Japanese fashion exhibit A.K.A. stuff I’d never wear

Roughly twice a week, I open my mailbox to find envelopes filled with articles clipped from the Des Moines Register and Wallstreet Journal from my dad. A daily newspaper reader, he is famous for sitting and reading with a pair of scissors for cutting, folding, and mailing to loved ones he thinks may take interest in the material. My mailbox usually gets articles on former classmates and WHS happenings, wine, golf, and, of course, fashion.

Gossip, booze, leisure sports, and clothes. 

Can you blame me?

While all of the articles are fantastic, one stood out to me recently and led me to a fantastic afternoon adventure. It was an article featuring different fashion exhibits around the world, one of which was in Seattle, called “Future Beauty”. So when I realized that I had a trip north planned in just a couple weeks, I marked my calendar and got the deets.

To set the scene: it was a sunny Thursday with smooth sailing on the interstate, I got a free ice cream cone at DQ because corporate didn’t pass the memo about Miracle Treat Day, I got the king spot in the parking garage when they were at max capacity, AND I found a red sequin dress that was made for mischief on super-sale. So I had a feeling this trip to the Seattle Art Museum was going to be great, and I was right.

Behold: 

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Essentially, this exhibit showcases pieces of couture fashion from Japanese designers over the past 30 years. This is the stuff that design dreams are made of.

The ornate details! The unusual silhouettes! The innovative construction! Oh how my heart was singing!!

For those who are not familiar with Japanese fashion (it’s okay- I’m still learning myself), it is an important distinction to make from the rest of the world. Boundaries are unclear and tradition is void. Appropriately named “Future Beauty” the overwhelming takeaway for any non-fashion-minded individual would be that Japanese designers see fashion as limitless and with the ability to transcend time. Much of the world’s clothing is still governed by function, but in Japan the fashion on the streets can sometime be more obscure than what is on the couture runways. The exhibit included both couture and street wear. Some of the labels on the displayed looks even said “street fashion” as opposed to being from a designer. Crazy right? Mostly,  the exhibit consisted of a sizable collection of runway pieces and included names like Rei Kawakubo (Comme des Garçons), Yohji Yamamoto, and a smattering of other noteworthy people I will let you research 😉 but let’s get to the goods– pictures!

Just LOOK at this stuff!

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I had to snag pics for you online because while I was in the exhibition I felt like it was a sacred ground. The hushed whispers of the patrons made footsteps seem to echo louder. I think music would have caused sensory overload because the lights and the angles and the intrigue of each piece had a visual decibel level high enough to wake the neighbors.

My favorite piece came  from Yohji Yamamoto and was made of a thick, woolen felt. I was dazzled by so many pieces, but this one wasn’t the most flashy or jaw dropping. This piece was was austere and sober, yet remarkably regal. I’d costume it for a futuristic action movie. It seems fit for a doe-eyed, stoic villain in a modern-day castle somewhere in a snowy part of the world. Don’t you think?Image

Though many designers have influenced the state of fashion to date, there is something about the philosophy of these Japanese designs that was cohesive. This perceived commonality was the reminder of the importance of play in design. Each design appeared to have intent to reveal the expanse of the muse, like a child who colors outside the lines and makes purple hair because that is what inspires them. Instead of saying “no” that isn’t how it’s done, the designers took their pencils a bit further to create new shapes, surpassed conventional fabrics for avant-garde materials, and selected colors based on doing whatever the heck they wanted to do. The designers said yes to thoughtful innovation and yes to unabashed play.

I thought about picking up one the luxuriously clothed mannequins and taking it with me, but then I didn’t want to take it away from it’s mannequin friends. So I left with my appetite for culture fully satiated and swirling ideas for future projects. Bring on the playtime.

🙂

To anyone who is in the Seattle area: I believe that the exhibit will be up for another week or so, so scurry over there and check it out- definitely worth a trip.

More info at the official link: here

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School starts again in a couple weeks, can you believe it? Am I still a student? Oy vey. I am really looking forward to all of the fashion related events that I’ve been plugging into my iCal. I’ve got a few projects in the works, pending responsibilities, and a slew of fashion shows to get me excited in addition to some new fashion classes. Big stuff- stay tuned!!

Well thanks, Dad, for sending those articles my way. I wouldn’t have gotten that unique experience if I hadn’t known! And just so you all know, summer is officially over. I’m visiting my folks this week and tonight my dad announced that today is the last day he will be wearing his seersucker suits and white shoes.

Sigh.

Cheers to wearing white this weekend and catching the last of the summer sun! Happy Labor Day!

xo

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Dorky Chick #TBT: ummm WHY wasn’t I invited to the VMA’s?

 

 

 

 

Listen. I don’t f*&%ing get it. All week I have to hear about stinking celebrities and their “fabulous” fashion statements and I have basically been red carpet ready for years and nobody has paid any attention to me. It’s not fair! 

Just take a look at Gaga in this trash bag dress….

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C’mon, financially-savvy-college-freshman Caroline was rocking that years ago…

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Obviously red carpet worthy.

 

Then Allison Williams shows up in Valentino and everybody is like “ooohhhh”

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Um excuse me but HOW could you forget that I basically wore the same thing to my junior year voice recital? 

ImageI friggin’ nailed “Green Finch and Linnet Bird” from Sweeney Todd that night.

Nailed. it.

But what really chaps my hide is Katy Perry and her– wait, what’s that they call it?- oh yeah— her “grill”. 

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Katy, Katy, Katy. Let me show you how it’s done. ImageFake forest background.

Casual knuckles under chin.

So whimsical…yet, so fierce. 

 

 

 

All I’m saying is, fashion legends like myself deserve some recognition.

I’ll be waiting on my invitation to 2014’s VMA’s, MTV. 

I’ll. Be. Waiting. 

😉

xo

 

 

 

READER FEATURE: Meet Laura!

I designed this blog to be a digital bulletin board/keepsake box/public diary of all things that keep me inspired. This includes learning hurdles cleared, industry knowledge acquired, fashion fantasies explored, and officially, now, recognizing those who live fabulously, fearlessly, and fashionably. I want to dedicate a new monthly installment to readers who have kept me motivated and exemplify what it means to DREAM and DO.

Introducing….

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Meet Laura.

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One of my oldest friends, I couldn’t think of a better person to kick off this segment with.  I can just remember sitting in our middle school homeroom class and chit chatting like we were millionaire shoppers. Drooling over Louis Vuitton logos, daydreaming about Betsey Johnson shoes, and always being “in the know” about what was acceptable 8th grade attire…we’ve come quite a ways 🙂  Why I chose Laura is because she is not only is she a loyal reader of my little blog, she is also an integral part of my fashion history. Knowing my love of fashion, she invited me one spring day in 2007 to watch the Central Campus Fashion Show. This fashion show was the end-of-the-year showcase for the Fashion Design and Merchandising students at the downtown, college-level tech school  for high school students, which I would after become a part of.  (You may remember me mentioning this school before in one of my earliest blogs- click here. ) This experience catapulted me into exploring my creative side, allowed me to take a road less traveled, and ultimately has played a part in what has caused me to sit in this chair and type on this blog.

My appreciation for her goes far beyond that invitation, however, and I would say she is one of the more inspirational people I know. Laura is one of those people I would describe as “tightly wrapped”. She is organized, she is accomplished, she makes friends everywhere she goes, and she somehow makes time for it all and then some.  She makes life fun while still working really hard and looking extra fabulous. OH and she can kick your ass.

But I’ll let her do the talking. I had a chance to ask her some questions so you can get to know her, we can learn about her style, and maybe some of her can rub off on us!

C: Alright Laura, gimme the basics.

L: I live in the fabulous Scottsdale, Arizona! It’s very much the stereotype that everyone imagines. Eclectic cars and women in 100% matching Lululemon outfits at the gym protecting their new manicures. Sometimes I wonder if these people have jobs or are really doing that well being sugar mamas. If the latter, I need to switch careers. Besides it turning into an oven for 4 months out of the year, I can’t complain about the sunshine and the great tan that I can therefore maintain. You [learn to] deal with the 120 degree hot season for 8 months of 80 degree weather  just by thinking of friends at home [in Iowa] crossing treacherous black ice. I am currently a pediatric intensive care nurse at Phoenix Children’s Hospital. It’s amazing, I know. It’s also sad, I know. I get to be the one there for families when their child is in the worst possible state they could imagine. I’m there for the happy times when we’re leaving the ICU, and I’m there for the sad times when that departure wasn’t as positive. All in all, I love what I do! I’m also a Crossfit coach. Nothing about that one is ever sad. I see people improve every day and lift heavy stuff. All in sometimes coordinated Lululemon outfits. I also have a little side job of making homemade almond butter – aptly named after my Crossfit enthusiasm “Nasty Girls Nut Butter.” If you haven’t heard of the Crossfit “Nasty Girls”, Google it. Then try one of my nut butters. You’ll realize after about 30 seconds why they’re appropriately named. The nut butter started as something I just did for myself and has now evolved into something people are bringing me jars back for refills! Check me out on Facebook- I ship!

**side note- Laura was actually on a team that competed at CrossFit regionals. Um.. watch out!!!!!!

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C: How would you describe your style?

L: My style is either scrubs or workout apparel, so pretty darn comfy. I literally have a closet of clothes that I select from for an occasion about every 3 months. However, when these such occasions arise, I’m choosing from a closet of low-maintenance, trendy pieces. I’m usually the one wearing a statement piece of jewelry with a black on black ensemble or the red pants with a basic tee. Standout, but easy. Done.

C: What inspires you?

L: My grandmother instilled in me the love of Coco Chanel. I’ve read three biographies and still have a Chanel-inspired password after five years. The mantra of not taking no for an answer and doing what you feel and not what society dictates is what I strive to achieve as well.

C: Who is a style icon that influences you?

L: Cliché, I know she’s been in the press a lot lately, but I’ve loved Kate Middelton (Dutches of Cambridge, allofherotherreallylongtitles), from the get go. She’s like me, effortless, comfy, and stylish. I also like Reese Witherspoon for her casual day to day outfits and then looking bombshell on the red carpet. Every time.

C: What is your favorite piece in your wardrobe?

L: My favorite piece (such a hard choice) would be a pair of 7 for all Mankind jeans that I have that literally feel like yoga pants. Who likes constricting jeans? Not I. These fit like a dream! I also love my swim covers – because that typically means I’m also wearing a bikini and going to the sun. …..Also, I buy Charles David heels. They’re my one and only. We go pretty steady these days.

C: If you could give one piece of fashion advice, what would that be?

L: My fashion advice would come from my inspiration, Coco Chanel.

“A girl should be two things: classy and fabulous.”

I love this quote because I don’t ever go for the most avant garde outfit selections. I like things simple, some cleavage if deemed the right event, little jewelry, subtle makeup and fun shoes. Classy. Fabulous.

True to Dorky Chick form, I had to have Laura prove herself in pictures of a “TRRRENNNDAAYYY” outfit… Check it out!

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Laura says: Sooo here’s my outfit! It’s a dress I recently found at My Sister’s Closet, a designer consignment shop. It is Lotta Stensson. This dress still had tags on it that it retails for $350. I got it at the ripe dime of $58. It is also quite risque aka translucent, so I purchased a $28 white Free People slip to throw underneath. $86 investment worth $378; I’ll take it!

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, can I get a round of applause for Laura????

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She is caring for families in their darkest hours, achieving fitness goals and helping others do so as well, starting her own business on the side of ridiculously delicious nut butters, and is still getting out there and loving life. We see that beer in your picture, girl!  What can be learned through Laura is that no matter the circumstance, you can keep on “doin’ you”. For someone who spends most of her time in purpose-driven duds, she does an excellent job of keeping a her attitude stylish. Scrubs at work and spandex at the gym? No matter, because she knows she has fab looks waiting in the wings. Catch her teaching a class and you won’t know what is more impressive- her ability to keep up with the guys, or her adorbs outfit!

Thank you Laura! For letting us get to know how you take the day to day and make it fabulous- and for even getting your “dorky” on for some excellent pics of your Lotta Stensson dress.

Check her out on Facebook! https://www.facebook.com/NastyGirlsNutButter

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Until next time readers!  Thanks for being patient as I travel across the country. So much exciting stuff to write about!!!!

xo

Are you a fashionista or fashionisto who lives each day with inspiration? Or do you know someone who is? You or someone you know could be next month’s reader feature!   Send in your name, the name of the person you are nominating, and a mini bio to dorkychickinlipstick@gmail.com ! 

Real men dress like baby girls

Handshakes are pretty powerful thing. The un-inked agreement between two hands attached to separate bodies is what has made the world what it is today. Business deals, grand ceremonies, formal greetings, and, of course, bets all require handshakes to solidify an idea becoming an event. My friends, Dan and Roxanne, shook hands a couple months ago on a particular bet that I got to facilitate… and oh boy was it fun! *insert enthusiastically villian-esque evil laugh here*

*still cackling*

(eh hem) Anyhoo, so to give you some backstory: Kyle and Rama are an awesome couple with an awesome 4 year old boy named Jaden. One night while a group of us were at their house for our Monday night gathering for “The Voice” it was revealed that come December, Jaden was going to become a big brother! Obviously the room was filled with enthusiasm at the idea of Rama having a little bun in the oven, but the question was would it be a boy or a girl?!?!

Roxanne said it would be a girl, Dan thought it would be a boy, and somewhere along the line a bet was formed. The stakes: Loser, who incorrectly guesses the sex of the baby, has to wear a grown-up sized baby costume of the for the duration of the baby gender reveal party. Said costume must be gender stereotype specific to baby being born. Winner gets to cackle.

Either way, I was in charge of making the costume!

A few days before the party, the parents got the results in a sealed envelope, which they gave to me, and I had the heart pounding experience of opening it to see the results! The only people to know were myself, the cake decorator, and the doctors–everyone else would find out at the party. I was extremely nervous to know, because I knew how badly they wanted a little girl, and I had to keep a straight face in the days leading up to the reveal.

I opened up the envelope and inside was the ultrasound picture and a note that said

It’s a GIRL

AAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Naturally I had a mini freakout and car-danced about it as I drove to the fabric store to buy pink fabric.

Finding out that this incredible family is going to expand in the way they had dreamed was so exciting, but the only thing that made it better was realizing that Dan has to wear a baby girl costume all. night. long. 

*more over-enthusastic cackling*

I couldn’t laugh forever though- I was headed to Seattle until the day of the party and I only had 24 hours to buy materials, create the pattern, and put it all together! I needed a plan. I knew I’d need a bonnet, a skirt, and a top. There would need to be lace, it had to be pink, and there was a special request for polka-dots. Teehee! What was more important, is that I needed a fabric that was cheap, easy to work with, and would be forgiving since I knew I was going to have to whip up this outfit like a bat out of hell.

Here’s what I ended up with:

– Felt. This is perfect fabric for short term costumes. It comes in all colors, doesn’t stretch so is easy to work with, is a breeze to cut, and is definitely affordable. Shout out to homegirl JoAnn for coupons! I bought pink and white and wasn’t really sure how much I would need, but ended up being okay. It is always better to have an extra yard. Always.

– Elastic. I didn’t have Dan’s measurements, but knew I could guess about how much give I would need to get it around his waist.

– Lace. Obviously. Making Dan a pretty baby girl was going to take extra measures. Dan, if you are reading this, I mean that in the nicest way….lol

Velcro. I ain’t got tiiiiime for no zippers! Velcro sticks right to felt and takes minimal application time.

I started with the bonnet. I looked up ideas online and ended up measuring my own head to get it just right. There are a lot of elaborate designs out there but  the quick and dirty 2 piece seemed to look just fine.

From there I went to the shirt. I mostly eyeballed the pattern piece from memory of shirt pattern pieces I had seen in the past. This ended up coming up a little short on the back, and I later had to add a panel. The sleeves, on the other hand, were something I would definitely put in the “win” category. I’ve always been intimidated by sleeves, but was able to cut out, gather, and sew in without puckers or mishaps on the first try!!! Wahoo!!

After that I made the skirt. I ended up having to cut 4 separate pieces to make sure I had enough of the pink, but ultimately I was fine and attached an elastic waistband.  If I would have had time, I would have made a dress, but instead figured that a shirt tucked into the skirt would give a similar enough effect.

Surprisingly, the polka dots were the biggest challenge. I didn’t want to hand sew, but the felt was so thick I was nervous about trying to maneuver my machine to sew them on, and I had gotten a little overeager to put the sleeves on before the dots. I decided to go for it, and one by one used a close zig-zag stitch around each dot, all while an objectively horrible Hillary Duff movie played in the background. They weren’t perfect, but they were there in all their feminine glory!

I got a chance to finish it up before the party, and I added the extra back panel for the inches of fabric that I underestimated, slapped some velcro on that bad boy, and it was party time!

I kept a poker face for a solid hour at the party people analyzed my eye movements with hungry eyes! Na na na boo boo- I totally knew! We ate some delicious dinner and then it was time to cut the cake! Mama Rama found the pink shoe baked in the cake and tears and hugs followed. Dan was dismissed to go find the costume that awaited him, and returned in my creation!

Ay bay bay!!

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*still cackling* 

There’s Roxanne smiling ear to ear knowing that she won the bet 😉

 

It fit! Which was an exciting moment for me, and I think that pink really goes well with his skin tone, don’t you?

Check out some precious moments:

Awww

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First family photo with their baby girl……. lol

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 even got a pic in with my creation!

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By the end of the night Dan’s inner Jersey baby came out….

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You lookin’ at me? Can’t a baby get a drink around hea?????

As you can tell, it was a great time and I was so grateful to get to add to the fun of the evening and celebrate with Rama, Kyle, and Jaden as they look forward to welcoming a new family member to the planet!!!

Thanks, guys!! And of course, thanks to Dan for being such a good sport.

As far as sewing goes, this was like a fun challenge to race against the clock and get to make something all my own.  It felt really good to go into a project confidently, and to come out on the other side having accomplished what needed to get accomplished.

Who knows, maybe my claim to fame will one day be a high end line of baby style menswear!

And on THAT disturbing thought, I wish you a happy Saturday…

😉

xo

P.S. Rama has a phenomenal website called Freshly Grown! When you get a chance, give her page a “like” on Facebook and check out her great website. She has a really personal testimony that has led her to a healthy lifestyle and it is incredibly inspirational!  www.freshly-grown.com

Such a tease: what to expect this week @ DorkyChickinLipstick!

Hi friends!!

PDX livin’ is treating this red head well, and I have some great blogs I cannot wait to unveil!! This is an extremely exciting time of the year where the winds of change seem to breeze through just as life is feeling stuffy. If there were a video montage of my summer it would definitely involve Hall & Oates music, the whirring of the sewing machine, scenes of me clumsily trying out my new bike, and copious amounts of laughter amidst a large star-studded cast. (AKA my fantastic friends- you know who you are!)

That being said, I’ve had a lot of awesome things to say, but nearly no time to let my fingers do the talking! I’ve finally got a window of sweet, sweet freedom and with that I’ve got a lot of blogging to do. Here’s what you can expect in the next week:

– a few words on my industrial machines intensive… 6,500 stitches per minute? SAY WHAAA?

– the final product of my leatherworking class! It is one cute tote I’m proud to say I made.

– the biggest baby outfit you ever did see. (And yes, this baby is bigger than those two record breaking babies over in Europe….)

– Future Beauty: the fashion exhibit I visited in Seattle. 30 years of Japanese couture. Thank goodness for ropes or I would have drooled all over that stuff….

AAaaaAAaaaaND our. first. ever. READER FEATURE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It is about time we celebrated progress over here at DCiL, and after reaching 300 “Likes” on Facebook, I think we are overdue. My friend Laura is one of the coolest, most “together”, and fashion-loving people I know, and she led me to a part of my life story that changed my path forever. I can’t think of a better reader to kick things off with!!!

Needless to say, I’m ecstatic. This goofy little blog is bringing me so much joy and I hope that it is continuing to bring it all to you! So stay tuned for the usual fashion follies, new features, and cyberpositivity.

xo! 

 

Drawing practice ! 8.5

It has been officially an eon since I last had a free afternoon to sit and putter around with my art supplies. Feeling unfocused, I decided that drawing something already in existence was probably the best way to exercise my precision, and I chose the smokin’ red dress that Rhianna wore to the Grammy’s! 

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In my Illustration class review, I was told that I should work more on texture and on faces. I thought this would be a good choice because of the gathered skirt and translucent silk. 

Getting started was harder than I had thought, as I tried to remember the techniques I had learned months ago. I got started in pencil and took a pic so I could see what I’d started with by the time I was done. Lucky for me this time, I was already sold on drawing a long skirt so you didn’t have to see her weird looking cartoon legs…. 

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Her arms were looking a little wonky and her face was so small that my pencil could hardly make details, but overall I was pleased enough to move on. After all, I had to accept that I will not be turning into Michelangelo in one afternoon of drawing.

Then there was the coloring! After outlining in thin Staedler marker, I decided that I would mix it up and use only my PrismaColor colored pencils this time. Previously, I had been using mainly my markers, but wanted to work with a medium I was less comfortable with. Here’s what came out:

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Riri was looking a bit better at the Grammy’s, but I took away some great observations about my process and where to go from here. Somewhere along the line her hair grew, her smile got colored in, and the precision of the folds in her dress became muddied. I had a hard time getting her hair to catch that ideal ombre glow and had an even harder time getting the beautiful coloring of her skin just right. This led to over-compensation, and I couldn’t color any more unless I wanted to just draw right through to the next page. 

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All in all, it was a good checkpoint. I want to try this dress again, but instead use markers and spend more time on the details of her face and hair. I’ve heard designers say that more often than not a croquis gets drawn and redrawn multiple hair-pulling times until it is just right, but if I sit and roast any longer inside on this beautiful, hot day I think I will go insane in the membrane. 

On a positive note, I’m actually pleasantly surprised with the experimentation I did to make the fabric appear to be sheer through her torso and her face didn’t look like a man. These are both going in the “win” category.

I’m excited to try this again, and definitely will plan on more time for details. I think next time the most important part will be measuring and not second guessing my measurements. I got caught up in details that were not to scale and I lost focus of the precision that could have added some points for technique.

As we say around here:

Cheers, to sucking less! 

The grocery store calls! Stay positive friends, Monday is almost over 😉 

xo