Sunday, November 30, 2014

Our Interview for Sandi Klein's Conversations with Creative Women

Is this thing on?

On a recent Saturday, we had the great pleasure and good fortune to be interviewed by Sandi Klein as part of her Conversations with Creative Women radio show, which streams on Sandi's website, and also played on WFDU 89.1 FM, the Fairleigh Dickinson University radio station.  WFDU describes her show as one which "captures the fire and energy, humor, heart, soul and spirit of the female creative experience. It's been a long time coming, but women FINALLY comprise a large and important part of the creative landscape.  They are powerful forces in theater, film, television -- as performers, writers, directors, -- as musicians, composers, painters, sculptors, curators, fashion designers, as businesswomen, scientists, educators, inventors and on and on" -- and now, may we add, US!  We had a look at the guests who preceded us, and were both humbled and elated to be in such great company.

Did you miss it?  Listen to our interview here.

On our arrival, Sandi immediately put us at ease as we settled into our comfortable chairs and Chad Dougatz, her producer, attached our microphones. Then we were off and the half hour flew by!  Through skillful questions, Sandi drew us out and got us talking on our favorite topics.  We covered the gamut, from the micro -- how we met and started the blog -- to the macro -- how all three of us, as women of a certain age, are invisible to Madison Avenue and Seventh Avenue marketing, manufacturing and fashion design.

We asked Chad to photograph us from behind the glass in the sound room, so we could see the recording room the way he sees it.  That's camera-shy Sandi at far left.

Here's Chad, the sound room magician.

We had asked for an outline of questions Sandi might want to discuss so we could give them some thought.  We didn't want to wind up prefacing all our brilliant remarks with pseudowords like um, uh, and hmmm.  In the name of spontaneity, Sandi politely declined to send us anything in advance, but assured us that the interview would be edited with exactly that sort of thing in mind.  When we had a chance to listen to the finished product, Sandi and Chad had indeed helped us sound like logical, thoughtful, creative people.  (A tour de force!)

Have we asked you yet to listen to our interview?  Don't you miss it!  It's here.

Between them, Sandi and Chad have resumes as long as our arms, having each been in the business for  more than twenty years.  For more information about Sandi and Chad, and a look at some of the amazing people they've worked with, click here.

Sandi Klein's Conversation with Creative Women:
Facebook Page:
Twitter Page:
Interview with the Idiosyncratic Fashionistas dated Tues., 11/18/14, 10 AM:
Interview with the IFs was re-run Sun., 11/23/14, 8:30 AM on WFDU:

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Jean hits the big 6-5!

What do black cats, The Ramones, Bride of Frankenstein, chocolate biscotti and cocktails have in common?  Jean's birthday, of course!  Jean turned 65 on Monday. We started celebrating on Sunday by having brunch at BBar & Grill on East 4th Street and Bowery.

Valerie takes birthdays quite seriously and has raised gift-giving to the level of a fine art. Case in point: cookies in the shape of each of the original members of the 1970s punk band The Ramones, specifically, Johnny, Joey, Dee Dee & Tommy. Valerie knows how much I love them.  Having lived in the East Village since the 1980s, I have a soft spot in my heart for The Ramones. I even named my cat Dee Dee, after the bassist. Manhattan's East 2nd Street, just north of CBGBs, was renamed Joey Ramone Way.

Here is what the band (who first played at the legendary CBGB's on August 16, 1974) looked like in real life. Although the band took the surname The Ramones, none was actually named Ramone. Joey died in 2001, DeeDee died in 2002, Johnny died in 2004 and Tommy died in 2014. But their punk attitude  and their music live on.  I misremembered the order in which they appeared in the photo when I shot the cookies and by the time I realized it, there was no going back:  my husband and I had already eaten Joey Ramone!  (He had broken both femurs, so we had to put him out of his misery.)

Another of the cookies Valerie procured for me bears the image of Elsa Lanchester in "Bride of Frankenstein". She knows I absolutely love Elsa, who was married to actor Charles Laughton. (For a real treat, watch them act together in Witness for the Prosecution with Marlene Dietrich and Tyrone Power!)

Here is what Elsa looked like in the role. The cookie captures her spirit and amazing profile.  How Valerie found a cookie with her on it is amazing.  (Valerie spills the beans: I found them on Etsy - while looking for something completely unrelated, of course - under American Cookie Craft.)

In my wedding invitation photo, and at my actual wedding reception in NYC in 1986, I was channeling Elsa's Bride of Frankenstein. I even waived my board straight hair and added two blond streaks at each side to emulate Elsa's lightning bolts.

Brunch at BBar is always a treat. Valerie is addicted to their buttermilk pancakes with berries.

I usually opt for the seasonal fruit salad and one of BBar's amazing lattes.  (Valerie pipes up: that's my breakfast, which I wait hours for after rising; what you see below is Jean's snack.  She's already had her breakfast, at home.)

In honor of the occasion, I wore my leopard Ignatius hat, complete with giant plastic claws, and my fabulously pointed, spotted Dolce and Gabanna shoes I'd gotten when we did a fashion shoot for Beacon's Closet last year.  (Valerie again: she wore that hat, at least partially, to shut me up.  Why don't you ever wear it?, I kept badgering her.  So now I can quit badgering.  Or badger about something else.)

Did I mention Valerie's birthday cards? She can never send just one and often embellishes them, adding her own two cents. Take this Mount Rushmore card she gave me (which reads "Have an Epic Birthday!") to which she added a little party hat on each of the statues. GeorgeWashington and Teddy Roosevelt each got a noisemaker.  (Valerie interjects: Um, actually, I can't take credit for the hats.  They were already there when I bought the card.  But the card maker and I think along the same lines.  I bought it thinking that if the guys on Mount Rushmore all wore hats, it would go a long way toward popularizing millinery again, and was a concept to support.  I do like to embellish cards, but someone beat me to it with this one.)

Possibly because of the time she spent in Japan, Valerie loves to wrap presents in the most creative way, and this was no exception. The bag is one of the black and white Uniqlo Keith Haring bags. On top is a black and white linen napkin from Bergdorf Goodman.

Inside the napkin? Shoulder pads of course! I had recently mentioned that I'd misplaced several pairs of mine (don't ask), so Valerie found me a brand new pair with velcro to attach them to bra straps.  (Valerie pipes up: it's such a rare occasion when you actually know what someone really needs.  Even if it's really mundane, run out and get that thing, if only for a gag.  Unless, of course, the birthday is next year.  Then you have to rethink your strategy.)

Another gift wrapped in black tissue paper was decorated with a pair of Keith Haring barking dog pins. Inside the roll? A black and white striped Ann DeMeulemeester sweater!  (Valerie says: I'd seen her admiring it.  Bought it secretly and kept it in the closet for so many months after that that I forgot where I'd put it and had to go looking it.)

In the bottom of the bag was this terrific black and grey Keith Haring fleece throw.

Needless to say, DeeDee approves of the throw.

Another birthday card from Valerie arrived in the mail with one of my signature motifs, the domino! The message inside the card: "Age is just a number ... It's all about how you play the game!"

Valerie's third (yes, third!) card with the wonderful woman of a certain age under the old fashioned hair dryer reads: "Wishing you 50 Shades ... of Grey".

Not to be outdone, Forest City Fashionista sent me a pirate birthday card from Canada, complete with eye patch and parrot!

Pals from Baltimore, Anne and Beth, sent a birthday card with a terrific sentiment that I am going to steal and use again and again!

Along with the card, they sent a box with fragrant vanilla hand creme, yummy chocolate frosted biscotti, aromatic pumpkin spice tea and -- a cocktail shaker! The stainless steel shaker has a red aluminum sleeve with cut-outs. As you turn the outer sleeve and stop at the name of a specific cocktail, you can view the ingredients through the strategically placed cut-outs. Funny how it was set on "Margarita" when it arrived!

How ever did they know how well that cocktail shaker fits in with my art deco decor?

My sister in law Maureen sent a hilarious card from Long Beach Island with the image of a mouse and a cat looming in the background that looks suspiciously like DeeDee. The inscription is priceless: "Live dangerously on your birthday!"

My husband's card also features a black cat, although in this case, it is a Tuxedo and a woman on a sofa in front of a very 1950s lamp and floral wallpaper saying: "I never drink alone ... that's why I have a cat."

Pat, who is one of my friends from college, never forgets a birthday or anniversary of mine or any of our friends from school. I do not know how she does it, but the gesture is incredibly thoughtful, especially considering we graduated over forty years ago! This year's birthday card says: "Hoping your birthday dreams and wishes come true."

I can't top that for a sentiment and am going to end this on a high note. With all these good wishes, turing 65 is no big deal. Friends and family make life worth living. I'm looking forward to many more birthdays to come.  Cheers, everyone, and many happy returns!  Now, all I have to do is figure out what to do for Valerie's birthday next July ...

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Pier Review

We rock The Pier Show!

On the Saturday before Thanksgiving, we went to the Pier Show to check out an amazing selection of vintage women's and men's clothing, hats (of course!), jewelry, handbags and shoes --  and to people watch!

We didn't see some of our old favorites, but on the other hand there were some newcomers to the madness.  Case in point: Brown & Williams, dealers in British menswear, and dressed for the part.

We ran into Carol Weiss, who is endlessly a joy to talk with and look at.  Carol's look is very subtle and cannot be taken in at a single glance.

You would have to look closer to see that she's wearing eighteen square bangles.

And you would have to look closer to see the three dimensional spirals carved out of her Pataugus shoes.

We always have to stop by Cherry, where we see the most marvelous things.  This time, among other marvels, we saw these wonderful shoes (below is one of the pair).  We were told the folks at Cherry, who recently relocated to Brooklyn, bought out the entire stock of a store that sold handmade shoes.  It was hard to get this shoe at the best angle to see all its marvelous features.  In addition to the several harmonious colors you see, it also has a square, rather than rounded, back, and a delicately carved low heel.

Both of us zeroed in on this gorgeous  '40s - '50s chest of drawers at Andrew Spindler Antiques, which the dealer believes was a custom order, with all sorts of beautiful detailing, both inside and out.  We were further tickled because the centerpiece displayed atop the chest is a French hat mold from the '20s.

Valerie had a conversation with Leslie Stevens, drawn to her sweater with hand embroidered (?) circles on it.  Like us, Leslie has a fascination with dots; unlike us, she has a Pinterest board that features dots in many forms.  Check out Leslie's Dots board and see all the wonderful permutations of dots she's found and uploaded onto her board.  Not surprisingly, you'll find Yayoi Kusama, but all sorts of other delights await you if you link to her site.  (You might also look at her Hair and other boards while you're there.)  You never know where a chance conversation will take you!

We stopped at the booth of Karen Murphy and David Dew Bruner, where all sorts of treasures beckoned us.   Below is Karen, with her assistant.

Valerie found a pair of India ink-y pants by Issey Miyake.  Twenty years ago they would have fit perfectly; now they're a tad small.  Sigh...

Then there were the scrumptious Calder-like earrings…

We had to photograph this young couple in matching pants.

Adrienne Astrologico's Ladybag International features an extensive collection of designer handbags. What really caught our eye was this pair of Chanel glasses with camera lens frames!

Fran Cohen's Uniquities booth also had a beautiful collection of handbags, including this carved wooden minaudiere.

Heidi Rosenau and Joe McGlynn are a striking couple who seamlessly incorporate vintage into their everyday wardrobes.

We ran into Warren Franz of Another Man's Treasure who was looking particularly dashing.

Loved how David Owens displayed this Fiorucci scarf.

Lyn of Accidental Icon and Calvin are our nominees for most stylish couple!

Michal Feinmesser of What Once Was in Kedem Sasson dress that we shamelessly coveted.  She had several necklaces for sale like the one she is wearing.

We ran into Lori Lewin and her friend Ako.  Lori is one of those women who incorporates iconic vintage looks (like this scarf turban) into her daily wardrobe and makes the look her own.

Karen McWharter showed an absolutely striking example of a Victorian silk velvet jacket in black with intricate embroidery.

Emma Madnick joined us at the show as we strolled up and down the aisles of Fashion Alley, looking at booth after booth of great jewelry, shoes, hats, eyeglasses and clothes.  Wish you could see the tuxedo stripe on her pants and her chic suspenders.

We loved this Bonnie Cashen dress at Lenore Newman's Patina.

Incogneeto's 1920s cloche hat incorporated silver pins.

Linda Pastorino has an amazing knack for effortlessly putting together an eclectic combination of ethnic and tribal textiles and jewelry and making it all work.

A number of the vintage gowns like this one on display at Bruce Mihalski's Hollywood & Vine had delicately detailed stitching and intricate beadwork and were in terrific condition.

We met Kyle several years ago when she photographed us at the Manhattan Vintage Show.  We loved the look of her felted wool cap and round glasses with her black and white bag and jewelry.

Valerie found the perfect Lucy Ricardo dress.

Forget about Kendall Jenner.  Our money's on Coral Pastorino, a tall, beautiful and poised young woman who has a well-honed appreciation for vintage textiles, jewelry and clothing. Like her mother Linda, she wears her clothing, it doesn't wear her.

Doesn't Lee Chinalai look terrific in her back and white outfit? Check out Chinalai Tribal Antiques, Ltd.

Tim John was channeling his inner Dr. Zhivago.

Jean fell in love with this Norma Kamali jacket at Lofty Vintage.  If she'd been able to button (ahem) ALL of the buttons, she would have taken it home with her.  Sigh! Things like those white Miyake pants and this black Kamali jacket keep each of us humble.

Just before we left we ran into Pratt Institute's Professor Adrienne Jones (right), curator of Pratt's exhibition Black Dress, which we reviewed earlier this year.  (See Elle magazine's interview with Adrienne here.)  At the same time, who should walk by but vintage fashion afficionada Jill (left), whom you've seen here in previous posts.

Check out Jill's backpack, too.  (Yes, that's a Norma Kamali jacket.)

Here's a little eye candy as we leave the show.  We went back to photograph a Miro bark cloth window drape, but it had been sold, so you will have to imagine how fabulous it was.

On our way home on the subway (Why is it that we're still not taking limosines?), these gorgeous ladies asked to photograph us.  We gave them our card, and asked to photograph them back.  It never ceases to delight us that people half our age (or younger!) are on our wavelength.