Going Wine Tasting in France?

March 3, 2010

A friend of mine is taking his 18-year-old daughter to France to get an early taste of some fine, fine wines during her Spring Break from college (lucky, lucky girl!). They are starting out in Paris and then going to some of the most spectacular chateaux in Bordeaux and surrounding areas. I sent him some ideas of what she could wear to travel light, mix up and accessorize, and attend some wine tastings:

I love the Boyfriend Jacket because it’s so versatile and can be worn over anything from dresses to t-shirts and jeans. I really like the ones that have fun linings so you can roll up the sleeves. The air will still be crisp in mid-March, so a jacket like this will be perfect!

I specifically picked out these black, gray and charcoal colors for dress options for the easy options and pack-ability. I also like the solid colors because they play up the draped effects and are so easily accessorized.

Ahhhhh, makes me long for the days I spent traipsing through France! Bon voyage!


Project Runway’s Shirin Askari Does Dallas’s South Side

March 2, 2010

On Friday night, I had a fantastic opportunity to see one of the new rising stars of Dallas, Shirin Askari present her Fall, 2010 collection in our very own South Side on Lamar building. Shirin was part of the cast of Project Runway’s sixth season.

According to the press release:

While most of the cast from the sixth season of Project Runway chose NYC’s Fashion Week to host their debut presentation, Shirin decided to partner with The Fashionistas and house her first ever fashion show in downtown Dallas.

Askari, a Dallas native and recent graduate of the University of North Texas, auditioned for Project Runway after nixing plans to head to Europe due to knee complications. With just three days until the application deadline, Askari entered the competition. With a little luck and a lot of talent, she breezed through the interview process and was asked to join the show. After surviving the majority of the way through the sixth season (and famously having her first reality-show meltdown), Shirin was cut just three episodes away from the finale. She will now get her chance to showcase her signature designs (fresh twists on ladylike classics) very soon.

The show was a standing-room-only success! I was quite impressed with the colorful, structural, asymmetrical pieces presented. Here are a few of the photos that I was able to take from my iPhone:

Shirin Askari’s show was sponsored by The Fashionistas, a Dallas organization dedicated to supporting emerging designers, fashion photographers and fashion students in their dedication and love for fashion. Twice a year, the Fashionistas award scholarships to local design students and annually showcase their work.

A Design Dream Come True!

February 4, 2010

Wondering where I’ve been? I know, I know. Not only is it not so much a brand new year anymore…it’s already February!

Over the last month, I’ve had the pleasure and amazing opportunity of working with leather craftsman, Arthur Porter. He is the founder and creator of Dallas Designing Dreams, a non-profit artists collective in Dallas, Texas where established and aspiring artists of all ages come to learn to create, craft and market unique, handcrafted fashion accessories. Here are a couple of examples of pieces that Arthur creates:

Beautiful handcrafted leather bag from Dallas Designing Dreams

Dallas Designing Dreams leather clutches.

Since 2006, Arthur has dedicated his time, talent and resources to help others transform their artistic dreams into tangible creations through programs such as Young Entrepreneurs, a program that empowers youth with marketable skills and strengthens academic performance, and New Start Apprenticeships that help facilitate the learning of a skilled leather crafting trade for individuals who are unemployed or underemployed.

So not only does Arthur teach the beautiful craft of leather work, he also teaches vital workplace skills.

Over the last month, Arthur has helped me design and create an amazing bag in his studio at Southside on Lamar, one of my favorite places in the whole world!

I’m so proud of this creation that I just had to share! Check out my progress:

Starting with magazine tears and initial ideas, we created a pattern of the basic pieces that would become the body of the bag, and then cut those pieces out of a full cowhide.

We stained and glued a lining to the inside of the pieces and stitched the large pocket to the back panel of the bag.

Glued and then stitched the bottom/sides to the back panel.

Did a lot of edge coating to give the raw edges a nice finish.

A few design-on-the-fly decisions were made on the front of the bag!

Here's Arthur Porter helping me make some vital design decisions!

Before stitching the front, we clipped it together to work on additional construciton ideas.

Added a buckle to the front panel.

Added a zipper!

Punched holes on the top edge for lacing (yes, this bag has LOTS of design details...better to learn the whole process, right?!).

Working hard...lacing the edges!

Stitched and punched and grommeted the front strap closure.

Cut out the adjustable strap and attached it with brass hardware.

We also made a smaller leather pouch to go inside the bag!

Voila!! My brand new, custom handcrafted, designer handbag!!

If you’ve ever had a desire to design and create your own accessories or leather products, I can’t recommend Arthur Porter’s Dallas Designing Dreams enough! Get contact information here, and get ready to design your own dreams–and make them come true!

Dallas Designing Dreams is continuously looking for partnerships to help keep their programs alive and thriving. Please contact the studio if you’re interested in discussing a worthwhile partnership. And check out the Designing Dreams storefront at the studio in the Artist Quarter at Southside on Lamar! You’ll find the most amazing creations from clutch bags to guitar straps to belts to chaps!

Arthur Porter's Dallas Designing Dreams studio and storefront.

The Amazing Lace

December 28, 2009

Wondering what to wear for the festivities on Thursday night? Why not try a little lace? Love these lace looks for New Year’s Eve and well into the new year! Lace can be extremely elegant and dressy, or can be worn as an overlay to more casual pieces, mixed with prints, or even printed on a tee or leggings. Have fun and get creative with lace, because anything goes on New Year’s Eve!

Fantasy Dress: I have been dreaming about this stunning Dior dress ever since I thumbed through the New York Times Holiday 2009 issue of T Magazine. I imagine wearing this over a simple slip, complemented with lace-up boots.

Dreams of Dior Photo: NYT's T Magazine, Holiday 2009

Much More Realistic: Why not try a cool alternative to a cocktail dress? Mix everyday basic pieces with touches of glam. Start with a solid basic tee (this one’s from Champion), add a faux fur DKNY hooded jacket, and add the gorgeous copper-threaded lace skirt by 3.1 Phillip Lim.

Photo: Marie Claire, November 2009 issue.

Provided you can still get some of the Rodarte for Target collection at your local store, check out this lace-on-lace action: Black lace cardigan over gray leopard sequin dress, black lace tights, and bow belt in leopard. Meow! I did see a lot of the collection still in my local target store. In fact, I picked up a navy blue lace tee (pretty!).

Photo: NYmag

Accessory Alert! Lace leggings and tights are everywhere! They look amazing worn under dresses, tunics and skirts.

Lace leggings Photo: theguiltyhyena.blogspot.com

Lace-Ups: And lace doesn’t necessarily have to mean intricate or decorative fabric or trim. Consider lacing up a corset, some denim, or smokin’ hot boots.

Casual Glamour from Shopbop features a fabulous lace-up black denim jean by Current Elliot. Photo: Shopbop

Even Bunnies Love Lace: See, even Fifi Lapin, the worlds most stylish bunny loves lace. She also has some brilliant styling tips regarding wearing and accessorizing lace numbers…

Fifi Lapin wears lace. Sketch: fifi-lapin.blogspot.com

Where Does the Time Go? 2010 Calendars

December 22, 2009

Whoa. Where does the time go? I can’t believe I let so many days go by without updating. I can promise you that won’t happen again. I am starting to really enjoy blogging (such a newbie…this is my very first blog!), but it truly is amazing how quickly the time goes by and how easy it is to miss a whole week if you’re not careful–and I obviously wasn’t very careful this past week, was I?

Let’s talk about time. Sweet, precious time. Stylish time. Crazy time! Time to update the old calendars, right? I love this calendar from Cranky Pressman, first and foremost for the fact that I agree that 2009 was a growling bear of a year, but also because I’m in love with letterpress printing. This is such a fabulous example of ending this decade with a fantastic ROAR!!

Goodbye, bear of a year. Hello, fresh new decade! Click image for details on how to create your own - happy one! - for 2010. Photo: Cranky Pressman

It’s time to update our calendars, and if you’re like me, you record all of your pertinent information in your iPhone and let the alarms do the talking. I like that format because I can take my calendar with me wherever I go.

This leaves the traditional wall or desk calendar to take on new meaning. I love some of these ideas, from chic to cheeky…they are a fantastic way to brighten your day or dress your space!

Italian Marie Claire calendar. Click image for details. Photo: Refinery29

For the black and white fashion photography lover, here’s the Italian Marie Claire calender, which is inserted into the January issue of Italian Marie Claire. Love these swanky snaps!

Alicia Bock's Paris: A Love Story Photo: Papercrave.com

Ahhh yes, Paris. I can almost feel a crisp Spring day, walking through the park or along the sidewalks in the Marias. Makes me long for my next trip. For now, I can stare at the photos…and perhaps pencil something in?

J'adore these galoshes! Photo: Decor 8

Don’t you love the look of handcrafted and hand-drawn artwork? I love this little pocket calendar with the cute galoshes on the cover.

Silkscreened poster calendar Photo: Estasketch's Etsy store. Click image for details.

I also really love the look of vintage posters. This one is hand silkscreened from an original, hand-drawn illustration. It kind of looks like an old rock poster, doesn’t it? Cool for that blank spot in the wall that needs that special…something.

Pretty, eco-friendly calendar sheets. Photo: Three Square Design

These are pretty and eco-friendly sheets with nature and graphic prints that look great tacked to a board or clipped on a string. Make a statement with multiple pages.

A Post-It a Day... Photo: Designyearbook.blogspot.com

How cool is this? I love putting sticky notes all over everything…I mark pages and leave notes and stick them pretty much anywhere. This calendar is color coded by month and has a pop-up number that you can fold up every day! Brilliant!

Pop THIS! Click the link to pop the bubble wrap. Photo: Refinery29.com

And of course, I saved the absolute BEST for last! Who doesn’t love popping bubble wrap to the point of obsession? Okay, maybe I’m speaking for myself, but when I found this calendar on the Refinery29 website, I practically jumped for joy and couldn’t click/pop over to the website fast enough to see where I could purchase this calendar. Unfortunately, it’s currently sold out. BUT WAIT! Don’t let that spoil your fun too much. You can click on the image to take you to a pop-able bubble calendar online.

2010 can’t come fast enough. Have fun!