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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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

Pictures of my TREEENNNNDAAAYYY outfit! 7.29

I’ve been working hard lately at trying to grow up. I’ve lived on my own for two years, I feel like I’m finally settling into a great network of people, and I want to be able to put more exciting things on my plate. Yesterday I celebrated a wonderful day of domestication. I cooked. I cleaned. I socialized.

And I wore homemade clothes!

As painfully June Cleaver as it sounds, I couldn’t help myself! I made this classic A-line skirt out of a funky black paisley-esque cotton last winter, and haven’t had a chance to see if it was worth wearing until this week. As basic and boring as can be, but I kinda liked it with my pink J. Crew necklace, grey tank, and go-to wedges!

Cue pic that says “Oh! Please have some more casserole, I made plenty!”

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Don’t let my fake smile fool you, I was really just happy to see carpet for the first time in weeks.

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It really is the little things. 

Hope you have a gleefully-rolling-on-the-floor kind of day.

xo

TRRRREENNNNDAYYY WEEKEND: Here comes da judge!! 7.20-21!

 

 

Once again I’ve found myself in pageant land! I may not be destined for the courtroom, but I can still be a judge in the sparkly pageant arena 😉  So I’ve skipped town for a couple days to determine the fates of the ambitious young ladies competing for opportunities to find their inner queen.

This, of course, requires the right wardrobe so I played some dress up to exercise my styling muscles and make sure I was prepared for the weekend’s festivities!

OUTFIT 1: 

Orientation, first rounds of interviews, and introductions means it’s business time. A classic black sheath from Bebe was my first pull from my closet. Hotel A/C is usually pumping freezing cold air so I chose to cover up with this tweed jacket I found at J.C. Penney!  ($30!!) To ad my own flair, I put it with my favorite go-to cutout black heels, chunky silver jewelry to accent the exposed zipper on the jacket, and my favorite bracelet that reads “FEARLESS”

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OUTFIT 2:

Sunday morning is the perfect time to pullout a cheery business wear outfit! Again, A/C pumping means dress for indoor autumn. I brought my own summer in the form of a white, flowy jacket, indigo capris, a bright floral scarf, and my favorite comfy pumps. Don’t let the playfulness fool you, I’m still a tough judge 😉

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OUTFIT 3:

 Dear whomever it may concern at Fashion Police Department,

I’m repeating an outfit. Na na na boo boo. I don’t care.

Sincerely,

Caroline

For the final night of crowning, they said to pack our best! My pageant gown days are over, so I’m choosing to show my flashy flair through different means of fabulosity! I found this bright turquoise dress on sale from FCUK a couple months ago and wore it to the crowning of Miss Oregon 2013. I love that it is flattering, eye-catching, and comfortable! Great nights are only made better if you feel great in what you wear, and I’ve found that wearing a skin-tight sausage casing definitely gets in the way of being carefree- so I picked this! And I glitzed it up with heaping piles of jewelry.

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I firmly believe the best outfits should be worn again! If I ever made it to the big time, I would wear the same outfit a handful of times just so people know it is okay.

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Well, that’s that! I will not be accepting any creepy calls this weekend of people asking “what are you wearing??”  You already know.

 

Okay, I’m off! Have a fun summer weekend- I’m sending love from pageant land!

xo

 

 

 

 

Blogress Report: Button-up Shirt and Wrap Dress DOMINATION!!! Sort of!!!!

Great news. It’s official. I am slightly smarter, slightly more accomplished, and slightly closer to crowdsurfing through thousands of adoring fans while people call my name and the trumpets sound and fireworks are exploding and Beyonce’s lipsyncing the national anthem and all there is to eat is pizza!!!!!!!!! That’s what dreams come true is, isn’t it!?

I just completed my next round of sewing projects! I took a “Perfect Shirt” class, a dress class, and also textiles! This weekend I have been doing a lot of last-minute crunching to get these suckers done.

PROJECT 1: THE PERFECT SHIRT

The “Perfect” Shirt is certainly not flawless, but this was an incredible introduction into traditional tailored garments. I made a shirt somewhat similar to this when I was back in high school, but it looked like doo-doo and was never seen again. This was a second chance for me, and it still wasn’t a walk in the park, but some serious progress was made!

Check it out!

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Eh? Eh??! I can’t take credit for just whipping this out myself, because I definitely had some guidance.That being said, I did have to finish a considerable amount on my own time since I missed some classes for my travels home.

Here’s what I learned:

-Proper plackets. The Rubik’s cube of fabric folding.

-Collar stands

– Adding structure with a yoke on the upper back.

– How to make a proper cuff

Here’s what I need more work on:

– Everything. There are a multitude of little tweaks that I couldn’t possibly think that I’ve mastered here, but all time spend working on this was incredibly worthwhile. There is little to no creative freedom in a project like this, so it is a classic example of “practice makes perfect”

PROJECT 2: THE WRAP DRESS

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Image << That’s the print up close.

This was a fun project to do because it didn’t require any zippers or buttons!!! Wahoo!! The fabric was fairly easy to work with and the garment seems to fit fairly well. It is lined with a grey synthetic, which frayed easily, but for as often as I’ll wear the thing, I think it will be fine.

Here’s what I learned:

-How to use a hemmer foot: this is a tool that wraps around the edge of the fabric and curls it as the machine stitches. This helps to make delicate hems.

-How to use twill

-A refresher in pattern manipulation

What I’ll work on for next time:

– Patience with the hem. I thought the hemmer foot would solve all my problems, but it is not a cure-all

– Measuring more accurately. It fits fairly well, but the..er.. girls ain’t gettin’ no bigger.

– Like the shirt, just overall confidence and proficiency.

I think the skill I am closest to mastering after this weekend is ironing. This is way more crucial to the construction process than I had ever imagined. I won’t try and make an irony joke here, but please know that I want to.

Well that’s all folks! I’m tired of sitting down, so I’m off!

As we say ’round here– cheers, to sucking less!

xo

Zombie Apocalypse: Now Accepting Applications!

As I slowly chip away at my roster of design classes, I’ve had some great opportunities to broaden my horizons, expand the scope of my skills, and most importantly, increase my chance of survival in the zombie apocalypse

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^^Portland zombie

It is no secret that I was the last child to complete the timed mile run in elementary school, and never got much faster…nor am I notably coordinated and have been known to mistake my finger for a block of cheese….So if I can’t hunt and gather or be a warrior, what’s left?

Translator? Nein, ich spreche nur ein bissen Deutch…plus the Germans have been learning English for decades so that’s out…

Medical expert? Oh! Maybe?  Let me look on WebMD and see….

Prostitute?   Does this look mean anything to you?

Photo on 7-11-13 at 7.24 PM

You cray! *snap snap snap*

I was starting to face the music;  fated to meet my doom as a zombie cupcake with cherry frosting… until now!

My love of needles+thread has led me to a class where I am learning the age-old art of  LeatherworkingOkay so ideally I’d like to be able to throw together some crafty bags or shoes like any girly girl, but as I beveled, skived, and saddle-stitched from the comfort of my desk during a couple-week intensive course at my design school, I realized not all hope was lost for me! Do you think your shoes are going cobble themselves?  Ever tried bringing back enough berries to feed a team using only your two hands? Where are you going to turn when you need a new scabbard?

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Exactly.

Things are off to a solid start- just check out the belt I made this week!!

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If you look at the top left corner of the first photo, you can see the strap of vegetable-tanned leather it transformed from!

 

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Here are just some of the tools used.  An all-purpose leatherworking knife and corkboard (those things are sharp!) , a box cutter and cutting board, beeswax and canvas, and lots of paper towels! We beveled, skived, oil-treated, dyed, smoothed, molded, soaked, hammered, sanded, burnished and punched holes– all in just a few short days! I have to let my belt set for 24 hr before I can buff it, but then it will be ready to wear!  bedazzle!!!!!

(You can exhale, I was kidding)

This weekend I have to go pick up my first pigskin for a tote bag as next week’s project.  The idea of going out to buy skin is still sort of strange, but- hey, I can’t deny that it is a really important part of learning about the industry and basics of construction. And of course, vital to my survival of the pending mass resurrection of conscious-less corpses.

With that, I will be taking applications for my survival team. I still need someone fast, someone who can use a knife without slicing their finger, a translator (pig latin counts, but I’ll need references), Dr. Oz, and a hooker.

Please e-mail applications to dorkychickinlipstick@gmail.com

Deadline pending, we need to find the right people for the team.

More on leatherworking next week 🙂

xo

Blearning Blog: “C” is for Cookie only 99% percent of the time

It’s that time again for a …..

BLEARNING BLOG!

That’s right, gang! It is that magical time where I pick out a name I don’t know from an archive of designers and try and bolster my fashion-lover cred by a couple points. Today’s designer is brought to you by the letter….

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Yes, Cookie Monster. The letter ! “C” is always for cookie, of course, but one of it’s less important jobs is being responsible for the alliterative and memorable name of today’s featured design house!

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This label calls Los Angeles home, and aims to capture the essence of California (which also conveniently starts with a C). Clover Canyon’s idea of fashion is not shy or subdued. Their website uses words like “jubilant” and “joyful” to describe these boldly-printed masterpieces.  Wild prints, forward-thinking silhouettes, and old-fashioned know-how of skilled structure are what make this label both trendy and timeless. 

Here are some of my favorite looks from their Resort 2013 line. The head designer Rozae Nichols chose Cuba (wait, what letter does Cuba start with again? 😉 ) as the inspiration for this year’s fair-weather looks. Bold floral accents and familiar architectural angles intermixed with loose island-worthy shapes and printed images have me captivated! Can somebody get me a plane ticket already?!?!

 

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I pretty much love everything about this. It is vivid and interesting and flattering and flat-out fun! And 10 bonus points for the model’s shoes being realistic. Heels that aren’t from hell?! I’ll take ’em!

The graphic on the novelty sweatshirt in the last image is of a cigar-roller Mavis Touissant Fuentes who was famous for her eccentric style. This is what she looks like when she is not immortalized on a sweatshirt….

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I’ll have whatever she’s smoking.

 

Want to check out some more from this designer?

click here

 

Want to weigh in? Drop a comment below! 

Cheers to being a little smarter and cheers to cheers starting with our letter of the day!!! Now about that cookie…..

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xo

 

Met-matics: Beyonce + Miley =

You want a “best/worst” dressed list? They got plenty of blogs for that. Best/worst lists are fun, but seriously- who cares? All of those outfits took some serious TLC to create, are made of luxury fabrics, and showcased the personality of the wearer (which is the most important).  So much of an outfit presentation is experienced through first-person eyes. The camera adds 10 lbs, different fabrics catch light different ways, and head-turning only happens when you aren’t looking dead-on at a screen. I positively loved  some of the looks at the Met Gala last night, but I also thought some stylists got an extra shot of espresso on the day they went shopping…. Let’s take a look at a couple of my favorite looks, and how they “add up” on my terms….

 

 

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and this

 

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These women all look amazing in their own right…..

 

they also just happen to look amazingly like other things that make me laugh 😉

 

xo 

 

Drawing Practice: Grocery Gown!

It has been awhile since I pulled out my beloved Prismacolor markers and pencils for a little drawing practice. Turns out, I think I need more of it… (as if that wasn’t blatantly obvious) . I decided that today I would try designing something that I would wear myself and that would suit my lifestyle. I wanted to incorporate design elements that I love from my wardrobe with trends I’m loving right now. Most importantly, I wanted to design something I thought would be wearable. So often I get excited to draw funky furs and intricate lace, that I wanted to think inside the box. Realistically speaking, we dress “inside the box”, (i.e., I’m not going to wear this to the grocery store…) 

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or this….

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If I wore that, the people at the grocery store would probably think I had just done an embarrassingly bad job of stealing from the meat counter.

You get the point. The thing about fashion is that there needs to be a certain amount of digestibility (no pun intended…). I’m not going to wear something weird or over-the-top, so I need to think about how I become a more versatile designer also- one that clothes people who go to the grocery store.

I’m absolutely in love with the maxi-dress and maxi-skirt takeover. I think that every woman deserves to wear gowns, even if that means they are just going to Trader Joe’s. Maybe that’s my inner pageant girl. Keeping this in mind, I decided to design a “grocery gown” suited to my tastes!

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This summer white jersey knit has a cowl neckline and stops just above the ankles! I wanted to incorporate the black & white stripe trend and the graphic tee trend, but I gave it a twist by making the stripes silver. Balancing with fabric and graphics is a good way of eluding to that hourglass shape, especially since many women are smaller on top. 

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Also, I wanted to make sure that it was short enough to be worn with any shoes, so you can show off when you find cute ones like these that I found on Polyvore!

 Charlotte Russe $43

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I had a difficult time trying to mix the colored pencils and the markers in the drawing. You can tell especially by the shotty shading on the skirt and semi-contorted foot. I never said I was the best drawer. I’ve determined that for the time being I should stick to one medium until I’ve honed my skills.  I definitely see where I can improve, but was having so much fun putting this one together that I couldn’t be bothered with creating a masterpiece. I’m happy with the mind exercise I was able to get from the experiment, and it is definitely therapeutic to spend some time engrossed in a coloring project! 

It’s funny, I realized if I was going to draw myself I needed to use a bright red marker for my hair… something I’d not yet done. One of my wonderful readers has suggested a caricature superhero for Dorky Chick in Lipstick so stay tuned, more red-marker hair to come 🙂 Maybe this guy will have some pointers for me….

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Ba da ba ba ba I’m lovin’  terrified. 

Anyways, another drawing done and just in time to get ready for work. They say “practice makes perfect” but I say practice makes me hungry. 

I’m off to fix that. xo 

 

Pics of my trrrrrrrendayyyy outfit 5.02

 

 

 

 

 

May is here and it has brought some deeeelightful weather along with it! I’m resurrecting my summer scarves, tanks, and beloved maxi skirts for some chillaxication! I’m all about maxi skirts and think this trend has serious staying power. Comfort, versatility, and flair factor make me think I need to do some stocking up for the summer. I’ll do some research and report back! In the mean time, feel free to waste some of your time checking out how I wore it.

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Here’s me practicing frolicking:Image

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My upside down watch says it’s time to go play. 

That means you too 😉

xo have a great weekend 🙂