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Design

Designer Tiffany Glenn Burress On Creating Stylish And ‘Joiful’ Maternity Clothing

Giovanna, Tiffany and Elijah Burress

Giovanna, Tiffany and Elijah Burress/Photo: Courtesy Burress Family

By Patricia Caso/July 10, 2013
Joiful Fashion Photos Melissa O’Hearn

Wow! Have times changed for the pregnant woman! When I was working and pregnant, my fashion choice was a tent that just made me look twice as big. Now, as pregnant women in and out of the workplace look to be more stylish, lawyer and entrepreneur Tiffany Glenn Burress has launched Joiful Maternity, an innovative line of clothing for moms-to-be.

“I decided to jump in and create a line that can work for women before, during and even after their pregnancy!”  Tiffany Glenn Burress

I was definitely curious to know more about this self-described multitasker and found Tiffany’s can-do mindset permeates every facet of her professional and personal life… [Read more…]

DESIGN: Milk & Honey’s Ilissa And Dorian Howard On Designing The Perfect Shoe

Milk & Honey founders Ilissa and Dorian Howard

Shoe entrepreneurs Ilissa and Dorian Howard

By Patricia Caso/June 15, 2013
Photos Courtesy Milk & Honey

TWITTER: @milkhoneyshoes

Like many women, I am constantly searching for the perfect shoe. Somehow, I always wish I could change this or that. In 2011, entrepreneurial sisters Dorian and Ilissa Howard used all their hard-earned money to launch milkandhoneyshoes.com, a unique store on the internet! They made it possible for anyone to go online and and literally design a shoe of their dreams! Finally!

“We just want to make a beautiful high quality product and make people happy. We want to provide options that people didn’t have before.”  Dorian Howard 

Dorian is based in Los Angeles, the company headquarters, while Ilissa is in Hong Kong supervising production. I caught up with these two innovative siblings in the midst of their always hectic schedules to find out how this all works… [Read more…]

Impressionism Meets Fashion at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

French ensemble 1865, 67 with 1865 shawl at the Metropolitan Impressionist Exhibit

French Ensemble, 1865/67, in gray silk faille with cashmere shawl usually worn over the shoulders or in the crook of the arms

By Pamela Burke/May 26, 2013
Photographs provided by The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Madame Louis Joachim Gaudibert, 1868 painting by Claude Monet at the Met, NYC

Madame Louis Joachim Gaudibert by Claude Monet, 1868–a fashionable Parisienne in a silk dress, with lace and bows down the front accessorized with a glove and luxurious shawl

We didn’t walk, we ran to the Metropolitan Museum’s Impressionism, Fashion & Modernity exhibit in New York City recently. Where would you ever find over 80 major figure paintings by the likes of Manet, Monet, Degas, Cassatt and others on display with the fashion of the day? We thought it would be a one of a kind experience, and the show did not disappoint.

The galleries were organized to feature different categories of costumes, beginning with the British, French and American Day Dresses of the 1860s. The fabrics were what caught the Eye, everything from crinolines to cotton piqué to piqué with soutache.

Soutache was a new word to us but we found out it simply meant flat, narrow braiding inspired by military uniforms.

Edward Manet's Repose, 1871 oil on canvas at the Met, NYC

Edward Manet’s Repose, 1871, portrait of Mlle Eva Gonzales in flowing white dress with sash

 

 

 

A room with exquisite White Dresses the likes of which could be seen in the paintings of Edouard Manet, James Tissot and Berthe Morisot followed.  The fabrics again stole the show, including a dress in bleached linen with matching sash and a seaside ensemble in cotton with machine embroidery.

The Black Dress gallery followed with garments known as the staple of fashionable 19th century women. An Afternoon Dress and one in organza worn for receptions were on display. A quote on the wall by Pierre-Auguste Renoir said it all: “Black is the Queen of color.”

Our favorite costume was the actual summer dress worn by Madame Bartholomé in the famous Albert Bartholomé  painting In the Conservatory, 1880. This white cotton frock with its purple dots, stripes and precise pleating was a showstopper. This treasure of a dress was preserved by Bartholomé in memory of his wife.

Albert Bartholomé's In the Conservatory, 1881, and Madame Bartholomé's Summer Dress in the MET Exhibit

Albert Bartholome’s In the Conservatory, 1881 oil on canvas (L)
Madame Bartholomé’s Summer Dress (R) in the Met Exhibit

We were drawn also to the beautiful accessories of the day in rooms with straw-trimmed bonnets of the 1880s and French fans with lithographed prints. Dainty pink shoes in their original form with accompanying etchings were a statement in femininity. There was much more to see including the exquisite modern “urban” wear and evening dresses, but it was difficult to take it all in during one visit.

Unfortunately, the show is ending its New York run May 27, but will continue on to Chicago, opening June 26 at the Art Institute. If you love fashion and long to see exquisite designs of centuries past, this show is a must.  Just to see these special paintings is a treat in itself.

If you can’t visit the exhibit, you can view it all in a beautiful book, Impressionism, Fashion & Modernity.  Because we feature so many stylish hats on this website, we wanted to include a favorite painting on display, Edgar Degas’ The Millinery Shop, 1879. He was known as a close observer of women’s fashion. You can see the subject of his special interest below.

Edgar Degas' The Millinery Shop, 1879 at the Met in NYC

DESIGN: Unwrapping The Mystery Behind Artist Charlotte Kruk

Charlotte Kruk, wearable art sculptor with Big Hunk/Photo: Harrod Blank

Charlotte Kruk/Photo: Harrod Blank

By Wendy Verlaine/May 9, 2013

What do M&M’s, Godiva Chocolates, Butterfingers, Tide, Crest Toothpaste, Junior Mints, and Life Savers all have in common? “Wrapper artist” Charlotte Kruk. This creative force labors over candy wrappers and packaging with the same intensity and level of craftsmanship as a haute couture seamstress. Her art pieces are made of hundreds of wrappers, each carefully stitched side by side, evolving into a “new textile” which she calls “wearable sculpture.”

“I slyly wink at a culture that often compares women, particularly well-dressed women, to decorations, consumables, ‘eye candy.'”  Charlotte Kruk

When I attended Charlotte’s San Francisco art opening at Dogpatch Café & Gallery sponsored by the Museum of Craft and Design, the excitement which surrounded her felt like a sugar high. This was one of countless California exhibits of her work, including shows at San Francisco’s Legion of Honor and the San Jose Museum of Art. I had to learn more.

I visited Charlotte in her home and back yard studio and was immediately charmed by this multifaceted artist and high school art teacher. She wore her hair up, fastened by a pink fabric flower. With a cup of tea and sitting across from one another in a restaurant booth in her kitchen, our lively conversation began…
[Read more…]

FUN STUFF: Shoe Obsession–Shoes, Shoes and More Shoes!

Shoe Obsession Cover | Credit: Valerie Steele and Colleen Hill

UPDATE 4/12/13–Shoe Obsesion exhibit is at FIT until April 13, 2013.

By Patricia Caso/February 14, 2013

“There is a little bit of Imelda Marcos in every woman.”

The stars were out en masse at The Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology (@museumatFIT) in New York City recently. Names like Blahnik, Louboutin, Vivier and Kirkwood beamed, twinkled, stood tall and even shocked some viewers!! Up-and-comers like Charline De Luca were there as well! The stars were shoes–all 150 pairs of them!  I must admit trotting in with my studded black suede clogs humbled me in this stratosphere of design. However, it did not deter me from thoroughly enjoying mingling with the “stars,” the guests and fashionably perfect curators.

The reality is that there are shoes and then there are….. SHOES!!! Function has moved to fascination and now to SHOE OBSESSION, the title of this amazing collection of footwear. Museum Director and Chief Curator Dr. Valerie Steele and Assistant Curator of Accessories Colleen Hill drew on the last 10-12 years to exhibit some of the most beautiful and interesting modern shoe designs.

They also wrote essays for the like-titled book, SHOE OBSESSION, published by Yale University Press,which captures the 21st century shoe styles. Royalties from the sales will benefit the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT).

Tom Ford, spring 2012 | Courtesy Tom Ford Photograph © The Museum at FIT

Tom Ford, spring 2012

Dr. Valerie Steele, Director and Chief Curator of The Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology with a designer at the SHOE OBSESSION exhibition

Chief Curator, Dr. Valerie Steele, designer Gianluca Tamburini

In a darkened room, the designers’ shoes were spotlighted in rows of tall glass tower columns. Guests meandered through the corridors of showcases smiling, oohing and ahhhing. Overheard were some quizzical hmmms.

Noritaka Tatehana Lady Pointe Shoes with 18" heel | Photo: Courtesy Noritaka Tatehana

Noritaka Tatehana Lady Pointe Shoes (designed for Lady Gaga), 2012

Some of the shoes were from the designers themselves; others were from private collections. The highest heel belonged to Noritaka Tatehana’s Lady Pointe Shoes with 18″ platforms. Those were most talked about along with Louboutin’s Fetish shoes.

According to Dr. Steele, women shop for shoes that express their personality.  Shoes are central to fashion, not just accessories. They are the main story. And, just within the last ten years they found the average American woman owns 20 pairs of shoes, double what it was 20 years ago. In a totally informal survey of ten friends, I indeed found they all had at least 20 pairs of shoes, including sneakers and boots, of course.

But what about the always popular handbag, clutch? Well, as pricey as shoes can be, they are still less expensive than the “IT” bag. Shoes can be very functional, very wearable and comfortable and have great artistic, fashionable appeal. Dr. Steele says it’s now all about the shoes with a nod to one of her favorite quotes, “There is a little bit of Imelda Marcos in every woman.”

Roger Vivier (Bruno Frisoni) Eyelash Heel pumps, fall 2012-2013 Rendez-Vous (Limited Edition Collection) | Photo: courtesy Roger Vivier/Photo by Stephane Garrigues

Roger Vivier (Bruno Frisoni) Eyelash Heel pumps, fall 2012-2013
Rendez-vous (Limited Edition Collection)

Up-and-coming shoe designer, Charline De Luca

Designer Charline De Luca

Charline De Luca, one of the up and coming shoe designers from Rome, Italy, says her high heels and sleek look are a signature. She was an architect, working for Fendi before being encouraged to pursue shoe design. Charline is inspired by the art world, thinking about new collections every day and even taking notes on napkins when she’s out to lunch. She loves the linear, clean and the feminine look created by Chanel.

When I asked Colleen Hill about the soaring heights, diverse materials and avant-garde shapes, she said that the modern designs are “all about experimentation. The increased popularity of shoes has allowed for that.” As far as the high, sky high heel, designers seem to be paying homage to history. “High heels are the prime sartorial symbol of femininity,” she added.

Colleen also sees shoes as investment, similar to what an art piece would be. “In fact,” Colleen goes on to say, “women are buying what may be trendy this year, wearing them a little longer, and then bringing them back out years later for their outfits. They get a lot of wearability out of their shoes.” They also found women are buying their shoes first and building their outfit around them. Right now, she says, “We are seeing more subdued clothing with extravagant shoes in high fashion.”

Pierre Hardy Shoe, fall 2010 | Photo: Courtesy Pierre Hardy

Pierre Hardy Shoe, fall 2010

And where do shoes go from here after all these sky-high heels, platforms, studs and straps? According to Colleen, “We are seeing a return to the sexy shoe which is basically a single soled shoe, more like the Manolo Blahnik but continuing the embellishment and craftsmanship and exquisite materials.”

Christian Louboutin Fetish Ballerine, 2007 | Courtesy Christian Louboutin | Photograph c The Museum at Fit

Christian Louboutin
Fetish Ballerine, 2007

Azzedine Alaia, 2011 From the collection of Lynn Ban | Photo © The Museum at FIT

Azzedine Alaia, 2011
From the collection of Lynn Ban

The fun fact I learned was that probably the most knocked off, imitated designer is Louboutin–the platforms, the very high heels and of course the red sole and embellishments.

The idea of unique shoes popping up for the Fun Stuff column on TWE is nothing new, but this exhibit certainly showcases an extraordinary collection of shoe designs beyond some of our wildest imagination.

This fascinating Museum at FIT was founded in 1967 and is one of a very few museums in the world devoted to the art of fashion. It now has 50,000 garments and accessories from the 18th century to present day as well as textiles and other fashion related items. The Mission Statement states that the Museum serves as a “think tank for scholarly publication, new initiatives, and research opportunities for students, scholars and designers.” We can’t wait to come back and be inspired by future exhibits.

The Shoe Obsession exhibit will be at the museum through April 13th. Admission is free. Shoe Obsession, the book, will be available in April, 2013.

Photo Credits:

Red Tom Ford shoes, Tom Ford spring, 2012 | Photo: ©Museum of FIT

Pink Lady Pointe shoes designed for Lady Gaga by Noritak Tatehana | Photograph courtesy Noritaka Tatehana

Roger Vivier (Bruno Frisoni) Eyelash Heel pumps, fall 2012-2013 | Photograph courtesy Roger Vivier/Photo by Stephane Garrigues

Pierre Hardy Shoe | Photograph courtesy Pierre Hardy

Christian Louboutin Fetish Ballerine, 2007 | Photo: ©Museum of FIT

Azzedine Alaia, 2011 from the collection of Lynn Ban  | Photograph ©The Museum at FIT

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Kimberly McDonald Designs Exquisite Jewelry Worn by First Lady

Designer Kimberly McDonald with her jewelry worn by Michelle Obama

Designer Kimberly McDonald with her jewelry worn by Michelle Obama

By Pamela Burke/January 23, 2013

“I like to think of each creation as an extension of what nature has given us.”  Kimberly McDonald

The world was waiting with bated breath to see what Mrs. Obama would wear Inauguration evening…and who the new designers would be. As we now know, she fooled everyone by sticking with Jason Wu, the designer of her smashing 2008 Inaugural dress whose star continues to rise, and that popular shoemaker to the stars, Jimmy Choo.

Michelle Obama Inauguration dress design by Jason WuWhat we weren’t necessarily thinking about was the jewelry she would adorn. Now Kimberly McDonald has surfaced as the new kid on the design block with the First Lady’s blessing. It’s the earrings, bangles, and “ring” she designed that are getting a lot of attention. I kept thinking why would a ring be getting this kind of publicity?

It turns out it’s just not any ring. All eyes were focused on the ring that accentuated and pulled together the halter neckline on Wu’s spectacular some say fire engine red some say ruby red dress. The descriptive words on his ball gown sketch are “gold embellished ring” as you can see here.

Kimberly’s jewels have been worn by Mrs. O before notes jckonline.com. They could be seen at the 2012 Democratic National Convention, at an Operation Homefront Ceremony and a Hollywood initiative.

Kimberly McDonald earrings worn by Michelle Obama at 2013 InauguralUnderstanding now exactly what this ring was all about, I had to find out more about the designer. It turns out that Kimberly is a native of  North Carolina, has lived in New York and has had a shop in Los Angeles since November. You can find her jewelry in fine stores around the world. ABC reports that prices range from $1,800 to a hefty $100,000.

Her website bio says she is committed to honoring nature by using reclaimed gold and wood as well as recycled diamonds and other precious stones. As she explains, “I like to think of each creation as an extension of what nature has given us.” To reuse rather than reap seems to be her mantra. Take a look to the right at the finely crafted earrings the First Lady wore to the balls.

Kimberly McDonald designed ring

The show-stopping bauble to the left found on net-a-porter.com is further proof to her ingenuity and reverence of nature’s wondrous materials. It’s a one of a kind 18-karat gold ring with a light-pink agate geode and diamonds.

And now to those bangles on Mrs. Obama’s wrists. These unique bracelets with geode-outline shapes [all diamonds] were made by hand in New York as is all of her jewelry.

Michelle Obama bracelet at Inaugural by Kimberly McDonald

Michelle Obama's Kimberly McDonald bracelet worn to 2013 Inaugural

These are breathtaking designs by a rising star in the jewelry world! The baubles are not easily affordable but are eye-catching to say the least. The fact that they are eco-friendly using recycled and reclaimed materials is to be applauded. Here’s kudos to FLOTUS for introducing us to Kimberly’s beautiful artistry.

The New York Post reports that McDonald was walking her four Chihuahuas in the Hollywood Hills when she heard the news of her inaugural jewels’ unveiling. The phone started going crazy and that soon after her computer network crashed. Her tweet from the Inaugural evening says it all:  “Thrilled and honored to have Mrs. Obama in our creations tonite.”

Michelle Obama photo from Inaugural 2013 on Kimberly McDonald's FB Page

From Kimberly McDonald’s Facebook Album The Inside Look @ The Jewels

 

Lead Photo of Kimberly McDonald from her website

Articles about Kimberly’s jewels

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Jasmin Zorlu’s Fabulous Hats Transform and Delight

Jasmin Zorlu

Jasmin Zorlu

By Wendy Verlaine/December 11, 2012
Twitter: Jasmin Zorlu

Definition of Personal Transformation: That which can be achieved through struggle, self-examination and the execution of well-searched and self-altering ideologies.  Or, you can put on a hat!

This is what my sister and I concluded after a visit to London’s famous Harrods’ hat department.  With each “ try on,” a reversal of personality emerged, Madame de Pompadour to Madame Bovary.

I first discovered celebrated milliner, Jasmin Zorlu, in her studio in San Francisco during artist “open studios.”  It was magical.  No one exemplifies style and transformation better than highly skilled and creative Jasmin. She combines old world quality with unique hat design.

Hats in Progress at Jasmin Zorlu's studio, SF

I saw hats in mid-process, some perched and resting, others hidden in hat boxes before journeying out the door. Jasmin and I had terrific fun trying on fabulous designs from snakeskin to cashmere to 1920’s cloche.  Each style altered my persona, and the change was dramatic.  I settled on a rabbit fur felt cloche.

Hatmaker Jasmin Zorlu in fascinator hat

Cocktail hat worn by Jasmin

The passion Jasmin brings to her trade is channeled directly into her choice of fabrics and her gift for the sculptural.  Fish leather, crinoline, rabbit fur felt, snakeskin, cashmere and junsin straw inspire her designs and craft which she has been honing for over twenty years.  She explained, “I like materials you can throw around and be rough with…”

Like many of us, I got my first glimpse of haute couture from my mother’s Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue magazines.  Jasmin was finding it on the streets of Italy, Turkey, Germany,  Japan and Iceland due to her mother’s work with the American government. She traveled to many of the museums around the world.

Hatmaker Jasmin Zorlu's mother

Jasmin’s mother with her painting

Both her parents recognized and indulged her early interest in being creative. Her father taught her how to use a sewing machine when she was just eleven, and she made her own clothes.

Her mother was an abstract expressionist artist who studied under Charles Pollock, one of Jackson Pollock’s brothers who greatly influenced him. She bought Jasmin a subscription to WWD (Women’s Wear Daily) when she was so young she could only look at the pictures.

As one might expect upon discovering Jasmin’s designsshe loves working with materials which respond to manipulation and retain shape. “I can confidently say that my hats are abstract and sculptural. I love crinoline! It comes in many different widths, treatments, and sizes from pleated to plain to tubular to narrow.”

Unlike what many of our mothers would allow, Jasmin wore what she wanted. “They never edited me, ” she says.  She recalled a trip to Metz, France at about age ten, where her parents searched for the then trendy red laced ballet flats because she “NEEDED” them.  And there were the red rain boots in Tokyo…

Kabuto Sun Hats by hatmaker Jasmin Zorlu

Kabuto Sun Hats by Jasmin

Jasmin came to the United States upon winning admittance to the prestigious Otis Art Institute of Parsons School of Design of Los Angeles.  But as she explains, “I didn’t go because I thought I wasn’t talented enough and it was in a dangerous neighborhood.  Coming from Iceland I was a bit scared.”

Instead she chose to go to the University of Michigan, and eventually connected with well-known hatter, Rod Keenan.  She moved to New York where she assisted him by hand sewing men’s hats.  A job with Espirit as a footwear designer brought her to San Francisco, but her passion as a milliner again led her to New York.

Hatmaker Jasmin Zorlu and her fascinator

Jasmin wearing her fascinator

Her hats sold in Barney’s New York, and she shared a cooperative boutique with other designers in the lower East side.

Jasmin is emphatic about individualism and fashion. “You should not only wear impressive clothes, but if you wear an interesting hat, you’ll magnetically draw to you the people and circumstances which will improve your life!”

Acute observation and curiosity is a daily habit for Jasmin.  “My inspiration comes from so many things.  For instance my fish leather hat designs come from helmets and armour from Medieval times.”

Hatmaker Jasmin Zorlu's fishskin cloche

Fish leather cloche

When I asked if there is a point where being different tips over into too bizarre or bad taste, Jasmin said, “I think people like things that are bizarre, different because it is interesting.”

She laughed as she pointed out how in certain neighborhoods people will just look at her out of the corner of their eye, but in other areas people come up to her and say, “Wow!  I love that.  That’s great!” She wears her new designs to test the response she gets from others.

Jasmin’s personal style is a testament to individuality.  “You can’t design in a vacuum.  At some point you have to pay attention to what people are responding to. I do not believe in hats that attract so much attention you don’t see who is wearing it. Style is all about the individual.”

When I asked about the utilitarian side of wearing hats, Jasmin pointed out how her hats add warmth and shade, can be worn both day and night and work well for special events.  “I made my fish leather hat to frame the face and the points cover the frown lines.  It completely changes your face shape.”

Hatmaker Jasmin Zorlu's black hat

Jasmin’s black hat

Women undergoing chemotherapy like her head-hugging hats.  “They made them feel confident.  I make hats that bring out the beauty of the person who is wearing it,” she says.

Of course I wanted to know if celebrities have her hats.  Singer Erykah Badu commissioned a felt helmet named “Molecular Mermaid Helmet.” Neil Young bought a hat for his daughter, and Tom Waits bought one for his wife.

If you still imagine The House of Windsor when you think hats, then you should consider one of Jasmin’s workshops where you will emerge royally re-organized in your thinking about bowler hats, Sherlock Holmes and matching hats and purses.

Erykah Badu wearing hat by Jasmin Zorlu

Erykah Badu wearing hat by Jasmin

Jasmin teaches millinery part time at Parsons The New School for Design in New York, along with workshops in ‘Freeform Hat Blocking’ and ‘Crinoline Cocktail Hatmaking’ several times a year in San Francisco and New York.  She exhibits world-wide.

Expect more surprises from Jasmin.  She plans on collaborating with artists by using their designs on printed hat fabric.  Look for her upcoming launch of a limited hat edition priced under $150 for Fall 2013, made in America.

Dashing out the door?  Don’t forget your hat!

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About the Author:

Wendy Verlaine, TWE ContributorWendy Verlaine is a TWE Contributor and a San Francisco Bay Area freelance writer, jewelry designer and owner of Verlaine Collections. Formerly a San Francisco art dealer, she continues to stay closely connected to the art world.

 

SUE’S REVIEW: “In Vogue, The Editor’s Eye” Plus “Grace”

Vogue: The Editor's Eye, Conde Nast, 2012

By Susan Podbielski/November 30, 2012

Just when you despaired of ever getting enough behind the scenes info on fashion magazines and their editors, HBO has come to the rescue. On December 6th it debuts a new documentary, “In Vogue: The Editor’s Eye,” highlighting eight strong visionary women who have served as Vogue’s fashion editors.

They are Jade Hobson, Babs Simpson, Phyllis Posnick, Carlyne Cerf de Dudzeele, Polly Mellon, Grace Coddington, Camilla Nickerson, and Tonne Goodman. These individuals helped to create the indelible images which defined Vogue, and fashion itself, over the last few decades. No less a force than the Editor-in-Chief of Vogue, Anna Wintour, called them “our secret weapon.”

Hear the first words out of these women’s mouths and you know they are gifted and original creatures. One look at their work and you know they are artists in their own right. Watch a preview above of the documentary.

“In Vogue: The Editor’s Eye” was produced by Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato. Mirroring the film, a hardcover book, published by Abrams, came out in October. It is a collection of some of the greatest fashion photography of all time including work by Richard Avedon, Irving Penn, Annie Leibovitz and more.

Here’s wishing a Happy 120th Anniversary to Vogue. It certainly does not look its real age. And there’s more.

"In Vogue" documentary for HBO

From “In Vogue”/Photo: HBO Documentaries

Vogue creative director Grace Coddington , who emerged as a star from the hit documentary “The September Issue,” has a frothy autobiography out. It’s called Grace: A Memoir (Random House). If a book can be both superficial and lovely at the same time, I guess this is it.

Grace: A MemoirCoddington, who was once called “the greatest living stylist,” started her career in fashion as a model during the Swinging Sixties. Unfortunately named “The Cod,” (just as Jean Shrimpton was called “The Shrimp”), the young model careened her way from Wales to London to Paris and St. Tropez. As we read Coddington’s history, we learn about Sassoon haircuts, panda eyes, and Mary Quant mini-dresses.

Names like Twiggy, Veruschka, Catherine Deneuve, and Ali McGraw beckon to us from a past so ideal that it seems like a fantasy. Coddington soared through the Sixties but never lost her roots in fashion. With her long signature red hair, she is like some ethereal, fashion fairy godmother creating stories in the photo layouts of Vogue, and it is easy to see from this book how her current life took flight.

Meryl Streep in "The Devil Wears Prada"

Meryl Streep in “The Devil Wears Prada”

Why do we care about these women, their jobs, and their memories? In the movie version of  “The Devil Wears Prada,” the imperious fashion editor Amanda Priestly (unforgettably played by Meryl Streep) tells her young assistant that the clothes we wear are not just simply something fished out of the closet that morning.

She explains that the cerulean blue sweater on her back is the end result of millions of dollars and millions more jobs in an industry where choices are made every day by people like her to affect each one of us. That is indeed why we care.  Because without these arbiters whose eyes and souls create “the look” of the culture, the world would be (literally) a poorer place.

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Sue Podbielski is a writer, producer and community activist.

 

Vogue: The Editor's Eye, Conde Nast, 2012

By Susan Podbielski/November 30, 2012

Just when you despaired of ever getting enough behind the scenes info on fashion magazines and their editors, HBO has come to the rescue. On December 6th it debuts a new documentary, “In Vogue: The Editor’s Eye,”…More