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Archive for the ‘Fashion’ Category

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Hangul print fabric with Chinese characters interspersed.

Regular readers might recall that when I travel I look for fabric to bring home and have something made (or make something myself ) as a memento of my adventures. Last October, while on a textiles tour in Seoul, South Korea I went looking for fabric at the famous Dongdaemum Market, known for many a stall selling wholesale fabrics, notions, and anything one might need for DIY accessories.

I was searching for something unique that reflected Korean culture in some way. I wandered around and around, in circles it seemed, and just as I thought I might not have any luck, turning  a corner I came across a few of the other women on my tour chatting excitedly over a bolt of fabric that immediately caught my eye.

It was cotton with printed hangul, the Korean alphabet that we had learned about earlier in the week on a museum tour. I’m really drawn to the shapes of hangul and I agree with Karl Lagerfeld, who once said that hangul letters are like Cubism. The fabric came in blue with white print and brown with white. I went for the brown.

The fun part of this process is pondering how to use the fabric. I considered napkins and placemats but I wanted something unexpected. Perhaps a dress but the weight is a little stiff for that. What about a coat? I began to picture a longish, slim coat with a touch of Asian flair. That’s it!

Once home I found exactly the silhouette I wanted in a pattern by Connie Crawford for Butterick – slim, no collar, unlined.

The next step was to bring the fabric and pattern to seamstress extraordinaire, Kathy Wharton . We had one fitting and decided on the length and no pockets to avoid any bulk. Within ten days my coat was finished.

 

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I chose dark red thread for the top stitch.

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I couldn’t be more pleased and I look forward to sporting my Korean Coat this spring. In the meantime I’m making a hat out of the same fabric. More on that later.

 

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Olivia Colman as Queen Elizabeth II in The Crown. 

You know, don’t behave badly; they may not ask you back. 

Olivia Colman – British actress who has taken over the role of Queen Elizabeth II in the third season of the Netflix television series, The Crown.

The third season is in production now. Joining Olivia Colman will be Helena Bonham  Carter as Princess Margaret. Now that’s an interesting choice as the actress is a good twenty years older than her character was in the mid-1960s. But I saw a couple of photos of her in costume and she looks great. I’m a big fan and so I look forward to seeing what she does.

As for the costumes, they are by Michele Clapton, three-time Emmy winner and costumer also for Game of Thrones.

The next season is due out later this year. In the meantime click here for all The Crown scoop.

 

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img_20190131_123421.jpg… Cousin stops under the overpass to the No. 3 Industrial Complex and gazes through the window of a hat shop, still open at this hour. As if she has just remembered something, Cousin grabs my hand and pulls me into the store. She tries on several different berets, the kind with a tiny felt stem in the center, before settling on a white one … The white beret goes nicely with the round collar of our spring/summer uniform. When I tell her it looks pretty, Cousin puts the hat on my head … “Let’s both get one.”

From The Girl Who Wrote Loneliness by South Korean author Kyung-Sook Shin.

 

The Girl Who Wrote Loneliness is a somewhat autobiographical story of two teenage cousins working for a stereo factory in 1970s Seoul, South Korea. After hours the girls attend school, hoping an education will lead them out of sweatshop work.

While I was in Seoul last October, I of course took note of street fashion and I found two things when it came to hats: 1. Hats were a a big hit with middle-aged and older women. 2. Not the case with young women, except for berets.

I came across a few hat shops in upscale shopping neighborhoods offering all kinds of hats including berets in an array of colors. Out on the streets I spotted stylishly dressed 20-something women topping off their ensembles with berets, just like the teenage girls in this novel way back in 1979.

The fashion pendulum swings back and forth and back and forth …

 

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It’s not often that one comes across a novel about the fashion industry, so when I received an email from Smith Publicity pitching Wildchilds, I was excited to dive right in.

Wildchilds by Eugenia Melian (Fashion Sphinx Books) combines two of my faves – suspense and fashion. It tells the story of Iris de Valade, a former 1990s Paris fashion model. Having given up her modeling career years ago, Iris is now a sculptor and lives in rural Northern California with Lou, her teenage daughter. Lou is greatly puzzled as to why her mother would walk away from the glamorous Parisian life of a model.

Why would she?

The book opens with the arrival of a “thick envelope” containing news that will disrupt Iris’s quiet way of life. Gus de Santos, renowned fashion photographer, Iris’s ex-lover and the father of her daughter has died. As if that wasn’t unsettling enough, his estate has been left to Lou and Iris must travel to Paris to recover some of his lost photos that are valuable to the overall collection.

So begins our journey to modern day Paris and into Iris’s long gone modeling days. Flashbacks slowly reveal what life was really like for Iris and it wasn’t all fun and glamour. There were a lot of drugs, pressure, and raunchy men. A former model herself Melian doesn’t step too deeply into the industry, instead she stays focused just on the experiences of models. There is also a minor story-line, which I found particularly interesting, about the relevance of fashion magazines in our tech dominated world.

… the traditional fashion-magazine format looks dated. How can you be on the pulse three months ahead anymore? So much can change in that time. What is relevant then is ‘over’ a month later … in my time, magazines were where we got our information, where we found out about new art shows. new fashion, new restaurants … can you imagine? 

I enjoyed the Paris references, which flow nicely as does the writing. There is plenty of modern detail such as text messages, the use of slang, like ‘K, and hip teenage girls who are way too cool for fashion. The story itself  is without any surprises but it kept my attention till the end.

Like a good Lifetime movie, Wildchilds is an entertaining escape just right for a cold winter night.

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Clothes make a statement. Costumes tell a story. 

Mason Cooley (1927-2002), American aphorist and professor of world literature.

I think that perhaps costume designers would agree with Mr. Mason.

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Mary Queen of Scots. Costumes by Alexandra Byrne. 

 

Congratulations to the 2019 Oscar nominees for Best Costumes:

Alexandra Byrne – Mary Queen of Scots

Ruth E. Carter – Black Panther

Mary Zophres – The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

Sandy Powell – Mary Poppins Returns

 

Each one of these films is a little different and I’m sure not without various challenges.

Find out the winner on February 24, 2019.

 

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photo nov 14, 2 05 25 pmI met Briana Foster at Animal Rescue Foundation where I volunteer once a week visiting the cats and she works as the Events Coordinator. I noticed that Briana always looks stylish and put together sporting skirts and dresses. One summer day she was wearing an unexpected combination of an ARF t-shirt with a pretty floral print skirt. It  was then that I thought a Q&A was in order and Briana kindly agreed to participate.
So here we go …

 

You have great style, Briana and you always look nice at work. What inspires you when you’re planning a work outfit?

Thank you! I love dressing up and I try to do so no matter the occasion. Work is no exception. I usually have one item that is more casual and the other is on the dressier side. For example, I’ll pair a t-shirt from my work with a patterned midi skirt. However, if I’m feeling a little more casual, I like to pair some jeans with a nice blouse. Everything pretty much depends on my mood in the morning – I ask myself, “how am I feeling?”

Good idea to pair something dressy with something casual. That creates a unique look. 

How would you describe your style?

If you ask my friends, they would say I’m a mix of Taylor Swift and a 50’s housewife which is true to a point. I would say my style is more of a European twist on the 50’s.

Yes, I see a 50s vintage influence for sure and it suits you. 

Have you always been interested in clothes and fashion?

Yes and no. During high school, I tended to only wear jeans because I was scared and insecure when it came to clothes. However, I was always interested in fashion but I didn’t really get into it until my junior year of college when I studied abroad in London. I was really inspired by their street style and I started experimenting (with the help of my flat mates) trying to figure out what I liked vs. what I disliked. I love clothes because it’s one of the ways I express myself. The other is makeup.

What an opportunity you had in London – a wonderful place to find style inspiration. 

Do you have favorite brands or places to shop?

My favorite stores are H&M and ModCloth.com. However, if I’m looking for a nice coat or jacket, I tend to gravitate more towards Zara as their quality and pieces are more in line with my style.

What’s your go-to accessory?

Lipstick. I love playing around with different shades and brands trying to figure out what will work, what won’t work, and building my collection. My go-to shade is NYX Matte Perfect Red. It lasts all day and doesn’t fade. My favorite brand is Fenty by Rihanna. The shades in her collection are amazing. Each one applies smoothly and is long lasting.

Thank you, Briana. I look forward to seeing your next great outfit at ARF!

 

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It’s not cool to look fashionable in my gang. I think it’s important not to be ‘fashiony.’ We try to send the message that we’re against consumerism, and that’s our kind of revolution. We don’t throw bricks; we stop buying. We don’t look at magazines, they make you feel insecure and they’re too authoritarian … Instead, in my group, we create our own thing. Someone will pick up a mood from an old record cover or an old film and we will play with it and interpret it … fashion just isn’t important anymore in the conflicted times that we live in. 

Othilia – French teenager and fictional character in Widlchilds by Eugenia Melian.

Book review coming soon.

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