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Posts Tagged ‘fashion’

woa-gabriela-perezetti-main-smallMy whole family used to use this seamstress, Tota, … growing up in Uruguay there were no fancy stores around – the nicest thing you could do was get European fabrics and have things made … We wouldn’t buy a lot but for each important stage of life or big event we’d have something made. There’s a suit from my mother, this olive wool skirtsuit with a blazer that has, like, a military seal and her initials embroidered on the pocket … I always loved the whole outfit, so much so that when we launched the first collection, I had that suit in it. It’s always been a reference to quality materials made to last …

Gabriela Hearst, women’s fashion designer. Quote from Elle magazine, October 2017.

I am a big fan of custom made clothing. I have an expanding wardrobe of fashions made just for me from dresses, to blouses, to a beautiful 1920s inspired coat.

It’s pure pleasure to don perfectly fitted clothing for which you have chosen the design and fabrics. Each piece is unique, well made, and it feels extra good to have supported local seamstresses/designers.

Also, I can relate to Ms. Hearst’s fondness for her mother’s wardrobe. What is it about our mother’s clothing from our childhoods? I too have memories of what my mother wore – specific images that I like to revisit. I even have some of the vintage pieces right out of her closet. Many of them special occasion outfits, but it’s the everyday pieces that I’m drawn to. The ones I saw all the time – the tweed skirts and Oxford shirts; slacks and desert boots. The outfits that identified a mom as my Mom.

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Danielle-Steel-QuotesStyle simply IS. You can’t buy it. You can’t pay people to give it to you, and you cannot fake it. You have it or you don’t. Truly stylish, drop dead chic women have style at 15 or 97. It really is ageless … The trend today of being dressed “by someone” makes most women appear to be wearing someone else’s looks, or as if they’ve borrowed their clothes … Women need to be braver about wearing their own style and looks, even if they make some mistakes. The mistakes can be cool too!

Danielle Steel, romance novelist and San Francisco socialite. This quote was taken from an essay Ms. Steel wrote for Harper’s Bazaar (November 2017).

I spotted Ms. Steel one time when I was on assignment covering the reopening of the Chanel store on Maiden Lane in San Francisco. She was sporting a fur coat and seemingly having fun trying on shoes.

As for having style, well, sure some women (and men) just have a sense for what is stylish but I don’t know that one who perhaps doesn’t have a natural affinity can’t figure it out. If someone really wants to pay attention and work on it, they too can have style. Why not? And that’s where “being dressed by someone” can help. A stylist acts as a guide and gets their client on the right track. It’s true you can’t buy style and no one can give it to you. It has to come from within, so to speak. But it is something that can develop. I think it’s the process of developing and growing that makes fashion fun.

Speaking of style of a different sort, Ms. Steel evidently still types her manuscripts on a typewriter. HB published her original typed version complete with cross outs and handwritten edits. Now that’s true (not fake) STYLE.

 

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nipar-bonnie-370wNot a believer in idle hands, my grandmother presented me with a small sewing box when I was nine years old. She taught me rudimentary hand stitching, cross-stitch, embroidery, and how to darn holes in socks. Soon, I was making clothing for my dolls out of her old aprons. A year later, she announced we would move on to the sewing machine. I felt a thrill of adventure as she pulled down the hideaway ladder in the upstairs hallway and we climbed to the attic sewing room, complete with a large cutting table, bins of fabric and patterns, and nestled close to a dormer window, an old Singer sewing machine with a knee pedal. This room became my haven growing up. My grandmother was the first person to recognize my passion for clothing and design, and foster my creativity. I will always be grateful to her for teaching me how to sew.

Bonnie Nipar, Hollywood costume designer.

Ms. Nipar shared her story with the recent edition of The Costume Designer (the official magazine of the Costume Designers Guild, Local 892). Her work can be seen on television shows Grace Under Fire, Dharma & Greg, and recently Are You There, Chelsea?

 

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770_480nMum’s sewing shop – which also doubled as the back room of our flat where she and my dad slept – was where all the mothers and sisters would come. They’d bring a magazine image, and she’d work with them to cut something that actually suited them. I loved the way she could pick up a piece of fabric with confidence and cut without a pattern; to this day, I drape on friends. I then have to work backward to adapt to the standard sample-size measurements for production, but it allows me to see what it’s going to look like on the end customer.

Osman Yousefzada – British fashion designer. (This quote is from an interview with Elle magazine, June 2017.)

 

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Osman Yousefzada Resort 2017. Lots of new things going on with sleeves this season and of course the bare shoulder is everywhere. I like the one sided approach,

After graduating with a fashion design degree from Central St Martins, Osman Yousefzada debuted his women’s line during London’s 2008 Fashion Week. He quickly became a favorite for his sculptural silhouettes and went on to win several prestigious fashion awards including the BFC Newgen sponsored by Topshop.

I love this story that Mr. Yousefzada shares. What a nice image and memory. Bringing magazine cuttings to local seamstresses was and perhaps still is a popular thing to do. I know my mother did it decades ago, I do it, and I have a friend who has clothing made that way as well.

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http _s3-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com_fthtsi-assets-production_ez_images_0_1_2_1_511210-1-eng-GB_main_5a8779b9-4b91-42d7-87bb-75a38d64cb40I see a great return of activism in the fashion industry. I think fashion has the power to communicate important things in a moment where everybody is worried. Fashion has a unifying power. But this has to be done with a light hand, without arrogance.

Silvia Venturini Fendi, Italian designer for the men’s collection, Fendi.

I was just reading about the German occupation of France during WWII and how young French citizens used fashion to communicate their resistance.

They called themselves Zazous (after a song by American jazz musician Cab Calloway) and were considered a subculture of mostly young people, 17-20 years old.

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Cab Calloway in a Zoot Suit.

The Zazou man sported long suit jackets with extra wide pants often in check patterns. This was an affront to the strict fabric restrictions and inspired by the American Zoot Suit, a style at the time popular among Blacks and Latinos who had their own resistance to communicate. Zazous favored thick soled shoes, jazz music, and swing dancing. Women wore very short flared skirts with tight sweaters, and tailored jackets. Accessories included large dark sunglasses, red lipstick, and striped tights. Both the guys and gals grew their hair long in defiance of the 1942 French government decree for barbershops to donate cut hair to the war effort – to make sweaters and slippers.

The possible current trend for Resistance Style (am I coining a new phrase?) so far has been limited to the statement t-shirt and the occasional safety pin. But I suspect that in the near future we will see more communication from individuals and designers.

This could be very interesting.

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409full-rei-kawakuboIf you have total freedom to design, you won’t get anything interesting. So I give myself restraints in order to kind of push myself through, to create something new. It’s the torture that I give myself, the pain and the struggle that I go through. So it’s self-given, but that’s the only way, I think, to make a strong, good new creation.

– Rei Kawakubo, renowned fashion designer for Comme des Garcons.

Ms. Kawakubo is known for her experimental construction and unconventional silhouettes. One can sense her self-torture looking at her designs, which to my mind are interesting soft sculpture but not at all wearable. Her work reminds me of Leigh Bowery concoctions.

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Rei Kawakubo designs for Comme des Garcons spring/summer 2016.

But I do like her ready-to-wear … like this one:

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Ready-to-wear spring/summer 2016.

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Tres chic Ines de la Fressange. Photo: Reuters

Former French model and now author Ines de la Fressange is the perfect example of a chic older woman. At 53 she’s recently returned to the catwalk and she’s been nominated Most Stylish Woman in Paris.  Way to go, Ines.

Fashion for women-of-a-certain-age is tricky. One doesn’t want to look like a teenager, but the matronly look middle-aged women tended toward 50 or even 30 years ago, isn’t going to cut it for the boomers.

What’s a women to do? Well, Ines says the French lady has it right:

  • for starters she’s not worried about getting older, she does so gracefully
  • she sticks to the classics and adds trends in accessories
  • she sports the right attitude, which would be one of confidence
  • she keeps fashion fun  

In the 1980s Ines was the CHANEL house model and muse of Karl Lagerfeld. In her book, Parisian Chic: A Style Guide (Flammarion, 2011) Ines shows readers how to build a complete chic look based on seven “brilliant basics.”  

  1. men’s blazer
  2. trench coat
  3. navy blue sweater
  4. tank top
  5. LBD
  6. jeans
  7. leather coat (I don’t agree with this one.)

She suggests not fretting about height and weight, “… everything is a question of proportion and attitude,” Ines recently told BBC Radio Four’s Woman’s Hour. “It’s nice to be tiny, it’s sweet and feminine.” (You said it.)

Vive Ines!

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