Thursday, June 27, 2013

And the winner is ...

Illustration By Sandra Suy - pg.120

I had posted recently about the sweet and stylish series "The Time Traveling Fashionista" by Bianca Turetsky

I originally got the series for my 10 year old step daughter, Danica to enjoy and she recently read the first book, "On Board The Titanic", here's her review:

"When I first started reading this book I thought it was a really good book. Then I thought, I'm glad my step mom got this for me. The character of Louise was a good character. At the beginning I thought it was cool that her best friend was not a big fan of vintage but Louise chose to love it and wear it anyway. When she got the pink dress I thought that the smell of the ocean breeze was a clue about how she traveled to the Titanic. 
When Louise was on the Titanic the book got a little more interesting. It was cool that it took a while to find out that she was on the Titanic.  I also learned about some fashion designers in the book and how Vintage clothes looked back then and they were really cool. I am looking forward to reading the next books!"

I had asked you, dear readers what your favorite period in fashion was and why. I was seriously hard pressed to choose a winner as all the replies were well written and made me want to go back in time.

Danica has chosen the winner .... DAWN for this submission:

"I LOVE the 1920s and 1930s....The time of prohibition, Gangsters, Flappers, ART DECO, Speakeasies, Beaded dresses, Bobbed hair, Bandeau's and no brassieres, lipstick, makeup, red rougey cheeks, Bee's Knee's, jewelry, long beads, Clara Bow, Louise Brooks........OHHHHHHH I LOVE the 1920s and 1930s.....can you tell?"

CONGRATS! and thank you all for the submissions!!!

Meet the author at the Titanic Museum (Pigeon Forge Branch) Get your books signed and visit the over 400 Titanic Artifacts at the museum.

Dates: July 04, 2013 to July 07, 2013

Time: 12:00 p.m.

Venue: Titanic Museum (Pigeon Forge branch)

Address: 2134 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The House of Kat Swank

The designer - Kat Swank 
(wearing ENVY headdress custom designed for Coutney Love)
Kat Swank is the Headmistress of headbands and unique headdresses. Her fabulous feathered creations also extend into wristlets, belts, cuffs, chokers and caplets. She has created her brand in 2009 based on her love of the past and her visions of the present. She mixes her high end materials, old and new to create some of the most amazing pieces that I have ever seen or had the pleasure of wearing (see image below)! Many of the pieces are custom made for her clients, which I adore!

What I love about her pieces is that they are unique, custom, a collision of fashions past and current fantasy AND that many of them are multi-functional, designed to be worn several ways! She specializes in pieces that can be worn on your wedding day and be styled into your regular wardrobe, for events, cocktails or just because you are fabulous!

Her work has made it's way into several mag's, books and blogs like; The first issue of LOVE UK, Rolling Stone, SPIN Magazine, Relapse and in the book The Goddess Guide 2: The Goddess Experience by Giselle Scanlon. and Love My Dress Wedding Blog. After a recent hiatus she has collected her creative energies and is BACK!

 SPIN - March 2010 - Courtney Love Wearing a custom Kat Swank Headpiece & Her 5-in-1 Swanky wristlet

Kat and I chatted about her designs and her business recently,

 LISA: Who and what inspires you? and your designs?

KAT: Many things inspire me- antique & vintage clothing from the 20's-40's, mourning garments covered in antique jet beads from the late 1800's, images of silent film stars and old Hollywood glamour, big name houses & designers like Dior, Elie Saab (be still my heart- I LOVE HIM), Zuhair Murad, Balenciaga, Alexander McQueen, Marchesa. There's nothing better for an artist than a good muse: Daphne Guinness, Isabella Blow, Audrey Hepburn, Brigitte Bardot, Jane Birkin, Lucia Santos, Zelda Fitzgerald. My 5 year old daughter is an inspiration to me in the way that she wears what she wants, when she wants, and feels wonderful doing it!
Model wearing taxidermy Sparrow Headdress (SOLD)

Basically, I'm a very visual person, and I tend to react most emotionally to things that are old and beautiful. I really gravitate towards the quality and texture of handmade antique garments, accessories, furniture and even old houses. I love taking something vintage or antique that's a little beat up, disassembling it and reassembling it into something new, current and functional.

 LISA: Explain your design process

KAT: My design process is very organic. Sometimes my inspiration comes strictly from the colors and the textures of the materials themselves. Other times I'm inspired by the person whom I'm designing for. I particularly love custom work for brides and for editorial for that very reason. I spend time on pinterest and flipping through fashion mags for inspiration. 

LISA: Who is the Kat Swank Client?

KAT: So far, The House of Kat Swank client has varied! I create one-of-a-kind and limited edition pieces, so I cater to the discerning, unique woman who appreciates art and heirloom quality couture. Currently the bulk of my business is bespoke bridal. I've also created several pieces for Courtney Love of the band Hole,
Magenta Madness" Headdress

 I made a fantastic headdress for Florence of Florence & The Machine (I'm still waiting to see her wear it in the press). 
Courtney Love Wearing House of Kat Swank in Milan with  Designer Roberto Cavalli

LISA: What are your plans for the KS brand?

KAT: I lost my little brother David tragically in Dec. 2010, so I really had to take a break after that and focus on family for awhile. I didn't stop working completely on The House of Kat Swank, but I certainly slowed things to a crawl and took time to heal. During that hiatus I helped to launch a nonprofit for Veterans who are suffering from Post Traumatic Stress (PTS) from the recent wars in Iraq & Afghanistan. My brother suffered from PTS from his time in the Army, serving in Iraq, and unfortunately he came back from the war in body, but not in spirit. He never recovered from what he saw and did over there. I took a break from the business in order to focus on healing and to help other veterans and families of veterans who are struggling with similar ordeals. Also, I'm a single mompreneur! So I've been working to achieve balance over the past 2 years, and I've now reached a point where I'm ready to focus all of my creative energy on The House of Kat Swank! Currently I'm preparing to launch a new line in 2014. I'm working with someone locally who will be taking some of the business and marketing side of The House off of my back, which will allow me to devote the bulk of my time and energy on the creative process.

LISA:  If you had one piece of style advice for my readers what would it be?

KAT: My biggest and best advice is just to go with what feels good to you. Originally being from a small, Midwestern town outside of Chicago, I spent many, many years battling my desire to be unique against the desire to fit in with the crowd. At this point in life I'm happy to say that I wear what I want, when I want! Focus on creating your own sense of style rather than being a slave to transient fashion. One of my favorite style icons to watch is Daphne Guinness, and there's a quote of hers that comes to mind, "In this world, just to be yourself, that's the true luxury". Just be yourself!


Friday, June 21, 2013

Are you the next FACE? Casting Call

Ladies this is your chance, not only to become The FACE for a global brand but to receive a unique opportunity to be mentored by a fashion legend, Naomi Campbell.
The critically acclaimed first season of The FACE was such a success that Naomi and her model mentors are back to give another deserving, aspiring model the chance of a lifetime.


The casting event will take place at the Affinia Dumont Hotel in New York City  
DATE: Sunday July 21 
TIME: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

* You Must be 18 years old (as of Sept 1, 2013)
*You must be 5' 7" or taller
*You must Pre-Register HERE
*VISIT the CASTING WEBSITE for full requirements

Can't make it NYC? You can participate in a digal casting on-line:

Online submissions will be accepted until Monday, July 22nd at 11:59pm ET





The Time-Traveling Fashionista

VOGUE 2006

At Christmas time I was scouring the Internet for fashion books for 'tweens' in hope to inspire my step-daughter who is 10 to embrace fashion. By amazon accident I came across the author Bianca Turetsky and her Time-Travelling Fashionista.

This is a series of historical fiction that targets the real fashion savvy tween or teen. I am not a fiction fan but I was in love with the character and her knowledge and love of fashion! The author opted for beautiful fashion illustrations which made me love the books even more. 
The main character is a bright, fashion-passionate girl named Louise who knows her designer brands. She follows contemporary fashion while being captivated by fashions past. An invitation to a Vintage sale sparks her Fashion time travel adventures, first On Board The Titanic and At the palace of Marie Antoinette.

I adore the books quotations that precede the chapters and at the back of the second book there are many facts about Marie Antoinette as well as resources for further reading!

I had a chance to chat with the author recently about her sweet and stylish series,

LISA:  What inspired you to write historical fiction? What was your goal in writing the series?

BIANCA: It seems strange but I never set out to write historical fiction. I was a terrible history student in school because I never saw the narrative. I saw history more as pure memorization of dates and wars and presidents. But history is actually like a good novel, with drama and fascinating characters who have their own relationships and conflict. Seeing history through fashion was a whole different, and far more exciting, experience for me. I feel like my books are kind of like a Trojan horse- there’s a lot of information hidden inside a pretty pink party dress. 
It wasn’t necessarily my initial goal, but my favorite thing is when the girls finish my books and then want to read and learn more about that particular moment in history. I had initially wanted to encourage some budding fashionistas, but it seems like I’m inspiring some young historians as well. It’s beyond what I had hoped for! 
LISA: Who/What inspired the main character Louise?

BIANCA: Louise is definitely a lot like I was at 12 years old with her frizzy hair, braces, vintage clothes obsession, swim team, and suburban CT upbringing. But she definitely gets to experience a lot more exciting adventures than I did in 7th grade! 
LISA: What are your FAV pieces from your personal Vintage collection?

BIANCA: I have this beautiful vintage canary yellow Fendi sundress that looks like it was from the 50’s that I wore to my book release party for the first book. It’s funny- some girls grow up dreaming about their wedding dresses, I grew up dreaming about what I would wear to my book party. It totally lived up to expectations. And the fun thing is you get to have more than one! 
LISA:  If you had one piece of style advice for my readers, what would it be?

BIANCA: Be yourself and have fun doing it! Fashion is such a creative and easy way to express yourself. There’s a Kate Spade quote I have in the book that says, “ I think that playing dress-up begins at age five and never truly ends.” I totally live by that philosophy. I’ve worn several things that I would probably not repeat, but who cares. At the time it felt like “me,” and I’ve realized that “me” is always in flux. Especially when you’re 12, it’s hard to do your own thing and have your own style. I try and encourage girls to not follow the crowd, just because everyone else in your class has the same Abercrombie tank top, doesn’t mean you need one. And hopefully that spills over to other parts of their lives as well. 
LISA: Where did your love for Vintage fashion come from? when did you start collecting?

BIANCA: side from writing and swimming, vintage fashion was my other main passion growing up. My grandmother was quite the fashionista, and I remember sitting in her closet trying on her high-heeled shoes and swimming her ball gowns. In the suburban town I lived in, Fairfield CT, we didn’t really have vintage stores. And in the era I grew up in, which would be the 80s and 90s, we didn’t have ebay or etsy, so I spent a lot of time dragging my friends along to the local Goodwill and Salvation Army stores sorting through the Ann Taylor mom sweaters to try and find something cool and unique.  The treasure hunt aspect of it was half the fun. 
LISA: Where will the Time Travelling Fashionista go next?

BIANCA: The third Fashionista book, Cleopatra, Queen of the Nile, comes out in December! Louise is going to have a stylish adventure in Ancient Egypt, with a little stopover on the set of the infamous Elizabeth Taylor Cleopatra film.  

Want to take a trip back in time and win an autographed copy of The Time Traveling Fashionita: On Board The Titanic? 

Tell me in the comments below what time period in fashion you love the most and why! 

I will pick a winner on WED JUNE 26. Be as creative and detailed as you want .... let your imagination run away in your closet.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

The Right Light

Over the years I've seen A LOT of change rooms. Sometimes I feel like the change rooms of the shops, stores and boutiques in the cities I visit are the places that I spend the most time. Since the dawn of vanity sizing I must try every thing on. Did you know that size inconsistency has existed since at least 1937 (wiki). I have my measurements (bust/waist/hip) for my vintage on-line shopping always at hand but current garment sizing varies by designer/brand so if I'm shopping live I must try on!

This past weekend my stylish partner in fashion crime and I decided to go to Tj Maxx. The intention was to get my husband a few items for fathers day but I always feel compelled to look for myself as well. What I left with was a Cobalt Michael Kors bag and ONE dress a highly unusually small haul for me.

I took probably 10 items to the dressing room and to my shock and HORROR there it was ... cue slasher film music.
The dressing room, complete with florescent lighting AND a carnival calibre mirror straight from your neighborhood travelling fun house. 

To say the least it was less than motivational to buy. I think I tried everything on at Olympic level speed and got the hell out of there, leaving all but one dress with the dressing room police.  The lighting made EVERY flaw in my skin become visible and the mirror made me look shorter, wider and doubled as a magnifying glass for above noted flaws. 

It is not just Tj Maxx but I have seen my fair share of hideous dressing rooms. I'm baffled at who at their nicely lit corporate offices sign off on these? and who exactly are the dressing room designers? 

The bottom line: Fashion is a fantasy and a form of self expression. In reality I KNOW what I look like. When I try on clothes I want to see myself in the most fabulous light. I don't want to have the purple vein in my leg magnified so it can be seen from the moon, or the stretchmarks from carrying my two precious babies projected onto a giant mirror like a topographic road map.  

They even posted this obnoxious sign:
The sign may have been true, I DID want to buy. I couldn't bring myself to buyt based on the non-motivational change room climate. 

FYI to retailers: I would have purchased all of the items in my cart but I left with ONE. Retailers need to be aware of how women FEEL when they step into those rooms because if the customers don't see themselves in the right light they can kiss that precious revenue goodbye. I wonder what the figure actually is on LOST revenue and sales all because they didn't put the effort into the changing space? I would rather try things on in the dark or by candle light quite frankly. Pot lights, event natural lighting would have been better.
Retailers should  put the effort into their changing spaces and provide an environment to promote women to feel good because they perceive themselves as cast in the right light. We all know what we look like and are not looking for some lighting enhanced version of photo shop. A chic chandelier or some softer light would suffice accompanied by a correctly shaped/angled mirror. Speaking for myself and my shopping partner, these small changed would inspire customer's to have an amazing shopping experience and always return for MORE.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

A Lifetime of Adornment: Tziporah Salamon

In my last blog post I was totally inspired by the stylish Tziporah Salamon and her distinction between being stylish and fashionable.  She is a lady of bi-costal style and at the top of my list for one of the most intriguing women I have come across in a long time. Driven by her passion for self expression, her family history of fashion and her exquisite taste in fashion's past, she is an authentic style maven!
She was born 63 years ago in Israel to a Hungarian Jewish Dressmaker and Tailor her life seamed destined to be a stylish one. She is a permanent fixture on the New York style scene and today teaches women about the fine art of dressing!
She hosts intimate seminars where you can get up close and personal with her and her astounding clothing and textile collection. I would love a chance to have a peek at her hat collection alone, with over 200 pieces and counting. This unique opportunity is available on both coasts and this month in CALIFORNIA (see below for details).
What I love about her is an unwavering to her commitment to a lifetime of adornment. To making the world a more fabulous place, one carefully curated outfit at a time. She and I share many of the same philosophies, passions and respect for fashion. Tziporah has some serious style credentials as well. She has taught at Parsons School of Design in New York, worked as as stylist, a fashion consultant, sales associate for high end NY department stores, buyer and most recently a model for the house of Lanvin. 
I'm sure she also also served as a muse to photographers and designers alike. She has been recently  featured in the book Advanced Style by Ari Seth Cohen, based on his popular BLOG where you can find a multitude of images of her various looks.  
She has certainly served as in inspiration to me. How she stylishly lives her life reinforces my belief that style has no bounds except those that surround your imagination and heart.

I had the sincere pleasure of asking her a few questions recently...

LG: Have you always been a collector of unique clothing and accessories? Or was their a period that your 'collection' started?

TS:   I have always dressed well with a unique style.  As my parents made all of my clothes from day one, I always wore clothes that no one else wore as they were custom-made for me.  This was especially true during my childhood.  In my teens, I bought distinctive clothing and was very sophisticated with a sense of style beyond my years.
My collection of antique clothing really started in 1979 when I moved back to NY to pursue fashion after living seven years in California.   I quickly realized that the way to go was vintage as the clothes are much better made, much more affordable and one of a kind.
LG: Both your mother and father were tailors, do you make any of your own clothing?

TS: No, I don't sew.  I never learned.  But I utilize dressmakers and tailors all the time and have many of my clothes made.
LG: Who or What inspires you?

TS: I get inspiration everywhere.  But some constant sources are: Matisse; Persian miniatures; ancient cultures; Islamic art; old movies; Art Deco; silent films; the films of Charlie Chaplin; art books; graphics; flowers
LG: What style advice can you pass along to my readers?

TS: Get to know your body.  Know what looks good on you.  Buy the best that your budget can afford.  Choose quality over quantity.  Avoid trends.  Go for classic, beautiful, well-made clothes.  Study carefully how others whose style you admire put themselves together.  Learn from the best.  Take risks.  Stretch yourself.  Have fun with clothes.  Look at dressing as an opportunity to express your unique individuality. Choose wisely.
Hat: Piers Atkinson

LG:  If you had to choose ONE look to define who you are, what would it be?

TS: That's a difficult one because I have several that express who I am.  Forced to choose one, it would have to be some fabulous hand-embroidered Chinese ensemble from the 20's or earlier.
LG: What is the most important lesson you have learned through fashion?

TS: Stay true to my vision. 
Fashion changes constantly.  
It's meant to. 
 Style is forever.
In California? Register for one of Tziporah's Style Seminars.
 *Los Angeles, Sunday June 23rd from 4-6
*San Francisco, Sunday, June 30th 5-7 
Cost: $150

Learn more about her classes from this NY Magazine Article

My hats off you you Tziporah for always following your own version of FABULOUS!