Thursday, December 11, 2008

Luxury Shoppers Anonymous

I loved this article in the NYTimes today. They make what I do seem like a sudden new, hot, and super exclusive thing.

Well, it isn't...quite. I have been working one-on-one with my customers for years, and have had events from time to time, though I prefer to keep it lo-key. The big events are a lot of fun, (and stressful and kind of manic making & once in a while, yes, I can get into it.) But really, my whole thing is that I really, really enjoy working directly with my customers.

My customers have known about this for years, and have sought me out for this personal and relaxed experience.

However, people who find me, do have to put some effort into it. Here we are - still one of the best kept secrets in NYC. (but, oddly... not in Europe)

And contradictory to the Times writer's point of view- it's not about what other people will think, it's about what my customers already know.


Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Ok- Now here's the real deal...

pumpkin pieMom's Pumpkin Pie Recipe

Have a healthy and happy one!

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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

First Thanksgiving

Being committed to two Thanksgiving dinners this week, I thought I'd try something new. So working off a recipe in the NYTs I managed this...

apple-pecan-tartApple Pecan Tart

The big appeal was that it can be frozen (& my Dad loves pecans). So, I'm hoping this'll make transport easier and it does completely take care of the problem I always have of always leaving the pan behind! Now, what ice cream to serve it with, vanilla or cinnamon caramel ?

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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Custom Made Men's Leather Pants

I am admittedly very, very bad at asking my customers to pose for photos of their finished pieces on, so I have hardly any photos of most the custom work that I've done, and absolutely none of it on the people it was created for!

On top of that, I have made so many pairs of men's pants, but have no photos of any of them on! So I am making a concerted effort to change that.

I recently made a pair of buffalo skin pants for a new client who was visiting from overseas and who was very generous to allow me to take photos of the finished product on him.

So with his very kind permission (Thank You, J!) here are some photos of custom made men's pants.



This is a start, and I'd love to see photos of any and all of my amazing clients in their custom made leather. So, if any of you are reading this...!

(& I would only ever post photos here with your specific permission and OK.)

Now playing: Fun Lovin' Criminals - Swashbucklin' in Brooklyn
via FoxyTunes


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

No need to break the bank...

Yes, I know the Palin wardrobe thing is old news...

but I do wish they would stop showing clips of that Godawful Red Eli Tahari Leather jacket that has been burned into my retinas the last week or so. Any price was too much for that....arggghhh!

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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Room under the Bathtub...

I am (semi-continually at this point) trying to make more space. It's a sign that when you start dreaming about finding another whole room beneath the floor & under the bathtub, behind the stove or in a closet, stuff has got to go...I am sure it's a archetypal dream in NYC. Unfortunately there's not much to satisfy the craving than to actually get rid of stuff! So, I'll be parting with a bunch of vintage, and other odds and ends I've accumulated over the years. Starting with this amazing late 1960's/early 70's coat that's very reminiscent of Julie Christie to me.

dr. zhivago coat
It's amazing, incredibly made, completely underlined for extra warmth. with a thick fox fur collar and cuffs. This coat was knocked off by Anna Sui several years ago, but hers could not compare just on the basis of what it would cost to make a coat anywhere near this quality these days.

I also have this gorgeous, completely handmade 2 piece suede dress, there is no machine stitching on it whatsoever. It could have been made for show, but looks quite a bit more fashionable than your typical western show wear. The fit on the skirt is very,very good. It's one of the most flatteringly cut skirts I've run across.

custom western fringe top

custom western fringe skirt

I've got these and a few other odds and ends listed on e-bay this week and am working on digging out more stuff, including a very, very, early North Beach Leather Jacket back from the period when they were hand laced in Mexico. I've also go some Monkey Fur coats but those ain't going on ebay! Interested? Just contact me.

Now playing: The Dickies - You Drive Me Ape (You Big Gorilla)
via FoxyTunes

Monday, October 20, 2008

Mia's Brand New Bag Deux

Catching up and finally getting around to posting the 2nd new, (and improved!) custom made "Mia" bag I finished recently.

custom made handbag
This one is made of a thick, glossy finished Italian hide, so this bag has a much more dressed-up /formal look, while still being completely practical.

custom made handbag
custom made handbag
It is much more constructed in the body than the original and also has a built-in hard, padded divider constructed for her airbook. The divider also has additional and specific pockets for discs, peripherals, power cords, business cards and plenty of room for other items. Meant to go from the air, as a carry on. Straight into important meetings. The client is thrilled with it as am I.

custom made handbag-interior
custom made handbag-interior
It's the most constructed bag I've ever done and likely to be the last of this type of construction and detail I'll do for quite some time since it's not exactly what we're set up for. This bag will only be repeated again for the customer it's named for.

On our regular bags, I've now got 2 new one-of-a-kind bags up in the shop. They are the only ones, and will not be repeated. Here they are:

For more info and other bags, check out the shop.

Now playing: Pig Bag - Papa's Got A Brand New Pigbag
via FoxyTunes


Saturday, September 27, 2008

Mia's got a Brand New Bag...part 1

I've been doing bags for a few years now, but it's a pretty new discipline for me. It's started out as a yearly birthday project for myself. I figured a bag was something I could start for myself, and actually finish...I wanted to wear something of my own for a change!

This is the First Bag:

python skin messenger
python skin messenger
But, it's been evolving, since starting with this straight forward and fairly un-constructed (and unlined) messenger style, which is my all-time favorite style. I've been asked to create some much more constructed bags, a real challenge, especially on a one-of-a-kind basis.

Here is the first bag I recently made for a new client, I call it the "Mia" bag. I got beautifully detailed sketches from the client:

But, more importantly I got a very detailed and specific list of functionality specs. This is what the final design really took shape from. I created a mock up based on the required dimensions, which was then sent back to the client to try. Turns out the bag needed sizing up to accommodate her computer, peripherals and a change of clothing so that this would be the perfect all around carry-on bag.

This is the final result:


She loved this bag so much she ordered a second one, which I will get to shortly...
Now playing: James Brown - Papa's Got a Brand New Bag
via FoxyTunes


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Google ghosts in the Machine?

I suspect the big "G" is screwing' with us, because after months and months of searches coming through with images, (very quickly btw) it suddenly all drops dead. Sorry, I disagree with big G, 'cause I got content that they need, G images & cool iris are worthless when there's nothing ORIGINAL to look at. It seriously demeans the whole experience. Might as well go to the local strip mall.


Saturday, September 13, 2008

Sarah Speaks with clenched teeth...

Or Fork- ed Tongue...


Friday, September 12, 2008

The biggest insult to the intelligence of the American People EVER

Two words : SARAH PALIN
And I welcome any and all views from the peanut gallery... comments, additions,
intelligent debate, etc.


Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Can We Save the Garment Center?

I cannot find a direct link to this story so here is what I found. (I think its completely irresponsible for WWD to have this as a "locked" article - which is what it appears to be and not even mentioned in it's headline e-mail headlines. I am not a current subscriber because I don't feel WWD has ever done enough to promote or encourage smaller designers or local designers/manufacturers. Or any of domestic end of the industry for that matter. NYC cannot afford to put all it's eggs in the totally screwed financial markets, we must produce something to remain a viable economy- that goes for the US as a whole...This is such an important issue that affects us on so many different levels...Thank you for posting it "SuperBeautiful"


Saturday, August 16, 2008

Wilson's Leather Out of Business?

I must have missed something.

Wilson's was still in business???? That Company should have been put out of it's misery years ago. Seems that for the last 15 years or so it's been one of the most mis-managed, poorly merchandised, directionless retail outlet concepts out there. To go from being one of the largest retailers in the country... (how they did that I guess was by being everything to everybody - good idea!- that worked!)

Every single re-invention over that time was incredibly ill-conceived, poorly executed and just plain wishy-washy. No point-of-view whatsoever. The merchandise always left me scratching my head, sub-par in quality, styling and fit- It's looked like a car crash for ever. Nobody behind the wheel.

I'd hate to express this with regards to an "American" company, but we all know Wilson's hadn't manufactured anything in this country in years so...

Thank you for pulling the plug.


Thursday, August 14, 2008

Hard Edged Romance in Leather

leather calla-lily bag

I've been super busy, we just shot a bunch of new stuff and I have been working on some different items than I am used to. Two projects entail some very hard and ridged construction, not normally what I do, but since I've started doing handbags-fascinates me
. I am making a home now (more like an RV) for a little computer. The bag has really hardcore customer specifications, light in weight, good size, very specific pockets- my client wants it to hold everything she needs when flying, several changes of clothes plus computer and peripherals.

A real challenge, since something like this is very personal. I know how I like things a certain way and how many things, I always want to "fix", be it in a bag, a sleeve, a hem- whatever. So I completely get it when somebody says they've bought x # of (off-the-rack) bags, jackets- whatever, and nothing quite works.

The last couple of years, bags are so loaded down with hardware, you're already weight-lifting. Before the computer, the make-up, the paperback, the keys, the phone and god knows what else.

My whole thing- with leather- is to lighten it up.

If you didn't know, I am the antithesis of Chrome Hearts, is hard enough without having to lug around an extra 20 lbs. (& my virtually waterproof 4.5 oz leather eco-shopping bag will be available to order next week & no that is not a typo)

So now I am working on the second bag, I will post some photos when I am done, in the
meantime here is a preview of some of the new stuff. It's kinda hard and dark and romantic all at once.

Leather Butterfly Satchel
draped back dress
cocoon and leather obi
leather and silk dress

Laced leather sleeves and top
leather mockneck top
patent leather dress
custom made python skin jacket
white silk tunic and leather leggings

I want to thank the photographer, Phillip Wong, the model, Yana Zak, fabulous make-up artist, Sandra Downie and James Fabius for their help in getting this latest shoot together and the gorgeous results!

Now playing: Nick Cave & Kate Bush - Where The Wild Roses Grow
via FoxyTunes

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Iconic Punk Elvis Presley

I have been very lax in posting lately- and I have to go through my comments, but I had to post this today. I got in this afternoon and got some questions on something I'm selling on ebay- I have way too much stuff and way too little space- like everybody else in NYC and I periodically clean out my closets this way... So I listed this Iconic '70's punk t-shirt that I reworked:

Elvis meets Nixon frontElvis meets Nixon back

Well, today when I got in I'd received this "Question" from an E-Bay member:

Q: This shirt should be burned! People who don't know anything about the king of rock n' roll design shirts like this! It is very rude to put a negative design over such an important picture from our history! Elvis was and is the only civilian to ever walk into the White house with guns! (my italics) Elvis did and is still giving to so many people! He has touched so many people with his huge giving heart! From giving money, charity, cars, houses,free tickets,jewelry, food, animals, clothing, medical care and trans. to & from, & the shirt off his back etc! There is Presley Place foundations that help people in need and also are providing help to the huricane victims so they can rebuild New Orleans. What other celebrity can you name that has done all this alive and dead? Before you sell such degrading shirts you should watch documentries on the "USS Arizona memorial in memory of Pearl Harbor" and also "Elvis meets Nixon" just to mention a few so you can get a glimps of what an amazing man Elvis was!!!

- cheyka123

It's pretty much common knowledge that Elvis was wacked out of his gourd during the time he accepted the DEA badge from Nixon, and who on earth thought it was a good idea to let anybody into the White House with a GUN? That's Special???

(Although, nowadays... I am being completely facetious here, or can't you tell?)

I must say, I was warned. You see this t-shirt has a back story. My brother wore the original to Graceland- I don't know when, I guess pretty soon after it was opened to the public. From the way he describes it he was physically hauled out of the place due to the uproar the shirt caused among the hardcore Elvis fans, who unfortunately lack any sense of humor or irony, and apparently don't get the concept of freedom of speech- or live and let live. It's not a personal attack, It's a FREEKIN t-shirt!!!

cheyka123 - please keep your child away from the loaded gun you keep in your bureau and remember your spell-check....

Now playing:
Tunng - Bullets
via FoxyTunes


Friday, June 20, 2008

Leather Luddite at Heart

I am exhausted, one project, in particular has been very challenging, lots of tiny pieces and very unique construction,
(I will post pix asap)

I really like to concentrate and put my undivided attention into my work, even if it's just for a short stretch, I feel so much better when I am able to do that and for some reason tiny pieces get me flustered, distracted and I need super extra super ,super sharp concentration. Not easy when you are doing a bunch of stuff at once.

So, I basically put all computer stuff aside when I need to do concrete, physical,work, product.

I can really get into all this computer & internet stuff (way, way too much, being the obsessive Virgo that I am (same birthday as Amy Winehouse-?!?) but it's not my thing at all.

There's that tactile thing, I will never , ever, get over that. I am obsessed with it, flatness becoming 3-d. Thought solidified.

Something to touch, feel, smell, wear , get-out-of -the-house-in. get-out -of-suburbia-in.

Images, dreams, visions and shadow becoming reality.

This is just the germ of my love hate relationship with the computer.

btw, the project came out great! We are both thrilled with it!


Saturday, May 31, 2008

Lost Colony of the Amazon


I’ve wanted to put up some these photos I am scanning for Diego, so, with your permission
D, here they are…

These photos were taken during a Amazon expedition led by Tibor Sekelj, in the late 1940’s, in 1947 or 1948.

Sekelj, was an explorer, writer/journalist, ethnographer and esperantist. He was a contemporary of Thor Heyerdahl , but I think is mainly known in Europe.

Diego, whose mother is wrestling the crocodile with Tibor, has a small collection of these photos, some which were published in Tibor’s books, but all the reproduction I’ve seen is very poor.

Diego also has some of the items seen in the photos, like the long radiant feather headdress, on the left in the photo below. Also some of weavings, earrings, a woven wrap and even a contraceptive cap carved out of some sort of nut or shell! The weavings in particular are very interesting and have held up well. Many of the adornment items are very aural, made with bits of hanging shell that jingle together at the slightest movement.

I can’t imagine the beauty in reality and I figure that these people and their life style were lost long ago. I find these images especially beautiful and evocative and I wanted to put some of them up.

I Love You Diego!

For more on these photos and artifacts,please contact me, and I will put you in touch with Diego.

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Friday, May 30, 2008

The Lost Colony, recreated


Here's an interesting link to more on the re-building of the costumes for "the Lost Colony".

Yes the Queen's costume is like a car, not only in cost (a luxury model I would guess), but in it's dimensions! And I believe the actress wearing it is quite petite! Imagine a 5'1", 100 lb woman encased in a Smart car!

Now playing: Gogol Bordello - Illumination
via FoxyTunes

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

"The Lost Colony" Costumes

I had meant to add to my couture and costume post over a week ago, so better late than never.
The costumes were for an incredibly long running production out of North Carolina called
"The Lost Colony" and are designed by William Ivey Long.

It's a very funny coincidence that I happened to have a program from The Lost Colony's second year in production. My Mom saw it as a child and loved it. She'd kept the program pristinely all these years! Here are some images from that program:


And here are some more photos of the new costumes which are replacing costumes lost in a fire last year:

Some finished Dresses:

elizabethan-dressI want to thank my friend Karin for these beautiful costume photos.

I am very behind on a ton of stuff, all of it computer related. Everything basically stops when I have projects. So only when I get a decent break or am waiting for an appointment and have stuff prepped, am I able to stay on top of this. I would love some help with this, so I'm putting it out there for any of you with ideas and/or suggestions.

I will be posting some more VERY amazing "Lost Colony" photos soon. Never, ever, before seen photos from the Amazon Jungle, circa 1947 or 1948. Some really gorgeous tribal life images.

Now playing: The Elysian Fields - Bayonne
via FoxyTunes


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