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Posts Tagged ‘vintage fashion’

The gentleman who always dressed well.

ODFL pauses to honor the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

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Today, Day Three of the Twelve Days of Tree Ornaments, we have a silver skate charm.

About ten years ago I decided I wanted to learn how to ice skate. So, I took a class and then I took private lessons. I loved bundling up in vintage sweaters, pulling on my bright white new skates and learning how to glide across the ice. Well, it was more learning how to fall; the gliding was hard to come by.

At the time, a friend of mine from work was collecting antique silver charms. We had the love of antique jewelry in common and we often shared our latest finds. I asked her to keep an eye out for a skate charm for me and she said, “Or I could just give you the one I have.” A few days later she came to my office with a box containing a silver skate charm. I love the detailing and the bottom opens! It’s a nice addition to my tree and it holds pleasant memories of my skating adventures and my friend from work.

Tomorrow is another day, another Tree Ornament. Tune in.

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Julie Rubio

I had the pleasure of meeting Julie Rubio several years ago when I interviewed her for an article in the Lamorinda Weekly. She had just opened a boutique in Lafayette and I have kept up with her ever since. An award winning film producer as well as a business woman, Julie produced the hit movie East Side Sushi among other films and now she’s working on something close to her heart –Tamara De Lempicka, the first full-length documentary on the famous artist from the Art Deco era.

De Lempicka (1898-1980) painted fashionable people of the 1920s and 1930s, making her paintings a fascinating study for anyone interested in fashion history. A stylish woman herself, she modeled for a French fashion magazine, designed her own hats, and donned fashions by Coco Chanel. Today her works sell for millions of dollars and are collected by the likes of Donna Karan, Barbra Streisand, and Madonna.

Julie was kind enough to agree to a Q&A with ODFL.

What is it about Tamara that attracts you?

Her will to not only survive but thrive through some really horrific times and create beauty out of her pain. 

What do you think Tamara’s message is to women of today?

Unleash the chains that bind you. Go out after your dreams and make them happen. As she would say, “There are no miracles there is only what you make.”

Tamara’s work is very collectable, what is it about her style that speaks to people? I think it’s unquestionable that her work speaks to people in a way that, if you’re fond of her work, it draws you in. Her paintings look at you and you can see into the soul of each painting.  It’s quite powerful – the eyes and the flawlessness of each portrait. Her paintings haunt you in a really good way.

In terms of her fashion style, what could we learn from her? 

To be bold and beautiful. Not to be afraid to elevate the room.

Gucci dress. You would rock this, Julie!

If you were to meet Tamara, take her out to dinner – where would you take her and what would you wear?

The restaurant at Meadowood is traveling to my favorite restaurant in Mexico City called Pujol. It’s quite simply one of the best restaurants in the world. Nothing flashy but the food is outstanding. I think Tamara would really like this restaurant considering she loved Mexico.  I would wear something free-flowing, risqué and beautiful. Gucci has this lace black dress that’s completely see-through and beautiful with the most exquisite bustiers. I’d simply go for it, when it came to my outfit and I’d wear a hat! 

Thank you, Julie. I love your comment, “Not to be afraid to elevate the room.” Let’s elevate all the rooms! And I agree that Tamara’s unique artistic style really stays with you.

Julie is working closely with Tamara’s family, who have granted her access to photos, stories, and artworks. The film is set to be released next year and in the meantime fundraising continues. Click here for more information.

Artwork by Tamara de Lempicka. Copyright 2021 Tamara de Lempicka Estate LLC. All rights reserved.

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Tamara de Lempicka, circa 1980. Image from Passion By Design: The Are and Times of Tamara de Lempicka (Abbeville Press Publishers)

But I don’t like people to flatter my clothes. Why? I tell you. When I was very young, people would say, ‘Tamara, you are gorgeous, what beautiful eyes you have, what beautiful hair – oh, you are beautiful.’ Now they say, ‘What a beautiful hat, what a beautiful dress, what a beautiful ring,’ but they never say, ‘How beautiful you are.’ The world changes. First they notice you, then they notice your things. So you had better have beautiful things when you grow old.

Tamara de Lempicka (1898-1980), Polish artist.

I found this quote in the book, Passion By Design: The Art and Times of Tamara de Lempicka, by Kizette de Lempicka (Abbeville Press Publishers).

Tamara de Lampicka, Studio Joffe, circa 1938.

Ms. Lempicka is known for her distinct painting style, which she perfected in 1920s Paris. She painted many a portrait of wealthy aristocrats in the Art Deco era. Her works today are collected by celebrities such as Madonna and sell for millions.

This comment reminds me of the Advance Style ladies – women mostly in NYC of a certain age who dress either very well or quirky and have been photographed by Ari Seth Cohen for his blog called Advanced Style. The blog led to two books and a documentary film and it’s become quite the thing.

I often think about the Advanced Style phenomenon and it seems to me that these lovely ladies have overcome the loss of attention, usually experienced by older women, by being noticeable in a way other than “beauty.” Using color and pattern in their clothing, adding vintage pieces and lots of accessories, with a dash of attitude they create their own style, which encourages plenty of attention.

I suspect that despite what she said, Ms. Lempicka would have preferred whatever attention she got for her clothing, than no attention at all.

Come back tomorrow for a Q&A with Julie Rubio, producer of the new documentary, Tamara.

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Welcome to December. Welcome to the holidays. I would venture to say that most fashionables love a good fashion book. Here’s a list of my fashion book recommendations for holiday gift giving.

Lee Miller in Fashion by Becky E. Conekin (The Monacelli Press). My introduction to Lee Miller was an exhibit of her WWII photography at the V&A Museum in London. I’ve been captivated by her ever since. An American expat in England, Ms. Miller lived a very complex and interesting life as a fashion model, photographer, surrealist artist, WWII correspondent, journalist for Vogue magazine and later almost a recluse in the English countryside. This book focusses on her work as a fashion photographer; included are lots of photos that show her talent and her way of looking at fashion, as well as the fashions of the day in WWII Europe.

The Chiffon Trenches: A Memoir by Andre Leon Talley (Ballantine Books). Fashion journalist and former creative director at Vogue magazine, Andre Leon Talley spills the tea all over the fashion world with his experiences among industry royalty. Mr. Talley shares childhood memories growing up in Durham, NC as well as all the highs and lows and many disappointments of his career, which began in 1970s NYC. He offers insights as well as a close up look at what it’s like working with such icons as Anna Wintour and Karl Lagerfeld (guess what – it isn’t always pretty).

How to Read a Dress: A Guide to Changing Fashion From the 16th to the 20th Century by Lydia Edwards (Bloomsbury Academic). I received this as a Christmas gift one year from my sis-in-law and it quickly became my favorite fashion history reference book. Each section starts with a historical overview followed by pictures of the costumes with each detail of the various silhouettes pointed out and commented on. This is a handy guide to have for quick reference as well as serious study and I really appreciate the Glossary of Terms in the back of the book. (There is a new edition out this year with additional chapters and expansion to the year 2020.)

How to Read a Suit: A Guide to Changing Men’s Fashion from the 17th to the 20th Century by Lydia Edwards (Bloomsbury Academic). When I was taking a fashion history class in 2020, much to my surprise I was completely taken with the men’s fashions of the 17th and 18th centuries. My, were they embellished and extravagant and interesting! When I came upon this book in the Bloomsbury catalogue I had to have it. I enjoy just looking through the pages of images and studying the details. The layout is the same as How to Read a Dress.

In the Name of Gucci: A Memoir by Patricia Gucci (Crown Archetype). We’ve been hearing a lot about the Gucci family with the recent release of the film House of Gucci, starring Lady Gaga and Adam Driver. This memoir is not that story. Patricia Gucci is the “love child” of Aldo (eldest son of the founder of Gucci and played in the movie by Al Pacino) and his mistress, to whom he was devoted for many years. Ms. Gucci writes her childhood story living alone with her mother, seeing her fashion mogul father every so often. He spent most of his time putting the family fashion business on the map, opening stores and spreading the Gucci logo all around the world. Eventually, Patricia joined the company. This is an intriguing story about family, fashion, and business and how they don’t necessarily all fit neatly together.

It’s fashionable to shop local and support independent bookstores. If you don’t see what you want on the shelves, ask. Most bookstores can place an order and get what you need, pronto.

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Kristen Stewart as Princess Diana in Spencer.

The idea was that we were never slavishly replicating all of Diana’s looks, but we were definitely riffing on the idea of them. So we were quite consciously not trying to do the closest version we could in every instance. But in some places we used things that were exactly her style and then other places we drifted off. We bought a retro pair of jeans, and the sweaters weren’t made by us, obviously. But a lot of the pieces were made.

Jacqueline Durran, British costume designer.

This quote is from a Q&A Ms. Durran did with Entertainment Weekly about her latest project – the film, Spencer.

We have some treats coming up in Holiday Season 2021 and one is this film staring Kristen Stewart as Princess Diana. Spencer covers three days, over Christmas, of Princess Diana’s life when she is at one of her lowest points.

Ms. Durran has won two Academy Awards for her work – on Anna Karenina in 2012 and Little Women in 2019. She also created the oh-so-lovely green dress that Keira Knightley wore in Atonement.

I’m looking forward to Spencer. From what I hear Ms. Stewart does an impressive job and then of course, the costumes!!

Also, calling all the other House of Eliott fans out there, the actress who played one of the Eliott sisters is playing an important role in Spencer. Can anyone spot her? If so, tell me the actress’s name, which Eliott sister she played, and what role does she have in Spencer. Leave all that in a comment. Don’t cheat!

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On the set of And Just Like That this past summer. I don’t know about the boho look for Miranda.

I’m inspired as a costume designer by what I see young people doing. Either on the internet or standing right in front of me – street fashion.

Molly Rogers – American costume designer.

Ms. Rogers is currently working on the costumes for And Just Like That – the Sex and the City reboot due to air on HBO Max in December of this year.

Her past gigs include the television show Ugly Betty and the hit movie The Devil Wears Prada and she also worked closely with Patricia Field on the SATC series as well as both movies. Rogers had been working with Field since 1984 when she popped into the stylists’ shop and asked for a job.

Now she’s going solo with And Just Like That, as Field is busy working on Emily in Paris.

There are several Instagram accounts following the series production around NYC and providing us with a sneak peek at the costumes, which are getting mixed reviews.

As for the quote – there’s nothing better than street fashion IF you happen to live in a place like NYC or London or Pairs. People watching in such places offers amazing inspiration. But elsewhere there is little to no inspiring fashion to be found. So we have magazines, Instagram, and television shows like – And Just Like That.

I’m looking forward to indulging on some serious fashion candy come December.

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Happy Halloween!

Make sure to celebrate in style.

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Image courtesy of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.

On now at the de Young Museum in San Francisco is the West Coast premiere of Patrick Kelly: Runway of Love, a celebration of Mr. Kelly and his inspired fashions of the 1980s.

Black fashion designer Patrick Kelly (1954-1990) was known for combining whimsy with classic. His unique use of embellishment as well as a constant upbeat message in his designs attracted many. Originally from Mississippi, he moved to NYC to study fashion design and in 1979 he moved to Paris. There he had friends bop around the streets in his handmade jersey outfits adorned with buttons. These colorful ensembles caught the attention of French Elle magazine and voila, he was on his way to fashion stardom.

Image courtesy of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.

I was not familiar with Mr. Kelly before hearing of this exhibit but I’m happy to have found him and now he is among my favorites. I appreciate his humor and references to fashion history; I see a touch of Schiparelli here and a pinch of Chanel there, but with a unique Kelly twist. There is something very charming about these designs – they are playful, fun, and yet still polished. He was a master at playing with sophisticated silhouettes by adding unexpected adornments like buttons, tassels, and dice. His use of buttons was inspired by his grandmother who, when he was a child, used to replace his lost buttons with whatever style and color she had on hand. That “outside the box” approach stuck with Mr. Kelly.

Runway of Love, curated by Laura L. Camerlengo, Associate Curator of Costume and Textile Arts at the Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco, is divided into four sections covering Mr. Kelly’s career from hand making knit jersey dresses in his early Paris days to his successful runway shows. One of the sections includes some of his personal collection of racist memorabilia, which served as inspiration for him in his designs. Although controversial in America at that time, his use of racist symbols was his way of controlling the charged images and that puts another interesting twist on his work.

In 1988 Mr. Kelly was the first American and first Black designer to be voted into the Chambre Syndicale du Pret-a-Porter des Couturiers et des Createurs de Mode, the prestigious French association for ready-to-wear designers. This was quite an honor and well deserved!

Patrick Kelly’s archive of fashions was given to the Philadelphia Museum of Art by Mr. Kelly’s business and life partner, Bjorn Amelan, who said that he spent years after Mr. Kelly’s early death of complications from AIDS in 1990, looking for the right home for the archive.

As well as 80 fully accessorized ensembles, the exhibit includes several videos of runway shows, sketches and art by the designer, and other ephemera.

From the 80s music in the background to the upbeat videos, from the buttons to the bright colors to the cultural references – I walked out of Patrick Kelly: Runway of Love uplifted and inspired. I can’t recommend this exhibit enough.

Patrick Kelly: Runway of Love at the de Young Museum now through April 24, 2022.

A few things to know before you go:

  1. Pack a mask! Masks are required on everyone, regardless of vaccination status.
  2. The Coat Room is closed; travel light and remember that backpacks must be hand held inside the museum.
  3. To allow for plenty of safe space in the galleries the tickets are timed, so it’s a good idea to book ahead.

And there’s more! Continue to explore Patrick Kelly with a series of panel discussions Wednesdays at 5pm: October 27th, November 3rd, March 30, April 23. Click here for the full scoop.

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PARIS, FRANCE – CIRCA 1988: Patrick Kelly at the Patrick Kelly Spring 1989 show circa 1988 in Paris, France. (Photo by PL Gould/IMAGES/Getty Images)

I just want my clothes to make you smile.

Patrick Kelly (1954-1990), American fashion designer.

Well, I think Mr. Kelly achieved that desire. His whimsical fashions definitely make me smile.

Tune in tomorrow for my two cents on Patrick Kelly: Runway of Love exhibition on now at the de Young Museum.

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