It’s always a pleasure to attend the opening night fashion show at Fashion Week El Paseo in Palm Desert. All the nights are great but there’s something special about the first night.
I was thrilled to get 1st row Diva tickets for “NARCES” by Nikki Yassemi from my friend Candy through her friend Bobbi Lampros; a giving sponsor for the five non-profit local charities benefitting each show.
The show was excellent. There were even a few pieces that I could actually see myself wearing given the right occasion. And yes; these unique pieces are especially designed for a special occasion.
NARCESis a womenswear line creating luxury eveningwear, cocktail and bridal designs inspired by the romantic glamour and elegance of the mid 20th century with a distinctive modern twist. The silhouettes are strong yet feminine.
Designer, Creative Director and Founder Nikki Yassemi Wirthensohn brings her international background to her feminine aesthetic. She was born in Austria and grew up in Iran and the UK before moving to Toronto, where the brand is designed and made.
She was surrounded by design, art, and fashion all her life. Her mother worked with esteemed British tailor to the Royal Family, Victor Edelstein, who is renowned for having created some of Princess Diana’s most iconic gowns.
From her website: The pieces are meant to be worn and styled in different ways to show individuality. From a voluminous-sleeve organza gown, which could be worn as an overcoat, to a dress that can be disintegrated into four pieces, there are numerous creative combinations. The feel is ethereal-meets-supernatural, and bodies are textural with hand-embellished flowers that are both dainty and bold with metal and spark.
Our fashion preferences and differences are what make wearing it well – well; at the very least, an intriguing topic, especially when it comes to finding out how women prefer to see their men (as in husbands or boyfriends) dress on a daily basis.
The modern man who loves designer labels and likes to “excessorize” can be called many things: a fashion-forward fellow, metrosexual man, fellow fashionista, designer dude or luxe lad. All labels point to the same fixation – making a statement with a passion for fashion.
Why this subject? Because recently, a male friend of mine was surprised – more like shocked – to find out that I’m the type of woman who prefers my guy to NOT dress himself in luxury designer clothing. He thought that because I love fashion in general, that I would expect my boyfriend to be a metrosexual shopaholic, focused on façade and making an impression with appearance and the clothing he wears. Not the case.
In fact, I find it a turnoff. Along with any other straight men who sparkle.
The word Metrosexual was coined in 1994 (formed from metropolitan and heterosexual) to describe a guy who is very concerned with his grooming and generally spending a substantial amount of time and money on shopping as part of this.
Overall, I enjoy seeing men who dress well, with a little flair too, as long as it suits their personality. In general, I prefer my guy to not be overly concerned with keeping up with fashion trends and designer wear. Clean, well fitted choices that are not outdated… with a little more ooomph now and again like a fitted suit with high quality shoes for going out to certain events is what I like.
You might wonder why someone who grew up in stylish Montreal, who enjoys dressing up and writing about fashion might feel this way. Hmmm…. interesting. It has nothing to do with being able to afford designer garb. We know it costs more and yes; luxury clothing is well made, but perhaps women like me don’t like that fact that men put energy towards creating an impression with designer wear. Could also be that we don’t want to be reminded of, or exposed for, or ourselves accused of the same shallow vanities and consumerism.
Or, maybe it’s because we prefer to reserve the right for women to be the more stylish and for men to appreciate us for putting it together instead of them putting too much effort into what they think will impress us, expressly with logos and styling. Save the expense for shoes.
That’s not to say I don’t appreciate a nice Gucci loafer, cashmere sweater or designer shirt…just not all the time, and certainly not head to toe.
It’s nice for men to wear and appreciate designer clothing, but I’m talking about when they tend to build their image around it that, which may suggest a narcissistic, attention-grabbing character. In other words, they put all their effort into dressing upmarket and chic. It’s just my personal opinion. I know some women who feel the opposite.
But what’s even more interesting is that I made the same assumption about another woman as my male friend made about me.
I listened to a podcast with Chelsea Handler talking about her recent breakup and dating in general. A friend of hers set her up on a blind date where she met this man in a restaurant. She said he was seated at first so she couldn’t see him from the waist down. When he got up, the first thing she noticed was that he was wearing an Hermès belt. She was so turned off that she said she knew right then and there that there would be no second date.
Wow…so judgy over a belt? A bit extreme maybe, but I get it!
It’s not about the belt. It’s about what the belt represents. It’s about the fact that a straight man went to the extreme of buying the most high-end sought after belt anyone can buy in order to make a statement. A statement that not only says “I can afford this” but also that “I pay attention to designer labels.” And yes; the belt is indeed very well made of the utmost quality. I love the belt….only not on the guy I’m dating.
I know…double standard here right? Or am I just conflicted?
Some women don’t want to be out-dressed by the man. Opposite to the animal kingdom, peacocks especially; where the males are seen in bright, shimmering colours; complex patterns; and elaborate plumage in order to attract the peahens.
So. should men be like peacocks? Yes, or No?…Even though it’s safer for them than for other male animals that are prey for more than females?
I may not have loved all the movies that were nominated for awards last night, but I sure loved a lot of the winning looks. Here are my picks for best dressed at the Academy Awards 2023. In no particular order:
Iris Apfel – The Accidental Icon If this centenarian supermodel and muse isn’t an inspiration to women everywhere, I don’t know who is.
She was told “you’re not pretty and you’ll never be pretty, but it doesn’t matter. You have something much better – you have style!”
After watching a documentary about her life 8 years ago at Vancouver International Film Festival (VIFF) I became obsessed with her. She’s someone to admire, simply fascinating and lives her life with a joie de vivre like no other. At 102 years young, she’s still going strong. We should all be so lucky.
Her claim to fame as an American businesswoman was having an interior design business with her husband, Carl, from 1950 to 1992. She founded Old World Weavers in 1950, a small interior design textile company to recreate original fabrics from the beginning of the 19th Century and reproduce fabrics they found while traveling the world. Their career in textiles got them a contract with the White House that spanned nine presidencies. She helped nine first ladies decorate the White House according to their taste, combined with a “touch of Apfel”.
She obviously has a flair for fashion and great personal style. Some credit her for creating personal style. A trendsetter who follows no trends – a trend starter!
Apfel is the first living person who was not a designer to have her clothing and accessories exhibited at theCostume Institute Exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum in 2005. She is also the first woman over 100 to make a collaboration with H&M. Previous designers for the multinational fast-fashion clothing company (based in Sweden but pretty much all over now) have included Stella McCartney, Karl Lagerfeld + Comme des Garçons .
She’s also the only person over 100 to have more than 2 Million followers on Instagram.
Married for 67 years, her husband Carl passed away on August 1st, 2015 at age 100. Apfel will celebrate her 103rd birthday on August 29, 2023.
Iris Apfel resides in Palm Beach. One day when I go back there, I’m going to find her.
It’s well worth watching this 2015 documentary trailer:
The woman who said “A woman is as old as she looks, but a man is never old until he stops looking” still offers hope to women everywhere – even if they’re not pretty and never will be. It’s all about how you present yourself.
What a pleasure to meet and chat with celebrated fashion icon Tziporah Salamon at the Curated Vintage Event in Palm Springs this past weekend. The event is a yearly gathering of prime vintage vendors of fashion and jewellery under one roof from all over the United States. Tziporah was also a guest speaker of Mitchell Karp’s (of Mitchells Palm Springs – premium vintage clothing and accessories) annual Modernism fashion show at Temple Isaiah, a midcentury modern structure . This time celebrating 1969 Academy Award style. Always a fun event.
Whether hailing a cab or riding a bike, always the style maven.
It was very easy to spot Tziporah at the event (photos don’t lie although for myself, sometimes I wish they did). I bought her book “Advanced Style” which she warmly signed for me. The beautiful hard covered book celebrates individual, ageless, timeless style for women of every age but focuses mostly on ageing women. Her personal style might be a tad eccentric for most people, although she demonstrates how to put together beautiful outfits to help women find their own personal style. She tailors it to the individual. She also takes women out of their comfort zone as she herself is a chameleon and an artist. Her originality elevates the act of dressing to an art form whether she’s styling herself or others.
Through dressing and your mood, you can re-invent yourself every single day. Let’s face it, we have to get dressed every day anyway. Fashion may not be your whole world, but it sure makes your world more fun.
Tziporah was a favourite muse of the late New York Times photographer Bill Cunningham. She is regularly photographed in the New York press and teaches style seminars titled “The Art of Dressing.” She appears in the book and documentary “Advanced Style”and in Lanvin’s advertising campaigns. Salamon appears regularly in her one-woman show, “The Fabric of My Life,” a sartorial visual autobiography. She is absolutely delightful and an inspiration.
“Tziporah is a combination of entertainer, genius, artist, archetypal Magician, a flash of Pierrot, 1920’s glamour, with Asian flair, timeless beauty and the energy and fun of a Hummingbird…”
It’s fun to be fearless at times and discover a different side of yourself. Tsiporah brings out the muse in all of us.
I am my own muse, the subject I know best– Frida Kahlo
March is Fashion Month in Palm Springs. Well; actually, every month is fashion month here.
Since I haven’t written much about personal style lately, I thought it would be fun to post a few things to do on that topic. Starting with Nancy Sinatra’s impact as a trailblazer in not only music, but fashion.
As part of Modernism Week, I attended a special presentation of Nancy Sinatra’s music, videos, and photos from her personal archives at the Annenberg Theatre, followed by a discussion of her influence in music and fashion. With Nancy herself, her daughter Amanda, and a few others.
A few days later, the people of Palm Springs gave Nancy the boot(s) – literally. We honored her with a dance performance in the street to the re-boot (ha; punintended) of the iconic song “These Boots are Made For Walking.” A double decker bus rode by Arenas street, dancers wearing go-go boots got off and choreographically danced to the tune as Nancy stood by and watched from one of the local hotspots. DJ Mod girl spun disco tunes while we grooved to the aspiring and inspiring copycats. But we all know there’s really only “one Nancy!”
So let’s delve a little further on why Nancy Sinatra had such an impact on us – on her own merit; aside from the fact that Frank Sinatra was her dad.
In the early 60’s her following was mostly in Europe and Japan but with her release of “These Boots Are Made For Walkin” In 1966, she gained popularity in the US. The song instantly went to #1 on the charts.
She brought back to America, British designer Mary Quant’s go-go boot trend. Nancy Sinatra may have popularized the look a while ago, but the footwear craze seems to be very much in style today and hopefully here to stay.
Beyonce as Foxxy Cleopartra in Austin Powers “Goldmember” channelled a Sinatraesque vibe with her big hair and sexy clothing.
Obsessed Magazine pointed out that Quentin Tarantino sampled her 1966 song “Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)” in the opening of his film “Kill Bill: Vol. One.” As a result, the song was introduced to younger audience and gained popularity.
Her influence was also felt in Austin Powers “The Last of the Secret Agents.” Check out this YouTube video:
The following was taken from an excellent indepth article written by Kate Hutchinson for the “The Independent” (full article fellow).
Nancy Sinatra who cut countless peerless tracks with producer Lee Hazlewood – swirls of peachy psychedelia, outlaw country, and strings that appeared to sweep across ocean roads – that have been used in Tarantino films or covered by Beyoncé. She made films with Elvis. She sang one of the great Bond songs. She is a stone-cold showbiz legend.
Her influence criss-crosses the decades, too. In the Nineties, Sinatra found fans among indie-rockers like Kim Gordon, Kim Deal and Beck. Then in the mid-2000s, a revival spearheaded by her daughters, Angela and Amanda, out came a compilation of Sinatra duets with the likes of Jarvis Cocker, Bono and Morrissey. Others will remember the omnipresence of that Audio Bullys remix of her Cher cover, “Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)”. Or her cameo in The Sopranos. Her Factory Girl of the Canyons look – PVC knee-high, white boots, relaxed beehive – was mimicked by the “fembots” in Austin Powers. A decade later, you have Lana Del Rey saying she styled herself as a “gangsta Nancy Sinatra”, country princess Kacey Musgraves covering her songs, and Angel Olsen referencing her dramatic orchestral arrangements.
Susan Claassen is remarkable as “Edith Head” in her one woman theatrical production “A Conversation with Edith Head” presented by Modernism Week, Palm Springs. The show was SOLD OUT and received a well deserved standing ovation.
EDITH HEAD – Trailblazer
Edith Head was a legend. Pardon the pun, but she was a Head of her time. One of the most prolific costume designers of the twentieth century, she received an unprecedented 35 Academy Award nominations and won a record-breaking eight Oscars at a time when the industry and world in general was dominated by men. Her career spanned 58 years of movie making. She liked to call herself a “Magician.” The word is suitable considering the magic she created with her design skills. She raised rear ends, made waists look smaller, legs longer and hid imperfections like no other.
“There’s nothing like a row of Oscars for putting the fear of God into an actress who thinks she knows everything about dress designing.” – Edith Head
Edith Head became as famous as the stars she dressed. With her signature glasses, straight bangs and tailored suits, her distinctive style made her a recognizable personality in her own right.
Looking exactly like Edith Head with trademark glasses and all, Susan Claassenbrings us back to the time when Head dressed glamorous movie stars such as Grace Kelly, Cary Grant, Lana Turner, Paul Newman, John Wayne, Bette Davis, Steve McQueen, Elizabeth Taylor, Marlene Dietrich and many more. Some of the original costumes and photographs were on stage. However, preferring never to upstage whoever she was dressing, Head only liked to wear four colors herself: black, white, beige and brown.
With wit and intellect, Claassen relives and re tells stories when Head worked with actors like Mae West, Debbie Reynolds, Barbara Stanwyck and a young Elizabeth Taylor. Not gonna lie; it was fun finding out who was naughty and who was nice! A few tidbits: Taylor was fascinated by a signature necklace worn by Head to the point where it was left for her in Head’s will. Funnily enough there were no diamonds in the necklace but it was an eye-catching, original, vintage piece. Head formed special relationships with the famous she dressed and recounted those stories. For instance, when Grace Kelly became princess Grace and moved to Monaco, she would always visit Head when returning to Los Angeles. Kelly always wore white gloves so on one visit Head made little white gloves for her young daughters, Princesses Caroline and Stephanie.
In 1961 Edith Head hired Bob Mackie to be her sketch artist at Paramount Studios. Mackie would later become another famous designer (he designed all of the costumes for the Carole Burnett Show, all of Cher’s costumes and many more including sketching the famous sequined dress worn my Marilyn Monroe when she sang “Happy Birthday Mr. President” to JFK). As luck would have it, I met and spoke with him for several minutes before the show began. He said that the actress (Susan Claassen) was a good friend of his and that he also knew Edith Head and that she helped start his career. I had met him last year at the book store Just Fabulous when I bought his beautiful book “The Art of Bob Mackie” and told him how much I love the book and it brought back so many good memories. Also, he looked just fabulous.
Edith Head died in 1981 of a progressive and rare blood disease, myeloid metaplasia, two weeks after completing work on her last film “Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid.” She left her estate to the Motion Picture and Television Fund and to other charitable organizations aiding Native American children and her beloved animals. Her funeral was attended by hundreds, including not only Hollywood’s stars but also the backlot people. A Paramount security guard dressed in a uniform designed by Edith Head mused, “I remember her real well. At Christmas she took care of every one on the lot. She was the greatest designer in the world. Edith Head was quite a girl.” And that she was.
Head’s no nonsense straightforward personality inspired the character of Edna Mode in The Incredibles.
I design things to help people to hopefully express their personality – Dame Vivienne Westwood, who built an International brand with an eccentric edge.
April 8, 1941 –December 29, 2022
Style is a way to say who you are without having to speak. Someone else said this but I’m not sure who it was. In simpler terms Fashion is what you buy and Style is what you do with it. For example:
Here are some of my favourite fun and fashionable Westwood looks – compliments of “The Guardian” with link to original article below. Glancing back at some of the most memorable looks from the iconic British fashion designer and rebel.
The reason why I am proud of my part in the punk movement is that I think it really did implant a message that was already there. The hippies told it to me, but punk made it something cool for people to stand up for, which is that we do not believe government, that we are against government – Vivienne Westwood
Taken from “The Guardian” – No fashion designer ever had a Paris show like the one staged by Vivienne Westwood in 1991. Although she was by then 50 and had been making clothes for sale for 20 years – and the British Fashion Council had named her designer of the year – she stitched much of that collection on her own sewing machine in her shabby south London flat, hand-finishing it in the van that transported her, and the models, to France, where the couturier Azzedine Alaïa had invited her to guest-show. Despite those limitations, the collection was a major success.
Buy less. Choose well. Make it last. Quality, not quantity. Everybody’s buying far too many clothes – Vivienne Westwood
2012, New York City.
Rihanna performs in a Vivienne Westwood gown at the Victoria’s Secret fashion show in New York City. Photograph: Kevin Mazur/WireImageTaken from:
As you make your way to the winery with a baguette…
there’s a certain etiquette…but you don’t have to carry it under your arm – only if you’re in France. Here at home just make sure the top sticks out of your market bag just so...(as shown in photo). Otherwise it’s considered gauche.
These locally made market totes are made to shout not high-end designer, but the neighbourhood you live in (or the one you want to live in), while reducing your plastic footprint. They’re also the perfect carryall for daily errands.
I finally met owners Angelica Vargas and Andrew Murray (in below photo) at their pop-up tent outside Container Brewery which I’ve mentioned in previous posts. It was an afternoon of festivity and feel-good perusing.
I’m familiar with “thebag” as I was one of the very first to get my “Kitsilano” market bag with long leather handles which makes carrying easier and has a wipeable lining and inner pocket. Great for grocery shopping. Looks stylish too.
When I first noticed it in the window of Coco’s Closet on 4th Ave. I had to inquire. I can’t tell you how many times I was stopped with people asking me where I bought it. The company even made a prototype of a logo for a business launch I was involved in but unfortunately it was short lived (not the bag, the venture.)
Since then, they’ve expanded the line to include pretty much every other neighbourhood and area of interest. They have a cute mini market bag for small shopping expeditions or to use as a lunch bag.
A few weeks ago I met with the owners of several small and successful local businesses at their pop-up tents outside an industrially chic brewery on the East Side. At Container Brewery we celebrated summer with a dee-jay, pizza truck, craft beer and a sprinkling of interesting product – everything from coffee to art.
Some companies I was already familiar with (like Saltspring Kitchen Co. – ok, almost local ) and some not (like Hello Sunday selling handcrafted vegan skincare products). All high quality. Then I turned a corner and came across DAUB.
If there’s one thing I mean another thing I need want, it’s a comfy pair of yoga pants with deep pockets. I’ve gone back to yoga at my gym and being able to move around with a pair that’s not too snug or loose and keeps its shape is key. Personally I don’t go for tie dye or loud coloured prints but I found a pair of solid print that felt like second skin. With pockets big enough to carry a cell phone. The fit and fabric is awesome.
Manufactured right here in Vancouver, Daub is a print based activewear and every day lifestyle clothing brand. The company works in small production runs and in their signature limited edition prints, all made exclusively by Creative Director, Lexi Soukoreff. With their West Coast laid back style they also carry a decent selection of clean beauty & skin care, home, gifts and more. Think yoga mats and swimwear.
DAUB IS PROUDLY MADE IN CANADA.
– We work in limited editions to reduce our impact on the environment, producing only what we need for each season. – Our tie-dye pieces are created carefully and we exhaust our dye baths to ensure that we put little to no excess down the drain. – All our garments are manufactured in Vancouver, BC and all the hand-dyed items are created at our studio in East Vancouver. – Our retail store is located in the neighbourhood of South Granville at 3012 Granville Street at 14th Ave.
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