Madrid Es Moda

Madrid just had their fashion week. (#MBFWMadrid in case you didn’t know.)

Events beget events in fashion. Living off the momentum of MBFWM,  Madrid Es Moda is the city wide event that brings the fashion from the runway to the rest of us. Fashion pops up not just in window displays, but in museums, hotels, design and art exhibits, open studios, bookstores, parties, movie screenings, fashion contests, and other cross-collaborations.  There are even specially themed tapas you can order at over 25 restaurants. They are proven to help you fit sample size.

These fashion moments are not the main event.  They’re cursory or something to glance at while you’re eating your pulpo. I went to the lovely Hotel Gran Melia Fenix to get a closer look at the designs of Amaya Arzuaga, the mistress of undulating shapes; Jorge Acuña, jeweltones and silk charmeuse;  Moisés Nieto, the king of mesh; and my new favorite, Devota & Lomba, my fellow lovers of red, black, and white.  The concierge looked at me like I was a freak for explicitly coming to see these.

(Sigh.  I´m still adjusting.  It took me 15 minutes to figure out how to add an accent to the “e” and then do an upside-down exclamation point on this keyboard.)

There was also a free event at El Museo Cerralbo called  “La Mujer Ochoa: Modernisma y Modernidad.”  Ochoa was an artist and illustrator that has been said to simultaneously be a part of Art Deco, Surrealism, Pre-Raphaelites, Abstract art and Gesturalism. Not bad. These mujers are fantastic and so inspiring. You can almost hear the the scratchy record playing in the background as he painted them.

This seemed to be a more casually organized idea and I don´t think the ticket ladies actually knew what I was talking about (or they probably didn’t care).  They wrote something down and waved me in the right direction.

The always recognizable Desigual had a “Street Takeover!”:

I signed up to see a screening of “La Modista/The Dressmaker” (tagline: Revenge is Back in Fashion—mwwaahahahaha!) with Kate Winslet.  The directions were to send an email to a random address to get on the list.  We shall see what happens!

Here’s a beautiful and I think particularly seamless store display that I just happened to walk by and realize it was part of the happenings as well.  Store: Florin Antiques;  Dress: Ion Fiz:

Muy elegante.

There was something called “Designers´Rooms Fashion Bits” that was a presentation of…well, honestly, it took me awhile to figure it out. Something about online showrooms and 100% Made in Spain!…There were so many ideas and events and collaborations and then throw a little language barrier in there and I was lost sometimes.  I think universally, fashion suffers from “event fatigue.” These opportunities are seductive but they can become a thorn in the side of any designer and make them do a quick cost-benefit analysis. Some cool stuff though:

Last thing. Davidelfin and IKB 191 Collab:

Some bleak drama courtesy of
“Inferno” meets Mid-century Modern. Why not?

So here’s the deal so far:  I average 5 miles a day walking around the city looking, talking, and thinking.  Is there something inherently Spanish that I can discern?  Why am I always the only one here looking at this?  I hesitate to summarize yet but I’m certainly past the knee-jerk assumptions of Spanish designers being inspired by warm weather and bullfighting. (Nor did I ever go there!!)  I think it’s pretty damn cool to have Ochoa’s art in the zeitgeist.  And to see fashion incorporated so homogeneously everywhere. (Especially my two favorite things that aren’t often paired, food and fashion.) And to that point, that designers and businesses collaborate so willingly, and goodness gracious, SO MUCH. The breadth of the events is staggering.  I didn’t even go to 1/4 of them. Need to meet the folks who organized this.

Madrid is really doing their own thing and their fashion week is not a separate, isolated event. Fashion is relevant to everyone and a reflection of what’s going on. So I really get it when they called it “Madrid es Moda” because they truly made it their city full of fashion.




Raining Cats and Dogs

It’s been raining like crazy and I’m in a bad mood.

No caption needed.
No caption needed.

I’ve been putting off everything: patternmaking, designing, class prepping, blogging.  I’m reminded by a quote (and you’ll have to forgive me for quoting someone so overused) by Picasso, “Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.”  I hate him for saying that.  Why can’t it find me drinking a martini and hanging out with my friends?  Why can’t it show it up when I’m dangling a feather in front of my cat?  Why can’t it come when I’m daydreaming?

I can be the worst at relying on feeling inspired in order get work done.  Luckily, I’m inspired by basically everything so this doesn’t happen a lot. But since the summer has started, and the structure of a semester isn’t driving me, I feel like I’m suspended in Jell-O, weightless, still, and a little paralyzed.

I've also been in to aspics lately.
Aspics are just another distraction.

I had the teeniest amount of super low pressure designing to do and by the time I convinced myself to do it, I had built it up into this huge thing.  I did things, unspeakable things, that I HATE doing, like folding all the linens in the house and cleaning, before I sat down to design.  That’s how bad it was.  WHAT’S MY PROBLEM??!!

I’ll tell you.  And then I’ll tell you what I did to fix it.

My first problem was that I wasn’t using any of my tricks, or techniques.  My second problem was that I didn’t realize that I have everything at this very moment to be creative.  I don’t need a super clean studio, linens folded, or even inspiration to create.  I don’t need to be “ready.”  I need a piece of paper and a pen. Like the Hopi saying goes, “We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.”

The first solution was from someone very smart and who’s in the very same room as me.  He told me to please shut up and just work for 10 minutes.  No more, no less.  And that’s what I did.  And after ten simple minutes, I had some work.

I tell my students, “No secret drawings!” when they don’t present all their designs.  (If you needed another random reference, I got the idea from Jack Black in “The School of Rock” where a kid is hiding his little song from the rest of the band.) So my second solution was that I put the agony out there and shared it with others. It’s rarely as bad as you think and good fellow designers will often be able to lighten the mood, finish it up, and add the single detail to make a collection cohesive.

So let me finish this on a personal note.  I’m often brought back to designing by my students, who remind me of my own lessons and keep me in shape.  Here are some mood boards they created in various ways: Pinterest, Photoshopping, google image searches, Polyvore, BehanceCreative Commons and good old fashioned magazine collaging.  I hope they perk you up on these gray days.

Pom-poms and fuchsia
Sunsets on the Sahara
Cozy knits in the fog and dewy skin
Delicate dreaming, botanical specimens, Victorian lace
Boardwalk lights and ladies who lunch
Patisserie, pastels, powder, and pillows
RIng of Fire
Ring of Fire, Nashville glamour

Zipper Time

So how old do you think the zipper is?  I had no idea but apparently it just turned 119 or something. It seems kind of hard to put an age on something that has had so many evolutions but fashion just sneaked in another reason to hold an event to commemorate it anyway.  Maybe it was riding on the coattails of the Metropolitan Museum of Art exhibition “Punk: Chaos to Couture” and similarly obligatory Met Ball extravaganza from Monday night.

Art + fashion = BFF

The Snyderman-Works Galleries in Old City hosted the show and fashion designers in apparel and accessories exhibited their designs.  I read somewhere that the seemingly impractical Elsa Schiaparelli was the first designer to use a zipper in a garment.  We’ve come a long way since then.

The smallest runway in the world.
The smallest runway in the world.

The ladies from Three Sirens Boutique submitted a few looks and I snapped this one on my way to the bain maries full of falafel balls.

Exposed zippers look better with red hair.
Exposed zippers look better with red hair.

Lele Tran had her smart and versatile zipper scarves on display (read: male model.) Not only are they uni-omni-multi sex, you can wear them as a dress, skirt, wrap, or a top.  Super smart.

What's more beautiful, the scarf or the man?
What’s more beautiful, the scarf or the man?

Autumnlin Atelier has been working her zipper talents for years now.  I blogged about her RTW line, Heartless Revival, last October.  If you want to see how to repeat something so that it looks like something else, stare at a few of her zipper “armor” pieces for minute and watch them transform.

Zipper vest!  Why didn't I think of that?
Zipper vest! Why didn’t I think of that?

Kate Cusak has mastered the art of zipper jewelry.  It’s hard to reinvent something that is such a commodity and make it not only look fresh, but elegant.

Lovely, but it might get caught in my hair.

I’m surprised this zipper trend is still kicking.  I remember several years ago when every consumer got a schooling on zipper application and there was hardly a garment that didn’t showcase this invention.  I thought it would die down but YKK (not to mention the Swiss/German/Italian folks at Riri and American guys at Talon) keep reinventing it in fashion and technologically. (They actually have a trend report!) Today, there are waterproof zippers, reversible zippers, separating invisible zippers and something called “PowerRail® Hook and Holder System” and more that all come in brass, aluminum, nickel, or nylon, with multiple teeth thickness and size, tape thicknesses, and every length and color imaginable.  I can’t tell you how angry I got the first time I tried to place an order for manufacturing.  I felt like I was trying to buy health insurance (“I just want a zipper!!!!”) But it certainly made me think a little bit longer when I poured myself into my jeans the next day.