Monday, March 31, 2014

The Schiaparelli Spirit


I love things that are different, prints that are inspired and push the boundaries of "taste".  The Italian artist tuned designer Elsa Schiaparelli was a woman that I admire in fashion. Her work is thought provoking, out of the box and was on another level for her time, of any time really.  Her creative peak hit in the 1930's where she turned her version of surrealism into style and tangible clothing and accessories. I adore that all of her work can be considered 'statement pieces'. CoCo CHANEL said Elsa was, “the Italian artist who makes clothes.”  It has been alleged that they were fashion rivals, but they were confirmed polar opposites by way of personal taste, design aesthetic and style. 

Schiaparelli also collaborated with a the famous Artist Salvatore Dali during her career.
 Shoe Hat (modelled by Dali's wife Gala)
Tear Dress 1938

She was a very inspired designer but her business would not last. She closed her doors  December 13, 1954. I will feature her full biography in another post but the point of the 'Schiaparelli Spirit'  blog is based on a dress that I recently acquired for my eBoutique Evolution Vintage.

A white polyester, hand made gown that was also hand embellished with a peacock print in red, c. 1970's. The beading and sequin are perfection as well. I was left wondering who was the woman who did this labor intensive, inspired work on this dress? where did she wear it?

It reminded me in an abstract way of Schiaparelli's famous "Lobster Dress", another collaboration with Dali in 1937.

The daring woman who rocked this Lobster gown was Wallis Simpson (photographed by Cecil Beaton). This image was taken shortly before she married Edward VIII in Chateau de Cande. Her marriage to the royal was such a matter of controversy at the time.  Her future spouse abdicated his throne in 1936 saying it was so he could "marry the woman I love". He received title of the Duke of Windsor in lieu of KING of England.

Will it take a controversial women like Wallis to wear this amazingly unique gown? Or someone with the Schiaparelli spirit?

Is that woman YOU?

Dress Details:
Era: 1970's
Fabric: Polyester (Stretch)
Size:  Bust: 34" (with stretch 2"+)
Waist (empire): 30"
Hip: 43"+
Length: 53"
*Hand constructed and hand beaded. 3 white beads hanging from the peacock's chin. Metal back zipper. There is enough hem fabric to make this gown longer and there is extra "strap" to adjust them to a longer length. All beading is intact. The garment is not lined.
Price:  $300

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

See How Powerful You Are?

I saw this on the Instagram of Melanie Notkin, AKA the Savvy Autnie. I simply adore this message for the power in it's simplicity. It is a simple concept but difficult in it's application for some people. One must be accountable for the current status in their lives, choices and associated consequences. In order to make change you have to be accountable and in essence take your POWER back, oddly from yourself.  You create all of the negative self-talk and thoughts, not external circumstances. You cannot control what goes on the outside but you are in control of how you react to it, internalize it and process it. 

This quote makes me feel powerful. I KNOW I have the ability to change or improve my current situation or circumstance, and SO DO YOU!

What are you waiting for?

*Melanie is the author of "Savvy Auntie"

and her NEW book: Otherhood

Tuesday, March 25, 2014


I have been contemplating writing this blog for days. Shock and utter disbelief at the April cover of VOGUE have made me hesitant to write. I have been literally flabbergasted and tossing the idea around that this must be a cruel April fools joke. I have been a loyal reader since the tender age of nine when my older sisters VOGUE collection captivated me and I have never stopped looking. It was a paper portal into an alternate universe of glamour, inspiration, artists and the upper echelon of style. One aspired to be 'those people' or to 'live that life', but I feel that way no longer.

The last decade or more has brought readers like me an endless parade of celebrity faces. I have been irritated seeing the likes of Taylor Swift, Blake Lively, and Rhianna ad nauseam on the cover, month after month.

I have nothing against any of the people chosen for the covers it is what they symbolize. A celebrity obsessed culture for no reason. The women featured on these covers have their place in their professions, acting, music, etc. but not as the face of what reader refer to as "The Fashion Bible".  Prior to live models VOGUE used to use interesting illustrations and art work. 

 I feel 
sad for all of the models who's highest aspirations were the cover of American VOGUE. I remember several models saying they knew they had made it when they graced the cover of such a coveted magazine. Where did the models go? Did I miss the cultural equivalent of a 9.0 earthquake that caused a cultural shift from art, style and fashion to this celebrity obsessed herd. It is not just VOGUE but all fashion publications follow the same formula, our bazaar obsession with strangers sells magazines.

Today marks an end of an era for me as I can now classify this once superior publication as inferior, tasteless and becoming obsolete. The bar has been dropped so low that it is truly any body's game. The chances just got greater that after a few years on TV you too can grace the cover of VOGUE with no significant cultural or fashion contribution whatsoever. I understand this is a business and the object of this game is to sell magazines but in the process they are selling their readers short. 

I am, quite frankly sick of VOGUE catering to the ego's of 'celebrities' and this cover is a clear indication of the current calibre of the publication and editor. I find it fascinating that Anna Wintour found the need to speak out about the cover to assure everyone that it wasn't paid for by the man who thinks he is the second coming Yeezus Christ or was it a creative genius? I can't keep up with the narcissistic self proclamations anymore. Anna said "As for the cover, my opinion is that it is both charming and touching, and it was, I should add, entirely our idea to do it; you may have read that Kanye begged me to put his fiancee on Vogue‘s cover. He did nothing of the sort. The gossip might make better reading, but the simple fact of the matter is that it isn’t true.”
Another thing that I find obnoxious and obsolete  is this 'make you or break you' opinion of Anna Wintour and the stranglehold she seems to have over fashion designers, buyers and other creative people associated with the publication. It is unfathomable that she can call the shots to iconic designers and up-and-coming talent when it is obvious her taste level is lacking when she finds the likes of Kimye "Charming and touching". Perhaps it is time that Anna and her tacky fur to step down as Editor and chief to allow another to truly innovate the publication again and make it the cutting edge, high end magazine that it once was.
Where is the second coming of Diana Vreeland when you need her?  For those of you who don't know, Ms Vreeland was the editor of VOGUE  from 1962 to 1971 and infused the magazine with beauty, innovation and originality. Something that the current publication is in obvious short supply of.
I wonder if the April issue will also include an advertisement for the Kardashian collection at SEARS? Imagine having a person on the cover of VOGUE who sell's their clothing at SEARS? Nothing against Sears but I don't think that they are the calibre of retailer that VOGUE usually caters too. Maybe I am wrong and Anna Wintour will find it 'charming' that SEARS and their advertising dollars join the ranks of luxury brands like GUCCI, VERSACE and DIOR. Will the editorials depict styled looks including the Kardashian Kollection polyurethane moto jacket with BVLGARI jewels? 

It seems like a silly comparison, right? Of course, but THIS is the exact message that the ill conceived cover is sending to VOGUES readership.

I am feeling much relieved to have posted my digital 2 cents on the issue but I have to reiterate my serious level of sadness that this cover has brought me and what it symbolizes. I have spend thousands of hours pouring over VOGUE, enjoying the well written articles and inspirational editorials (Thanks Grace). I just cannot continue contribute my time and/or money to a magazine that attempts to glamorize all that is generic and shallow about our society. Neither Kanye or Kim have made any significant contribution to the world of fashion in any way besides being consumers. Don't even get me started on the self proclaimed creative genius' feeble attempt(s) to insert himself and his ego into the industry. This cover makes a mockery of the decades of fabulous fashion at VOGUE!

I sent my subscription cancellation request tonight and was returned an automatic message from VOGUE'S customer service
I wonder if their customer service representatives have been flooded with messages echoing the mighty Anna's sentiments about the "Charming" cover? 

VOGUE OVER for me. What are your thoughts?

Enjoy your evening dear reader. We will return to the regularly scheduled positive blog programming in this space tomorrow.

Friday, March 21, 2014

World Down Syndrome Day 3/21

Out to dinner on Valentine's day!

Today is World Down Syndrome Day!  It is the 9th anniversary of this global celebration. The celebration centers around the Down Syndrome community, every ones unique abilities and our global connection as human beings. Today I celebrate the core foundational values that should bind us the world over; respect and equality for all people.

It is also my 400th blog post. I am so proud that this post can be dedicated to a community that I adore and that I was welcomed into with open arms on May 13, 2011 when my son Blake was born.

Thus far it has been an interesting journey, an extra chromosome means an extra full time advocacy job, extra love and and extra rewards beyond my wildest dreams.
Our Family Rocking Our Socks for WDSD & Blake! 

I have learned more about myself in the last 2.5 years than I feel like I have my whole life. For example, patients was a virtue that I truly had yet to acquire, then Blake came into my life. I am always rushing and watching time flying by but Blake's extra chromosome has forced me to slow down and take the time to experience and enjoy. As a mother to both my children and step-children I am essentially looking at the world through different eyes. I all ready feel like a better person for knowing Blake. I feel very honored to have been given the gift of also being his mom. I look forward to the rest of our journey together and the journey of educating the world about people with Down Syndrome.
The community deserves respect, equality and above all LOVE. Again, everyone deserves these basic human rights. We should all make it a daily practice to embrace and celebrate our differences really, regardless of our abilities. Let's spend our time today, and all days just enjoying each others strengths and unique characters. 
"A free soul is rare, but you know it when you see it- basically because you feel good, very good, when you are near one of them"- Charles Bukowski (author)

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Textile Talk: VELVET

Tom Ford F/W 2014

I don't know what it is but recently every where I turn there is another amazing frock constructed from VELVET! It is a BIG trend on the 2014 runways. 
Elie Saab/Reem Acra

We saw this fabric adored in the 1990's too. I loved Tom Ford for GUICCI's debut collection in F/W 1995. The velvet tuxedo and those lush velvet pants paired with the satin blouses. 
 GUCCI 1995

Gucci 1996

The most famous film to use a lot of this fabric is none other than Gone with the Wind. Great balls of fire, I've never seen so much velvet used in one film!

I adore this fabric and although some feel it is a fall/winter fabric I think that you can wear it all year long, in the evening.

This textile is so lush, rich and a  source of fabric tactile stimulation. 

Did you know? There are 15 types of velvet. (Wiki)
1875 British Ball Gown (MET Museum)

Chiffon (or transparent) velvet: Very lightweight velvet on a sheer silk or rayon chiffon base.

Ciselé: Velvet where the pile uses cut and uncut loops to create a pattern.

Crushed: This type of velvet can be produced by pressing the fabric down in different directions. It can also be produced by mechanically twisting the fabric while wet. The result is patterned appearance that is very lustrous.
Devoré or burnout. A velvet treated with a caustic solution to dissolve areas of the pile, creating a velvet pattern upon a sheer or lightweight base fabric.

Embossed: A metal roller is used to heat-stamp the fabric, producing a pattern.

Hammered: This type is extremely lustrous, appears dappled, and somewhat crushed.

Lyons: A densely woven, stiff, heavier-weight pile velvet used for hats, coat collars and garments.
Mirror: A type of exceptionally soft and light crushed velvet.
Kenneth Cole

Nacré: Velvet with an effect similar to shot silk, where the pile is woven in one or more colours and the base fabric in another, creating a changeable, iridescent effect.

Panné: Also a type of crushed velvet, panné is produced by forcing the pile in a single direction by applying heavy pressure. Sometimes, less frequently, called paon velvet.

Pile-on-pile: A particularly luxurious type of velvet woven with piles of differing heights to create a pattern.
 Pile-on-pile voided velvet w Brocading and Boucle wefts 1500-1550

Plain: Commonly made of cotton, this type of velvet has a firm hand and can be used for many purposes.

Utrecht: A pressed and crimped velvet associated with Utrecht, Holland.

Velveteen is a type of imitation velvet. It is normally made of cotton or a combination of cotton and silk. It has a pile that is short (never more than 3mm deep), and is closely set. It has a firm hand and a slightly sloping pile. Unlike true velvet, this type has greater body, does not drape as easily, and has less sheen.

Wedding ring or ring velvet: Another term for devoré and/or chiffon velvets which are allegedly fine enough to be drawn through a ring

Shop Vintage Velvet