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Posts Tagged ‘travel’

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Simple, elegant, comfortable. Jackie Kennedy Onassis did it well.

For many critics, the American style of dressing has gone too far. Yoga pants, hoodies, and flip-flops appear in all sorts of places they shouldn’t, like restaurants, offices, and European capitals … Comfort is not to blame. It appears that we’ve forgotten about panache. The most classic American women style icons always perfected both. Think of Jackie O. and Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy, Lauren Hutton and Michelle Obama. They share a simplicity and elegance in their choice of clothes, adding a pop of flair with a scarf or hat, a hair twist, or an elegant shoe. 

From the book Brooklyn Street Style: The No Rules Guide to Fashion by Anya Sacharow and Shawn Dahl (Abrams Image).

This quote points out something very important – that comfortable fashion is not the same as sloppy fashion, or it doesn’t have to be.

We can be casual and still chic by keeping it tidy, choose the right size, and add an accessory or two.

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Mary Alice Stephenson. Photo from Brooklyn Street Style.

Some people are just born with style and they know what to do and how to do it. I was born with a passion for all things stylish. I learned by being surrounded by stylish people. And I learned the ingredients and elements of style. Many of the most stylish people make it look easy, but there’s a lot of work that goes into it. 

Mary Alice Stephenson, fashion director and founder of Glam4Good an organization addressing social change through style.

Today’s quote is another one from Brooklyn Street Style (Abrams Image, 2015).

I agree with Stephenson that one can learn from being around stylish people. The best inspiration comes from other people – in our lives, work, community, and on the street.

Because I live in a place void of stylish people, I often wonder how I might be challenged and inspired if I were surrounded by other fashionables who stay on top of their game. What am I missing?

As it is, I dress for myself by myself with ideas that come from media like magazines, television, and old movies. Also, travel! I love to get AWAY and see how other people do it. I was greatly influenced by my trip to South Korea last year. The UK is also another place I like to visit and see what’s going on in fashion. After my trip in 2016 I came home and made a cape, which was inspired by Cordings in London.

(Interestingly, there are other cities that I noticed have no style – Portland, Seattle, Chicago, and Philadelphia).

This year I’m off to Brooklyn New York, where I’m sure to find lots of inspiration.

Let’s see what I come away with.

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Dress & skirt inspired by traditional Korean embroidered wedding robe with peony, phoenix, and butterfly motifs and combined with denim. Jin Teok, 1995. This piece was part of the Couture Korea exhibit.

My mother’s generation greatly valued tradition in fashion. Until the day she died, she kept her hair in a bun, as women did in the Joseon Period (1392-1910). She made her own clothes with different materials for each of the four seasons. She wore durumagi, a traditional Korean overcoat, made of silk fabrics called myeongju and jamisa in jade green. In winter she wore cotton-padded durumagi, a scarf made of silk, and rubber shoes, which I used to wipe clean whenever she was about to go out. I grew up in such a traditional family. 

Jin Teok, renowned South Korean fashion designer.

This quote is from the essay, Creating Contrasts in Korean Fashion by Jin Teok from the catalogue for Couture Korea, the exhibit at the San Francisco Asian Art Museum in 2017.

One of the things I noticed when I visited Seoul, South Korea was the contrast of traditional and modern – in the architecture, the food, the old and the young people – existing side by side. Seoul is very much a mixture and in that way it’s fascinating.

Jin Teok started her fashion career in 1965 and has been called a “pioneer of Korean fashion.” Known for blending the silhouettes and motifs of traditional Korean clothing with modern fashion, Teok designed the uniforms for the Korean 1988 Olympic teams and a few years later she designed the Asiana Airlines flight attendant uniforms. She has participated in many international fashion shows, putting Korean fashion in a global spotlight.

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Kit Cullinane at Salon 1757

It was a hot hot hot day on recent visit to my hair stylist Kit Cullinane at Salon 1757. But she was looking oh- so-cool in her bespoke dress.

When I asked Kit about her dress she told me it was one of the garments she had made while traveling in Vietnam last year. Knowing there would be ample opportunities to have clothing made, she brought with her a vintage shirtwaist dress which she had copied in rayon fabric at a shop called Su in Hoi An, Vietnam.

This is a thing in Vietnam – you can have clothing made to order. Suits, blouses, dresses, jackets, and in quick order too. Custom fit and good quality at reasonable prices.

Kit paired her dress with a brass chain belt that she found at a thrift store. She accessorized with a chunky bracelet and dangle earrings.

 

IMG_20190822_121029176I love the fabric design, which will transition nicely into fall. She can easily wear this in September and October, and as the weather starts to cool she can add a short jacket or sweater.

Thanks Kit, for the fashion story and for keeping my hair looking its best!

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IMG_20190714_151617Anyone sporting a stylish hat will catch my eye but to see a cloche is an extra treat.

What a nice ensemble for a hot summer afternoon in Sacramento. The shift dress looks comfortable and yet, it’s still an upgrade in a crowd of jeans and shorts. The patterned scarf adds a little pop to the dress. I like the black and white shoes, which coordinate with the scarf. I’d like them even more if they had a heel. As for the purse, to keep with the vintage vibe and color theme, a clutch in black or white (or black and white) would have been a better choice.

Of course it’s the stylish chapeau that tops the outfit just right and in spite of my observations, I think this woman looks delightful.

Hooray for ladies who wear hats!

 

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While at the Costume Society of America symposium in Seattle last month, as part of the symposium we had the opportunity to view the exhibit, Seattle Style: Fashion/Function before it opened.

Exhibiting at the Museum of History and Industry, Seattle Style is a collection of what best reflects sartorial choices, past and present, in this Pacific Northwest city. One might expect to see a lot of outdoor gear and we did, but also included are evening gowns, ball gowns, summer dresses, hats, coats, beaded handbags and more.

I’d say, just like in San Francisco, Chicago, and New Orleans fashion is not a priority for current Seattle residents. But that was perhaps not the case in the past and the intent of this exhibit is to feature the crossover of style and practicality. Given the climate, there’s a lot of layering, wool, and protection from rain. The exhibit draws manly from the museum’s own clothing collection, which has increased with donations from some of the city’s socialites. Also included in the exhibit are pieces on loan from local designers.

Pictured below are some of my favorites of the exhibit:

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Tired of having to cover up a interesting outfit with a drab raincoat, Clear Coated founder Miriam Rigby designed a coat that would keep her dry and show off her creative outfits.

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Blue Morpho gown. Luly Yang is a Seattle couture designer known for her elegant and nature inspired motifs for evening wear. 

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I’m a sucker for a shirtwaist! This one was designed and manufactured by Foster-Hochberg for the 1962 Seattle Worlds Fair. Sold at the fair and in stores around the city, the fabric depicts the Space Needle and other highlights of the fair. LOVE. IT.

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Salish Pattern wool blanket by Eighth Generation. Seattle based Eighth Generation makes Native American inspired blankets, which can be worn as a cape. 

Seattle Style: Fashion/Function is on now through October 14, 2019 at Museum of History and Industry in Seattle, WA. If you’re there, check it out.

 

 

 

 

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Every year Costume Society of America hosts a symposium, where professionals gather to discuss historical and cultural dress.

Costume Society of America was founded in 1973. As a non-profit organization they seek to offer educational opportunities in historical dress. Their mission statement:

The Costume Society of America fosters an understanding of appearance and dress practices of people across the globe through research, education, preservation, and design. Our network of members studies the past, examines the present, and anticipates the future of clothing and fashion.

This year I attended the CSA symposium for the first time. Held in Seattle, Washington it was four packed days of paper presentations, professional development workshops, meetings, exhibitions, and lots of chances to meet new friends among over 250 like-minded people. Attendees included professors,  historians, costumers, and museum curators. I’m not sure, but I might have been the only fashion writer. Although there were plenty of academic writers.

This year’s theme was The Pacific Rim and Beyond: Diffusion and Diversity in Dress. The keynote speaker Akiko Fukai from the Kyoto Costume Institute opened the symposium with an enthusiastic speech on the influence of Kimono and Japanese dress on western fashion.

Presentations varied and covered topics from costuming Shakespeare to pattern creation, from prison attire to clothing terminology, from modern Muslim dress to 1790s menswear.

My favorite presentations happened to be grouped together on the final day of the symposium.

Union-Made: Fashioning America in the 20th Century. Denise Nicole Green, Ph.D. discussed a multi-media exhibition at Cornell University that chronicled the rise and fall of union-made clothing in America.  The exhibit included union-made clothing, photos, sewing machines, ephemera, and artifacts from the the university’s costume collection and union archives. What a rich and fascinating topic.

Sustainable Clothing – Nothing New: Women’s Magazines Encouraged Clothing Recycling During World War II presented by Nan Turner, professor at University of California, Davis. We could learn a thing or two from fashionable women of the war generation. With all resources going to the “war effort” clothing was rationed both in England and Europe. Recycle, up-cycle and “Make-do and Mend” were a way of life. Researching fashion magazines of the period and interviewing women in Britain who lived through the war, Ms. Turner considered how women went about refashioning their clothing.  This paper is part of a book Ms. Turner is currently working on. I look forward to reading that book!

Corporate Fashion Archives and the Growing Role of the Historian: Using PVH Archives as a Case Study presented by Becca Love, PVH Archives. Ms. Love has a very interesting job – she manages part of the archives for PVH, a fashion conglomerate which owns brands Calvin Klein, IZOD, Arrow, and Geoffrey Beene, among others. PVH Archives launched in 2014.  In this paper presentation Ms. Love discussed this new avenue in corporate fashion houses for fashion historians. As legacy brands begin to tout their history, archives have become important for inspiration, research, and PR cachet. Growing archives create a need for professionals to manage these archives. With limited and competitive options elsewhere for museum curators and fashion historians, corporate fashion houses are an exciting option. I really enjoyed learning about this new and growing career path.

All in all it was a week of full immersion in fashion academics.

There is more to report so I’ll be posting again on the CSA Annual Symposium in the coming weeks. Stay tuned.

 

 

 

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