I promised last week to post some of the new styles I've been working on lately. Life happens and I keep getting sidetracked, so I'm not as far along as I had hoped. But, here's a little preview my taffetadarlings...
Design is my passion and it doesn’t apply solely to fashion. I find creativity and beauty in architecture, furniture, fine arts, and even cars. I admit that I DO, in fact, care what a guy drives!
Gary Numan's Cars, 1979
I’ve been a New Yorker for so many years now, I forget what it’s like to own a car. Unfortunately, I have never had the vehicle of my dreams, but there is still time! I’m not sure why, but I’ve always been a car aficionado, even as a kid. Maybe it had something to do with the fact that my Grandmother drove a Fiat. She also had an Alfa Romeo and a 300 ZX, among others. I thought she was awesome.
1963, Jaguar XKE
When my parents first got married, they both had Jaguar XKEs – my dad a black one and my mom a blue one. After my sister was born, they got rid of them in exchange for a more practical, family car. No, they didn’t go for the minivan -- this was back in the days of the station wagon. Remember those? Yeah, I tried to forget also. Our station wagon didn’t have the wood paneled doors, but it did have carpeting in the back thanks to my dad! My sister and I used to lounge back there on long road trips and play “I Spy.”
Seventies station wagon - this looks just like ours!
I don’t think my dad ever got past the loss of his Jag. He bought a couple of “fixer-uppers” over the years -- a Sunbeam Alpine and an Austin Healey, if I recall correctly. I was kind of a tomboy at the time and I really enjoyed helping him with his projects and learning a bit about carburetors and catalytic converters!
vintage Sunbeam Alpine
vintage Austin Healey
My sister got a cute little (and I do mean LITTLE) MG Midget when she turned 16. It was used and it was cheap, but it was red and it was technically, a sports car! I was jealous. I used to feel so cool riding to school with her even though the car was so tiny and low to the ground, we could feel every pebble on the road. It was actually kind of scary, but we would never have admitted that. And, it was freezing in the winter time with its flimsy soft top/roof.
One day, the midget died (or “little car” as I like to call it – more PC, ya know) and my sister upgraded to an old Porsche 914. The car was chrome yellow (she was going through a “yellow phase” at the time). Again, I was jealous. Again, the car was used and cheap. But after all, it was a PORSCHE!
Finally, it was my turn to drive! I imagined all of my favorite cars and which one I would choose. I scanned the newspaper and circled used DeLoreans – I was obsessed with the gull wings at the time. I went to used car lots with my dad and looked at several sports cars and pictured myself behind the wheel. I was so excited!
So, what did I end up with? A 1979, Volkswagen Rabbit. Silver. Four-speed stick shift with bad shocks. Not at all what I imagined. But, that’s not why I crashed it into a telephone pole after only 6 months. Nope, that’s because I was being incredibly careless. Thank God I got incredibly lucky and walked (or limped) away from the wreckage.
1979, VW Rabbit
After that scary incident, I think my parents felt sorry for me! I had always wanted an Opel GT and we found and old rusty one that my dad got as another "fixer-upper." It is a pretty rare car and as I found out, it’s impossible to find parts. This was before the age of the Internet and we had to rely on car publications for information. I remember calling Germany week after week for some sort of headlight cable.
vintage Opel GT
Anyway, I loved this car. Sadly, it never left our garage. I spent all summer on my back – on a mechanic’s creeper, fixing an oil leak! I invested hours upon hours to scraping rust, filling holes with body putty and sanding. We finally called it quits because we just weren’t able to get the parts the car needed in order to actually RUN! Brokenhearted, I had to say good-bye to my Opel. I ended up with a Subaru. It was RED.
Debbie Harry is simply a Goddess. I pretty much worshiped her as a young girl and through my teenage years. I even went so far as to paint one of her album covers on the back of my jean jacket! Yes, I confess, I had a painted jean jacket -- several, in fact. And I painted for others! I guess you could say that I had a thriving little business in High School!
cover of Debbie Harry's solo album, KooKoo from 1981
(of all images, this is what I chose for the back of my jean jacket!)
Debbie was so stunningly beautiful in the 70’s and 80’s, but she also had a great sense of style and some killer pipes! She had a tremendous voice and she looked so sexy and so edgy, I wanted to be her. Unfortunately, I wasn’t allowed to dye my hair. I wasn’t even allowed to have pierced ears until age thirteen!
I just posted about the decade that was the sensational seventies and I realized that I was lucky to be born into such a colorful period in time. Jeffrey, from Fashion by the Rules, reminded me of Studio 54 and the divine age of Disco. I can only imagine what it would have been like to be a part of that glamorous scene. How empowering to wear the revealing clothes, how exhilarating to dance all night and how surreal to meet Andy Warhol!
Debbie and her mates in 1978
Fashion of the Disco Age can be summed up in one word – SEXY! Or maybe SKIN. Or maybe STILETTO. At any rate, women like Bianca Jagger, Janice Dickinson, Ivana Trump and Jerry Hall frequented the notorious night club, Studio 54, dressed to kill. But, Debbie Harry did it better than anyone, in my opinion. She was always dressed to perfection, right down to her lip gloss.
decadence and disco balls
Debbie Harry circa 1978
I want to wear this outfit this weekend!
Harry set so many trends which we still interpret today. Madonna is an icon, no doubt, but who do you think went blonde first? Ms. Harry, obviously. One of my favs from the 80’s, Terri Nunn from the band Berlin, adopted Blondie’s “dip dye” hair style and I see people wearing versions of this look today on the streets of NYC.
Debbie accessories a plain white tee and plain white tank with her dip dye hair
My pal (and jewelry designer whose Cleopatra earrings are in the upcoming Sex and the City film), has been blogging recently about her obsession with “Double Denim.” In fact, so has fellow blogger and founder of IFB, Jennine Jacob. It seems “D-squared” (not the designer duo/twins) is coming back with a vengeance. Debby Harry was wearing this look over 30 years ago!
Debbie does denim!
I’m a sucker for stripes and for sailor influenced ensembles which Harry wore often. These looks are classic, but Blondie kept them cute and current by infusing her own sense of style.
wearing sailor stripes and a sailor collar
Debbie Harry, 1978
At nearly 65 years old, the gorgeous Debbie Harry is still turning heads and still as fashionable as ever.
So, I have to apologize for completely skipping over the decade of the 70's in yesterdays post! Kristin from K-Line and WendyBboth scolded me! But, be patient my darlings, I thought that the fantastic 70's could use a post of its own!
YSL classic look from 1975
When I think about the 1970's I am reminded of pet rocks, mood rings, head bands, and of course, bell-bottoms which I was forced to wear! I used to feel so ridiculous in these trousers with giant circumference leg openings and I vowed NEVER to wear them so long as I had a say (i.e. after my mom stopped dressing me!). And I am proud to report, I have completely upheld my promise!
(left) 1970's mood ring, (right - 1978) me in a patchwork printed knit top, denim overall skirt, knee socks and Hush Puppies and my sister in something orange and plaid bell-bottoms. Scary!
Just because I still have nightmares of horrible patchwork outfits (usually matching my sister) and lots of orange and brown, doesn't mean the entire era was a fashion fiasco! Unfortunately, I was too young to appreciate or even know about some of the fabulous styles that were happening around me.
This is just awful -- what else can I say?
Even Yazoo and Alison Moyet said "Goodbye Seventies"
On the flip side - looking good in the 70's...
Halston and Bianca Jagger looking gorgeous in the 70's
Halston, 1972 silk jersey dress
Photo Credit: FIT Museum(click here to read my article for Lookonline.com on the FIT exhibit "Seduction")
Vintage apparel is "having a moment" lately, and many fashionistas and celebrities are opting to wear timeless perennial pieces because they actually seem newer and more novel than the typical red carpet frocks.
Emma Watson (left) in vintage 70's Ossie Clark at the 2009, Harry Potter premiere in London and beautiful jewelry designer, Wendy Brandes (right) in 2009 in her vintage Ossie dress (for more of Wendy in her vintage pieces, click here)
Vintage styles inspire fashion today. My very hip friend Evan, owner of the vintage shop FROCK in Nolita, NYC, shared a little secret with me the last time I visited the store. "You wouldn't believe how many designers buy pieces here for "inspiration" for their new collections," he said. Oh yes I would!!
WendyB in 2008 in her vintage Clovis Ruffin dress (left) and a similar style by Christian Francis Roth that I snapped at his Spring 2009 show
Yesterday's post about costume design got me thinking-- if I had to choose a decade that I would like to have lived and experienced in terms of fashion, which would it be? Would I prefer the cumbersome, yet ornate dresses of the 18th Century as in Milena Canonero's designs for the film, Marie Antoinette?
18th Century dress at the Metropolitan Museum (left) / me on Halloween as Marie Antoinette
Probably not. I don't know if I could deal with the corsets! Maybe I would like to be an independent, modern girl of the 1920s...
dress: Jeanne Lanvin, 1927
Photo Credit: Chicago History Museum
Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel in 1926
Photo Credit: guardian.co.uk
Nah, I couldn't handle prohibition! A girl has the right to enjoy a glass of wine or two, doesn't she? I think I would prefer the Hollywood glamour of the 1930's and 1940's. Famous costume designer Adrian could be my personal stylist!
Designer, Elsa Schiaparelli in the 1930's
Photo Credit: by Man Ray from the book Couture by Caroline Rennolds Milbank
Or, I could get groovy in the 1960's by wearing some Andre Courreges. Yeah, baby! Maybe I could even put the "grrrr" in swinger. Take that Austin Powers!
Pierre Cardin, 1968
Photo Credit: AP/Worldwide Photos
1960's aluminum tunic, Paco Rabanne
Well, I missed all of those time periods and I grew up in the fabulous 80's. Lucky me!
Thierry Mulger (left) and Claude Montana (right), circa 1987
both pictures from my personal archives (i.e. ripped out of Vogue)
I was influenced by a lot of different designers and artists growing up, not just fashion. I’ve already posted a piece on artist Tamara de Lempicka and I’ve got a lot more to add (a sculptor, illustrator and architect to name a few).
costume designer, Milena Canonero
Costume designers are some of the most talented people on the planet and rarely get the type of recognition that famous fashion designers garner. In film, theatre and TV, there is a whole different set of criteria that designers have to adhere to, the most obvious of which is time period/era. Beyond that, the designer must to explore the minds and personalities of the characters; what would they wear and why? There is a tremendous amount of research that goes into creating appropriate ensembles before the pencil even touches the paper.
Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange
I’ve always admired the Italian born, award-winning designer, Milena Canonero. Her first job in costume design was for the film A Clockwork Orange, directed by the late Stanley Kubrick. Then, in 1976, she won an Academy Award for her work on the film, Barry Lyndon. Canonero followed up with another Academy Award and a BAFTA for best costume design in 1981, for Chariots of Fire. She won a second BAFTA Award for The Cotton Club in 1986, but it wasn’t until 2007 that Canonero finally nabbed another Academy Award for best costume design for her work on Sofia Coppola’s, Marie Antoinette.
Sofia Coppola's Marie Antoinette
Chariots of Fire, 1981
Richard Gere & Diane Lane in Francis Ford Coppola's The Cotton Club
Although she didn’t take home awards for the other films to which she donated her talents, I’m sure we all remember her amazing work on The Godfather III, Out of Africa, Dick Tracy, Titus, and The Affair of the Necklace. In 2001, Canonero received the Career Achievement Award in Film from the Costume Designers Guild.
Sydney Pollack's Out of Africa
Madonna and Beatty in Dick Tracy
Not only does Canonero design costumes for film, she has worked on several operas and also served as costume designer for the popular TV series Miami Vice. So, I suppose we can credit Ms. Canonero with Don Johnson’s semi-iconic sport jacket and T-shirt look!
Don Johnson and Philip Michael Thomas in the 80's series, Miami Vice
I like long walks on the beach, Mediterranean food and foreign films. But seriously, I have been a designer for 17 years and I started this blog to discuss art, fashion and all things cool. When I'm not writing or designing, one can find me in downward dog (on a yoga mat :-) or running in Central Park listening to some super fast, pop punk tunes from the late 70's/early 80's.