Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Every Woman Needs a Boudoir Vanity

Because the ritual of preparing to meet the world every day deserves a little decadence, however humble...

Grandma's porcelain top table, typesetter tray jewelry chest (prototype), etched glass mirror, 1970s cat planter brush holder, spice rack lipstick organizer.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Fashion Week, FW 2010

Ahhh, the magic ticket!!
I was so excited to be attending my first Fashion Week event, and what a wonderful time my friend Lisa and I had!  The layout of the venue was well planned, with not a bad seat in the house.  Small bit of irksomeness in having to check my digital camera, personally speaking, the rule against cameras was rather stupid, as the minute Giselle stepped off the double decker bus everyone whipped out their cell phones and began snapping away.  Those in the Premiere seats were fortunate to observe the headliner models up close and personal, as they primarily strutted down the main aisle and circled those inner perimeter seats.

The show started on time, and for the next 15 FABulous minutes it was as if the pages of September Vogue had come to life.  The segments which captured my fashion heart were the sinuous lines of Jazz Age Cool and the textural feast of Go Global.  The event was a true celebrity-fest, and I spotted Diane Von Furstenberg (surprised how petite she is in person) and Julianne Moore, among others, while Lisa was quick to point out Roger Federer (I'm not tennis savvy) and couldn't believe I didn't recognize Blake Lively standing next to me at the coat check when I retrieved my camera (guilty of not watching Gossip Girls either).

However, it wasn't hard to miss some of the models as they boarded the subway back:  Egle Tvirbutaite (Look 40/Tartan Twist) and Giedre Dukauskaite (Look 127/Go Global).   Sorry it took so long to post these, ladies, but I'm delighted you took the time to chat.  Happy Holidays to you both!

Giedre and Egle
Believe this is Aminata Niaria catching up on her Blackberry
Then it was onward to Fashion's Night Out.  My look, albeit a bit less runway-ready, was styled for comfort.  I'm wearing the Kalinger bracelet as a necklace by stringing it with a Miriam Haskell chain.  That's the Rodarte shower slicker over my lean-to Old Navy T and Jaclyn Smith cropped pants.  The turquoise/ onyx statement ring was purchased at Printemps in Paris a few years back and is one of my favorite pieces.  As you can see, I'm getting better at using my camera's self-timer.

My night started in front of Macys, where Neal Patrick Harris was filming the FNO for a CBS Special.  I then boarded the double-decker bus heading uptown to take in the festivities and do some seasonal window-shopping (and list-making).  Lord and Taylor was obviously looking to update their image with a DJ mixing tunes out on the sidewalk (Club L&T, perhaps).  There were mimes and freeze models performing in windows, the DKNY boutique was swamped with revelers spilling out to the street, and a trio of kimono-clad fashionistas attempting to hail a cab.  My last stop was Barneys, where I was pleasantly surprised to see the marvelous cloth art dolls of Andrew Yang prominently featured in their windows.  A special collection of OOAK dolls dressed in couture miniatures was displayed on the 4th floor, and how I wish I could find the Isabel and Ruben Toledo set under my Christmas tree (dreaming is good for the soul, keeps one motivated, yes?).  Then there was the thrill of seeing the Anna Wintour and Grace Coddington dolls being auctioned for charity.  According to Andrew's site they went for a whopping $4000 and $1000 respectively.  Way to go Andrew!  Be sure to visit The Cottage Couturière to see some of Andrew's magical Kouklitas.

While checking out the dolls who should I meet than 14 yr old wunder-blogger Tavi Gevinson of Style Rookie.  As I'm a fan of her fresh approach to fashion reporting I was sure to scoop up her limited edition Barney's tote.

Fashion's Night Out will be back again next September (see sidebar), but for now please follow the link to my Kodak Gallery album and enjoy the photos from this year's event.

Fashion's Night Out 2010

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Color Trend 2012: Magenta


Thrifting Expeditions, Fall 2010

Closet revitalized until Spring 2011
It's been ages since I've shopped, as monies from eBay/Etsy go directly back into the business, with a (somewhat) meager deposit to the IRA.  BUT, frugality aside, the selections at Keyport Thrift ShopGoodwill of East Brunswick, and Karen's Consignment Boutique were far too good to pass up.  Within a modest budget of $200 and a few free weekends, I've amassed a hoard that should take me through a Fall and Winter's worth of networking events!

Here's a peek at some highlights...

I'd just become a fan of Daphne Guinness when the Lulu Guinness bag leaped out at me. And I'm so delighted to now own a Dolce and Gabbana design, the fabric of this suit is 2Die4!  The DKNY brown denim and leather pants were a little tight in the waist, but luckily the previous owner had just nipped in the waistline without cutting so all I had to do was release those darts.

And, let's not forget the accessories...a few scarves and some heart-iful vintage jewelry.  Charm bracelets are my passion and I treat them like wearable journals of  my life.  I already may have filled this new one!

Ralph Lauren
America by Perry Ellis
Dolce & Gabbana




Christmas Kitties!

Finally, every woman over 50 knows that even the most fabulous clothes need a little help in the foundations area.  Let's face it, gravity cannot be defied, even by Marc Jacobs. My quest appears to have paid off, after months of searching, as I've found some delicious lingerie from Soma that fits perfectly PLUS looks AND feels as sensual as the French styles I crave! The added bonus was the perfume sampler offer.  Sadly, I possess a nose which often can't distinguish a $5 cologne from a $500 perfume.  After some careful sampling I chose Gorgeous for its distinct fragrance.  I adore miniature bottles because once empty, I can fill with tinted water for my vintage Cissy doll's boudoir vanity diorama.

Hope everyone has recovered from Black Friday!  You'll find me decorating for the Holidays in two worlds, see my doll dioramas unfold at The Cottage Couturière.

Monday, November 29, 2010

I'm Watching You

Rebecca Ebony Princess

Friday, November 19, 2010

Renovation Update: Bedroom

If you've been following my blog you know that I've taken over caregiving for my parents and last December began downsizing their home.  In between, I'm freelancing as a CAD designer and doing some serious networking, which also meant I needed to renovate my personal space on the second floor for greater efficiency, i.e. no sense having a great wardrobe/art/furniture if it's not out and being used.

Renovation: Phase One involved taking personal inventory and selling off items no longer meaningful/in use via eBay/Etsy and my pop-up shop at the local markets.  Thankfully, I've always purchased with care and an eye for the long term so liquidation was only those items that were no longer *me.*

I'm now in Renovation: Phase Two, which involves repurposing furniture, redesigning room layouts, and selecting paint.  My doll collection is now housed in the larger of three rooms, I have a foyer/library for greeting guests, and a mock-up of the walk-in closet (one of two in the bedroom) roughed out so I can at least get to my wardrobe for work.  My Dad was always a great partner on these projects, sadly at 90 he has officially retired, so a local handyman will refurbish the closet walls.

Here's where I stand so far.  Click photos for a larger view:

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Methinks He's Up to No Good

Christopher Mr. Purr Jangles

Kudos to Kotex

It's nice to see an American brand take chances when re-branding their product.  I did a double-take when I saw the new packaging for Kotex products at my local supermarket.  I normally expect this sort of "out there" creativity from European brands. 

Sleek...contemporary...modern...and BLACK.  It looks like a women's product, not something from the Barbie aisle.

Personally, I've used freshness products since the 1970s, and these new liners are not only comfortable (like you're "not wearin' nothin'" to borrow a phrase), their fibers are also non-irritating.

Way to go, Kotex!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Acquired: Kalinger Bracelet

Fell in love with this bracelet at the Hamptons Show House boutique.  Signed Kalinger, it reminds me of those beautiful pieces Lacroix used to accessorize his collections.

Silver Style: Helen

Helen stopped by my pop-up shop in Metuchen and graciously shared her love for the thrill of hunting for treasures at the market. Originally from England, she now resides in Edison and enjoys sharing her outlook on a life well-lived with her grandchildren.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

You Have To Live Here to Appreciate the Humor

Fashion-able variations on this have included:

Bloomingdales taste on a Bambergers budget (1970s)
Bergdorf taste on a Macy's budget (1990s)
Prada taste on a Zara budget (2000s)

Oddity Sighting: Black Squirrel

First time seeing one in our neighborhood. Love his sienna/charcoal color.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Salon du Jour: BLISS

On a recent trip to Bucks County I spied this artistically merchandised shop window full of jewel-bedecked mannequins, purses and watches, and just had to pop in.

Once inside, I was immediately transported to another time, when a trip to the Salon didn't refer to your crowning glory but a special shopping expedition to an elegant Ladies Boutique.  This is what awaits you when you enter Bliss.

Owner Hillary Benzel
Showcase after showcase brims with an eclectic assortment of modern romantic accessories, allowing your imagination to wander until, for a moment, you could easily believe you are standing in some chic Parisian atelier of a not-yet-discovered designer.  You'll find sterling silver and fashion jewelry, handbags, clutches, shoes, hats, belts, and scarves.  The most amazing discovery was that, posh elegance aside, prices were well within even the most modest of budgets. 

There was just so much temptation, I couldn't leave without a little trinket.  This pumpkin leather rose ring will be just the perfect update to my closet classics!

Bliss is located at 19B West Bridge Street in historic New Hope, Pennsylvania.  Their hours are 11:00-6:00.  Directions can be found on their website, or by calling (215) 862-9994.

The Holidays are coming...after satisfying your gift list, why not indulge yourself in a little Bliss.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Just to LYK, More to Come, Just Hang In There

No matter HOW much security and AV I have, there's always some little nasty that sneaks in where it doesn't belong. This time it was my MSI netbook, which was loaded with photos and journal notes from Sidewalk Catwalk, a slew of show houses, and Fashion's Night Out coverage including the pre-Fashion Week Tuesday Show.  Sigh...

Help is on the way courtesy of and hopefully, within the next few weeks, I'll be able to post my reflections on what a GREAT summer I had.

Stay tuned!!! (pretty please, with a cherry and hot fudge on top)

Friday, October 29, 2010

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Real Faces of The Garment Industry...Where is Their Tribute?

There he sits, just catty-corner from Parsons.  The statue of the diligent garment worker hunched over his sewing machine, stitching the legacy that is the Garment District of New York.  As many times as I've passed him, I still come away feeling that something is missing from this tribute.

These are the faces of the American garment industry I grew up knowing...

Mayfair Dress Company.  My Grandmom Viola is second from left.

Possibly Brodskys, South River, NJ.  Circa 1930s-1940s
Photos from personal archive.

These women taught me everything I know about fabric, construction, and self-respect.  The Wulfsons, along with the Brodskys whose factory produced Judy Bond Blouses, were demanding but fair employers who valued their employees.  These companies produced tens of thousands of garments which filled the racks of many a New York department store.

So much recent chatter has been given press recently on "Saving the Garment District".  Hopefully somewhere in those grandiose plans laid out on the drafting tables of the CFDA lies a tribute to these women past, present and future who continue to keep garment manufacturing vital.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Fall-ing for Colors

Due to a troublesome March nor'easter and a failed sump pump, I've relocated my design workspace out of the basement and into my second floor studio, which pleasantly resulted in clear Northern Light and a perpetual view of life-in-motion outside (I live on a very busy main road).  It's very inspiring to watch the seasonal color palettes change as I work.

Time to pull out the flannels and feathers!