout the day. So if I want to feel cool, and it’s swag, I’ll do the big pants, maybe a shirt, definitely a cool sneaker, jewelry galore. Probably big hair. And if I feel a little more elevated, I’ll do a leather boot, and a pair of trousers, maybe a black trenchcoat.

Whitney Peak, American actress.

Ms. Peak is starring in the HBO Max Gossip Girl Reboot.

I don’t know much about the original (2007-2012) or the reboot Gossip Girl except that the show focusses on a group of wealthy NYC kids who dress head to toe designer (better than ANY real high school kid) and they are remarkably nasty to one another – I wonder how real that part is? I watched some excerpts of the original and some of the reboot on YouTube and I’d say the costumes and the characters are even edgier in the reboot.

Entertaining? Perhaps. Healthy role modeling for youth? Perhaps not.

That’s my two cents for what it’s worth. xoxo

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Happy Halloween!

Make sure to celebrate in style.

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Image courtesy of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.

On now at the de Young Museum in San Francisco is the West Coast premiere of Patrick Kelly: Runway of Love, a celebration of Mr. Kelly and his inspired fashions of the 1980s.

Black fashion designer Patrick Kelly (1954-1990) was known for combining whimsy with classic. His unique use of embellishment as well as a constant upbeat message in his designs attracted many. Originally from Mississippi, he moved to NYC to study fashion design and in 1979 he moved to Paris. There he had friends bop around the streets in his handmade jersey outfits adorned with buttons. These colorful ensembles caught the attention of French Elle magazine and voila, he was on his way to fashion stardom.

Image courtesy of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.

I was not familiar with Mr. Kelly before hearing of this exhibit but I’m happy to have found him and now he is among my favorites. I appreciate his humor and references to fashion history; I see a touch of Schiparelli here and a pinch of Chanel there, but with a unique Kelly twist. There is something very charming about these designs – they are playful, fun, and yet still polished. He was a master at playing with sophisticated silhouettes by adding unexpected adornments like buttons, tassels, and dice. His use of buttons was inspired by his grandmother who, when he was a child, used to replace his lost buttons with whatever style and color she had on hand. That “outside the box” approach stuck with Mr. Kelly.

Runway of Love, curated by Laura L. Camerlengo, Associate Curator of Costume and Textile Arts at the Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco, is divided into four sections covering Mr. Kelly’s career from hand making knit jersey dresses in his early Paris days to his successful runway shows. One of the sections includes some of his personal collection of racist memorabilia, which served as inspiration for him in his designs. Although controversial in America at that time, his use of racist symbols was his way of controlling the charged images and that puts another interesting twist on his work.

In 1988 Mr. Kelly was the first American and first Black designer to be voted into the Chambre Syndicale du Pret-a-Porter des Couturiers et des Createurs de Mode, the prestigious French association for ready-to-wear designers. This was quite an honor and well deserved!

Patrick Kelly’s archive of fashions was given to the Philadelphia Museum of Art by Mr. Kelly’s business and life partner, Bjorn Amelan, who said that he spent years after Mr. Kelly’s early death of complications from AIDS in 1990, looking for the right home for the archive.

As well as 80 fully accessorized ensembles, the exhibit includes several videos of runway shows, sketches and art by the designer, and other ephemera.

From the 80s music in the background to the upbeat videos, from the buttons to the bright colors to the cultural references – I walked out of Patrick Kelly: Runway of Love uplifted and inspired. I can’t recommend this exhibit enough.

Patrick Kelly: Runway of Love at the de Young Museum now through April 24, 2022.

A few things to know before you go:

  1. Pack a mask! Masks are required on everyone, regardless of vaccination status.
  2. The Coat Room is closed; travel light and remember that backpacks must be hand held inside the museum.
  3. To allow for plenty of safe space in the galleries the tickets are timed, so it’s a good idea to book ahead.

And there’s more! Continue to explore Patrick Kelly with a series of panel discussions Wednesdays at 5pm: October 27th, November 3rd, March 30, April 23. Click here for the full scoop.

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PARIS, FRANCE – CIRCA 1988: Patrick Kelly at the Patrick Kelly Spring 1989 show circa 1988 in Paris, France. (Photo by PL Gould/IMAGES/Getty Images)

I just want my clothes to make you smile.

Patrick Kelly (1954-1990), American fashion designer.

Well, I think Mr. Kelly achieved that desire. His whimsical fashions definitely make me smile.

Tune in tomorrow for my two cents on Patrick Kelly: Runway of Love exhibition on now at the de Young Museum.

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Author Lucy Adlington first read about the fashion salon at Auschwitz while researching the Nazis and the fashion industry. The idea of Jewish women, skilled seamstresses, forced to make clothing for the very people who were in fact killing them, has to be, as Ms. Adlington said in one of her recent online presentations, “one of the most grotesques anomalies ever.” She explains that she tried to find out more but only had nicknames for the women of the salon and she reached a dead-end. But her mind was whirling with what it must have been like working in the Auschwitz fashion salon. So she wrote a novel, The Red Ribbon (Hot Key Books). After the worldwide publication of her book in 2017, the emails started to arrive: My aunt was a dressmaker in the fashion salon at Auschwitz … my mother … my grandmother …

Connections were made, interviews happened, and Ms. Adlington was finally able to write the true story of Marta, Irene, Renee, Bracha, Katka, and Hunya; just six of the twenty-five women who created beautiful clothing for SS wives.

In The Dressmakers of Auschwitz: The True Story of the Women Who Sewed to Survive, Ms. Adlington weaves the stories of our heroines, some who knew each other before the war and all accomplished seamstresses (Marta was a master cutter and Hunya had once owned her own fashion salon) with the broader context of the war and more specifically the fashion industry just before and during the war.

The fashion salon at Auschwitz, called The Upper Tailoring Studio, was the idea of Hedwig Hoss, the camp commandant’s wife. She, like most other SS wives, appreciated fine clothing and that was something hard to come by at the time since the SS had completely decimated the fashion industry, largely run by Jewish people, in every country they occupied. Marta was the first seamstress to start making clothing for Hedwig and as other SS wives also wanted bespoke clothing, Marta insisted that she needed help and so one by one she was able to save twenty-five women from hard labor and probably death.

In telling this story, Ms. Adlington is also pointing out the value of clothing – clothing as identity, as historical documentation, as memento, as comfort. When people first arrived at Auschwitz, they were forced to strip down to nothing. Every last stitch of clothing removed and put into a big pile. The SS knew what they were doing – take away identity, take away the familiar, take away dignity. Most of the work at Auschwitz was hard manual labor, like tearing down brick buildings, but some of the work was less physical, yet no less harrowing. One of the jobs was to sort through the clothing of the newly arrived. Digging through coats, dresses, shoes, even undergarments of people who were likely dead. One young woman found clothing that had belonged to her sister.

So what was done with all this clothing? After it was sorted into categories, the SS wives chose what they wanted and sent the pieces to The Upper Tailoring Studio for alterations. Some of it was sent to Germany to be sold (sold!) while the more tattered items were moved to another camp where slave labor wove the fabric into rugs. Shoes were repaired, if necessary, and also sent on to Germany. (While many camp laborers had no shoes or wore wood clogs that didn’t fit.)

The Dressmakers of Auschwitz is full of disturbing facts like these I mention and for me it was slow going, as I just couldn’t take too much in one sitting. But I appreciate knowing the story of these remarkable, courageous women as well as the central role clothing had in the Holocaust. The photos of the six women throughout the book make the story less abstract and to see their pre-war smiling faces is heartwarming. There are also magazine adverts images to show what fashions Frau Hoss and her ilk would have requested.

Ms. Adlington has done an impressive job telling a complicated story. Can I say I enjoyed it? I don’t know that “enjoy” is the right word. I would say it was a difficult but fascinating read and anyone who is interested in fashion history will want this book in their library.

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Balenciaga gown, 1961. Part of the In Pursuit of Fashion: The Sandy Schreier Collection exhibition at the Met 2019/2020.

Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar were my picture books; they were my Mother Goose.

Sandy Schreier – American fashion collector and fashion historian author.

This quote is from an interview that Ms. Schreier did with the popular podcast, Dressed: The History of Fashion hosted by April Calahan and Cassidy Zachery.

Come back tomorrow and read more about Sandy Schreier.

Who else out there looked at fashion magazines as a child? My mother told me that she used to cut out images and make paper dolls. Certainly, there’s a fairytale quality to fashion magazines – the beautiful models, the extraordinary clothing, the exotic photoshoots – it’s pure fantasy. And who can resist?

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