Tag Archives: design

I’m Coming Back…

…at least I’m going to try to! I know a year and a half is a long break, but I’ve missed posting here. I’m going to scale things back a bit and try to keep things simple this time.

So, what re-inspired me to start posting again? It was none other than one of my first ever beauty inspirations, an actress I have loved since I first set eyes on her in a glorious peasant blouse/vest/jeans/loafers outfit combo in the movie that most informed my childhood; Labyrinth.

labyrinth

It was her answer to the following question in the most recent issue of Glamour:

GLAMOUR: You have a baby daughter. What will you teach her about beauty?

JC: She can teach me a thing or two. But mostly: confidence. I was just working in Iceland and I saw this woman in a crazy scarf with colored tassels and her hair way up in a side ponytail…If she got photographed, Cindi [Leive, Glamour’s editor-in-chief] might have her on the Don’ts page! But it was her thing. It was full of color, and she was full of life. If something is right for you, it becomes a Do.

jennifer_connelly

Well said Ms. Connelly, very well said. Glamour is one of the more acceptance-minded magazines out there (which isn’t saying much), but I’ve always found their “Do’s and Don’ts” feature to be kind of gross and mean, definitely the opposite of accepting. I’m a firm believer that there are no RULES in beauty, fashion, art, or anything else that is about expressing yourself. Major Kudos to Jennifer Connelly for pointing that out to them in their own magazine — and reminding me that it’s a subject I don’t want to stop talking about.

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Beauty in the Movies: Enchanted April

So far this April has been cold and dreary, but with the hope of warmer weather to come I present you with this week’s Movie, Enchanted April.

Based on Elizabeth von Arnim’s novel The Enchanted April, this 1992 film is the story of two English women who, despite being married, are very much alone in their lives. When Lottie Wilkins (Josie Lawrence) discovers an ad in the paper for the rental of a wisteria covered castle in Italy, she sees a kindred spirit in Rose Arbuthnot (Miranda Richardson) and convinces her to rent out the castle with her for the month of April.

Realizing they can’t afford the rental alone, Rose and Lottie take out their own advertisement in the paper and soon find themselves splitting the vacation spot with the stunning and elegant Lady Caroline Dester (Polly Walker), and the stuffy, aged Mrs. Fisher (Joan Plowright).

All four women are trying to escape from something, for Lottie and Rose it’s their loveless marriages, for Caroline it’s the groping, fawning men of society, and for Mrs. Fisher it’s a life lived in the shadow of those long since dead. The minute the women arrive at the castle of San Salvatore a change begins to take effect on each of them. There is magic in the April air and it seems even cranky old Mrs. Fisher is not immune to the changes it brings.

Enchanted April is a quiet, slow, utterly gorgeous film. When I say “slow” I don’t mean boring, but languid and serene. The sunlit Italian coast is transformative for the characters, but also for the viewer as the shots linger on beautiful scenery that will make you wish for a sunny escape of your own.

What is so refreshing about the plot of Enchanted April is the lack of drama. So many films are filled with twists and catastrophes, but the surprise in this film is the lack of both. It’s not plot that drives this story but the inner monologues of the characters. We are brought directly into each woman’s thoughts with the exception of Lottie, who is the true voice of the whole story. She has a sense about the future of her friend’s lives and an understanding of the magical effect the castle has on them.

I find Lady Caroline an especially interesting character. She is a woman who has always been judged on her beauty alone, which leaves her incredibly frustrated and bored with the life she is trying to escape. At the same time when she is faced with a man who cannot appreciate her beauty, she finds herself distraught and is left questioning her true self.

I don’t have to mention how incredible the costumes, acting, and art direction in this film are, but I just can’t help myself because they’re all so well done. The costume designer, Sheena Napier received an Oscar nomination for her work, as did Joan Plowright for best actress in a supporting role. The movie was shot in the actual Italian castle where the author wrote the novel, which lends an air of authenticity to the story as well.


If you’re feeling blue, desperate for an escape, or just sick of the cold weather, Enchanted April is an excellent film to lift your spirits. It’s uplifting but not overly saccharine and romantic while still retaining a certain amount of surprise. It may be a simple story but it’s complex in emotion and so astonishingly beautiful that you may find yourself renewed just from watching it.

One Vintage vintage dress
2,100 GBP – net-a-porter.com

Alberta Ferretti wrap dress
$610 – anastasiaboutique.com

Vintage dress
520 GBP – mysugarland.co.uk

Green dress
520 GBP – mysugarland.co.uk

See by Chloe chiffon maxi dress
$520 – net-a-porter.com

See by Chloe empire dress
329 GBP – farfetch.com

T by Alexander Wang long dress
$175 – editnewyork.com

Embroidered blouse
atelier-mayer.com

Coat
fashion.1stdibs.com

Electric feather
$679 – lagarconne.com

Maxi skirt
360 GBP – farfetch.com

Lanvin satin flat
$435 – net-a-porter.com

Gurhan gold dangle earring
$1,100 – endless.com

Rosantica beaded jewelry
$900 – net-a-porter.com

Chain necklace
$190 – charmandchain.com

White necklace
$24 – unique-vintage.com

Sunglass
240 EUR – colette.fr

TopShop straw hat
$50 – topshop.com

Valentino Lace-trimmed cashmere-blend shawl
$1,395 – net-a-porter.com

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A Journey into the World of Anna Sui

Somewhere in the midst of the holiday craziness my very lovely friend Annie (thanks Annie!) sent me the amazing Anna Sui book which was just released in November. I meant to post about it a while ago, but I didn’t, so here for you today is a look at some beautiful Anna Sui magic.

Inside the pages of this book are images that span Anna’s career from her first runway show in 1991 to her 2009 Autumn/Winter collection. The book is loaded with gorgeous pictures that endlessly entertain as you flip your way through two decades of Sui’s unique fashions. Check out this spread from her first collection which was inspired by the teen magazines she read in her youth. These must have influenced the costumes in the film Clueless right?

(click any image to enlarge)

It’s even fun to look at her less successful pieces, like these 1993 grunge-era gems which were relevant in their time, but now seem very dated (but still in a good way).  I especially like the look on the inside lower right, parachute pants and cropped vest over a striped bodysuit? Totally 90s Awesome.

There are also pages and pages of Sui’s fantastical, feminine, timeless looks which have become her signature. She isn’t a designer who has to be “of-the-moment” rather, she creates her own world and takes inspiration from many different times and places.

While a majority of the book is filled with runway shots, there’s also a number of posed images in which the surroundings are as inviting and interesting as the clothes.

In addition to Sui’s fashions, the book features many of her stunning cosmetics ads as well. These are so pretty, and so different from any other beauty ads out there.

My favorite part of the whole book though, has got to be the inclusion of some of Sui’s inspiration boards. It’s fascinating to see all the different things she pulls from to create the ideas for her collections. Interior design, textile swatches, art, graphic design, vintage scarves, all sorts of diverse pieces that add up to a whole idea—it’s amazing to see her process.

There is also a great preface by Jack White (whose wife Karen Elson has long been one of Sui’s favorite models), an intro by photographer Steven Meisel, and a forward by Sui herself.

If you love Anna Sui, or just fashion in general, this book is a must-have. I could look through it over and over and keep finding new inspiration in the pages of stunning patterns, unusual combinations and whimsical characters that make up Sui’s dream-like, fantastical world.

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Re-Post: I Heart Lisa Frank

I pulled out my back and am having some trouble sitting at the computer right now, I spent yesterday lying on ice packs on the floor and watching Glee. That might have been fun if I didn’t have so much darn wedding stuff to do. My great-grandmother always said “man plans, god laughs” of course she said it in Yiddish, but it’s the idea of it that matters.

So today I can only sit in front of the computer for a limited amount of time, something I hadn’t planned on—but can not change. I had planned on writing a new post, but instead I’m re-posting an old one so I can go back to lying on the floor for a while. Below is a post I wrote when my blog was at a different URL, so if you’ve seen it already I apologize, I promise something new later in the week (hopefully tomorrow). For now, here is my ode to the wonderful Lisa Frank:

Recently, while eating dinner with parents one night and discussing what the hell I’m going to do with my life. I casually joked “My goal is to be the next Lisa Frank”, chuckling to myself, I soon realized they were staring at me blankly. Well, apparently the magical wonder of Lisa Frank somehow flew over the heads of my parents generation. Maybe they chose to block out the rainbow horses and angel kitties, or write them off as teeny-bopper stuff, which is easy to do. I however still get a rush of excitement when I see Lisa Frank products, I mean come on, look at this, that’s just fun.

I still get just as happy seeing this now as I did at my 3rd grade book fair when I bought a Lisa Frank folder and a poster of a dolphin jumping through intergalactic oceans (sorry mom, I guess I should have used that money to buy books).

I don’t think any of my professors in art school would have appreciated me citing her as an inspiration though. But then again, they didn’t particularly appreciate anything that was overtly feminine, or so I felt, but more on that another time.

I have a preference for the animals over her new line of “girls” which look a lot like Bratz dolls, am I right? I don’t find them nearly as interesting or appealing as her older characters.

There was (is) something so sweet and fun about rainbow animals with wings, flying around being cute, but also cool, at least for the 9-year-old me it was. My point is that this is illustration, and it was nice to see this woman who obviously built an empire based on work she loved doing. Now we have licensed characters from shows and movies, and sanrio and Disney Princesses will always be around, but I miss Lisa Frank. I haven’t really seen anyone else like her around, not in as big a way as she was.

Whether you like her stuff or think it is saccharine and seizure inducing, you have to admit that she created her own world, did what she liked, and was really successful at it. Wikipedia calls her a “pop artist”, which seems an appropriate title, they also say you can see her headquarters from a plane because it’s decorated with rainbows, stars, and hearts, how amazing is that?

I had to do a piece about “teens” a while back, of course, it’s really based on my own experience as a teenager in the 90s. Even though Lisa Frank skews younger, I found myself thinking about her when I started working on the piece. In some ways she sort of bridges the gap between childhood and adolescence. When I was 15 even though I tried to deny it, I still loved rainbows and unicorns, and you know what? I still do! Here is how that piece turned out:

I’m happy with it, I think it really encapsulates my own teen years. From Manic Panic to baby hair clips.

Here’s one more Lisa, for the road:

P.S.

Lisa Frank hot air Balloon! What?

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