Sunday, April 26, 2009

Vintage lingerie

After working with Samantha for a few months I have learned a lot about the business of being in apparel manufacturing, and I think I'm ready to do a little something myself. I've been totally obsessed with vintage lingerie for years, yet its hard to find these designs reproduced (cause really, do you wanna buy a pair of used underwear? gross). This weekend I visited the Manhattan Vintage Clothing Show to get some prototypes.

vintage lingerie

These beauties are called "tap pants" and they were produced in the 20's or 30's. Good examples have really beautiful embroidery and are made of silk or rayon. They fit super high on the waist and generally close with buttons. Next week I'm taking my tax return money and meeting with a manufacturer to see if they can copy the pattern and produce a small run. In the future I'd like to do a few more pieces, maybe a onesie such as this?

vintage lingerie

I'm really excited about this project! I figure the worst that could happen is that they don't sell and then I just have an unlimited supply of gifts to give my friends. More on this when I meet with the factory.

Monday, April 20, 2009

New Dress project completed

I finished my summer dress:

modeling new dress project

I love how many vintage patterns translate into modern designs as long as you pick the right fabric. Oh, and in this case, take the hem up about 6 inches.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

A Tour of East Williamsburg Bizarro Businesses, Episode 3

Oh you know you have been missing this segment of my blog...

So today in America is the day that you have to file your taxes. My parents accountant still does mine, cause I am useless like that. Aaaanyways around New Years this new tax place opened up on Graham:


Sorry for the far away picture, I didn't want to startle random hipster guy hanging out in front. So its a little weird enough that its a tax place but also a travel agency... I get it, real estate is expensive, let's bundle several businesses into one storefront at once, cause once you find out what your refund is going to be, how about blowing it all on a trip to Atlantic city (Caesar's Express busses leaving daily)? Sounds good to me, though I'm gonna blow my refund on... rent, probably. BUT the real hilarity of this place lies in their promo people who have been stalking the Graham subway station (and Lorimer, it seems, where the below photo was taken), in the following outfit:


Not like this could ever be a good look for anyone, but it really was sad... there they were, through snow, sleet, and rain in their ugly draped blue velour schmatta (yiddish for "rag," my mom loved using this one to describe the clothes I would wear in high school during the punk rock years) and foam Statue of Liberty hats handing out $50 coupons for your tax preparation. They even had blue tarps to wrap around themselves for when it rained, so basically they ended up looking like crazy homeless people with novelty Statue of Liberty hats. People took note of them for the first week or two, but after that, everyone, including myself, made their best attempt to ignore them and their coupons. I would pull out my phone or look down at my ipod as I exited the train station, hoping that I would not have to make eye contact with the Statue. Please, no, I don't need a coupon, LEAVE ME ALONE!!!!!

Today I snapped a farewell picture of the Statue guy (most of the time it was a woman) as I am hoping April 15th will be the end of his reign haunting my train stop. Goodbye, Liberty tax guy, I don't know what you did to deserve having to stand in the snow in that outfit for three months but I hope that it paid off.

Lavender for Spring

lavender for spring

From left to right: Dress, Lover, Net-a-porter; Dress, Luella, Net-a-porter; Knit cardigan, Sonia by Sonia Rykiel, Net-a-porter; Shoes, Luella; Top, Eley Kishimoto; Skirt, Valentino, Colette.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Purple haze

purple balloon

Spring is around the corner (right, mother nature? I am so sick of my winter coats I want to burn them all and yet you still make me wear them!) and all of a sudden I've become obsessed with purple, specifically, lavender and lilac. I don't really have that much of it in my wardrobe so I've been on the hunt (related post with a Polyvore set coming soon). I went fabric shopping today for a great lavender cotton to make a cute summer dress, but instead walked out of Mood with what is possibly the greatest silk cotton blend fabric of all time ever:

silk cotton blend

I am going to make this with it. Short post, going to get started on it now, maybe finished in time for a wedding I'm going to on Saturday. Photos when finished!

simplicity 2985

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Baking with Rachel

Tonight is Passover, and though I am not a very observant Jew anymore, I do tend to enjoy any holiday that revolves around eating and getting drunk (there are 4 glasses of wine specified in the Passover ritual). I got invited to a big dinner party at Samantha's and last night we had an epic shopping trip at one of the coolest grocery stores I have ever been to, Fairway Supermarket in Red Hook. I didn't bring my camera and we were too frantically trying to find everything on her list but you should go sometime.

Anyway, I did tend to hate Passover growing up because its a lot of sitting around reading from the special book (the Haggadah) for hours before you actually get to eat, and all the food gets cold. BUT it was the one time in the year that my mom would make this amazing dessert which I whipped up (literally) for the first time today without a recipe and mostly from memory. It is probably one of my favorite desserts ever, seriously try making this ASAP. Kosher for Passover for all my heebs!

You will need:
6 eggs
sugar (regular and confectioners)
cream of tartar
heavy whipping cream
big ol' bar of chocolate (I prefer dark)

Standing mixer or a hand mixer (I only have a hand mixer it works fine)
cake tins or a baking sheet
parchment paper

So first you are going to separate the egg yolks from the whites. Use the egg yokes for an omelette sometime (Rachael Ray says you can freeze them!) and put the whites in a mixing bowl. Add a pinch of cream of tartar, or salt if you don't have. Whip them with the mixer until they are kind of a foamy, frothy texture. Then you're gonna add a cup and a half of regular sugar, little by little. Keep mixing and in the end you should get a creamy texture that will keep shape when you move it around. I forgot to take a picture at this point, oops. Oh, I also added a little vanilla at the end, makes everything better always.

Trace a large circle (I just traced the bottom of my cake tin) on your parchment paper to make a lining for your cake tin, or your baking sheet, and leave it on there. With a spatula spoon some of the egg white mixture onto the paper and smooth it down flat-ish. Make sure you like the shape as it will tend to bake in this shape. Put it into a pre-heated 325 degree oven for 20 minutes. Reduce heat after 20 minutes to 275 and then let it bake another 20-30 mins or so. It should look crispy and brown-ish and will be chewy on the inside. I was able to make 3 meringues out of the 6 egg whites that I whipped up. Here is what they look like:


Let them cool, my mom tended to let them cool overnight but you don't have to. Be gentle with them as they may crack.

While my meringues were baking, I whipped up my heavy whipping cream with about a half cup of confectioners sugar. I don't like super sweet whipped cream but you can add more to taste. Don't eat all your whipped cream before you finish the dessert! Also, you can cut up your strawberries now. The ones I got were not that sweet, wish I had remembered to get them when I was at Fairway.

Once your meringues are cooled off enough you can start to melt down your chocolate in a saucepan. Use super low heat you don't want your chocolate to burn! You can add a bit of water or milk to make it smoother but don't use too much. Once its melted (keep the heat on throughout this part) you can start to build the layers of your dessert. I find its easiest to go: meringue, chocolate, whipped cream, strawberries. You should also wait a minute to put on whipped cream after you put on the chocolate because if its too hot your whipped cream will melt a little as mine did. Try not to eat all your melted chocolate while you are making this!




The finished result is a little messy, which is fine because its really hard to cut this thing and will end up basically as a big strawberry/chocolate/whipped cream/meringue-y mess but that's ok because you are about to experience what heaven tastes like. It took all my willpower to not eat this before I brought it over to Sam's house. I did, however, get to lick my saucepan and whipped cream bowl clean.


Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The Unemployment club

Sunday Alex and I went to Motorino for dinner. We are both members of the unemployment club, but he is in fact a CARD CARRYING MEMBER, as in, debit card provided by the NYSDL. Thanks for the pizza Governor Patterson!

paying for dinner...

paying for dinner...

Monday, April 6, 2009

A Day at Urban Outfitters

Today Samantha and I went to Philadelphia to meet with Urban Outfitters. I recently finished my fashion production class at FIT and was curious to see how a line gets produced on a corporate level. We took the train out in the morning and got picked up by Samantha's mom at the train station, and got driven to the Urban Outfitters headquarters. They have the coolest offices ever. I believe they are in some converted naval buildings and are bright and airy and industrial looking. You can see the naval ships outside of the window. They also have a really nice cafeteria, gym, magazine shop, and coffee shop on site. Seemed like a really cool place to work. Everyone there is young and hip, naturally.





First up with met with Samantha's merchandiser and technical designer to discuss a new design for the current season. This romper has become a best seller and is sold out online and at most stores so they decided to do a new style right away. They are going to make it in a knit so we picked out a fabric and fiddled with the sketch and made some measurements on the dressform.






After that, we went to go get the samples for the holiday 09 delivery. We brought them to a fitting area and me and another girl tried them on (their sample size is my size). Some of the stuff looked great and fit amazing. Some stuff clearly needed some revision and refitting. I was amazed how good some of the samples were considering they were first run samples.



After that we had a meeting with the production team to present the styles. They had a fit model come in and try on all the available styles. It was very interesting to learn how they adjusted styles to fit their price points. Some fabric choices and detailing had to be compromised. For example, they decided to make larger size quilting on the two quilted items because that would bring down the price of the labor. They also had to cut some fabrications because they were not affordable (such as an amazing peplum trench coat in coated canvas, fortunately Samantha got to keep the sample).




The production team liked most of the stuff and decided to go ahead with 10 of the 13-14 styles that were presented. Before we left we got to raid their samples and retrieve some of Samantha's rejected styles from past seasons. They will be great for fabric or style reference.


After a long day, we took the train back home. Very tired.


Friday, April 3, 2009

The obligatory Topshop post

OK, I admit it, I have been waiting for this freakin' Topshop to open for 8 years. Since 2001 (my first stint living in London) I was thinking to myself, why isn't there a Topshop on Broadway? New Yorkers would dig that. I'm not sure why it took them so long to finally do it, I mean, while you were sleeping Phillip Green H&M kinda took over the world... that could have been you dude!

I know Topshop is kinda over rated, and at this point has become overpriced, but I do sort of credit it for what might be considered my fashion "awakening." Back in the 90's, I lived in Berkeley, California, a town known more for writers, activists, and hippies than for fashion. I wore some vintage clothes, black jeans, and tons of punk band t-shirts, and that's pretty much it. I bought my first years prom dress (a 50's day dress) at a thrift store and the next year my 60's shift was from ebay. Flash forward a couple years and this west coast girl was living in East London, going to clubs like Trash and Candybox (aka Scandi-box) and all of a sudden my 90's west coast wardrobe just didn't cut it anymore. I actually remember sitting with Megan and looking at all the crazy outfits going by at Trash. All of a sudden we looked at each other and said simultaneously, "we need to go SHOPPING."

Ever since then, Topshop was my go-to place in London, the Oxford Street store was only about 10 minutes from the LSE where I did my graduate degree several years later and I was, admittedly, in there probably at least once every two weeks. They really know how to keep you coming in there... they do really have something for everyone and the stock is always changing so if you don't buy the item you're thinking about right away, chances are it won't be there next time you visit. They would have a section in the Oxford Circus location called "last chance to buy," which would contain the last few sizes of certain styles, a real genious strategy really when you think about it because they didn't even have to put them on sale for people (myself included) to decide that its "now or never" and usually choose "now." Cheeky.

Anyways, I was working for Samantha yesterday and didn't want to go anywhere near the 2.5 hour long wait to get in, but had some free time today and couldn't resist a first visit. I didn't bring my camera but there are plenty of pictures on Racked or The Cut. I waited about 20 minutes in line outside, but was actually grateful for the crowd control, because once you got in, it was pretty mellow in there, everything was well organized and most items were available in all sizes. They had a lot of stuff that had sold out on the Topshop website and most of the stuff that was on the website looked WAY better in person. Sadly, it's kind of a small store (only about 1/4 of the size of Oxford Circus) and for some reason, they are WAY into the 90's trend that is happening right now. Seriously, the 90's? This is retro now? I'm sorry but this was the worst decade for fashion EVER. I wish I had a photo of me in my Bat Mitzvah dress circa 1993 because I swear they were selling the exact same dress.

Fortunately, it was not all bad, and I walked away with some goodies:

recent topshop purchases

How great is that silk top? Reminds me of Lyell. It did come out to be rather expensive, but overall I had a good experience. I even got away with getting a 10% student discount with my FIT non-credit course card. Sweet.

So thanks Phillip, I could do without the 90's revival but I am sure I will be back.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Nylon 10th Anniversary

Heather took me as her +1 to the Nylon 10th Anniversary party last night. It was pretty fun, from what I can remember.

nylon 10th anniversary

Somehow we ended up at the same table as Lydia Hearst. Her dress was OUT OF CONTROL AMAZING. Not something I think I would wear but definitely a work of art. She was nice enough to let me take a picture of it.

nylon 10th anniversary

Oh and there were some other people there like Jenny from Gossip Girl, ahem, I mean Taylor Momson. Didn't catch her drinking, boo.

nylon 10th anniversary

The major bummer? NO LI-LO!!! She was on the cover this month so I was totally hoping to have a Li-Lo trainwreck to report on but no dice. Oh well. I did somehow end up with a bottle of Stoli Citrus in my bag at the end of the evening, so all in all a good party.