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Archive for the ‘Vintage’ Category

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Francesco Risso. Speaking of inspiration, the window in the background reminds me of bojagi.

I’m a passionate collector of images. I like to imagine characters in a story, but you need a reference – a flower, a piece of art, anything that can connect you with that story. Today I found this incredible Chinese  man holding lanterns. I hope one day, opening my drawers, to bring out a story that will be an inspiration for something. 

Francesco Risso, creative director of Marni since 2016.

This quote is taken from an interview that Risso did with Joshua Levine for W magazine, v.2 2019.

The Chinese man that he refers to is an English brooch from the 1940s. The man is made of gold and the hem and cuffs of his robe are encrusted with diamonds. I can picture that charming brooch and I hope one day to spot the inspiration it brings to the Marni line.

It is said that Risso has “put his own stamp on Marni,” which was initially an upset after 20 years of designer/ owner Consuelo Castiglioni in charge. (Castiglioni sold Marni to  OTB Group in 2012.) Risso admits that he didn’t follow the codes of the house. But he has since settled in and earned widespread respect for his sense of individuality and diversity in his references.

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The whimsical designs of Francesco Risso for Marni. How ironic that an outside the box kind of designer works for a large fashion conglomerate. But it’s the outsider types that the corporations are hiring  these days. Quirky sells.

 

 

 

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Franklina Gray in Milanese lace veil, 1875.

English girls dress in the worst possible taste … German ladies dress without any regard to taste, the prevailing colors being purple and yellow … The Milanese ladies have a pretty fashion of wearing long black lace veils instead of hats. 

Franklina Gray (1853-1934).

At age 22, Ms. Gray embarked on the Grand Tour of Europe with her mother, aunt, and stepfather. From 1875 to 1877, the four traveled together visiting such countries as England, Germany, Greece, and Italy. As she traveled she kept a detailed journal and wrote letters regularly to her fiance left behind in Oakland, CA.

When the family returned they settled into what is now called the Camron-Stanford House on Lakeside Drive in Oakland. In 1878, Ms. Gray married her fiance, William Springer Bartlett at the Lakeside Drive home where they also lived for the next few years.

On now at the Camron-Stanford house is the unique exhibit, Franklina C. Gray: The Grand Tour, which features photos and excerpts from Ms. Gray’s writings about her travel experiences as well as personal mementos and articles of clothing, including gloves and shoes from her wedding ensemble.

I’m a big fan of local history and interesting characters, of which Ms. Gray certainly was. I’ve toured the house several times, but something new is always added (this time details about Ms. Gray’s family) and the old information sometimes doesn’t stick. For example, I should have remembered that the Camron-Stanford House (the last standing Victorian mansion on Lake Merritt) was once the Oakland Museum and we nearly lost this historical treasure back when the new museum was built.

But we didn’t lose it and tours of the house and the current exhibit are available on Sundays only. I highly recommend a visit to the Camron-Stanford House to my local readers for a leisurely Sunday afternoon out.

Franklina C. Gray: The Grand Tour runs through November 17, 2019.

Click here for more information.

 

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Chanel spring ad in Vogue magazine, March 2019.

When I heard about the death of designer Karl Lagerfeld earlier this week, I was surprisingly sad. I say surprisingly because, well, frankly, I wasn’t a fan of him as a person. I have read and listened to many an interview with Mr. Lagerfeld and he always struck me as a bit harsh. Still, I admired his talent and the loss of such to the fashion industry is palpable.

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Joan Collins dons a Chanel wool jacket, 1994. Marie Claire magazine, UK edition. Instantly recognizable as Chanel and yet quite different. 

Mr. Lagerfeld, born in 1933, shifted into celebrity status when in the early 1980s he took over the house of Chanel and turned what had become a stodgy label known mostly for its perfume, Chanel No. 5, which had declined in quality and was available at the corner drug store, into a global designer must-have.

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How appropriate that that final season of Karl Lagerfeld at Chanel includes  finger-less gloves, which was an essential part of his personal uniform.

What impressed me was his ability to take vintage Chanel – the suit, the fabrics, the handbags, the jewelry – and reinvent them time and time again. I always enjoyed the full page ads in fashion magazines each season showing yet another new Chanel look that STILL referenced classic Chanel. Perhaps it was a more edgy silhouette for the suit, a shorter hemline, or new bright colors used for the iconic tweed fabric. I particularly loved his use of frayed tweed. He often showed hats and gloves somehow making them hip instead of dowdy. His creativity was endless.

So, I tip my hat to Karl Lagerfeld for his amazing talent and I thank him for his unique contributions to fashion and style. Like Chanel, the Lagerfeld influence will live on.

 

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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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