New York…a morning stroll along Madison Avenue and Christmas is alive in the Art Deco winter wonderland of Ralph Lauren’s windows!
Tokyo, Japan…we finished our visit to Japan with a real “score”!
Vintage Kimono shopping on the corner of Meiji-Dori in the bustling Harajuku district! This open air market had thousands of vintage kimonos and obi to choose from!
My friend Shelly got into it and walked away with some amazing finds…a summery kimono as a robe for the beach, an evening black kimono to dress up, and a rugged denim worker style kimono to make a fashion statement!
A little background on the kimono:
The kimono (着物) is a Japanese traditional garment worn by men, women and children. The word “kimono”, which literally means a “thing to wear” (ki “wear” and mono “thing”), has come to denote these full-length robes.
Kimono are T-shaped, straight-lined robes worn so that the hem falls to the ankle, with attached collars and long, wide sleeves. Kimono are wrapped around the body, always with the left side over the right (except when dressing the dead for burial.), and secured by a sash called an obi, which is tied at the back.
Tokyo, Japan…this morning’s view was of a snow capped Mount Fuji in the distance! What a beautiful sight looming far beyond Tokyo’s urban sprawl!
Today is fashion time! We braved navigating the city’s subway system to get us to the shopping mecca of Ginza! We managed to get there without getting lost and once we arrived we were struck with the amount of mega luxury brands jammed into one area! Luxury after luxury with one being more expensive than the next…it’s mind blowing to even think who is buying all this! I admit my head was spinning and needed to stop for directions a few times as some stores are down alleyways that you would never expect!
I thought the buildings themselves were interesting…the bland modernity was transformed with custom facades to set each brand apart!
Dover Street Market by Rei Kawakubo of Commes des Garcons is a curated collection of fashion cool…this bazaar of sorts is meant to give off a vibe of “beautiful chaos”…but to me, the sales people stole the limelight from the store itself! Each Japanese associate had such amazing style that was unique and so distinctly Japanese! It’s this kind of “out-there” fashion mixing that is totally chic yet interestingly new that you rarely see elsewhere! Very inspiring!
The day flew by as we walked the streets going store to store and the sun sets early now and the day darkened very fast! As we wrapped up this day of fashion mega brand overload, we headed back to the hotel admiring the city’s lights all around us!
Melbourne, Australia…this city really hooked me today! I went beyond the tourist route to experience hipster’s Melbourne…I am totally into the creative energy I discovered today!
The Fitzroy/Collingwood area is too cool! This former working class heartland has become the home of the city’s artists, trendsetters, and visionaries! Bars, bookshops, design stores, new & vintage fashion, and restaurants pulse with great energy…
I loved this area…the vintage look mixes with the gritty graffiti and industrial chic to create an eclectic urban neighborhood that is equal parts East Village, Notting Hill, Marais, and Williamsburg!
Walk along Gertrude Langridge, Brunswick, and Smith Streets to soak up the edgy creativity storefront after storefront! I even made a purchase of a cool pair of pants at local fashionista spot Assin!
Creativity and off the beaten track discovery really excites me…Melbourne’s coolest neighborhood totally ignited me and I could totally see living here!
Noumea, New Caledonia…fashion can come in the most unlikely of places! The main square in town, Place des Cocotiers, hosted a celebration and brought out the local elders to display their Polynesian style!
Booths selling local crafts, homemade delicacies, and homegrown produce lined the square. But the women dancing and enjoying the music in their homemade hats stole the show for me!
Each trying to outdo the next in their woven palm hats…they were so excited that I liked them and wanted to take their picture!
Suva, Fiji…it’s Sunday and that means it’s church day for Fijians allover the island! Most of the town is shuttered and the locals spend the day traveling to and attending services.
That means it’s Sunday’s best dress…men everywhere are wearing their skirts or “sulus” with their best shirts, jackets, and ties!
Old & young all don this easy wrap and I think they look great and it makes sense for this hot tropical climate! I also love how men take the kids off mommy’s hand for the day! The site of men carrying their tiny child is so heartwarming…even lined up to watch a soccer game, the men are cradling their infant children!
Police have their own version of a sulu! It may resemble a court jester, but it’s a major statement!
Pago Pago, American Samoa…I met a Samoan artist today who paints tropically inspired geometric prints on tree bark similar to Mud Cloth.
I loved the spirit of this elderly artist who has been creating her art for decades in this traditional Samoan technique!
I thought these were chic and modern looking prints with gorgeous bronzed color that would be just as gorgeous hanging on the wall as it would make of-the-moment fashion!
The world’s cultures are full of inspiration! Today I got a dose of some tropical chic, South Pacific style!
At Sea…I am finding something much more valuable besides just plain relaxing. These several days as we make our way to the South Pacific are allowing me to reconnect with my own passions!
As a fashion designer for a large label, I rarely had time to do one of the things I loved so much about the fashion business that I have been in for almost 25 years: drawing & sketching! There were illustrators or other staff to do that…I spent my days conceptualizing big ideas, working on colors, picking fabrics, monitoring the design flow, pitching ideas, fitting, and setting the direction. I love all those things as well, but the thing I have done since I was a kid was draw! It was that innate ability to draw that drove me to my career as a fashion designer! I have no idea why at the age of 5, I was able to lie for hours on the floor sketching, while other kids played games and such!
I am grateful for my talent; it has been this talent that I have relied on my whole life to get by…winning art contests in grammar school, being the artsy kid in high school, and setting myself apart in fashion design school! Getting this uninterrupted time to just sit and doodle, sketch, illustrate, etc. has really reminded me of the gift I have been given! No pressure to create anything that will sell, no pressure to get accolades, and no pressure to impress my fashion peers…just me escaping to my own world of creativity to reconnect with my own self and my craft and skill!
Paris, France…window shopping galore! This city offers so much sensory stimulation…fashion, art, antiquities, interiors, and on and on!
I love a leisurely day absorbing all the creativity this design hub can offer! The Marais, Saint Honore, Champs Élysées, Avenue Montaigne, and St Germaine des Pres all stimulate with shops and galleries! These are the must hit areas for fashionistas and power shoppers of all kinds!
Besides just looking at clothing, I look to be inspired! Art and fashion are innately linked…I stumble on a gallery showcasing the art of Alias Henri Desclez and I am struck by the fashion sensibility of these mirrored florals painted on simple geometrics! These look so of-the-moment in fashion…I can see amazing pieces of wearable and chic art made from this art!
There is no way not to be inspired in this city of so many wonders…design is everywhere you look!
Paris, France…today is the day for me to get back in the game, albeit briefly! I am breaking my extended vacation to return to Premier Vision, the huge fabric expo on the outskirts of Paris. This show marks the official design kickoff for Fall 2013…it’s a must attend for fashion professionals as it’s a one stop shop for the building blocks of any collection: fabric, prints, and trims! It’s a great way for me to stay informed and on top of what’s going on while I am on my long sabbatical…
Everyone always wants an insider view on fashion…this is far from glamourous, it’s an overwhelming maze of a show…halls the size of football fields are filled with vendors showcasing the newest innovations in chic! It’s daunting, even after many years of attending. It requires incredible focus and energy to find a needle in this haystack!
This show blends the art of fashion with true commerce! Trends spoken in airy fairy language and the hard reality of the business coexist here. As a designer, you need to cut through all the noise and find what’s new and interesting and recognize key trends that will permeate the clothing and interior design world and become big retail hits!
I spend the day navigating hallway after hallway and some things start to inspire! What is great is to feel all the creative energy of thousands of designers converged in one place…each seeing the offerings in their own unique way. Plus I get a giggle at all the fashionistas checking each other out and parading around in their new Fall outfits!
In six months, we will see all this materialize into runway extravaganzas and in less than a year the stores will be filled with what started here!