Archive for March, 2010


Wow! Check out this house, featured in The New York Times Magazine, for March 21st. It was built by a couple who found an unlikely spot (an old sandstone quarry in Festus, Missouri) and moved in, accessorized it, and made it their own. Next time I’m in the market for a cave I’ll be sure to check eBay!!

I wonder what the building inspector had to say, let alone Planning and Zoning.

I’m going to do something similar this week with the cover of the magazine: move into it and customize it to my liking….


“Yes, Tim?”

“We have a surprise for you today.”


“Uh-oh is right. We’ve decided to have you make a second outfit from the same cover this week, with no extra time or budget.”


“Whoa indeed, AND we’d like you to pick one page from inside the magazine to make a third look as well. Two of the outfits will be for your model and one of the cover looks will be for you.”

“Wow, I’d better work fast, I don’t have much time!”

“Ok Designer, but work thoughtfully, you only have one chance at this. Ok?”

“Ok, Tim.”

“Ok… work, work, work. I’ll see you on the runway.”

“Wow, Designer, you’ve really hit it out of the park today. This is great!”

“What’s the story with those sort of sneakers?”

“Those are newfangled, modernist, bunny high-tops.”

“Very cool. These looks are fabulous. You seem to have a way with menswear and the accessories are to die for!!”

“Thanks, I feel good about the looks I’ve created today.”

“Well you should, Designer. You should be very proud of yourself. Well done. In fact, you are the WINNER today! You’re IN. You can leave the runway.”

“Whoopee! Thanks!”

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Everything I need for inspiration this week is in The New York Times Men’s Style Magazine.

Now here’s a guy who looks like he’d rather be wearing something fun!

How about these looks by Dries Van Noten and Thom Browne for example? You’ve got yellow edged with black, some diamond and plaid patterning….

I happen to notice both these fellows are wearing socks. A lot of the models in the magazine don’t seem to have any and I know a lot of sock knitters who’d probably be more than happy to help them out.

Here’s the cover from The New York Times Magazine from March 14th.

Hmmmm, yellow and black. I don’t know about you, but I’m beginning to see a bit of a thread here.

I’m finding it difficult to find words to to express my passion for this suit from Alexander McQueen’s fall 2010 collection. It’s wonderful that he invented such beauty. I wish he could have continued to lead a creative life. I love the way he married a large scale print with the clean lines of this slim suit. His stunning confection is thoughtfully paired here by Suzy Menkes with William Morris’s Acanthus wallpaper from 1875.
I think it’s relating to this braided wheat and dandelion “Nouveau” pattern by Jennifer Sampou, as well, which I happen to have in these two related colorways. While I’ve loved these fabrics for years, I found them difficult to wear, but see now they can definitely be used to magnificent effect.

“Designer, how are you doing?”

“Pretty well, I think, Tim. I’ve got some great covers to work with this week.”

“Yes, I agree… striking color, some rich tonalities….”

“I’m thinking I want to cut my garments very carefully, to do some impeccable tailoring for this challenge if I have time.”

“Ok Designer, but don’t try to do too much. Simplicity and clarity are important factors too. I’ll let you be. Make it work!”

“Thanks, Tim, I will!”

“Designer, this is the oddest looking getup you’ve sent down the runway yet. What happened?”

“Well, I was thinking about the curved shapes in the print in Alexander McQueen’s beautiful suit. I looked at the cover I had to work with and thought I’d feature those nice curves in the golden T. I cut the bowl shape in half along the median to make two crescents, but they were different sizes, so I didn’t have the desired symmetry and ended up offsetting them. I made two shapes out of the top of the T also, again by cutting lengthwise along the midline, but they came out being pretty similar and I couldn’t get a mirror symmetry by rotating them, so my efforts to make matched opposing elements to work with came to naught.”

“Designer, you did all this thinking, but you didn’t think about covering the human form in a flattering way.”

“And her boobies don’t show!”

“Well, yes Nina and Heidi, you’re both right, but I did try to go for flow, in hopes it would suggest fabric.”

“Hmmmm, I see that, and we do like your yellow and black number, but we’re disappointed in your homage to Alexander McQueen.”

“I agree. I really think so highly of him and feel he’s greatly missed in the fashion world. I hate to do an injustice.”

“That’s all right Designer. You gave it your all. You’re IN, we’ll see you next week.”

“Thank you so much.”

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Spring dance

While The New York Times Magazine for March 7th is hotly debating the merits of electronic books on Kindle (“Shelf Life” by Virginia Heffernan) vs. The New York Times Book Review’s “Library Science” which extols the virtues of books printed on paper, I’m finding myself (a dedicated paper book lover, married to a former Knopf designer) not so interested in the debate, and captivated instead by the new home of the BodyVox Dance Center which is located around the corner from our shop in Portland, Oregon.

The BodyVox Company, formed by Artistic Directors Jamey Hampton and Ashley Roland (formerly of Momix, ISO Dance and Pilobolus) has developed a form of movement that is wonderfully creative, lyrical, accessible, humorous and enjoyable for all. BodyVox offers outreach programs to schools in the community, and as a result, children familiar with their work take obvious delight in the playful choreography at BodyVox concerts. The center offers a dance camp for kids, boom box ballet and break-dance for teens, modern and classical ballet classes for adults, as well as Laure Redmond’s fabulous Stretch Appeal class, which looks something like this:

(This is the first time all 12 of my paper dolls have been together, since I just finished making them all. They’ll soon each be available in their own kits with creative papers for budding fashion designers to work with, but first they need to get a little exercise.)

I attended the recent BodyVox-2 performance and found the quality of these skilled younger dancers to be excellent and the choreography to be fun and endearing.

I can’t wait for the next BodyVox concert, March 26-April 10, where the whole company will perform Smoke Soup.

Watching the dancers rehearse has been truly inspiring,

and the costumes Ashley Roland is creating for the Smoke Soup concert are beautiful and inspired too.

Imagine, Ashley Roland is not only a Co-Founder and Co-Artistic Director of the company, but a choreographer, dancer and costume designer as well! My hat’s off to her!

To find out more visit:  www.bodyvox.com

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Natural drama

This week’s New York Times Fashion Magazine came with one of two possible covers, a natural version of Julianne Moore or a more dramatic one. My February 28th copy of The New York Times had the drama cover and I found the clothes featured inside to be a nice mix of the two extremes.

On the natural side of things, many top designers are creating structures that are softened or distressed this season. Here are offerings from Donna Karan and Ralph Lauren.

These more dramatic pieces in terms of color, by Thakoon and Proenza Schouler, also sport piecing, layering and asymmetry. Harry Markopolos,  who blew the whistle on Bernie Madoff and has just written a book about it, used the term “redisorganizing” in reference to the newly fortified S.E.C., in this week’s New York Times Magazine. This amusing and enjoyable term (for a collage artist) might also have a use here….

And finally, a softly structured, detailed dress made of intertwined ribbons, alongside a more organic feeling one, are both layered in unique and striking ways by Calvin Klein. Note how even the blouse by Alberta Ferretti, shown with the ribbon dress, is asymmetrical.

Calvin Klein and I have a bit of a history together, though we’ve never met. My first textile agent in NY was named Ken Cornet. I visited him when I was twelve or thirteen and he told me that Calvin Klein had come to see my colorful geometric patterns three times (I was so excited!) and had stared at them intently while no doubt grappling with his next move. That was 1969 or 1970. Calvin Klein’s next collection and much of his work in the early ’70’s was beige and mint as I remember it, mostly solids with an occasional simple stripe. I always felt I had a tiny bit to do with helping him formulate his plan, since in studying my work, he ended up running in the opposite direction!

Here’s a stunning look back to the early ’80’s. If this model photograph by the Australian photographer, Robyn Beeche doesn’t look like a paper doll, I don’t know what does!

And as additional inspiration for this week, here’s clothing that blends in with the furniture. The first naturally colored pair have woven strips in common, the second set share high drama, both have elements of asymmetry, and the others echo a bit of flare and some interesting angles….

I’ll do a natural outfit (who’d ever have thought I’d spend quality time with the young Republican who flipped both Massachusetts and the Senate)  (snip, snip…)…

and a more dramatic one….

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