Love the 80s?

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The images above are not from 30 years ago. They are fresh off the international runways emitting an 80s decadence so BIG you cannot ignore. Shoulder pads. Flat tops. Androgyny. Leather. Fringe. I have MTV’s “I Love the 80s” computer voice intro ringing in my head as I look at these images. I was born in the 80s and went through some of the fashion trends with innocent dignity (over-sized sweaters with tight black stir-ups, jazz pants even when I wasn’t dancing), but I was very young, too young to get into boxy jackets, enormous shoulder pads and androgyny of the time. These silhouettes have humor, are ironic, bold and brazen. Do they make you nostalgic for the good old days or simply want to never see shoulder pads again?

Fringe Benefits

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Do you <3 fringe? Lately there has been a resurgence of fringe- and no offense to those who have been rocking fringe all along- a la suede jackets from the 60s and moccasins- but there is a new kind of fringe on the horizon. This fringe is soft and slinky (Rodarte), conceptually cut in leather (Balenciaga), dyed in an ombre fashion (Topshop), and quite feminine, yet is has an edge that is very current.

I used to be a dancer and my costumes always seemed to have some sort of neon fringe attached to them, and this same fringe is now on skirts, t-shirts, bags- but it is dyed neutral tones creating an almost gothic look, like Marchesa Casati might have worn. I am really loving the comeback. Do you?

Faux Or Against It?

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Do you wear fur? Last weekend, while visiting home in Massachusetts, I went to an old big barn which has been converted into an antique shop filled with turn of the century furniture, chandeliers, vintage notions and more. I found this old fur stole and tried it on for fun. My boyfriend’s mom thought it was so cute she bought it for me. The smell of the antiquated fabric made my nose itch and my skin prickly- but there was something about the silhouette I found so charming. Also, I like old things, and the fact that this stole holds a story, a history, makes me wonder in awe about who used to wear it & what her life was like. I have yet to wear it out yet though- it sits in the back of my car wrapped up carefully, away from judgement and harm.

Is there a difference between wearing vintage fur vs. purchasing a new mink coat? Do you wear fur, or sew with it? Are you anti-fur? Is it the same as being against leather? Do you like the look of fur? Do you wear faux fur?

Independent Designers Guide

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I wrote an entry last week asking for questions you all have about being an independent designer and which areas you need advice in. The majority of comments led me to first touch on online sales & marketing, particularly selling your wares on websites such as Etsy, or your own. I spoke to editor-in-chief of Etsy’s blog,

Music Makes Fashion Makes Music...

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The connection between fashion and music is one of everlasting glory. Taking Londoners by storm in the early 1960s, fashion’s influence on music (and vice versa), became something incredibly meaningful and symbolic to a generation of young revolutionary minds. Vivienne Westwood & Malcolm Mclaren dressed the Sex Pistols early in the decade in ripped up t-shirts with safety pins and bondage gear- which literally kick-started the “punk” fashion aesthetic. Mary Quant invented the mini skirt and hot pant which every hippy & freedom lover of the 60s adapted into their wardrobes. The bikini made it’s

The September Issue

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If one is expecting a psychological breakdown of who Anna Wintour really is and why, one may be disappointed upon viewing R.J. Cutler’s documentary The September Issue. But if one is keen on witnessing the inner-workings and staunch editing that goes on behind the gilded doors of the fashion magazine American Vogue, one will be thoroughly enchanted.



I must begin with the true star of the film (at least in my eyes), Grace Coddington, because honestly, there would be no dreamy editorial spreads gracing the glossies without her. Anna & Grace are like Gilbert & Sullivan- if Gilbert & Sullivan were editor-in-cheif & creative director. The film is based around the high-tension dynamic between Anna, the “pope”, and Grace, the visionary. What is so alluring about their relationship is that Grace is the only person in the film who is not intimidated by Anna. What I found most compelling was the editing room where Grace’s spreads would be laid out only to be later cut by Anna. Grace’s feelings seemed etched into her face-she has a softness about her yet underneath she is fierce and has a vision, a quest for perfection and keen intuition. Grace wants texture and volume, color and light- she’s daring and bold, yet so heart-breakingly romantic it brings tears to my eyes. She is truly one of fashion’s greatest editors- she is the images one conjures up when thinking of high-art fashion editorials. “I’m one of the last remaining fashion editors to dress the girls myself,” she tells the camera in The September Issue, and I hope she remains dressing girls for a long, long time.



Has anyone else see this film? Can you relate to Grace, to Anna?

How do you do Denim?

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Denim has been around since the late 18th century- it’s origins residing in France, where the French once created a sturdy cloth called “serge” in the city of Nimes; hence denim’s original title “serge de Nimes”, which was soon thereafter shortened to Denim.



Today, when one sees denim, images of centuries past are not abundant, but instead we see something much more modern, current and quite American right? I find denim amazingly versatile in this sense. Denim has this extensive history, yet it can instantly be reinterpreted into a completely modern fashion.



I am sure almost every reader of this posting owns a pair of jeans. How much do you love them? In all of it’s incantations, how do you do denim? Are you a fan of the 70s, wearing bell-bottoms and flowy tops? Do you have a favorite pair of jeans? Are they modern or vintage, drainpipe or cropped? Which of the pictures above do you relate to the most?

For Lovely Mothers-To-Be

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Does “maternity fashion” sound like an oxymoron to you? Nora recently mentioned to me that many expectant mothers on BurdaStyle have been asking for maternity-wear tips and tutorials. This week, we bring to you (courtesy of Nikkishell’s pattern altering know-how) fashion tips & patterns to accommodate a swelling belly- whether it be your own or a loved one’s.



Seeing that baby making begins in the bedroom, I find it quite fitting to start with the Jane pattern, a camisole & shorts combo you can comfortably wear to bed.



Getting yourself dressed in the morning can become quite uninspiring (according to my 6-months pregnant sister), we think that the Shari Dress is certain to up the ante in your prenatal closet.



Who says you can’t look as cute as a button while pregnant? The Steffi bolero tutorial brings this military-style jacket to a new level of chic. Nikkishell loved this look so much she made 2 variations of this pattern!



A tailored top (show off those assets!) and more voluminous skirt can really compliment your new found curves. Celestina I is Nikkishell’s first attempt at redesigning this chic dress. A cinch at the waist feels just right sometimes, Celestina II creates a beautiful finished look.



This one is for the brave- if you’re not willing to give up your favorite jeans while with child you can operate on them. Here’s a tutorial for making your existing jeans into maternity jeans.



I also found these Free Online Sewing Classes which offer maternity alteration tips and an array of projects.



As if you don’t have enough books along the lines of “What to Expect When Your Expecting”, how about giving yourself a little treat and get a sewing book for maternity clothing? These have gotten good ratings:

Patterns For Pregnancy

Pattern Making For Maternity Wear.

Would you Twitter a T-Shirt?

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Benedikta recently told me about Pa++ern, a website which offers you creative control to create a design to be embroidered onto a t-shirt- via Twitter!

Do you twitter? Tweet? I don’t. I’m not old fashioned or anti-social networking or a twat, I just don’t tweet. I realize that Twitter is the 3rd most popular social networking website on the WWW, and one of the 50 most visited websites in the world, so it doesn’t come as a surprise that the folks behind Pa++ern attached an embroidery machine to a specialized computer which will then stitch an esoteric message onto a t-shirt via tweeting.

Fall off the Runway into Reality

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Fall is coming- I know, I know, you don’t want to hear it, but I have pulled together a transitional outfit you can wear from now until the holiday season and look fresh & cool depending upon how you style it.

1. Have you made your own motorcycle jacket yet? I made one out of stretch satin once which I used to wear all of the time- until I lost it. Now I plan to make a new one with the Larissa motorcycle jacket pattern. Perhaps this time in silk linen, which appears to look instantly “lived in” for a worn & loved look.

Not into the biker chick look? Our Nadine jacket is a terribly cute staple and gorgeous in velvet for the Fall. She comes in PLUS too.

2. You can never have enough of the perfect blouse and making our Amanda top in chiffon in every color of the rainbow wouldn’t be considered over-the-top seeing how much you’ll wear this- with a camisole underneath and your biker jacket on top. Also available, the Amanda Plus.

Spotlight On: Slow & Steady Wins the Race

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Have you heard of the conceptual brand Slow and Steady Wins the Race? I am very late catching on to this label but while I was looking for shoes this Spring I kept stumbling upon these cute wedge heels and flats (which are literally labeled “ballet flat”) by a seemingly understated label. I began to dig for information on the brand. As you can see, the website is set up with chapters,

Amuse Me

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The images above are photographs of a few of fashion’s extremely influential women. Beneath each photo are a few examples of how these iconic women’s styles have seeped into modern fashion consciousness. These women are certainly not your typical role models- they stood out for their idiosyncratic fashion style and legendary eccentricities; one paraded around Venice with a pair of leashed cheetahs while wearing live snakes as jewellery, one single-handedly pioneered the modern woman’s new look, one became a muse to some of the 20th century’s most distinguished writers and artists, including Wyndham Lewis, Aldous Huxley, Tristan Tzara, Ezra Pound, and Louis Aragon.

Do you know who they are? Whose fashion sense do you admire? Who (or what) is your muse?

The T-Shirt: How do you style it?

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How many t-shirts do you own? Lately, and I don’t know if this is only in New York (nevermind- I think Tokyo wins), I have noticed more t-shirts on girls & boys than ever before. Perhaps it is a reflection of the economy- resorting back to our old faves and personalizing them, or we’ve become more laid back in our fashion sense- and what is a better blank canvas for self-expression than the t-shirt? Or perhaps I ignored the countless band & “expression” tees. I’ve never been one to wear many t-shirts (I think I own maybe 5). Being a designer, I wanted to make knit tops, edgy tops, kooky tops- anything but a t-shirt, but now I seem to have a growing appreciation for the basic or iconic statement a t-shirt can make, which, depending upon how it is styled, worn or adorned, is full of room for interpretation.

How do you wear your t-shirt, I would LOVE to see pictures! What images or statements have you seen on t-shirts that resonated with you? Which ones do you want to disappear?

Credits: Style.com, Street Peeper, LOOKBOOK.nu

Summertime Collage

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Greetings readers! I am writing to you from the depths of my imagination where I am on a deserted island swathed in silky prints sipping on a piña colada. Aren’t you just the happiest during summer days?

This month I hand-picked some warm weather looks I am dying to recreate for myself. Using this user-generated simple dress pattern you too can make a lovely printed summer frock. Aren’t the pin-tucks on the hip charming?

I’m seeing bold, bright solids floating down the Resort 2010 collection runways and am inspired to make this other user generated bandeau top dress with bow in cherry red or aquamarine.

Missoni knows how to make a dramatic statement in a flowing floor length dress and so can you with this free, simple pattern.

Does the Marc Jacobs bag (pictured far left) not look just like our Anna Boho bag? They could totally be related. I have yet to decide on which canvas print to make this out of…or should it be suede?

Oh! And I saw the most adorable Fabric Postcard on the site today & need to share it with you all. Have you ever seen one so thoughtful? Whoever gets this in the mail is a lucky duck.

Ciao for now my pretties!

Spotlight On: IVANAhelsinki

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IVANAhelsinki is currently the single brand which speaks to my own roots fully. Behind the brand is a sweet faced Scandinavian girl with a sneaky dark side, I’m in love. IVANAhelsinki is an exclusive art fashion brand which delicately brings together Slavic rough melancholy and pure Scandinavian moods.

Behind the brand is the artist Paola Ivana Suhonen who pulls from her dark naive mind-landscapes, northern legends and western romantics, doing prints, graphics, short movies and well, everything that is involved with the visuals. Paola runs the family-owned company with older sister Pirjo. Paola has created an exclusive collection for Topshop and has gone so far as to curate Dress-go-Around where 10 girls are given IVANAhelsinki dresses, are documented in them, then the dresses are passed on to loved ones.

Here’s a special slide show of her gorgeous designs as well.

Paola was kind enough to answer some of my questions below. I hope you enjoy this feature as much as I do:

What is your earliest memory?

We were playing lions in the cage of one Finnish film directors backyard- he actually had had there some wild animals, back in the 20´s.

What is your most treasured possession?

My rescued dog “affe” and my belief in eternal love

What would your super power be?


To sense the ghosts- actually I already have it:)


What is a secret treat that you love?


Old whiskey


What single thing would improve the quality of your life?


A good-mad man


Who in your life has inspired your sense of style the most?


My mom in her 60´s bold dresses and silk scarves and huge sunglasses being a young psychoalalytic-chick (sic) She rocks


What is the worst job you’ve done?


Selling matches from door to door—and wc paper—oh, that was a bit too much!


Who would play you in the film of your life?



Maja Ivarsson


What is your favorite smell?


Lily-of-the -valley


What keeps you awake at night?


My endless projects which I just can´t get enough of..


Describe IVANAhelsinki in three words.


“dresses for beautiful girls”


Tell us a joke.


I hate jokes. I´m a serious girl:)

Thank you Paola.

Photos courtesy of IVANAhelsinki. Artwork by alison dahl.

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