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Archive for May, 2010

All that glitters

This week’s metallic New York Times Magazine cover, and several of the images and illustrations within its pages, are inspiring me to commemorate some of the golden girls of design from an earlier age. Here’s the cover from May 16th.

Although this is clearly the ultimate contemporary American symbol, the waves in these stripes echo the striking beauty of the geometric Constructivist textiles designed in the 1920’s by Varvara Stepanova.

Fellow blogger Andrew Kuo’s stunning eye chart, open with worry, is reminding me of some of the illustrations from the Atelier Martine, Paul Poirot’s school for decorative arts which he established for young women in Paris, in 1911.

The colors and radiating lines in Andrew’s illustration are a little like these painted Art Deco flowers which were designed originally for embroidery in Paris, probably in the 1020’s, and the other paintings with their radiating lines and colors are from a workbook from Atelier Martine.

The stacked fine lines in this lettering by Greg Lamarche conjures thoughts of Bauhaus textile design and of fashion design from the 1920’s.

Take a look at these Bauhaus weavings. The carpet on the left is by Otti Berger from around 1929, and the wall hanging by Anni Albers is from 1926 or 1927.

These Russian Constructivist dresses show similar geometries to the weavings. The red dress was designed by Alexandra Exter in 1922 and the black one was designed by Luibov Popova.

Stacked lines and squares are key elements in this embroidery by Sophie Taeuber-Arp as well. She made this piece in 1928.

Sophie Taeuber-Arp and her friend Sonia Delaunay, both painters who’s work moved into the realm of textiles, formed a creative colony where artists could work together and share ideas. Imagine how glorious it would have been to work with them in their circle! Here are some of Sonia Delaunay’s graphic paintings for costumes and women’s fashions for the 1920’s and ’30’s.


It’s not hard to make a jump from Sonia’s work to this collage by Portland-based designer, Tsilli Pines, as featured in this week’s New York Times Magazine.

While Tsilli was inspired by our present day economy, designing women from our past were responding to industrialization and the movements in art it inspired like Cubism. Here’s a beautiful and classic ensemble with subtle Cubist inspired detailing by Louiseboulanger from 1932. Each of these artists were formulating their own visions for a modern (or in Tsilli’s case, contemporary) world.

“Ok designer, it’s time for the show!”

“Ok, we’re ready to honor our sisters from the past.”

“Wow, interesting, Designer. Where did you get all these great photos to share with us?”

“I have  a few terrific books on designers from the Industrial Age I’d  highly recommend: “A Woman’s Touch: Women in Design from 1860 to the Present Day”, by Isabelle Anscombe (Viking), “A Fashion for Extravagance: Art Deco Fabrics and Fashions”, by Sara Bowman (Dutton), “Sonia Delaunay: Art into Fashion” with intro and forward by Elizabeth Morano/Diana Vreeland, (George Braziller) (This one was designed by my husband…), and “Cubism and Fashion”, The Metropolitan Museum of Art (Abrams). I got my info and pictures from these great books.”

“We like your interpretations though the first dress is a little more Cubist than Constructivist. We don’t feel it’s very wearable but we see where you’re coming from. The rest are a little wild too but could work in a contemporary setting. Good job, Designer. We’ll see you next week.”

“Thank you.”

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There are certain things in life one can never anticipate, not in a million years. Making couture out of a larger-than-life baby’s head, is definitely one of those things.

Here’s the cover of The New York Times Magazine from May 9th. As you can imagine, I took one look at it and thought, now what am I going to do with that?!

After a moment, I turned it upside-down, and I had my answer.

As promised, I’m featuring a couple more of my childhood paper dolls. Here are Jack and Jill. They were my first to have brads for moving appendages.

I also found my collection of doll paintings done when I was a little girl. I hope you enjoy.

See you all next week!

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Hi everyone! I really hadn’t planned on this being a double post, but here it is.

This past weekend we set up at the Crafty Wonderland show here in Portland. We sold lots of our lasered goodies (pop-up cards, pop-up toys, optical toys and lamps) and some of my new lasered and ribboned jewels as well. I have these styles and more in mind, and will be putting them up on our etsy store over the next few days and weeks so check back often!

In the meanwhile I’ve gotten four fabulous New York Times Magazine covers and so am ready for a fashion show!

The Women’s Fashion Summer 2010 Style Magazine not only didn’t inspire (alas) but I found what I hope to be a disturbing typo. This image, reproduced in the magazine from Bettina Rheims’ 2007 book “Heroines” could perhaps more aptly be titled “Heroin’s”. If the title is not an error, I question the judgement of what we’re saying about women. This is as troubling as the fashion world glorifying a starving Kate Moss in the 1990’s. I remember someone going around New York putting little stickers on her posters that said, “Feed me”! My sentiments exactly.

This week’s Design and Living Style Magazine on the other hand is fabulous.

There are many wonderful images here to delight the eye and the imagination.

Miniaturists are always looking for ways to incorporate their collections into their full scale lives. This Fornasetti secretary desk brings a dollhouse to the living room in glorious high style.

There is a treasure trove of tantalizing textiles…

a couple of jazzily covered chairs…

and some designerly Swiss typography.

I didn’t have particular thoughts on what to do with the cover for The New York Times Magazine for April 23rd,

until I saw the perfect dress in this week’s Style section.

Here’s the terrific cover for May 2nd.

The aforementioned Swiss typography put me in mind of another typographic movement, Dadaism, which guided my thoughts as I collaged together this ensemble,

and other fashions from the other covers followed.

“Don’t tell me you’ve finished already and you’re still making more?”

“Yes, Tim. All these tasty fabrics were too tempting.”

“Designer, can I just say that this is looking dated to me. I would urge you to scrap it and just start over.”

“I know, I was starting to worry about it myself…”


“Oh, now this is fun. I like the typographic stockings. This is much better.”

“Thanks!”

“What is that you’re wearing?”

“Oh, just a little something I whipped up….”

“Well, that’s fun too, anything else?”

“Just one more….”

“Mmmmm nice… love those Turkish shoes… You know Designer, this is quite a collection you’ve made this week, but I think your evening gown is the real show stopper. It looks like it’s made of silk charmeuse. You’d never think you only had a budget of $6 at Food for the Sunday Seattle edition of The New York Times.”

“That’s part of the fun of it Tim, making that kind of transformation.”

“Well, I commend you on your efforts.”

“Thank you so much. That really means a lot.”

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