Food for the Fashion Soul

In honor of the start of fashion week (full schedule of shows here), I thought it would be a great idea to talk about fashion documentaries.  Being that I am a lover of history…Fashion history (yes I’m a nerd) and love indulging in a great documentary, my curiosity lies in learning the beginning of a thing, whether it is a house, magazine or designer. So here are my top favorite fashion documentaries (in no particular order):

dv1. The Eye has to Travel, Diana Vreeland 2012
I’ve mentioned the great editor/fabulous fashion icon Diana Vreeland in another post. I love her, simple as that. Known as the “Empress of Fashion”, the movie documents her illustrious career, undeniable influence in the world of fashion and a peek inside of her personal life. If you graze or devour Harper’s Bazaar or Vogue magazines, you should definitely check this one out.

 

Sept      2. The September Issue, 2009
As you guessed, the doc is all about Vogue magazine’s 2007 September issue, the biggest (sometimes 500 pages!) issue of the year. Countless established and young designers dream of getting on those pages and Wintour does not make it easy. The doc goes behind the scenes and details the steps involved in getting the issue to print. There are note worthy appearances of heavy hitters in fashion: Grace Coddington (read her memoir!), Oscar de la Renta, Karl Lagerfeld, John Galliano (I still consider him a heavy hitter). Models, photographers, stylists, editors and movie stars all color the timeless documentary.

 

val3. Valentino: the Last Emperor, 2009
Beautifully shot and told, this is the story of the life and times of Valentino Garavani, Italian fashion designer. Intimate and vivid, the viewer gets a peek of the prestigious man of the hour and the remarkable career he has led.  It’s Valentino…enough said. If you are looking for inspiration, look no further!

 

Verailles      4. Versailles ’73: American Runway Revolution, 2012

The ultimate showdown between the well established giants of the fashion universe (at that time) and the little known, often discounted American ready to wear designers.  The iconic runway show took place at the grandiose Versailles Palace and featured show stealing African American beauty Pat Cleveland.  The American designs wowed their competition earing respect and a play among fashion royalty.  The more experienced French team comprised of Hubert de Givenchy, Yves Saint Laurent, Christian Dior, Pierre Cardin and Emanuel Ungaro were powerhouses and considered the leaders of couture fashion.  The less known American team was represented by Anne Klein, Oscar de la Renta, Halston, Bill Blass and Stephen Burrows. The rockstar competition changed the face of American fashion and the use of African American models forever.

Honorable Mentions (worth watching if you have the opportunity):

Bill  Bill Cunningham New York

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Ultrasuede In Search of Halston

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Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf’s

Designer Spotlight: Lorena Sarbu

       sarbu“Imagine if Zuhair Murad and Marchesa had a baby with a Versace flair? You would get Lorena Sarbu!”—The Provocative Eye

Meet the modern Elizabeth Taylor of fashion, Lorena Sarbu. Watching (and tweeting/IG) the live coverage of the Emmy’s red carpet last week, I caught a glimpse of Lauren Parsekian (Breaking Bad’s Aaron Paul’s wife) and immediately l-o-v-e-d her dress. A quick web search led me to the fashion designer’s personal site. The Romanian born beauty studied design at the Intermational Academy of Design & Technology and at FIDM in Los Angeles. A childhood filled with rich influential European culture, architect and art, Sarbu presented her first collection in 2009 and recently relocated from New York to Los Angeles in 2013. A dressmaker at heart, she began creating designs for her dolls from her mother’s clothing and although we know a doll’s size proportion is not to be compared to women, Sarbu is a master at tailoring and intricate detailing.  With exquisite craftsmanship, vibrant colors and beautiful fabrics that pay tribute to old world glamour and elegance, she transforms the ordinary into extraordinary with each design. It’s no surprise Hollywood and musical starlets in the likes of Emma Stone, Hayden Panettiere, Carrie Underwood, Ariel Winter, Britney Spears have all been spotted donning an original couture design of Sarbu. For more of her stunning evening wear, please visit http://www.lorenasarbu.com.

 

Lorena Sarbu is one to watch!

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Mood Board: The Golden Girls: the Original SATC

Thank you for being a friend….

   The Golden Girls, a television sitcom, aired from the mid 1980s to early 1990s.  The wildly successful, feel good comedy gave us a peak inside the lives of four senior women living vibrantly and without apology.  But what I love the most of the beloved sitcom is the costume (FASHION)!  Strictly 80s, done with flair and style that ruled the decade.  As I watched a vintage episode one night with scene stealing vixen Blanche (Rue McClanahan), I wondered if the sitcom had inspired women of the 80s to live fearlessly and fashionably the way Sex and The City had done for my generation.  After all, the Girls are the original SATC. Yes, I know it sounds strange but let’s take an investigative look.

Dorothy Zbornak (Bea Arthur): Miranda Hobbs, Esq.

Dorothy was known for her serious no nonsense practical personality, quick dry wit, and an over all brainiac.  And like her personality, her clothing reflected power: shoulder pads and pantsuits, scarves and layers, menswear feminized was the staple wardrobe of Dorothy.  Definitely a vintage Miranda Hobbs.

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Blanche Devereaux (Rue McClanahan): Samantha Jones

Blanche was a widower liberated in her golden years.  Unabashedly in her sexual prowess, Blanche dated and disposed of men as she pleased.  All while looking fabulous: vibrant colors, seductively clinging dresses, on trend attire, costumes for any and every occasion are what composed her closet.  Samantha Jones is Blanche reincarnated.

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Rose Nylund (Betty White): Charlotte York

Rose Nylund was the classic romantic of the group, she was feminine, lady like and always dreaming of goodness. Pure with a untainted soul, Rose’s fashions reflected her farm upbringing with an Elizabeth Taylor twist.  Monochromatic suits, classic cuts and hues with defined a waistline, perfectly coiffed hair and manicured, Rose is the Charlotte York of the group.

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Now I know what should come next, where’s the Carrie Bradshaw of the group? She was the main character, the fashion muse, the focus of SATC.  Certainly it could not be the last remaining character Sophia Petrillo, portrayed by Estelle Getty?? No. I would like to propose each character from the Golden Girls had Carrie like characteristics. Dorothy’s dry wit, Blanche’s risk taking behavior, Rose’s dreamy goodness and Sophia’s adaptation for survival were all possessed by our main heroine Carrie Bradshaw.  I’d like to think the gorgeous ladies of the 80s found strength, courage and a zest for life in the Golden Girls like we found in the gals of SATC.  And the fashion, of course.  Don’t forget the fashion!

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Monday Inspiration: Diana Vreeland

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“Vogue always did stand for people’s lives. I mean, a new dress doesn’t get you anywhere; it’s the life you’re living in the dress, and the sort of life you had lived before, and what you will do in it later.”—Diana Vreeland

 

Anna Wintour’s predecessor knew a thing or two about life, fashion and living.  Responsible for taking Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue into mainstream publication and popularizing the circulation of the fashion magazine across the globe, Vreeland was known for fearlessly speaking her unedited thoughts aloud.  What I really admire about her, though, is her zest for living.  Instead of complaining about the wrongs in life, she set out to create the life she wanted to live.  Vreeland spent every moment of the day living, not over analyzing or allowing fear to keep her from taking in each moment with a fresh perspective.  She saw the challenges of life and business as opportunities to express her best and most highest self.  At times, her solutions were received well and highly praised and at other times she fell flat on her face.  But she wasn’t afraid of the fall nor did she allow the possibility of falling keep her from trying.  This is true inspiration to me.  To live life in such a way that you are fully present and grateful in each moment.  Allowing these to open the door to your passions and creativity.  Then maybe we won’t despise Mondays so much but instead see the day as a new possibility for a new beginning to a new creative moment.  Mondays? Yes, I’m starting to look forward to it just a wee bit more…

 

Happy Monday Everyone!

P.S. If you are a fan of fashion and Vreeland, check out the documentary, The Eye has to Travel!

Mood Board Inspiration: the Baroque Era

Grandeur. Lush. Exquisite. Go big or go home. Fashion and style in this period was represented by these sentiments and more. It was the idea that grandiose was the way to live, eat and breathe. Splendor and excessive was the norm. Influence from the later part of the era (1660-1775) can be seen across the runway today, my absolute favorite is Dolce & Gabbana RTW Fall 2013 at Milan Fashion Week (read about the creative directors recent conviction of tax evasion). Check it out here at style.com!

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To incorporate this style into your wardrobe, look for heavily ornate pieces, dramatic circular or curving patterns and elaborate embellishments.

Here are a few pictures for inspiration! Happy findings!

 

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Monday Inspiration: Artist Thaddaeus Arvie

image[6]        There is a movement coming soon near you, Creatively Insane, birth out of the creative conscious of the talented Louisiana nativeThaddaeus Arvie.  Street art, everyday life art, insane art, creative art…call it what you want but one thing is certain: this is where chaos and creativity collide, live and breathe.  Arvie, a new Houstonian, is a graduate of Grambling State University desires to “inspire all dreamers, doers, and go getters that on any given ordinary day one can be great.” Moved by life itself, TAT, draws inspiration from his surroundings and the interesting people that he has the privilege of connecting with.  His use of color, larger-than-life imagery and flair for individuality encompassed by his exuberant passion make TAT’s work innovative and inspiring.  He is one to keep an eye on!

 

Here are some original pieces by TAT and you can follow him on Facebook, Twitter, or IG:_creativelyinsane_ for custom art work.

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For pricing or commission of work, email TAT: taddos10@gmail.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Designer Spotlight: Norman Ambrose

We live in a time where everything is instantaneous. Quick. The internet serves as grand wizard with social media reporting the latest greatest at the impossible speed as soon as it materializes. We’ve gotten so used to fast that more and more living, doing, creating is taking on this approach, becoming the norm.  Artists, at times, can find themselves in the middle of this exact predicament. Creating quickly in order to produce forsaking the very reason for the creation. It is absolutely beautiful when an artist takes the time and opportunity to allow his creations to develop, from seed (thought, inspiration) to full bloom (collection).  I knew this was a way of life the first time I laid eyes on Norman Ambrose at Fashion Houston in 2011. Exquisite craftsmanship, luxurious fabrics, handmade embellishments all color a haute couture piece by Ambrose. His designs are dreams of old world aristocrat, assembled, cut and impeccably tailored to gracefully mold the body inside of its masterpiece. Glamour is his specialty, and whether designing for a Baroness, a New York socialite or the modern woman of style and grace, Norman Ambrose is a true atelier and artist. His background education has served him well in the creative arena, he is a graduate of the Academy of Art University of San Francisco, and was bestowed the opportunity to study at the Instituto Europeo di Design in Italy. Ambrose’s resume is impressive, he was afforded the dream chance to train under a pattern cutter from the prestigious House of Balenciaga and a tailor under the iconic Bill Blass.

 

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I love collections that construct an intriguing narrative, that have the capability to hold a person captive while one stares lustfully at a runway while each piece weaves the completed fairytale.  I love collections that mesmerizes; leaves you desiring more.  It is beautiful to witness a designer takes such pride in his craftsmanship, allowing an inside peek into the vivid inner workings of his mind, blessing you with the opportunity to explore his thoughts or providing a source of inspiration.  I was blessed with the opportunity to meet and interview Mr. Ambrose not once but twice (with Fashionably Houston)!  What a grand break that was in my fashion life at the time.  Soft spoken, gracious and humble, I was impressed even the more by Mr. Ambrose after interviewing him. I simply adore and admire him.

You can follow Norman Ambrose on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram for current details from the designer!

 

 

Here is an excerpt of my recap after witnessing his runway show in 2011:

 

The sun.  Brilliant, radiant, magnificent, the perpetual light that ignites the world and prevents eternal darkness from swallowing us whole.  Life would be impossible without it…now imagine sitting in a spacious room with a runway at the center and experiencing the sun…in its entire splendor…from the slow rise out of the east, to the intense luminosity of day, ending with its glorious subdued descent.  On Wednesday night at Fashion Houston 2011, Norman Ambrose delivered the sun.  He  fashioned his S/S 2012 collection to represent the cycles of the sun; carefully choose a color palette to interpret his vision and set ablaze the souls of fashion lovers everywhere.   Vibrant noir…shimmering metallic gold… iridescent silver… pale apricot…lustrous tangelo… to an exuberant then soften coral.  It was sensory overload but in the most marvelous way!  And that was just the color palette.

 

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