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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Mon Dieu Dior

The inimitable Karlie Kloss in the opening look, all luxe plush purple, all royal huff in puff.

So last week I talked about the other haute couture shows for Fall 2010, and now I get to talk about Dior, the best (in my rarely humble opinion) of the coming season’s line up: John Galliano blows everyone else out of the water with the creativity, execution, breadth and fullness, detail and luxury, and grandeur of this collection. 1

Model Kassia Struss struts in a voluminous, textured, tactile look. I love the pale pastels against the winter white and the holly berry pop of a great red shoe.

First off, let’s talk about the mood, because florals and brights are ubiquitous here, and that’s just not something you see in Fall very often. If ever. However, beyond the gorgeous open-toed heels, these clothes are strangely season-appropriate. That is, the fabrics are lush and thick and heavy.

Can I have this? I love yellow, and this is beautiful. The assymetry is perfectly balanced and organically amorphous, like some fabulous fall orchid, like a phoenix.

But the colors! The bright blossoms! It’s cannily magical and movingly beautiful, like seeing flowers in the snow. Remember when I talked about wearing head to toe gray just to stand out against the crazy color wheel bloom that is Berkeley in spring? This is like that, in reverse, and a million times better.

I love how evocative these clothes are: of springtime renewal and blossoms, and of cozy cold-weather warmth. I love this dress, that pink is creamy perfection.

The styling is incredible, as well, and works with the overall look and mood of the whole show. The make-up is dramatic feminine.

So, so pretty. I want to see someone get married in this.

The easter basket cellophane veils are à propos odd but, again, totally work. Do I recommend a DIY? Well, no, I think wrapping one’s head in plastic is generally a bad idea. But styling in a runway show is maybe the only (on person) element where theatricality is allowed to trump wearability completely. According to me.

This whole show is that Big Reminder you need when the weather is hard and cold, whether literally or figuratively: Spring and beauty will bloom out of the barren darkness. Shabam!

And can we talk for a second about the gloves? Y’all know how much I am loving the jewel-toned, leather, opera-length gloves. This is just one more fabulous, fantastic iteration. Please, sir, can I have another?

Everyone understands your hips aren't actually that big, but they WILL think your waist is that tiny. Haha! I love the mad, dreseed-by-a-five-year-old colors here. Also? I take back what I said before, I want to see someone get married in THIS dress.

1. “Who gives a fuck about an oxford comma?” I do.

This is an iris, yes?

Fall 2010 Couture: Top 10 Dresses

Let it be said, from the get go, that there is no Dior on this list because Dior KICKED IT OUT OF THE PARK this time around.

Everyone else? Kind of ehh, bleh, and really, this is couture? But Dior? Man, oh man. Dior did what couture is meant to do and you should look forward to a post extolling their awesomeness soon.

So yeah, all the other couture showings for fall were, to my mind, a bit of a let down. That is not to say that there were not beautiful, creative looks–because there were–but overall it all seemed rather ready-to-wear and not at all elevated enough for the distinction of haute couture.

These dresses are just run down in alphabetical order by designer. My absolute fave, I think, is Jarrar’s.

I was unimpressed by Alexis Mabille. I loved the trompe l’oeil booby bows, but not the crazy sleeves. I love the pants. Otherwise: meh.

But I do like this dress. Then again, maybe that's just because it reminds me a bit McQueen's last collection. Pretty, and interesting, just the same. I love the falling petals.

I mostly really like, actually, what Armani Prive put out this time. I think that it was a nice follow up to the Spring 2010 showing. That said, very little blew me away.

This was one that did. The color is lovely, if oft used, but the color blocking and silhouette are crazy, creative, and I'm not even sure what's going on here but I love it.

As you can see the silhouettes and styling are very upper crust 1970s. This, I dig.

I also dig this dress. I'm not sure how one sits in it. But this is couture. It all art and no craft, all fashion and no function. And I think the model looks amazing.

Bouchra Jarrar actually brought out a pretty stellar collection of art deco-reminiscent jackets, dresses, and coats.

But this little number was the standout to me. I love, love, love this dress. I want.

Chanel was so-so for me. I don’t know what it is, but Karl is just kind of bugging me lately. I hate the unflattering length on most of these dresses. It’s a cut that does no one any favors. Even the models come off stubby. Also, these sleeves, showing up everywhere in the collection, are awful: similarly unflattering and awkward. I know it’s Chanel and I know he’s La Lagerfeld, but, just, no.

That said, this dress highlights the best of the collection, for me. The ornate embroidery, the opulent colors, the BOOTS! and the interest of silhouette underline what should be done.

Christian Dior: Again, this was a spectacular show. It’ll be getting it’s own post soon.

Elie Saab showed well, with a long line up of lovely, well-crafted, if unimaginative fancy frocks.

I love everything about this dress: the color, the shape, the length. It hangs sweetly and with spunk, the detailing is dynamic, and, again, the color is grand.

That being said, his looks really were beautiful. I had a hard time picking my favorite.

Givenchy offered a tight collection of only ten looks. While the first few are oddly crotchtastic, the mood is elegant and gothic, the detailing divine, and the tone consistent.

This one was my favorite. Though really I recommend looking through them all. The gold ones were also quite breathtaking.

Jean Paul Gaultier was very true to himself, I felt. Playing up the drama and dramatizing the playful, though there wasn’t much here we hadn’t seen before. The palette was dark, the good old fall back for fall.

This I love. Is it leather or sheer plastic? Lovely, sexy dangerous, and just a touch of crazytown. The perfect Gaultier woman.

This one is also seriously killer. One of each, please.

For Valentino’s run, we got 60s mod in the LA hills: one part classic, one part frill. Not much here screamed couture to me. The materials often appeared stiff and I just don’t like that. I did love some of the shorter, Patty Boyd-ish dresses though.

This one was by far my favorite though, for the invisible color, the ballerina-in-a-cage construction, and the imagination of the look.

More to come soon on the couture shows, including Dior. For now though, I hope that you enjoyed my run down of the best dresses. Thank you and please come again.

Privé

DIY FTW

In the on-going rivalry between homemade and storebought, homemade wins out nearly every time in my book. Macaroni and cheese? Dude, obviously. I mean, have you had my mac and cheese? It’s fantastic and Kraft is shit. Cookies? Check check homemade. Halloween costumes? Okay. I always wanted the ones from the store but my mom, as usual, was right. They were cheap and always broke before you made it the second block and my brother and I always looked amazing when we went the DIY route.

And I like making/building things with my own two hands. It’s satisfying. And Made By You guarantees One of a Kind. Which is undeniably cool and great and so on.

Here, I’ve put together some easy, no-sew DIY-dress-yourself projects, all culled from unattainably high-end sources.

So look, the Outnet.com prices this Burberry trench at $928 ON SALE. Work the ombre yourself with either dye or bleach, depending on your starting point. Easy peasy. The dress is from Designers Remix and is also on sale but this one goes for EUR 153, which is some higher number in American dollars. I say, if you ever find a lovely silk dress at Goodwill, abandoned there and forlorn because of some unfortunate stain, take it home and splatter wine and/or ink on it. Totally. And instead of spending $600-$1200 on a pair of killer heals, just bling out a cheap(er) pair. You will find both chain and feathers at any craft store anywhere. And don’t overthink it. Hot glue gun. Fun and done. And that clutch? That’s just the awesome.

I am completey annoyed by Marc Jacobs. With few exceptions, what he does for his eponymous lines elicits one of two responses from me: “eh” and “ick.” And this sweater is fine, but for serious, who’s going to pay over $450 for this? You know what else you can get at Micheal’s? Rad, iron-on appliqués for, like, I don’t know, $10 or something. And the breton tee? We’ve already established it’s a ubiquitous basic. Moving on…

Jeans plus paint equals paint-splashed jeans. Duh.

Rope belts! (Really bBelts from anything that can be tied around your waist) Tie dye! More feathers! Wooden beads! Children’s toys!

So what DIY fashion projects have you guys pulled off?

Oh, and Outsapop.com is the best source for DIY fashion ideas ever. FYI.

Is It Too Soon to Tell You that I Love You?

I’ve talked about Annie Bacon before. Her O-Shen plays all over town on a pretty regular basis. But she also wrote and performs in The Folk Opera. Tonight (Sunday June 20) this beautiful piece of work will be performed at Amnesia in San Francisco, starting at 6pm. If you can make it, I cannot recommend it highly enough. If you can’t make it (or you’re reading this on Monday, Tuesday, so on), you can still support Ms. Bacon and her operatic endeavor through the Kickstarter Project.

The Folk Opera tells of Elizabeth, a caretaker in her twenties in charge of Aunt Sara, an cantankerous, down-home grande dame afflicted with dementia. Their car breaks down on the way to the mechanic, and in one short afternoon their lives become entangled in those of the small town in which they find themselves. Tragedy mixes with romance, the personalities are clear and true, and the music is gorgeous, moving.

There are four main characters in this tale: Elizabeth, Aunt Sara, the Old Man, and Rita the Waitress. Here I’ve pulled together four vintage-inspired looks for these folks, all culled from Bay Area vendors.

Aunt Sara

Aunt Sara is, as I said, a little off her rocker, but it is clear from the little we know of her life that she is not and was not without bravery and gumption in her life. While it may be said that she led a pedestrian life, in her own small town, with her own tight-knit family, there is no reason, in my mind, why she wouldn’t also be stylish and daring of dress. She was once a very beautiful woman, I suspect. So for these reasons, I’ve chosen bold, balls-to-the-walls pieces for her and tried to throw them together like I imagine a drunk five year old would.

From BREDVintage: Gorgeous abstract floral, silk sheath dress by Mam'selle by Betty Carol, size 8, $39.99.

Aunt Sara should also pile on the costume jewelry like it’s going out of style, which, you know, maybe it is. Also, she’s may have Alzheimer’s but even she knows you can’t take it with you, so you might as well rock what you got while you still have it.

From BREDVintage: I think Sara should throw this crazytown, gold, sequin and bead, diamond-patterned vest over her red dress. It's $59.99, in case you're interested.

I picture her, for some reason, in high top Chuck Taylors. Pink maybe to match this coat.

Also from BREDVintage: Beautiful poppy print, linen, 3/4 length coat, $39.99.

Aunt Sara can top the coat with some great broaches. Grande olde dames favor broaches.

From Sewn in Pieces: To top it all off, I think these pink velvet combs are charming and appropriately quirky. And they're only $8.

Elizabeth

It is unclear, or unimportant, whether Elizabeth is actually related to Aunt Sara or whether she is merely her caretaker. It is very clear, however, that she takes excellent care of the old broad and cares for her very much. I picture her dressing casually and comfortably, particularly for this little dramatic sojourn, though I think she may also borrow liberally from Aunt Sara’s closets. I see no reason why this should be a bad thing. She is only much more simple in construction and compilation than Aunt S. Tone down the jewelry and piled -on prints and you’ll come closer to the truth.

From SweetRocket99: Green, paisley dress, $30. I love that this looks so easy to wear, while still being super cute with a vintage twist. Elizabeth also looks smashing in green.

I see her wearing Tom’s loafers, because they are comfortable, cute, and clearly Elizabeth is one who wants to give back.

From Triple Gemini: I see her topping off her simple dress with something equally simple, equally cute, and super versatile, like this blazer with puffed shoulders and a fitting waist, $36.

The Old Man

We eventually learn the identity of the Old Man but it would be wrong to tell you now. Know though, that he’s dapper as can be and suave from years of practice. He is a romantic. I see him in some classic suit, daily, and throwing on great accent pieces.

From OutFit: Like this 14k gold pocket watch circa 1894. It is an American Waltham Watch with exquisitely engraved decorations and it'll run you only $60.

From BREDVintage: This Jean Paul Gaultier men's pinstripe vest features a hand painted orchid, $50. It is perfect for the old man.

The funny thing is, Joel Dean Stockdill, who plays the Old Man, already kind of dresses like this. He’s got great style. I tell him so all the time.

Rita the Waitress

So Rita actually owns the diner in questions, the de facto home away from home for the residents of the unnamed small town. She’s got sass and she keeps all the secrets. I also suspicion she keeps all the clothes she and her kids have ever owned. I think she cultivates kooky.

From SweetRocket99: Like take this tee, she's probably been rocking it for years. I think it's probably always covered in flour and food stains, $25.

I picture her in jeans, possibly cut offs (though not of course as short as the ones worn by the young lady above). Of course, she wears and apron, and has bic pens stuck in her bun.

From SweetRocket99: This is the another example of the kind of shit Rita rocks. This boho patchwork vest, $15, will have been in her wardrobe rotation forever. Throw it over the tee. Whatever, it's cool.

I hope I’ve got you intrigued. I cannot recommend the Folk Opera enough. Please donate and help Annie hit her mark, and get a recording made of this amazing, musical, moving experience.

BREDVintage has a mantra: mantra is “Be Resplendent Every Day”. Dress with style, make people smile. Here you can find beautifully made vintage clothing, perfect for crazy women, apparently.

Sewn in Pieces is based in Berkeley and comes courtesy of a long-time fashion lover. She’s got a great eye and wonderful pieces to offer.

SweetRocket99 you’ll find hand picked vintage items from the 40’s to the 80’s. The aesthetic is influenced by everything from bohemian gypsy girl, Brazilian Tropicalia to 40’s pin-up and 80’s glam rock stars.

Triple Gemini has a great selection of vintage clothes from all the big decades. Free shipping on orders over $100.

OutFit is another Berkeley based vendor. Another vintage clothing seller with great taste.

Last but not least, Claridad sells all kinds of amazing little treasures and says she finds her inspiration from all over, especially San Francisco where she is currently based.