New York Fashion Week A/W2010

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It’s fashion week here in New York city and it is off to a, awkward start- I was devastated to learn of Lee Alexander McQueen’s sudden suicide last week, as he has been an idol of mine for the past decade. He was the reason I studied Fashion Design in Italy, his collections covered my walls and inspiration boards, and it was his collections that I always looked forward to viewing the most each season. I just can’t get over it really…that his talent has gone away.

The Other Side of the Picture

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I <3 Olivier Theysken. At the age of 18 Belgian born Olivier attended the renown École Nationale Superieure des Arts Visuels de la Cambre to study fashion design. He dropped out 2 years later to launch his own line. Creator of demicouture macabre, gothic-inspired garments the designer made his first collection out of bedsheets, though these pieces did sell well, financial restrictions led him to shutter the label shortly thereafter.

Menswear Influence

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Today I am taking note of the alluring refinement of menswear. I have always admired a nicely dressed man. While living in Florence, Italy, I found myself at times completely awestruck of how magnificently the men were dressed- not to mention the women. In Italy, it was common for most people to own just a few high-quality designer pieces. These designer pieces would be worn and re-worn time and time again, such was protocol, and very well taken care of. How different this is from American fashion today, where many of the pieces the general public purchases are disposable? Transient. Fleeting. Cheaply made.

What I love about menswear is the simplicity. Styles and silhouettes remain very much the same over the decades, yet the newness lies in the precision of detail. A boldly printed bow tie with a fried egg pattern looks like classic paisleys from afar, but up close offers a freshness & sense of humor to fashion. Tailored coats made to be worn for years continue to be created, only changing slightly in fabric and texture. Paul Smith is a well known example of someone taking these classical elements and simply changing the details (colorful striped linings, iridescent button holes, polka dotted ties).

Do you pull inspiration from menswear? Do you ever wear mens clothing, steal cozy pieces from your boyfriend or husband?

Photos from The Sartorialist

Raw Talent

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London Fashion Week [ Central Saint Martins Ready-To-Wear ] Autumn/Winter 2009-10

Each year Central Saint Martins College of Art, London’s most promising source of pure, raw fashion talent, hosts a catwalk show for Fashion Design major’s body of work. This show attracts numerous international editors from around the globe, anxious to see what is NEXT for fashion design and who is behind it. 17 student designer collections are showcased with the chance to win £5,000 from the event’s sponsor, Harrods, as well as the chance to show off his or her collection in the store’s windows.

Isabella Blow discovered McQueen here. Katharine Hamnett graduated from CSM in 1969 and is famed for her political designs. Her slogan t-shirts are iconic to this day. John Galliano graduated in 1984. Giles Deacon graduated in 1992. He worked for Jean-Charles de Castelbajac, Bottega Veneta and Gucci before setting up his own successful label in 2004.

What do you think of the current talent? Are these designer’s predicting what’s to come in your eyes? Are these looks wearable? Inspired? Desirable? Click here to view a slide show of my favourite looks from the show.

SPOTTED: People Having Fun With Winter Dress

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I just bought some red lip tint and rosebud salve and I am already feeling better about these gloomy winter days. Why? Because there is hope. I took an imaginary trip to the Nordic countries and found, thanks to The Sartorialist & CopenhagenStreetStyle some hidden diamonds in the rough.

Trends Spotted
Vintage. Back in the olden days they knew how to make a warm coat. Before fleece and technologically enhanced textiles a good old fashion down-stuffed parka or a wool peacoat was worn in the winter months. But sometimes these lovely finds just don’t seem to fit. Here’s a How To Reszie A Vintage Jacket Tutorial for you.

Going Up. No matter the coat you’re wear- stay warm! stay dry! if you find yourself on a fair day with no rain in the forecast, don a pair of wedge heels with some warm tights. Not only does they raise you up, they lift your spirits too. (I am actually wearing some today and feeling lighter)

Paint it Red. It was all over the Spring/Summer runways on people’s lips, nails & cheeks- and is spotted now all over the streets. (Personally I dislike lipstick, hence the tint & rosebud salve I’ll don instead and the smell is aromatheraputic). Whatever the day, whether dull or drab, red is exciting & fresh and a welcomed relief from the monotony of winter.

Chunky Scarves. The bigger, the better. My mother got me Yokoo’s Pembroke Cowl for Christmas and I actually get excited to go out just to wear it. I wrap it around my neck twice then pull over my head as a hood. So cozy.

Mr. Fox. Love it or hate it, I’ve seen many a gal wrapped up in huge vintage fur coats, hats, boots & stoles. It is a guaranteed method to channel your inner spirit animal towards staying warm if you don’t mind the possible repercussions.

Plaid. For many years, brands like Woolrich and international Army regiments have been making toasty lined woolen plaid coats for guys & dolls. Check out this plaid coat made from the Elizabeth pattern b one of our users to inspiration.

V Magazine Sizes Women Up

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On January 14th, V Magazine’s size issue hits select news stands and there is already much buzz about over the argument of professional models vs. “actual, real, normal, regular, realistically (or whichever term you choose)” proportioned women. V magazine, which is known for pushing the envelope on fashion journalism, invited Karl Lagerfeld (infamous for being “fat-phobic”), to shoot a fashion spread of burlesque dancer Miss Dirty Martini for the issue (pictured above left), after Lagerfeld called German magazine Brigitte “absurd” for banishing professional models and depicting real women in their pages for good. Renegade fashion photographer Terry Richardson shot a professional model next to a “normal” sized woman (pictured above right) for the issue as well. Does one look better than the other? Don’t they look like Photoshopped images of the same girl? A couple of years back fashion officials in Madrid set a minimum body-mass index for runway models. Efforts gained urgency after 21-year-old Brazilian model Ana Carolina Reston died of anorexia in November 2006, weighing only 88 pounds (40 kilos). Clearly some changes need to be made in the industry.

I know we’ve heard much from BurdaStyle members about wanting to see more patterns for realistically-sized women’s bodies and your desires for us to utilize actual “plus-size” models for our larger sized patterns (as you’ve quite pointed out that our beloved Alden is not plus-sized according to the real world) in photo shoots. It’s too bad we cannot afford Hungry author and international plus-sized model Crystal Renn (bottom right), who I find absolutely stunning, with her Natalia Vodianova eyes & pout, to pose for us. She is the only plus-size model to have ever appeared on a Harper’s Bazaar cover and has been spotted on the runways of Vena Cava and Heatherette. Lets hope this trend will stick.

What do you think of the use of professional models? Would you like to see larger women on runways? In magazines? Do clothes look better of waif-like figures?

Fairy Tale Fashion

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I tend to see the world through rose colored glasses and find heaps of inspiration hidden within innocent fairy tales of imaginary lands full of beauty and intrigue. There is a bit of a resurgence of fairy tale fashion happening now, and I’d like to see more of it. Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland comes out sometime this year, Roald Dahl’s novel adapted for the screen by Wes Anderson, Fantastic Mr. Fox, the stop animation wonder made quite a splash, and we’ll never forget our childhood favorite fairy tale coming to life in Spike Jone’s Where the Wild Things Are (which I have yet to see as I’ve mixed feelings).


I have to say, cinema this year (well, last year really) has been right up my alley. There were 3 fashion documentaries worth mentioning, Valentino: The Last Emperor (loved the pugs! loved the seamstresses!), that Vogue one where Grace Coddington really steals the show- talk about someone who lives in a fantasy world! and Lagerfeld Confidential was just plain surreal. Remember how his fingers were always dripping in Tom Binn’s rings? Well, Binn’s just keeps on getting better & better (and more famous which makes me sad, but happy for him I guess): Binns has designed a 35 piece collection for Disney Couture with prices ranging from $100 to $500 which will appear on a larger scale in stores such as Bloomingdale’s, Macy’s and boutiques including Kitson and Fred Segal. It features tea-cup necklaces and heavy, macabre, decadent body decor.


In honor of Alice in Wonderland, Parisian department store Printemps asked Alexander McQueen, Christopher Kane, Bernhard Willhelm, Haider Ackermann, Manish Arora, Ann Demeulemeester and Maison Martin Margiela to invent one-of-a-kind dresses for Alice. These beauties are pictured above, as is Binn’s Alice jewelry.


So out with it! Who is making fairy tale fashion out there? I want to see pictures! xoxo

Outerwear: I Am Freezing

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It’s cold here in New York city. No, that’s an understatement, it’s freezing: with the windchill & snow & ice it can be dreadful. Must dress warmly. There are many chic coats out there that look wonderful but leave you shivering in your boots. I have numerous pretty vintage woolen coats & capes, the kind that are sharply tailored and smartly cut from English houndstooth and Irish wovens, but cannot block the wind if their imaginary little lives depended on it. What is a gal to do to stay warm?

This Year In Fashion

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2009 has been quite an interesting year in fashion. Designers have pulled inspiration from the thriftiness of the depression era to the masculine curves of the ’80s, from an early ’90s sporting look to ’40s inspired Grecian goddesses. With looks ranging from Casablanca to Blade Runner, fashion seemed to have no rules or regulations this year.

What were your favorite looks of 2009? Where do you see fashion moving? What do you want to get rid of? See more of?

Tell us your opinion in this slideshow!

Holiday Looks to You Can Rock Around The Clock

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Does anyone actually have any time to make themselves a to-die-for Holiday dress this season? I say if you’re going to make anything for yourself in the next few weeks that New Years Eve probably provides the best excuse to make something amazing! I was going to make an inspiration board for you all but I’m feeling generous this year: I’m giving you patterns! Well, ideas of which patterns to use to make the new year even more glorious!


Top left features a lovely lounging lady wearing the Minna dress. By using a metallic embellishment you can shine like the North star. Here’s another Minna variation to dream about as well. Make it in a gem colored tone and pair it with a cozy cardigan.

Moving clockwise the next dress is simply gorgeous and definitely has a stage presence. If you want to look like a ballerina from the Nutcracker you should make something like this show stopper.

Nothing says sophistication like knife pleats and wool. The Lancey dress embodies all of those traits & more. Download the pattern here.

Be the Belle of the Ball with bows and pleats in this cute holiday dress. Wear it with style with vintage gloves and a cape. Get the pattern here.

Compete with shiny ornaments and make a Madison in red dress, which is based off of our original 40s dress pattern.

In Or Out: Ruching, Lace & Gathers

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Ruching, lace & gathers bring to mind, for me at least, dated period costumes. But quite recently many designer’s have brought these old & loved techniques back to life with a new and increased vigor! Do you use lace in your designs? Do you make pieces with excessive gathers or pleats? Do you know how to incorporate ruching into your work?

Well, whether you love to utilize these techniques in your designs, or if you need some tips, this week’s posting should send you in the right direction.

Kasia Skirt
A ruched waist with an adorable buttoned-up placket is a great skirt for the Holidays.

Nadine and Nadine Plus
A sophisticated & sassy gathered coat which looks great in velvet or crepe wool.

Tikva Trench Coat
Recently featured but too good to not talk about again, this trench coat offers full swing & gathers.

Amanda and the Amanda Plus
A cute and flowing blouse for any time of the year, make it in a chiffon & wear a camisole underneath.

What Is Your Fashion Personality?

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Do you think you could sum up your fashion personality in 1 word? I see fashion magazines do it all the time, and then offer outfits to suit your look. But being the talented designers & sewers we are, doesn’t our fashion personality vary from day-to-day or project-to-project? I know that I have a very specific silhouette I stick to at least 5 days out of the week: one of my Dahl dresses or high-waisted skirts, some sort of cool stockings or black opaques, a vintage or worn-in cropped cardigan and long, unkempt hair. I feel most comfortable in Dahl & vintage. All I can think of is Penelope Cruz in Volver, she wears outfits like that everyday, but what amuses me is that she is supposedly dressing like a middle aged, not dressing to impress, not-very-well-to-do housewife, but I think she looks stunning (yes, I know she’s insanely sexy- but these outfits make her even more so)! The prints & textures of her attire is what really kills me. So would my label be “Spanish Housewife”? Or perhaps more appropriately suited would be “Woman in an Almodovar Film”.

See my Almodovar Heroines Slideshow here!

Regardless, I would like to know if you label your style. Do you have a strong fashion personality? If you would sum it up in 1 word or phrase, what would it be?

Trend Watch: How Do You Wear Velvet?

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Do you think velvet is a Do or a Don’t? Do you use velvet in your designs? I love the look of velvet- the soft sheen of gem colored velvet looks elegant and royal, and printed velvet can be gorgeous. But velvet can also look dated- circa 1980 when it’s done with really huge shoulder pads in badly tailored blazers. It also doesn’t photograph very well if you are using an indoor flash. I made a dress with a velvet top and silk jacquard skirt- there was just enough mustard, gray, black & sage printed velvet on top to create an interesting design with this daring print, as the muted brown silk made the look more mellow. I also made a skirt from the same velvet material and let me offer you a piece of advice: Don’t make a tulip skirt out of velvet printed velvet- especially if you want a flattering look!

How do you do velvet?

Check out my velvet slideshow here!

Here are some links to BurdaStyler’s Velvet Creations:
Red Velvet Jacket

Black Velvet Coat

Velvet Cloche with Feather

Bright Yellow Strapless Dress

Fall Looks To Make Today

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The Steampunk
I was so excited when I saw This Dress, an Anda dress variation, made by 4 loving hands, full of gorgeous detail and punch!

The Artist
With art school flair, this dress with hand-drawn imagery is stunning! The It Was Written dress, made from Ichigogirl’s Afternoon Tea Top pattern was lengthened & lovingly made into a dress.

The Designer
This adorable Gray Cotton Dress made by our user Dientry can be used as an inspiration piece for a simple, classic statement, with the allure being in the smartly chosen fabric.

The Bohemian
This embroidered bag’s simple shape allows for you to manipulate the pattern into your own true vision- maybe try out your skills in embroidery. Make it here.

The Girl Next Door
A wrap dress can be quite versatile and if you make it with long sleeves in a knit, you can wear it all year round. Try out this Free Wrap Dress pattern by our member Erdronen and enjoy!

The Rockers
Every gal & guy needs a vest for Fall, and if you’re inspired why not make one for yourself and one for him? For her, use The Louisa Vest and for him, The Jason Vest. Would make a nice Holiday gift, wrapped together in a box, tied with the same bow…I’m rambling.

The Fashionista
Leggings have come into mode, and they are not going anywhere. To look chic and be warm this Fall you can make a Custom Pair of Leggings for yourself in virtually any color for a mere $2 the pattern is yours.

Nordic Beauty
Stay warm and show off your creative flair with the Elana Hat & Gloves. If knitting is not your forte, your problems are solved: this pattern only requires you getting your hands on a heavy knit fabric and all you have to do it sew it up!

The Victorian
Capelets can turn any old outfit into one with an entirely new personality. The Anouschka Capelet, created by our member ParaNoire, is a nicely tailored accessory based off of our Steffi jacket. It still has the same charm, with the gathered sleeves, and yet you save hours on sewing time.

Make Your Own Shoes? It IS Possible.

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Mary Wales Loomis makes her own shoes- at times in the same prints as her dresses! And you know what? You can to. How? Mary wrote a step-by-step book which is in it’s 4th revision, on how to make your own shoes from SCRATCH. Applause!

I am completely obsessed with the shoes Georgina Goodman designed for the Erdem A/W2009 collection (pictured top left & right). It is a good thing I cannot find them for sale anywhere because they make have broken the bank. I wanted to do a posting simply featuring beautiful fabric-covered, painted or hand-made shoes but then I stumbled upon one of sweetest books I have ever seen and had to tell you about it. It’s not that the website itself is especially interesting, but the story behind it is, and you can order Mary’s book to try out your skill in shoe-making. I am definitely asking Santa Claus to bring me a copy, can you imagine making shoes to match your wardrobe? …..dreamy. If you are really into these hand-made gems, check out Osborn Shoes, which are hand-crafted in Guatemala City and lovely- they are the Aztec and plaid printed kicks pictured above.

Now we want to know: has anybody made their own shoes?

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