Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Living on the Edge

I've been studying Selvedge Magazine recently (www.selvedge.org). It's a beautiful British publication that is released bi-monthly and focuses on textile, "The Fabric of Your Life" in areas of fashion, fine art, interiors, travel, and shopping. It really is a gorgeous book, it is so rich and diverse in content, scope, and in terms of photography. I recommend you pick it up if you are a lover of design and/or art.
I love how the magazine is titled after the edge of a piece of fabric. Selvage edges (or "selvedge" if you are in the UK) are the end pieces of fabric that are often discarded. While they are seemingly useless and boring they actually keep the fabric from unraveling. It's interesting how sometimes when we reach the edge or are pushed over it that we tend to unravel, but in the end, it is that act of coming undone temporarily that can hold us together in the long run. I like to think that magazines, art, or reading in general has at many times kept many of us from unraveling. In reading words we are provided with added comfort, with inspiration, with the glue to bind ourselves together again.
The covers above are some of my favorites. The one of the girl among the books is breathtaking and the one with the woman in the field of lavender holds special meaning because it is taken from the movie Bright Star about John Keats (a poet I've always loved). And of course the map of London at Highgate is just too cute.
So I guess the lesson in this post is that some things just shouldn't be discarded or discounted because what seems like the end, the edge, the unraveling, the unnecessary, can often times be just the missing piece of fabric you needed to tie everything together - the piece you needed most. Perhaps not. But it pays to be open to the possibility. Don't you think?

Friday, August 27, 2010

Hats Off to Philip Treacy

I've mentioned here several times that I love the show "Project Runway." Incredible to see the conception and construction of a garment, an outfit, a look, a collection. Last week's episode centered around a Philip Treacy challenge. I was instantly taken with this man and his designs, which are really sculptures. One of the designers said it best, "He is not a designer, but an artist." See more of his work and learn about this incredible man here: http://www.philiptreacy.co.uk/. I loved how he was so soft spoken and elegant on the show; a true gent.
Truth be told, I really love hats. I rarely wear them because I always convince myself they look funny on me, but I love the look of women and men in hats. They are such an old-fashioned accessory, almost. Bringing to mind Ascot races, My Fair Lady, gentleman in top hats, and propriety. They are also something I associate with being quintessentially English. I love the English-ness of the hat and how that culture still embraces this fashion staple. The pictures above show the Countess of Wessex and Princess Anne wearing Philip's pieces. Princess Anne's is fabulous, with the leopard print on the traditionally shaped hat.
This post makes me flashback to when I was growing up. A few ladies in our church would wear hats on Sunday. I loved that so much. I remember going thrifting with my grandmother and picking up really old pillbox hats that I was too young to wear. They had netting, and I picked them up purely for the sparkle. I probably gave them away years ago, but my grandmother in all her wisdom was so gracious to indulge my eye and buy them for me at the time.
This was really such a fun post as I could look at pictures of Philip's creations for hours. I especially love seeing how clothes are paired with his pieces. I am partial to the mod, black and white hats that are large (as in Breakfast at Tiffany's). I see them worn with swimsuits or little black dresses and gloves. I also love the whispy looks with fine feathers. So whimsical! Note: the hat worn by Audrey is not a Philip Treacy, but Audrey's look is a plausible explanation for why I love the form of the hat in all its versatility so much.
Be brave and throw on a hat today. Instant glamour with vintage appeal - you cant go wrong. I think I will be seeking out some cool vintage hats next time I am out scouring. Hope this has inspired you . Consider it a fashion dare : )

Thursday, August 26, 2010

In Stitches

Cool, cool, colors of yarn sent to me and some of my colleagues compliments of Debbie Stoller (http://www.knithappens.com/). You know I love oodles of color. I love color almost as much as I love smart women. Debbie is behind the Stitch n Bitch series, is the editor in chief of Bust and has a Ph.D. from Yale in the psychology of women. Needless to say, if you are looking for a smart and savvy knitting book, look no further. A full book review will run in Altered Couture, but you can pick up Stitch n Bitch Superstart Knitting: Go Beyond the Basics come October. Happy knitting!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Caulfield Couture

When I get an idea in my head that makes me excited I obsess over it. This is probably why I am good at my job, because if I see an artist I really like I fixate on their work and pretty much bug them every day until I get the actual pieces in person. Needless to say, yesterday's post really got me thinking. Since Caulfield Preparatory is a little pricey and would have to be tried on (because they are men's sizes after all), I found myself craving a look in the same vein that I could pull off. I recalled seeing a Catcher in the Rye shirt being worn by a man in a fashion magazine a few years ago. So I hit up www.ebay.com and found the following options. I like them all and am picturing a blazer and denim skirt or pants with them. Funny how none of these shirts are women's shirts (I thought girls were more obsessed with this book than guys, but what do I know?). So I am thinking of screen printing my own or obtaining a men's small. If you happen to come across one of these shirts while thrifting or on another site please let me know! I love how a book can become fashionable ...
Speaking of menswear, I really would encourage altered enthusiasts to alter up some men's clothes. I don't receive many submissions in that category, and it would be nice to make the magazine more accessable for everyone. Just a thought.
Happy reading!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Caulfield Preparatory

I was going to post about something else today, but I was compelled to write on this topic. These words were itching to get out.

When it comes to menswear I think men are very lucky due to the fact that they have so many chic options (which is probably why menswear-inspired clothing for women is so big right now). I really love Ben Sherman for menswear, but while reading Nylon I stumbled upon Caulfield Preparatory (http://www.caulfieldpreparatory.com/) and of course the name spoke to me, as it would to any die-hard J.D. Salinger fan. It turns out the line is based around a protagonist (Finnegan Sinclair) who is very Holden Caulfield-like in his writing. The clothes are tailored with reference to Holden's days at Pencey Prep and are kind of a "bookworm look." I enjoyed the thought put into the story behind the line and how the ABOUT section of the Web site looks like a copy of The Catcher in the Rye. So good to see Salinger's legacy alive and well in so many unexpected places. Below are the excerpts that affected me most in a completely unexpected (and perhaps much needed way).

"By some absurd mistake I am leading someone else's life ... and I am desparate to find a path back to my own. I mean have you ever woke up and realized you have become the person you don't want to be? My grandfather warned me of this, 'It sneaks up on you like a thief in the night ... and before you know it, you're robbed of your true self.'
" If you really want to know someone -heart, soul, and mind, then ask them for their story. A great story can keep you warm and entertained on the coldest of nights. A great story can buoy your spirits when you're feeling sad and lonely. A great story can transport you to any place anytime when you feel like you're stuck in the mundane."

This is why I write after all; to transport myself and others elsewhere. And really this is why we read, why we should listen, so that we can gain the many experiences and knowledge life is offering out to us. Stories are important in how they bind people together, and also why they bring people apart. Empathy and love can only be achieved by the sharing of a story. I love it when a fashion collection is referred to as the telling of a story. I take great joy in studying the intersection between fashion and literature. While it seems an unlikely pair, I feel that both of these mediums are great art forms and they can speak (and listen) to each other. Don't let today be just another day; let it be the beginning of a wonderful story.

Share your story. Listen to someone else's. It might just keep you warm on the coldest of nights, feed you on the days you feel you are running on empty, quench an incurable thirst, reveal something you never realized to be true, or inspire you to make more art.

Monday, August 23, 2010

What I Bought Today: Ode to Jackie O.

One of my style icons is without a doubt Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. I think I favor a lot of the classy staples she made iconic like big sunglasses, pearls, and gloves. Really, there has never been a more elegant first lady (though I DO love love love Michelle Obama). Jackie exudes class, grace, and is elevated to a heroine status in the eyes of many for how she dealt with great tragedy with such poise. Jackie was a real lady; she possessed a flavor of elegance that I feel is slipping away in today's world.

I stumbled upon a great upcycling store in Newport called Crossroads Trading (http://www.crossroadstrading.com/). It's the same idea as Buffalo Exchange, and now it is one of my favorite stores. I think I had been in one of the L.A. locations before, but was just too overwhelmed. When you come into one of these stores you have to be prepared to hunt. There were lots of great designer labels and barely used clothes at this locale. What's funny is I didnt really feel like buying and had just made some money off of trading clothes in. I though I would quickly peruse the dress section (my favorite) to get a feel for the store. Inevitably, I stumbled upon this dress by Juicy Couture. So classic. So chic. So right for work in the fall or winter. Perfect for tea. It looked like it had never been worn, and I think the size is mislabeled. It's wool and lurex. It fit like a glove and is the epitome of Jackie O style.

So you see, I had to buy it and take it home. For Jackie. I envision wearing it as it's styled here, with vintage gloves (gifted to me by one of my best friends last Christmas), the pearls my mother passed on to me, and of course my large, black, sunglasses.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Art A Fair

On Tuesday I had the great pleasure of attending Art A Fair (http://www.art-a-fair.com/) right here in Laguna Beach. Summer time in Laguna is amazing in regards to this community's support of the arts and local artists. I am lucky to work and live right in the thick of it all. Having attended Pageant of the Masters last year and the Sawdust Festival a few years ago, I was excited to see what this venue had to offer.
I was not let down in the least as I met several talented fine artists ranging from jewelry, wood carving, paint, doll making and sketching. I was shown around by the lovely, kind, and incredibly talented Cherie FitzSimons-Orr. Cherie will be in the upcoming Jewelry Affaire to be released October 1. The jewels in the above casings are full of her work. I suggest you head down to the Art a Fair soon as next week is the last week and Cherie's stuff is selling fast. While Art A Fair is a brilliant mixture of fine art and craft I suggest you stop by the other events too (Pageant and Sawdust) since thery are just a brief walk down the beach. It's cool to see how they vary from one another; each has their own identity, offerings of artists, and flavors of design. And they offer classes at Art a Fair so definitely pop over if you want to learn a jewelry technique or two.
I snapped up a couple pictures of some of the other booths near Cherie. Then I went out and explored the area around my favorite beach. I always think I have been everywhere around Laguna and then I find all kinds of hidden stuff. That's why I love this beach and this town. I could walk the length of it for hours (if it weren't for the cursed meters). Laguna is so crowded in the summer and things aren't open very late, but I did stumble across two designer consignment shops. I was so disappointed in myself for not knowing of these previously! Definitely will be checking them out next time (they were closed when I got there - luckily for my wallet). For those who cant get enough of the art at the festivals there are several galleries lining PCH. Some are even super modern like the one pictured above. And for all of you non-vintage junkies there are several other shops too. I didnt dare leave the beach without a quick stop at my favorite shop that was well worth the walk, Rue du Chocolate.
My many thanks to Cheri and her sweet husband for a lovely afternoon! If you are interested in a day of sun, sand, shopping, and inspiration, indulge yourself and head on down. Ill meet you at Rue du Chocolate.