Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Leather & Evening Wear

behrlenyc-couture-frontbehrlenyc-couture-back

I recently completed this dress for a fabulous client of mine, Rini B. & I’m thrilled she’s gotten nothing but complements in it! It looks amazing on her and was a challenging project for me. It is very low cut in back, but remains decent! This is an example the "couture" quality workmanship and techniques I love to do when I can.

Behrle NYC Dress detail
Behrle NYC Dress detail


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Slum Lady Jane-Fashion Icon

slum-lady-jane

I love to hear how “Baby” Jane Holzer is such an Icon of Fashion.
This from WWD;
Oh, Baby!
Baby Jane Holzer, that is. She was one of the inspirations for John Galliano's very pretty fall collection for Christian Dior, which skillfully mixed glamour and restraint. The big hair and ladylike accessories were all part of the fun. Here, a look that would have delighted Holzer in the Sixties, a flared fur coat,
worn with short leather gloves and a top-handle bag.
She was also one of the worst slumlords of the Lower East Side, pre- gentrification. I know, I lived in one of her buildings. Where, on the first of every month the “managing agent” this skeevy, little, gimpy guy named Jesse, along with a big, (I mean huge!) “maintenance” guy, would come through the building knocking on doors to collect the rent - with Baseball Bats!

One night I left the building, which had a permanently installed dealer, that no amount of tenant & police complaints could dislodge, (he was useful, kept in place to keep turnover high) at Norfolk and Stanton, to go visit a friend uptown. A taxi that was driving past on Stanton did the sharpest K turn ever to meet me as I walked to the corner and the driver stuck his head out the window... “Get In, I’ll take you where ever you need to go- no charge, you shouldn’t be walking around here.” He was a young white guy and knew the building I’d come out of, which was why he stopped. Turned out he’d lived with his girlfriend a few blocks further East in another Holzer drug building. They’d come home from a matinee one afternoon only to see a 12 year old neighbor’s brains get blown out right in front of them - in the middle of the afternoon!

They’d begged Baby Jane (who still wore her hair in the above pictured bouffant, rather un-successfully, I might add) to move them into one of her “nice” i.e.: dealer free buildings, above Houston. (In my in building we'd all been paying illegally inflated rents & eventually went on rent strike) But, No Go. They were afraid for their lives! A kid had been murdered 2 feet away from them! They were only able to get a relocation after they’d threatened to go public with her slum lady lord activities below Houston. Did the trick!
Such a Fashion Icon....

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Monday, February 25, 2008

Two cents...!

Had fun watching the Oscars, but I can't believe how quickly those who didn't tow the line and dress according to some PR/media flak/company marketing plan got Trashed. Come on!
Marion Cotillard looked amazing! I just don't get the petty, meanness of some of the comments I read. And god forbid if you dress to highlight your own tastes and personality. I LOVED what Diablo Cody wore, it suited her perfectly and the earrings were kick-ass. Yes, the slit should've been closed off some so she wasn't nervously checking it when she went on up stage, but cheeky underwear would've worked too!
Tilda's dress was intriguing, and I got why she picked it. It worked in theory, not in practice. It was a difficult dress. and it looked she had to keep her right arm permanently bent at the elbow....(or what, I wonder?) She has an amazing face, her skin is astoundingly beautiful, and I loved that she appeared barren of make-up. The dress did highlight this, which may have been the point. So, Go Tilda!


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Friday, February 22, 2008

Mutton Chops

I LOVE the title of this story out of Sydney, and I agree whole-heartedly.
I never got how hitting 30 seemed to become the cut off date for a new pair of leather pants. During one 2 month period, I made 60+ pairs of custom and special order pants and I’d say close to 40 of them were for women frantic to get a pair before they turned 30! The rest were for some of the most amazingly stylish, self-confident & beautifully secure women I have ever met. All between 45-65. Hey, 30 is just the start! Kudos to all of you!


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Thursday, February 21, 2008

Made in Italy...NOT!

Thank you LA Times, for printing this article. "Made in Italy" isn’t always.

Italy is allowed to use that label on finished goods brought in from other countries, including those they then export.

The big names have gotten great quality finished leather garments for years out of Slovakia. (Very, very, good quality workmanship coming out of Slovakia) I looked into it at one point, the quantities were not too onerous for a small company, but I would have had to label the product “Made in Slovakia”. BIG difference, No?

Slovakia is probably feeling it now too, the pressure to compete with the unbelievably cheap labor out of China. Guess what's gonna happen when China has ALL the manufacturing, everywhere...


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Top 10 on Oprah-Laser Cut Leather for Spring

laser-leather-skirtlaser-leather-camisole
laser-leather-suitThanks to Jackie, for letting me know that a laser cut leather skirt is on Oprah’s short list of must have items for Spring. The skirt featured is a pretty bell shaped gored skirt of a simple laser lace pattern...I was flummoxed in my attempts to find any credits on Oprah’s website. I have a feeling it may have been over-budget for the feature. Laser cut leather, in a good quality, does cost.

I’ve worked a great deal in laser cut leathers, some that leave no way to sew in any traditional fashion due to so much open area- like this suit to the right. Instead they have to be worked more like fine lace or net. I’ve created various techniques to deal with this and retain a perfectly clean finished garment. (I also line all the very sheer lasers with silk chiffon, the pieces shown were unlined for editorial purposes.)

These techniques, in & of themselves add to the cost of working with laser cut leather. Also the detailing of the pattern can affect the price of the skin as very detailed patterns take much more time under the laser to complete. I don’t even want to think of what’s involved in creating the digital artwork required for such patterns!

A good European laser cut uses primo skins since whatever is left after cutting must withstand some stress and not rip easily. I know they are replicating some of these laces in Asia and other countries, but they tend to be incredibly easy to rip, since the skins used are just not the quality needed.

I hope as my business grows, I can do my own laser cutting one day, in- house. It will allow me the opportunity to really get creative with the process and do a lot of different things that could otherwise be done only in a massive manufacturing situation.


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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Post-Apocolyptic Kids

diesel+thunderdome+ad+1
I love these new Diesel Kids ads inspired by Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome. Brought to my attention by Hell for Leather, a site that combines speed, style and leather (what more could you possibly want ?)


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Sunday, February 17, 2008

Leather for Spring!

I am thrilled that the NYT featured leather jackets today as a big must have for Spring. I wish they done more justice with the photos. Some of these jackets look like they could be quite nice. My favorite in the print edition is the "gwyn" jacket. Although looking at the slideshow, I like the idea far more than the actual jacket, with it's simplified Rick Owens inspired shape. I also like the white Robert Rodriguez jacket. But again, it's really hard to get any idea as to how it looks on. The photo makes it look blocky and like the sleeves are big tubes. Who knows? A little more time and care should have been taken to shoot all these jackets, rather than just throwing them on a 3D hangar. Nothing ever, ever fits those things.

For myself, for Spring, I think a jacket in a washable skin would be perfect. I have a pair of cropped pants in a washable. They are out of this world and I’ve worn them to death! I've done some for clients, but not enough. I think people can't believe leather can really be washable AND dryable in a machine. But it is, and it’s fabulous!
washable-leather-pants


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Friday, February 15, 2008

"The Angels wanna wear my Red Shoes"

Red ShoesI don’t care if they are plastic and cost 20 bucks! They are a size 5 and actually fit! I’ve been looking for a pair of red shoes forever! The last time I had a pair was probably when the song came out, those were Mary Janes too, but steel-toed for mom (what can I say- I was hard on stuff). God. I hated those things! Weird how things get back at you….


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Wednesday, February 13, 2008

More Leather Wedding Gowns

It’s been taking a long while to get back into the swing of things. Been sick as a dog with the flu. Seriously making me consider flu shots from now on- this is Nasty.

Tomorrow is Valentine' s day, so I’m gonna catch up a little with my non-traditional wedding dresses. Going through these, I really want to do more. Wedding dresses can be a lot of fun. Creative and challenging.


My favorite and most time consuming project ever was this dress;

leather-wedding-gown

It’s in a pearlized white leather coinmail that I make. It's lined with a pale pink silkchiffon and the matching veil is pink tulle edged with more coinmail. It’s trimmed with tiny pearlized pink and white hand-made leather rosebuds. The gown was inspired by Theda Bara and worn for a Moroccan themed wedding outside San Francisco.  More about this Dress.

taupe-leather-wedding-gown-2taupe-leather-wedding-gown-1


This dress was made for Thaler Bergin. She wanted a dress that would not be limited to being worn only for her wedding. It’s In a very unusual rich taupe color leather. It suited her coloring perfectly and the spiral cut of the dress gave it real movement and modern feel.

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