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.

New Fashion One-Oh-One Post

Sorry for my silence, but I’ve got something to share. My second Fashion One-Oh-One post on Raincoast Creative Salon is up today! Go on and read about Fortuny and his Delphos gown.

Friday File – Weird Week

This week turned out to be very weird to me, and everyone at work agrees. Tuesday, we had both a false emergency alarm go off across the entire campus and a snow storm that shut down the school. We are approaching mid semester, which is always a busy time, so the unexpected disruptions did nothing for productiveness.

But I’m hoping to shake it off with my best friends this weekend. They are coming to Chicago for a ladies’ weekend, and I can’t wait!

Here are the most interesting things I found online during this peculiar week:

These photos don’t picture cutting-edge historical fashion, but they show life inside a castings factory in Derby, England during the 1920s and 1930s. I think it’s just as valuable to learn about what the working class wore as the elite.

Ever wonder how museums mount garments so beautifully during exhibitions? The best shows require custom mannequins for each dress. Often this is achieved by building out the form on an existing mannequin. Here’s a peek of my friend Emma Denny at work behind the scenes at the Chicago History Museum.

Christina Brinkley of the Wall Street Journal cuts through the fat to break down the Fall 2013 fashion shows.

Is Vogue kidding with this article? “How to Not-Wear a Jacket” is practically Diana Vreeland-esque. But apparently Fashionista agrees that this is the cool way to dress for winter. Personally, I think this is just a way for fashion insiders to one up the masses who are edging into their territory. The wannabes don’t have the financial resources, but you can bet these women pictured are taking cabs so they don’t need coats anyway.

New Balance is exploring the use of 3-D printing to customize shoes for pro athletes. Sensors track each foot’s motion and how much pressure is created at different points in order to print a plate for the shoe’s sole. This is expected to enhance performance. Eventually New Balance anticipates this will end up at the consumer level.

Athletic shoes seem perfectly matched to 3-D printing, but can you imagine other possibilities in footwear? I’m thinking of a high-heel sole created specifically for your foot! 3-D printing could reduce painful pressure points and make heels safer and more comfortable to wear — customized to each person’s feet!

Friday File – Busy Week

This was a long and busy week for me. In the fashion study collection I manage, I had eight tours, class visitors, and requests to use garments in classes this week. I slightly underestimated how much that is, and I learned that maybe that is a tad too much to book in one week even if I love doing it. Transitioning between appointments isn’t the easiest thing to do and only goes smoothly if I have a student worker to help.

And now for my favorite things around the web this week:

When I grow up, I want to be Judith Clark. Lady is a fashion exhibition genius. That is all.

I’m pretty happy that the Smithsonian’s fashion blog, Threaded, is continuing its series on the flapper. This time, learn about the bob.

I’ve always been a bit skeptical of Fashion’s Night Out. According to Business of Fashion, the night was more of a money-sucking circus than an economy-boosting shopping event, and it is going on “hiatus” in the United States.

When I saw that Paola Antonelli of MoMA was on Stephen Colbert on Wednesday, I knew I had to watch. Paola is MoMA’s Architecture and Design senior curator. I quoted her in my masters thesis a number of times for her take on how to exhibit design in a museum. Watch and develop your own girl crush on her.

Friday File – Fashion Week

gown by Oscar de la Renta fall/winter 2013, photo by NOWFASHION, from SHOWstudio

New York Fashion Week is finally over and my twitter feed is relieved. Of course we still have London, Milan, and Paris to go, but I find that the reports and tweets from the international fashion weeks aren’t quite so overwhelming.

A friend posted this piece on feminism and fashion week and it’s spot on:

Aesthetics aren’t the enemy of feminism; social codes that require women to meet certain aesthetic principles, and to be constantly putting in time, effort and money in the service of femininity, are the enemy. Fight the system, not the people who do their best to operate in it, or, God forbid, take a little pleasure where they can find it. Gendered fashion requirements are bad. Enjoying the self-expression and aesthetic appeal of clothing? Girl, go ahead and enjoy your new shoes.

Amen! Man, I just want to quote the whole thing.

I’ve also been searching for flights to New York this summer in order to see Punk: Chaos to Couture at the Met. On Monday, curator Andrew Bolton and others involved in the exhibition (you bet Anna Wintour was there) hosted a media preview that was covered by the New York Times, Vogue, and Fashionista. Fashionista has a really good slide show of musicians in their punk attire next to the high-end designer looks they inspired. If you only check out one of those links, take a look at that.

I was mesmerized by this 1922 footage of actresses on film in color striking poses. It’s kind of amazing. You have to see it for yourself.

This hairstylist turned archaeologist has spent more than 10 years trying to figure out how ancient Greeks and Romans styled their hair. Her theory based on experiential research is gaining a following among scholars who study ancient times.

One of my favorite fashion writers, Raquel Laneri, compiled a slideshow of fashion shoots inspired by fine art paintings. I think my favorite was the shot by Joel-Peter Witkin for The New York Times in 2006 made to look like Edward Hopper’s The Automat.

My mom will be in town this weekend, I am hoping to see Picasso and Chicago at the Art Institute of Chicago. This weekend is just a members’ preview (another good benefit to becoming a member of a museum), but it opens to the general audience on Wednesday. I’m excited about this new take on Picasso. Have a great weekend!

Friday File — A New Series

Today I’m going to try something new on the blog — a series of interesting links found around the web. I know link roundups aren’t anything new in the blog world, but I’ve never done one, and I thought maybe you guys might appreciate my finds every Friday.

I often tweet links to interesting articles, but tweets have such a short shelf life. Within twitter’s 140 character confines, I can’t reflect much on them either.

So let me know what you think!

Threaded, the Smithsonian’s fashion blog is running a series on the flapper. Part 1 details how freedom motivated the flapper and part 2 discusses the rising popularity of makeup. I hope they will continue the series.

Are you a woman and have been to Paris? If so and you wore pants in the City of Lights, you were probably breaking the law! Just last month, a 200-year-old law banning women from wearing pants was finally repealed. Crazy!

New York City gets so many good designer sales. Living in the midwest for the most of my adult life I’ve never been able to experience the rush of a sample or warehouse sale. But Barneys is moving its legendary, yearly warehouse sale online. This past Monday, it launched Barneys Warehouse. So far it looks pretty similar to NET-A-PORTER’S discount site, THE OUTNET.

This roundup of newspaper headlines frowning on women’s fashions throughout the ages had me chuckling a bunch.

This New York Times sketch about a menswear designer looking for runway models on the streets of New York is amusing. I have a friend whose husband has walked twice during fashion week — both times scouted off the street in the same way.

Hope you have a wonderful weekend! And if you are in Chicago, don’t forget to take advantage of Restaurant Week, which runs until Sunday! I’m going out to lunch today with a friend and colleague at a much fancier and pricey place than normal. Gotta love a good prix fixe!

An Old Dress Made New

I stumbled upon this film on the BFI National Archive YouTube channel and found it really amusing. This silent short from 1926 teaches a woman how to create an evening dress out of a morning frock with a few homemade modifications.

This kind of economization was quite common until ready-to-wear clothing became so cheap and ubiquitous in the second half of the 20th century. Women frequently updated last season’s garments with new trims and simple alterations of the neckline, sleeves, or hem.

Do you restyle your garments like this? If not, maybe this video will inspire you to make a few adaptations yourself instead of buying something new. Think about it — do you have any pieces from last spring you can modify to fit this spring’s trends?

Downton Abbey Season 3 is Here

Downton Abbey Season 3 promo art from Downton Abbey Addicts

This Sunday, Downton Abbey is finally back with its third season! For those of us in the United States, it’s been more than a year since we’ve had new episodes.

Those lucky ducks in the United Kingdom got their dose of the third season in the fall.

I had hoped to throw a season premiere party, but then I remembered that my excitement level might not be appropriate for hosting people. You can ask my husband — I have a tendency to get extremely animated and respond dramatically to the show’s plot twists and turns.

It doesn’t hurt that season 3 is set during 1920-1921. Oh Downton Abbey, you are striking me with the ’20s right when I’ve never been more interested in them!

Downton Abbey should be on your local PBS channel at 9/8C on Sunday, January 6. Check your local listing to be sure!

Plans in Motion

Happy New Year!

Today is my first day back at work after taking a nice, long, relaxing holiday. It feels a little weird to get back to the grind, but I need some motivation to be productive again. Near the end of my vacation I didn’t end up accomplishing much. In fact, yesterday was spent on the couch because I overdid it in the gym and injured my legs.

I’m looking forward to 2013. I have a long list of goals to accomplish and plans to carry out in the new year.

One of which is to read more books. I’m going to dive further into the Hemingways’ lives. I’ve made a list of books that include a biography on Ernest’s second wife Pauline, his official biography, a fictionalized account of his relationship with his first wife Hadley, and a book about all of his wives. Also on it are a number of Hemingway’s novels (I just finished The Sun Also Rises over break) and his memoir. After Hemingway, I’m thinking about tackling the Fitzgeralds. Zelda seems incredibly interesting, and many suspect that F. Scott plagiarized his work from his wife’s writings. I want to try to read a number of F. Scott’s novels as well because I haven’t read anything other than The Great Gatsby in high school. It looks like I’m infatuated with the Lost Generation. I plan to punctuate the novels and historical books with things on fashion theory and history.

Some of my plans involve this blog. I’ve actually created a more detailed and longer-term calendar about what I’m going to write about. I have left room to react to current events or new things I find though. I will be making some tweaks to the design as well — or at least Liz and Josh from Pink Slip Industries are!

I have some travel plans in sight for 2013. Near the end of January I will be going to Alt Summit, a blogging conference, in Salt Lake City. I’m really hoping to see the punk exhibition at the Met in New York, and I’ll be accompanying my husband to Mexico to shoot a wedding. I’ve never been to Mexico so I’m very excited, especially about the ruins.

So here’s to a fruitful 2013!

Exhibition File – Modern Spirit: Fashion of the 1920s

Now that I’m on a 1920s kick, I really want to take a trip to Phoenix Art Museum. The exhibition Modern Spirit: Fashion of the 1920s is on display until February 10 and features some of the prettiest dresses in the collection.

I remember the three in the image above from my time working there. The red Chanel on the right is so delicate and amazing. It was one of my favorites in the whole Fashion Design department.

Modern Spirit aims to look beyond the typical iconography of the 1920s to examine “the evolution of clothing and accessories as an expression of freedom, intellectualism, sexuality and athleticism in this decade that marked the beginning of the modern age.” Designers Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel and Madeleine Vionnet are highlighted among the more than 40 ensembles on display. I can only imagine how glamorous this show is.

Address: Phoenix Art Museum, 1625 N. Central Avenue, Phoenix, Arizona
Hours: Wednesday 10-9, Thursday-Saturday 10-5, Sunday 12-5, First Friday of every month 6-10
Admission: adults $15, seniors $12, students $10, children 6-17 $6, members and children under 6 free