Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Head to Toe: Fashion Tapas

All these little Fun Fashion Facts do accumulate! We always want to tell you right away, as soon as we find them out, but as so often happens in life, there never seems to be enough time. So this little midweek post is as good a place as any to tell you all sorts of things you never realized you needed to know about dressing. We've got a little something for everybody today: tidbits on hats, glasses, shoes, and what Annette Tapert calls the well dressed woman's uniform. We've posted a photo of the fabulous Millicent Rogers to set the tone. Let's start with the glitziest, in good editorial fashion.


Eyewear designer Moss Lipow has a new book out on (drumroll here) EYEWEAR!

The cover, above, is very staid compared to what's inside. The book is published by Taschen, known for yummy and outlandish books. (They should publish Life Dressing: The Idiosyncratic Fashionistas!) We just happened to have a copy of the Taschen catalogue, and noticed that they'd put the most fabulous selection of glasses in the catalogue to whet the appetite. This picture, below, has some of the glasses from the catalogue. Some of those featured in the book are from Moss's own collection; some are from other "world class collections".

Those of you with a really sharp memory, if you've been reading our blog forEVER, will recognize Moss's name from the time we took a trip to the optometrist's to get Jean a new pair of glasses. After trying on maybe two dozen different styles, Jean finally chose a Moss Lipow design, below.

For more fun with eyewear, check out this link to Studio Thirsty Crow. Most of it is too fabulous for us. (Can that be??!!)


Going from one extreme of the body to another, waaaaaaaay back in July of last year, The Wall Street Journal did an interview with Marianne Faithfull, who will, despite a very successful recording career, forever be known as Mick Jagger's former girlfriend. It was a very interesting interview, but the passage that grabbed our attention was this one:

Ms. Faithfull said she caught up with Ms. Pallenberg at [Kate] Moss's wedding, though bad feet prevented both of them from kicking up their heels like they used to.

Not that we would wish bad feet on anyone, but isn't it comforting to know that if you have bad feet, you're in really good company?

We thought it would be great to show you what their feet used to look like.

Here's Marianne Faithfull:

Below is Anita Pallenberg. (For those of you young enough to be our kids - or grandkids - Anita Pallenberg was Keith Richards' girlfriend waaay back then.)

If you'd like to read the full interview, click here.

For the record, last year Faithfull released an album entitled "Horses and High Heels". One never loses one's taste for some things.


Turning once again to the Wall Street Journal, not for financial tips but for fashion news (we'd really need a book of incantations to set our finances straight), there was an article by Annette Tapert about a woman's "uniform".

Anna Wintour's consists of "shades and jewels";

Michelle Obama's is "a waist-cinching belt and cardigan"

Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis wore "oversized sunnies"

Daisy Fellowes wore Schiaparelli.

Tapert quotes the Merriam-Webster definition of the word uniform as "a dress of a distinctive design or fashion worn by members of a particular group and serving as a means of identification; broadly: distinctive or characteristic clothing." It's that last part that "really resonates", she says, and she's right.

We all need to find our own uniform, and for each of us it will be different. The women she cites found theirs, and serve as excellent examples.

If you'd like to see the full article,

17th century Englishman wearing beaver fur felt hat.

2. Beaver fur felt hats were so prized by the elite of Europe that not only were beaver populations decimated, the fierce competition over the beaver trade led to the loss of human life as well, both among the European colonists and the Native American tribes.

3. And, as many of you may already know, the milliner's trade involved the extensive use of mercury, so when, in Alice in Wonderland, we read about the Mad Hatter, that was not a mere flight of fancy on the part of Lewis Carroll.

For more about how the fight over beavers arguably helped lead up to the American Revolution, click here to read the article by Stephen Brumwell.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

No Fashion Like Old Fashion: the Marmalade Vintage Fashion Show

We closed out a tasty Fashion Week with a delicious dessert of vintage clothing! We attended a party and fashion show at Marmalade in SoHo on February 16th. While young lithe models paraded in vintage finery in the windows, we vogued outside before and after - mostly for our own amusement - and that of the models.

Our hostess Hannah (on the right) posed with Lisa and Lisa's best bud. We loved Hannah's draped, wide-cut skirt and Lisa's Marc Jacobs baggy pants (and actually her whole look).

As usual, we rendezvous'd at the party, having endlessly quizzed each other about what to wear with neither of us giving or getting any clues. Weather is always a factor (so is work!) and the drizzle only complicated matters. Here we are coming face to face for the great "reveal". By the time Jean arrived, Valerie had already scoped out the jewelry vitrines and had moved on to checking out the crowd.

Hannah's daughter Vita and her friend kindly modeled their outfits from the front and the back. You can see why. Look at the line on that dress! Look at the graphics on that shirt! (Yeah, yeah, we know about the tag. But it's merch, so it has to stay till someone takes it home and snips it off. The dry cleaner will LOVE that. You might want to ask why the manufacturer put it THERE. Good question.)

To match the silver jewelry on her dress, Vita put some pins in the cleverly supplied insets on her vintage hat. The pin on the left looks like a copy of a Mayan bas relief. Yum!

The models wore outfits coordinated from head to toe - from parasols and umbrellas to platform shoes and colored socks. Check out that square umbrella! Square, but not L7. (You young people, look up L7.)

We mentioned last week that socks seemed to be making a comeback.

Those of you too young to remember the Bobby Soxers (geez, even we're too young to really remember them) have at least heard of them. They didn't call 'em that fer nothin'. Note the woman on the left (below) has seamed stockings (what a breakthrough seamless were years later!), and the woman on the right has the saddle shoes that were so popular with the socks. Oy.

You can't tell from the distance, but the model in pink wore the most spectacular makeup. (See below for a closer look.) VERY reminiscent of Serge Lutens' work for Shiseido in the 1980s. Who gets up in the morning thinking 'now where did I put my pink and yellow eye shadow?' or 'oh, I need some blush on my temples'?. But look how great they are on her! Just goes to show how self-limiting we can be. OK, OK, those of you saying 'but it's a FASHION show', or 'but she's young enough to be my GRANDdaughter', are entirely right - it won't necessarily look appropriate on the likes of us, or at the office (well, maybe at somebody's offices, but not at ours...). We just want to applaud the makeup artist for experimenting. And for doing a great job.

Here's a photo of Sayoko Yamaguchi in Shiseido makeup in her heyday in the '80s, wearing those very colors (photo by Noriaki Yokosuka). This one is a bit more operatic than usual, but don't those colors just make you want to celebrate something? We lost Yamaguchi much too soon - in 2007 at the age of 56.

This turquoise pleated dress harkened back to the Mary McFadden look, when she was in her 1980's heydey.

What to wear with a turquoise dress? Silver shoes and blue socks!

This tall slim model topped off her outfit with a vintage monkey fur jacket.

Vita lent this model her vintage crownless straw hat. Much as we love hats, they do retain a lot of heat in summer, so crownless hats are a great idea. Not to mention, they circumvent the age-old problem of "hat head". Some women we know shy away from hats because they can leave an imprint on hair. (It's true, alas. But one must suffer for one's art.)

These Norma Kamali black and white embroidered, lace-up wedgies were our favorite!!! Her stuff never goes out of style. They still look fresh and "of the moment" decades after she produced them. How does she do it?

Color was obviously a hot theme of the evening. This outfit combined pink slacks with a pink print umbrella and bathing suit.

This time, the contrasting high heels are turquoise, with wonderful detailing on the heel, worn with hot pink hose.

This guest was rocking her look. Don't you love the top knot?

We had met these two ladies at the last Marmalade party and stood outside afterward chatting. Check out the leopard leggings.

HE obviously got the memo - he was wearing a lot of color.

These ladies kindly obliged our request for a photo. Polka dots always get our attention.

Mike Bailey Gates was one of the photographers documenting the party.

Here we are before we headed home.

Valerie is wearing: Frank Lloyd Wright window pane umbrella from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, black and gray random striped coat by Pleats Please, vintage velvet and fur felt hat by Schiaparelli, matching vintage Norma Kamali shirt and duster, Comme des Garcons pants, Cole Haan red suede lace-ups.

Jean is wearing a pink and black leopard print umbrella from Trash and Vaudeville on St. Marks Place, black and white polka dot cotton Indian scarf from a street vendor; black coat by High Use, Hello Kitty purse, Ignatius fleece hat, Brigitte harem pants, Underground black and white brothel creepers.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

On the Fence about Steve Jobs

Since Steve Jobs' recent passing, a number of less than complimentary articles have been published about his private life. Well, in this week's mid-week post, we're going on the record to share this flattering profile of the man (artist unknown).

Jean says: On the day after New Year's, I was walking east on Bond Street in the East Village at a rapid pace and thought I caught an image of Steve Jobs, but when I stopped and looked at the fence, it looked blank and I thought I was seeing things. ("Wouldn't be the first time", chuckles Valerie!)

Upon closer inspection, I discovered that someone had sliced a large image of the Steve Jobs portrait that Apple had displayed on its website and meticulously applied the strips to the sides of the rungs of the iron fence. Head-on, you see nothing, but if you look at the side that faces west, while walking east, you can pick up the image. If you stand far enough away, at just the right angle, the image materializes.

Three weeks later, Valerie and I were on Bond Street to go to Dick Blick's Art Materials (try saying that one 3 times rapidly, kiddies). I brought Valerie to see the fence and I was thrilled to see that in the intervening period, the artist had added the image of the younger Steve Jobs, visible when walking west.

Here is Valerie on her way to the scene of the crime. As you can see from our attire, our outing was on one of the rare cold days this winter (January 22nd) and it had actually snowed the night before.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Redux & Eckhaus Latta Fashion Show

Our mission (Ha! Mission Impossible, more like!) at Lincoln Center was to photograph fabulous gray-haired women. To our amazement, although the plaza there is usually a good place to find fashionably dressed gray-haired women, Fashion Week is definitely not the week to do so. Below is the lone gray-haired gent we spotted. Since we ourselves were the only gray-haired ladies we found at Lincoln Center that day, we had no choice but to (gasp!) photograph people who might have been half our age!!! To be fair, since we're working women, we only went on Saturday and Sunday, so perhaps our demographic was better represented Monday through Friday. Here, then, are some of the Sunday pickings from 2/12/12:

Sometimes it was hard to tell the photographers from the photographees.

Lovely stitchwork on this woman's boots.

Wataru Bob Shimosato (check out his blog, An Unknown Quantity ) and Ryo Miyamoto.

Last week we showed you a close up of the shoes Wataru wore on Saturday; below are the shoes he wore the next day. Hat mavens that we are, we confidently told hatless Wataru on Saturday that we'd have to find a hat for him. On Sunday, he showed up wearing the perfect hat with no assistance from us. A humbling experience. But not at all surprising.

Later, we spotted Wataru with two dandy friends.

We loved this gent's pants and shoes.

Here's the whole outfit. And the gent, Van, who turned out to be pals with Ryo & Bob.

We remember giant houndstooths from the 60s. Have we spotted a new trend? Or a re-new trend, to be more accurate?

Another woman in black and white.

And her shoes.

We both loved this woman's coat, which she said was vintage 70s.

And check out her boots!

This mother and daughter pair, who were both wearing chinchilla jackets, were not unaccustomed to the attention of strangers.

Mini-Me was not only wearing a silver sequined dress but also a Christian Louboutin bag (a fact that had escaped our notice but was specifically pointed out by mom).

This woman was all business, rushing for the show.

We're not sure, but we think this outfit is vintage 70s.

The Elmer Fudd look. Elmer never looked this chic, though.

These two women made great counterpoints for one another. A contrasting study in white and black.

This woman had a great outfit and a Prada bag.

Great look, great platform shoes.

And skirts like the ones WE used to wear in the 70s. (Actually, these are a little longer than the ones we used to wear!)

And finally, as we left the plaza to hail a cab for our next stop (off to see Diego Rivera murals at the Museum of Modern Art), we were met by one last nifty bit of fashion, getting out as we waited to get in.


On Sunday evening, February 12th, we made our way to Jack Chiles' Gallery at 208 Bowery for the Eckhaus Latta fashion show. Here we are after the show with the designers, Mike Eckhaus and Zoe Latta.

But, once again, we've gotten ahead of ourselves. To that end, we are covering the party first, followed by photos of the models wearing Eckhaus Latta's fashions. Our link to the designers and many of the guests that evening was none other than the talented and beautiful Joana Avillez, author and illustrator of "Life Dressing: The Idiosyncratic Fashionistas". Joana went to RISD with Zoe and several other alumni in attendance, many of whom came to our book signing at Primetime Gallery in Brooklyn in September. In one of New York's many "small world" encounters, Jean had run into Scarlett from Primetime earlier this week in lower Manhattan. Here, we bookend Joana after the show.

We met Jack Chiles (left), proprietor of the gallery, at one of his shows last year (which we covered in our 3/13/11 posting "Balloon-acy on the Bowery"). He also came to the Primetime Gallery. (Click on our 10/29/11 posting "The Book That Launched A Thousand Shapes" for more on the book signing party.) We loved the scarf on the gentleman on the right.

Although many of the women that evening opted for pants or very short skirts, these two exceptions illustrate the wide range of fashion choices in the crowd. While both ladies' outfits are below the knee and of slightly transparent materials, they appear quite different.

We complimented the wearer of this two-piece outfit (with black top and pale green bottom) on its minimalism and simplicity. She chose to wear it with no jewelry or adornment.

This young lady, who was positively charming, accessorized her dress with lots of chains (necklaces and bracelets) and vintage looking oxford school marm shoes.

We met this gentleman in Brooklyn in October. We loved his shirt's Versace-esque roman columns.

Our friend Annie (center) who was in town from Baltimore joined us for the evening. Jesse (left), one of Joanna's friends, designed the light fixtures in the gallery. Jesse was sporting a "Mr. Goodwrench" jacket and terrific platform shoes.

The DJ and his friend posed for photos. (He wore the memorable skeleton sunglasses and his signature topknot to the Primetime Gallery.)

This pair looked so good, both coming and going, that we had to share.

Likewise, Leslie indulged us with a front and back view.

Here's a shot of Joana with a trio of her pals.

The crowd at the show was one of the reasons our own photographs of the models were less than stellar.

This model and several others in the show sported "fishtail" braids.


Fortunately for us, Zoe saved the day by sending us these photographs taken by Maggie Mondanalie and Amanda Dandeneau. Eckhaus Latta designed the shoes in collaboration with Ian Horowitz. Bags and lighting are in collaboration with Elise McMahon and hair is by Brittany Mroczck. Rafael is modeling a body-conscious slashed top with belted blue-green trousers and matching shoes.

Katia models a very non-girly pink number paired with grey leggings and flat grey booties.

Nathan models a shawl collared top over trousers slashed below both knees and flat slip-ons.

Shane is wearing a long knit top over shorts and platform sandals with socks which appear to have been lashed to her feet.

Martine is wearing a hat and textured shawl and jacket over a nubby knit dress, socks and platform sandals.

For more coverage of the fashion show (including a couple shots with Valerie in the background), go to featuring photos by Cindy Ord/Getty Images North America.
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What we're wearing:

Valerie is wearing a vintage curly lamb hat (unlabeled), vintage Norma Kamali coat, scarf by Tiiti Tolonen, sweater by Banana Republic, vintage Versace jacket, vintage Issey Miyake belt, vintage Krizia pants; at Lincoln Center: vintage Tony Lama boys' snakeskin boots; at Eckhaus Latta: Arche ankle boots. (The change in shoes was necessitated by the Tonys' starting to irritate the neuroma on the foot that hasn't been operated on yet.)

Jean is wearing an Ignatius hat; High Use coat (Inter-Fashion Spa, Rimini, Italy); Timbuktu pants; Underground black & white "Creepers; Lux De Ville bag; vintage red bakelite bracelet and rings and red & white plastic bracelet