Friday, September 25, 2009

The Next Big Thing

Now that I have the wedding trio (bride, mother of the bride and flower girl) completed, it is time to turn my sights on a new project. This time it will be for myself to wear to the Social Daunce Irregulars Victorian Grand Ball. These events are so much fun! What could be better than dressing up and dancing reels, waltzes, and polkas with gentlemen in period evening wear? And all for less than $30!

The next event is November 28, so I'm planning to make my gown in wintry colors like dark green, gold, cream, and maybe accents of burgundy. And because the Victorian Era spans the years of Queen Victoria's reign from 1837 to 1901, it is important to pick a more specific style within the period. I prefer First Bustle Period of the 1870s. The end of November will be here before I know it, so I better get to work!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Another one in the bag!

Tomorrow I will be delivering the Mother of the Bride gown I made for the mother of the bride whose dress I completed last month. I am very happy with how this one turned out, but (all together, now!), no pictures until after the event! Looking forward to sharing it with you!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

oh EMMY gee!

Awards show nights are like the fashionista high holidays. I just can't get enough of seeing people in designer formal wear and I love it all... the good, the bad AND the ugly! And the strangest thing to me is that even though the awards take place here in Los Angeles, we don't get to watch them until after the rest of the country due to time zone differences. So, I've got to stay off the web until the show is over so no surprises are ruined. One thing is for sure, it was hot, hot, hot on the red carpet, I'm sure those celebs had a tough time keeping their looks together with all that heat.

A few trends I noticed:
The Emmys have fuzzier fashion rules than The Oscars. Some years they are very casual with lots of ladies sporting cocktail dresses and sometimes even pants suits. This year it was a treat to see the trends lean far into the formal side with lots of trains, satin, and flowing fabrics. We just don't have many opportunities these days to enjoy formal wear, so I relish any chance I get and the Emmy's did not disappoint this year.

**Understated jewelry with a notable absence of necklaces. Perhaps the stars wanted to remain more subtle in these economically challenging times? There were some chandelier earrings and bracelets seemed to be the biggest jewelry focus of the night. I was glad to see this, the dresses were able to make a greater statement when they didn't have to compete with the bling.

**Red, red everywhere and in all styles from Mila Kunis' girlish frock to Toni Colette's stately gown to Blake Lively's vampy number.

**Purple, like on Padma Laksmi, Lindsay Price, and Ginnifer Goodwin.

**Sparkling dresses in metallic tones like Holly Hunter, Kaley Cuoco, and Sandra Oh.

I also thought there were too many black dresses... come on, ladies! When you wear a black dress we can't see all the lovely detailing that the designer so meticulously created. Black dresses, especially on TV, are more like blah dresses.

I have two number one favorites this year, both very different from one another. The first is Jennifer Morrison in this amazing red dress which looks like fabric origami. It is deceptively simple so the design detail really pops without distracting from the loveliness of the wearer. I am also just drooling over the assymmetrical hemline and those gorgeous silver heels.
My second number one pick is Jennifer Carpenter's elegant black and white gown. There is something very French and Art Nouveau about this piece that I love. She really stood out from her peers arriving on the carpet and even though there is a lot going on in the gown's detail, her beauty still shines.

Kourtney Kardashian had one of the best maternity looks I have seen on the red carpet and Heidi Klum must be the hottest, most confident pregnant woman of all time.
Drew Barrymore was stunning in a lovely pink sequel to last year's airy blue Dior number that she donned for the 2008 Golden Globes.
Elizabeth Perkins looked amazingly confident, understated, and oh-so-age appropriate.
Perrey Reeves looked classic in her shimmering empire gown.
Rose Byrne was heavenly in her floaty dress.

Bold choices:
I applaud celebs who make bold red carpet statements. Do they always work? No. But these ladies take the plunge and confidently walk the media gauntlet and turn lots of heads in the process. My top bold choice pick is Mad Men's January Jones. I'm still trying to decide whether or not I like this dress. But one thing is for sure, she wears it beautifully.

Olivia Wilde took a big chance in her icy blue illusion gown.
Victoria Rowell made a statement with her fashion in the Obama dress which is sure to top the Worst Dressed lists... but I say life is too short to play it safe.
Kristen Chenoweth was a shining (pun intended) example of this year's sparkly dress trend. Whether or not you like the dress, it certainly matches her sparkling personality!

Better luck next time:
Kyra Sedgwick had a lovely dress, it just wasn't right for her. It would have looked much more appropriate on Hayden Panittiere... maybe they should have ducked into a limo and swapped.
Leighton Meester missed the mark in her unflattering white gown which paled in comparison to her Gossip Girl co-star Blake Lively.
Glenn Close's gown worked from the waist down but... 1) the off-the-shoulder neckline looked dowdy on her, 2) the slashed back was too teenager for this middle-aged acting powerhouse, and 3) it was blah-ck. Sorry, Glenn, but three strikes and you're out! She did take home the Emmy, though, so no hard feelings I'm sure!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Friday fun

Here's a fun little number that I dedicate fondly to my old colleagues at the Los Angeles Opera costume shop. Enjoy!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The De-wrinkling Cheat

If you're like me, you love ironing as much as the lady in this picture. Hauling out the board and finding space to set up and a place to set the iron without fear of melting something nearby are all a big pain. I have found a cheat that will help you come pretty close to an ironed look that is infinitely easier and less time and space consuming.

It is ideal to do this the night before you need to wear something, but if that's not an option you'll want to give yourself as much lead time as possible. (I want to add a disclaimer here: this technique is not advisable for garments you will wear to really important events like weddings, funerals, and job interviews. Those occasions deserve proper ironing respect.) Do not use this technique on a garment that will be shrunk, spotted, or otherwise ruined by water. If in doubt, put a small bit of water in an inconspicuous place (like inside the hem or at the bottom of the placket) and let dry thoroughly to see the result.

First, hang your garment. If it is a shirt, hang it carefully and button the front. Make sure it is hanging symmetrically. If it is knit, make sure your hanger won't cause "hanger bumps" on the shoulders or arms. If it is a skirt, hang it from a clip hanger by the waist. If it is a pair of trousers, hang them with a clip hanger upside down by the hems, inseams together (like you're making a sandwich... outseam, inseam, inseam, outseam), the clips gripping the center backs and center fronts of the legs.

Second, grab a clean spray bottle that has a mist setting and fill it with clean water. This would be a bad time to spray oily or chemically stuff onto your clothes, so I don't recommend reusing an old cleaning spray bottle.

Now begin spritzing your garment. I usually put my hand inside the garment to add some tension which helps to smooth the wrinkles and spray from the top down. You'll end up getting the garment damp, but it shouldn't be anywhere near dripping. Put a towel down to catch the mist that will fall to the floor.

Last, smooth or pull out any stubborn wrinkles, using more water if necessary and allow the garment to air dry undisturbed.

It's not as crisp as ironing, but considering that you're going to get wrinkled in the car anyway, it's a good second choice!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

In Honor of Firefighters

This morning, the apartment unit connected to mine caught fire! It was quite a dramatic morning, but a vigilant neighbor and an awesome, efficient team of LAFD firefighters ensured that the damage was contained to one room of my neighbor's apartment. So, in honor of our nation's amazing firefighters, here is a picture from my family's Halloween last year... the boys were little fire chiefs, their double stroller was a fire truck, and mommy was a chic dalmatian.

Friday, September 4, 2009

My Wedding Gown

Lately whenever I've mentioned that I just finished making a wedding gown, people all seem to ask the same thing, "can I see pictures?" Well, if you've been reading this blog you know that, no, you can't see pictures until after the wedding in October! What I can do, however, is show you pictures of my wedding gown that I made for myself for my nuptials in June, 2004. I guess it's a little dated looking now, but at the time people really seemed to like it a lot! We were married at the Monte Carlo Hotel and Casino Wedding Chapel in Las Vegas, NV and our photos were taken by Bently&Wilson Photography. Some say that it is bad luck to make your own wedding gown... well, if bad luck is having five years (so far!) of marriage with a wonderful husband and two gorgeous kids, then I'm OK with that!