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

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Capturing Creative Energy

Collected treasures and cherished things, makes our heart's rejoice and sing. You're looking out from our bedroom into the hall and sitting room. 

Today's post is photographed inside our bedroom. It's a difficult room to photograph because of the natural lighting, I've tried my best. The armoire was hand painted by me, I have a love of Harlequin's pattern design. The egg chair is from Restoration Hardware with leather back, cowhide front. Our petite chandelier was an eBay find.

Ok I'm willing to admit it . . . I Vera, am a magazine addict/hoarder!

But my concentration of today's post is on the nightstand and wall above it. Last post I teased about an appearance by John Lennon, he does influence my writing in this post. I have many collections, but the most important one to me is my Buddha's. In them I feel peaceful energy and positive Karma released. All our Buddha's with the exception of our amulets have been appraised for insurance. I am sharing my Buddha amulet statues with you in the first part of this post. 

I believe all my Buddha amulet statues are authentically antique and were blessed by Buddhist monks. It is what I was told by the dealer's with every purchase. Some people may refer to them as Talisman, the ones I own traveled with people throughout Asia as a form of protection. Often in their pocket and were left at a Buddhist temple's altar as an offering. Similarly as in the Catholic religion of lighting a votive candle with your prayers.

In ancient times people always carried them. Even today the tradition continues. Originally some were made to be buried beneath Buddhist temples and found inside much larger Buddha statues. Pretty much believed to be storage batteries for Buddhist energy. Mine are made from all types of metals, bronze, brass, overlays on lead with gold and one is even wood. That one I acquired Jan. 2014, to me it looks styled in the folk art altar carvings from Laos. My collection of amulets were carried for protection and then left at a temple altar as an offering. All are said to be around a 100 years old+ and one a pre 1800's bears much erosion, a wearing down of face and features. Each has developed an interesting patina and I too carry one with me at all times.

I have displayed them on 3 vintage cigar boxes my brother-in-law Ken gave me. I like the graphic punch they give as they serve as lifts. I think the colors and the box graphics add contrast and interest. Living in a 1,886 square foot row-home doesn't allow extra space for a private room, nor a meditation and alter room. So I have them on my nightstand offering me and my dreams protection. I was instructed to display them above heart level while lying down, these are, but I'm not sure if my nightstand is a Buddhist preference for their display. 

"The Hug" 
My favorite Beatle was John Lennon, oh sure Paul had those dreamy eyes, but John was sheer inspirational creative energy to me. Art was Lennon's first love, before playing the guitar during Beatles fame. In 1969 he created a portfolio of four drawings which he entitled "Bag One" illustrating his wedding with Yoko Ono and their honeymoon. Married in Gibraltar on March 20, 1969. Remember their honeymoon's bed in for peace in Amsterdam? I so adored all their white cotton pajama's and wanted a pair. 

While on a vacation in Amsterdam we did not complete all our intended site-seeing spots. Their bed in and the Anne Frank house were not visited. Thankfully we plan another trip there, hopefully soon. John and I were fixated on the museums, it was during the 400th anniversary of the paintings by the Dutch masters. We loved the canals and spent everyday enjoying both an afternoon and evening boat ride through the canals. It still amazes me that the Dutch took sea salt water and turned it into fresh for fishing. Talk about creative genius.

"We live in a world where we have to hide to make love, while violence is practiced in broad daylight."
~John Lennon~

In 1988 Yoko Ono authorized a limited edition release of "Bag One", from Lennon's estate. The Hug is my favorite of the four. This is a Lithograph signed with a red chop stamp in Lennon's design. Intended by him to read "Like a cloud, beautiful sound." A limited edition pencil numbered, ours is 465 of 5000.

Extreme close up of chop signature -"Like a cloud, beautiful sound"

We purchased it in 1988 when it was first released. It measures 24x36 inches. We have it framed sandwiched between glass, archival, on a wall in our bedroom that never receives direct sunlight. Seriously if our house ever caught fire in one arm my cats would be carried out along with this Lennon print in the other. People say to me all the time, everything you own holds special meaning ... I say yes, very true.

"Creativity is a gift. It doesn't come through if the air is cluttered."
~John Lennon~

IMAGINE A celebration of John Lennon was published on the 15th anniversary of his death. Published by Penguin Studio with the approval of Yoko Ono. That year at Christmas my brother Kevin and my sister-in-law Gay gifted me the book. I own a lot of books but this one is my favorite. It is small, thin and magical.

Imagine is the song most entwined with John Lennon's memory. The lyrics are mirrored in precious photographs of Lennon's life. There is a hauntingly beautiful feel to the book and it has Mylar sheets with the lyrics words printed on them. No other words appear in the book except the lyrics to Imagine.

One Christmas while the Iraq war was raging and peace only an illusion we made our holiday cards reflect our feelings. Our card was custom made, simplistic on textured white card-stock with a dove holding an olive branch in it's mouth. A black line drawing with the word "Peace" was letterpress printed on it. John and I printed on blue cloud Mylar the words to John Lennon's Imagine and we enclosed them in everyone's card that year. The envelopes were hand stamped with a peace symbol from the 60's. That Christmas our tree had white whites and only white Doves on it . . . Yes, I am a pacifist.

On December 8th, 1980 outside of the Dakota in New York City, while I was in my 20's decade, John Lennon was abruptly taken from Earth. For me, I loss trust and innocence and along with the World loss of a creative genus. Lennon was a political activist and believed in pacifism.

"Peace is not something you wish for, it's something you make, something you do, something you are and something you give away."
~John Lennon~

"My role in society, or any artist's or poet's role, is to try and express what we feel. Not to tell people how to feel. Not as a preacher, not as a leader, but as a reflection of us all."
~John Lennon~

As in my established blogging style,  I will always weave my stories into my photo essay and leave you with my poetry to ponder. Today's poetry will give you lots to ponder! 

The first blog I followed was Apartment Therapy. Last week they featured an article which contained 9 decorating tips,  I want to share tip No. 9 ... 

"Comparing your home to someone else's takes away from authentically creating yours". 
~Apartment Therapy~

Behind our bed hangs a color pencil drawing titled "Demando Cat". John and I a long time ago  purchased this print as a gift for my father-in-law Orlando. It eventually through the circle of life returned back to us. I white washed the frame and it this is what occurs every morning as our >^..^< boys demand we get up and feed them. We adore this drawing and of course our fur kids.
All photos taken by me - Vera

Capturing Creative Energy

Sometimes we curiously ask but dismiss obscure answers to questions and hesitate to react.
I am often asked what inspires my creativity and while not trying to sound esoteric or abstract...

My answer is simply from the creative energy flowing freely in the heavens above,
I'm able to channel it into my own artistic expression which becomes a labor of love.

A kinetic energy cloud of knowledge and emotions of those who have passed for us to reach,
enabling everyone to know of it's vitality and sustained creative energy is what I dare to teach.

Philosophers and Scientists offer affirmation of universal energy in our existence of reality.
Believing life force energy permeates everything around us in finality isn't just triviality.

For enlightenment in the creative energy pool brings inspiration to you from a far,
And tapping into inventive flickering ideas is as simple as capturing fireflies in a jar.

We all know to be receptive to things you intuitively feel but can not always explain or see.
First step in acceptance is to free your mind of vague misconceptions, do you agree?

Galileo, Michelangelo, Mother Theresa, Thoreau, Pavarotti energies to draw upon to inspire.
Quieting the chatter in my mind to focus in on their brilliance is a state of consciousness I desire.

It is a powerful energy cloud that will never dissipate, vanish nor arouse provocation.
Offering my vision and experience of the creative energy pool is my poetic aspiration.

© Vera