from the jazz age to the space age

Category Archives: fashion

Last week we had a brief moment of cooler weather which I took advantage of. I mentioned that I inherited some clothes from my husband’s great Aunt, and here are a couple of them. The soft brown tea length skirt has wooden button that go down the side. I had to take it in about 4″ in the waist and body of the skirt. It has an elastic waist so there wasn’t going to be a really great way to do that without cutting the elastic on each side, trimming it, reattaching it and then trimming each side. Orrrrrrr I could take it out of the center back seam which would shift the side seams toward the back. I took it out of the back simply bc that way I only had to do it once instead of twice, which is what would have happened by taking from the sides. But, with this tightly gathered style, you can’t even see the side or back seams at all, so it all worked out.
My sweet Karl is too excited to get some vanilla milk at Target to bother staying 1 This is what I’m assuming is a home made brushed cotton dress. It had small shoulder pads that I cut out. The shoulders, even before this, were a little too wide for me & I contemplated taking the sleeve out and moving it in a bit. But that would change the sleeve length, which is like exactly where it is. So, I’m living with it. I cut off about 6″ from the bottom to make it a little more contemporary, otherwise it looked very “vintage drag”. There are pintucks running down each sleeve which really made me fall in love with this dress. ❤
My husband Mikael took both of these photos to send them to his mother so she could see that her Aunt’s clothes are getting a new life. And yes, they all knew I was going to have to alter them for a better fit 🙂
We are ready to go to the neighborhood diner. I LOVE diner food. Love it. Give me diner coffee, eggs and hashbrowns and I’m set!photo 2We’re in total agreement Agent Cooper damn-fine-cup-of-coffee-e1336535321587-290x290Coop is from Welcome to Twin Peaks

Coppola and Eiko on Bram Stoker’s Dracula, part 1.

This movie introduced me to the work of Eiko Ishioka, costume designer extraordinaire. Coppola’s Dracula has problems, mostly stemming from the stilted acting of Reeves and Ryder (I still remember the horror of realizing that Ryder had limited range. Up till then, she was my favorite actress), and the intentional hamminess of the rest of the cast. It also introduced me to Gary Oldman. Although I had seen “Sid and Nancy,” Oldman’s submersion into Vicious’s persona was so complete I overlooked him (I was a Johnny Rotten fan anyway). But with Dracula, I sat in the theater spellbound. A quarter of the way through the film I looked at my sort of boyfriend sitting next to me and realized that our relationship wasn’t going to be long term. He was a total Harker and I wanted Dracula. I wanted a consuming love that would cross oceans of time for me. That level of craziness would characterize all of my subsequent relationships. I’m an emotionally reserved person and it takes serious devotion to lure me into expending any actual emotion.
“The luckiest man who walks on this earth is the one who finds true love.”
Coppola wanted Eiko’s costumes to be the scenery. Her artistry tells more about the characters than script.

photo (4)“What devil or witch was ever so great as Attila whose blood flows through these veins?”

photo (5)“I was betrayed. Look what your God has done to me!”

photo (6)“I shall rise from my own death, to avenge hers with all the powers of darkness.”

photo (7)

“The basic color scheme for Dracula is red, white, black, and gold. I wanted to depict him in his armor as a cross between man and a beast.” -Eiko

photo (8)“For the dead travel fast.”

photo (9) “Listen to them- the children of the night. What sweet music they make.”

photo (10)

photo (11)

“The enormous train… was designed to undulate like a sea of blood.”- Eiko

“I never drink… wine.”

photo (12)

calling Gustav Klimt.

“Do you think you can destroy me with your idols? I who served the cross, I who commanded nations, hundreds of years before you were born?”

photo (13)

I bought this waaaaaay back when it came out in 1997. Between the adorable paper dolls and Isaac Mizrahi (I was/am quite a fan) I was in love. It’s definitely a slice of pop culture which even now, only 16 years later, seems incredibly naive. Mizrahi pokes fun at fashion and modeling, from ageism (Sandee is revealed to be 30! gasp!), the waif look (Sandee loses too much weight and Isaac recommends she gain some), to being too fat for fashion (Sandee’s busting out of the sample sizes even though she looks nearly the same. After she’s fired from Prada, Westwood, & Chanel, Isaac rolls with it and creates the “New New Look.”) Heroin chic and the bdsm look are parodied by Sandee’s disastrous makeover- an obvious act of sabotage (She’s quickly given a makeunder by Isaac’s assistant, Dee Lish).  Sandee’s rival, Dorothy, sports a coke habit and extensive plastic surgery and there’s a handsome bisexual photographer who everyone falls in love with. With cameos by Madonna, Anjelica Huston, Anna Wintour, JFK jr, Dominick Dunne, as well as stand ins for Diana Vreeland, and Carrie Donovan, it’s a bitchy and loving tribute to fashion.
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I know what you’re thinking and you’re right, why isn’t everyone talking about how great Michelle Pfeiffer’s hair is in Dark Shadows? Because the world is populated by Philistines. So I have a confession, I love big Charlie’s Angels hair. Which is of course the opposite of what I have. But I have hope, because it’s also the opposite of what Michelle Pfeiffer has. I remember reading an interview in the 80s with her about her flat hair woes. Girl, I know your pain. But thanks to mousse, curlers, and learning how to round brush from a Texan I overcame my flat hair. Currently my hair is bobbed, but pics like these make me yearn to grow it out again.

owl macrame earrings {greatest nod to a character hobby ever}
I’ve had a girl-crush on Michelle since I saw Ladyhawke in the theater.
I wanted to make out with Rutger Hauer’s doomed lupine knight, but damn if I didn’t want to look like Michelle Pfeiffer while doing so.
And she just gets more beautiful as she ages. Her face has amazing bone structure, like Judi Dench or Katharine Hepburn.

And then there was HBC’s amazing hair color. I’ve been wearing a rather vulgar metallic avocado green eye shadow lately {blame Mad Men} so Helena’s Dr. Julia is embodying so much about how I look and want to look right now. I have an amazing Anna Sui pattern from the early 90s that’s very Biba. I ordered some crepe de chine in a suitably early 70s floral so I predict that I will be living out some fashion fantasies shortly. I’ll keep you posted!

Well, I’ve gushed enough about Dark Shadows. If you want to read more about Colleen Atwood’s brilliance, here are some interviews~

well, it pains me to write it because I’m a total Burda fanatic, but the Burda Classics issue was a bust.

As you can see, the problem with the patterns is that they lack both vintage fit and vintage details. I have a number of Burda patterns with far more detail and much better cut. Few patterns would be fine, but who buys a vintage inspired pattern collection for shapeless styles? 3 of the 5 jackets have very little shaping. And I love pencil shirts, but how hard would it have been to throw in a raised waistband variation? I do realize that 16 patterns for $10 is a steal, so I’m not complaining too much, but I am disappointed. The retro inspired features in Burda’s monthly magazines are some of their best designs. August/2012 retro Chanel/1940s mash up was beautiful! 9/2012 retro 60s and  70s designs were endlessly inspiring and useful. Sigh.
And the dresses give us the choice of super generic LBD and frankly out of place wrap dress.

The faux fur short jacket is cute, but the Chanel inspired jacket is bulky looking in the arms.

The Yves Saint Laurent inspired group was hit or miss, but I did like that they used a mature model. This particular jacket pattern is nice.

There was actually a lot to love in Vogue’s 2012 September Issue. The ads were… wonderful. I know, i’m surprised too.

Diane von Furstenberg pays lip service to Man Ray’s iconic painting, “A l’Heure de l’Observatoire Les Amoureux.” {yes, i did just write that and no, i don’t think it’s that lame.}

Isabella Rossellini channeling Singer Sargent’s “Madame X.”

The biggest surprise was there there were numerous black and asian models! In both the ads and in an editorial. Nice!



i love Chloe Sevigny and i love the outfit, but it still looks like she’s saying, “Riddle me this, Batman…”

Ewan MacGregor is really really trying to take modeling seriously. Really.
“How does Gary Oldman make this look so easy?” Ewan wonders.

In case you didn’t know- Fall is going to be ALL about the 1920s. Thank you Baz Luhrmann for filming, “Great Gatsby.”

from the jazz age…

to the space age…

and the most sartorially inspiring picture in the whole issue- how much do i love her updated flapper-esque dress?

As for the bad, welllllllll, there were a few photoshop nightmares. Brahmin, Express, Lucky Brand, Juicy Couture, and The Limited were among the worst offenders.

Stylistically, Chanel’s postapocalyptic nightmare wasn’t very inspiring. The clothes actually looked much better on the runway.

And Neiman Marcus presented what had to be some of the most beautiful clothes in the most beautiful settings- and then apparently decided it was all too awesome and they had to fug it up. So they took their lovely models and slapped some make up on them so they looked like drab, consumptive mice. I get it- you just found out Ann Hathaway is going to be Fantine in Les Miz and you’re totally freaking out. Me too! But i dreamed a dream where you showcased clothes on women without making them look like they’re dying of tuberculosis.

But other than that, great issue Vogue!

beyond in love with Burda’s April patterns. Everything is so retro-tastic that i can barely handle it. You know Joan Holloway {i refuse to call her Harris} would look amazing in this.

cream colored dress? why yes i will indulge my inner Betty Draper-Francis.

a Jane Sterling special.

It’s even in Peggy Olson’s signature mustard yellow gold.

Megan Draper would totally rock these shorts, even if they are ridiculous in leather. really? leather? in the summer? riiiiiiiight, maybe in post apocalyptic Australia. 

for the record, i think this shirt is hideous, but the model and scarf are so lovely i just had to include it.

alright, so Maria Callas wasn’t Italian, but she had a marvelous, very Italian style and she fucking Owned La Scala in the 50s. And yes Sicily is only sort of Italy. As a proud 1/4 Sicilian chock full of viking, moorish, and jewish blood (the last two forcibly converted in the 12th century) i’ve heard it all, so let’s just get along and delight in the pretty pictures. 
First of all, i’d like to state that i wish designers and magazines would hire plus models so we could have greater variety in high fashion editorials.

The opening pictures are from my copies of Burdastyle Magazine (a sewing magazine full of patterns) 04/2012 and 05/2012. What’s interesting, and maybe not in a good way, is that these patterns are for sizes 34-44 and 44-52. The larger numbers are “plus” sizes. Now take a look, can you find the plus size model? Now, plus size models are much smaller than ready to wear plus sizes, but this plus model, while very beautiful, doesn’t really show how these clothes will even sort look on their intended audience. In fact, she’s a dead ringer for my body and i wear a 38. It’s disingenuous, to say the least, for Burda to use my body type and size to represent plus sizes. 
What’s up? Is it just the plight of the shrinking model? Is it due to Crystal Renn’s influence? Crystal Renn became famous as a small plus who modeled in both plus campaigns and high fashion editorials. Now that she has shrunk her hips to 36″ she’s sits in an interesting position between the two places a model can find work. And by all reports that’s exactly what she wanted. She’s been very vocal about wanting to demolish modeling barriers, which i think is great. But is this the fallout?
But back to the pictures- clothes are produced to fit certain measurements and so models are supposed to be those measurements so when they get to the shoot, they’ll fit into them. So i understand that one model shows up at the industry standard for mainstream modeling, 32″-24″34″ (although this model looks a tiny bit fuller) and ok, but how the fuck did a plus model show up looking 35″ 28″-38″ and fit into those clothes which should have been sewn a few inches larger? As in 38″-30″-40″ at the very very smallest. That’s not really very fair. Like i said, the model is beautiful, but why not put her in a straight size Burda editorial? 
Of course, ideally there’d be a mix of body types from 34″ to 50″ hips and varying heights and ethnicities. Don’t get too excited, they’d still have incredibly symmetrical faces, glorious skin, and be far better looking than us, but i’d hardly begrudge them for that. Even good looking people have to pay the rent. I don’t know. It’s a mystery.

as you’ve read many times, i think  fashion is boring boring boring mostly because it’s completely unsuited to my body and guaranteed to make me look horrendous. But, all that has changed. i came across Ulyana Sergeenko’s spring fashion line and it is heaven. Harkening back to both Dior’s New Look as well as the style of the Belle Epoch, {Dior’s influence as well} it’s as tasteful as a freshwater pearl in a pile of blood diamonds. In a world where everyone is racing to the bottom and seeking to emulate the lowest common denominator {hello “reality” tv}, Ulyana Sergeenko has designed a line whose express purpose is to not make you look like a cheap old whore {hello “real housewives” of the apocalypse- and no offense to real whores who deserve their dollars more than those bags.}
check it out~

{photo via~ honeykennedy}
what gorgeous sleeves! and the tea gown length is to die for! however, playas and bros aren’t going to try and dry hump you while pretending they’re dancing, so this may not appeal to you. 

{photo via~ honestlywtf}
i’m in love with both of these dresses. The girls look so fresh and lovely! “But Betty!” you say,”they aren’t practical! Or sexy!” To that i answer, “neither is my ass falling out of my stupid “mid-rise” pants every time i lean over to pick up my son.” I’m not going to make a speech about how a lady should have “mystery” or “modesty” because i don’t really believe that’s true. This isn’t about “how to attract a man”- which is really, “how to get as many dudes to want to have sex with you so you can feel powerful and lord it over other men and women.” It’s about my concept of what’s pretty, which is this. 
these clothes aren’t going to make tattooed guys call you “babygirl” and offer you a ride on their chopper. No one is going to catcall you and gallantly offer to “tap dat ass.” In fact, people will probably just think you’re weird or on your way to a wedding or funeral. 
But every once in a while i see something, like this, that soothes my aching eyes and offers a respite from the tide of ugly that washes over me every time i open a webpage that screams “what people are wearing!” And for that small mercy i thank Ulyana Sergeenko for her beautiful collection of clothes.

if you’d like to see more, check out my pinterest board. It includes the original urls as well, so you can surf to your delight!
Ulyana has a blog where you can also look at her winter collection.
And here are photos from backstage of the Spring 2010 show.

fashion- and fashionable people- always strikes me as being rather silly. style and stylish people on the other hand… fill me with delight, which is rather silly too, but what’s a person to do?
Alfred Hitchcock was, strangely, someone with an unerring eye toward female style. While Edith Head was Hitch’s favorite costume designer, he was apparently very vocal about what his heroines could and could not wear on screen.

I first saw “The Birds” when i was little kid, probably far too little to be watching something like that, though i didn’t end up with a bird phobia or anything. My mother actually has a fear of birds- not caused by this movie- but definitely aggravated by it. Her doctor is going to have a ball figuring that one out for her.

In their september 2009 issue {09/2009}, Burda Magazine ran sewing patterns inspired by Hitchcock’s famous film style.

i love the clipped lapels on this jacket. 

this jacket and skirt are classic and modern. i love the swinging Jackie Kennedy look.
this dress is easily my favorite of the bunch. it has both a 1940s Notorious Ingrid Bergman feel, but it could also, just as easily be a futuristic Blade Runner Rachel style dress. 
i think the styling alone sells this for me. My grandmother had a set of black pearls she got when she lived in various islands in the Pacific.  

Hitchcock inspired Vogue fashion editorial photographed by Mario Testino. Fashion Editor- the divine Grace Coddington.

yes, that is Pierce Brosnan. 

oh hey, i’m the heroine bc i’m rich and blonde. 
gurl, you shoulda bleached your hair bc shit is gonna get real. {alas, events bode ill for any brunette who dares show her face in Hitchcock’s films.}
Hitchcock wants me to do what? … and this is why i smoke. {Tippi Hedren had a small breakdown after filming a particularly grueling scene.}

screenshots via~ screenshotworld

also check out beadinggem~ birds movie inspired jewelry photoshoot

Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again”
These pages have been on permanent display on my small easel for inspiration. i find the colors and micro patterns endlessly inspiring, art wise. And they remind of of one of my favorite movies when i was a child, Alfred Hitchcock’s, “Rebecca.” I instantly identified with the shy, plain, nameless, “Darling” who spent her days trying to not fuck everything up and sketched costumes in her off hours.
I think this skirt, which sits at waist, is to die for. The delicate tie neck blouse is pretty dreamy too. She looks like she’s ready to solve a murder! or cover one up- yaknowhatimean?!
{sizes 34-42}

“I’ll make a bargain with you,” she said. “You’d look rather foolish trying to divorce me now after four days of marriage. So I’ll play the part of a devoted wife, mistress of your precious Manderley. I’ll make it the most famous showplace in England if you like. Then, people will visit us and envy us, and say we’re the luckiest, happiest, couple in the country. What a grand show it will be! What a triumph!” 

the cruel and beautiful Rebecca wears a pretty silk robe- a good case of a simple pattern to show off beautiful fabric.
{sizes 44-52}

Happiness is something I know nothing about.”

ok, i hate the skirt simply bc i look terrible in elastic waisted skirts like this. But, i love the photo. From the stiff pose, to the colors, to the amazing wallpaper. I wish i’d painted this~ except i would have given her a much better skirt. And i’m guilty of loving sandals and socks. 

{sizes 34-42}

“No, it’s not too late. You’re not to say that. I love you more than anything in the world. Oh, please Maxim, kiss me please.”

so this is dicey too. Love the color and material. Love the neckline. Hate the elastic waist. the difference between my waist and hips is 11″. That’s just too much without darts. Darts are my friend and i’ve been sewing them into my skirts since i was 18. 

{sizes 34-42}

“Rebecca” still haunts me to this day. I wonder if Beauty and the Beast syndrome is born or acquired? i’ve always loved moody, possessive men who are devoted to me. And when their devotion lagged, well, that’s what breaking up was for. When i met my husband he was the ideal person i’d been searching for~ goofy, sweet, devoted and worshipful, but also moody and difficult to please~ a great bear of a man who hoped i loved him. i did and we lived happily ever after. 

As usual, these are from an old issue old Burda Magazine 😀

herge, how do i love your creations? Tintin, Milou/Snowy, Captain Haddock, Thompson and Thomson, Professor Calculous, and of course Loch Lomand whiskey!
Herge’s beautiful style, known as ligne claire {the clear line}, is instantly recognizable. I plan to post and discuss Herge and his work at a later point, but today we have fashion inspired by Herge’s Tintin. what? yes, you read that right. Burdastyle Magazine, in their continuing quest to ignite clothing envy and hope in my heart published these patterns in their december 2011 issue. I plan to sew my heart out, cuddle up with my own Captain Haddock, and toss down a few whiskeys~
adorable trench for the girl and an adorable dog- though not a white wire fox terrier like Milou/Snowy- who is wearing a dapper dog coat of his own.
there’s even a pattern for the dog coat!

the rolled up jeans, arglye socks, and oxfords are a wonderful twist on gamine style.
collars made from men’s suiting for your dapper dog or a bustopher jones style cat about town. 
i don’t know if it’s a side product of being tall, but i love too short trousers. i used to get teased for looking like i was waiting for the flood but really, i like the style. My husband does too. his slightly too short pants were one of the first things i noticed. wes anderson agrees and approves.
Tintin wears “plus fours” which are essentially knickers that end 4 inches below rather than at the knee. i love the modern ungathered version here. 
 this dog is killing me!
a couple of pages from “Destination Moon.” 
right click & open in a new tab to read. Just whiskey Capt. Haddock? A man after my own heart!
i have to say i hope the movie is popular enough to introduce a new generation to Tintin’s adventures. By turns brainy, silly, and serious the Adventures of Tintin are smarter and funnier tales than most children or adults come in contact with. They are true adventures to delight both young and old. 
{patterns are available in the 12/2011 issue of Burdastyle Magazine or individually through burda german and burda english}

i came across the Kooples the other day. Knowing how much i like twee shit, naturally i fell in love…

{james bond via screenmusings}
If you’re like me you already know what Saville Road is~ namely where James Bond and John Steed get their suits. But lately Saville Road has forsaken bankers and spies for couples, or as they’re known around there~”Kooples.”
Wedded to the mod esthetique, Kooples produces beautifully tailored clothing for men and women. blah blah blah, i don’t really care about their back story and seeing as i’ll never afford any of their clothing, {and even if i could, they don’t offer “tall” sizes for ladies} i won’t bore you with it either. 
No, i’m posting about them because they have an unabashedly adorable ad campaign. They take real life couples, outfit them in their lovely clothes, and photograph and film them. Of course the people are “pretty,” but a few of them aren’t “prefab pretty,” which is my holy grail of advertising.
Indeed, they look like they might not bore you to death if you were trapped in an elevater with them for a few hours~ one of my worst fears btw~ combining both grisly death and a taste of Sartre-ian “No Exit” hell. 
But i digress~ look at the adorableness! This guy made the page just because he looks straight out of “Game of Thrones.”

Hey Jon, where’s Ghost? {okay, he looks more like Theon, but i hate that guy.}

The only thing that could make this campaign cuter is if they had used kittens. Oh wait, i have photoshop~ BOOM!

“Mewsette and Marmalade have been a couple for 1 year.” awwwwwww.

did you know the orient express still exists? i didn’t. i was sure it had gone the way of the dodo. unfortunately {actually fortunately}, due to cheaper airfare it no longer goes to Istanbul, its original destination, and instead ends in venice*. check out their site. it’s nuts. they have animations to show you how the cabins transform into sleepers and gorgeous vaguely retro styled photos of rich people with decent taste. it’s pretty dreamy. so, if you have $5600 dollars burning a hole in your pocket {for 2 people}- not counting airfare- then i envy you.

in the event that you’re a little more like me, well, here are some patterns from burdastyle magazine to aid you in fashioning your own pretend holiday. and no, i don’t think there’s anything wrong with fixing your living room up to look like a train cabin. nothing-at-all.

steward, please get me a gin. on the rocks.

what luggage? i’m a woman of mystery. 
yeah, i’m going to cruise around these gorgeous cobblestone streets in my rad 1930s/1970s outfit. uncomfortable? not at all- it’s like walking on a cloud. 

ummm, no. i was not Yves Saint Laurent’s muse, but only bc he never met me.

it’s fake fur. please don’t spray me with paint and inadvertently ruin my trousers. it took a couple weeks to make them. bias cut insets don’t sew themselves ladies. amirite?!?!

and if you are lucky enough to take a trip on the orient express, let’s hope you don’t get snowed in. {via so classic screencaps}
*the current “orient express” has many trains and hotels world wide}

brrrrr!!! 39 degrees F here in socal! i swear the bay area was warmer. i have a theory the cloud cover kept us insulated. anyway, these burda patterns are so lovely, so romantic, i want to wrap myself in plaids and wools and daydream about scottish selkies and ghosts on the moors, especially Emily Bronte’s, “Wuthering Heights.”

“my love for heathcliff resembles the eternal rocks…”

“be with me always – take any form – drive me mad! only do not leave me in this abyss, where I cannot find you!”

if all else perished and he remained, i should still continue to be: and if all else remained, and he were annihilated, the universe would turn to a mighty stranger…”

“it would degrade me to marry heathcliff now; so he shall never know how i love him…”

“proud people breed sad sorrows for themselves.”

~kate bush’s absurd, haunting, paean to romanicism taken to the nth degree. i absolutely love her brittle soprano.
as always the patterns can be found at burdastyle american and burdastyle german.

i’m already dreaming about cold weather fashion. we’re moving back up to northern california in february. what to make, what to make?

burdastyle magazine 8/2009~ i have some beautiful fabric set to make this amazing cape, but time? hmmmm, not so much. i promised myself i’d sew something after my paper doll project was finished, but i still have a commission i’m working on, so it’ll be a little while.

burdastyle magazine 1/2010~ i can’t wear long shirt/tunics like this, but they’re so pretty. 
another spectacular trench from burda

super cute trench style skirt. i love the knitted necklace and faux fur thing.
sigh, well, if i can scrape some time together and stop bopping around online i might get everything together and sew something. wish me luck!

i’d recommend ebay for back issues otherwise, some of these patterns can be found on their american site: burdastyle english
or on their original german site: burdastyle german

as i discussed earlier here– generally, i don’t read fashion magazines. 
sewing magazines, however, are the best. looking at pretty clothes is nice, but shopping for clothes is terrible. they never fit me correctly and the entire experience is demoralizing. thankfully, making and sewing clothes is awesome. sure i have to slash and alter every single pattern but as long it looks good in the end, it’s worth the effort.
well, september’s issue of burda featured a great set of patterns inspired by one of my style icons, coco chanel. 
this blouse features an asymmetrical jabot.
how cute is this dress? peter pan collar, bracelet length sleeves, and front pleats. but not in black. black makes me look like i rose from the grave. not in a “blood and roses” kind of way, more like a “shaun of the dead” kind of way. 
it’s funny that, out of all of her lovers, they chose to style him as paul iribe. iribe was chanel’s most contentious lover and retrospectively, the only one she had less than perfectly kind things to say about in public. but who cares? i love that dress!

chanel as “marianne” by paul iribe. if you would like to see more of iribe’s art, the brandeis special collection houses his entire run of “le temoin.”

if you can’t find a copy online, the patterns are available for purchase on their website.

i‘ve been thinking a lot about sartorial inspiration. probably bc it’s fall and fall equals cute clothes. generally, i don’t read fashion magazines. i have my own set style and whatever’s happening in mainstream fashion doesn’t interest me {with rare exceptions.} i’m far more influenced by movies {amelie}, books {agatha christie}, and art {too many to list}.
however, there are magazine oases in my fashion desert- “Lucky,” japanese pattern books, and “Burdastyle” sewing magazine.

Burdastyle magazine consistently offers exceptional patterns. it’s a german company and their taste reflects european sensibilities. in each monthly issue there are usually 4 collections in sizes 34-44, one children’s collection, one plus collection in sizes 44-52, and then sometimes a couple men’s patterns, once a year maternity patterns and/or lingerie patterns, some knitting patterns, and crafts.

i’ve been collecting them for a few years. usually august through may suit my style perfectly. i’m not a summer sun and fun kind of person, so their summer patterns generally leave something to be desired. however, the last couple of summer’s have featured retro inspired collections that have been breathtaking!

it’s pricey for a magazine, but cheap for patterns so i guess it’s how you look at it. the style lines usually follow similar themes like: boho/70s, retro, business, romantic, british country, french, and folklore {aka-oktoberfest}. the children’s patterns are beautiful and unlike anything you can get from the standard pattern companies like vogue or simplicity. and completely unlike the bulk of what’s affordability available in stores such as, dressing your son like an illiterate bro or your daughter like a pepto bismal pink, princess obsessed, bitch in training. imagine your kids in something other than overly baggy pants or day-glo leggings! {sorry, but i currently live in a pretty ugly section of southern california, mostly populated by mean, lazy, materialistic, stupid parents. whoops! time to move!} 

the only thing i find somewhat lacking are the plus patterns. the patterns themselves are beautiful, but i wish burda would publish a separate monthly plus pattern edition. there seem to be a lot of plus sized sewers {at least they’re very vocal in the forums} but strangely enough over the years burda has cut the plus magazine from a quarterly to a bi-yearly publication- and their recent issue has simply republished some monthly patterns and mixed them with new ones. which suggests it hasn’t been selling well and that accounts for their cost saving measures, but i still find it very hard to believe. there are very few stylish plus patterns out there so i’d have expected it to be a big seller. 

all in all though, a very useful and inspiring magazine for me. i can’t wait to see what they have next month!

calling all yankie spirits~

i first discovered “anthropologie” in 2001. i was delighted that an entire company was dedicated to yankie secretary style. between the twin evils of expense and impossible fit {hello sewing}, i’ve never owned anything of theirs, but their catalogs still inspire my sartorial choices.
step into the way-back machine and say hello to 2001~
her sweater is great, but her hair cut is even better.
amazing at waist jeans like jane birkin would have worn in the 70s. my jealousy knows no bounds. i still haven’t summoned the moxy to make a pair of denims.

in only a few short years from this photo, every pair of pants would end 3″ above your crotch and gift all the ladies in america with a muffin top and a whale tail. yet another reason why the aughts were terrible {aside from economic and global destruction.}  

the lovely grey haired model, the elegant ladies who look like they might actually be older than 17, and sweet child models who look like children instead of hollywood actors. anthropologie, this was your high point.

and yes, i had fantasies about “camping” like this, which is how i imagine every wes anderson character camps {aside from in museums.}

“you could search forever for the whole truth about gabrielle chanel, and never find the last of the missing pieces; for when she cut up her history, she scattered it all around, losing some details, hiding others, covering her trail.”
-coco chanel: the legend and the life
justine picardie

justine picardie’s excellent biography is heavily illustrated, as any biography about a visual person should be. we see chanel as a sweet young milliner, as a middle aged beauty cavorting foolishly on her lover’s yacht, and as an old women burning with creative energy.

what drew me to read about chanel? i abhor black clothing: it makes me look gaunt and feel old. ditto suntans, and though i do like thin, not at the price of health. but chanel’s legacy is more than the famously ugly trends she cultivated. she also introduced comfortable clothing designed to unburden women from corsets. clothing intended to create a look of girlish freedom in its wearer. “to be free to drive a car, to ride a bicycle, to walk to work, you had to be able to forget about what you were wearing. forgetting is part of freedom- and so she was able to forget about her past.” (ibid.)

chanel was a self invented person. by the time she was 20 she was already lying about her age, trimming the years as she would trim her hair, her clothes, even her famous maxims were constructed with a determination that would do occam proud.

chanel’s first “little black dress.” it was christened “the ford” because it could go anywhere. 1926.

frolicking on her lover, the duke of westminster’s yacht. she’s wearing tweed she borrowed from him and which she would later redesign and make into chic women’s wear.
he’s in plus fours. i find these particularly charming because they’re such a goofy couple. where is the fearsome chanel?

chanel pioneering the sailor look. ringstripe jersey top and soft wide legged pants.

chanel and friends goofing around in the garden of her mediterranean estate, la pausa.

chanel designs for american vogue, illustrated by christian berard 1937. the writing reads, “chanel dines in printed pyjamas (sic), sweater, barbaric jewels. (two small chanels) striped linen, flannel jacket. checked tussur, chiffon cape-veil. 

chanel, by cocteau. a woman without a face, without a past…

all photos and quotes from “coco chanel: the legend and the life” by justine picardie. if you’re interested in chanel, fashion, or the lost generation i highly recommend you pick it up.