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Archive for the ‘Events’ Category

Day Two of The Twelve Days of Tree Ornaments is Big Ben. I am a total Anglophile and I travel to the UK whenever I get the chance (in fact, I’m way overdue for a visit thanks to the pandemic). I picked up this Big Ben keychain from a street vendor because I like the historic clock tower, but it wasn’t until the following Christmas when I was decorating my tree that I had the idea that the keychain is the perfect size for an ornament. Off came the round hook, replaced with a ribbon. From then on, when I travel I look for keychain souvenirs that work for the tree.

Today is Boxing Day, which is a holiday in the UK. There are many stories as to the origin of this holiday, but the one I like best is this: in the Victorian era, the day after Christmas wealthy people would “box up” some of their possessions that they no longer wanted and give them to “the poor.” Today I think it’s just an extension of the Christmas season.

In my house, we have our own Boxing Day tradition and that is to do nothing or whatever we want to do. By this time, I need a break from the festivities so the day is unplanned. Usually we read, take a long afternoon walk, nibble on leftover goodies. In the evening we might watch a movie. It’s a moment to moment day of peace and quiet.

Today is also the first day of Kwanzaa. Happy Kwanzaa!

I hope you’re enjoying some peace and quite. Come on back tomorrow for Day Three.

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Merry Christmas and welcome to Day One of The Twelve Days of Tree Ornaments.

I have a collection of miniature tree ornaments to fit my tabletop tree and this year I’m sharing some of my favorites.

This ski bunny actually sits underneath the tree as he’s the right size but, he’s made of metal and is too heavy for the branches. He’s articulated and could actually ski right down that felt hill I created, with a little help. I found him on sale in a high end gift store after one holiday season. I love the humor of this little bunny and he’s wearing a festive sweater!

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The Twelve Days of Christmas tradition on ODFL continues. This year the theme is miniature tree decorations.

One Christmas season my mother gave me a plastic tabletop tree. Since she was/is allergic to live Christmas trees, this was our replacement. It stands about two feet tall and I put it on my coffee table. That was the start of many years of collecting miniature ornaments that fit on my small tree. In the beginning, since I didn’t have a lot, I used vintage earrings and when I traveled I’d buy a souvenir keychain take off the ring and put a ribbon on it – perfect for an ornament and a nice reminder of my travels.

After all the holiday hustle bustle check in with ODFL on Christmas Day for The Twelve Days of Tree Ornaments. Then settle in for eleven more days of ornaments and the little tales that go with them.

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This is my childhood stocking. It’s made from burlap and has seen many a Christmas morning.

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,

In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there.

This week’s quote is from A Visit from St. Nicholas, by Clement Clarke Moore, 1822.

Stockings are a favorite Christmas tradition. When I was growing up, stockings were just for kids, but it seems now everyone gets one.

The story goes that in the 4th century CE good old St. Nicholas dropped some coins down the chimney of needy families and the coins just happened to slip into stockings hanging near the fire to dry. The idea caught on and eventually expanded into a Christmas Morning tradition. The first Christmas stockings would have been everyday plain but, by the early 20th century commercialized pre-packaged stockings were for sale as were embellished stockings.

I was recently reminded of the joys of Christmas stockings by a blog post, The Holiday Stocking written by Becca Carr from Tatter, a textile library located in Brooklyn. Tatter offers classes and unique items for sale, all to do with fabric. They also publish a journal and a blog called The Fold.

Here’s to Christmas stockings!

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Julie Rubio

I had the pleasure of meeting Julie Rubio several years ago when I interviewed her for an article in the Lamorinda Weekly. She had just opened a boutique in Lafayette and I have kept up with her ever since. An award winning film producer as well as a business woman, Julie produced the hit movie East Side Sushi among other films and now she’s working on something close to her heart –Tamara De Lempicka, the first full-length documentary on the famous artist from the Art Deco era.

De Lempicka (1898-1980) painted fashionable people of the 1920s and 1930s, making her paintings a fascinating study for anyone interested in fashion history. A stylish woman herself, she modeled for a French fashion magazine, designed her own hats, and donned fashions by Coco Chanel. Today her works sell for millions of dollars and are collected by the likes of Donna Karan, Barbra Streisand, and Madonna.

Julie was kind enough to agree to a Q&A with ODFL.

What is it about Tamara that attracts you?

Her will to not only survive but thrive through some really horrific times and create beauty out of her pain. 

What do you think Tamara’s message is to women of today?

Unleash the chains that bind you. Go out after your dreams and make them happen. As she would say, “There are no miracles there is only what you make.”

Tamara’s work is very collectable, what is it about her style that speaks to people? I think it’s unquestionable that her work speaks to people in a way that, if you’re fond of her work, it draws you in. Her paintings look at you and you can see into the soul of each painting.  It’s quite powerful – the eyes and the flawlessness of each portrait. Her paintings haunt you in a really good way.

In terms of her fashion style, what could we learn from her? 

To be bold and beautiful. Not to be afraid to elevate the room.

Gucci dress. You would rock this, Julie!

If you were to meet Tamara, take her out to dinner – where would you take her and what would you wear?

The restaurant at Meadowood is traveling to my favorite restaurant in Mexico City called Pujol. It’s quite simply one of the best restaurants in the world. Nothing flashy but the food is outstanding. I think Tamara would really like this restaurant considering she loved Mexico.  I would wear something free-flowing, risqué and beautiful. Gucci has this lace black dress that’s completely see-through and beautiful with the most exquisite bustiers. I’d simply go for it, when it came to my outfit and I’d wear a hat! 

Thank you, Julie. I love your comment, “Not to be afraid to elevate the room.” Let’s elevate all the rooms! And I agree that Tamara’s unique artistic style really stays with you.

Julie is working closely with Tamara’s family, who have granted her access to photos, stories, and artworks. The film is set to be released next year and in the meantime fundraising continues. Click here for more information.

Artwork by Tamara de Lempicka. Copyright 2021 Tamara de Lempicka Estate LLC. All rights reserved.

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Welcome to December. Welcome to the holidays. I would venture to say that most fashionables love a good fashion book. Here’s a list of my fashion book recommendations for holiday gift giving.

Lee Miller in Fashion by Becky E. Conekin (The Monacelli Press). My introduction to Lee Miller was an exhibit of her WWII photography at the V&A Museum in London. I’ve been captivated by her ever since. An American expat in England, Ms. Miller lived a very complex and interesting life as a fashion model, photographer, surrealist artist, WWII correspondent, journalist for Vogue magazine and later almost a recluse in the English countryside. This book focusses on her work as a fashion photographer; included are lots of photos that show her talent and her way of looking at fashion, as well as the fashions of the day in WWII Europe.

The Chiffon Trenches: A Memoir by Andre Leon Talley (Ballantine Books). Fashion journalist and former creative director at Vogue magazine, Andre Leon Talley spills the tea all over the fashion world with his experiences among industry royalty. Mr. Talley shares childhood memories growing up in Durham, NC as well as all the highs and lows and many disappointments of his career, which began in 1970s NYC. He offers insights as well as a close up look at what it’s like working with such icons as Anna Wintour and Karl Lagerfeld (guess what – it isn’t always pretty).

How to Read a Dress: A Guide to Changing Fashion From the 16th to the 20th Century by Lydia Edwards (Bloomsbury Academic). I received this as a Christmas gift one year from my sis-in-law and it quickly became my favorite fashion history reference book. Each section starts with a historical overview followed by pictures of the costumes with each detail of the various silhouettes pointed out and commented on. This is a handy guide to have for quick reference as well as serious study and I really appreciate the Glossary of Terms in the back of the book. (There is a new edition out this year with additional chapters and expansion to the year 2020.)

How to Read a Suit: A Guide to Changing Men’s Fashion from the 17th to the 20th Century by Lydia Edwards (Bloomsbury Academic). When I was taking a fashion history class in 2020, much to my surprise I was completely taken with the men’s fashions of the 17th and 18th centuries. My, were they embellished and extravagant and interesting! When I came upon this book in the Bloomsbury catalogue I had to have it. I enjoy just looking through the pages of images and studying the details. The layout is the same as How to Read a Dress.

In the Name of Gucci: A Memoir by Patricia Gucci (Crown Archetype). We’ve been hearing a lot about the Gucci family with the recent release of the film House of Gucci, starring Lady Gaga and Adam Driver. This memoir is not that story. Patricia Gucci is the “love child” of Aldo (eldest son of the founder of Gucci and played in the movie by Al Pacino) and his mistress, to whom he was devoted for many years. Ms. Gucci writes her childhood story living alone with her mother, seeing her fashion mogul father every so often. He spent most of his time putting the family fashion business on the map, opening stores and spreading the Gucci logo all around the world. Eventually, Patricia joined the company. This is an intriguing story about family, fashion, and business and how they don’t necessarily all fit neatly together.

It’s fashionable to shop local and support independent bookstores. If you don’t see what you want on the shelves, ask. Most bookstores can place an order and get what you need, pronto.

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Kristen Stewart as Princess Diana in Spencer.

The idea was that we were never slavishly replicating all of Diana’s looks, but we were definitely riffing on the idea of them. So we were quite consciously not trying to do the closest version we could in every instance. But in some places we used things that were exactly her style and then other places we drifted off. We bought a retro pair of jeans, and the sweaters weren’t made by us, obviously. But a lot of the pieces were made.

Jacqueline Durran, British costume designer.

This quote is from a Q&A Ms. Durran did with Entertainment Weekly about her latest project – the film, Spencer.

We have some treats coming up in Holiday Season 2021 and one is this film staring Kristen Stewart as Princess Diana. Spencer covers three days, over Christmas, of Princess Diana’s life when she is at one of her lowest points.

Ms. Durran has won two Academy Awards for her work – on Anna Karenina in 2012 and Little Women in 2019. She also created the oh-so-lovely green dress that Keira Knightley wore in Atonement.

I’m looking forward to Spencer. From what I hear Ms. Stewart does an impressive job and then of course, the costumes!!

Also, calling all the other House of Eliott fans out there, the actress who played one of the Eliott sisters is playing an important role in Spencer. Can anyone spot her? If so, tell me the actress’s name, which Eliott sister she played, and what role does she have in Spencer. Leave all that in a comment. Don’t cheat!

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Let the candle lighting begin. Happy Hanukkah!

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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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