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December 31, 2009

Down to Your Toes

Everything you touch, use and wear should bring you joy and make your tasks easier. Witness these artistic, graphic, great colored socks by Happy Feet. Feel the color all the way down to your toes. Have a happy, joyful New Year's eve.

 

November 9, 2009

Technological Footwear Fun

These boots are made of plastic. Seems amazing and fun. The company, Melissa, makes other footwear, although these booties surpass other offerings in terms of style. Inexpensive too. Wonder if they're comfortable. Might have to find out. 

November 6, 2009

Punch It Up

Give yourself a punch. A punch of color. You'll be glad you did. Here's one way, with a gorgeous wrap.

October 31, 2009

Are You Riveted?

Studs and rivets have been showing lately in great places, on necks, arms, feet, all over. A current interior and graphic design project I'm working on includes rivets, which I designed on window frames, as a cool nod to the client's high tech machinery. Ever since that project, rivets and studs have been affixing themselves everywhere. It's a style trend but still, a case of life imitates art. Here are some shining examples.

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July 21, 2009

Color Atmosphere

Color creates a strong mood. Tromping through the woods, daydreaming on your porch, traversing city streets — you deserve the punch of color. Go ahead. Go for it.

 

June 12, 2009

Color Tease

What color can do for you.

It's not a question. It's not a statement. It's just what it is. Isn't it magnificent. It's a color tease, in this case in a group of color tees. Let me tell you, life is good.

 

December 10, 2008

Captivating Cutouts

The Allure of Empty Space

Lace with an edge — the allure of empty or cutout space is a feature often overlooked. But not by savvy artists and designers, whether they work with music, writing or fashion.

Beautiful cutouts

Two examples of cutouts used beautifully are above, in a skirt by Robert Rodriguez and boots by Luichiny. The cutouts have a sort of inside out lace effect. Fill these beautiful empty spaces with your imagination. To me, they conjur romance and possibility. Like a night sky at twilight as street lights start to go on, shadows emerge and a great event awaits.

November 24, 2008

Color from the Ground Up

In keeping with the super cool current trend that allows consumers to "design" their own sneakers (choose unique color combinations anyway), Pantone has partnered with Seavees to create Pantone-colored sneakers.

Pantone colored sneakersFor non-designers out there, The Pantone Color Matching System is the most commonly used color reference system for graphic designers. It allows you to communicate better about color to printers, clients and anyone working on a project. Such a system is needed because monitors, papers, printers and all sorts of variables mean that the purple or green you are expecting might turn out very different in a finished product if you don't have a common referral point. A few competing system exist, such as TruMatch but Pantone is the most widely used.

When you use Pantone for years, you come to "know" certain colors like you know your daily possessions or friends. Ketchup can look very 186 (bright but deep red). A sky could look quite 300 (sky blue) or more 312 (turquoise). I love the colors I use a lot and it's also fun to "shop" for new hues.

Being able to tint your own sneakers is a great idea. I would like this idea carried over into clothing. I'd like to be able to get my favorite JBrand jeans in any Pantone shade. That would make me really excited and boy would I buy a lot of them. I'd probably even start to buy outfits for other people since my way of combining colors makes people happy. Listen up, apparel manufacturers; this is a great trend.

November 4, 2008

Jeans with Great Genes

Now that I've gotten acquainted with the current crop of fancy schmancy jeans out there — thanks to previously mentioned Beginnings Bleus, a fantastic jeans store — my hands-down favorite brand is J Brand. Rocketed to popularity with their skinny jeans line — styles called the Cigarette, the Pencil and the Skinny, they also make the best flare leg out there, a style called Lovestory.

J Brand Jeans

L to R: J Brand Lovestory, J Brand Pencil in Lapis, J Brand Lovestory in White

Fitting jeans is personal and different factors — styles, washes, preferences, trends, body type etc. — go into picking the right pair(s). J Brand is one of the best fitting brands out there. I've gotten lots of compliments whenever I wear them, proving it's not just subjective opinion. They are also known for being very clean — no tricked out pockets or hardware or rips — and are meant to flatter the woman and make her look good instead of focusing on the jeans. And it works! They incorporate advanced materials in different stretch fabrics added to cotton. They take a little getting used to, as they mold to your body a bit more with wear and do stretch out a little, as do most jeans. As with all of these high-end jeans brands, every wash runs differently, even within the same style, so a great store like Beginnings Bleus is a must, despite great online resources once you know what you want. A fantastic mixture of classic style and modern technology.

October 18, 2008

The Explosion of Great Jeans

In recent years, the blue jean industry has exploded with options in fit, leg styles and color — although it would be welcome if these great-fitting jeans came in a range of colors like fuchsia, lime, grass etc. However, the beautiful blue shades in which they are available does a jeans-lover proud.

fantastic jeans

Some of my favorite brands and styles, L to R: Citizens of Humanity Ingrid Flare, JBrand Cigarette Leg, JBrand Lovestory Flare and AG New Legend Flare

While I've always loved fashion, I do not not love to shop and this plethora of choices can be overwhelming. Since I buy almost everything online, I've tried to do this with jeans but until you are familiar with fits, brands and cuts, it's a sea of confusion and not easy since you have to pay and get credited for mistakes. With jeans, it can be even harder than shoes to get a fit you like in the waist, butt, legs, along with a color and style you want; this is serious fashion engineering. Also, jeans can stretch or shrink as you own them and only testing really tells you that.

The solution: Beginnings Bleus, an amazingly great jeans store in Bayside, New York (and two more in Westchester) that my girlfriend, Jodi, turned me onto. Wow — the people who work there are serious jeans consultants. They are familiar with all the top brands, fits and colors and pay attention to you with in-depth service. Thanks to them, I was able to finally get some great-fitting jeans. I've tried cheaper choices and they don't fit well. While these brands cost a pretty penny, there are often sales where things get marked way down. Once you know what you like, you can try looking online too but even the same brand fits widely differently in different styles so a place like Beginnings Bleus is a lifesaver or at least a jeanssaver.

October 17, 2008

Wing It

As Halloween approaches, here is a sneak preview of my custom-made dragonfly wings, made by Meghann Frickberg of Art of Wings.

gorgeous wings

As I have learned, superior costume wings stay on better. There are some great-looking manufactured ones but they flop around and are uncomfortable and unwieldy. The beautiful pink flowers you see above also grace the center back of these wings. The ones above are extra clips I had made for my hair and costume. Last year, celebrating Halloween by wearing a costume and going to a place filled with costumed revelers was freeing. The eclectic personalities make for a great night. Can't wait for this year's merry-making with Marie Antoinette, Clark Kent, Robin Hood etc.

August 26, 2008

Berry Nice

Berry colors are bounding in for fall.

Berry Colors

Above are dresses by one of my favorite designers for dressier occasions, Nicole Miller, with the bottom right design by Muse. Go berry picking as the leaves start to change and bedeck yourself in scrumptious hues.

August 14, 2008

Jewelry from the Garden

Nature lends constant inspiration for artists.

Jamie Cassavoy Jewelry

Jamie Cassavoy is one of my favorite jewelry designers and she takes her primary cues from her garden. She says, “I try to replicate the strong, yet ethereal nature of the flowers growing in my garden. I strive to find nature's perfection in its imperfection.” Besides being beautiful, Jamie's jewelry evokes a strong mood, endowing it with an atmosphere of lush maiden-like grace. Many of her pieces are exceptionally light, something about which I care, as I won't wear earrings that pull down earlobes. She comes up with constantly inspired imagery, much like nature herself.

August 8, 2008

Pretty Purples

Pretty purples are popping up for fall.

Purples for Fall

Two gorgeous purple bags: L to R: Marc Jacobs, B. Makowsky

Purple is a great color in that it goes with every other color. I often use purple in websites because it goes with both red and green, whereas most, if not all other colors do not (except black, grey, white and tan, which are not vibrant). I'm really glad to see purple showing up in luxurious accessories this fall. The shade makes a big difference too. These are rich and deep but still vibrant, not too dark eggplant or too sweet lollipop looking. Look for more great shoes, boots and bags in this luscious shade coming to your wardrobe possibilities soon. 

July 31, 2008

Sonia Delaunay: Living in Color

Sonia Delaunay created dazzlingly colorful paintings, textiles and household items.

Colorful art of Sonia Delaunay

Sonia Delaunay was initially a painter but became increasingly attracted by color itself and designed fashion and other items, including a great deck of cards. Robert Delaunay, her husband, also created compatible beautiful paintings, viewable at the Guggenheim here in New York. Another great husband/wife meeting of the minds. They must have been incredible inspirations to each other.

Perhaps one of the first really modern designers, working in the early decades of the last century but active until her passing in 1979, Sonia unleashed her wild colors on dresses, cutlery and created the first neon sculpture. She was friends with great artists and supported by many art movements such as the Surrealists, Dadaists and Futurists. She collaborated with Coco Chanel and Sergei Diaghilev. Her fluid movement from everyday items to “high” art appeals to my sense that art should trickle into all aspects of life, making existence richer, more fun, more intense, more thoughtful and more colorful.

June 27, 2008

Rightfully Ruffled

Ruffles can be tricky.

Great ruffled edges

Pretty ruffled sweaters from L to R: J. Crew, Plenty by Tracy Reese, Anthropologie 

Too many ruffles (all over a garment or too big) and you're drowning in them like some overdone wedding cake. Too puny (sometimes on shoulder puffs) and they're a messy bump. But draped with taste, they are an elegant, surprising, feminine and sensual feature that adds great style to simple shapes. This season, I've noticed some gorgeous ruffle treatments that don't overwhelm you but add style and grace. Go for it and ruffle some feathers while you're at it.

June 6, 2008

Cautionary Tails

Kitty Puke SignThis simple graphic says it all. Created by Ellen Gibbs, this great design is available on mugs, t-shirts and mouse pads too. Protect your vulnerable friends with a warning of the inevitable kitty puke in any cat lover's life. Items are available at Cafe Press (the signs are no longer available but shirts, mugs and mouse pads are). 

Cat Vomit Products

May 12, 2008

Mesmerizing Metallics

Metallic threads and surfaces crop up as fashion seasons come and go. As with other design areas, technology is a helpful ally to this trend.

Beautiful Metallic Surfaces

Above: L to R, Stuart Weitzman cobalt metallic bag, available at Bluefly and Nicole Miller metallic cocktail dress, available at Nordstrom

Sometimes the trend goes too far into the sci fi arena or the over-laden cosmopolitan but at times, it is artistic and worthy of a modern-day Cleopatra, as in the items above. Technology has enabled the easier creation of effects that are complex to achieve. Metallic threads in cloth and leather, when properly executed, are an other-wordly effect and will make you feel festive. Grab some stunning metallic fashion armor and storm the city and burbs.

April 24, 2008

Tulip Inspiration

White tulips might be my favorite flower.

Tulips as Inspiration

L to R: white tulip, tulip sleeve, the Little Tulip stool by Pierre Paulin

Ironic that it's the white that knocks me out the most since their varied colors are also magnificent. The pristine white flowers with their brilliant green petals slay me. They look 1930s to me in white, with their dignified grace and elegance and they seem debonair, to go well with cocktails and an expansive nightime city view. Seeing similar design inspiration used with greatly differing results is fun and gets your design imagination going. When I saw the tulip sleeves above, very pretty, I remembered how much I love the Pierre Paulin tulip chairs. Available as a stool or chair, in a larger model and with an ottoman, the chairs do the flower justice.

“A chair should be more than simply functional. It should be friendly, fun and colorful.” — Pierre Paulin

March 25, 2008

Spring Finery

Spring is flirting with us. Around here, it's just in sunshine, as the temperature is still a frosty 40s. But between the sun and great new designs sprouting up, the anticipation of a new season begins.

Gorgeous Spring Finery

Above are gorgeous spring designs by Kate Spade. The shade of green patent is even more striking in person. Lots of apparel looks better or worse on the body and in this case, these sandals look better on, always a plus.

One flaw in the small tote is that the bag closes with a snap over the top, never a good thing in a city where pickpockets lurk and when rushing, things could spill out. (Although I would think a thief would rather steal this for the bag than its contents, not to mention I think today's pickpockets are mostly online.) I wish the company didn't put a big logo on the front (not shown here); who needs that except the designer's mother?  The rope handles are beautiful but I wonder how durable they are and if they will show dirt too quickly. Kate Spade makes a larger version but it loses impact. The larger one is too tall and boxy, more of a regular tote, whereas the small one has a jewel-like aura. The clutch shown in the larger photo is usually shown folded over but works both ways. The company makes this model in many fabrications over the seasons.

Like us, most designs have strengths and weaknesses. Anything that gets you into the spirit of renewal and new beginnings is a welcome thing.

January 21, 2008

Selling Online

I'm trying my hand at selling online. As a design maven, I buy a healthy share of what I find to be intriguing apparel and home items, usually colorful, of course. Over the last couple of years, I learned (thank you Zappos especially) what styles of shoes I both love, find extremely comfortable and believe to be the most flattering for me. Online shopping has made it possible to be pickier than in the past. You have access to more and can sort and search more deeply than in a physical store. As a result, I got tough about not wearing uncomfortable shoes when so many beautiful ones exist that are comfortable. So now I have a lot of worn-only-once-or-so chic footwear that I'd rather make some money back from than just donate.

Gorgeous Sandals on the Cheap

I'm selling, among other items, sandals by L to R Charles David, Charles by Charles David, Aerosoles

eBay isn't easy for me; I've tried. And I found trying to get in touch with them virtually impossible. So I found a company that puts items on eBay for you. Of course, they charge you a percentage but they take care of all the complications. When eBay first became popular, I was confused that so many people would want used items. But I wasn't thinking about how much I love antiquing, not to mention that one man's trash is another man's treasure. I'm still surprised at the breadth of eBay's success. Wish me luck. And if anyone's interested, these beauties and more are all size 7B, going on the cheap. :)

December 14, 2007

What's Up Your Sleeve?

Design trends come and go and recycle. Trends generate renewed interest and lead to innovation too. As long as we don't become "victims" of these, they are a healthy part of history and change. One of my favorite trends in women's clothing this past year has been great sleeve treatments. I've always loved certain aspects of Medieval clothing and this development capitalizes on some of those details.

Great Medieval Sleeves

Beautiful sleeve treatments in costumes based on historical clothing

Great Sleeves

Tops from this season flaunting fancy graceful sleeves

The modern sweaters and tops are not as elaborate as more ancient styles but they take their cues from long-ago designs. These sleeves have great names too like "lantern" sleeves, "batwing" sleeves, "balloon" sleeves, "flutter sleeves" etc. Clever and beautiful adaptation like this does my designer heart proud. It's what I love about type design in that type design always alludes to the past while creating much that is new in the present. Nodding to and learning from history while inventing beautiful new creations is what smart progress is all about.

December 10, 2007

Bring on the Bad Weather

Happy feet make for a good day. And good design makes me happy. I believe it makes everyone happy, just some people know it and others use well-designed objects and don't realize why they like them better. Now that winter is upon us, it's especially time for bad weather gear. The boots below are all gorgeous, high style footwear that also happens to be weather or waterproof.

Gorgeous Weatherproof Boots

Weatherproof Boots by L to R, Stuart Weitzman, Aquatalia by Marvin K, Brilliant 

I own the boots at left, purchased at a very good sale price from Gotham City Online. I also own a pair by Brilliant, the maker of the boots on the far right. Both have held up amazingly in bad weather. The Brilliant line is specifically made for snow and is more casual and less expensive than the other two examples in terms of quality and style. Although all these examples are suede, they are not delicate to wear (they look it, though) and are warm and toasty. It's a thrill to have nice footwear on snowy days when you sometimes think you'll have to put boxes on your feet. The chic pair at left, by Stuart Weitzman, well known for his rain-proof line, has held up perfectly. I was afraid to get them soaked but got caught in a torrential downpour and they look unworn and kept my feet dry. Aquatalia is a line made to be good-looking and resistant to bad weather; they hold up. These boots are not cheap (approximately $150 – $450 range) but are worth buying instead of a couple of other pairs, as you can wear them more and longer and continue to look and feel great. You can also find great deals online if you hunt. Sudini is another maker that offers a similar nice product in the less expensive price range. Now, if these great designers and manufacturers would just go full-speed ahead and make this footwear in brilliant colors, the world would be an even better place.  

November 2, 2007

Yes, I Really Can Fly

For the first time in a while, I went out in a costume on Halloween:

Halloween

In case you can't tell (duh), I'm a wood nymph. I had gotten this costume that I love, complete with (working) wings for a party two years ago that never happened. So this year, I just thought, I'm putting it on and going some place. That place ended up being Union Hall in Brooklyn, which I mentioned a few entries back as having fun and good-looking bocce ball courts. Well, did we ever have a good time (my friend and I). The place was very full but because it's so big, there was still enough room to walk around without it getting uncomfortable. It was like being in a party at a beautiful mansion. The costumes were fantastic, from Marie Antoinette to Clark Kent to pirates to many original oddball combos that were hilarious — lots of great wigs with huge hair — the inventiveness was satisfying. Everyone was friendly and you could easily talk to strangers because the costumes were a good introduction. About a fifth or so of the crowd wasn't wearing costumes and even that was fun, making it an odder and more eclectic scene. It was a perfect party and I'm so glad I went out. I'm definitely doing this again.

October 7, 2007

Kittens in My Underwear

Once again, I've got kitties in my underwear.

Kittens in My Underwear

Here is Autumn making herself at home in my underwear drawer, which is actually a shelf in a large cabinet. The kitties can't resist jumping in there when they get a chance, which isn't too often, as I know what they're up to when they're nearby and the door is open. That mess of black socks and stockings in the back is Autumn's handiwork too. I can't say I blame them since it's a soft pile of fabric and holds the added allure of being somewhat off limits. You can't even see her back there, as it's dark but the camera lit her up with its flash, revealing her lackadaisical yet mischievous attitude. I'm very glad she's making herself at home so quickly and can't believe she was out in the alley just a little over a week ago. She has adjusted completely to in-home life, instantly. Next thing I know, she'll be trying on my evening sandals and charging midnight deliveries from Murray's Sturgeon Shop. Sounds like fun to me.

August 27, 2007

Design by Color

Easily sorting by color is one of the things I love about shopping online.

Shopping by Color

Well-organized online stores such as Bluefly, Nordstrom and Zappos make it easy to shop by color and find just what you're looking for if they have it. This concept is at the center of InMyFavoriteColor.com. You will be taken to multiple retailers but you choose a color to begin. I think it's a great idea. I find that thinking in color categories gets the creative juices flowing. The ability of web stores to let you think this way is a tremendous capability. I no longer want to go to physical stores to plow through racks to find what I might like. It can be fun occasionally to meander with a friend and wile away an afternoon but then I'm really just hanging with that friend, not shopping. To find what you like quickly and plentifully, being able to sort by colors and other smart categories is a huge boon.

August 23, 2007

The Right Underpinnings

Recently, I had occasion (a family wedding) to wear a glamorous bare dress.

BCBG Max Azria Dress with the NuBra Underneath
at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.

A scientific wonder, the NuBra is a patented product that does what nothing else can, which is to support your boobs without straps of any kind. Kudos to Diana Limjoco at NuBra.net, who was incredibly helpful while I learned the new skill of stick-on boobs. With gorgeous super bare dresses, you can't wear normal lingerie. Wearing nothing underneath is not always an option, depending on the fabric and where you'll be going.

One pair was ruined before I got the hang of how to work with the NuBra. The key to wearing the NuBra is to have the skin where it attaches clean of moisturizer, which you can do by rubbing a cotton ball with rubbing alcohol over your skin. You also have to be sure to wash your NuBra with only pure glycerin soap after every wearing to restore the adhesive.

NuBra makes you a bit bustier than you are naturally, which most women will like. If you want to feel and look beautiful in a bare top, buy one from Diana at NuBra.net. Her prices are the best and her service is unbeatable. Now I can wear drop-dead gorgeous bare concoctions I couldn't consider before. Here's to great products that enhance our fun, design sense and looks.

April 2, 2006

Booty Call

It's been time for booty call for a while now. Time to get and wear great boots. 

Beautiful tall boots by, L to R: Claudia Ciuti, Delman, Steve Madden 

Women love boots. Why does an expanse of leather or suede make us rhapsodic? For me, it's the color, the luxury of materials, the comfort that do me in. I am not specifically a shoe fanatic. However, I am a boot and a sandal fanatic. (Sandal season is almost upon us, one of the exciting ways to usher in Spring.) Why sandals and boots? Because they are so much more comfortable than mere shoes. Shoes for women usually mean stockings and any freedom-loving female generally eschews stockings.

Country-rooted booties with city slicker flair, by: L and R, El Gringo, Luchese center

There are countless odes to shoes around so this is a simple list. The primary elements that make me fall in love with boots are:

1. The toe — should be beautifully tapered, not a witch's point or rounded, as is this season's trend, although square is an okay second. As an artist, I appreciate that trends get us to look at things from new perspectives. However, my ideal is an elegant tapered toe. I'm surprised how many beautiful designs are ruined by a dagger sharp pointed toe.

2. The color — gorgeous leather and suede colors are that much more striking in boots, since there's an expanse of material. Don't resist color; it is here to make you happy.

3. The heel — beautiful and comfortable wins out. No higher than 3 3/4" for a dress boot and 2.5" is perfect for every day. I like the lift of heels but will not endure discomfort. Cowboy-style heels are graceful while still broad and luckily, you can find great styles these days. For dressier looks, I love shaped spikier heels. Some are completely comfortable; you just have to try them.

4. The materials/textures — swathe yourself in the luxury of high-quality gleaming reams of fabric in your favorite boots and see if it doesn't make you feel good throughout the day. Texture isn't the first thing most people notice in any item but it makes you love something long-term.

5. The reaction — this should probably be number one. My boyfriend had a very positive reaction to me the other day in boots. Suffice it to say you might want to get yo-self a pair.

November 23, 2005

Thanksgiving Color

Thanksgiving is pretty much orange and shades of brown, with a little green thrown in. The orange is a leftover from Halloween pumpkins, not to mention delicious pumpkin pie and sweet potatoes devoured on this day.



How do you think certain holidays attain their color status? Christmas is red and green and we accept that. Never mind that most people would agree that red and green is one of the only unappealing color combinations there is. I think that's part of the success; the shock of the combination makes you take notice and sets the decorations apart from everyday imagery. Beautiful leafy fall combos also spill over into Thanksgiving imagery; there are nice table decorations in the shapes of leaves. Pilgrim buckles are the strongest holdover from that heritage and can still be found decorating shoes and hats, although I find them a bit clunky. Clunk has its place, though, I admit.

At any rate, Happy Thanksgiving. It's always appropriate to give thanks for the many wondrous things in our lives, despite fear, difficulties and struggle. A cozy holiday to us all.