Monday, August 25, 2014

The architectural essence of Fashion

Audrey Hepburn in Hubert de Givenchy from one of my all time favorite movies "Breakfast at Tiffany's". A French aristocrat and fashion designer who founded The House of Givenchy in 1952.

The movie "Breakfast at Tiffany's" inspired Coco Chanel to start designing little black dresses, a staple in almost every woman's closet. Coco Chanel and Jean Patou are credited to the origins of the LBD in the 1920's.

The iconic design of Coco Chanel remains eternal and captivating with an undeniable sophistication in styling. 

"Fashion is architecture, it is a matter of proportions"
~Coco Chanel~

I flirted briefly with the idea of designing loungewear. I feverishly sketched away and somehow during this time we wound up starting up a Greeting card design business. I guess there is always the future for my special allure towards fashion. As I am once again sketching fashion design. Truly fashion is a temptation and beckons me as a future endeavor. But of course one never knows what their future has in store.

Photographed by Irving Penn and published in Vogue September 1993 - Gianfranco Ferré intricate feminine design.

Gianfranco Ferré was trained in architecture as well as Yves Saint Laurent. Gianfranco Ferré throughout his legacy was know as "the architect of fashion".

Modernist, practical and heavenly fashion design eventually transcends into our home interiors. But in this post I am concentrating on fashion and the passionate emotional connection we all feel to it. A fashion into decor design post will follow later this Fall. I believe classics will always endure and prefer to incorporate architect furniture designs into our row-home. That is mixed into a past, present and nod to the future eclectic design.

In the early 90's a renaissance Piazza was built by the Italian Trade commission as a gift to New York City and was a visually simulating feast for the eyes. A Piazza is meant to be the heart of a community's life and this one was conveyed beautifully. Blending a harmonious collection of Italian design and craftsmanship in a architectural structure that invited your imagination to freely explore. John and I attended the exhibit and leisurely experienced the Piazza feeling greatly inspired and visually rewarded.

A plastic architectural model of the Piazza 

In the Piazza was an exhibit of Valentino's fashion designs made for his famous American clients. Clients like Elizabeth Taylor and Jackie Kennedy. Americans named Valentino back then "King of Chic".

The exhibit wasn't set up like a stiff restricted museum setting where you couldn't walk around freely. This exhibit allowed you to get up close and personal to fully appreciate the dresses, a 360 degrees of loveliness and awe. It was on that very day I fell deeply in love with Valentino and I realized fashion is truly architectural and Valentino's fashion design was sublime. To quote Carrie Bradshaw (Sara Jessica Parker) from the iconic and still remains my favorite show "Sex and the City" ... "Hello lover"...

"There are only three things I can do - make a dress, decorate a house, and entertain people.
~Valentino Garavani~

I know what women want. They want to be beautiful."
~Valentino Garavani~

Every year I look forward to watching actresses of all ages walk down the red carpet at the Academy awards. We always start with watching the red carpet pre-show. I find myself enamored observing the celebrities style and their fashion choices. I'm always thrilled to see vintage Valentino and confidence exhibited when the stars take a risk and support wearing young talent.

In 2001 Julia Roberts wore vintage Valentino, in the year she won the Oscar for the movie "Erin Brockovich". Graphically stunning in a Black and White Valentino gown as Julia Roberts bedazzled us all. Such poise and a radiant smile, truly America's "sweetheart".

For the 2014 Academy Awards Jennifer Garner wore this vintage Valentino. I honestly was completely captivated as she gracefully walked the red carpet and charmed us in a uniquely Tangerine one shoulder strap. Oh Jennifer, you wore it well, another sweetheart I adore and to me she will always be Sidney Bristow from Alias. 

During the decade of the 90's John and I owned a Greeting card company. I drew and designed cards, die-cut notepads and stationary in our nearly 200 piece line. My artwork was manufactured with John overseeing all of it's production. We were sold internationally.

The Greeting card Association has their own version of the Oscars, named the Louie's. It is a gala event held annually in New York City. Cocktail reception followed by a dinner, speeches and afterwards awards are given. All Louie submissions are blind judged by a panel of industry experts. I was fortunate to experience the Louie's when I was nominated for a friendship card I designed in 1991 and we attended the event in 1992.

I only ever, seriously ever, wear Black and in the Summer White. It's my artist thing ... I am truly an observational sponge and wearing color distracts from my absorbing inspiration that I find everywhere -everyday. 

I sketched a dress design for the Louie gala and presented it to a young up and coming fashion designer/seamstress in Philadelphia. Patiently she listened to my ideas and created magic for me. I adore texture and I went with a Black silk crepe, lined underneath, fitted waist with a thin belt with a vintage rhinestone square buckle. The bodice had a sweetheart neckline, not overly plunging, with short feminine capped sleeves. The skirt had a slight A-line flare for movement and looked stunning with the silk crisp and crimped appearance of the crepe fabric.

Although that year I didn't take home a Louie, I did experience my Cinderella moment, I guess perhaps it truly is a once in a lifetime moment. Even my shoes, heels with Swarovski crystal Pavé bows fit perfectly. As this Cinderella (me and John my Prince Charming) was driven home in a NYC taxi to our boutique chic hotel I was floating on air, and magically the cab didn't turn into a pumpkin!

Fashion is all about self expression, it conveys who we are and how we feel about ourselves for the world to see. That magical awards night I not only felt pretty but I looked pretty.

My advice is to wear your personal style well, always with pride and confidence and of course be aware of your body contours and what works best for you. Fashion enhances and can make an ordinary day seem special.

My gathered poetic words today is named Emma. About a young inspiring fashionista, told in a fable.  I have always followed fashion and know to look at the up and coming talent for fashion forward designs and trends. So before my poem of Emma I want to name a few to take seriously and will be enjoyed and admired now and in many future decades.

A young designer Oliver Rousteing, 27, brilliant, fresh and taking the celebrities by gale force winds of talent.

"Sometimes you forget that your passion can also be your work"
~Oliver Rousteing-~

New York based Katie Ermillio, Granddaughter to Grace Kelly's personal stylist. Her designs are very feminine yet minimal in a breathtaking way. Also Yang Li and Mary Katrantzous to just name a few...

I wish you a wonderful Labor Day weekend, my birthday is on Sept. 2nd and always celebrated around Labor Day. One of my lifelong BD wishes (we do get 3!) has always been to enjoy an Indian Summer until sweater weather arrives with the cool crisp autumn nights.

Enjoy the last weekend of Summer 2014. I've already have planned wearing my Black Calvin Klein waisted cable knit with shell buttons sweater on a pumpkin picking/buying adventure!

See you in a couple weeks, When I'll bring you back to Philadelphia with interior photos in our row-home. Below is my poetry of Emma.

From the age of six Emma was a passionate visionary fashion forward child.
Even back then our budding fashionista's clothing style was wildly compiled.

Captivated she would watch old movies from the 60's starring sexy sirens on her big TV screen,
Beautiful Sophia, Gina and Marylyn's gorgeous fashion styles were admired and studied to the umpteen!

Evenings Mom would tirelessly help Emma sew her movie star inspired haute couture,
realizing her daughter's vintage inspired designs with a modern flair held magical allure.

Dad's a real estate developer in Philadelphia and his company does factory loft conversions,
Emma's freshman year, Dad purchased an old wedding dress factory on one of his excursions.

Abandoned were dress forms along with bolts of silk, charmeuse, lace, satin, organza and crepe.
Now call it just coincidence or call it fate, but this was when Emma's destiny began to take shape.

Emma's family moved into one of the lofts with studio design space up on the second floor.
With Emma perfecting vibrant dyes from fruits and vegetables she couldn't dream for anymore.

Senior year was an exciting time, a new boyfriend and sewing prototypes of her elegant fashion.
Soon followed by an acceptance letter from the Art Institute in Philadelphia to study her passion.

With prom only weeks away, Emma is busy sewing her couture gown design for her special night,
Strawberries, beets and blueberries made a Periwinkle blue dye that was an absolute color delight.

Layered satin skirt with a gathered tulle overlay, with a bodice of lace accented by a sweetheart neckline,
Embracing Emma's waist was a rhinestone studded silk belt, very inspired design and ever divine.

Periwinkle blue to compliment her brown eyes and her chestnut hair, she looked simply breathtaking.
That evening everyones eyes were fixated on her admiring her astonishing style and visionary dressmaking.

Senior prom was Emma's stunning gown debut, on a magical twinkling star filled night ...
And also when our young ingenue realized her fashion future held promise to be big and bright.

© Vera

Photo sources:
1,2,5,6,7,10 Goggle
3,4 me, Vera
9 Pinterest


  1. What a wonderful, fact-filled, informative, interesting and brilliant post !!
    Go for it on the designing, cards, fashion, it all takes the same creative energy.

  2. Vera, I enjoyed this post SO much for different reasons. My major in college was Fashion Merchandising so I've always been captivated by fashion (personal and home.) I love your passion for it! I also loved learning about your greeting card business-that's amazing and so interesting! How wonderful to have your 'Cinderella' night! And Alias was one of Keith and my all-time favorite shows! Your poem 'Emma' is so beautiful-I can just visualize it all! :)

  3. Hi Vera, first of all I will return later tonight to take in more history and beauty, I am out and about with clients.
    I also want you to know that special star filled night I wished your son a Happy Birthday :)

    I will see you later tonight.
    This is a beautiful post


  4. Beautiful post, Vera. Thanks for sharing interesting facts about yourself. You're such a talented poet. Happy Birthday early.xoxo

  5. You are an amazing woman, Vera, and it's always a pleasure to get a peek into your heart, soul, and mind! What a Cinderella night you must have had...I only wish you would have shared a photo of you and John. :-) I love the poem and am wondering if you are Emma.
    Happy Birthday!

  6. Oh Vera this was wonderful. Loved that you had a Cinderella evening in your journey. What a beautiful story and what fun new facts to learn about you. I can so see your beautiful cards and wonderful words lining the inside of each one. Loved the poem it is a beautiful story. Your post tonight was a fun read. Happy early birthday sweet friend.

  7. Good morning my friend, I am finally here.

    Our internet finally went back up last night, and I had to catch up on A LOT! I am finally here and I've enjoyed my stay.

    SO YOU ILLUSTRATE? I have done several illustrations of Audrey and sold them in card or tag form in my Etsy shop, which is now closed. But it was fun to capture one of the world's most beautiful icons with my pencil, and now you have captured the essence of fashion with words. I love how you (like me!) use words are your medium to share hidden treasures with the world.

    YOUR BIRTHDAY IS COMING! I wish you a relaxed time of family, love, laughter and PAMPERING! It is going to be a busy several days for me as I just started school yesterday with the students. You are in my thoughts and I hope to have another conversation with you soon. ENJOY YOUR BIRTHDAY! Anita

  8. I used to dress classically when I worked in software. Today I'm forever in blue jeans, but adore fashion. Gorgeous, wearable art. I pin my favs in my 'A Fairy Tale' board ~ my current favorite is Margot Fonteyn's costume from `Ondine' ~

    I loved hearing about all you love and have done. Such talent. And such a joy to visit you here.


  9. Dear Vera,
    What an inspiring post this is... Every time I visit I learn yet something new about you. You are like a book... So many pages to enjoy and learn.
    How very exciting to have had your own greeting card business.. And illustrating fashion design...well. this just make my heart race..
    Your poetry is beautiful Vera...
    Thank you so much for your visit.. I am so happy you enjoyed Mrs. Miniver.
    Your kind words warm my heart.

  10. Fashion is architecture - new to me, but makes sense.

    I love to sew . . . my daughter loves to design . . . every formal dance dress was designed by KC and executed by me.

    One of the things I miss the most about retirement is not "dressing". I was known for my fun outfits and even the boys asked me what color my purse was and critiqued my outfits. KC is going through the same thing. Dressing for work at an outdoor recreation equipment and clothing company is not the same for working in San Francisco.

    I loved learning about the greeting card company - lots of work, but I imagine lots of fun.

  11. I think all designers and architects can appreciate fashion - it's really the same thing isn't it? Your card company sounds fascinating -can we see some of your favorite cards you designed? Your dress and shoes sound lovely too -no photos of those??!

  12. what a great post and love love Breakfast at Tiffany's!! Thanks so much for your kind visits and especially the comments on my mom...she will enjoy reading that so much!

  13. Vera - Thanks for sharing your Cinderella moment with us. You are truly talented in so many ways. Beautiful sketches. And have a wonderful birthday!! Cheers, L

  14. Good morning beautiful friend, for coming over to visit! I am yet again RUNNING out the door here to get to school to plan and teach. It was fun to try to put my post together even though I have very little time these days, but the writing process is so unique to all who dare to write.

    MUCH LOVE! Anita

  15. I love this Cinderella post...and I love your God-given talents.

  16. Oh Vera, you m'y dear have covered it all with grace and beauty, of course this all being a good fit for you to have touched a bit on fashion, and the romance of it, along with your card business I know so well what took place there, and your sketched dazzle us with couture imaginations of wearing another Vera design.
    Could there have been room for two Vera's move over Vera W. Make room for Vera B.

    To imagine ones life path and making room for all that inspires is so passionately divine. Vera again something in common (Sex In The City) and your quote?.....
    quotes from Kerrie Bradshaw one of so many "Hello Lover" is iconic to the show.
    I bought one year for Hannah's Birthday the Sex in The City book where is is filled with snippets of the shows, fashion, dinning, boy friends, and quotes galore.
    One of my most favorite scenes was with Samantha where it takes place poolside and she dances so provocatively to that moving Sade song, that scene is one of the reasons we got hooked on Sade and still find a great moment to play her music.
    Do you have the book? If not GET IT!! You will be thinking back to fun times.
    Not to mention wonderful quotes to live by.

    Now Vera, did I depict a little bit of you, or a whole lot of you in Emma here?
    As for the star bit your through in there at the ending, there would not be an ending with out a little message of beauty in the stars, as for stars that one special one shinning on you brightly.

    You amaze me Vera, I could sit for hours and listen to you, come to think of it, perhaps it's a good thing were not neighbors although I wish I were, I would come over for coffee or tea, and never get a thing done, I would be in gulped with all that you have to entertain my mornings with long into the days.

    Looking forward to a tie in to the fashion world of your styling, we all know great fashion never stop at the hemline, but moves right into the dressing of our homes where we can express a passion for how we live, and changes that keep inspiring each space and where were at at that moment.

    Love this post darling, as for Audrey Hepburn, Anita years ago did a little sketch of her in the likeness of Audrey and gifted it to me, it's a little treasure, I also have some of your handmade greeting cards, delighted to treasure them.

    Thank you for taking time to leave a etsy feedback, could there be any other comment that delights my heart as much or more then yours?.... I think NOT ! :)
    Thank you beautiful for inspiring my weekend, and a beautiful Happy Birthday to you!


  17. PS..... long informative posts require long comments! Sorry, Not!


  18. Oh Vera... It was such a treat to see you had come to meet Dexter..
    I am so happy you enjoyed, and MERCI for leaving such kind words.
    Wishing you a beautiful weekend.

  19. Hi Vera, You are one talented lady and I always leave here learning something more to add to my designing thoughts. Yes, I believe home decor influences fashion and I love it all. The process of designing in all forms, is to me like breathing. Just have to do it!!
    Your card company sounds like it was a wonderful time with great experiences.
    Once again your poetry is beyond the moon!!

    Thank you for stopping by my spotlight feature at Junk Chic Cottage. Your comment and kind words meant a lot to me.
    Blessings and Hugs for a wonderful Labor Day.

  20. Vera, I love fashion and I think it is the perfect way to express one self. I love that you only wear black because that is all I wear. : ) Just the other day someone told my little one how cute her outfit was and she said, "Thanks, it's men wear chic." I almost died lying. I so agree with you about wearing fashion with confidence. Outfits only look as good as the wear's self confidence. Thank you so much for your sweet comments. I am so glad to have met you.

  21. Hi Vera!
    I just took a sewing break after putting in my first invisible zipper.... replacing a broken one on a pink glittering sequinned gown that I bought at a resale shop!

    Two girlfriends out shopping, trying on gowns and you know what can happen. Now, for an awards ceremony to attend, to pick up my Oscar....

    Or to just play dress up with the little ones : )

    Timely fashion post for me! Delightful!
    ~ Violet


  22. Que bonito post, me he paseado por tu bloc y me ha encantado, te invito a ver el mío, esta semana las mascotas son las protagonistas, nos hacen compañía y sacan lo mejor de nosotros mismos. Si eres un amantr de los anima les no te puedes perder este. Deseo que te guste y si es así y no eres seguidora espero que te hagas, gracias por visitarme.

  23. Since when did Chanel have anything to do with Audrey Hepburn's costumes for Breakfast at Tiffany's? Her wardrobe in that film was entirely the work of Hubert de Givenchy.
    Please give credit where it is due!

  24. Good morning my sweet and great friend! Vera, oh Vera! I am crazy busy with school....I see you came by to greet me. How great is THAT! It's always so wonderful to have someone just pop in to say, "HI!" is awesome, but busy. I had to bring home the textbook I use for my high school classes, just so I can have an idea of what to plan for by Monday. But I try to reserve the weekend for FUN and writing. We are going to an event called WOOFSTOCK where people bring out their dogs to a festival with food, music, costume contests (for the dogs!) - so that ought to bring down my blood pressure!

    Wishing you a fantastic weekend with those whom you love. Anita

  25. Hi Vera, how fun to stop back and revisit your wonderful post. Hope you had a nice weekend. Thank you for stopping by and your kind comment.

  26. Dear Vera,
    How kind of you to come visit Tilly... I am so happy you enjoyed her and the chair.. Lot's of fun making the chair..
    Enjoy your week, my friend