FASHION FLASHBACK/FASHION NOW: CAROLINA HERRERA

imageAs you know I have had the incredible pleasure of working with many, many designers and lifestyle personalities over my many years at Saks Fifth Avenue, Chicago.  Among my favorites was (and is!) Carolina Herrera.  Not only an extremely talented designer but probably, even more importantly, one off the nicest people you can meet in or out of the world of fashion!  I had the privilege of working with her on several occasions over the 36 years of her career (the House of Herrera celebrated their 35th Anniversary in 2016). The photos above were a part of my desinger wall in my office they are now housed in the Nena Ivon Collection in the Archives and Special Collections at Columbia College Chicago.  Two weren’t glazed so you see a vintage look to them which I find charming.  I have never seen a bad photo of Carolina.  She would sign a new one each time she visited. She is a photographers dream and has been shot by the best including our own genius Victor Skrebneski, the remarkable Robert Mapplethorpe and Andy Warhol to name a few.  Every artist has used her as their muse and one of my personal favorites is David Downton’s piece he did for her SCAD exhibition. I really want a portrait by him…follow his Instagram posts… I would show them to you but I would probably be sued for copyright violations so please go online and enjoy them for yourself.

imageHad to do this…the truly exquisite Carolina Herrera in front of the iconic Warhol piece.

Carolina was “discovered” by Diana Vreeland who admired her personal style (Carolina was on the Best Dressed List long before she started her business and she and her husband, Reinaldo, were/are in the heart of the International social scene)  and encouraged her to start designing, again Diana was correct with her discriminating eye and we all have been able to enjoy and wear the glamour and excitement of Carolina Herrera since 1981.

imageimageimageDiana Vreeland and Carolina in the top photo and two pieces from her first collection…I was there and it was amazingly beautiful.  Her evening gowns were and are the elegant way to look at any formal occasion and her day pieces are timeless as well.

imageimageTwo Monographs, you know me and books especially on fashion….the top title published in 2016 to celebrate the 35th Anniversary of Carolina Herrera. 

imageAt her perfume launch

imageI know I have posted this photo before but why not again….four of our visiting designers at the Saks Fifth Avenue, Chicago Place opening party September 1990.  Left to right, Adolfo, Carolina, Pauline Trigère and Bob Mackie.  I’m on the left and Beverly Blettner, the event chair, is pictured on the right. I have another version of this photo (which I can’t locate, sorry) that has Adolfo and Carolina laughing…the photographer had asked if they were married, don’t know why the question was asked but it broke up all the designers!

imageAt the Fashion Group International Chicago www.chicago.fgi.org Gala when Carolina was presented with their Night of Stars Designer of the Year Award 2004.  It was at the Ritz Carlton Chicago.  At that event, she asked me how long have we worked together, both our responses were, “since the beginning”!  Her latest award from all her Chicago admirers was this Spring when she received the Costume Council of the Chicago History Museum’s www.chicagohistory.org Designer of Excellence Award.  I must add we have lovely representation of the House of Herrera in the Costume Collection. The above three photos are from the Nena Ivon Collection in the College Archives and Special Collections at Columbia College Chicago  wwwdigitalcommons@colum.edu

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I featured a couple of pieces from the Carolina Herrera Spring 2018 Collection in my posts on New York Fashion Week….let’s look at a couple more that were my favorites.  The Collection was shown in the Museum of Modern Art’s Garden a first for MOMA and for Herrera and it won’t be the last they plan on showing there for the next few seasons, the Collections have been shown at The Frick Museum the past few seasons.

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And here is your personal invitation to see the Resort and Spring 2018 Collections…I would suggest you take advantage of this opportunity to see these treasures in person and find something special to add to your wardrobe.image

imageCarolina today in her signature white shirt, let’s look forward to many more years with this creator’s truly glorious garments!

In closing I want to direct you to the Carolina Herrera website, www.carolinaherrera.com it is extraordinary and you will learn much more about this unique talent that I have had the great privileged to have had in my fashion life!

ALL PHOTOS UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED ARE FROM PINTEREST PHOTO CREDIT UNKNOWN

TWO ANNOUNCEMENTS, AS ALWAYS ALL THOUGHTS ARE MINE AND I AM NOT COMPENSATED BY THE BRANDS I AM CURRENTLY DISCUSSING.

IN YESTERDAY’S HALLOWEEN POST STEPHANIE LAKE’S WEBSITE WAS NOT CLEAR THE CORRECT INFORMATION IS www.stephanielakedesign.com MY APOLOGIES TO STEPHANIE!!

 

PROFILE: LIZ KLAFETA ENTREPRENEUR EXTRAORDINAIRE

imageLiz Klafeta

In all the Profiles I have done this past year I have either featured my former models, other friends, business associates and new acquaintances all of whom have had fascinating stories to tell.  Today I am featuring a wonderful success story of one of my former Columbia College Chicago students, Liz Klafeta.  I was invited to attend an event at a new West Town apartment building that was a Networking reception and panel discussion about how to use technology to your advantage in advancing your career path, it was fascinating.  Samantha Saifer Berngard, (last week’s Profile!) our hostess, pulled together a perfect mix of speakers and, in turn, has given me the opportunity to feature four of them, including herself in my Monday posts.  I was thrilled to reconnect with Liz, I haven’t seen her since she graduated.  She has an extraordinary story to share…..let’s see what she has been up to (it’s a lot!)

WHEN WAS YOUR FIRST IMPRESSION OF YOUR TALENT

Hmm….I definitely obsessed and spent a lot of time contemplating and thinking about things whenever I was or am designing a project.  When other people see what I completed and their mouths would drop open, I thought I might be onto something.  Continual praise from multiple people helped as well. That’s actually when I knew the other person was not just being nice and maybe I was doing something well because everyone just isn’t THAT nice!

WHEN DID YOU KNOW YOU HAD “MADE IT” EXPLAIN

“Made it” well that is a pretty secure statement and I don’t think anyone should ever get super secure! I still don’t think that I have “made it”, but I do know that I make spaces that people really enjoy staying in.  The letters and notes from countless guests have reassured me of this and having my home featured on HGTV helped solidify this feeling.

We grew 100% the first year, 100% the next year, and now BANGTEL consists of 6 full-time employees and many independent contractors in each city of our locations. Last year, 3 people tried to buy into us.  It was like an episode of Shark Tank.  That’s also when I realized we had something special. BANGTEL is still 100% owned by myself, currently.

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HOW DID YOUR ORIGINAL PASSION BRING YOU TO WHERE YOU ARE NOW

I love transforming things into something completely different.  I was constantly remodeling my mom’s home when I was little to the point where it annoyed her.  I got into Fashion Styling and Prop Styling was less to things to schlep around believe it or not.  You could not bring 5 credenzas to set, but you could bring 5,000 turtlenecks to set.  As I continued to do more Prop Styling, I was also simultaneously rehabbing my townhouse that I purchased when I was 23 years old.  When this was completed and I had officially gotten burned out on the advertising world, I started hitting up landlords to see if I could rehab their homes on my dime.  So silly, but that’s how bad I wanted to design.  Let me pay for your rehab as a bargaining tactic for the landlord to let me Airbnb. I love designing and I love taking care of people so here I am, perfectly content!

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WHAT WOULD HAVE BEEN YOUR ALTERNATE CHOICE AS A CAREER….WAS THERE ONE

Singer, but I can’t sing so that was never REALLY an option.  This current career choice was a complete accident, but a happy one!

YOUR FAVORITE BOOK, MOVIE, THEATER

Favorite Book is probably “Many Minds, Many Masters” because it put my mind at ease early on about what is life all about and why are we here.  I still buy copies and hand it out to my friends.  I think every single one of my friends has gotten a copy from me.

Favorite dish is the greek salad with smoked salmon from 12 Chairs in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.  I don’t eat or smoke crack, but I think there must be crack in it because it’s an addiction.  Please, everyone, go there so it never ever goes out of business!  It also doubles as my office when I am in New York working.

HOBBIES….

Laughing, dancing, coffee, catching up with friends and family, having amazing meals, dancing, reading interior magazines, designing, and, did I say dancing?

HOME….MODERN, TRADITIONAL, ANTIQUES (WHAT ERA) ECLECTIC

Well, people live in my real home full time, but it is pretty modern and eclectic.  My future home when I am happy with where BANGTEL is, (not sure if that will happen because I honestly want to be everywhere and pretty much live in the spaces as I design them), will be a lot of glass, tile, and burnt charcoal wood. Cement integrated sinks and countertops, amazing art, and oddball sculptures that make people say, “What the hell?”  That’s what I love to do.  Inspire people to say, “what the hell?!”

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WHO WOULD YOU HAVE AT YOUR FANTASY DINNER (LIVING OR DEAD) AND WHAT WOULD YOU SERVE

OMG, this is a fun one!  David Bowie, Marilyn Monroe, John F Kennedy, Andy Warhol, Twiggy, Cher, Bob Marley, Dahli Lama, Anne Frank, Barbie, Mickey Mouse, Banksy, and Princess Diana.  EEK.  That’s 13 (Nena’s note I added Liz so it is 14…never mind!), but I think that is a great mix.  Kind of sounds like a BANGTEL party where you could find the Dominatrix talking to the Trademark  Lawyer about her favorite vacation spot.  I, of course, would serve Champagne from the South of France and an unlimited Seafood Tower. Dessert would be truffles and my sister’s, Gina Klafeta, vegan ice cream sandwiches, called Nana Creme www.nanacreme.com go buy them!

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FAVORITE VACATION SPOT VISITED AND/OR ON LIST

Capetown probably because I said I wanted to buy a place there in a year. I have not made it back yet because there are so many places I want to make it to at least once.

I am a sucker for amazing beach vacations, though, so Phuket, Thailand, or Maui have been my favorites.

ON this list this year is Iceland and New Zealand.

FAVORITE NEW CHICAGO RESTAURANT

Beatnix, which is owned by my favorite place to dance, Disco at Celeste. Get the Tomahawk Steak and the oysters.

FAVORITE CHICAGO STREET ART

What comes to mind right away is because when I am here I drive down Grand and Damen a lot.  It is the teddy bear mural by JC Rivera www.jcrivera.com  I always smile at Giant teddy bears on a random building. Cool. Haha.

imageimagePhotos from Pinterest credit unknown.

HOW WOULD YOU LIKE TO BE REMEMBERED

Kind and fucking hilarious!

imageAll photos of Liz and her BANGTEL properties are courtesy of Liz Klafeta.

LIZ’S FAVORITE RECIPE: THE BEST GUACAMOLE OF YOUR LIFE!

4 avocados

1 tomato

1/2 red onion

2 jalapeño peppers

Cilantro

2 limes

Sea salt

SWEET STUFF

Raw Samoas

The good tortilla chips from the Mexican Grocery Store!

LIZ’S FAVORITE LINKS

BANGTEL.com!   Follow us on social and stay with us in Chicago, MIAMI, New York, Cabo, Michigan and soon to be Palm Springs.

My amazingly talented friends:

http://colleendurkin.com/

https://www.jasonrobinette.com/

http://aleksevaphoto.com/

https://www.natashagornik.com/

http://briansorg.com/

LIZ, A MILLION THANKS FOR JOINING ME ON MY NENASNOTES JOURNEY AND SHARING YOUR EXTRAORDINARY CAREER PATH…CAN’T WAIT TO DO A “STAYCATION” AT ONE OF YOUR PROPERTIES…I WOULD SAY NEXT STEPS A HGTV SHOW AND BOOK!  I’LL LOOK FORWARD TO POSTING CHAPTER 2 ON MY BLOG!!!

FASHION NOW: SPRING 2018 REVIEW PART 6 MILAN

imageMilan proved to be a mix of straightforward elegance and dramatic presentations such as the Fellini inspired spectacular of Antonio Marras, shown above!

Lots of anniversaries celebrated, Missoni, Etro, Fendi, etc., (remember Italian Fashion is all family-based, that is one of the unique qualities of the presentations) and, the show that had everyone talking, Donatella Versace’s tribute to the founder of the Brand, her brother, Gianni and its dramatic finale with five of the 1990’s Super Models, (pity Christy and Linda weren’t there!) fabulous!  So many shows, so much to talk about, I’m just going to touch on a few and continue to see what I can find that is tieing trends together from New York to Paris you will be reading this until the next series of shows occur!

We began Milan Fashion Week with Gucci and end with Dolce & Gabbana.

Gucci Spring 2018….

imageStripes, shine, pink, orange and black and white.

imageStripes, knit…be sure to notice the handbags and shoes…more socks!

imageDenim, leather, pattern.

imageLeather bomber jacket, layers.

imageThe power suit in pink….a color seen in all collections so far.

imageThe black dress, sexy, a must have, again seen in all collections….a major classic looking new, note the colored textured leg.

Jeremy Scott for Moschino…

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imagePink tutu with black leather very Katy PerryimageimageFloral finale

Fendi by Karl Lagerfeld…

imageimageimageimageStripes, leather and I know you all hate the socks with sandals, but they are most certainly a trend!

Alberta Ferretti (Yes, I worked with her on a show)…Spring 2018 continues her feminine understated looks.

imageLove the silk trench over the embroidered gown.imageimageimageThe scale of the finale.

Prada…

imageStripes and pink.imageimageLooks more like fall to me but animal print always a good thing no matter the season!

imageLook familiar…very Versace but Fendi…a trend in the making!!!???  Let’s watch it!

Versace…

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imageimagePetal pink

imageDenim and Versace signature prints with a touch of lace…love these!

imageimageTHE FINALE TO END ALL FINALES!!!!

Dolce & Gabbana end Milan Fashion Week…

imageHouse of Cards set, a show produced for and attended by Millenials…interesting concept, and we know all the Millenials like to wear tiaras or flowers in their hair…they have come to the right place!

imageimageimagePrint mix always a D&G signature…

imageStripes…yes…

imageimageBlush pink, okay….

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Glitz, of course

imageBlack check….imageAnd mass model finale, double check!

Okay Paris, show us your stuff!!!!!!!!!

All photos were taken from various internet and Pinterest sources, photo credits unknown.

 

 

 

 

FASHION NOW: SPRING 2018 REVIEW PART 5 LONDON

imageGareth Pugh, the avant-garde designer joined forces with photographer, Nick Knight for a 16-minute film which features these out of the future (is the future now!!!???) metallic garments…meant to be worn, I’ll leave that to you.

imageHussein Chalayan, to my mind’s eye, is one of the most imaginative innovators out there, he never disappoints with his creativity.  Alongside very wearable pieces, he showed a group of gowns with headpieces of rectangular frames with Swarovski crystals, while the flowing gowns were almost Grecian in feeling, complete with rough sandals.

imageAnother futuristic piece from Chalayan.

imageThe opening piece in the Chalayan presentation, some of the models wore headscarves and sunglasses over their faces, the designer said this was “a nod to chic but peculiar mood”.

IMG_0632Christopher Kane, bold splashy print, it does seem that London is all about the shoes….

IMG_0633Black shine with very feminine touches of white lace…hard chic made romantic.

IMG_0634Add to our floral trend mood board.

imageRefreshing white with two accessories to watch…long gloves and fascinating, to say the least, shoes!

imageAs I have mentioned in past posts, designers have chosen to show their collections in cities other than their own….who could be more American than Tommy Hilfiger and here he presents his totally American collection to close out London Fashion Week!

Fresh, very young and very Hilfiger and his collaboration with Gigi Hadid whose previous collections have been sell-outs. One of the trends I am following in all collections is leather, and here we see a short sleeve motorcycle jacket complete with studs…looks new and very now when paired with a floaty print and very short shorts in denim, another continuing trend….think of it with jeans or a slim skirt if shorts aren’t right for you and they certainly aren’t right for everyone! Tommy Hilfiger RTW Spring 2018A close-up of hair and make-up as well as the detail on the jacket.imageBoho-inspired floral float with tights and shoe booties….interesting for a Spring collection.

On to Milan…..stripes, glitz, neon color along with black and white….here a preview of Gucci’s interpretation for Spring 2018!!!

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FASHION NOW: SPRING 2018 REVIEW PART 4 LONDON FASHION WEEK

As I mentioned in my last post, we look to London for innovation and cutting-edge trends….well look no further, the London shows are on target for being advanced, and the week has just started, like them or not….here they come!

Peter Pilotto a design team, Peter Pilotto and Christopher De Vos, met while studying at Antwerp’s Royal Academy of Fine Arts, their label was founded in 2007.  Known for their vibrant prints and body-hugging silhouettes. Chrome yellow, stripes, strong tropical prints have crossed the Pond!

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Alice Temperley, like most renowned English designers, studied at Central Saint Martins in London and launched her line in 2000. Do look for her book, True British, writren to celebrate her 10th anniversary.  I have chosen some of the trends that I saw in the New York shows, stripes, bold color, pastel pink (all shades of pink!), silver sequins, and, of course, black.  Note the shoes….

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Does the name Burberry sound familiar to you…of course it does!  Christopher Bailey has reinstated the Burberry plaid logo throughout the Spring 2018 collection which was shown at a former East London court, Old Sessions House. Loved everything about it…I must say I even tended to like the socks with the sandals…but am very afraid of what that trend will look like when worn by those who don’t know “style” if you get my drift! No offense meant!

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imageimageLooks like Kaia Gerber crossed the Pond as well…

imageAnother well-established name is Giorgio Armani who showed his Emporio Armani collection in London…it is interesting to see which International fashion stars are showing in cities and countries other than their home base. American brands Rodarte, Monique Lhuillier, and Proenza Schouler showed Spring 2018 just before the Paris Couture Collection in July.

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Mary Katrantzou also studied at Central Saint Martins and started her house in 2009.  Known for her combination of color and prints her Spring 2018 collection doesn’t disappoint.

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It seems to me that shoes are taking the place of handbags for the excitement in accessories…but then we have seen interesting handbags as well, I wonder, both on our must have lists…why not!

 

 

FASHION NOW: SPRING 2018 REVIEW PART 3 NEW YORK FASHION WEEK

imageI’ve become enamored with fashion quotes and adore this one….it says it all, don’t you agree!

We have come to the end of New York Fashion Weeks and are now on to London, which I will review on Monday.  London has become quite cutting edge (but remember London has given us Alexander McQueen, John Galliano, Vivianne Westwood, not to mention Mary Quant, Ossie Clark and, of course, the Father of Haute Couture Charles Frederick Worth and one of the first women Couturiers, Lucile Duff Gordon…..and the list goes one….so it really has been cutting edge forever!

Let’s look at three more of the stalwart New York designers…Michael Kors, Marc Jacobs (he always closes the week) and Marchesa.

imageMichael Kors finale….a bit too tropical for my taste but great color and silhouette.  I like to suggest you add print to your already established wardrobe, the prints change so much season to season.

imageI do like print combinations and am very pleased that we aren’t seeing mix-matched patterns and colors for Spring 2018…I much prefer mixing the same tones…here we see a palm print with one of my trends….stripes.  Note the shoes, we will discuss a bit later in this post.

imageSo very Kors….the casual look of the shirt with ombré sequin pants and in blue, another color we have seen on many runways.

imageI believe this is first time we have seen a grey garment in the Spring 2018 collections, it is a stunner and combined with luggage tan. perfection.  Note the grey wood planks for the runway…new, fresh, clean and a bit beachy!

imageHad to feature a LBD, this one I’m mad for….of course, I would need the top longer or the waist of the skirt higher, probably will ship that way.  Flip flops with sequins…why but then again why not.  I’m not a fan of them but they make an interesting statement here!  Kors was another of the many designers who used diverse sizes in his presentation.

imageAll three of the designers I am featuring today have fragrances, actually each has more than one to keep their brand available to those who can’t afford the ready-to-wear.  I chose these from Kors because I think they represent the Spring 2018 line perfectly, Sport, Sexy, Glam!

imageMarc Jacobs has always pushed the buttons from his days at Perry Ellis (that is when I worked with him) to Paris Couture…he is still doing that.  Here three examples of his interpretation for Spring 2018…bold neon colors, splashy dotted prints, oversize coats, jackets and dresses and fascinating accessories.  Love the gloves and creative shoes.

imageColor combinations and layering.  Head wraps throughout the collection.

imageMore color, I haven’t featured much pink in my reviews, but pink, in all shades, it most certainly a trend.  One bag is good, two even better.  I do like the full pant, perhaps pulled in a bit!

imageA stunner, I would have either put the sash lower or cinch the waist, but then I’m not Marc Jacobs.  I’ve shown you Chrome yellow in all my reviews and like it paired with black, brown or navy….I think a thong shoe here….

imageJust a few from Marc’s fragrance collection….many, many more!

imageThe finale and the end of week two of New York Fashion Spring 2018….don’t go away I’m going to show you a few pieces from Marchesa along with a special event invitation.

imageThe Marchesa fragrance.  The name Marchesa honors the eccentric Marchesa Casati, if you haven’t read the biography on her, Infinite Variety, please do so, her life was beyond belief, a super read!

imageGlamour personified!

imageAdore the floral bodice, the skirt not so much.

imageBeautiful and in a magnificent green crepe combined with petal pink…the entire gown looks like a flower…stunning.

imageWe have seen black and white in most collections, always refreshing in any season.

imageIf I get to choose…this would be the gown, perhaps a bit less décolleté, absolutely adore it!

And now for the exciting invitation.  The Costume Council of the Chicago History Museum is hosting a private event with Georgiana Chapman and Keren Craig the Cofounders of Marchesa.  If you are interested in attending please contact ijohnson@chicagohistory.org.

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FASHION NOW: SPRING 2018 REVIEW PART 1 NEW YORK FASHION WEEK

imageMad for this quote….how true….fashion is everywhere and fashion weeks are popping up all over the world.  We still look at the four, what we consider, at least at the moment, major markets….New York, London, Milan, and Paris.  New York began last week and we end in Paris early October.  From what I have seen thus far we are in for a very exciting Spring 2018 season.  What I will be reviewing, probably a couple of times a week, will be the trends that I see happening along with a few of my favorite designers.  Take note that my seeing news and excitement doesn’t necessarily say I “like the garments” I am reporting the excitement of the upcoming season.  And, please, oh please, let’s not discuss age or body image, if you like a look it can be adjusted to your time in life and your figure!

Let’s look at some of my finds….

How convenient that Zac Posen presented his Spring 2018 collection at the same time his documentary, House of Z,  is available.  If you missed my review please check my archives, I posted it on Friday, September 8th.  Zac chose not to do a formal show, actually a show at all, instead he has produced a look book filled with amazing styles.  I have chosen a couple to highlight here.  You can see the amazing embroidery, the incredible detail (the first is an ode to his inspiration designer, Charles James).  The entire collection is timeless and seasonless.  The last piece, a remarkable ball gown is, in my opinion, a masterwork!

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Jason Wu’s youthful but ageless collection featured stripes which showed up in several collections….let’s keep our eyes open for that as a trend.  imageimageI am so excited to share the news that the Jason Wu fragrance is exclusive at Saks Fifth Avenue and I was given a bottle to add to the Nena Ivon Archives at Columbia College Chicago.  The bottle is based on his iconic handbag…see image below of both the bag and the fragrance….that is my fragrance and it’s box in my photo.  Not only sleek stunning packaging and bottle but a delicious scent!

imageimage From the sublime to the whimsical….an around the world fashion adventure with the creativity of Desigual.  Reminds me a bit of the Kenzo of years ago.  Lots of color, pattern and ethnic touches.  A case in point, that Fashion doesn’t need to be classic all the time!

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Speaking of whimsey….there is always Jeremy Scott who is celebrating 20 years in fashion, his collection is always tongue in cheek and this one continues that tradition with a new twist on his old favorites.  He is the darling of Katy Perry, Madonna, Riannah and other celebrities.

imageWatch for very bright almost neon colors in many of the collections.  Love the Doc Martens with this look.

imageWill denim always be with us….yes, yes and yes, in one form or another.  Before you go crazy, you don’t have to do a mini skirt the look can be adapted.

imagePhilipp Plein began his show with a performance by Dita Von Teese, the stage had “strippers” gyrating throughout the presentation….interesting to say the least. He showed both women’s and men’s garments some including leather as details.  These two pictures are showing two of the trends in the early collections, pastels, and denim.image

At the same time this show was going on Alexander Wang was doing not one but two shows with his models on as party bus they first appeared on a street in Manhatten then in Brooklyn, the shows were all over the place.

imageDoes she look famiiar….it is Kaia Gerber, Cindy Crawford’s daughter…she opened the show.  Her first catwalk was in Raf Simons Calvin Klein show.

imageNo need to introduce this young lady to you.  A fabulous little black dress.

A big surprise for me was the Calvin Klein collection by Raf Simons….the two photos below are very against what we think of as the Brand….but I feel very refreshing and very new….lots and lots of color and interesting silhouettes. Love the color combinations of the gloves, shoes, and bags….thoughts of how to update your established wardrobe.

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Tom Ford back in the game as the sexy designer guru….a dynamite collection.  Before you come after me….lose the shorts and look at the sensational hot pink power jacket and the color combination…perfection!

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Two of his evening pieces with beaded sleeves one in neon yellow and the other in pastel dusty pink…the way to look at any special black tie event.

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And, of course, the color he is known for, black, this, to me, is the essence of the little black dress.  One of my favorite looks so far.

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Victoria Beckham just gets better each season (when I worked with her she couldn’t have been more professional nor delightful, a total joy!) A bright red statement.

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imageShades of lilac but with depth in the color.

imageGreat layering and color combining.

imageAnd another LBD, fabulous with lilac pumps.  By the way, she has gone back into the jean scene.  Her first foray was when I worked with her.

The king of the special occasion dress and one of the first designers to use all size models in his shows, Christian Siarino….can we all remember him and his “fierce” attitude on Project Runway….he is an extraordinarily talented young man and I adore his high-end garments always shown with his Payless shoe collection.  Really the way women dress, combining high and low and old and new….imageContinuing my theory of stripes as a trend.

And four of my favorites from the collection….with pastels, brights, black and prints… all part of his progression.  Just gets better and better.

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Can’t wait to see what the next week brings…..stay tuned!

 

COLLECTIONS: ART POTTERY

imagePhoto was taken from the Pottery Boys website.

I have been posting about the Pottery Boys  www.potteryboys.com this week and their open house this Saturday, August 19th.   The piece above is from their vast collection, each piece I feel is extraordinary.  I wanted to share a few more of their pieces, a glimpse into the creativity of David Erpenbach, another skilled artist, and delve into a collection at the Chicago History Museum www.chicagohistory.org

imageOne of the Pottery Boys pieces and an up close photo of the special top. The details look like jewelry.  Both photos were taken by me in their Studio. image

imageAnother from their website.

imageAnother photo I took in the Studio.

imageFrom Tom Mantel and Tom Hawley’s Collection, I featured the grouping of three pieces in another post here is the very large piece close up and then the exquisite detail of the top of the sculpture and the intricate almost lace like work of the body of the piece.

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While I was preparing this post my thoughts wandered back in time to the apartment of a dear friend and colleague at Columbia College Chicago, Dianne Erpenbach and her husband, Jon, and their collection of their son, David’s unique, and wonderful art pottery.  Why don’t ask me, I haven’t thought about it in years.  I contacted Dianne who in turn let David know I was interested in seeing his current work.  I asked him to share his thoughts as well…you know I will do that!

Here are those thoughts and some of his special pieces:

“I use traditional wheel thrown and hand built techniques to begin all of my pieces. My vision is to take traditional pottery forms and make them more unique by cutting, altering and adding several thrown and hand built pieces to create one final form. Some of my pieces may use up to ten or more thrown or hand built pieces to create one piece. I do not use molds so all of my pieces are original and one of a kind. My experience with firing includes High Fire reduction, High and Low Fire oxidation, Soda Fire, Salt Fire, Pit Fire and Raku. I have five years of learning and experimentation during my undergraduate study at Northern Michigan University where I completed my Bachelor of Fine Arts with a studio concentration in ceramics.”

imageDavid Erpenbach at his wheel.

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imageMy favorites of David’s work…as you know I am a green girl, but these really drew me into them.  All above photos courtesy of David Erpenbach.

The Midwest is known for its pottery, think Ohio for an example, McCoy, Hall, Shawnee, USA, actually a mark not a brand, (all of which I collect in white, you have seen some of that collection, and some green pieces).  Roseville, Rookwood, and Weller, of course, and all the Arts and Crafts designers and Mid-Century artists.  The subject is huge and I will probably do future posts on it but I wanted to do a short photo essay on Teco which was/is done locally.  “The American Terra Cotta Tile and Ceramic Company was founded in 1881 in Terra Cotta, Illinois between Crystal Lake and McHenry.  It became the first American manufacturer of architectural terra cotta (I did a post on terra cotta a few weeks ago in my Thursday Collections series). The founder William Day Gates began experimenting with clays and glazes for art pottery which introduced TECO Pottery (TErra COtta) in 1899.  It is known for it’s Teco Green glaze, a smooth, microcrystalline, matte.” (Source Wikipedia).  I like to credit as much as I can to local resources for nenasnotes and I found several pieces housed in our Chicago History Museum Collections www.chicagohistory.org all from around l905.

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imageThe three pieces above are in the Chicago History Museum Decorative Arts Collection.

imageThis piece found on Pinterest photo credit unknown.  I think it is stunning.

imageAn out of print book….if you are interested I would suggest an internet search.

Of course, you will find many, many art pottery pieces to add to or start your collection at the Randolph Street Market www.randolphstreetmarket.com Saturday and Sunday, August 26 and 27 from 10 to 5.

 

WEDNESDAY MUSINGS: POTTERY BOYS PART 2

imageKeith Herbrand and Glenn Woods in their Studio-Showroom Pinterest photo credit unknown.

I presented the Pottery Boys to you in Monday’s Profile now let’s hear about the actual process from clay to finished product.  Do settle yourself, this will be a very detailed and interesting post, but I’m sure you will agree well worth the read, it is fascinating!  Here in Glenn’s words……

imageClay Pinterest photo credit unknown.

“Making pottery is a multi-step process: Making and trimming the piece; altering/piercing/beading the piece; bisque firing; glazing and firing; post glaze finishing
Making and trimming the piece
Each piece starts out as a simple lump of clay – we generally start with 2 to 8 pounds of clay depending on the project. Our pieces tend to be more on the small to medium sized so 2 to 4 pounds usually does the trick. We first center the clay on the potter’s wheel – open the mound of clay to make it hollow and then thin the walls to make the walls taller and uniform in thickness. Once we have established a nice cylinder, we begin pushing the cylinder into shape. We make bottles, vases, mugs, bowls, plates, and other more decorative forms.
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Altering/piercing/beading
After arriving at a pleasing shape, the piece is allowed to dry to the point where it holds its shape and can easily be handled to trim away excess clay – this stage is called “leather hard”. It is also at this stage where I will begin altering the shape – pushing the form out of round, creating grooves, creases, folds, or spiral patterns. I also begin to carve the piece at this point. Some of the pieces are given flower-like imagery on rims of plates, the body of a pot, or the neck of a vase. I also use a squeeze bottle filled with clay the consistency of frosting (called slip) to place beads on the surface – usually in conjunction with altering and/or carving to enhance the design.
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imageFrom the blank to the piece ready for firing.  Photos taken by Nena in the workshop, last photo taken by Glenn.
Bisque Firing
Once the altered/pierced/beaded piece is finished it is allowed to air dry for a couple of days, making sure it does not dry out too quickly – rapid drying may lead to cracking or structural problems. After completely dry, we place the piece in a kiln and bisque fire to drive out all the chemically bound water – this renders the piece to a stable stage, no longer able to reclaim into soft pliable clay. After cool from the bisque firing, we sand the piece and wash it to remove any dust or unwanted texture.
Glazing and Firing
We sketch each bisque piece ready to be glazed, I indicate on the drawings what glazes are going to be used and in what order. I like to layer my glazes so there may be as few as 2 layers but as many as 8 layers of contrasting colored glazes. These crystalline glazes are very fluid during the firing and require a pedestal and glaze catcher – the glazed piece is mounted on a riser and then placed in the glaze catcher, which catches the glaze that flows off the piece and over the pedestal.
We firing the piece to 2350 degrees Fahrenheit to fully melt the glaze. This temperature is called “cone 10” in potters terms. Once peak temperature is reached, we quickly lower the temperature to 2000 degrees and begin a very slow cooling process to grow the crystals – this cooling cycle can take upwards of 8 hours or more. Once the crystalline growth cycle is done, the kiln is allowed to cool naturally to about 150 degrees Fahrenheit and unloading the kiln begins.
Post firing finishing
Once the pieces reach room temperature, we are able to remove the pedestal – removal of this piece leaves the bottom dangerously sharp and much care needs to be taken to remove the razor sharp edge. We use a diamond disc to grind the bottoms smooth and give a slight bevel to the outside edge of the piece. At this point, the piece is finished. However, we have been using a few specialty techniques to enhance the color and visual quality of the crystals. One such technique is referred to as “Acid Etching”. Soaking the finished piece in an acid bath (muriatic acid or sodium bisulphate) for increments of 15 minutes – washing and drying the piece after each 15-minute soak to see what has happened to the piece. We do this in 15-minute increments because you can go too far and once acid etched, the only way to reverse the effect is to refire the piece.
The other technique we use to alter color is called “post fire reduction”. We place the finished piece in a reduction chamber (basically an old kiln we use to heat the pieces up in) We use propane to heat up the reduction chamber to 1500 degrees Fahrenheit with a propane burner. Once we reach 1500 degrees, we choke off the oxygen supply to the burner, the propane needs oxygen to burn so it depletes the oxygen from the kiln chamber, once that has been depleted, it begins taking oxygen from the glaze layer, turning the titanium creams and tans to purples and pinks. It also will turn copper green glazes into copper red glazes. This color shift is permanent and can only be reversed by re-glazing and firing again.
That is the process in a nutshell.” Nena’s note, some nutshell!!!!
imageA finished piece photo taken by Nena with iPhone 7 on site.
imageA close up of a finished piece.  Photo by Nena on site.
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imageA finished piece in the Mid-century home of Tom Hawley and Tom Mantel with a close up of the detail.  Photo taken by Nena.
More on pottery tomorrow in Collectiions.
I hope you can come to the demonstration and Open House to see all these gloroous pieces in person.  In the meantime go to the Pottery Boys website www.potteryboys.com
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Nena’s Weekly Recipe
Creamy Corn Pasta with Basil from the New York Times/Melissa Clark
(If you don’t have the New York Times Cooking App, I suggest you get it immediately, not only are there amazing recipes but you can save yours to the site as well…it is fabulous!)

Ingredients

  • Fine sea salt
  • 12 ounces dry orecchiette or farfalle  (we did orecchiette)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 1 bunch scallions (about 8), trimmed and thinly sliced (keep the whites and greens separate)
  • 2 large ears corn, shucked and kernels removed (2 cups kernels)
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper, more for serving
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese, more to taste (we did more, actually much more!)
  • cup torn basil or mint, more for garnish
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste
  • Fresh lemon juice, as needed

Preparation

  1. Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil. Cook pasta until 1 minute shy of al dente, according to the package directions. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of pasta water.
  2. Meanwhile, heat oil in large sauté pan over medium heat; add scallion whites and a pinch of salt and cook until soft, 3 minutes. Add 1/4 cup water and all but 1/4 cup corn; simmer until corn is heated through and almost tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Add 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper, transfer to a blender, and purée mixture until smooth, adding a little extra water if needed to get a thick but pourable texture.
  3. Heat the same skillet over high heat. Add butter and let melt. Add reserved 1/4 cup corn and cook until tender, 1 to 2 minutes. (It’s O.K. if the butter browns; that deepens the flavor.) Add the corn purée and cook for 30 seconds to heat and combine the flavors.
  4. Reduce heat to medium. Add pasta and half the reserved pasta cooking water, tossing to coat. Cook for 1 minute, then add a little more of the pasta cooking water if the mixture seems too thick. Stir in 1/4 cup of the scallion greens, the Parmesan, the herbs, the red pepper flakes, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Sprinkle with fresh lemon juice to taste. Transfer to warm pasta bowls and garnish with more scallions, herbs, a drizzle of olive oil and black pepper.

We added sliced grilled chicken to it.  It is truly delicious….make it you won’t be sorry!  Served with my usual simple green salad and vingerette and, of course, lots of rosé or white wine!  We did my Strawberries Romanoff for dessert.

PROFILE: THE POTTERY BOYS

imageI had the great pleasure of seeing the Pottery Boys in action this week and I wanted to share their story with you.  I will be doing so in several posts this week and invite you to their pottery demonstration and open house on Saturday, August 19th in Blue Island, Illinois (see the bottom of this post for all the deets!)

How you might ask, did I hear about this talented duo…my dear friends (family), Tom Mantel and Tom Hawley have been collecting their pieces for several years and I have admired their pieces in their Mid-Century home (a post in the future!).

imageThree pieces from The Toms collection…aren’t they stunners!  The detail and shading are amazing let alone the size of the center piece.  I do love them against the brick wall in the living room, modern pottery coming from the earth against brick also coming from the earth and tracing Blue Island’s roots as the “Brick Capital of the World”!

Over the years I have admired the pieces and have said I wanted to meet Glenn Woods and Keith Herbrand, I had that opportunity this week and was totally enamored with the process.  It was quite the experience to see Glenn in action and learn more about the art of potting (I’ll share that story later this week).

imageWhat Glenn was working on when I arrived at the workshop.

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Finishing the piece in very short order! Ready for decorating and then firing.

imageOne of the three kilns.

imageA portion of my workroom tour.

imageA selection of leaves waiting for their color to be applied.

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Heart shaped leaves (I will think they are inspired by my beloved redbud trees see the glorious weeping redbud, below, in The Toms garden!).

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As is usual I ask my “Profiles” to answer a questionnaire…this one has been tailored especially for The Pottery Boys and Glenn graciously answered my questions, you will read much more on his technique later in the week, and Keith gave me a tour of some of the finished product.

imageSome of the finished pieces.

imagePieces of Keith’s creativity.

When did you start doing your art and why pottery?  (I am the daughter of an artist so perhaps I view art differently, I hope so!) 
I have always loved making things and as a child would sew dresses for my friend’s dolls, or style their hair, or crochet something – I also had a learning disability – reading and grasping abstract concepts was difficult for me so I would often seek art as a way to feel productive. I was in special education from 3rd grade to 6th grade and I remember hearing that if you couldn’t do math, science, or read well, they would put you in art class – Thank God for art classes, that is where I found myself and was able to grow.
It was my high school teacher – Judy Wenig (who I am still friends with today) who introduced me to clay as well as a host of other art mediums but I fell in love with clay the moment I sat down at the potters wheel. My first piece was dated 1974 – I still remember that piece and how it gave me hope for my future as a potter.
 Has your aesthetic changed over the years, if so how? Has it just evolved or has your style changed completely?
I tell people all the time that my style has changed dramatically over the years – and it has. However, recently I met up with a college friend who was also an art major – he found me at an art fair in Indianapolis. My work has gone through so many changes as I explore different techniques and ceramic materials, so I was excited to show him my new work – but he said “I recognized your work instantly” I was shocked. At first I took it as a disappointing suggestion that I have not grown at all but the more I think about it, I guess it is a complement. No matter how many changes and transformations my work takes, there is still something there, a common thread that is evident despite the changes – to an artist this is a great compliment.
 
Where do you get your inspiration for your pieces?
I sketch a lot – I dream a lot – I admire other artists’ work a lot. You can see influence from nature in most of my work – some people see suggestions of gourd shapes, flowers, twisting branches, and even patterns found in snowflakes. The truth is, I never look at a flower and say – “I am going to incorporate that in my work” it just seems to surface as a desire to design, decorate, or create patterns. The general public tend to find the influence by asking if I was influenced by something specific – wow, I can see your influence from Asian potters, or lotus blooms, or . . . I often discover my influence through other peoples observations.
 
Do you do commissions?  How do they affect your creativity?
I will do commissions but only on rare occasions – when I feel the commision will take me down a path I would like to explore, I go for it. However, I NEVER take a deposit and I ALWAYS say, I will give it a shot and then move on from there. I do not like to spend time chasing after another person’s dream – If I can’t capture what they are looking for in the first series, I suggest they find an artist whose style is more closely aligned with what they are looking for. I work in small series – 6 to 10 pieces, if they cannot find one piece in that series that meets their needs, we both go our own way and I have a few new pieces to show. Chasing after commissions tends to disrupt the creative process.
 
I understand that you spend your winters in Florida how does that inspire you?
I became a full time potter in 2001 and moved from Evanston, IL to Palm Harbor, FL because Florida has so many outside art fairs, an artist has shows to pick from year ’round. I have never liked the heat and I am not into beach life so the influence one might think I would get from living in Florida is very limited. The greatest change to my work is color – when we lived in the midwest, my colors tended to be more neutral – browns, tans, rust, deep blue, and dark greens. These colors do not do well in Florida so we now use lots of lighter colors, teals, emerald greens, deep blues – very water borne colors. I am color blind – not totally but I never know what color I can’t see until we are talking color variations and then I am in big trouble – in mixing glazes, my thought process is more focused on the chemistry rather than the value or depth of color – when glazing I am looking for a color blend from light to dark to create weight and a sense of depth so it is less about color and more about how the colors interact, blend, and work to create that sense of depth – even if you were viewing the piece in black and white.
 
Why do you create in Blue Island?
I often say, Blue Island found us, we did not seek out Blue Island intentionally. After moving to Florida, we decided to establish a home base back here in the midwest – especially after deciding to participate in summer art fairs for 4 months out of the year – traveling back and forth was not an effective way for us to live and we needed a place to work and live for the summer months while participating in the art fairs (without relying on staying with family or friends). We met Bridget Scales at the Bucktown Art Fair – she told us of a building in Blue Island that might just fit our needs – a year later, we moved in and love the building, the town, and especially the Blue Islanders – Blue Island has a rich history and those who live here love it’s history and work hard to keep the city alive.
 
What would you do if you weren’t artists?
I would be a philanthropist or a counselor/psychologist – I have always wanted to help people – especially where people feel tormented by the contrast of who they are and who society wants them to be. Growing up gay in a small farming community where my best friends were Amish kind of set the tone for my life. Needless to say, I was surrounded by very conservative people whose thoughts and advice was not real supportive – not only of my sexual identity but also my desire to create. I remember my mom telling me “little boys DO NOT sew dresses” or crochet or play with hair. She caught me sewing in my bedroom one day – the others were outside playing. She was so appalled at what i was doing, she wrapped a towel around me and paraded me around the others while singing here she is, Miss America. It was great fun for her but I was totally humiliated (too much information, I know but artists do struggle to find ways to express themselves that are socially acceptable, a lesson I learned at an early age)
 
What are your passions outside of your talent?
I am a total clay geek, so I do not have many interests outside of my clay work – I do like to write – especially about my work in clay. I recently have had 5 articles published in “Pottery Making Illustrated” I also have a passion for helping people, looking for ways to build self worth. While I enjoy music, theater, I would not say I am passionate about those things. I love to invent, I love to talk to total strangers, I love to express my love and gratitude, I also can’t contain my distaste for something – like a political figure that seems to be misguided (in my own opinion, of course).
Informaion on the Pottery Demonstratons from noon to 5 and the Open House from 6 to 9

Saturday, August 19 – noon to 9pm
13201 Olde Western Ave. / Blue Island, IL 60406  /  727-504-6200

Glenn Woods and Keith Herbrand will be hosting an open house in their Blue Island Gallery on Saturday, August 19th. Glenn will be conducting pottery demonstrations from noon to 5pm while Keith tends to the gallery. The formal Open House will be from 6pm to 9pm with light snacks and refreshments. Several local artists will also be participating offering: Original Paintings; Mosaics; Jewelry; Ceramic Arts; and Pottery.

The gallery is located in Blue Island on the north side of the Cal-sag Canal, just under the Western bridge.

Glenn and Keith are full time potters who reside in Palm Harbor, Florida but have been summer residents of Blue Island since 2004. They have a formal open house once each summer due to their hectic summer art fair schedule. You can see their work at many local art fairs including: Chicago’s Old Town Art Fair; Chicago’s 57th Street Art Fair; Downtown Geneva Art Fair; Lake Forest’s Art Fair on the Square; Naperville’s Riverwalk Art Fair; Park Forest’s Tall Grass Art Fair. If you are unable to make it to those art fairs, this is a great opportunity to see their work AND to watch Glenn as he creates pottery on the potters’ wheel from noon to 5pm.

There will be several local and regional artists represented – all will be present to chat a bit about their work.

Crystalline Glazed Pottery – Glenn’s pottery is made out of fine porcelain and glazed with a specialty glaze called Crystalline Glaze. These glazes are noted for their ability to grow crystals in the glaze layer during a complex cooling process during the glaze firing. By altering the firing temperatures and the duration of the firing, special effects and wonderful visual texture can be achieved.

We are inviting you to come out for the day or evening to see our work, meet the artists and enjoy the company of art lovers. You can come out for the demonstrations – visit one of the many wonderful local restaurants in Blue Island, Midlothian, or Crestwood and then come back for the Opening to wrap up the day.

All photos were taken on site by Nena.