Friday, June 26, 2009

Witch- A Book of Bananas Forks Spoons Heartbreak by Andrea Marshall

I went to school to study Art History, and I really tried my best to understand and like contemporary artists. However, there are just so few that I find interesting enough to pay attention to. It's not that I can't appreciate what people are doing, and often admire it- I just have a classical eye I suppose. The mystique of religious iconography, ritual, witchcraft and the subversive rogues that painted it all never fails to excite me.

I often find that my only solace from the modern era is in high fashion editorials that draw upon these themes and transfigure them into otherworldy realms. I also tend to gravitate towards highly introspective, raw and honest self portraits. The elusive and infamous Cindy Sherman has been a long standing favorite of mine, especially her self portraits as the Madonna.

I think Cindy may have met her match in Andrea Marshall. In her about me, she writes:

"My work consists mainly of self-portraits that explore the Self in relation to traditional archetypal concepts of the nature of womanhood. I attempt to visually render this juxtaposition through a symbiotic dialogue between history and contemporary culture. Through a range of media, including both painting and photography, I examine internal psychological conflict through Personas reflecting the idealistic and tragic nature of the prototypical female.
Through self-portraiture, syncretized with symbolic female Personae, I strive to connect, rather than isolate, the female experience and contribute to evolving, yet eternal, female imagery. "

I was particularly impressed with the images out of her book, Witch A Book of Bananas Forks Spoons Heartbreak. Aside from being an intense visual delight, these images really really struck a chord with my inner art historian; this woman is just pure genius.






Thursday, June 25, 2009

My Vacation Picks

It is FINALLY time for me to go back to sunny Southern California for vacation! It seems like winter lasted an eternity, and summer hasn't even gotten to New York City yet. So I guess I will have to go to summer. I am a notorious overpacker, but I have a really short connection and don't want my baggage lost for the one zillionth time so I've decided to only do carry on. This means very careful choices, and versatile pieces!

I am not wearing shoes in a couple of these because I probably won't wear them most of the time I am home. I will be hanging out on the wooden porch of our hundred year old beach house, laying on the warm sand, and walking barefoot in the grass in the backyard. At least that's what I've been dreaming of. Living in this cement jungle has given me a serious case of nature deficiency syndrome. However, I will have to wear shoes to run around Melrose and snatch all the good vintage away. That's what those comfy brown platforms are for!

I wish you could see better just how amazing those shorts in the first picture are. They are dark navy blue with little gold anchor buttons, pleats, and cuffs! Totally, completely perfect. This is definitely my 4th of July outfit. You also can't see the perfect 1940's navy pin that's on my top. Stupid ISO speed indoors...

The second one is the most comfortable thing ever. The top is a wonderfully soft lilac organic cotton from H&M. The pants are a luxurious 100% silk in army green with a fauz drawstring waist and elastic at the calves.

The third outfit is a denim chambray romper from my favorite store in Williamsburg, Mini Mini Market. You should go there, but only if you are willing to part with your whole savings account!


Top Left
Glasses: Forever 21
Striped top: American Eagle, ages ago
Anchor pin: 1940's vintage
Cuffed shorts: Thrifted
Red Clutch: 50's Vintage

Top Right
Organic Cotton Tee: H&M
Silk capris: Anthropologie
Brown Wedges: Steve Madden
Wicker purse: Vintage from an estate sale
Bamboo bracelets: Vintage

Chambray romper: Mini Mini Market
Necklace: Old Navy, ages ago
Sunglasses: Vintage Rayban Wayfarers, thrifted

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Gingham and Glasses

I have many visions of what summer should look like, but the look below from Lula is my favorite. The 50's styling and giant glasses really do it for me. Sorry for not posting for a while, I was busy playing with my camera and buying Photoshop (I feel like such an adult now that I actually bought it and not pirated it!)

I was saving all of these glorious things for a good outfit post, and I think it turned out just how I wanted it to! I think the most surprising thing is that everything except the shoes came from major chain stores.

Here is the Lula spread that I fell in love with:


And here is what I came up with:



Hat and Glasses: Forever 21
Top: H&M
Skirt: Target
T-straps: Vintage

Friday, June 19, 2009

At Last, My Love Has Come Along

And my crappy photo days are over, and like is like a song. I finally invested in the Nikon D60 Digital SLR and I have had just about the best day of my life. After two years of trying to capture seemingly impossible subjects in natural light without being blurry and overexposed, I managed to capture the two most elusive subjects in existence; beautiful vintage dresses and my fast-as-a-lightning-bolt dog.

Please enjoy pictures (bright, clear and NOT fuzzy) of some of the dresses going into my shop.

Also please enjoy pictures (tan, black and very fuzzy) of my naughty but cute chihuahua Nero being very sweet and rolling around in the grass. He hasn't gotten to go outside much thanks to the terrible weather, but he had fun while it lasted today.









Thursday, June 18, 2009

Eva Mendez

Who knew that Eva Mendez is probably the most attractive female on the planet? I mean, I noticed her before but it wasn't until I recently saw her in Lula that my adoration of Eva was forever cemented. In fact, I barely noticed her until I saw the editorial below from Italian Vogue a while back. Everything about it is so perfect; the orange lipstick, the lingerie, the beehive and the muted color palette. My favorite ones are definitely NSFW but you can find the rest here.


I never would have pegged her for a Lula girl, but she proved me very wrong with her lilac dress and infinite varieties of cute facial expressions.


The Vogue Italia spread sent me on a wild goose chase for that orange lipstick, and last week I finally found one that is pretty darn close! I will follow up with a post as soon as it's not raining anymore.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Bicycle Crush

I am loyal to my hot pink bike, I swear; but today I am oh-so-tempted cheat on it with the one below. I really do NEED this bike to haul home all of my vintage treasures on the weekend! It can hold an impressive 600 pounds of stuff! Although I don't know if it would really be practical, seeing how it's actually illegal to ride your bike on a sidewalk in New York. I actually got a ticket for it this weekend!

Serioulsly though, how bad do you you want a bike by Madsen Cycles?


Saturday, June 13, 2009

Etsy Update

Below are some new items going into the Etsy store this weekend. I also found six great dresses that I hope to get up, but the weather is terrible today so I will have to do a part two tomorrow. These are some of the small things that I could photograph indoors:




Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The only place I want to live...

Is inside these images by Bruno Dayan's "In the Mist" series, found on Kanye's Blog:

Sunday, June 7, 2009

The History of Bakelite and how to Identify It

There is nothing quite like Bakelite. Sure, it's just a plastic but it really is so much better! To me, nothing embodies the fun, playful, and cheerful spirit of WWII and the 50's like the giant carved bangles and funky pins and earrings that are oh-so-covetable these days! Sadly for me, I have sold nearly every piece I have found because it is valuable and I can't bring myself to not sell it. But that does not detract from my pure, unadulterated love of this wonderful stuff.

I thought I would share a little bit of its history with you all, and give a few pointers on how to identify real Bakelite in a sea of good fakes. The stuff can be tricky because it comes in so many different colors and forms, but there are a couple no fail ways to make sure it's real.

Bakelite was the first plastic manufactured from synthetic materials and was developed between 1907-1909 by Belgian Dr. Leo Baekeland. It is a combination of phenol, formaldehyde and generally wood flour filler. Manufacturing was a vary labor intensive process! Although it was used early on in products such as phones, radios, furniture, billiard balls, and telephones it did not become wildly popular until 1927 when its original patent expired and many different companies began to manufacture it. Bakelite soon became one of the most popular substitutes for traditional materials because it was cheap to manufacture and could easily take many forms and colors.

A 1930's Bakelite radio

Initially, there was a backlash against Bakelite because the upper class saw it as a cheap, crass material. However, the streamlined, sculptural design tendencies of the late 30's and 40's were complementary to the simplicity of Bakelite. Also, the Great Depression forced people to become more resourceful and Bakelite was an inexpensive, fun substitution for other materials. It was easy to carve and was conducive to the streamlined, minimalist designs that came to full fruition post WWII and into the 50's as well as the whimsical and escapist jewelry designs that were so popular in these eras as well.

Bakelite can sometimes be tricky to identify simply because it came in so many forms and colors. The images below exhibit the diverse spectrum of Bakelite in jewelry. Some of the more common colors were butterscotch, as seen in the horse pin, green, and red. Less common were patterned and "apple juice" (translucent) Bakelite, seen in the highly collectible bangles below. Generally the rule is the more ornate the carving or interesting the design, the more valuable the piece.


All these lovely images were found here.

So with all the variety out there, how can you tell it's real? There are several ways, some more fancy than others:

The Simichrome test: Simichrome is a material used to clean metals. Put a bit on a clean, light colored soft cloth and gently rub the piece in question. If it's Bakelite, a little bit of yellow residue will show up on your cloth.

409 Test: Put a bit of 409 on a Q-tip and rub. If it turns yellow, it's Bakelite. Black and laquered often fail this test though.

Smell: Bakelite has a distinct smell, kind of like petroleum jelly. Vigorously rub one area of the piece and smell it. If it kinda smells like formaldehyde, bingo! This test may not work on older pieces all the time though.

Sound/ Touch/ Site: Bakelite is heavier than most modern plastics and will make a distinctive clunking sound when hit against another piece. You should also check for scuff marks and chipping in carved pieces, a tell-tale sign of age.

I hope this has been helpful, and happy treasure hunting. You never know where a nice piece of this stuff might surface, so it's always good to be prepared!

Gutter Ball Blues

So as it turns out, I am actually a better bowler than the president of the United States! Now that doesn't say much, because Obama did only bowl a 37 recently, but it makes me feel better. Somehow in my deranged little brain I thought that wearing the right outfit would transform me into an amazing bowler, but alas it is not so. I consistently bowed between a 39 and a 42. Oops. I couldn't figure out what I did wrong! Perfect retro lanes? Check. Cute headscarf, cuffed jeans and cardigan? Check. Heinekin? Check. It didn't dawn on me until this morning what the actual problem was, because naturally it was not my lack of bowling skills. The very last picture does all the talking.


Cardigan: Benneton
Collared rayon top: thrifted
Gingham headscarf: Forever 21
Jeans: No name store
Bakelite Bangle: Vintage






As it turns out, it was the HIDEOUS bowling shoes afterall! They didn't match my outfit, and the colors kinda made me want to barf. Next time, I will have to bring a pair that matches my sweater!