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Hats off to Millinery Guild’s “Mad Hatter” Fashion show

LA Fashion Week

by Leticia Marie Sanchez

All Fashion Photography ©2010 Leticia Marie Sanchez

March 18, 2010-

The L.A Millinery Guild hosted its first fashion show, kicking off LA Fashion Week to an electrifying start. The theme of the show, the “Mad Hatter party” showcased the hats of designers Diego Hats, Hatstruck, Montez, Stage Door Daisy, Elizabeth Marcel, Suzi Holloway, Jill Pfeifer, Linda J. Key, and headliner Anita Hopkins.

The show juxtaposed vintage allusions with futuristic design. During the nostalgic component of the show, Sarah Vaughn’s throaty voice evoked sirens of the past, sirens who donned hats in equal measure to Sunday morning service and Saturday night jazz clubs. The show served as a reminder that hats not only belonged to the whimsical world of Mad Tea Parties, but to the social history and fabric of American society crossing all cultural lines.

Hats have played a key role throughout the past, from berets worn by women in Minoan Crete to the Petasos worn by Classical Greek ladies. Etruscan women wore snoods with curls hanging over their foreheads while the women of the Byzantine court donned pearl-encrusted headresses, akin to today’s headbands.

Women living during the Italian Renaissance wore turbans while 13th century women donned the “Crespinne” a hairnette coupled with a fabric called the “barbette.” If  a woman wore a crespine alone it was considered shocking.

While the first half of the show conjured the past, the latter portion envisioned the future with designs by Anita Hopkins. who reinvented Lewis Carol’s theme as Alice in Spaceland. The dramatic theme song from the film “2001: Space Odyssey” heralded the entrance of her Fall 2010 Collection. Hopkins is a designer who successfully weds beauty and drama, with a wry sense of humor.

It is no coincidence that the blockbuster comedy “Bruno” featured her ubiquitous yellow hat on its title character and worldwide posters. Her designs at the Millinery show likewise evoked the dramatic, the iconic, and the cinematic, including the runway’s hero, the  Space Cowboy. Due to the minimalistic costumes on the models, the hats came into the foreground, top hats that evoke an alluring Mad Hatter, a happily wedded couple, and an Andromeda, alluding both to the Greek princess and the spiral galaxy.

Most strikingly, the material for all the hats and costumes was comprised of—plastic rap.  10,000 square feet of plastic wrap, to be precise. From a material most people would discard without a second thought, Ms. Hopkins created turbans, skirts, top hats, and vests. Even during a dour economy, artistry soars, showing that talent has no bounds.

The inventive use of Plastic Wrap calls to mind a moving scene in the film American Beauty. The teenage Ricky Fitts videotapes an empty white bag dancing in the street. Watching the video tape, transfixed, absorbed in what others pass by, Fitts observes, “It helps me to remember.. there’s so much beauty in the world.

Below: Designs by Anita Hopkins

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Welcome to LA FASHION WEEK!

It may be spring time in California, but designers are showcasing their Fall 2010 collections.

This week’s Cultural Cocktail includes: LA Millinery Guild’s first fashion show, Project Ethos in Hollywood,  BOX eight’s Fashion Refocus, and  Hope in the City’s Fashion Show and Art Auction at Vibiana’s.

Stay Tuned for the inside scoop!

XO

Leticia Marie Sanchez

Editor-in-Chief

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Fashion Police

CALL THE FASHION POLICE

by Leticia Marie Sanchez

Crazy polka dots, mismatched leggings, fanny packs: we’ve all heard the term.

But what is its origin?

During the Middle Ages, feudalism reigned. A strict hierarchical social code classified lords, ladies, knights, vassals, and serfs.

The medieval social code governed people’s behavior and manner of dress. Clothing functioned as a way to distinguish the classes. If someone dared to don the attire for the class above theirs, the authorities would throw them in jail for transgressing social norms. Hence, the term Fashion Police.

Pre-Raphaelite painter John William Waterhouse’s rendition of Lady Juliet Capulet.

Only a woman of her station would be permitted to don this blue necklace.



The sartorial choices of two medieval cooks.

(The chickens, however, are, free to don their birthday suits)


In medieval times, if a person wore the wrong fashion,  ‘twould be a crime.

Literally.

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 Since 2003, Gen Art has given the opportunity to emerging fashion talent to display their work in high-profile group runway shows and fashion presentations in New York, Los Angeles, Miami, and Chicago. Designers debuted by Gen Art include: Zac Posen, Rebecca Taylor, and Philip Lim for Development.

Taking place during L.A’s Fashion Week, the New Garde sashayed at the Park Plaza Hotel,showcasing designers including Jessie Kamm, J. Mary, and Le Sang des Betes.

 Upon Entering the Park Plaza, guests were greeted with a Singing in the Rain and Grecian Goddess motif. Three young gamines, encapsulated in clear white boxes and holding transparent umbrellas, smiled bravely while faux raindrops splashed upon their fetching bright blue dresses. They carried parasols labeled Botox, a cynical insinuation that a wrinkle-free complexion can keep rainy days at bay?

 

 

 A few steps beyond, tall, willowy Graces in floor-length yellow and white draped gowns, stood atop platforms, like Aphrodite or Galatea, ready to spring to life. The blue dresses conveyed a sense of playfulness, outfits to wear to paint the town red. On the other hand, the yellow and white gowns expressed formality, attire for a wedding, while the fringe hinted at the potential for kicking up one’s heels, a throwback to the Charleston, Roaring Twenties, and visions of Daisy Buchanan.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

J. Mary’s demi-couture employs structured feminine tailoring, evoking Film noir, enthralling Femme Fatales of the 1940’s in their trench coats and power suits.   J. Mary favors dark colors, and the rotating runway of the Gen Art show hinted at smoke and mirrors, a mystery lurking behind the curtain.

                                                     J. Mary

Jessie Kamm displayed her collection in an Out of Africa Motif, a tableaux of models standing inside a khaki-colored tent replete with exotic plumage and plants. On the pulse of fashion, Kamm’s work corresponds with the popular safari trend that has taken the runways by a Botswana storm. Kamm’s clothes are eminently wearable, from the classic white shirt and khaki pants that can take one from work to travel in the Serengeti. Kamm’s work reminds women to put their best foot forward; it is, afterall, a jungle out there.

Jesse Kamm

  Nature is a recurring motif in Kamm’s work; a trip to Joshua Tree National Park, inspired her Desert Death collection. Monarch Butterflies, tortoises, and rabbits transform tunics, tanks, and hooded capes into wearable art. (See http://www.jessekamm.com/).

 Kamm draws the original designs by hand. Vogue calls her work, “artisinal hipster” clothing, but her ethic goes beyond the simply hip. Kamm, along with her scientist husband, Lucas Brower, own land in Panama that they are converting into a sustainable sanctuary which runs on solar power and rainwater. Beyond the runway, the fashion, and the spectacle, looking to the Earth for inspiration and striving to protect her is what is truly beautiful.

 

 

 Text and Photography Copyright © 2008 LMS

 

 

 

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