Friday, December 29, 2017

Diana Vreeland

Looking elegant years before she
began her career - Diana Vreeland
I cannot recommend the documentary, Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel, enough. She is best known as the editor of Vogue in the 60's, who brought us bikinis and Twiggy. She was the tough, stylish maven at the helm of the style making periodical, much like Anna Wintour today. But watching this documentary I was really struck by her work at Harper's Bazaar, where she worked from 1936-1962.

Vreeland's Column, "Why Don't You..."

I love the wit and imagination of her Great Depression era column "Why Don't You..." This one reads:
Why don't you? Zip yourself into your evening dresses? Waft a big bouquet around like a fairy wand? Wear a bowler? Stick Japanese hair-pins in your hair? Buy a transparent evening coat? Or a geranium chiffon toque? Or bright flannel gloves? Or a black blouse? Expose your fortune in an isinglass bag? Hide your hips under an accordion-pleated jacket? Wear fruit hats? Currents? Cherries? Or tilt your blue wool skirt to show a candy-striped petticoat?
Going back through the covers from her time at Harper's, I am blown away by the artistry of them. They are truly stunning. Here is a selection:

The following images were both styled by Vreeland. These stylish photos have an attitude and naturalness not seen in other women's magazines of the day. Not to mention both of these dresses would be absolutely in style today.

If you're interested in reading vintage Harper's Bazaar, check your local library. My library has every issue from Diana's era, readily available to flip through for anyone who drops by.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

What Happened to the Hat?

Hats used to be an everyday staple for much of human history. Today they are an optional outfit accent. Like many cultural changes in the Twentieth Century, this change can be attributed to the 60's. There were a few factors at work here:
Beach Blanket Bingo
  • The popularity of big hair. After hours at the salon, having your hair teased to a poof, why would you want to cover it up? The hair-do itself became the new hair accessory.
  • The popularity of the suntan. In the 50's the pale, delicate look reigned, but in the 60's a tanned, sporty look was in. In 1959 the movie Gidget came out, bringing with it a beach culture craze that ushered in numerous beach movies, surf rock, and a fascination with California culture that lasted till the end of the decade.
  • A move towards casualness. This was the decade where the paradigm shifted and ever since, instead of adults influencing culture, everyone has taken their cues from teenagers. Men stopped wearing suits, women stopped wearing white gloves, and they both stopped wearing hats everyday.
So why are we seeing more hats now since the 60s? They're still not an everyday thing, but they are back in a big way. Here are my theories:
Blair Waldorf on Gossip Girl
  • The internet. The internet has made it easier than ever to find your tribe. There is no longer a predominate culture but many many subsets. This extends to what shows you watch, what music you listen to and how you dress.
  • No association with grandmas. Recent generations still have memories of the mothers or grandmothers wearing hats everyday, but millennials are rediscovering them on their own. There's no uncool association, like children of the 70s may have with hats.
  • Pop culture - I would say the two biggest shows that have influenced fashion in the past decade have been Mad Men and Gossip Girl and the stars of both really rocked their hats.
  • Museum Exhibits - Fashion designers are strongly influenced by museums. Look at what's on display in the museums of Paris, London and New York and you'll see it reflected on the runways. Recent ones that have had incredible hat displays have been Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty at The Met, Hats: an Anthology by Stephen Jones at The V&A and Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversations at The Met.
  • The Royal Wedding. Enough said.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Are you a haberdasher?

I get this question a lot. As a milliner I make hats, and while haberdashers sell hats, they also sell many other things. Haberdasheries are men's accessories shops. You may also see haberdashery sections in department stores. Haberdasher does not refer to a craftsperson but to a salesperson. Famous people who got their start as haberdashers include President Truman, Johnny Carson, and Christopher Lloyd (aka Doc Brown). Below are pictures of very attractive modern day haberdashery sections, that make me wish the trend would return.

Haberdash (Stockholm) 
Haberdash (Stockholm)

Wilhelm Jungmann & Neffe (Vienna)
Wilhelm Jungmann & Neffe (Vienna)

Turnbull & Asser (London)

Jack Spade (London/International)

Friday, May 29, 2015


Last weekend I took a Saori class at the Middle Tennessee Fiber Festival at the Dickson Fairgrounds. I had never used a loom before and after two and a half hours, I had a beautiful new textile that I plan to use as a scarf.
Saori is a Japanese style of weaving that began in the 20th century. In fact, the woman who founded it is in her 90s and still weaving today. It extends beyond a craft, into a philosophy.
Leave in mistakes. If you skip a thread it's ok. And actually you should intentionally leave gaps and make mistakes. See what happens when you tie a knot in your thread, play with the tension.
Add treasures. Throw in crumbly bits of yarn and ribbon and see what happens. Add in something you wouldn't think would go.
Don't follow a pattern. You can change colors and techniques throughout. They look different every time. The pattern only comes when you assemble your textiles into a garment.
Learn from another person. They encourage you to take a class from an experienced artisan rather than watch online tutorials. When possible, that's the best way to pass on a skill.
Whether or not I do more Saori Weaving, I plan to use what I've learned to inspire my creativity. The idiosyncrasies are what makes handmade special. Sometimes you have to put the perfectionist aside and create chaos to find beauty.
Sign up for a class at my teacher, Sarah's Huntsville studio

Thursday, April 30, 2015


The second ever Fashion Happening Nashville event took place on April 12th and it was so much fun! Hunter Claire Rogers from Rouge Rogue and I started it last year to spotlight noteworthy local designers of fashion, jewelry and accessories. There is so much talent in our city, and it was great seeing such a creatively diverse group all in one place. This year we were joined by artistic director Sadie Monroe who did an incredible job bringing our vision to life.
Here are the featured designers who really brought their A game Sunday night:

Eric from Eric Adler

Valentine Valentine dress by Amanda Valentine

Shannon Lea from People Like Art

Eric and Sarah from Denim & Spirits

Kimberly from Sisters of Nature

Lindsay from Walker Jewelry 
KariBeth from KariBeth

Anna from Fanny & June

Bags by Ceri Hoover

Cap and bow ties by Otis James

Friday, February 20, 2015


Maison Martin Margiela
Dolce and Gabbana

Giambattista Valli

Jean Paul Gaultier

Maison Martin Margiela

Monday, February 9, 2015


It's typical for pieces in couture shows to take 300 man hours to create. This allows for extra gorgeous details you don't see on any other clothes ever. Here are my absolute faves from the Spring 2015 shows. I'm especially taken with all the silk flowers! Something I've been working on incorporating more into my own work.
Flower covered pocket by Chanel

Quilted coat lining by Chanel

Bow belt by Giambattista Valli

Silk embroidered flower jacket by Giambattista Valli

Blouse by Jean Paul Gaultier

Ralph & Russo embroidered detail

Those chicken purses by Ulyana Sergeenko

Pretty flowers on ethereal Dolce and Gabbana dress

The coat I wish I owned, by Ralph & Russo