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Monthly Archives: May 2014

Fruit Punch

May 31 0 Comments

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When it comes to fashion, come swingin’ with a punch, a fruit punch that is! Salute to summer with a samba of fruity fashions. Digitally based imagery is covering summer’s fabrics and it’s filling it with coconut couture. Along with digital fruit prints, we’re also seeing sweet and simple fruit sketches on fabrics as well. This foray into fruit makes dressing a perfect occasion for daytime parties (think pool parties, baby showers, mixers, etc…) Pick a color from your fruity frock and match it with a color coordinated pair of shoes or a color coordinated clutch. Don’t be a sour grape, be a part of the fruit festivities and bite out of this fashion bastion!

Anna Sui
Stella McCartney

Mother of Pearl

Isolda

Chicnova

Almost Famous London

Boohoo

Cynthia Rowley

Dolce & Gabbana

Dolce & Gabbana

Dolce & Gabbana

Joe Fresh

Jd de Castelbajac

Isolda

Isolda

Isolda

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Love Moschino

Mother of Pearl

Mother of Pearl

Prada

Primark

Stella Jean

Romwe

River Island

River Island

River Island

Stella Jean

Stella McCartney

Topshop

U Do Buy

Gingham Style

May 28 0 Comments
Move over, Psy, because Gangam style is so passé and this summer is all about gingham style. Dorothy of Oz was a trailblazer with her light blue gingham smock – she’s paved the way for girls like Taylor Swift and designers like Derek Lam to rock frocks with the traditional checkered print.
Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz

Taylor Swift
Gingham prints are perfect for warm spring days; a lunch with the girls, a party in the Hamptons. The print emotes a youthful quality. Since gingham is typically produced in cotton and doesn’t wrinkle (Many manufactures will treat the fabric to make it resistant to wrinkles because it normally tends to wrinkle very easily. It is, however, a midweave fabric that wears well and is easy to clean), what better way to make an exit from an airplane than in the 50s style gingham dress?

Gingham prints look best in silhouettes that emphasize the female form; fitted waists, low cut chests, short skirts – anything that shows a little skin. 
Historically speaking, gingham fabric dates back to at least the 17th century, when it was imported to Europe and later to the American colonies. Its production proved to be a major economic boom in many places, including Manchester, England, and the colonies in what is now the southeastern United States. Originally, two differently colored fibers were used to produce a striping effect. As time passed, gingham fabrics began to appear with a checked pattern, as well as plaids. Blue and white was the color combination of choice for many years, although it can now be found in virtually any bold color paired with white.

And most importantly, unlike other patterned fabrics, don’t be afraid to mix and match different size gingham checks in one ensemble! Below I have compiled examples of how mixing and matching print sizes works miracles.
Mango top
Balmain skirt
Pierre Hardy heels
Chanel sunglasses
Celine bag

Carven skirt
Vivella top
Fendi bag
Jason Wu shoes
Bulgari sunglasses

Delias shirt
Stella Jean skirt
Karen Walker sunglasses
Valentino bag
Elie Tahari heels
And now, I present to you, my go-getter gingham finds! Got get em’ girls!

Alaia

Balmain

Boohoo

Boohoo

Carven

Carven

Carven

Carven

Chanel

Chanel

Christian Louboutin

Coach

Debenhams

Derek Lam

Derek Lam

Derek Lam

Dorothy Perkins

Givenchy

House of Fraser

John Lewis

Lela Rose

Max Mara

Moschino

No.21

Opening Ceremony

Oscar de la Renta

Red Valentino

Rochas

Stella Jean

Stella Jean

Stella Jean

Tanya Taylor

Thierry Colson

Thierry Colson

Topshop

Topshop

Topshop

Tory Burch

Unique-Vintage

Versace

Versace

Versace
Zimmermann

Behind the Birkin

May 28 1 Comments
PREFACE
After years and years of salivating over and guessing, I wanted to know: what’s with all the brouhaha behind the eponymous Birkin bag? Since as long as I can remember, I had been groomed as just a little girl that the “it” bag and the “only” bag was the Birkin bag. But why did the title come with so much baggage (puns intended)? There are thousands, if not millions, of designer bags available in stores and online, but why has this one particular design cornered the market with an excruciatingly high demand (estimates show that if you place your name on the Birkin bag list now, there is a reputed wait between two and six years, depending on the style – the longest wait for any bag in history). So I decided that I wanted to dig deep, and find out what was the bottom line behind this beyond beautiful bag.

A bevy of Birkins

HISTORY
The first thing you should know, is that the Birkin bag is handmade by Hermès, made of leather, and named after actress and singer Jane Birkin. The bag has become a symbol of wealth due to its high price and usage by royals and celebrities. The price of a new Birkin bag ranges from $7,400 to $150,000 and sometimes the used, vintage bags can even cost more. A “carefully used” one typically fetches between 80% and 120% of what the previous owner paid for it. In contrast, a lesser brand handbag in the same condition can be resold for only about 10% of what the original owner spent. “So if you can afford it, you’re making a better economic decision to buy a special piece that’s going to hold its value,” says Matthew Rubinger, director of luxury accessories at Heritage. Costs escalate according to the type of materials, with leather and canvas being the least expensive and crocodile being the most expensive. The bags are distributed to Hermès boutiques on unpredictable schedules and in limited quantities, creating scarcity and exclusivity.

A  vintage Birkin

In 1892, Émile-Maurice Hermès, grandson of founder Thierry Hermès, invented a large bag known as the haut à courroies (which loosely translates to “high belts”). It was originally designed to carry saddles and other equestrian equipment on long travels. A modified, smaller version called the petit sac haut à courroies was introduced in the 1930s. In 1956, Grace Kelly was photographed carrying this bag over her belly, trying to hide from the press that she was pregnant with Princess Caroline. The photograph was published in Life Magazine, and Robert Dumas–the then chairman of Hermès–decided to rename the bag “The Kelly”.

Grace Kelly with her namesake bag (left) and Jane Birkin with hers.

Grace Kelly with her namesake bag (left) and Jane Birkin (right) with hers.

One day in 1984 on a flight from Paris to London, British actress Jane Birkin complained to the man sitting beside her that there wasn’t a decent weekend bag for women. She imagined the perfect bag to him: “not too big, not too heavy when it was full, and made of the best materials so that it would last a lifetime.” The man sitting next to her was Jean-Louis Dumas, then chairman of Hermès and son of Robert Dumas. Not long after their meeting, a package arrived at Birkin’s doorstep. It was the leather weekend bag she had described and, like the Kelly bag, it was based on the original haut à courroies from 1892. It is now universally known as “The Birkin”. 

Jane Birkin carrying her Birkin bag


DESIGN

Birkin bags are sold in a range of sizes. Each one may be made to order with different customer-chosen hides, color, and hardware fixtures. There are also other individual options, such as diamond-encrusting. The bag also has a variety of hides such as calf leather, ostrich, crocodile, and lizard. One of the most expensive is saltwater crocodile skin. Bags with smaller scales cost more than those with larger scales. The bag is lined with goat-skin. The color of the interior always matches the exterior. Prices for the Birkin bag depend on the color, hardware fixtures, and skin. The bag comes in sizes that range from 25, 30, 35, to 40 centimeters. The 50- and 55-centimeter bags are meant for traveling. The bag also comes in a variety of colors such as pink, red, brown, baby blue, navy blue, olive green, orange, white, black, and golden tan and buyers have the option of mixing and matching colors as way to make their bags look even more unique.


35cm Birkin Bag Orange with Blue Electric Bi Color
The bag has a lock and keys. The keys are enclosed in a leather lanyard known as a clochette, carried by looping through a handle. The bag is locked by closing the top flaps over buckle loops, wrapping the buckle straps, or closing the lock on the front hardware. Locks and keys are number-coded. Earlier locks only bore one number on the bottom of the lock. In more recent years, Hermès has added a second number under the Hermes stamp of the lock. These numbers for locks can be the same for hundreds of locks as they are batch numbers in which the locks were made. The metallic hardware (the lock, keys, buckle hardware, and base studs) are plated with gold or palladium to prevent tarnishing. Hardware is updated regularly to maintain the top quality available in the industry at time of production. The metal lock may be covered with leather as a custom option and diamonds as another custom addition.

Birkin lock and key
A “Shooting Star” Birkin has a stamp shaped like a shooting star adjacent to the “Hermès, Paris Made in France” stamp; this is in gold or silver to match the hardware and embossing. Rarely, the stamp is colorless, if the bag is made of one or two leathers on which Hermès does not use metallic stamping.  Every bag bears the stamp of the craftsperson who made the bag. These identifications vary widely but are not different for every bag made. More than one craftsman’s stamp on a bag is not uncommon because the stamp is not a serial reference. Fonts and stamping orders may vary depending on the craftsman.

An example of a Birkin shooting star
All Hermès bags use the classic saddle stitch because it will never unravel if done properly. The linen thread, which comes from France, is coated with beeswax to make it smooth, waterproof, and to prevent rotting. The thread always matches the color of the bag, except when the skin is golden-brown or neutral, in which case white thread is used. Rather than using several threads, the artisans use one very long thread with a needle on both ends to avoid making knots in the stitching.

Mouline linen thread in the Hermès atelier.
Dana Thomas explains the process of pearling as follows: “The artisan puts the clasp on the front of the leather and a metal backing on the backside, sticks a nail from the back to the front through each corner hole, and clips off the length of the nail, leaving a tiny bit. He takes a special tool that looks like an awl but with a slight concave tip and taps the bit of nail gently in a circle until it is as round as a tiny pearl. Each piece of hardware has four pearls–one on each corner–and each is exactly the same shape. The pearls hold the two pieces of metal together forever.”

Working on a piece of leather secured in a clamp by her legs

The hardware can be attached before the stitching even begins. Clear plastic film is used to cover the hardware so that the metal is not tarnished or scratched during the rest of the construction process.
Inside the factory where the bags are being finished

Most Hermès bags are manufactured inside out to conceal the stitching. Turning the bag inside out is a very delicate process because the leather is easily rubbed and deformed. Once the bag has been turned, it is lightly hammered and steamed to remove any traces of handling. Crocodile skin is steam ironed scale by scale.

Peach Crocodile skin silver hardware 30cm

CRAFTSMANSHIP
Before one can consider themselves an official Hermès craftsman, they must train for several years before they are allowed to make a bag. Most of the Hermès craftsman come from a school in Paris called Ecole Grégoire-Ferrandi, who specialize in leather, particularly saddle making and “maroquinerie” which refers to handbags and similar items. Once you’ve completed the course there, you have 15 months of training at Hermès, where you make watch straps, handles, and do other exercises. After that you can start on bags, but craftsmen need five years experience making bags before they can “graduate” to crocodile. There are about 2,000 craftsman working for Hermès, and each craftsman usually only specializes in four bag shapes. Luggage is made in a separate workshop, and is usually made by men as luggage requires a lot more strength during its construction, particularly when it is turned out.

A craftsman attaching hardware
As aforementioned, the bags are handmade in France by expert artisans. The company’s signature saddle stitching, developed in the 1800s, is another distinctive feature.

Saddle stitching

One of my favorite facts about the creating of a Birkin bag is that the craftsmen use the very same tools as they did 150 years ago!

Using original tools to create a Birkin
Each bag is hand-sewn, buffed, painted, and polished, taking several days to finish. An average bag is created in 48 hours. Leathers are obtained from different tanners in France, resulting in varying smells and textures. Because of the individual craftsmanship, other details of the bags may not all match. The company justifies the cost of the Birkin bag, compared to other bags, based on the meticulous craftsmanship and scarcity. 

Using tanned red leather to put together the makings of a Birkin bag

 Adds Rubinger, “One craftsman sits in factory in southern France and starts with the first stitch, from start to finish. You pay for that craftsmanship,” he said. “If they can’t get enough of a certain material that meets their standards, they discontinue it.”

The classic Birkin look
Rubinger also looks at the bag as an investment, saying “In the luxury space, if you buy a new luxury car, you are not thinking of lasting value…If you buy a Range Rover, you aren’t planning to sell it for more than you bought it…Luxury handbag collectors, on the other hand, can…If you really pay attention to what you’re doing, you’re not going to lose money, and in the best case scenario you can make money on this bag that you enjoyed,” he said.

A Birkin bag with a diamond clasp, due to appreciate greatly

DEMAND

Although the Birkin bag is free of logos, it is one of the most recognized bags in the fashion industry and by the public. It is known as the holy grail of all bags and as such, carries figures that could leave a jaw dropping. In March 2013, the Philippine Star reported that the very high-end, 30-cm Shiny Rouge H. Porosus Crocodile Birkin with 18k gold fittings and encrusted diamonds fetched the staggering amount of $203,150 at an auction house in Dallas, Texas (well, the adage “everything’s bigger in Texas” certainly proved true.) Because of this intrinsically high demand for new, used, old, and absued – heck, ANY type of Birkin, we have seen the influx of websites dedicated to selling the nominative bag such as 1stdibs.com, whatgoesaroundnyc.com, and portero.com to name a few. Because the demand is so high, if you do happen to get your hands on a Birkin I would suggest taking the following “three S’s”  into consideration: Shade (what am I going to wear this with most often? Is bright pink just a want-on-a-whim or will I benefit more from a neutral color such as brown?) Size (what will I be carrying with me most often? Do I travel a lot or will this bag mostly be used for day excursions?) Skin (do I fear, at worst, being perceived as ostentatious if I go with a rare animal skin?) 

Whether this article has swayed you or not to justify the validity of the high price, one point that can’t be argued is that the Birkin is undoubtedly a timepiece whose value, unlike the fickle stock market, is almost guaranteed to rise, and if nothing else, time has already told that this bag is a classic piece of fashion history who’s joys are meant to be betrothed from generation unto generation. If you should be so fortunate, I would suggest you buy into a piece of fashion real-estate that will appreciate fiscally for years to come. The Birkin should never leave you feeling broken, so before you break open the piggy bank just know that this style is going nowhere soon and you can have plenty of years to save up for your lizard lover. If you want to buy a Birk’ – girlfriend get to work!
Ashley Olsen

Juliane Moore

Nicole Richie

Victoria Beckham

Gisele Bundchen

Scarf Swagger: Look Sharp as a Dagger!

May 27 0 Comments

Look swanky in a scarf to create the ultimate summer-chic ensemble. Make waves this summer in some of the sassiest neck décolletage on the market. Scarves aren’t just for winter, but light weight, cotton and silk scarves are the perfect way to make a polished look for a summertime party or day at work. Tie it around your neck, head, or bag, depending on the scarf’s natural shape (rectangle = best for necks, square = best for heads, triangle = best for bags). A Scarf, also known as  Kremmer, muffler, or neck-wrap, is a piece of fabric worn around the neck, head or body  traditionally for warmth, cleanliness, fashion or for religious reasons. Ancient Rome is one of the first place or origin where we see the use of a scarf historically; it was used to keep clean rather than warm. It was then called the sudarium, which translates from Latin to English as “sweat cloth”, and was used to wipe the sweat from the neck and face in hot weather. They were originally worn by men around their neck or tied to their belt. Soon women started using the scarves, which were made of cloth and not made of wool, and ever since the scarf has been fashionable among women.

Saint Veronica holding her sudarium
In 17th Century Croatia scarves were also worn by soldiers of all ranks. The only difference in the soldiers’ scarves that designated a difference in rank was that the officers had silk scarves whilst the other ranks were issued with cotton scarves. The men’s scarves were sometimes referred to as “cravat” and were the precursor of the modern day necktie.

David Beckham wearing a modern-day cravat

What we’re seeing a lot of right now in the world of scarf fashion is an insurgence of digitally altered prints; photos using clip art as montage. Design houses such as Dolce & Gabbana, Givenchy, and Alexander McQueen offer a wide variety of clip-art neck couture starting at around US $250, and at that price you can buy yourself an uber-colorful photo and hand-designed scarf that can also, when framed, double as wall art. I suggest when wearing your scarf the best option for pairing your scarf is a monotone blouse or top. Pull out one of the bright colors from your scarf and match a heel or a bag to it. Scarves are a fun way to play around with color without having to make any major outfit commitments. Summer is all about subtle sultry swagger, succumb to a scarf and look sharp as a dagger!
1. Givenchy
2. Stella McCartney
3. Etro
4. Emilio Pucci
5. Marc by Marc Jacobs
6. Dolce & Gabbana
7. Balenciaga
8. Alexander McQueen
9. Saint Laurent
10. Alexander McQueen
11. Stella McCartney
12. Alexander McQueen
13. Mary Katrantzou
14. Rose & Rose
15. Anna Coroneo
16. Dolce & Gabbana
17. Marc Jacobs
18. Alexander McQueen
19. Proenza Schouler
20. Burberry
21. Alexander McQueen
22. Loro Piana

23. Olympia Le-Tan
24. Olympia Le-Tan
25. Alexander McQueen
26. Chan Luu
27. Athena Procoplou
28. Erdem
29. Gucci
30. Gucci
31. Missoni

32. Alexander McQueen
33. Givenchy
34. Alexander McQueen
35. Gucci
36. Christopher Kane
37. Givenchy

38. Givenchy
39. Givenchy
40. Garth Pugh
41. Adam Cristobal de la Parmpas
42. Dolce & Gabbana
43. Dolce & Gabbana
44. Balmain
45. Givenchy

Generation Glitter

May 25 0 Comments

Bring in the gliterazzi, because there’s glitter all over the place. Glitter is shining and shimmying its way across the globe at a rate that is unsurpassed, or, if you really want to get down to numbers, today over 20,000 varieties of glitter are manufactured in a vast number of colors, sizes, and materials and it is estimated that over 10,000,000 pounds of glitter was purchased between the party heavy years of 1989 and 2009 alone.

The word glitter describes an assortment of very small, flat, reflective particles. When particles are applied to surfaces, they reflect light at different angles, causing a surface to sparkle or shimmer. Glitter is similar to, but smaller than,  confetti or sequins. Glitter has been produced and used decoratively since prehistoric times from many different materials including stones such as malachite, galena, and glass. Modern glitter is most commonly manufactured from plastic.



The first production of modern plastic glitter is credited to American cattle farmer and machinist Henry Ruschmann, based on a patent filled shortly after the end of World War II for a mechanism for cross-cutting films as well as other related inventions. With German glass glitter unavailable due to the war, Ruschmann found a market for scrap material ground into glitter made of plastics. He founded Meadowbrook Inventions, Inc. in Bernardsville, New Jersey, and the company is still a producer of industrial glitter today.

Commercial glitter ranges in size from 0.002 square inches (1.3 mm2) to 0.25 square inches (160 mm2). First, flat multi-layered sheets are produced combining plastic, coloring, and reflective materials such aluminum and iron oxide. These sheets are then cut into tiny particles of many shapes including squares, rectangles, and hexagons. Glitter is dispensed and used for a variety of uses, but in fashion, it’s use is overwhelmingly for celebratory accessories, as seen in handbags, shoes, and nail polish amongst other things.

Glitter and the process of glittering dates as far back as prehistoric times. As early as 30,000 years ago, mica flakes were used to give cave paintings a glittering appearance. Prehistoric humans were believed to have used cosmetics made of hematite, a sparkling mineral. And over 6,000 years ago, ancient Egyptians produced glittering cosmetics from the shells of beetles.

 

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All the glam girls are doing it, take a gander into this generations glitter sensation!

Anya Hindmarch
Anya Hindmarch
Charlotte Olympia
Charlotte Olympia
Charlotte Olympia
Christian Louboutin
Christian Louboutin
Dorothy Perkins
Edie Parker
Edie Parker
J. Crew
Jimmy Choo
Jimmy Choo
Jimmy Choo
Jimmy Chooi
Miu Miu
Nicholas King
RGB
Saint Laurent
Sergio Rossi
Seychelles
Shourouk
Miu Miu
Butter
Chiarra Ferragni
Edie Parker
J. Crew
Jimmy Choo
Maison Martin Margiela
Miu Miu
Topshop
Christian Louboutin

Jimmy Choo

Kate Spade

Kotur

Lucy Choi

Nina Labella

Vera Wang

Charles & Keith

Ganni Nina

Miu Miu

Christian Louboutin

Jimmy Choo

Jimmy Choo

Jimmy Choo

Rupert Sanderson




Earn Your Stripes

May 25 0 Comments
Come summer, stripes are a seriously strong solution to strengthening the reigns of your inner-fashionista. Don’t short arm the trend, long arm the trend with a luxuriously lengthy line. Reign in the lines just like a sailor and wear stripes like our American frontiersman. Stripes are the all-American solution to modern femininity and are a pattern that is eternally chic. Buy a stripe sweater now and wear it fifteen different ways this summer and fifteen different ways next summer; when it is a matter of stripes, the matter of fact answer is that there is always as stripy solution. Stripes are’t just pretty, but they’re practical, too. Wearing vertical strips is a great way to make your body look leaner. I look at stripes as being a book and the saga as being six chapters long: 1) dresses, 2) tops, 3) skirts, 4) shorts, 5) jackets and 6) pants.  Below I have compiled your solution to the stripe saga and given you approachable ways of wearing different stripes from soft romantics to bold and broody, all dependent on your mood an age. Generally speaking, large, more color block-like stripes are best saved for women who are middle aged or over, and skinnier or multi-dimensional broken up lines look best on someone who is younger. As for colors, stripes can be pulled off by just about anybody, but as a general rule of thumb which applies to color beyond stripes is that brights and pastels look batter on younger women and broodier and blocked colors look better on middle aged and over.  Don’t try too hard to get a grip, just take a look at my six quips!
STRIPED SHORTS
Vanessa Bruno short
Topshop bag
Sophia Webster Shoes
Nannie Blouse
Kate Spade Hat
Wolf and Badger Ring
STRIPED SKIRT
Christopher Kane Skirt
Chanel Bag
Valentino Shoes
J. Tomson Top
Prada Sunglasses
Chanel Belt
Irene Neuwirth Ring
Chanel Earrings
STRIPED DRESS
Alice + Olivia Dress
Giuseppe Zanotti Shoes
Oliver Bonas Hat
Givenchy Bag
Nasty Gal Banglesa
Kenneth Jay Lane Ring
 STRIPED TOP
Proenza Schouler Top
Pierre Hardy Wedges
Sheinside Shorts
Givenchy Bag
Ray Ban Sunglasses
Baubblebar Bracelet
 STRIPED PANTS
J Brand Pants
Casadei Pumps
Balmain Jacket
No Kate Bag
Kate Spade Sunglasses
Wallis Fashion Ring
STRIPED JACKET 
Next Jacet
Paige Jeans
Saint Laurent Sunglasses
Giuseppe Zanotti Heels
Celine Bag
Now check out some of the most streamlined of stripes and some of the most strenuous of stripes. Saddle up, its  stripe time!

Acne Studios

Aquilano Rimondi

Chloe

Christian Louboutin

Christian Louboutin

Christopher Kane

Clover Canyon

Dries Van Noten

Fendi

Fendi

Givenchy

Gucci

House of Holland

Issolda

Jimmy Choo

Josh Goot

Le Specs

Lela Rose

Lemlem

Mara Hoffman

Marc Jacobs

Marc Jacobs

Marni

Missoni

Mother of Pearl

Ostwald Helgason

Peter Pilotto

Pierre Hardy

Roger Vivier

Roksanda Ilincic

Roland Mouret

Rosie Assoulin

See by Chloe

See by Chloe

Sophia Webster

Stella Jean

Stella McCartney

Tanya Taylor

Thakoon Addition

Thom Browne

Valentino

Altuzzara

Chloe

Clover Canyon

Fendi

Kenzo

Miu Miu

Peter Pilotto

Pierre Hardy

Burberry Prorsum

Emma Cook

Illesteva

Jonathan Simkhai

Lemlem

Saint Laurent

Sophie Hulme

3.1 Phillip Lim

Ann Demeulemeester
Balmain
Balmain
Edie Parker
Etro
Gucci
J. Mendel
Jean Paul Gaultier
Missoni
Ohne Titel
Prabal Gurung
Thakoon Addition
Thom Browne
Vanessa Bruno
Gucci
Halston Heritage
Modcloth
Chloe
Edie Parker
Ohne Titel
Suno

Raving about Robertson

May 21 0 Comments

Sometimes, my mother once told me, less is more. Elegance isn’t always opulence, and often true beauty is found in the rough and uncut, pure and simple pieces of life. Jewelry designer Edith Robertson is the ethos of less being more. The designer, in person, exudes such a radiant burst of positivity that it is hard to look at her without smiling. She just has that effect on people, and so, too, do her designs. Her work appreciates like a fine wine; it gets better and better with time, unlike much of the flawed over designed pieces we see flooding mainstream culture today. With her minimalist sensibility, Robertson has created a nice niche for herself inside her bright and sunny private studio at Chicago’s Lill Street Art Gallery.

Necklace

As an only child, Robertson grew up in Stuttgart Germany during the war. She didn’t let the dire situation outside her window effect her, instead she channeled her efforts into painting and knitting, keeping busy with dreams of one day moving to America to start a life for herself. And so that day was to come, and Robertson was to begin her journey in America in Michigan. The art bug bit her there again (after “seeing a fat man whose belt I loved so much, told me I HAD to take a jewelry making class to make a belt like his.” Fasten your seat belts, America, because Robertson had arrived. Making belts soon parlayed into making jewelry, and it was at the impressive age of 50 that Robertson was told by her teacher that “if you want to get anywhere with your jewelry, you’ve got to go back to school.”  It was with that edict that Robertson enrolled herself in the Center of Creative Studies in Detroit. She was “the oldest by far but the most tenacious by far” and it was that tenacity and drive that began to sculpt Robertson into the artist we see today.

Three necklaces
Nowadays, you’ll more often than not find Robertson cooped up in her tiny but affable private studio (she’s called it her own for eight years) at Chicago’s Lill Street Art Gallery. The studio, like the artist, has a bright and cheery feel to it; it’s central window serves as both ornamentation as well as fantastic source of natural light. Robertson’s room is filled brim to brim with a deluge of jewelry making tools, a picture of her inspiration (her granddaughter, the beautiful Elizabeth), and a sizable display featuring all of her current designs.

Edith’s desk
Edith at work
Elizabeth
Every year, once a year, Robertson travels to Tucson to a gem show looking for stones. What Robertson has trained her eye so sharply to do is look for different stones, all in the rough, with unusual flaws or coloring. The stalagmite crystals that she uses will one day become necklaces, rings, bracelets and pendants, but it is for a solid few months that Robertson has to “sit with the idea” of the stone and think of the best way it could properly be utilized. Robertson points out that the stones are “so beautiful themselves they don’t need much enhancing” so it is with expertise and discretion that Robertson hypothesizes over just the small details she will add to enhance what is already beautiful. Robertson works with her raw materials mainly in silver and doesn’t cast anything, instead preferring to hand fabricate everything.
A necklace with “add on” coin pieces
It is after month upon month of daily involvement with a piece that Robertson has reached some sort of finality, all though one of the beautiful things about Robertson’s work is that there is no finality, pieces are bought with the intention of having other layers or strands added on to them. Her designs are simple but ever evolving. This harmonious fluidity coincides perfectly with the Beethoven or Wagner music that she is constantly streaming in the background.

The “cotton candy” necklace
Aside from classical music, other influences of note include memories of her trips to India and Turkey “in particular the colors.”

The “sushi” necklace
With reasonable pricing, starting at $100 and going up to $2,500, it won’t be soon before the public gets ahold of Edith Robertson and latches on. Robertson’s work is already showcased at Elements in Chicago and Zimmer Gallery in Montecito. With plans to expand her brand within the next five years, fans can look forward to an entire collection made of crystal rock and semi precious and precious stones. Upon special request, Robertson can also create a piece for you in gold, but no matter who you are, don’t ever worry about there being someone else with your jewels, because NO two pieces are made alike.

Pearl and wire earrings
Robertson designs for a woman who “is pretty sure of herself, wants to look different than the people around her, is not afraid to try something different, and just wants something beautiful at the end of the day.”

The beautiful earrings Edith gave me
Me wearing my beautiful new earrings
When asked what her personal favorite piece was, Robertson responded “the big rings. I like rings because unlike necklaces you can always look down at them and see your beautiful creation.”

Two big rings
Along with the expansion of her brand, Robertson one day hopes to cast Tilda Swinton as the face of her namesake line. Some of Robertson’s favorite contemporary jewelry designers include Mariani, Petra Class, and “Alexis Bittar. I love how youthful his work feels.” And the word “youthful” may be just the most appropriate to end this piece on, because Robertson’s youthful spirit, combined with the youthful feeling you get wearing her work, is a strong testament to the powers of a young mind, heart, and soul.

Necklace
For more information visit www.edithrobertsonsilverandgold.comand to schedule a private appointment/consultation call 312.933.2320

Earrings
Earrings

Pearl and wire necklace
Wall of necklaces
Necklace
Necklace
Necklace
Rings and necklace
Rings

Wedge Your Bets

May 21 0 Comments
Wedge your bets, and take a gamble on a shoe that is sure to impress. Be among the first this summer to take the pledge that you’ll step out in full force and wear a wedge! Before we get our wedge wheels spinning, I’ll be the first to admit, I wasn’t always a wedge-wearer, let alone a wedge barer. I looked at myself as somewhat of Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz on steroids. Everything I owned was a heel and everything I owned was sparkly – I was on a mission to kill the wicked wedge from the West. I always scoffed at my friends for wearing wedges as I thought they were taking the easy way out, “the working girl’s alternative to a heel.” Barf. But truth be told, I had some validity to my stupidity, the wedges that were being put out on the market weren’t all that chic. But times have a changed my friend and the fashion gods have spoken, wedges aren’t just for wayfaring heel haters, they’re now made in all sorts of spectacular heights, shapes, and colors for every girl to wear. Make a promise and take a pledge, summer 2014 is all about the wedge!

1. Prada
2. Dolce & Gabbana
3. Sophia Webster
4. Sophia Webster
5. Miu Miu
6. Dolce & Gabbana
7. Giuseppe Zanotti
8. Giorgio Armani
9. Prada
10. Shoe Cult
11. Shoe Cult
12. Prada
13. Shoe Cult
14. Giuseppe Zanotti
15. Schutz Jurema
16. Gucci
17. See by Chloe
18. Miss Selfridge

19. Jimmy Choo
20. DSquared2
21. Kenzo
22. Diane Von Furstenberg
23. Balenciaga
24. Charlotte Olympia
25. Brian Atwood
26. Alexander McQueen
27. Charlotte Olympia
28. Charlotte Olympia
29. Charlotte Olympia
30. Charlotte Olympia
31. Pierre Hardy
32. Christian Louboutin
33. Gucci
34. Valentino
35. Gucci
36. B Brian Atwood
37. B Brian Atwood
38. See by Chloe
39. Pour la Victoire
40. Landin
41. Christian Louboutin
42. Gucci
43. Lanvin
44. Dolce & Gabbana
45. Dolce & Gabbana

46. Shoe Cult
47. Monaco 3
48. Christian Louboutin
49. Gucci
50. Christian Louboutin
51. Privileged
52. Pierre Hardy
53. Sophia Webster
54. Pierre Hardy

56. Christian Louboutin
57.  Kate Spade
58. Iro
59. I Thee
60. Giuseppe Zanotti
61. Jimmy Choo
62. Report Nicole
63. Nelly

64.  Dolce & Gabbana
65. Dolce & Gabbana
66. Sergio Rossi
67. Sophia Webster
68. Rupert Sanderson
69. Badgley Mischka
70. Charlotte Olympia
71. DSquared2
72. Tory Burch

73. Charlotte Olympia
74. Charlotte Olympia
75. Roger Vivier
76. Louis Vuitton
77. Gucci
78. Prada
79. Top Shop
80. Yves Saint Laurent
81. Giuseppe Zanotti

Suffer the ConSEQUINce

May 16 0 Comments
Sequins, are they really as inconSEQUINtial as the word sounds? Sequins (otherwise known as spangles, paillettes, or diamantes) are a fun flamboyant and festive way to decorate your frock. Used strictly for decorative purposes, you can find sequins on dresses, shirts, pants, bags, shoes, and even used in some jewelry. In earlier centuries sequins required a little bit more advanced manufacturing, using reflective metals to create the sequin, however nowadays sequins are usually just made of plastic.  Sequins are stitched one of two ways; they are either stitched flat to the fabric, so that they do not move, and are less likely to fall off; or they may be stitched at only one point, so that they dangle and move easily, to catch more light. Some sequins are even made with multiple facets, to increase their reflective ability.

Vintage 1970s Bill Blass dress
Sequins have been shining nearly as long as time itself. Evidence exists that gold sequins were being used as decoration on clothing in the Indus Valley as early as 2500 BC. Sequins were also found to be used as far back as 1480, when Leonardo da Vinci devised a sketch for a machine that, using levers and pulleys, would punch small disks out of a metal sheet. Sewing gold and other precious metals onto clothing was multifunctional, especially for those who lived a more nomadic lifestyle, where coins were kept close to the body and attached to clothes. In addition to safekeeping valuables, sequined clothing doubled as ostentatious displays of wealth in places like Egypt, India and Peru and, with their glaring sheen, were meant to ward off evil spirits.


Leonardo Da Vinci’s “sequin making machine” sketch

Of historic humor, we can look back to the 1930’s, when sequins were produced by a process to electroplate gelatin. The final result produced a lighter-weight version of the shiny metal disks. But one major obstacle (besides the color being lead-based) was that the gelatin sequins were finicky; they would melt if they got wet or too warm. So women dancing in the 1930s had to be especially careful that their dance partners hands weren’t too warm or else, wicked witch of the west-style, they would melt right then and there on the dance floor. 



Vintage 1930s Jay Thorpe dress
The word “sequin” itself is from a rendition of the French and Italian word zecchino, which, when translated, was a gold coin that was issued in the late medieval and early post-medieval centuries in the Republic of Venice as well as in Ottoman Turkey. By the early 19th century the sequin coins were no longer being issued, and the name sequin was falling out of use in its original sense. It was then that the name was taken up in France to designate what it means today. 

Vintage 1940s Adrian gown
Sequins can be worn year round but are traditionally saved for more festive occasions like New Years or a birthday party. It’s not that it boils down to a seasonal thing, because sequins can certainly be worn during any season, but it does boil down to a “taste” thing – one must strongly consider how tactful it is to wear something with sequins on it to an event. Easier-to-wear sequin pieces include jackets with light to moderate sequin stitching on them, sweaters with minimal sequin adornment, and headpieces with sequin embellishment.

Vintage 1950s Emma Domb gown
Whether or not you find sequins inconSEQUINtial in your life, I have compiled together a montage of fashion’s, both present and 
past, most monumental and magnificent sequin ensembles. 

2nd Day
Markus Lupfer
Topshop
Alice + Olivia
Altuzzara
Anna Molinari
Burberry
By Marlene Birger
Chanel
Diane Von Furstenberg
Elie Saab
Emilio Pucci
Fendi
Fendi
Givenchy
Gucci
Guess by Marciano
Halston
Halston
Herve Leger
Judith Ann
Karen Millen
Kenzo
Lanvin
Lorris Azzaro
Louis Vuitton
Malcolm Starr
Marc Jacobs
Marc Jacobs
Marchesa
Miss Selfridge
Miu Miu
Miu Miu
Miu Miu
Miu Miu
Molly Bracken
Moschino
Oscar de la Renta
Pierre Cardin
River Island
Rodarte
Saint Laurent
Saint Laurent
Saint Laurent
Tom Ford
Topshop
Tory Burch
Versace
Zang Toi
Zuhair Murad
Zuhair Murad
Zuhair Muraf
Zuhair Murad
Alice + Olivia
Christian Louboutin
Gucci
Lina Baretti
Malcolm Starr by Elinor Simmons
Oscar de la Renta
Prada
Roberto Cavalli
Roger Vivier
Marc Jacobs
Naeem Khan
Alice + Olivia
Chanel
Chanel
Emanuel Ungaro
Gucci
Halston
Lillie Rubin
Marcel Fenez for Roland Klein
Yves Saint Laurent
Yves Saint Laurent
Valentino
Emilio Pucci

Cigarettes: Case in Point

May 14 0 Comments
Cigarettes; what an ugly habit (not to mention smelly)! But I’ll be the first to admit, what an awfully chic habit it is, too. For centuries, the upper echelons of society from royalty to bombshells have consistently been cigarette smokers. At a time, there was nearly a universal allure to the cigarette case. On the movie screens we reminisce over iconic scenes with Marlene Dietrich or Humphrey Bogart types handling glimmering antique cigarette cases. And who can forget the iconic image of the late Audrey Hepburn smoking on her long black cigarette? 

Audrey Hepburn

I personally have never been a cigarette smoker, which is not to say I didn’t try! I consistently gave the habit a go whilst living in New York where EVERYONE, and I do mean EVERYONE, is a cigarette smoker, yet it never really did anything for me. Oh well, for the better I guess. This is not a lesson in my smoking habits, it is, however, a lesson in the art and antiquity behind the beautiful box commonly known as the cigarette case. 
Both in historic New York and in modern day New York cigarette cases were seen amongst the fashion circles as being chic, and are easily available to all as they are sold in drug corner stores and in mail order catalogs. Even overseas royalty like Princess Margaret are devoted fans. 

A variety of Faberge Cases

Cigarette cases  are approximately cigarette-length flat boxes opening flatwise symmetrically on hinges into two halves, each storing one row of cigarettes, often held in place by a spring or an elastic strap. In the 1920s–1930s cigarette cases stored 50 cigarettes at a time, hence their name “flat fifties” at the time.

A 1950’s cigarette case
Some cigarette cases come with additional features, such as a built-in lighter, a cigarette box holder, and even a cell phone holder. The cigarette case is built to be sturdy so as to protect the cigarettes from crushing. While we will exhibit the makings of vintage cigarette cases, modern cases are most commonly made from plastic and metal. Both within and outside of smoking culture, cigarette cases have become fashionable accessories, and are sometimes even used as small clutches and not for cigarettes at all.
A Lanvin cigarrete case/hand clutch 
Some of the older cases may be made of precious metals, adorned with artistic engravings, monograms and jewels. Peter Carl Fabergé, while most famous for his Fabergé eggs, also manufactured exquisite cases of gold and gems for the family of the Tsar, some of which, (e.g. those owned by Danielle Steele) are reportedly worth up to $25,000 and appreciating. Faberge created in the vicinity of thousands of cigarette cases and they are considered some of the most beautiful and in turn, most collectible cases on the market today. Because of the superb craftsmanship, Faberge cigarette cases allured collectors including George VI of England, of whom they were a main collecting interest. 

A Faberge cigarette case

Cigarette cases weren’t just used for fashionable purposes, but for life-saving (ironic) practical purposes too. Popular with soldiers, and many World War I and World War II veterans, it has been stated that cigarette cases, on occasion, saved their lives by stopping bullets.

A Bulgari metal cigarette case
Cigarette cases were appealing to all economic levels of the marketplace in the late 19th century. The distinguished Pairpoint Manufacturing Company offered cigarette cases in 1894 of gold plate or silver plate for $5 each, while  engraved cases were $6. Meanwhile, the Montgomery Ward catalog on the following year listed “telescope style” cigarette cases that were all leather and “vest pocket size.” They were priced at 18 cents each. By the early 1900s elaborate and “artsy” cigarette cases were being made not only in Russia, but France and England as well. Russian cases of that period might feature floral and geometric enameling on both the front and back. Others might include detailed pastoral scenes along with fine stones.
A Russian antique cigarette case
In the 1930s, cigarette cases “passed from the state of mere utilitarianism to that of decorative imperiousness,” observed John Mebane in the book Collecting Nostalgia. “They not only performed their function; they imparted charm and color or at least novelty to the home and to the purse.” In the 1930’s, sleek chromium-finished cases with Art Deco designs had become quite popular, in both oblong and square shapes for those who bought cigarettes and those who rolled them. Many examples from this era were decorated with rhinestones, imitation jade, or other gemstones.
A 1930’s cigarette case
A 1930s cigarette case
A 1930s cigarette case
In 2003 the European Union witnessed a surge of cigarette case sales attributed to the introduction of prominent black-bordered warning labels on cigarette packs, e.g., “Smokers Die Younger”, etc., by an EU directive in January 2003. Cigarette cases were a way to avoid these invasive and sartorial labels. When the U.S. imposed a similar black label cigarette ban, the surge in the U.S. for cigarette cases also soared astronomically.
A decorative cigarette case by A Pocket Full of Miracles

In pop culture we also see the use of cigarette cases, such as the case (no puns intended) in James Bond when Bond is issued gadgets that are concealed in cigarette cases. Cinema today by no means “openly” condones cigarette smoking but it certainly glamorizes it, and it is with a great deal of certainty that the cigarette trend, and in turn the cigarette case trend, whether you’re a cigarette smoker or not, is a “case” worth trying. 

Be Wild


Aranwen
Boardwalk Empire

Bocheron
Broken Hearts and Busted Skulls
Broken Hearts and Busted Skulls

Apple Bite Jewelry
Louis Vuitton
Michael Perchin
Peppy’s Dream
Randys Tobacco Shop
Ruby Lane
Ruby Pearl
Vintage 1740
Work 2 Beauty
Wyverex
Yvonne Ramee
Koho Mitsuho
Vintage 1800
Coffin Cases
Cartier
Vintage 1920
Louis Vuitton
Joseph Hoffman
Kloud
Konstantin Linke

Van Cleef and Arpels
Cartier
Cartier
Cloisonne
DSquared2
Country Engraving
Executive Gift Shoppe

Smoke Screenz
Smoke Screenz
Stratton
The Bohemian Gypsy
Versace
Vintage 1700
Vintage 1730
Vintage 1825
Vintage 1838
Vintage 1890
Vintage 1910
Vintage 1920
Vintage 1920
Vintage 1920

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