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Archive for the ‘Inspirations’ Category

… with this city and a famous designer’s work from the past 26 years.

A few days ago, I visited some of the flea markets on 25th street, including a really big, amazing one in a parking garage. I found a cloche hat that actually fit me, rows and rows of paper ephemera, Chinese-themed nick-nacks, and some wonderfully-dressed people:


This lovely young lady was kind enough to let me take her photo. And yes, her dress is vintage. :3

This man's mix-and-match style and attitude really caught my eye. And you gotta love that crazy belt buckle... xD

Back shot! I love the details on his shirt and jeans. Beautiful!

The lovely sir at this booth is man after my own heart. I love the quiet creepiness of these dilapidated Clown automata and dismembered dolls. For more delightfuls, check http://www.loandbeholdantiques.com

I came away from that flea market with a mind full of inspiration. Almost as much as I did when I started to learn about John Galliano. Funny enough, he trained as an architect and has had his own version of a roller coaster life, but ultimately ending up as one of the most unique, influential designers in the business today. I suppose that’s encouraging to me, who started out as an engineering major and is definitely living on a wing and prayer (lots and lots of prayers).

Actually, I’m pretty behind on the whole “who’s who” in fashion thing. I’m just now learning the difference between Dior, Givenchy, and Balenciaga. Up till now, I only knew that certain people were famous, and I like Alexander McQueen’s work, and that’s about it. Now I’ve learned that I love Martin Margiela, adore Kawakubo (and co.), and that I am gradually saving up for some Manolo Blahnik shoes with a matching Steven Jone’s hat. xD

I’ll do a more proper blog post on my newest fashion obsession at some point, but there’s a Lolita Picnic article still waiting to be written. ^^;

I love you all!

-Naomi

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… you don’t just sit and let it pass. You write it down, sketch it out.

And you don’t stop there. You don’t just record the idea, you make the idea into reality. Use whatever resources you have at hand, no matter how meager.

Don’t wait to be taught how to do it. Ask someone, or figure it out yourself, and do it. Play.

Leftover strips of fabric… 3 weeks of classes… and an open classroom.

I know that I am taking a great risk, putting a novel idea out on the internet for anyone to look at, but sharing ideas and inspiration is “the change I wish to see in the world”.

So this plus this:

Van Gogh's "Starry Night"…yields this idea:

…and this fledgling reality.

The left front of the bodice-to-be. Right side will come later...

I imagine the finished dress in crinkled strips of blue, gold, and purple silk arranged on a black organza underdress... but strips of muslin pinned to a dressform will serve for now.

This shall be a sort of cross between a low-backed evening dress and an elegantly revealing halter. I think showing a little of the "side boob" adds the perfect touch of quiet sexiness. :)

Tendrils coming down the back, a preview of the full effect. There will be a crinoline for the finished dress; but for now, I just want to see how the wrapped and tacked fabric might look. It looks better than I had imagined!

detail of the curls at the small of the back.

I so desperately love this sort of work. I could cut and sew beautiful dramatic things for-ever. I want to make costumes and wonderful things… I want to dress all sorts of people people for the most beautiful moments of their lives. I don’t want to be famous. I just want to live and work with joy and dignity.

Love and Blessings,

Naomi R. (The Forgotten Doll)

 

EDIT: Added watermarks to images.

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So, I’ve been unconsciously been collecting hats for about 4 years now, but at the beginning of this year, I decided that I’d become a *real* hat collector.  Since hats are often such an important part of my design ideas, and because the local hat sellers and fellow collectors have become such a big part of my life, I decided to put together this little homage to my hats and the people I owe their pleasure to. This will be in several parts over several days. :3

Suzan Hittle (The Hat Lady)

She’s actually the real reason for this blog post. This incredible lady has suffered with all sorts of ailments since her youth. Multiple times she’s been told she only has a few more years to live, but she has gone on to have two beautiful kids, became an accomplished lyricist, and nurtures her second love, hats and those who need them, through her Arlington, TX shop, Dress Hats and More. Every year, she gives away hundreds of hats (nice ones, too) to chemo patients who wouldn’t be able to afford them otherwise.

My first “Hittle Hat” was my black Bigalli bowler, size 7 and 5/8 (yes, I have a big afro). This thing has gone with me everywhere. It’s the one hat I almost always have with me. :D After I bought it, I was excited to discover that the Bowler was originally designed to be the “practical tophat”. The collapsible crown and the sturdy brim makes a great old fashioned riding helmet!

Listenin' to some Porcupine Tree in the Texas heat, me, my new camera, and my bowler hat.

A better view of the shape of the hat.

Detail shot (I <3 macro setting) of the Art Nouveau stickpin I like to wear in the bow. I got the stickpin from Jana's.

Next, after about a year of sporadic visits, I laid my eyes upon what I call “The Tim Burton Hat”…

'Nuff said.

It's the perfect of blend of old-world class, and whimsical Church lady/derby race styling.

This one took a little longer to acquire. I’m pretty slow to spend money, but when I do, it’s on something really special. I paid for this one by degrees over 2 months, but it is finally mine.

Just look at theis excellent curled felt. <3

Suzan also gave me this inexpensive little knit cap.She sensed that it’d look good on me. As you can see, she has an eye for these things.

A good, casual beanie with a little sparkle. <3

Yesterday, Suzan called me. Her shop is having some financial troubles, and she asked me to come over and talk. I ended up buying this little number… which, hilariously, used to be Ashley’s hat! She had bought it vintage from Jana’s (more about her next time), then sold it to Suzan to help pay for her own lady’s derby hat! When Ashley bought it, it didn’t fit me, but now that my hair is shorter in back…

This hat is so hard to photograph. ^^;

I love the 40’s fedora style. <3 <3 <3

Detail of the feather spray.

Trenchcoat met me at Suzan’s to both pick me up and brainstorm ideas to keep the shop afloat. He ended up finding a fedora that perfectly fits his lifestyle – A classy, textured hat that is also collapsible and practical. He’s been needing a hat for a while, too. :D I’ll add those pictures in another post. :)

Dear, dear Suzan then pulled out a blue, broad snap-brimmed fedora. She explained that it was the first hat that they had bought for the shop 4 years ago, but incredibly it had never sold. Even though I tried to refuse, she insisted that I take it as a gift, even though she’s in a bind. ;__;  *tears of joy* Yes, that is the kind of person Suzan is. Giving away her things, even when she could try to get a pretty penny for them.  I’m leaving this hat with the family and with my friends when I head to New York. It looks good on everyone at the house, and I have plenty for myself. :)

More feather details. :3

Obligatory Myspace shot with the cool hat. :3

Inside of the fedora. I did some research, and this is a Bollman Hat Company product. Funny enough, the logo was a turn-off when I first saw the hat, but it's grown on me. <3

Mr. Toby (of Marquis of Vaudeville) also bought himself a lovely derby hat (basically a more structured, fancier version of my bowler) when he visited the store with me and Stacey, his girlfriend (the one with the awesome mask).

Toby wearing his Bowler hat and Stacey wearing her mask

Doesn't it suit him perfectly? Suzan always manages to have just the right hat for everyone. :3

I’m really going to miss Suzan and her shop. She always has a story for you, and she does her utmost to find exactly what you need at your price range, even if that meant her losing money. I think she plans to re-open her shop as a website. Please send her your love and blessings, and if you’re in the area, check out her shop before it’s too late!!

Love,

Naomi

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When I went to Scarborough Faire a couple weeks ago, I ran across this teeny tiny stall, where a man was selling colorful, cotton dresses.  I didn’t have the money to buy one at the time, but I know I have to share this absolute brilliance with you.

I love multi-way design, and this is the first 35-way (!!) garment I’ve seen that appeals to my engineer side so strongly. It’s a hexagon skirt (inspired by the shape of a basic carbon molecule) attached to a tube bodice, with drawstrings, a zipper, and two pockets. In it’s most basic form, it is a sun dress, but it can be anything – a poncho, a pair of pants, a tote bag, or a pillow (as well as many other styles of dress). Mr. Rock Ridgeway has been working on the design for decades, finally perfecting it and selling it all over the world.

I’m not endorsing or advertising Cameleon Clothes… I’m just so excited about the concept that I thought it was worth sharing. :3 So, if you are interested, check out Rock’s website and get one for yourself!! :D It’s definitely on my list of larger-purchases-in-the-near-future. ^^

With Love and Good Vibrations,

Naomi

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So, yesterday, Ashley and I headed over to Lulu B’s Antique/Consignment store in Dallas. I wore this:

me wearing the Alice Cards dress

I designed, drafted, and sewed the entire thing. It was finished before I went to Japan last summer. :3 Photo by Kuragiman!

I also wore my black bowler hat for that extra bit of English whimsy. -w-

After finding the PERFECT jacket for an upcoming project, Ashley took me home, and my Uncle and I visited the DPS (which, oddly enough, looks exactly like I’d imagine a fallout-proof army bunker). But even the crowded Drivers License Office can be interesting when you’re wearing an interesting dress!

I knew that the more general “audience” at the DPS might react to my attire strangely, so it didn’t surprise me when a young black man smoking outside the building muttered a “what… the hell? O_o; ” as I passed by in my puffy glory. But what followed *did* surprise me a lot!

A couple minutes later, the same young man came in from his smoke break. He saw me sitting and, for one reason or another, decided to sit next to me. He continued to stare at the dress. “In case you’re wondering, I made it,” I said. Even though it was a bit difficult to understand his urban accent, the rest of our conversation was really cool. It turned out that he *loved* the dress, especially the card suite/crowns theme. He showed me that he had the outline of an Ace of Spades tattoo on his arm, with a crown resting on the corner. Since the tattoo was unfinished, he was looking at my dress for inspiration for the details! :D In fact, the conversation inspired me to design a card-themed men’s shirt…

The moral of that story is: be friendly to everyone! Even the people who initially respond negatively to your work, or even just respond with confusion, are AT SOME LEVEL interested in it. Treat every questioning party like their interested, and you will find that they are!!

After that inspiring conversation, I began to take note of the small, but deliberate style choices in the sea of jeans-and-tee-shirt-wearers. Crew socks pulled tight above basketball shoes, showing off a logo. A tee shirt tucked in at the front to show off a special belt buckle. A particularly cute print on a set of nurse scrubs. Cowboy boots under jeans. Even those terrible, too-loose short worn low on the hips are a declaration, a glimmer, of personal style. I might not agree with the style, but I acknowledge it. Actually, it’s somewhat of a relief. I was beginning to be under the impression that we lazy Americans didn’t want to be bothered with any kind of self-expression.

Or perhaps I am being too optimistic. I speculate that the socks, low shorts, and belt buckles are just more imports from the L.A. ghettoes, popularized through rap music videos. >_>; It’s another way of following the herd… but at least it’s a somewhat special herd – one that is united by a form of music, a lifestyle, a political view.  I’m sure that some of my friends could speak at length about the bovine mentality of American youth, but I choose to find the positive in this case (a big step for me… I used be a total pessimist).

Either way, I might have been wearing a bowler hat and an Alice dress yesterday, but I don’t think that means that I have any more desire to express myself sartorially than the average person. My Act of Dressing simply means that I have more will.

It’s also interesting how different occupations’ advances in clothing and sewing tools might help me in my own endeavors. EMTs use “Trauma Shears” that can quickly cut through any fabric – super-useful for leather, I imagine. Nurses wear ultra-comfy shoes for long hours of standing. And denim fades beautifully when worn from the wrong side of the fabric… :D

Always write down every idea, even if it doesn’t seem like a good one now. Sometimes today’s “crappy idea” will come in useful in a month or two. That’s why I always keep paper and pencil (or at least a phone that can save draft text messages) with me. I even keep my sketchbook next to me when I sleep, since so many of my best ideas come to me when I’m nodding off.

Anyway, I leave you for today with these things in mind. Keep on creating!!

Love,

Naomi

P.S. I just finished another TeeWrex, only this one isn’t made from a tee-shirt! I can’t wait to show you, but until then, mum’s the word. ;D

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So, I only happened upon this dapper sir’s blog a few minutes ago on Sart’s latest Tokyo post, but I find myself increasingly fascinated with the elegant strangeness of the years straddling the 19th and 20th centuries. Lord Whimsy’s latest post features a trailer for a hilarious-looking new indie movie, as well as a photoshoot based on 1908’s ideas of appropriate exercises to do while in your suit.

In general, I find myself more and more fascinated with men’s-wear… men’s everything-aesthetic for that matter. Headwear, suits, canes, grooming… it has such rich history, and for a while we all seemed to forget about it.  Thankfully, the world seems to be tired of ripped jeans and midriff tops for the time being (I am all for punk, but I do not like “grunge” at all), so there is room for Edwardian elegance, and it’s more elaborate cousin – Steampunk, to blossom. Several movies (The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus, Sherlock Holmes)  and large social events (The Edwardian Ball, Dances of Vice, and of course, our very own fledgling “Wild Lost“) have appeared that herald this new interest in the old-fashioned. I can’t tell you how happy I am to be working with a band that has that same vision. I love the off-kilter humor, the elegantly incorrect medical advice, and that wonderful, constant flirtation between the Classic and the Tacky.

This also appeals greatly to my long-neglected love of philosophical humor:

When I am in a particularly eloquent mood, I end up writing things like this, a note to some of the local radio DJ’s promoting the band:

Dear Mark and Angela,

Since you are both local purveyors of culture and have a hand in what gets played on the airwaves, I would like to draw your attention a little local band named Marquis of Vaudeville. Though they have only been together under this name for about a year, they have been playing Dallas, Houston, and everywhere in between. It is generally a hopeless effort to categorize them, but I usually describe them as Progressive Psychedelic Cabaret Rock… and they have a look to match. Top hats, turn-of-the-century waistcoats, and mohawks are all fair game on this stage, as well as within their dedicated audience: a growing creative collective known only as “The Wild Lost“.

Marquis’s sound and style appeal to all, from steampunk airship pirates – to us normal people who only wish for an escape from time to time. Their lyrics encourage finding they creativity within oneself, without the use of needless drugs; as well as the power of love and imagination.

Do check out the band and consider requesting a demo to add to your collection – you’ll be quite glad you did.

Regards,

Lady Naomi, Harbinger and  Couturier of the Wild Lost

Big words are fun. xD

p.s. Since today is bright and beautiful, I intend to employ my uncle’s aid in photographing my newest sartorial endeavors, including the Tee-Wrex you have waited so graciously to see. However, as we are still users of film, please extend your graciousness for a short while longer – the results shall be well worth it.

-Naomi

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