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 All editorial images taken from


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 with the exception of the cupcakes. 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.