NYFW Spring 2015 Hats

Thom Browne, spring 2015, photos by Kim Weston Arnold/indigitalimages.com, via style.com

New York Fashion Week is almost over, and yesterday hats had their day in the sun. Yes, hats. Did you notice them too?

Thom Browne, spring 2015, photos by Kim Weston Arnold/indigitalimages.com, via style.com

Let’s start with Thom Browne. Milliner Stephen Jones designed hats that wittily played off Browne’s ensembles.

Karen Walker, spring 2015, photos by Livio Valerio/indigitalimages.com, via style.com

Karen Walker’s straw hats took the Western in a simple and elegant direction.

Donna Karan, spring 2015, photos by Yannis Vlamos/indigitalimages.com, via style.com

Donna Karan mixed up her looks with hats that either reached for high heights or mimicked an early 1900s oversized shape.

Rosie Assoulin, spring 2015, photos courtesy of Rosie Assoulin, via style.com

Rosie Assoulin went for a super dramatic brim.


Alice + Olivia, spring 2015, photo by Michael Loccisano for Getty, via fabsugar.com

And Alice + Olivia created a dramatic Marie Antoinette towering hairpiece with a bird perched on top.

These hats were certainly no wallflowers. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many in one New York Fashion Week in recent history. Should we blame it all on Pharrell’s Vivienne Westwood hat?

No White After Labor Day Origins


women in white dresses showing their ankles, Pensacola, Florida, 1905, from State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory

Today is the day after U.S. Labor Day, which unofficially marks the end of summer. The rules of fashion say that one shouldn’t wear white after Labor Day. Personally, I don’t subscribe much to rules like this, but it is a curious mystery as to how it started.

Few academic texts explain how the no-white-after-Labor-Day rule began. Some historians believe it arose because the wealthy would wear light colors to keep cool in the hottest months when they summered in the country. Labor Day indicated their return to the city. In turn, the wealthy stopped wearing white to prevent the dirty city streets from marring their clothes. Darker colors don’t show dirt easily and were more appropriate for urban living.

But fashion historian and director of the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology Valerie Steele disagrees. In an interview for TIME she said, “very rarely is there actually a functional reason for a fashion rule.” Instead, Steele believes that it could have been symbolic and “insiders trying to keep other people out.” Fashion rules, such as no white after Labor Day, attempted to prevent new money from passing as old money.

I think it’s likely a mix of the two — a little function, a little elitism. The rule reached its climax in the mid 20th century with a huge popularity in etiquette manuals and columns, which spread the rule far and wide beyond the well off.

After the youthquake of the 60s, fashion rules mattered less and less. Nowadays we don’t have to look far to see women wearing white whenever it suits them.

Friday File

Happy Friday! I signed up for a week of unlimited pilates this week at a little local studio, and I am definitely feeling it today. But I need the push because I haven’t gotten much exercise in the last couple months because of life’s various detours. I’ve been sampling all the different options the studio offers. So far the barre class is my favorite. This weekend I’ll try out two more types of classes, and then relax at the beach. What are you up to?

Here are some great links to check out:

Lou Stoppard analyzes fun fur and its contradictions between fad, luxury, throwaway, and timelessness.

This is an interesting story of one woman’s quest to find Bing Crosby’s Levi’s denim tuxedo.

Before her death last week, the Museum at FIT was developing an exhibition of Lauren Bacall’s wardrobe. This week the museum announced that the show will open next spring.

Ok, so yesterday I mentioned that I didn’t want to start thinking about fall fashion yet. But, I admit, there is some cute stuff coming in Asos’ holiday collection.

Even though this is a few weeks old, this tell-all by Alexander McQueen’s long-time partner is a must read. Don’t miss it if you haven’t already read it.

Have a great weekend!

Hoping for an Endless Summer


Modes à Bagatelle, 1919, from National Library of France

Oh the late days of summer. I’m in denial that school begins in less than two weeks, and that there will soon be a nip in the air. Right now I’m trying to soak in as much sun and heat as I can as the summer days begin to wane.

I have no interest in checking out fall clothing yet which is quite unusual. Bring on more summery clothes and start hoping that Mother Nature misses the memo that fall is coming.

Making Chanel’s Couture Sneakers

I’m not one to fall in love with “It” accessories or shoes. Most I could take it or leave it.

But have you seen Chanel’s couture sneakers? These might be the first It shoes that I really wish I could own. See how the Fusion Sneakers are made below, and be amazed.

Friday File

Happy Friday! What are you up to this weekend? We are moving tomorrow, and I can’t wait. We’ve been living among boxes for the past week, which has not been easy. The movers are coming in the late afternoon. Wish us luck!

And now some interesting links.

I need to add this book on the history of manicures to my bookshelf.

The August cover of Marie Claire is too cool. I kind of want to get my hands on an issue.

Some Ikea stores are advertising rescue dogs throughout their showrooms with life-size cardboard models. Such a cute idea.

This survey of scientists, most of whom work in the field, shows a high percentage of sexual abuse, especially for female students or postdocs. #yesallwomen

Back in the 19th century, doctors warned women about the dangers of “bicycle face.” Seriously.

I’m looking forward to exploring The Museum at FIT’s new website for its current exhibition Exposed: A History of Lingerie.

An 18th Century Period Play

This weekend I’m going to see the play Urania – The Life of Émilie Du Châtelet. Émilie Du Châtelet was a physicist, mathematician, and author who lived in France during the first half of the 18th century. She became a friend, lover, and collaborator with Voltaire. I know very little about Émilie, but that is not surprising. Few women from this period ever received recognition for their achievements and contributions.

My friend Katy Werlin is one of the actresses in Urania (seen in the first photo on the far left), so I am excited to see her performance. She’s a fashion historian, and she designed the costumes for the show. Katy is an incredible dressmaker. She makes 18th century dresses using period techniques in her spare time. I asked her to send over some images from Tuesday’s dress rehearsal, because I knew the costumes were going to be good.

The light blue robe à la française that the character Émilie wears is from Katy’s personal wardrobe. It was sewn almost entirely by hand. The rest of the costumes were made specifically for the show. Katy was assisted by Andrea Young, who plays Marguerite.

Urania was written by Jyl Bonaguro, is based on a biography by Judith P. Zinsser, and is directed by Eileen Tull. It runs this Friday and Saturday at 7:30 at the Hilton Asmus Contemporary. Unfortunately the show is currently sold out, but there is a wait list in case you want to try to see it for yourself.

Aren’t the costumes great? I can’t wait!

photos by Eileen Tull, director

Project Runway 13

I was a huge Project Runway fan before the show moved from Bravo to Lifetime. Early seasons were exciting when design skill and talent was prized higher than interpersonal drama. It exposed millions of people to a sliver of the fashion industry. No, it’s not a true representative of the industry, but there are nuggets of truth within it — like how designers depend on their models to be uniform because fitting to various shapes and sizes is not something that is easy to do in such a short amount of time.

I’ve met a couple of the contestants in random circumstances including Rami Kashou and Stephen Rosengard from season 4. When Project Runway moved to Lifetime I stopped watching, but made an exception for the All Stars season. I was rooting for Rami.

Well I’m making another exception for the new season that starts tomorrow evening, July 24 at 9/8c. Season 13 features one of my former student workers, Alexander Knox! Alex is a talented designer and was a great employee in the Fashion Study Collection. I think Alex has the potential to do really well even though he’s fresh out of school — he graduated this May. He has a great grasp of fashion history, is skilled at fabric manipulation, and experiments with silhouette.

Check out Alexander’s profile on the Project Runway website. I think you’ll be impressed by his work. Go Alex!

Friday File

Happy Friday! I have the day off and am starting to packing up our apartment in anticipation of our move next weekend. Packing is far from my favorite thing, so please wish me luck.

If you are looking for something cool to do this weekend in Chicago, check out the exhibition “Field Works Gallery Extravaganza.” The show is this weekend only and features 18 emerging artists who were inspired by the Natural History Collection at the Field Museum. Tonight is the opening at Ian Sherwin Gallery from 7-11 p.m.

Hope you have a great weekend!

The Dolce & Gabbana fall 2014 Alta Moda show sounds like the most luxury fashion show possible. Christina Binkley takes us along to Capri for an insider’s look at the exclusive weekend in Capri.

Mad Men is known for being fastidious about its attention to period detail, and of course the furniture is no exception.

I have no idea if this story is true, but this craigslist post about a NYC restaurant’s turnaround issue makes you think about the effect our cell phones have on our culture.

Miss Idaho wore her insulin pump visible on her bikini during the swimsuit portion of the competition.

All about women’s knickers in the 1920s.

Vintage Bathing Caps

Bathing caps in the 1950s could be pretty whimsical, and this video clip of a swimming cap fashion show from the British Pathe is pretty amusing. Enjoy!