Send Me a Postcard…

…from Black Rock City.

See, I won’t be going this year. I know. It stinks.

This is me on the playa circa 2008. Or 2007. I wore that thing both years, so... The "bathing costume" is vintage, bubble gum pink. The boots have fringe and a cowboy heel and silver bling you can't see. Those glasses started out NEON pink and they folded up into a tiny, easy-to-tote cube. I miss them so! PS How is Tacate is like sex in a canoe?1

But! There is always next year. Next year, and vicarious living.

Speaking of things I can’t afford right now–tiniest violin, I know— here are some local artisans selling Burn-appropriate attire and accessories. My favorite. You should feel free–nay! feel encouraged–to treat yourself. Then, tell me all about it.

Light up LED hair clips by Blue Moon Designs in Oakland. $20. Battery included. Yes, I said "included."

Blue Moon Designs is Oaklander Katherine Becvar. She made those rad flowers for your hair. She also makes these uber-cool and -useful utility or pocket belts.

I think this one is my favorite. Black courderoy and tapestry pocket belt with bustle. $125.

Seriously, though. There are light-up clothes for christssake. It’s Burning Man-designed.

Because sometimes the real-world logic of a clock's geography is lost (no pun intended). Just know, say, your camp is SOUTH of the Man. Isn't that easier? Wait it's just me? Oh. Well. "Sail Away" compass necklace by Brash Lady Inc. $25.

Then there’s Brash Lady Inc. out of Berkeley who’s got the kind of jewelry that others are always grabbing and groping with lust and covet in their eyes.

By way of additional proof: this "Darkness Fades" (working) hourglass necklace. $20 ON SALE. So I kind of love how most everyone only has the vaguest idea what time it is on the playa. But, be dead honest, how awesome would it be to time shit Dark Ages style?

Millionaire Kream (again out of Bezerkeley) sells these blinged out sunglasses that are almost too cool to bring to BRC and actually too cool not to bring. What? What do you mean that makes no sense? You make no sense. No, you’re stupid. These glasses are stupid!!

See what I mean? Classic Pearl Millionaire Kreamsters. $45.

I love the far out fashion of the Burn and may have to dress like an extra from the most-stylized, post-apocalyptic, I-dream-of-Utopia movie never made anyway, because between August 30 and September 6 that’s where I would be if I could.

Other requisite wear includes: Kick-ass boots that are easy to hoof it all over and dance in, FUR, more lighty-up stuff for when the sun goes down, more and omnipresent bandanas for their utility and versitality, whatever the hell crazy ass thing you want.

See, for example, here I'm wearing an amazing black and white, graphic ballgown. We're at a Denny's in Reno, on our way back from the Burn. What of it?

FIN

1. Answer: It’s fucking close to water. (Thanks Heidikins!)
2. Or better yet, send me pictures.

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Best Buys in the Bay: Hot Vintage from Huzzah!Vintage

Based out of Oakland, Huzzah!Vintage offers an impressively diverse (and adorable!) selection of vintage dresses, hats, blouses, accessories, and housewares for “everything from your 80s themed prom to your 50s style cocktail party.” Oh, and lots of retro 1960s mod too! For some crazy reason, everything is super affordable too. Love it.

You can shop via Gina’s website, HuzzahVintage.com, or via her Etsy.com store.

THIS JUST IN: Gina has been sweet enough to offer all my readers 10% off their first purchase from HuzzahVintage.com with the code QSB10 now through June 15, 2010. So you’ve got no excuse not to pick up something pretty.

Here, I’ve pulled my five favorite pieces from her current etsy line-up of fab and rad pieces. It was nearly impossible to choose only five, but–somehow–I did. I highly recommend checking out the complete Huzzah! collection, because my top 5 don’t necessarily include your own Must Purchase Now and Make Mine pieces, you know?

1. This first one is by far my favorite. I think it’s incredible. The batik-style fabric is accented with heavy, shimmering Carolina blue paint and is fully lined in dark blue polyester. Click here for the listing, and a more in-depth description along with exact measurements (a must-have for buying online).

Described as being in excellent condition and a size Medium, this batik print, drop waist dress will run you a paltry $68. Huzzah! indeed!

2. How rad are these 1970s Corning glass tumblers? Can’t you just picture yourself with your lover, tangled up on a bearskin rug, in front of a fire, drinking hot toddies from these babies? Just me? Ah well then.

Only $10! Is it actually 1975? (That'd be kind of cool.)

3. Though I’m a smidge worried about the hand on this one–polyester being what it was–I lovelovelove the space-dyed material and cut too much to really let it bother me. It’s a classic 1960s shift dress. It is unlined, with a nylon zipper at the back-center. It is machine washable and in excellent vintage condition. Click here for the detailed listing and measurements.

It's described as a large (but, again, check the measurements for a more accurate sense of fit), this mod little number will set you back only $32. You spent more than that last weekend on drinks, and you'd look smashing holding a martini glass in this.

4. Yes, yes, yes! There is nothing I love more than a bag that goes with everything but still manages to NOT be boring. (Okay, there are a lot of things I love more than that, but, still.) Every woman needs a cool black clutch. This one is real leather, fully lined, and in excellent condition.

And it's only $24. Worth it!

5. Last but not least, this black lacy number is described as a large, but I actually think it would look awesome all boxy and oversized on someone tiny. But this 1960s piece with scalloped edging and feminine darting might just be one of those things that looks swell and swinging hip on everyone. Click here for more details.

$26. Share with your five best girlies and pay less than $5 each.

Happy shopping!

It’s a Mixed Up, Mismatched, Hodge Podge, Humble Jumble, Helter Skelter, Wide, Wide, Wild World

Collages may be my favorite art form.

 

Berkeley-based, Etsy seller Elkemay makes original collages and prints. This one is called Fierce Spring and it costs $20.

 

Collage is certainly the only visual art in which I participate.1 (Well, that and maybe Getting Dressed. After all, I do try to throw a little artistry into that daily grind.)

And that is definitely one strong appeal for the art form: its accessibility in regard to participation (if not appreciation). It is, by definition, cutting and pasting. And unlike with painting, sculpture, et al., collage is an easy(ish) visual art for anyone creative. You don’t really need a good hand if you have a good eye.2

 

Oakland-based Etsy artist Hansart makes handmade, one-of-a-kind collage-style cards and prints from found materials. This one is from a set of three titled Fashion Guide to Finnish Aviation, and all three collage pieces will run you $75.

 

Really though, ease is not the point. I am constantly and consistently compelled by art and fashion that incorporates collage because there is something  so exemplary of the Zeitgeist about collage. It’s so indicative of Our Times. (It’s also, I think, a really strong metaphor for identity, but that’s a whole other conversation.)

 

This is not to say that collage as an art form is something new. An exhibit showing now at the Met in New York, which I am so pissed to miss, is titled Playing With Pictures: The Art of Victorian Photocollage. Aparently this is how bored housewives used to bide their time and feed their creative spirits. Pretty damn cool.

 

After all, mes amis, this is the Information Age. We are context laden, lousy with allusions and inspirations. And Collages as a species (and with the capital C) seem to be manifestations of this awareness. The images and text used in a single piece can come from anywhere and are almost necessarily anachronistic. They absolutely, by necessity come from multiple sources.

As a concept collages are very Of the Now, is what I mean.

Other Players in the Zeitgeist that are similarly reference-heavy include:

  • Vampire Weekend (who I want to be annoyed by but instead, lately, I can’t stop listening to them).
  • The whole idea of Steam Punk anything.
  • “That’s so meta.”

So what does this have to do with fashion?

 

For the April 2010 issue of W Magazine, Bruce Weber photographed fashion icon Iris Apfel with models Dree Hemingway (granddaughter of Earnest), Guinevere Van Seenus, and Kirsten Owen. Styled by Camilla Nickerson.

 

Well, several things I think. One, fashion in general, and Getting Dressed specifically, can be thought of in similar terms as collage art: the layering of disparate elements, the assumed diversity of source materials, the varied references, all different one from the other, or evocatively similar.

 

Here the stunning Alex Wek mixes and matches for the Financial Times luxury mag, How to Spend It. It is ridiculous that such a thing exists but great photos.

 

Think about this: In only the last ten years, major and minor lines have explicitly referenced looks from the last 200 years. To say nothing of more subtle or oblique references. To say nothing of influences that come from art or film (or whathaveyou).

 

Sasha Pivovarova lounges for photog Craig McDean for the February issue of Interview.

 

And right now, specifically, the move to mix and match prints is pervasive. I mean, check out all this nonsense on the Glamourai blog.

 

We can thank designer Dries Van Noten, in large part, for this Mix It Up trend. Here Frida Gustavsson models a look for Spring/Summer 2010. Dries is stupendous. I love pretty much every single thing he does.

 

What this all means–the mishmash of prints and patterns and pieces, the amalgamation of cues and clues to any number of historical periods, physical locations, political movements, and/or specific peoples–is that our wardrobes are similarly chock-full of content, context, and connotations.

 

The editorial, titled Global Gathering, was styled by Damian Foxe and photographed by Andrew Yee.

 

It also means that, despite the fact that it sometimes seems there isn’t a creative idea left in the universe (the movie based off the musical based off the TV show named after the song, the endless stream of remakes), we have nothing but abundance to inspire us and no boundaries to hedge in how we play them off of each other. Regardless of the mediums in which we work.

And now, for a little added inspiration, see every painting at the MOMA in 2 minutes.

  1. Par exemple, I turned the big, North-facing wall of my small Bordeaux apartment into a collage/mural. It had to be ripped (and I do mean ripped) down before I moved out of that apartment (and kicked the “ex” from my expat life).
  2. I go to this Visionary Collage party every new year (early January) where everyone brings old magazines (and so on) and scissors and creates a piece about what they want for the coming 12 months. It’s awesome.

 

See, how awesome is Karlie in this drool-worthy Dries look?

 

Hansart wrote an amazing little story to go along with “Fashion Guide to Finnish Aviation.” You should totally check it out.

You also need to read the New York Times review of the Playing with Pictures exhibit and check out the accompanying slide show.

For more information on the inimitable Iris Apfel, check out this article from the Peabody Essex Museum or this one from The Boston Globe.

Finally, I urge you too to take a look at the awesomeness that is Dries Van Noten.

All runway images taken from Style.com. All editorial images taken from FashionGoneRogue.com.

Inspiration Sunday

“I am a woman who enjoys herself very much; sometimes I lose, sometimes I win.”–Mata Hari

Bug Under Glass monarch with vintage map of California, $48

Here are a few interrelated images to provide additional inspiration for your quickly encroaching week. I will attempt to make “Inspiration Sunday” a weekly thing. Which leads into… What else would you guys like to see from me? What should I be writing about that I haven’t yet?

I appreciate everyone who reads and want to keep y’all interested. Send me your thoughts, ideas, and so on in the comments section please.

Utilitarian Franchise human lung and heart growing wild flowers and orchids with butterflies, silk screened wall hanging, $35

My own inspiration for this post? Bodies, butterflies, and wanderlust.

I’ve been working lately on getting my body strong again, walking and wondering thru town, enjoying the beauty of spring in the Bay. The monarchs are rolling through town. I’ve seen three perfect specimens in Berkeley in as many days.

Who else has spotted the colorful fluttering of warm weather butterflies around town?

I’ve also been thinking a lot lately about travel and camping. “Camping,” specifically, keeps coming up in conversation so this may be a good cue that I need to get out of dodge for a few days and put some dirt under my feet.

Selflesh, hand embroidered archival print of a rare vintage star map in the form of an anatomical heart, with red thread that radiates from the North Star, $30
  1. The Bug Under Glass studio is located in San Francisco and here you can find beautiful specimens, butterflies and beetles, in amazing color and richly detailed. The Bug Under Glass studio offers museum quality specimens and museum quality frames and framing practices. Furthermore, this is a Green Certified business and all of the insects are farm raised, not wild caught, from forest conservation programs around the world. Biologist Kevin Clarke will also gladly work with customers for tailored home displays or one-of-a-kind gifts. I love how unique and well-crafted his displays are. These go beyond your typical bug-in-a-box presentations. This one is my favorite. Y’all already know how I have a thing for beetles.
  2. I’m a little bit obsessed with The Utilitarian Franchise. Based in San Francisco, they make compelling and strangely beautiful screen printed pillows and canvases that feature animal-human hybrids and more traditional nature imagery. I love the Professor Tucan and Lion Baby pillows, but I think this Jellyfish in Armor is my favorite. I love the one I featured above as well. Honestly, again, I’m kind of obsessed with their stuff. I’d buy out the whole stock if such a thing were doable.
  3. Okay, so Selflesh isn’t actually a Bay Area artist. I just realized this. Somehow, because I love her stuff obviously, her etsy shop was put in the list of my (Bay Area) favorites. But, whatever, I do what I want. Maine-based artist Shannon Rankin makes fine art, embellished, and limited edition prints. A lot of her collage work includes maps, which I love; I love maps. Images of the body (hands, heads, anatomical hearts) and images of birds are also big themes in her work. Again: love, love, love. So what if she lives in Maine? One of my best friends is from Maine.

What’s the Point?

I love the idea of repurposing old clothes, knickknacks, belts, and so on and giving them new life: turning that maxi into a mini, morphing by mere placement that too-small belt into a suggestive leather necklace , making that single, once-favored earring into a now-favorite pendant.

But recently I’ve been marinating on ways to move beyond these simple changes. (mmm, mmm, mmm…)

A beanie and scarf woven from rubber bands

See, my friend Julia Campbell,1 a young and funny woman, an awesome artist studying at the University of Iowa, she posted the above photo on her facebook page a while back. Yes, that is a beanie and scarf made entirely from rubber bands. Yes, she admitted the beanie was quite uncomfortable to wear. Still though, doesn’t she look adorable in it?

Here, at least, wearability isn’t really the point. Créativité, passion, action: voila, les buts, n’est-ce pas?

I love the creativity it took to make this: to look at some everyday, useful item and see the possibility for some completely different something.  I think fashion is the perfect foray for these types of adventures.

And then Julia went ahead and fashioned a fancy raincoat from trashbags. I know this may not be an entirely new concept2–use what you’ve got, necessity’s a mother, yada yada–but I think sometimes, on a practical level, we see a pipe and all we think to is tobacco and smoke, whatever else Freud might say.

Overturn the dominent paradigm, stay dry in the rain.

And her trash bag slicker immediately made me think of this, which will be of course “worth” thousands of trash bags:

Michael Kors, Fall/Winter 2010

For my part, I have been building what I call the Island of Mismatched Earrings collar. I’ve been wanting one of those big ol’ “statement necklaces,” or bibs, or collars, or whatever the kids are calling these heavy duty décolletage decorators, dreaming of owning something like this or this or this. Only, you know, free and DIY. Because I am poor.

Apologies, apologies for the subpar picture quality; this pic was taken with my humble phone. Yes, that is a fuzzy blue statue of the Virgin Mary. What?

It’s still a work in progress, as I think it will only look better as it’s filled out with more and more widowed earrings. This will happen organically and eventually. I’m constantly losing earrings, even when I put on those little rubber backies. The base of the bib is a structured velvet belt that was just a tad too small to actually wear and still expect to breathe. So with some strategic pleats, and a few stitches to keep it secure, the once-belt-now-bib has a shape that rounds my shoulders and lies flat across my collar bone.

And I’m literally writing this post and Jezebel turns me on to this madness:

Dudes, this is a halter top made entirely out of tampons.

I’ll say again, it’s a halter top made entirely out of TAMPONS! Walter Raes is a British designer who creates crazy-sauce fashion out of household and industrial materials. According to his website, “he takes the disposable remnants of our everyday lives to create his brilliant pieces, explorations in form and function.” THIS IS WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT PEOPLE.

Giddy Spinster Reclaimed Stiletto Planter and Succulent, $95

Giddy Spinster is based in Berkeley and uses used/upcycled stripper heels (let’s be honest) to make these rad planters that are “about hard-working women, the increasingly artificial nature of American femininity, and the impossible images that women face in our society.” Smart. And her bio leads me to believe we’ve got similar life philosophies and would probably have fun over drinks.

All this talk reminds me too of a particular YA book where, in one scene, the protagonist and a few side characters sewed dozens of Matchbox toy cars and Micro Machines onto a dress for some crazy assignment. Maybe one of the girls was studying fashion? If anyone can tell me the title, they’ll get 5 personalized haikus written by yours truly. Just leave your spot-on answer or nice-try guess in the comments.

Giddy Spinster Space Egg White Stiletto Succulent Planter, $79
  1. Admission: I know Julia because she was BFF with my kid sister when they were in like 2nd and 3rd grade. I would babysit the two of them. The fact that she, and my kid sis obvs, are old enough to be intelligent, dynamic women in their own right makes me feel kind of old. Hi Girls.
  2. After all, Project Runway’s MO is often “make clothes from shit that would never normally be used to make clothes.” But this is reality vs. Reality TV, which we all know are two very different things.;-)

Adventures in Wonderland and Local Curiosities

Laura Walls Taylor "eat it" large bowl, $45

I still have yet to see Tim Burton’s latest. Seriously y’all, who’s down for going with me? Out of those of you who have seen it, what did everyone think?

iKtizo Alice in Wonderland with Mushroom cell phone charm
iKtizo Alice in Wonderland with Mushroom cell phone charm/keychain, as you like it, $7.50

“‘It was much pleasanter at home,’ thought poor Alice, ‘when one wasn’t always growing larger and smaller, and being ordered about by mice and rabbits. I almost wish I hadn’t gone down that rabbit-hole — and yet — and yet — it’s rather curious, you know, this sort of life! I do wonder what can have happened to me! When I used to read fairy-tales, I fancied that kind of thing never happened, and now here I am in the middle of one! There ought to be a book written about me, that there ought! And when I grow up, I’ll write one.’

Dangs World mini French lace flower posts, $4.75

So when I was younger, I was a bit obsessed with the Lewis Carrol tome, reading the books multiple times and even picking up biographies on Carroll and the real-life Alice. In the seventh grade, for Halloween, I made my own Red Queen card soldier costume. And then I wore it to school. WORST IDEA EVER. I don’t know if you know this, but you can’t sit down in a card soldier costume. At least not the one I made out of cardboard. I think I spent most of that day either kneeling painfully next to my desk or awkwardly and embarrassingly half-naked (in a leotard) after I finally gave up and took off the costume part of the costume. As if it wasn’t bad enough just being 13, when everything on your body and face is either too small or too big. Sigh.

Mama's Little Babies Red Queen Broach, $25

“The Queen had only one way of settling all difficulties, great or small. ‘Off with his head!’ she said, without even looking round.”

Decibel Productions Mushroom Pendant, $24

Still while doing the google search for Alice quotes for this post–blogging is hard work, friends!–it dawned on me that I haven’t read this book–or the others–since I was 13. Like seeing the Burton remake, I think this is an oversight that should be remedied and attended to soon.

Who Made It 3-tiered antique jewelry stand, $70.50

“‘Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?’
‘That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,’ said the Cat.
‘I don’t much care where–‘ said Alice.
‘Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,’ said the Cat.
‘–so long as I get
somewhere,’ Alice added as an explanation.
‘Oh, you’re sure to do that,’ said the Cat, ‘if you only walk long enough.'”

For now, I’ll have to settle for staring at these Wonderland-appropriate pieces, all made by Bay Area-based artists. I’ve said it before, but support local artists. Even if you don’t stay local, you can do better than mass produced stuff. Head to the bottom of the post for brief blurbs on the artists featured and links to their work, all via etsy.com with the exception of the cupcakes. Etsy.com is a wonderful resource for scouting all kinds of one-of-a-kind, artisan-created goods.

Sweet Ride Mocha mini cupcakes, Belgian dark chocolate cake and espresso-infused frosting, $2 each

“Either the well was very deep, or she fell very slowly, for she had plenty of time as she went down to look about her and to wonder what was going to happen next.”

Steampunk Supply, large grab bag of antique watch parts,$20

“Oh my ears and whiskers!”

FaerySpell Creations, Mad Hatter hat, $69

Twinkle twinkle little bat!
How I wonder what you're at!...
Up above the world you fly
like a tea tray in the sky

Iva's Creations White Rabbit figurine, vintage spice tin and paper mache, $68.95
  1. Laura Walls Taylor makes ceramic and porcelain housewares and jewelry with quaint charm and simplicity. While the piece I’ve featured here is one of her great “message bowls,” her other pieces may feature woodland creature or classic tattoo motifs. I couldn’t find any single piece priced more than $60. In other words? a steal.
  2. For that special geek in your life, iKtizo offers adorable charms in the likeness of all the favorite superhero, Star Trek, Star Wars, comic book, and video game characters. My personal fave? This Link (Legend’s of Zelda) charm.
  3. At Dang’s World you’ll find a darling abundance of studs and cocktail rings worthy of a garden party or simple tea.
  4. Based out of Santa Cruz, Mama’s Little Babies makes handmade, vintage, illustration jewelry. Quirky and literate, these pieces are made using Victorian Era images which are printed onto plastic and then finished with carefully chosen, high quality materials. All of these pieces are pure fantasy and fun but indulgently inexpensive. Check out the Tattoo Guy Earrings and all of her Alice and Friends creations.
  5. Decibel Productions is based in San Francisco and offers creative, go-big-or-go-home fashion, jewelry and accessories that are steampunk, music and dance inspired. These are not pieces for the wall-flower but are described, aptly I think, as “wearable hedonism.” These pieces are unique and standout. On a separate note, I love the name. My friend Scott has called me Decibelle for years on account of my loud voice.
  6. Who Made It makes these awesome jewelry stands from antique pieces. Some of them are magnetized or feature rows of drilled holes for your dangly earrings. This is all you really need to know. Each piece is a as stellar as this one.
  7. So have you seen the Sweet Ride girls? They drive around in this lavendar delivery truck with hot rod flames and sell delicious, made-from-scratch cupcakes and treats. With a focus on quality and flavor, if you’re lucky enough to run into these lovely ladies, stop whatever you’re doing, and buy a gourmet cupcake, sweetie pie, old-fashioned banana pudding, or chocolate mousse. You’ll thank me, I promise. And could their name be any more perfect?
  8. For the DIY-er out there, Steampunk Supply is your source for antique and vintage watch and pocket watch parts, clock parts, keys, buttons and charms for jewelry and art projects. And like all my featured artists, this supplier is Bay Area-based.
  9. Faeryspell Creations sells one of a kind, original pieces created with love and magic and made with designer and vintage fabrics, bridal quality silk flowers, ribbons and laces, and parts of vintage and antique jewelry. You can find all kinds of Alice in Wonderland themed things right now as well. So obsessives like myself may want to take a look.
  10. At Iva’s Creations, you’ll find an eclectic mix of original folk art, inspired by the holidays, the Victorian age and times past.