Monday, November 30, 2015



at the Textile Study Group of New York 
at 7pm on Wednesday, December 16, 2015.

The Community Church of New York
40 East 35th Street 
(between Park Avenue South and Madison Avenue)
Entrance is at street level, far right side of main church entrance; door is marked #40.

Free for members
$10 for general admission
$5 for students
For information or for seats,  
please email

It's everything you ever wanted to know about the Idiosyncratic Fashionistas!  We hope to see you there.

Jean & Valerie

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Hanging Out by the Pier

We visit the November Pier Show

Here we are outside the latest Pier Antique Show.   We met up with Denton Taylor, another aficionado of all things vintage, who was kind enough to take this photograph of us (and many others).  As always, there were countless things and people to ooooh and aaaahhh over. Here are some of our favorites.


Lee Chinalai of Chinalai Modern and Chinalai Tribal Antiques is the best walking advertisement for her company's products. For over twenty-five years, her company has been buying and selling ethnographic textiles and tribal and village antique art from mainland Southeast Asia and China. Clients include museums, corporations, designers and private collectors from all over the world.

Hannah Schiff always puts together wonderful vintage outfits from top to toe, hat to shoes.

We spied this lovely lady wearing a leopard shrug and matching hat, combined with what appeared to be a vintage dress and belt. She was in another area of the forest from Fashion Alley and since she was in the process of examining fine jewelry, we chose not to disturb her further but were grateful she allowed us to interrupt long enough to take the photo.

Tziporah Salamon and Irene were running Icon Style's booth. Tziporah was sporting her Suffragette look.

We always enjoy running into Carol Weiss.  This particular day, it turned out we were all wearing Trippen shoes.  Denton was with us, and memorialized the moment with one of Carol's vintage hand pieced quilts as a backdrop.

It was a particular thrill to see Alma at the show, after a long absence. Of course, since the exhibition space is so immense, we may all have been at all the shows and never run into each other.

Morleen Rouse, in town from Cincinnati, posed with Marja Samsom's pug Bibi Chibi.

Not one to be outdone, Bibi Chibi posed with a rhinestone pin repurposed as puppy glasses.

Zondra Foxx, who was at the show, stopped to chat and get a photo with Valerie.

La Juana Green always looks great.

We loved this woman's jacket, and the wonderful natural slouch with which she wore it.

One of our favorite ladies, Elaine Klausman, who owns Vintage with a Twist, caught our eye wearing this amazing squid brooch.


This velvet purse from Uniquities featured a trio of faces.

Walker's Collectibles from Pittsburgh exhibited this colorful yellow and black patent purse covered with red roses.

This little black and white minaudiere from Uniquities was made of celluloid or bakelite.

In the same both, we spied this enamel purse on a silken cord.

Karen McWharter always carries a number of highly collectible handbags.  Her print bag with green and tortoise bakelite clasp was one of our favorites at the show.

How's this for an interesting leather pouch hand-painted to resemble an envelope, personalized with the owner's name and city of residence?

Nellatiques' booth displayed a number of vintage bags.The plastic earrings in the foreground were carved to look like metal.


We couldn't resist showing you this white beret embellished with feathers in Lulu's Vintage Lovelies.


Valerie just had to try on these dramatic large black Monies cuffs at Ira Scheck's booth.  There's a stunning matching necklace to go with it.

Walker's Collectibles had this colorful collection of bakelite bangles.


Valerie loved this Missoni knit with painted faces on it at Lisa Victoria's booth.

In addition to all their gorgeous antiques, Chinalai now has a line of equally riveting modern pieces.  This shirt attracted our attention with its asymmetrical design -

and when we got close enough, to see the details, it was more riveting still.  All those white dots are individually embroidered ants.

Walker's Collectibles also had these marvelous cream gloves with wonderful cuffs shaped like parentheses, mirrored by the curved lines, in chain stitch, below the fingers.

In complete contrast, they also had these black suede gloves decorated with hand painted women in huge circle skirts.

We don't often wander away from Fashion Alley, where all the clothes are, but when we do, we make even more wondrous discoveries.  At the Titus Omega booth, in from London, we saw these wonderful Liberty clocks.  Designed by renowned turn-of-the-century silversmith Archibald Knox,  they make you wonder how anyone could possibly have preferred the sleek minimalist space age clocks of the '60s.  The designs alone are marvelous.  The enamel work is icing on the cake.  (We were only going to show the center clock, but didn't have the heart to crop out the other two.)

Jolene Cooper's booth had this charming little bronze (?) rendering of The Owl and the Pussycat, the Edward Lear poem.  The poem starts out "The Owl and the Pussycat went to sea in a beautiful pea green boat."  This bronze is just a few inches high and a few inches long.

And while we're on the subject of toys, how could we resist this bunny on wheels at 20th Century Objex?

And while we're on the subject of animals, what about this tiny bone spoon (barely three inches long) carved into the shape of a workhorse in harness, from Patricia Funt Antiques?  Those of you who grew up in the '60s could be forgiven for remembering that back then it was considered hip to wear a carved coke spoon on a chain around the neck.  If that's what you're thinking, readers, then you'll be asking yourself "Wait a minute - if it's a coke spoon, why are there holes in the bowl?"  Anyone know the answer?

Answer: It's a snuff spoon.  The holes are meant to sift out the dust, so no very fine particles go into the lungs.

At D. Brett Benson, we also fell in love with this cigarette girl, whose tray is the perfect size to cradle several cigarettes.  We have to thank Denton Taylor again.  He did a great job of photographing her.

It was a surprise and a treat to find several works by Toshiko Takaezu, a highly respected Japanese-American potter, at the William Jeffrey Gallery booth.  Takaezu is best known for beautiful ceramic vessels the size of an average person (click here to see some).  This smaller version is a perfect centerpiece for a table.

Did you miss this show?  Don't fret!  Chill out over Christmas, and in 2016 visit the Big Flea, also at Pier 90, on January 23 and 24.  Maybe we'll see you there!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Jean's 66th Birthday!

Unbelievable, isn't it?  Where does the time go?

Never one to rest on her laurels, Jean curled her hair, put on her dancing shoes to kick up her heels and rocked the house to celebrate her 66th birthday.

If James Brown was the GFOS (God Father of Soul, for you young 'uns), Jean must be the GMOS (God Mother of Style).

Don't take our word for it.  Judge for yourself.  Click here to view how Jean celebrated her birthday.  We dare you not to laugh! (Warning: it does involve sound, so don't click if you're in church or at a funeral ...)

Jean says: "I feeeeeeeel good! Like I knew that I would!"

(Many thanks to Banjo Peggy and her wonderful JibJab card that helped make this all possible!)

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show 2015

Last Saturday, Jean made a solo trek to the City of Brotherly Love to attend the Philadelphia Museum of Art's Craft Show.  Valerie, explaining that she'd spent all of her ducats (or German marks or Euros or whatever) in Berlin, begged off. Undeterred, Jean was committed to go. But getting there was NOT easy. After spinning her wheels at Penn Station, switching tickets and waiting, only to learn that the 10 AM, 11AM and finally, the 12 PM AMTRAK trains were all delayed due to "track debris"somewhere north of NYC, interfering with southbound trains, she jogged up 8th Avenue to Port Authority and bought a ticket on the 1 PM Greyhound bus. As the bus pulled out and she was planning how to make up for lost time, since her ETA was closer to 3 PM instead of noon, her reverie was once again interrupted. Due to mechanical problems, the bus had to return to the terminal and everyone had to get on another bus! Arggghhh.

When she finally got to the convention center ...  at 3:30 in the afternoon, Jean was a woman on a mission -- to see as much as possible before the 6PM closing. [Click on the links to get more information on the exhibitors and click on the photos to enlarge.] First stop was Ignatius Hats, of course. (More on that later.)  Second stop was Andrea Geer's booth.  This black and white striped vest with continuously looped side panels made a dramatic statement.

Next stop was Steven Ford and David Forlano's booth to drool over their semi-precious jewelry, including these O'Keefe earrings and colorful ceramic beaded necklaces.

Fashion designer Selma Karaka sewed strips of fabrics to create texture and shape and wonderful variations in color on everything from dresses to skirts. Jean's favorite was the orange skirt on the left.

Re-connecting with friends is one of the best things about attending this show.  It was so much fun to check in with Amy Nguyen and her husband Ky to see what they've been up to. Among other things, they produced a beautiful hand-made book about Amy's designs and their Boston show room.

This coat is an example of the workmanship and attention to detail in Amy's textiles. Even the lining is stitched together like a gossamer quilt.

When another friend, Chicago jewelry designer Christy Klug stopped by, Ky snapped a shot of the threesome.

This necklace, with a clear enamel finish, is an example of Christy Klug's work.  She works mostly in metals and enamels.

Christy couldn't resist trying on one of Amy's jackets.

New York jeweler Biba Schutz is a long-time favorite.  She posed with a customer showing of her new white metal earrings.

In addition to jewelry, Biba is producing small sculptural objects like this little number which measures about 6"-7" in height.  It appears to embody both African and Asian influences.

Check out this lady's stockings.  They had black rectangles that looked like strips of electrician's tape strategically placed around the ankles and calves.

It was New York textile designer (and good pal) Mary Jaeger's first time at the Philadelphia Museum's show. Her booth was an amazing collection of pleated, pieced and hand-colored coats, jackets and scarves, interspersed with luxuriously knit hats and neck scarves. Jean's favorites were the tall felted hats like the white one in the foreground.  Mary appeared in the far left of the shot, working with one of her many customers.

Ignatius Hats' booth is always the first priority.  Ignatius Creegan (left) and Rod Givens (right) posed with their friend Liddy.

Long-time readers of our blog know of our well-documented addiction to their head gear.  Two of their straw creations are below. More hats will be posted on our Instagram. Jean's purchases?  They will gradually be revealed as she wears them later this winter and spring, so stay tuned!

Jean recognized this gorgeous and charming lady (who was purchasing a hat from Ignatius) as someone she'd photographed last year.  She was sweet enough to allow another photograph this year.  (Maybe this will be a new tradition?)  Don't you love her (own) knit hat, set at a rakish angle; terrific striped and dotted jacket; and graphic bracelet?

Across the aisle from Ignatius was Adcock Studios' booth with the most amazing baskets made by Christine and Michael Adcock in their Santa Barbara studio.  This black, white and red basket was emblematic of their work.

Christine Adcock (who let us try on her baskets as hats last year) was sweet enough to pose for a photo this year.  Check out the basket in the background on the left and the little houses on stilts on the right.

These colorful archery earrings were among Jean' favorites.

Berea, OH jewelers, mixed media artists and teachers, Roberta and David Williamson were engaging and connected. And yes, David is wearing a weathered knife blade pin.  Check out the current issue of American Craft Magazine to read their interview and view shots of their home which illustrate how seamlessly they live with and among their work.

These two red coral-like necklaces were Jean's favorite among favorites in their booth.

Rea Studio Art featured 3-D creations that worked equally well as jewelry or clothing and as art. Rea is a jeweler and sculptor.  Her genetic hearing loss prompted her interest in and inspiration from sound waves.  She creates endlessly interwoven patterns of nylon via 3-D modeling and printing.

Rea's nylon jewelry was both lightweight and comfortable.

Shellie Bender from Lawrence, Kansas, created black and white graphic jewelry that looked comfortable and soft.

Jean stopped in at Annika King's to view her latest designs.  Her F/W 15/16 Granate Pret collection, called "Clositered Winter" was beautifully tailored. The fabrication and cut-outs in her grey and white Cloister coat created a romantic silhouette.

From the front, details like its golden lining, curving collar and double clasps were visible. Annika obviously continued to refine her design and dress-making skills.  Her made-to-order custom collection offers options in design and color.

Wake Forest, NC artist Sharron Parker (who does spell her first name with 2 "r"s) had a series of large scale and smaller handmade mounted felt pieces, as well as smaller felted pins. This particular piece, "Zion in Spring", measured 27" x 32 x 2".

Another favorite, New Mexico fiber artist Juanita Girardin, showed her collection of graphic pins, jackets and vests.

Brooklyn, NY quilter Erin Wilson showed colorful and black and white geometric hand-dyed and pieced cottons. Check out her website to view more of her work. And check out @idiosyncraticfashionistas on Instagram to see additional shots of people and designs from the Philadelphia Museum of Art's Craft Show.