Paris fashion week 2009

So I know I've been on a bit of a hiatus - but between the holidays, new years, my birthday and family visiting - I've been a bit busy to say the least. Hopefully I'll be back now.

So it's no secret that I adore vintage fashion, and usually prefer that over anything people are wearing today. I like my clothes to fit snuggly and properly, and I will NEVER get behind leggings as pants. They are undergarments. "Under" being the key word people! So what drives me to love vintage fashion is also what makes me love haute couture. The idea of people slaving over a needle and thread for the shear sake of hand sewing millions of sequins makes me swoon. Shock of all shocks I know - but to me something that is unique, and something someone worked hard on, will always be a million times better than something sold at the Gap. So with this secret of love of couture I've been pouring over the images from Paris'Fashion week 2009. Just take a look...

Chanel Couture - and yes those hats are made of PAPER. Just in case you ever thought black and white could be boring.

Dior couture

Christian Lacroix couture.
His show was filled with menswear inspired outfits which I just adore. I once heard a story about Katherine Hepburn and how someone tried to hide all pants from her and replace them with skirts while she was on set for a movie. She proceed to leave her dressing room with only her top and underwear on until someone would give her back pants. Though I do love a tight fitting pencil skirt like any girl should, I love my pants equally as much.

Then just for the hell of it - it may not be couture, but it sure as hell looks good enough to be.

Alexander McQueen pre-fall 2009 (courtesy of WR2BAM). He can do no wrong in my book.

Swoon away fellow fashion lovers.


Jerry Lee Lewis

So I watched this special this weekend that I DVRed called "The Rockabilly Legends: They called it Rockabilly Long Before they Called it Rock and Roll". It was really great in that it went past Elvis and Buddy Holly and talked about other singers of the era, like Gene Vincent and Dorsey Burnette, and how they changed the entire face of music. Apparently there was a book also - which seems to have really good reviews and be chock full of images - and not just the show I watched.

You can buy them both on Amazon here

but for now I figure I'd tribute the video of the week to the song that wouldn't quit in my head after the show had ended. I give you Jerry Lee Lewis "Whole Lotta Shakin' Going on"



Ok, so everyone I've mentioned this to lately seems to have already heard about it, but no one experienced it, so I'm thinking maybe I'm not sooo behind for once.

Pandora is a free online radio music project. Basically you type in a song or artist you like on the home page. They'll play one song by that artist (or the song you picked) and then their fancy program analyzes your tastes and plays other songs by other artists it thinks are similar and you might like. You can fast forward through ones you don't like, or even register and save your playlists in case they recommended some really good stuff.

Just in briefly playing with it I got this:

1. Gogol Bordello (they picked "start wearing purple")
2. Flogging Molly "Cruel Mistress"
3. Tom Waits "Rain Dogs"
4. Dropkick Murphys "I'm shipping up to Boston"
5. Gogol Bordello "Occurence on the Border"
6. The Pogues "Turkish Song of the Damned"
7. The Fratellis "Flathead"

Apparenly Eastern European gypsy folk music also equals 80/90s Irish punk music, but hey, I can see where they caught the similarities. All in all a good time and a nice way to learn about more music.

Have a ball!


"What Shall I Wear?" Amazon rerelease

Here's thanks to a tip spotted over at fashionista.com.

Claire McCardell's "What Shall I Wear?" book of 1956 is being rereleased and Amazon is preselling it through March 5, 2009 here

Product description courtesy of amazon.com:

The classic guide to looking great and dressing well, by the pioneer of easy American style.

The revolutionary fashion designer credited with originating the "The American Look," Claire McCardell designed for the emerging active lifestyle of women in the 1940s and 50s. She was the originator of mix-and-match separates, pedal-pushers, bareback summer dresses, strapless swimsuits, and feminine denim fashion, and started the trend for ballet flats-a signature Audrey Hepburn look-as a wartime leather-rationing measure. McCardell's fashions were taken up by working women and high society alike. There are wonderful photographs from the period of clotheshorses Slim Keith, Babe Paley, and C. Z. Guest looking impossibly chic in McCardell fashions for their leisure-time activities.

First published in 1956, What Shall I Wear? is a distillation of McCardell's democratic fashion philosophy and a practical guide to looking effortlessly stylish, without enslavement to expensive and confining Parisian designs. A retro treat full of charming illustrations, instructions for sewing some of her classic designs, and still-solid advice including the designer's "McCardellisms," What Shall I Wear? is a tribute to the American spirit in fashion, carried on today by such designers as Marc Jacobs, Isaac Mizrahi, Donna Karan, and Michael Kors.


Daughter Dearest: Joan Crawford in Vanity Fair

It seems I'm rehashing all the oldies but goodies lately, and frankly I just don't care. While cleaning my desk I found an old Vogue (which I must have clearly kept for the Hitchcock spread with classic imagery reenacted) and I found/remembered the great article contained within about Joan Crawford.

I always loved Joan Crawford, and never knew who to believe - the two children who spoke harshly of her, or the two that claim they could have never had a better mother. It's a very interesting read, covering both sides of story. Make your own decisions.

Daughter Dearest
One of Hollywood’s greatest stars, Joan Crawford, was redefined as a sadistic control freak by Mommie Dearest, her daughter’s 1978 tell-all. In an excerpt from the author’s new Crawford biography, based in part on interviews with another Crawford daughter, a very different story emerges.
by Charlotte Chandler March 2008, Vanity Fair


Hanneke Treffers (1981) was born in the Netherlands. She studied photographic design at the Academy of Arts and Design St. Joost in the Netherlands. Along the way, she developed her skills and since 2002 she works under the name HANDIEDAN as a Amsterdam based self-employed artist, (web)designer, illustrator, flash animator and photographer.
Working as an artists HANDIEDAN creates mixed media pin-up artworks, black-and-white photo montages, drawings on clothing and fine line drawings on old sheet music.
It is a cut and paste mixture of patiently composed collages on paper and photo montages all washed together with the computer in an aesthetically pleasant and intuitive playful way. HANDIEDAN uses classic pin-ups and other elements like old sheet music, Chinese papers and stamps, old money, elegant curls, old wood, rusty metal and other old stuff she gathers on the street, flea markets or finds in old boxes on the attic. To combine the old images with her hand-dawn little girly doodles and scratches she distorts the carefully placed elements and makes the design lively, like in nature and the beauty and the discarder, objects and people, structure and balance, and happenings by purpose.

She has a great website which shows all her old work here

What really struck me though is the new work at Phone Booth Gallery (images of which are scattered through this post). I love the pin up girls mixed with old collage ephemera and the victorian calligraphy. The show closed December 31st, 2008, but the works can still be seen and bought online here


video of the week

Week 2 of the video of the week!

"The Rainbow Connection" is a popular song written by Paul Williams and Kenneth Ascher and originally performed by Kermit the Frog (Jim Henson) in The Muppet Movie in 1979. By extension, as evidenced in the TV special, The Muppets at Walt Disney World, the song has come to epitomize the ideals and artistic spirit of Henson and his company as much as "When You Wish Upon a Star" represents Walt Disney and his company.

It has been covered by artists such as Leftöver Crack, Sarah McLachlan, DAT Politics, Aaron Lewis, Kenny Loggins, The Dixie Chicks, Justin Timberlake, The Carpenters, Kiki and Herb, Jason Mraz, The Pussycat Dolls, Me First and the Gimme Gimmes, Tay Zonday, Jim Brickman, Caroline's Spine, Estradasphere, The Dresden Dolls, Willie Nelson (who is incorrectly credited with penning the song quite often), pop-punk band Fifteen, Lea Salonga, Andy Bernard (played by Ed Helms) in The Office, The Loves, and many others. It was sung by Blondie's Debbie Harry in a duet with Kermit on the Muppet Show in 1981 (Season 5).

Kenny Ascher and Paul Williams received Oscar nominations at the 1979 Academy Awards for the movie score and for "The Rainbow Connection", which Allmusic describes as an "unlikely radio hit ... which Kermit the Frog sings with all the dreamy wistfulness of a short green Judy Garland."[1] and goes on to add that "'The Rainbow Connection' serves the same purpose in [The Muppet Movie] that 'Over the Rainbow' serves in The Wizard of Oz, with nearly equal effectiveness: an opening establishment of the characters' driving urge for something more in life."



Where Have All the Girdles Gone?

There is a great article in the NY Times T Magazine that I just stumbled upon today:

Belt Tightening

Where are the girdles of yesteryear? The ones women of all ages once wore as a matter of course, huffing and puffing as they tugged at the reinforced elastic and lace, the better to encase their bodies to trimmest effect. The ones that were so pivotal that the 19th-century sexologist Havelock Ellis felt compelled to weigh in, insisting that girdles were ‘‘morphologically essential’’ because the evolution from ‘‘horizontality to verticality’’ was more difficult for women than for men. (Without them, Ellis grandly theorized, ‘‘woman might be men. (Without them, Ellis grandly theorized, ‘‘woman might be physiologically truer to herself if she went always on all fours’’ rather than try to imitate men by ‘‘standing erect.’’) How is it, then, as I discovered when I went in quest of a girdle, that this once culturally mandated undie has disappeared from the sartorial landscape like so much melted snow?
I remember the fascination girdles used to hold for me as a child growing up in the ’60s, the unvarying feminine ritual of them, taken on — or so it seemed to me — as a burdensome birthright. It might have been catching a glimpse of the pinkish rubbery garment with hooks and eyes up the front, custom-made by a European corsetiere, that my grandmother used to wear under her button-down shirtdresses when she came for her annual visit from Tel Aviv. Or watching as my mother prepared to go out for an evening, stuffing herself into a less sweat-inducing but still body-transforming version before she bent down to fasten her stockings to the garters, and then, looking like an apparition out of ‘‘The Blue Angel,’’ walked into her bathroom to apply makeup. Where had my mother’s mercurial ungirdled self gone to, I wondered. Did her inner dimensions change along with the outer, becoming more streamlined and compact? In my mind there was something immutably glamorous and grown-up about the very confinement of a girdle, demonstrating that you were no longer an indecorous girl but a woman, willing to suffer extreme discomfort in aid of — let’s strip to the bare truth of it — capturing and keeping the male gaze.

Read the rest of the great article here

And if you're interested in trying out a girdle on your own(you'll thank yourself), here are some of the best websites:

magnolia hosiery

It's a New Year!

Here's to this one being even better than the last