Isabel Toledo : Fashion From the Inside Out

“I really love the technique of sewing more than anything else…the seamstress is the one who knows fashion from the inside! That’s the art form really, not fashion design, but the technique of how it’s done.”
Isabel Toledo

I’m not sure how I first discovered Isabel Toledo. Maybe it was when the FLOTUS wore her designs. Maybe it was when I saw her shoe collection at Payless. Whatever threw me into her path, I’m grateful. I  find her, and her relationship with her husband, Ruben, kind of fascinating. Though, perhaps at first glance, her clothes don’t scream SEXY. To me, there is something about the cut and fabric and the way Ruben draws it all that is so, so sexy to me. Maybe it’s an understated way of expressing sexiness, but it is no less effective.

Excerpt from
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Isabel Toledo Fashion From the Inside Out

Isabel Toledo Fashion From the Inside Out

Isabel Toledo Fashion From the Inside Out

Isabel Toledo Fashion From the Inside Out

Isabel Toledo Fashion From the Inside Out

Isabel Toledo Fashion From the Inside Out

Isabel Toledo Fashion From the Inside Out

Isabel Toledo Fashion From the Inside Out

Isabel Toledo Fashion From the Inside Out

Isabel Toledo Fashion From the Inside Out

Isabel Toledo Fashion From the Inside Out

Isabel Toledo Fashion From the Inside Out

Isabel Toledo Fashion From the Inside Out

Isabel Toledo Fashion From the Inside Out

Isabel Toledo Fashion From the Inside Out

Isabel Toledo Fashion From the Inside Out

Isabel Toledo Fashion From the Inside Out

Isabel Toledo Fashion From the Inside Out

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Alexander McQueen :: Savage Genius

So continues my exploration into all things sexy. Any undertaking of which MUST include pieces by one Alexander McQueen.
McQueen was undeniably a genius. A tragic genius. One too sensitive for this world.I don’t proclaim to know much about him beyond that. But one only need look at his work, his quotes, examine his aesthetic to determine that much about him.

Alexander McQueen :: Savage Genius

Excerpts from Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty

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Alexander McQueen :: Savage Beauty

Alexander McQueen :: Savage Beauty

Alexander McQueen :: Savage Beauty

Alexander McQueen :: Savage Beauty

Alexander McQueen :: Savage Beauty

Alexander McQueen :: Savage Beauty

Alexander McQueen :: Savage Beauty

Alexander McQueen :: Savage Beauty

Alexander McQueen :: Savage Beauty

Alexander McQueen :: Savage Beauty

Alexander McQueen :: Savage Beauty

Alexander McQueen :: Savage Beauty

Alexander McQueen :: Savage Beauty

Alexander McQueen :: Savage Beauty

Alexander McQueen :: Savage Beauty

: Construction : Demolition : Silhouette : Cutting : Erotic : Power : Fear : Perverse : Sexuality :

Knitted & Read

My Green Thumb mitts are done!
I feel like I haven’t finished a knit (with the exception of Frida’s Heart) in forever!!

Feels fantastic!

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The yarn is Shelridge Yarns Soft Touch DK. I have a whole skein in brown that I will never, ever, knit. If you want it, holla!

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I’m working on Hetty in these photos. It’s coming along so well. Maybe there is something to swatching after all.

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This is the upper back, nearly complete. After a couple false starts, last night and some ballet class knitting, today. It’s a miracle I got any done at all, as I am absolutely engrossed in a new book series:

The Monstrumologist.

I’m reading book #2 (The Curse of the Wendigo) which I walked clear across Brooklyn to borrow from the library. I couldn’t possibly wait for it to come in on hold, I was nearly done with the first one. There was a tense moment when I couldn’t find it on the shelf….luckily, I didn’t panic and asked the librarian to confirm its location. It was with the SciFi books (not YA, even though it’s a “kids” book).

Close call.

My feet still haven’t forgiven me for that walk, though.

Book It: OCD, the Dude & Me

OCD-the-Dude-and-MeI think I’ve made it pretty clear, here. I like books.

NO!

I LOVE BOOKS!!

I’ve always loved books and escaping into them. I love to judge them by their covers and stand in the aisle at a bookstore or library and read the first few lines to see if I’m captured. If I’m taken away by that first thought, feeling or action.

So, it’s a bit unusual that my career as a librarian has, thus far, involved very little contact with books. I could bore you to death with chat about how the role of libraries, and therefore librarians, has changed. But I mostly want to talk about the book in the post title.

OCD, the Dude & Me is told in one of my favorite formats: diary style. I loved it while reading Bridget Jones and Georgia Nicholson and Adrian Mole and this work makes it extra special by including essays, letters and emails. Veerry Cool!

The story centers around Danielle, who, it will come as no shock (I mean, it’s in the title), suffers from OCD.  Learning about disorders and the way the mind works absolutely fascinates me, but that is not really what this book is about. It’s about the life of a troubled girl, her daily struggles to get shit right and her slow transformation back into the person she once was. It’s equal parts sad and heartbreaking and funny and real.

It’s a beautifully unique coming of age tale with a Dude based story line. How could I NOT love that?!?!

I won’t ruin the plot (HATE THAT) but I will tell you that Danielle learns to “abide” and thrive and feel hope where there was once none. If you like YA books, grab this one (from your local library. GO GET A CARD!) and read it on the train so you can snort and get dirty looks from your fellow strap hangers :D

Also, watch this awesome celebration of ladies who like to read!!

Thanks for sharing this vid with me, Mari!!

Draping: The Complete Course

You all know the drill by now, right? The awesome people at Laurence King Publishing asked if I wanted to review Draping: The Complete Course by Karolyn Kissel. Little ole me stumbled into their path when they hosted a pop-up event at Britex and they peeped at their blog. Check the amazing hair on the adorable Karolyn! And can you spot the beautiful Laura Mae?

Britex & Laurence King Pop-Up EventI took about .6 seconds to think it over and replied YES, of course I do!  It was the perfect time as I was already up to my eyeballs in draped projects. But those are cheater makes when it comes to the REAL Drape!

This amazing (HEAVY! Seriously. You could use it to weight train.) book comes with a DVD.

9781780670935.in12

I have to admit, for some unknowable reason, I was expecting a VHS tape! Can you believe it?!?! WHAT was I thinking! lol

I might have been a little tired when I arrived home from work and my hubby told me that a heavy package was waiting for me. This was, literally, 2 days after I got the email from the good peeps at LK, so I wasn’t hopeful that I’d find a book inside. But I DID!! So, excuse my Dumb & Dumber moment. K? Thanx!

Though I didn’t have to try a project from the book to sing its praises, I really, really wanted to. But, everything in my life conspired against finding the time to do so. It’s New York Archives Week and my duties as the Dir. of Communications for A.R.T. have kept me SUPER busy. Things have reached maintenance mode, so I could chill (only a bit!) for a minute. That meant that today was the day.

I didn’t even let this jam packed, suggested tool-kit page stop me.
Draping: The Complete Course by Karolyn Kissel
Seeing this page had the same effect as waving a red flag in front of a bull!!

BUY ALL THE SUPPLIES!!

But, that would have meant taking a trip and I wanted to dig in, NOW. I forged ahead with my minimalist tool-kit. And for good measure, skipped right over to:
Draping: The Complete Course by Karolyn Kissel

My dress form (which used to reside in Kalkatroona with Ms. Oona) is lacking in the lower pear area. So I thought this swing-y dress was the perfect place to start.

Draping: The Complete Course by Karolyn Kissel

I pulled out my iron, put on a movie and got to work.
Draping: The Complete Course by Karolyn Kissel

Draping: The Complete Course by Karolyn Kissel

Draping: The Complete Course by Karolyn Kissel

Sheared off bits!

This was after trim and pin session one.

Draping: The Complete Course by Karolyn Kissel

I took Karolyn’s advice to heart when she states: “Check hem, armhole, and neckline shape for attitude.” I have been reading tons of Jane Austen and the “attitude” in which one stands, sits, dances, responds to a query is everything. So I was all over checking the attitude of my work!

Turns out, I didn’t like it. I gave the side seam a second trim. And found that I liked the look of it better.

Draping: The Complete Course by Karolyn Kissel

I grabbed some hem tape to stand for in for sticky tape and marked the neckline and armhole.

Draping: The Complete Course by Karolyn Kissel

And then marked up the muslin.

Draping:

Next stop, pattern pieces baby!!

Out Of Groove

Friends, I’ve been a bit out of it.

I was worrying over something. Turns out, I was worried was for absolutely nothing.

Nothing!

Can you believe it?

Sometimes you gotta have faith. Or listen to your husband ;)
It fits that I got the worry relieving news on his b-day. He hit the big 4-0, yesterday and the kids and I treated him to dinner.

Then we stumbled into some pre-teen turbulence, quite unexpectedly, and it threw me off again. We straightened it out, though.

To shake the last of the funk, I gathered up the kiddies and headed out.

Liberty @Brooklyn General

Beautiful Street Art

Wood Beasty @Brooklyn Pharmacy & Soda

Periodical Temptation @Barnes & Noble

Donut Peaches @The Borough Hall Farmers Market

Yellow Plums @The Borough Hall Farmers Market

Orange Knit : Blue Liberty : Frankie : Hawthorne

Kid Mags : Diary Books : Bones

Parent Torture

Storm Trooper & Skeleton

My pockets are a little but lighter, but my mood is MUCH brighter! If I manage to get some sewing done I should feel fully restored!

I hope you’ve been having a great weekend, too!

Summer in the Wintertime

Summer in the Wintertime

Top :: Old Navy (from a zillion years ago)
Skirt :: Handmade
Tights :: F21
Boots :: Target
New Lipstick :: Revlon Super Lustrous in Black Cherry
New Blush :: e.l.f. All Over Color Stick in Pink Lemonade

I think of this skirt as a summer look. It certainly should be worn with bare legs, as it wanted to climb up my body even with a slip on. Even so, I was pretty comfy for the day.

Summer in the Wintertime

I’ve been all into Black fashion history, lately. I checked out two amazing works from the library. Both, unfortunately, deal with aspects of our history that are painful and difficult to read. Our major struggles (slavery, racism, oppression) but also relatively minor ones, too. Those that deal with expressing ourselves, succeeding and triumphing through all things. But, the books also hold many very positive messages and stories about self expression in spite enslavement/oppression/resistance and really celebrate and validate the right to express, and take pride in, our personal style and beauty.

There is this amazing new short film titled “The Door” from Miu Miu that brought black fashion history to the forefront of my thoughts. It’s directed by an incredible Black woman, Ava DuVernay, and stars Black women (Gabrielle Union, Alfre Woodard, Emayatzy Corinealdi, Adepero Oduye, and singer-songwriter Goapele) wearing AMAZING, BEAUTIFUL clothes!

From Miu Miu:

The Door, by Ava DuVernay, the fifth Miu Miu Women’s Tale, is a celebration of the transformative power of feminine bonds, and a symbolic story of life change. The symbolic centre of The Door is the front entrance of the protagonist’s home. As she opens it to greet a friend in the powerfully framed opening scenes, she is shrouded in an oblique sadness. “In the film, characters arrive at the door of a friend in need, bringing something of themselves,” explains director DuVernay. “Eventually, we witness our heroine ready to walk through the door on her own. The door in the film represents a pathway to who we are.” Clothing is also a symbol of renewal, each change of costume charting our heroine’s emergence from a chrysalis of sadness. In the final scenes, she takes off her ring, pulls on long, black leather gloves, and walks, transformed by the emotive power of the clothing, through the door.

The existence of this film is in direct relation to the topics discussed in Black and Beautiful: How Women of Color Changed the Fashion Industry. It is still uncommon enough to have anything fashion related feature so many BROWN women that  watching this film feels like a victory. Ms. DuVernay has created a world as visually appealing as the clothing featured in it.

Those beautiful women look wonderful in those clothes.
They look beautiful on film.
They look at home in their luxurious surroundings.
They sell the clothing as capably as women of any color.
The number of women on the set of this film, contributing to its beauty, is a triumph for all women.

Cheers to Miu Miu for celebrating that.

Check out the other Miu Miu Women’s Tale stories here.