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Congratulations to Chris Black who won Best Grand Picnic Site at this year’s Gatsby Summer Afternoon. As the picnic site judge it was my pleasure to recognize Chris’ attention to detail for her Egyptian Revival themed site, aptly named Temple of Hathor after the Ancient Egyptian Goddess of Love, Mirth, and Joy.

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Chris and her award winning Egyptian Revival Picnic Site.

In addition to how Chris handled her canopy (by nicely covering it up both outside and inside, including the ceiling) as well as adding charming touches like beverage glasses  painted with Egyptian images and papyrus plants, she also tied in her dress to the theme. All of that is what made her a winner!

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Photo: Chris Black.

A seamstress, Chris sewed her own 1930s-style dress using a pattern from Decades of Style. On Ebay she found the perfect reproduced vintage print fabric with hieroglyphics and pharaohs. It gets even better … the green buttons she used pick up the green in the dress and are truly vintage. A lucky find for Chris on Etsy.

Hats at Gatsby Summer Afternoon are a must and Chris topped her ensemble with a crushed crown straw chapeau onto which she added one of the dresses’ buttons. Love. It.

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Agatha Christie as inspiration. Photo: The Christie Archive.

Chris says that her inspiration came from a photo she saw of Agatha Christie: I’ve been collecting the vintage Egyptian prints for a couple years, but this pic of Agatha Christie in 1922 was thrilling because it’s an example of Egyptian Revival dressmaking that is not evening wear – you’ll see lots of beautiful beaded and embroidered frocks as well as coats on Pinterest, but I haven’t seen many casual prints like this in the 20s and 30s. Demonstrates to me that this trend extended beyond nightclubs and drawing rooms.

Thank you, Chris, for a job well done. I’m looking forward to seeing what you come up with next year!

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Susan Sarandon as Bette Davis in Feud: Bette and Joan.

I don’t know what we would have done without fabric painting. Since it was too time-consuming to locate the good vintage fabrics and prints, we relied on CADFab digital printing to replicate the fabrics we needed, From Baby Jane’s floral dress to Bette Davis’ 1978 Oscar caftan. 

Katie Saunders – Costume Supervisor on the television limited series, Feud: Bette and Joan.

Ms. Saunders was nominated for an Emmy for her work on Feud.

Congratulations to the winners in the costume categories last night.

Period Series: Michele Clapton – The Crown 

Contemporary Drama: Alix Friedberg, Big Little Lies

Variety/Non-Fiction/Reality: Zaldy Goco, RuPaul’s Drag Race

 

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Who are all of these people? I’m not against social media, but I don’t think the doors should be flung open wide so the whole world is at every presentation. It’s become a public convention. At times it feels like Comicon.

Ken Downing, fashion director and senior vice president, Neiman Marcus talking about fashion week.

Yeah, from what I hear New York Fashion Week has become an unpleasant madhouse.

Too many shows, too spread out (now that there’s no central location), and most of all – too many people, apparently, according to Mr. Downing, dressed like clowns. Also the shows never start on time. All this makes it very challenging for those who are  there just trying to do their job.

Oh, and did you know that some of the celebs sitting in the front row are paid to be there? Yep! According to the New York Times Beyonce gets $100,000. Julianne Moore only gets $60,000. (Don’t tell her … we don’t want any cat fights next to the catwalk.)

Meanwhile, the fashion powers that be are pondering the idea of opening up the shows even more and selling tickets to those willing to pay the big bucks. Traditionally one had to be invited and connected to the business – a fashion reporter, editor, buyer, retailer, etc. Or a friend or family member of the designer. Even today you must be invited. But, perhaps eventually the shows will become a real spectator sport and all you’ll need is a few hundred bucks to buy your way in.

 

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Gucci Fall 2017

RINGS! Large, chunky and one on just about every finger. Allessandro Michele for Gucci started the look a few years ago. He himself sports lots of big rings, many of them antique. When he took over as creative director in 2015, he shared the idea.

Other designers are picking it up with their individual spin. I see it in product ads as well.

Take a look at just a few I picked out.

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Tiffany’s approach is many smaller rings.

 

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Tacori is an even more delicate look.

 

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Chanel makes edgy elegant. Note the strand of pearls – a Chanel classic and another trend for fall.

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This is an ad for NARS and it’s my favorite chunky-ring-on-every-finger look. I think these are the most interesting collection of rings – not too big but big enough. They vary in shape and size.  Of interest but not obnoxious.

My style is small usually antique rings that I can stack. I learned this from my mother and we’ve both been doing that for years. I also like big chunky rings but I stick with just one at a time. However, I love this Gucci look on others and I hope to see more of it.

IMG_20170821_171928Your new hat is small … and round … and deep … made of melusine … the silky soft felt that is this year’s fashion sensation … in the subtle shades of a degas painting … flattering and romantic … from a collection … millinery, second floor. 

Agnes Farrell, fashion director & advertising director at Bullocks Wilshire, 1930s-1960s.

Speaking of a Degas painting, there’s a little more time left to catch Degas, Impressionism, and the Paris Millinery Trade at the Legion of Honor in San Francisco. On now through September 24, 2017.

Click here to read my review.

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Photo: Getty Images

Melania Trump’s poor choice of shoes last week caught a lot of attention. Less attention was paid to the cap she sported after landing in Houston to tour the flooded disaster zone caused by Hurricane Harvey. (Actually, they didn’t tour anything.)

Stepping down from Air Force One, Lady Trump had switched out of the heels and into a pair of snow white sneakers and donned a black cap with white stitching spelling out FLOTUS (First Lady of the United States). Another poor choice given she was going to a city completely underwater! The first thing that came to my mind when I saw her on television was – FLOAT! As in Houston residents floating in flooded cars, on flooded streets … floating inside flooded houses.

It read to me like a bad joke but I suppose that she didn’t get the pun. No one else on that plane got it either? In any case, it reflects the carelessness and insensitivity of the Trumps.

For the record I don’t like to criticize other women, but I expect more from FLOTUS and Melania just isn’t the role model she should be. Indeed, where has she been the last eight months?

l_bf97ff30-b30d-11e3-9bbd-795888e00023On a side note, I wonder if Melania has been influenced by the late Princess Diana in her choice of a white Oxford shirt. Diana has been in the press a lot these past weeks as we approached the 20th anniversary of her death. The princess sported Oxford shirts in 1997 as she toured active land mine fields and visited land mine victims in Angola.

But she left her tiara at home.

 

 

 

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Know who made your clothes. Photo: Fashion Revolution

I feel bad that my whole family ended up working in the garments factories … It wasn’t supposed to end up like this. I’ve been working in garments for eight years. I work on the machines. I started when I was 11 or 12. It was difficult. I really struggled to handle the workload … There are not any other jobs for girls like us. We aren’t educated so how could we get a decent job? Without the garments factories we’d have nothing. Once you start working in garments, you’re trapped. It’s no different to being in a prison

– A young woman garment worker. (From the documentary UDITA.)

This woman and her two sisters live in Dhaka (the capital of Bangladesh) and work at the same factory. All three have young children and husbands who walked out on them. They share one room with their children, parents, and a brother. They get MAYBE one day off a week and worry whether they’ll even get paid.

In 2013 the minimum wage for garment workers in Bangladesh was $38 a month as reported in the New York Times. Workers most often live in poverty. They are not paid overtime and sometimes they’re not paid at all. No paid sick time, vacations, or a Labor Day holiday! Any talk of unions can result in intimidation and firing.

Something to think about this Labor Day holiday.

Click here to watch UDITA and learn more about the working and living conditions for garment workers in Bangladesh.