Saturday, June 15, 2013

"The Look" Part II

Back again so soon?

           Some costume designers are really able to set the mood with wardrobe.   Here are some more film costume ideas that I'm considering for my assignment.

The cheongsam.

             I recently watched a Chinese film called “In the Mood for Love,” and really enjoyed it.  So emotional, so pensive, and the costumes!  The lead actress Maggie Cheung, has a very graceful, slight frame and in nearly every scene (sometimes in several different shots at a time) she is dressed in a beautiful vintage cheongsam.  They all fit her perfectly, and even better the movie is set in the early-mid sixties so her hair is super teased and fabulous. Each dress is unique to any other cheongsam I have ever seen before.  
             Just as a side note: Honestly, my only real experience with the cheongsam are the brightly coloured "satin" ones my grandmother used to get from Chinatown, the ones that you want to rip into shreds whenever you attempt to button and then snap behind your armpit (please do not try on when frustrated, fighting with your sister,  bloated or hot).  So, this was refreshing. 
Here are a few shots:

Gorgeous, right?  The picture quality is not the best and neither is the lighting, although the movie tends to be melancholic so most of the scenes were a bit shadowy.  Still, whether the fabric design be floral or geometric, the fact that each cheongsam fits her figure so perfectly really says something about the costume designer, William Chang.  

Hopefully I can make the right choice...

Until next time,


Thursday, June 13, 2013

"The Look"

            This summer, I decided to take a short term class on fabric. The class is actually called "Fabric Glossary," it's sort of a beginners guide to the way fabric is made, behaves and what kinds are best suited for different types of garments.  I'm super excited!
            The first class was this week and my homework was to choose 3 "looks" that not only capture my designing "style" but work with specific fabrics that I will then analyze over the next couple weeks  According to my  professor, I should curate these looks as if part of a fashion spread.  Now for my reaction.  What in the world did she mean by "curate"???  Like a museum?  I wasn't even sure if I could claim to have a design style. After a bit of panic I realized that, in context, I would be organizing and working with a special design theme or trend, just communicating them in my own way.  That sort of clears things up, I just can't think about it too hard, if you know what I mean.
            Well, I decided I would try my best.  I have a few more days to find anything I want.  But, it's that thing about finding inspiration again.  I am not very mainstream, especially when it comes to fashion and trends.  The fact is, I am also taking this class to understand and identify fabric for all sorts of creative uses, one of them being costuming. My professor was very encouraging and told us all to just go for it!
            Just thinking of all my options and the films I'd seen and still wanted to see before making my choice were becoming cluttered in my mind.  That is, until I remembered someone I'd been inspired by just last weekend: Jay Gatsby.  I have a lot to say about that movie on many levels that I couldn't possibly get into here.  I will say that I loved the interpretation, it really drew out certain parts of the novel that I always felt had a special importance.   And, of course, the costumes were FABULOUS!  The dresses, millinery, jewels, makeup...everything was an ocular feast.   They were also very well suited to the characters in an over-the-top, Baz Luhrmann kind of way.

             Something that I didn't anticipate was my love for Gatsby's summer suits.  Growing up I never used to focus very much on men's clothing, especially not suits.  Now I realize that it's the subtle changes in detail and colour that are so striking.  I see now that the most simple characteristics of men's suiting can be more impressive than a dress made of diamonds and lace.  Just take Gatsby's pink suit.  Everything about the suit and the way he wears it tells you what you need to know about Gatsby and what an individual he is.  I wish I could have watched the movie in slow motion just to catch a glimpse of (and this includes everything else, actually) Gatsby's suits.  Just to see the detail on his bow ties would be enough.

         These may not be the exact looks that I will use but they certainly serve as a jumping off point.
On a side note, I recently found out that Luhrmann's wife, Catherine Martin (who also worked with Prada and Brooks Brothers on this film), is and always has been the costume designer for his all films starting with Strictly Ballroom.  Also, Fitzgerald wore Brooks Brothers suits while at Princeton which is why Gatsby wears them here.  Pretty cool, right?

Here are my top few ideas so far:

This has got to be the best white flannel suit I've ever seen!  I think the most interesting part of his getup is the vest which contrasts with the suit, making it more casual and much less intense. 

Ah, the pink linen suit.  There is nothing to say, really. I am still in awe of how perfectly this shade of pink goes with striped tie and pocket square.  So Gatsby.  (Carraway looks pretty sharp, too.)  

Sadly, there were no decent pictures of Gatsby in this suit.  None that I can find so far.  Most of them are either a bad shot of him mid speech or sitting down.  So, we'll have to enjoy this creepy Brooks Brother's model instead.  While watching the movie, I noticed that there were faint "plaid" teal pinstripes across the tan of the suit.  The boater hat and bow tie are a nice touch.  Love it.

          My other options would be another film's costumes that I'll write about next, maybe in the next couple days or so.  Thankfully, I have a few free blocks of time and writing about my ideas here is really helping me out.  Suggestions are extremely welcome :).

Until next time,


P.S. I can't believe how lengthy this post is!  I guess I have a lot to say about men's fashion.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Vanilla Ice Cream, I don't need you after all...

You cannot force inspiration.  I mean, you can but it can be a bit discomfiting-at least for me.  This could be inspiration in anything: writing, choosing new shoes, in keeping life zesty, picking a movie to watch.  I am naturally a bit apprehensive and do not make decisions easily in this area (which is also partly why it has taken me so long to choose some semblance of a major). 
           This takes me back to the momentous day my parents took the first grader me for a scoop of ice cream and, to their surprise/relief, I decided at the last moment to venture far away from the vanilla that I seemed to get every single time.  For me, this change was like a lifelong ballroom dancer suddenly deciding to explore break dancing in the street (probably a bad comparison).  Now, I cannot remember whether this—the ice cream choice, that is—was premeditated or on a whim but I can still feel the agony I felt then as, suddenly sure and fast, came the disorienting effects of Gruen Transfer.  So much variety, such a long list of flavours and different cones.  Not to mention the fact that I couldn't even read the names and everything looked brown.  Let’s be real here.  I remember the anxiety yet, oddly, I cannot recall the exotic new flavour I chose.  Maybe I left the store with another scoop of vanilla.  All I know is that to delve into something new, not only do you have to give it your all but you have to be courageous and willing to take a few leaps and risks to find something that works for you. 

             Now on to the point.  I just read and completed a book in such a short amount of time, I didn't even have a chance to share it on Goodreads.  Talk about enthusiastic. Well, it all started with a conversation with a really cool friend who encouraged me to read a book called “How Starbucks Saved My Life” by a former corporate advertiser named Michael Gates Gill.  Without going into too much detail and ruining the book for you dear reader, this is the true story of a man who had, in a sense, all the flavours in the world and took them all for granted.  Essentially, he was a high class guy who had, in his youth, shared a glass of Sherry with Robert Frost and had run with the bulls in Spain after an intense, manly stare down with Hemingway.  The problem was that he throughout his life he had a lot of power and not only put his job first, but he treated people badly.  So, how in the world does he end up talking about Starbucks? That’s when things get really interesting.  All I gotta say is I recommend this book.  On a side note, I actually found it at Thrift Town (I’ll be talking about my love of thrift stores soon) for 99 cents. 


            So how does this relate to me and why have I been talking about ice cream?  I can’t really say.  All I know is that this book has had an interesting effect on me.  You leave chunks of pages feeling that life is full of unforeseen occurrences and opportunities.  We are all unique in the way we handle life and everyone usually has talents, dreams and goals tucked away to some depth inside them.  Goodness, life is short in this world but sometimes we have to fail and let ourselves be taught.  I find myself recalling all sorts of very good advice.  This may be getting flowery and full of one liners but I will say that once we have our life purpose and are willing to take it to the next level, whatever that might be, we can then do what we love.  In some key ways this man made a huge transition from being narrow-minded and arrogant to humbling himself and becoming someone that I liked very much by the end of the book.

Now it's time to live our purposes...


Sunday, June 2, 2013

Mr. Blog and I are friends now...

How's it goin reader?

 This is my very first blog.  

     To be honest, I used to dislike the idea of a blog.  In an inhibiting mixture of timidity and slight distaste I didn't know what folks were talking about when they encouraged me time and time again to start a blog.    Having very little experience with blogs in general, I didn't fully grasp the fact that this was a really cool compliment. But what would I write about? In some ways I still wonder, and as I type my first post ever, I try to remember how I got here exactly.  

     Well, over the last year I've perused quite a few different blogs and I realize what a cozy/quirky little community blogs can create, even if only a handful of friends stop by to read your blog.  And, I even found creative people just like me, all who enjoy the same aspects of, say, baking casseroles like I do.  As I grew to like the whole idea a lot better, I learned that some of my own friends, family and acquaintances write incredible blogs.  Now I have a long list of favourites.  

     Deeply inspired, I decided I would write about something.  Anything.  Why not? I want to enjoy the journey and write about some of the artistic energy that I, an average crafty girl, receives and enjoys here in San Francisco.
So, please follow if you like and see what happens. 

Until next time,


P.S.  Thanks for the encouragement y'all, you know who you are :)