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Posts Tagged ‘fashion icons’

The gold and green Hermès bag that Ms. Romanek inherited from her grandmother. Photo: Michael P.H. Clifford.

I inherited this Hermès bag from my grandmother when she passed away 19 years ago. Before COVID, I circled the bag in my closet for years. But then, during the pandemic, I was like ‘You know what? I want to feel good, and this is bringing me joy.’ Now I wear it every day, with an A-line skirt or a sweater set or a nice pair of jeans. When I do, it makes me think about my grandmother and smile. I know this sounds crazy, but it gives me a little bit of support.

Brigette Romanek – Interior designer.

This quote is from Harper’s Bazaar magazine, November 2022.

I really like this story! How lovely that Ms. Romanek uses her grandmother’s handbag every day and that she finds comfort in it.

During the pandemic, I also pulled out some of my tucked-away treasures. I started wearing pearls every day, even if I was just staying home. I have a custom-made tweed coat that I used to wear only for dressy occasions, but now I slip it on for our winter strolls in the neighborhood. Why not? Life is too short not to wear and use our nice things.

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Laila Gohar looking stylish in the kitchen. Photo: Nacho Alegre.

When I work, I like to wear menswear shirts with a long bistro-style apron that ties around my body.

Laila Gohar – Egyptian born chef, artist, and designer.

Ms. Gohar has a masters degree in Media Studies from Parson’s School of Design in New York. While in school she worked at a French bistro where she learned to “curate” events. Now she prepares food for special pop-up events – clients include Tiffany & Co and Comme des Garsons. Her website says that she “uses food as an artistic medium and a tool for communication.” How interesting!

I’m a big fan of aprons. For one thing I like to keep my clothes free of kitchen spits and splatters. But I also like an added touch of style while cooking.

I have a few aprons and each one means something to me. One I’ve had since I was around 12-years-old. It was a gift from my stepmother – a souvenir she picked up in Europe. I kept it but didn’t wear it until recently. Another was a gift from my mother a few years ago. It’s made of fine cotton and she bought it from a local shop that specializes in French imports of linens, dishware, and soap among other goodies. (Sadly that shop recently closed.)

Helping Hands Apron from Gohar World.

How cool that Ms. Gohar has created a unique look for herself that is both stylish and practical. (I notice she’s sporting a brooch on her apron pictured above.) She and her sister, Nadia, also an artist, have applied their whimsy to a line of tableware and linens. One of their apron designs is called Helping Hands Apron and features a pair of lace hands dangling from the tie.

Do you have a cook on your holiday gift list? How about giving them a new apron?

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Catherine Blair. Photo: Judy Rogac for Harper’s Bazaar.

Maybe the (Catholic-school) uniform that I complained about was a good idea in that it showed that it’s not awful to wear the same thing. And I often think when I see somebody who’s not terribly well-dressed but has tons of clothes, if she had just restricted her shopping a bit.

Catherine “Deeda” Blair – NY society doyenne, medical philanthropist, and mental-health and brain research advocate.

This quote is from an interview with Ms. Blair in Harper’s Bazaar, September 2022. Her first book, Deeda Blair: Food, Flowers, and Fantasy (Rizzoli International Publications) is just out.

It’s funny to think that people who are “not terribly well-dressed” have a lot of clothes, but it’s true. Instead of piles of fast fashion, just a few quality classics would be so much better for the environment as well as one’s bank account.

Uniforms can help with that. What I mean is a personal uniform – a go-to look that is comfortable and makes the wearer feel confident. For example, I wear skirts and various tops. The tops depend on the weather and what I’m doing. I might wear a blouse if I’m working or a t-shirt if I’m running errands. It was my mom who inspired my look. When I was growing up, she wore skirts and button down shirts for her daily uniform. She had maybe four skirts (wool tweeds and cotton pleats) and half a dozen shirts in white. She layered with sweaters as do I. For me skirts are easy and always looks stylish, particularly with an added hat, scarf, and some eye-catching jewelry.

I must confess that I have quite a few skirts in cotton for spring/summer and in wool for autumn/winter. But I do wear them!

How about you? Do you have a personal uniform? Please share.

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T-shirt and jeans from the Jane Birkin collection for A.P.C.

It’s a whole art to be invisible. To be noticed for what you actually do or say or write and not for your appearance.

Jean Touitou – Creative director and founder of the French fashion brand, A.P.C.

This season Mr. Touitou has collaborated with actress and fashion icon, Jane Birkin on a new line of fashion unisex basics. Inspired by what has become Ms. Birkin’s daily uniform – jeans, t-shirts, men’s shirts, sweaters, sneakers, and a straw bag (not the Hermes Birkin Bag?). The new line isn’t all that interesting until you get to the details. Such as the t-shirt necklines have a little lower scoop so it drapes just off the shoulder and the sneakers are lined with faux sheepskin. The jeans are 100% Japanese cotton (no spandex!!).

Ms. Birkin herself has said that what she wears is “nice but boring.” I think her style speaks to the Touitou quote above – it’s simple and doesn’t stand out and yet there’s thought behind it. Ms. Birkin is perhaps “invisible,” but she’s still put together and she’s developed her own style. There’s nothing haphazard about her look and in that, I would say, she’s actually quite visible.

I would take these quality basics and accessorize them with a cashmere pullover sweater, a string of pearls, a hat, and a vintage handbag.

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Museum of the African Diaspora (MoAD) in San Francisco is celebrating its 17th anniversary with their latest exhibition, The New Black Vanguard: Photography Between Art and Fashion, on now through March 5, 2023.

Photo: Raquel Adrienne. Courtesy of Aperture.

The New Black Vanguard features 15 Black fashion photographers who create images that step outside traditional fashion expectations and provide a space for the Black aesthetic. MoAD Executive Director Monetta White says: The works in this exhibit signal a dramatic and long overdue transformation taking place in fashion and art today, one driven by the bold vision of a breakout group of Black creatives who are stewarding the representation of the Black figure in the marketplace.

Photo: Daniel Obasi. Courtesy of Aperture.

The fifteen esteemed photographers are: Campbell Addy, Arielle Bobb-Willis, Micaiah Carter, Awol Erizku, Nadine Ijewere, Quil Lemons, Namsa Leuba, Renell Medrano, Tyler Mitchell, Jamal Nxedlana, Daniel Obasi, Ruth Ossai, Adrienne Raquel, Dana Scruggs, and Stephen Tayo. These young artists are from places such as New York, Atlanta, London, and Johannesburg. Their work includes photoshoots for Vogue and Allure magazines as well as ad campaigns for the likes of Dior, Stella McCartney, and Marc Jacobs.

The exhibition of 100 photographs and several publications is arranged in two galleries. In a third gallery visitors can view videos of various ad campaigns created by the artists.

Photo: Jamal Nxedlara. Courtesy of Aperture.

I found the images to be striking for the composition, the styling, and the use of bright colors. They definitely occupy a unique space between art and fashion. I was particularly taken with the photograph above by Jamal Nxedlara, South African image maker and founder of the fashion label Missshape. The more I look at it the more I fall into it. I’m drawn to the color combinations and the sculptured hair echoed in the large earrings. I love details such as the texture in the jacket and the shadow of one earring on the model’s neck. It’s beautiful!

Photo: Ruth Ossai. Courtesy of Aperture.

San Francisco is the only West Coast stop for this traveling exhibit created by New York critic/curator Antwaun Sargent and Aperture magazine. Photographers, photo enthusiasts, and fashion followers will find much to learn and admire at The New Black Vanguard: Photography Between Art and Fashion.

MoAD is located at 685 Mission Street @ 3rd in SF. Hours are Wednesday-Saturday, 11-6, Sunday, 12-5.

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Tie-dye dress from Tory Burch Spring/Summer 2013.

I have loved tie-dye since high school. It reminds me of my first concert and endless summers. Many cultures, like those in India, Japan, and Africa, have a tradition of dyeing that is unique to their region. The tie-dye pieces from our Spring 2013 runway were handmade by women artisans in the Republic of Guinea, through a partnership with the non-profit organization – There is No Limit Foundation. These artists are keeping traditions alive, while supporting their families and communities.

Tory Burch – American fashion designer.

This quote is from the book Tory Burch: In Color (Abrams).

I would wear this dress by Tory Burch. I like the simple shirtwaist silhouette, which allows the tie-dye fabric to be the focus. I also like the classic indigo blue and white combo. So crisp and chic! There’s something about dark blue with a touch of white that feels just right for September – back to school, back to work, in my case back to the writing desk – on late summer afternoons, just before we switch to autumnal colors.

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Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II (1926-2022).

Always elegant in her style. Always gracious in her manner. Always striving to do her best.

The Queen pictured with her favorite creatures – Corgis and horses – at Balmoral Castle in Scotland, 1965. Photo: Godfrey Argent. Such a smart riding jacket.
Pearls, brooches, hats, and a big smile. Queen Elizabeth II. Cover photo for the book Queen of the World, by Robert Hardman. Getty Photos. The Queen was known for her bright colors, which she wore in public so that the people who were in the very very back of the crowd could spot her.

After ten days of official mourning, today is The Queen’s funeral.

Rest in peace.

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I Am Coco by Isabel Pin

Award winning illustrator Isabel Pin has just published her latest children’s book, I Am Coco: The Life of Coco Chanel (Prestel Publishing).

Much has been written about the designer/fashion icon Coco Chanel (even for children), however, there’s something quite unique and compelling about Ms. Pin’s addition to the stack. As the author and illustrator, she gives readers an overview of Chanel’s life from young orphan at the turn of the last century to innovative designer to icon, highlighting the big events in her life – short-lived singing career, first shop, love affairs, world wars, daring designs, and her comeback in the late 1950s.

Illustrations From the book I am Coco: The Life of Coco Chanel.

Each chapter of the story is concisely written and embellished with colorful illustrations. Although Pin’s depictions bear little resemblance to Chanel, her simple drawings with a swipe of added color grew on me. (Her style actually reminds me of mid-century fashion illustrations, in particular Andy Warhol, who was a fashion illustrator in his early career.) Pin’s images of Chanel, her life, and designs are as delightful to look at as a plate of pink and green French Macarons.

Chanel’s story takes place in the world of fashion, but the message within her story is perseverance. In addition to learning about Chanel’s life and achievements, young readers will find in I Am Coco fashion history, inspiration, and encouragement to follow their ambitions.

I Am Coco: The Life of Coco Chanel by Isabel Pin is targeted for readers aged six to nine, but this its a fun read at any age.

(Thank you Prestel Publishing and Media Masters Publicity for providing a review copy to ODFL.)

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Illustration of Coco Chanel by Isabel Pin from I Am Coco: The Life of Coco Chanel (Prestel Publishing).

In order to be irreplaceable, one has to be different.

So true! This reminds me of something a local clothing manufacturer once told me. He said that people don’t want to stand out in their fashion. They want to blend in.

I can understand that. It’s easier to blend in. To not be different. Particularly in our modern world, where life is so hectic. BUT, it’s a lot less fun.

Come back to ODFL tomorrow for my review of I Am Coco: The Life of Coco Chanel by award winning children’s book illustrator, Isabel Pin.

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Designing is like a living organism in that it pursues what matters for its well-being and continuity.

Issey Miyake (1938-2022), Renowned Japanese fashion designer.

Miyake was part of the avant-garde fashion movement of the 1980s and 90s, along with Rei Kawakubo and Yohji Yamamoto. Although based in Japan and rooted in Japanese aesthetics, the designs and designers of the movement became global hits. GQ said in 1984, “These are clothes that conform to no fashion standards. They seek to abolish form. They hang loosely on the body in oversized unusual silhouettes.” Additionally the fabric was often in black and had raw unfinished edges.

In 1970 Miyake established the Miyake Design Studio in Tokyo where he experimented with textiles and design, following his own philosophy of creating clothing reflective of its time while always staying socially conscious.

RIP Issey Miyake.

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