Friday, September 28, 2007

I Love Fashion!

It might be said that fashion designers are "innovative," or "visionary." But I prefer to refer to these demiurgic dervishes as "wacky," "cuckoo," "nutty," and "insane." I always have a good time going through the aftermath of the various fashion weeks, slogging through the hundreds of photos at New York Magazine's fashion section, my favorite, and possibly the best, online source for what's new and exciting in the world of fashion. The next few posts here will feature my favorite findings.

First up, young British designer, Gareth Pugh. Can't tell he's really a costume designer now, can you?


This little number reminded me of something that might go over well in a Harry Potter movie. Some half-crow, half-human that Hagrid might fancy as a pet, perhaps.


Here's a nice piece for the forthcoming Clan of the Cave Bear meets Mad Max flick. (In Hollywood these days, anything is possible.)


The latest in post-apocalyptic fashion - the cape o' rats! Freakin' GENIUS.

Jean-Paul Gaultier Spring 2008

Jean-Paul Gaultier never fails to amuse with his outrageous, sexually-charged, and often downright tacky designs.

Click images to enlarge.

The ladies outfits this time are fairly innocuous.


But then we have the men. Airline pilot. Fancy panties. Village People reject.


But wait, there's more! 70s disco navypants, perfect for the sexually-ambiguous rock star! And...Auntie Mabel's sheer stole worn sarong-style over a jacket and oh-so-masculine leopard-print tights!


Eveningwear for the new millenium. "Hey! The dry cleaner shrunk my jacket and lost my shirt and pants. I'm wearing the other half of your lamé showercurtain, 'k?" "Ok, as long as you don't do a Britney when you get into the limo later. That slit is awfully high. While I have your attention, do you think sneakers work with this?"

Marc Jacobs Spring 2008

Like many others this season, American designer Marc Jacobs' Spring '08 collection displayed a bit of multiple-personality syndrome. There were dowdy tweeds that would have looked scrumptious on the fusty bank secretary from the Beverly Hillbillies, Miss Hathaway. Other outfits were straight from the boudoir - as in, the sheets. Then there was some plain old ugly/weird.
Click images to enlarge.

The model's hair and glasses only reinforces the dowdy image of these outfits. And...are the sheer bits supposed to be sexy? Or sloppy/forgetful granny?



A chenille bedspread; a body was found wrapped in this sheet on CSI; spread from the Queen Victoria's Mourning Collection, new from Martha Stewart.



Ok, I like the third one. And the middle one would work on the right person. But a half muu-muu?



A four-year-old coordinates her Barbie clothes better than this.

Prada Spring 2008

Prada always seemed to be an arbiter of good taste, at least what I could tell from looking at the glossy ads in my fashion magazines. Then I saw runway photos and realized that Miuccia could be just as looney as any other fashion designer. Her Spring 2008 collection is all about repurposing thrift store purchases. Well, not really, but sure looks like it, huh?

Click images to enlarge.

Straight out of the bin at Goodwill; many lazy summer afternoons were spent picnicking on this schmata; gah!


The boys get into the act by modeling old jammies and long underwear. (The guy in white at the back, to the right of the models, seems to be checking out the trap door on young Jug Ears' ensemble in the center image.) And my - what a cramped and ugly way to show. The audience could at least have coordinated their wardrobes.


These were the best of the lot. Many of the dresses in the collection feature the odd asymmetrical neckline of the pants suit at left; I think it looks a bit disheveled, but what do I know? And the dress at right is pretty, but I'd lose the chewed-off pantyhose and alcohol-monitor ankle bracelets.

Betsey Johnson Spring 2008

Eternally youthful Betsey Johnson creates fun clothes with a strong sense of flirtiness. This season's collection seems to have a "Pretty Princess Barbie Prom" theme, right down to Ken's fantasy pastel tuxedos.
Click images to enlarge.

It's almost like looking into one of those panoramic spun sugar Easter eggs.


I would love to see manly-men Brad Pitt and George Clooney wear these on the red carpet at the Oscars. The dress is, however, quite cute, and I'm pretty sure I had something just like it for my Francie doll (Barbie's flat-chested friend).

Emilio Pucci

Italian-born Olympic skier Emilio Pucci first designed ski outfits in the 40s before branching into women's wear. The late innovator of the Capri pant became known for his fabulous abstract patterning which is still highlighting Pucci's Matthew Williamson-designed collection today.


It's hard to find much fault with Williamson's designs, but I'm not feeling these seemingly Native American-inspired pieces. MiniHooHoo needs to cover hers up a bit more, and the other one looks like she had a nightmarish accident with a truckload of dream catchers while on the Turquoise Trail.


On the other hand, these two are particularly lovely. They have gorgeous drape and flow, and I could see either of them on a premier-bound Hollywood glamazon.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

A New Crop of Jackets

I love the recent retro-esque style of boxy cropped jackets with elbow- or 3/4-length sleeves. I can't help but be reminded of a favorite item from my Barbie's wardrobe, a brown wool cropped jacket with elbow-length full sleeves and a wide stand-up collar. Very 60s, amazing with a pencil skirt and pillbox hat. And elbow-length gloves, of course. Today, it would be mixed with a longer top and skinny pants.

Here are some of my favorite modern versions, in no particular order.


Spencer Jeremy, at Macy's


Milly, at Bergdorf Goodman


Young, Fabulous and Broke, at Neiman Marcus


Review, at Neiman Marcus


Wendy Katlen, at Bluefly.com


Sumner "Mayfair" jacket, at Pink Mascara


MARC by Marc Jacobs, at Bergdorf's


Monday, September 24, 2007

Blue on Blue

Here's a commissioned piece I finished this weekend. I don't usually like to work with blue beads (or red, or black, for that matter) because they don't seem to have as much "oompfh" as other colors, but the customer requested it. Also requested was the cross pendant and the extreme length (the adjustable clasp allows the necklace to go from 25" to 29").

Materials used were lapis, sterling, several kinds of freshwater pearls, two small boulder opals, cloisonne beads, six shades of Miyuki delica glass beads, shells, and a sterling clasp.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Like Netflix, but Better!

Wouldn't you love to own this bag? It's a Burberry Prorsum patent satchel that retails for well over $1000. But if you join the ingenious new Web site, Bag, Borrow, or Steal, you can have that little beauty hanging from your arm for a rental fee of $80 a week. Ok, so that's not cheap, but it beats shelling out more than ten times that for a bag that you won't use very often. In fact, if you're like me, you almost won't want to let your precious investment out of the house, lest it get dirty or damaged. But $80 for a gorgeous bag that would be just perfect with that new Fall ensemble you are wearing to that upcoming museum function....

I was lucky to catch the Handbag Day episode of the Martha Stewart Show recently, featuring Bag, Borrow, and Steal. (Not as lucky as the audience members, however, who each got $200 borrowing credit on the site and a CK clutch, courtesy of Calvin Klein.) Clips from show are viewable here.

Jewelry Too?
But wait, there's more! Not only can you borrow fantabulous handbags from Bag, Borrow or Steal, you can also borrow chic designer jewelry, like this crystal set from Chanel. Gucci, Kenneth Jay Lane, Stephen Dweck, and Charriol pieces are also available.

If only I could get them to carry MY wares. Hmmmm...(plot, plot).

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Aqaba Midnight Sun

Notes: gardenia, freesia, rose damask, orange flower, rose, Indian sandalwood, white musk, tuberose

This is one of those fragrances with which I have a love/hate relationship.  The opening of honey sweet gardenia is overpowering and cloying.  It's obnoxiously "perfumey" and at the same time smells like Pez on steroids mixed with head-shop candles.  Then the gardenia fades as the sandalwood takes over; I still don't love it, but am growing much more fond of this scent.  It's still sweet, but less cloying.  The other floral notes are blending together rather nicely, with tuberose making the most impression on me.  It's a subtle soapy kind of tuberose, just the way I like it.  I take another sniff and - bleargh!  It's sweet again, the soapiness of the tuberose making me feel like I just snorted a nostrilful of laundry detergent.

Much later on in the drydown, it's all sweet white musk with floral overtones.  Much nicer and more wearable for me, but it takes between one and two good hours before it gets to that point.  And then I absolutely love it.  But Mr. Minx says it reminds him of something one of his aunts used to wear, so of course that completely ruins it for me.

But I suppose, in the long run, I should be thankful that he's saving me some money, as this is one less fragrance to add to my "must buy" list.
Notes: gardenia, freesia, rose damask, orange flower, rose, Indian sandalwood, white musk, tuberose

This is one of those fragrances with which I have a love/hate relationship.  The opening of honey sweet gardenia is overpowering and cloying.  It's obnoxiously "perfumey" and at the same time smells like Pez on steroids mixed with head-shop candles.  Then the gardenia fades as the sandalwood takes over; I still don't love it, but am growing much more fond of this scent.  It's still sweet, but less cloying.  The other floral notes are blending together rather nicely, with tuberose making the most impression on me.  It's a subtle soapy kind of tuberose, just the way I like it.  I take another sniff and - bleargh!  It's sweet again, the soapiness of the tuberose making me feel like I just snorted a nostrilful of laundry detergent.

Much later on in the drydown, it's all sweet white musk with floral overtones.  Much nicer and more wearable for me, but it takes between one and two good hours before it gets to that point.  And then I absolutely love it.  But Mr. Minx says it reminds him of something one of his aunts used to wear, so of course that completely ruins it for me.

But I suppose, in the long run, I should be thankful that he's saving me some money, as this is one less fragrance to add to my "must buy" list.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Showing Off

Minx opal pendantJust so you know I wasn't kidding when I said that Carolyn Tyler and I share an aesthetic...here's a piece I designed back in my retail days. The top part is high-karat gold with granulation and a simulated emerald cabochon. It was once a ring from which I had the shank removed. I don't know what it was before it became a ring, but as the shank was 14K gold, I have a feeling the two components were not born at the same time. The boulder opal is set in a 14K yellow gold bezel and is ornamented with prong-set green sapphires, diamonds, and one tiny tanzanite. The freshwater pearl dangle is primarily brown but it has a gorgeous gold and green flash.

The goldsmiths responsible for this piece were known as Roxx Limited. They had a jewelry store on Charles Street, on what was "jewelers' row" once upon a time. They closed up shop but still worked as goldsmiths; the store I toiled for used them for difficult or complicated repairs plus all custom work. I wonder what has become of them? They were/are truly talented guys. If anyone has information, I'd love to know.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Gorgeous Opal Jewelry

opal fishnet bib by Carolyn TylerAs I perused the Web for opal jewelry, I stumbled upon this image of a high-karat gold bib festooned with boulder opals. It took my breath away, so I clicked through to find out more about the designer.

Carolyn Tyler is a native Californian who moved to Indonesia after falling in love with beautiful Bali. Her designs are executed there by skilled Balinese craftsmen, using high-karat gold, sterling silver, and gemstones. My kind of gig, let me tell you! It would be my dream to have a workshop full of talented goldsmiths who would take my drawings and turn them into three-dimensional works of art.

Carolyn Tyler Spiral Snake Ring with opalCarolyn's designs are very much within my personal aesthetic, and indeed there are similarities in the materials we prefer to use as well. I love to use fossil ammonites and asymmetrically-shaped boulder opals, stones that, as Carolyn says, have spirit. They are also some of the most beautiful things that nature has to offer.

Whereas the stones she uses in her designs are not precisely-cut or otherwise flawless, her designs are. They are a wonderful, carefully balanced, melange of colorful gemstones set in sunny yellow metal adorned with the ancient technique of applying hundreds of miniscule orbs of gold known as granulation. Her pieces can take weeks or months to complete, and the results are worth every minute.

See more of Ms. Tyler's jewelry by visiting her Web site at CarolynTyler.com. (Her site design is also pretty great, IMHO.)

Friday, September 7, 2007

Yes, Another Blog

Hello, and welcome to my latest blog!

I am an art jeweler and have been working with beads since I was a child. In the past, when working for a retail jeweler, I also designed fine jewelry, both for customers and for myself. It's something in which I am still very interested. People who work with precious metals and gems have skills to be admired, and I would like to share some of my favorite designers with you here, as well as commentary on what's hip and hot in the jewelry world these days.

In addition, I plan to opine on another form of wearable art, fashion...in the form of designer clothing, handbags, and (since I am a woman) shoes. And I'll offer my snark on fashion-related TV shows, Project Runway in particular.

I hope you enjoy my brand of fashion sense and humor. Please don't forget to leave comments, ask questions, what have you, when you are inspired to do so. I love to know what my readers are feeling and thinking.

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