Condé Nast College, or Scholastic Fashion Heaven

In January 2013, the magazine publishing supremo Condé Nast will open its first place of higher, glamorous education.  Condé Nast College of Fashion & Design in London will offer a ten-week Vogue Fashion Certificate and a one-year Vogue Fashion Foundation Diploma.

Can you imagine the inspiration that will sweep the halls?!  The reputation of Condé Nast is one of authority and passion.  For magazines, the company produces the best of THE best.  It seems only natural that they have a place where leaders in the industry pass on their wealth of knowledge and creativity to future generations.

Fine(Fabric)-Feathered Friends

Check out Abigail Brown’s wonderful little textile fauna….

Abigail learned her sewing skills as a child from her grandmother, a talented seamstress.  As she grew, so did her collection of scrap fabrics.  Abigail crafts these intricate little birds from these scraps.  I love the texture and attention to color detail from being hand-made.

Abigail also freelances as an illustrator, working on children’s books, kids clothing, and stationary.  You can follow her projects on her blog.

Textile Flash: Killer Silk!


A press release on ecouterre.com informs of a new textile that kills off disese-carrying bacteria in minutes.  Ohio’s Air Force Research Laboratory has dipped  a chlorinated silk into a chemical solution (something akin to household bleach) for an hour+.  When the cloth dried, it was able to kill E. coli within 10 minutes and a closely related spore of anthrax.

This new discovery to lead to home textile protection against bio-terrorist attacks.  The ‘silk-Cl’ could further be used for water purification in humanitarian efforts.  Killer, yeah?!

Mmmm, anthrax! The Very Hungry Silkworm.

Pattern Party: Batik

Traditional batik making

Batik (bah-teek or ba-tih-k) is a traditional method of decorating cloth by using wax resistance while dying.  Batik was discovered in Egypt as a wrapping for mummies dated from the 4th century BCE.  The word ‘batik’ is of Javanese origin and today, the pattern is a highly developed art form in Indonesia.  Batik is also created in much of Asia (specifically the Asian Pacific) and in a few African countries.

Batik is anything but boring as the process offers the designer complete freedom in pattern-making. First, wax is strategically applied to the fabric (special wax-pens and other tools allow for very intricate application, as if you were drawing onto the cloth).  After the wax has dried, the cloth is dipped into a vat of dye or, for a multi-colored effect, dye is painted in sections.  Once dried, hot water is poured over all over the fabric and the wax can be peeled away, leaving those areas un-dyed.

Interesting designs can be created with the batik technique.  There are a variety of products on the market from actual batik to designs on home ware items that mimic the pattern.  Check out these cool batik products!

1. DVF Plate  —  2. J. Crew Tank   —  3. Anthropologie Hardware   —  4. Kelly Wearstler Scarf   —  5. A.L.C Blouse   —  6. SISTERBATIK Pillows

House of: ETRO + new scarf

Arthur Elgort captures a beautiful Etro ensemble


Etro, a family-owned Italian fashion brand, is art in the form of textiles.  The house began in 1968 by Gimmo Etro.  Today his daughter (Veronica) and three sons (Ippolito, Kean, and Jacopo) are running the business.  Ready-to-wear (both men and women’s), home furnishings, fragrance, and accessories- the kids are living up to Papa Etro’s name.

The Fam. Clockwise starting with Veronica…Kean, Jacopo, and Ippolito

Etro is known for it’s reoccurring Indian Paisley motif and other unique prints.  Another speciality is the vibrant pops of color and designs on the inside lining and cuffs of otherwise very proper and tailored menswear suits.  Veronica, who heads up the women’s collection, typically incorporates a bohemian flair, though always fresh and never overly garish.  And of course, the label’s icon, a leaping pegasus, is ever-present on packaging and in store displays.

Men’s SS2012… Love the peggy shadow!

Women’s SS2012

Women’s SS2012

I decided to do a bit of research on the brand when my beau gave me a pretty Etro scarf from his business trip.  An interesting fact is that aside from providing a prêt-à-porter collection of it’s own, Etro’s textiles are purchased for use in other designer’s lines (i.e. Marc Jacobs, Dries Van Noten, Christian LaCroix, Ungaro, and Valentino).  Like Missoni, the idea that Etro is an Italian family business gives it that extra warmth, perhaps novelty of true craftsmanship… appealing to all ages.

Paisley Etro packaging

New scarf. Grazie, my love!

Spotlight On: Florence and the Original Machine

God, she is SO cool.

Florence Broadhurst is one of those ‘God, she’s so cool!’  girls.  This bold Australian lady was a dabbler in everything from music to comedy to diesel fuel engineering.  Well, maybe the engineering was more her husband, but she helped with the business-side of his career.  It seems as though Broadhurst made herself a chameleon-sort-of life.

Her most well-known venture came in the form of design. She began as a designer and consultant for Pellier Ltd, Robes & Modes in the 1930s.  What is interesting and admirable is the fact that she didn’t start her career as a wallpaper designer (the job that would lance her as a household name) until she was in her 60s.  In 1959, Broadhurst started Australian Wallpapers Pty Ltd (later Florence Broadhurst Wallpapers Pty Ltd).

Her luxurious designs were handcrafted locally in Australia.  Daring are her surviving products with bright color schemes and oversized patterns.  Ms. Broadhurst invested her knowledge into interior innovations like printing onto metallic surfaces and a vinyl finish that could be washed.

Broadhurst’s designs lay dormant for several decades as the Eighties brought on a new, minimalistic wave in design.  Turning the Millennium, her original screens were found and dusted off.  Signature Prints in Australia has made Broadhurst’s designs available once again.  Clubs and hotels can’t get enough of the fun, ephemeral designs.  Fashion designers have played a big part in the revival, too (hello, Kate Spade campaign 2012).

Kate Spade ad campaign

Florence Broadhurst was brutally murdered in 1977.  Her killer is still unknown, but two cups of tea at the crime scene suggests the murder was meeting Broadhurst for a friendly meeting.  I can’t wait to read this book on her by Hellen O’Neil.

Okay, macabre ending… quick, look at Emma Hack’s funny Florence Broadhurst wallpaper camo !!

AG Jeans- Saving the World, One Jean at a Time

AG Leopard Leggings available at Anthropologie.com (or Anthropologie.eu if you’re roaming in Europe)

Jeans.  Gotta love ‘em.

While working at Anthropologie, I was exposed to a wealth of fantastic brands.  Many labels carried or created by the company are seasonal.  Others are Anthro ‘classics’ constantly in stock, albeit refreshed to favor the current trends.  One such company is AG (Adriano Goldschmied) Jeans. Any gal or guy who has worn these jeans knows the denim has a lot to offer, including many flattering fits and authentic washes.

I started noticing the tags on the AG jeans which proclaimed, “eco friendly process”.  I decided to investigate.

So, not only are these jeans quality made, but they’re manufactured using Ozone Technology.  This is a process that uses significantly less water, chemicals, and dirty energy compared to conventional denim.  How?  The pants are ‘ozonized’ (yes, with air), a dry process that disinfects the garment and cleans up the indigo without the need for excessive water, energy, and chemicals.  The company also runs a vertically integrated factory in Los Angeles and another, its sister facility, in Mexico.

All-American style and easy on the Earth?  Yes, indeed.

AG Spring 2012 Lookbook

AG Spring 2012 Lookbook

AG Spring 2012 Lookbook

The AG Stevie Straight at Anthro

neon pastels for Spring available at agjeans.com

Cut and Re-Sew: Hermès and Petit h

The collier d’air necklace (previously scarf scraps). Via tmagazine.blogs.nytimes.com

Several months ago, I read an article in the New York Times Style Magazine showcasing Hermès’ Petit h project.  The company, long revered as a top French luxury brand, came out with a collection of whimsy objects in Paris last year.  The objects are ‘recycled’ from bits and pieces off the Hermès scrap and defect floor.  This past October, a third collection was made available in New York and Beverly Hills. The next sale of Petit h objects is April 23-May 12, 2012 at the boutique Hermès Kurfürstendamm, Berlin– The presentation and sale of the pieces is a nomadic one, so watch the Hermès website for updates.

What kind of objects are we talking about here?  Pascale Mussard, the director of the project (and the great-great-great–granddaughter of Thierry Hermès), has thought up some very beautiful pieces.  Take the sea-foam green dresser, embellished with pretty terry cloth trees which were previously part of a beach mat.  Or how about the life-size Bambi, stitched from Birkin bag scraps?  My favorite is the crocodile skin race car, outfitted with a trailing piece of iconic scarf.

Perhaps Hermès isn’t the most forward thinking in regards to green production in today’s fashion industry.  Even so, I commend the brand for realizing how a beautiful and functional item can spawn from what was, presumably, ‘scrapped’ in the past.

Sale in Japan (via juliettemerck.blogspot.com)

A racecar… my favorite! Via tmagazine.blogs.nytimes.com

coffee cup holders from croc skin (eepps!). Via tmagazine.blogs.nytimes.com

The Porte-Gallet paperweight/doorstop. Via tmagazine.blogs.nytimes.com

Rosewood/cotton woven folding screen + giant Pandy bear. Via tmagazine.blogs.nytimes.com

Terrycloth drawers. Via ecouterre.com

Bestiaire. Via zegreenweb.com

Pattern Party: Ikat

Ikat (pronounced ee-kaaht) is one of the oldest means of fabric decoration.  Like batik, it is made using a resist-dyeing technique.  However, ikat is different in that the pattern needs to be meditated before and applied during the weaving process.  So, bindings (agents resistant to dyeing) are applied to certain threads (either the warp or the weft) at specific lengths.  The threads are dyed and the bindings removed.  Only then can the ikat fabric be constructed.

Ikat artifacts have been discovered all over the world and no one country can lay claim to the fabric as it is believed to have popped up simultaneously in many different places.  Today, many cultures still produce fine, hand-made ikats.  The pillowcases I saw in Turkey were fantastic.  Ikat has been ‘on-trend’ now for a few years.  I hope it continues!  Here are some cool ikats on the market.  :)

Pillows from Uzbekistan at Uzbek-Craft.com. Similar patterns currently on sale on The Foundary!

Ikat print curtains at Urban Outfitters

blue ikat Eberjay bikini

Asymmetrical Carven dress at Net-a-Porter.com

Happenings and Going Ons

Lovely Type by Beato (via allenpeters.com)


Weekend=freedom.  At least for most of us.  If you find yourself with some extra time this Saturday or Sunday and chance has you in the area, check out some of these fantastic exhibits and cultural events.  Happy weekend!!

First, for my Wisco friends—

WISCONSIN: Worn to be Wild: The Black Leather Jacket @ the Harley Davidson Museum (Milwaukee)

NEW YORK:  Youthquake! The 1960s Fashion Revolution @The FashionInstitute of Technology.  On through April 7, 2012.

Joaquín Sorolla and the Glory of the Spanish Dress @ Queen Sofia Spanish Institute.  Closes tomorrow!!

CHICAGO: Charles James: Genius Deconstructed @ the Chicago History Museum.  On through April 16, 2012.

TORONTO: Art in Shoes~ Shoes in Art @ the Beta Shoe Museum.  On through April 2012.

LONDON: Queen Elizabeth II by Cecil Beaton @ the Victoria and Albert Museum.  On through April 22, 2012

Marilyn @ Getty Images Gallery.  On through May 23, 2012.

PARIS: Louis Vuitton Marc Jacobs @ Les Arts Décoratifs.  Starts today!  On through September 16 2012.

Twiggy tights packaging at FIT’s Youthquake exhibit (via fitnyc.edu)

Bob Dylan mini shift at Youthquake (via fitnyc.edu)

Joaquín Sorolla’s ‘Flamenco Dancer’ (via spanishinstitute.org)

Queen Elizabeth II by Cecil Beaton (via vandaimages.com)