Sunday, February 14, 2010

Relics Among the Antiques

In the Keeping Our Priorities Straight Department, we are delighted to say that the Idiosyncratic Fashionistas' TV debut has been immortalized on the internet. If you missed the once in a lifetime opportunity to see our debut as it occurred on public access tv, you can now see it anytime you want to by clicking on the link below. The program is 28 minutes long, but for those of you who are pressed for time, there's a fast forward button, so you can surf for the highlights - and the hats -that interest you.
And now, back to our regularly scheduled blog entry:

Last weekend was a whirlwind. After Jean's Thursday haircut (chronicled in last week's posting), we went to an East Village fashion show on Friday, the Metropolitan Pavilion Vintage Show on Saturday, and The Outsider Art Show on Sunday (which will be the subject of a future posting, so stay tuned, kiddies.) This week's focus is on VINTAGE. Join us for a recap of our Friday and Saturday escapades:

Friday, February 5, 2010
Jean says:
If you were pondering what the best dressed Goths are wearing this season in the Republic of Georgia, search no more! The answer is at hand. On Friday night February 5th, Valerie and I headed to the Ideal Glass Gallery in the East Village to solve the mystery. Venue for Saint Hollywood's art installations and live events, the Gallery hosted a unique fashion show, featuring the fantastic creations of Uta Bekala, a Georgian designer (by way of the USSR, not Atlanta), and modeled by the fantastic creatures of Goth New York. Here is the ubiquitous Saint Hollywood logo.

Georgia was the unspoken focal point of the evening. It gave deeper meaning to a collection which could otherwise be easily dismissed as just a flashy re-working of vintage clothing. The facts that: a) Georgia was one of the first countries to adopt Christianity in the 4th century; b) was invaded by the Bolshevik army in 1921; c) annexed by the Soviet Union in 1922; d) liberated in 1991; and e) plunged into a period of political and social unrest all figured prominently in the show.

Christian iconography was evident throughout - from the projections of Russian Orthodox style religious paintings on gallery walls to the sequined, embroidered patches of Our Lady of Guadalupe adorning jacket backs and skirt fronts to the framed religious pictures carried by many of the models.

Military influences were apparent in the underlying uniform jackets that were transformed by the unlikeliest of accessories.

Liberation was illustrated by the ironic use of bright colors and elaborately decorative headgear that would have been frowned upon by comrades under the old regime.

Social unrest and resulting loosening of social mores are evident in the S&M undertoned use of leather, veils, masks and feature-concealing Kabuki-style makeup. With one notable exception, models' skin was veiled or powdered or swathed in fabric or gloves.

Enough history, dahlings. On with the show:

All of Uta's designs included extravagant headgear and many incorporated the previously mentioned sequined patches of Our Lady of Guadalupe. In honor of St. Valentine's Day, I'm grouping a selection of Uta's crimson red creations out of order. Truth be told, since the designer did not appear until the end of the show, I had mentally pictured "Uta" to be a blond Veruschka type. Imagine my surprise when the designer turned out to be large, bearded and male!

The crowd was an interesting mix, ranging from a small boy of about 5 and his parents to art students to punks to '80s disco throwbacks to friends of the models. (With all the religious iconography and twenty and thirty somethings, we were beginning to feel a bit like relics, so we fit in well with the theme.) By far, our favorite model was Takashi - tall, willowy and Japanese - who appeared in way fewer layers than his peers. Here he's wearing a Mohawk headdress with tiger stripes and elaborate straps across the chest, shoulders and face. He prowled that catwalk like he owned it.

Needless to say, however, Takashi turned out to be a real pussycat! Here he is doing a voguish turn while Valerie beams. Valerie wears an unlabeled hand shibori'd acid green wool jacket and a blue felt hat, (by Francine Gintoff, booty from last year’s Pier Show) spray-painted acid green and mounted with three black and gold painted cartouches at the forehead.

After shamelessly schmoozing with several other members of the eclectic audience, Jean stopped to congratulate Takashi and the designer, Uta Bekala, and a friend, before venturing out into the cold with Valerie. For information about future events at Ideal Glass Gallery, go to Jean is wearing an Ignatius fleece Shrek hat [Valerie protests that she thinks it's modeled after one of nature’s marvels, the conch shell, much as she loves William Steig, the creator of Shrek], Mishiko Koshino skirt, Kyodan jacket and Trippen boots.

Saturday, February 6, 2010
Jean says:
On Saturday, Valerie and I checked out the vintage Show at the Metropolitan Pavilion on West 18th Street. Our big celebrity sightings were stylist Rachel Zoe and her handsome husband as they dashed from booth to booth, anxious to deflect attention. [Valerie says: Jean is so gracious. She spotted them. I was clueless. Jean had to point out the handsome husband to me. He was the guy in the grungy gray hoodie. Hood UP, you understand. It makes me ask myself: what lengths would I go to not to be recognized? Could I bring myself to wear a grungy gray hoodie? It's hard to imagine, but I have to remember the old chestnut about not judging a man till I've walked a mile in his John Varvatos suit and shoes.]

We often play the "What would you take with you if you could have ONE thing (irrespective of price)?" game when we go to events with items available for sale. There were SO many candidates, and we would have loved to photograph them all, but we felt a bit bashful, understanding that some dealers are steadfastly opposed to the practice. (And not without reason - they may believe the photograph will be used to copy the item, and dealers are there to sell, not to be someone's lending library.) Happily for us, this Rudi Gernreich dress (Valerie's one chosen thing, irrespective both of price and size) would be pointless to copy, so we photographed it with great reverence, and put it up for your viewing pleasure. We should have photographed it without the bag, but you get the idea.

Although the Vintage shows at the Metropolitan Pavilion and the Stella Shows at the Pier draw lots of women who dress in vintage clothing, very few men return the favor. Pictured with Jean is Daniel, one of those rare peacocks who dresses impeccably and manages to carry it off without looking cartoonish. Tall and handsome, Dan invariably looks dapper and relaxed. It is always a treat to see him and what he's wearing, and he never disappoints. Saturday was no exception.

Chubo is one of our favorite vendors, who can as easily combine a kilt as he does cargo pants with his cowboy boots. On this particular day, he wore his pin collection on his vest rather than his cap. Jean is modeling a pink felt hat from the forties/fifties embellished with beads and rhinestones for his assessment. (It got a thumbs up!)

The domino effect: When we stopped for our caffeine fix at the cafe, we met Grace, a gorgeous young woman who looked absolutely adorable sporting black jeans and a motorcycle jacket. Jean combined a vintage white bakelite link necklace with lots of her vintage black and white bakelite bracelets, black polka dot plastic bangles, and black knotted plastic choker. She is wearing a Donna Karan wool shawl sweater, Brigitte harem pants, Trippen boots, Ignatius hat and black coral and brass earrings by Kirsten Hawthorne.

Valerie says:

I uncharacteristically managed to behave myself all afternoon and not buy a single hat, but like so many addicts, ultimately lost my resolve. It was just before we left the Pavilion, and Jean is not - NOT - the person whose phone number they tell you to call when temptation beckons. The old saw refers to mutton dressed up as lamb. Here you see me demonstrating mouton dressed up as lynx (or some other wild cat). When demurring on a purchase, I often rationalize the decision by saying “It’s BROWN”, as if that explained anything. Actually, it’s shorthand for “I don’t have anything brown in my closet [see our previous posting on my closet, which in fact contains no brown], and if I start now I’ll have to buy a gazillion more brown things to match, so I’m not buying this and you can’t make me.” (This strategy works very well for brown things, but not so well for things of other colors that I need a good excuse not to buy.) To my own astonishment, I actually bought this chubby (BADLY named fashion item for a woman of a certain age…), labeled I.J. Fox Fifth Avenue, which has a fair amount of brown in it, and rationalized it by pointing out that I have a brown mouton hat of the same period that will otherwise never get worn. Some of you might say ‘So if she didn’t buy a hat, but bought a jacket to match a hat, what’s the difference?’, and I would agree.

Before exiting the show, we chatted with Ellen, a self-avowed computer nerd who comes by the appellation honestly. Her dad was one of the pioneers of computer development. So her affinity with the wireless generation is part of her inner circuitry. Elisa Goodkind, who runs Stylelikeu, a website devoted to documenting fashionable people from all walks of life and age groups by getting them to open their closets (and their souls), also stopped by. Elisa was sporting her Out of Africa look, complete with jodphurs and boots. To see more, go to Here are Jean and Ellen flanked by Elisa and her ever so stylish intern.

Looking for your very own fabulous hat or jacket? The next Manhattan Vintage Show will be on Friday and Saturday, April 23 and 24, 2010. If you can't wait that long, then get ready for the next Pier Show on Saturday and Sunday, March 13 and 14, 2010. For details, go to, which prominently features yours truly by name and photo (as we shamelessly mentioned last week):


Stella Mgmt. put us on the first page of their website!

"Talk about hot shoppers!!! Don't you just LOVE these two. Jean and Valerie often attend the Pier shows (said it's their fave) and were spotted at the Antiques Week event Americana & Antiques @ The Pier on 1/24. They have a super style blog -
Idiosyncratic Fashionistas - check it out.

Also spotted at the January Stella Show events at the Armory on 26th Street and/or on Pier 92: Martha Stewart, Claire Danes, Chris Jussel, Frances McDormand & Joel Coen, Anna Wintour, Federico Castelluccio and Brooke Shields. Shop with the pros at stella shows!"

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