Red Carpet Wonders – Cannes Film Festival 2017

There are many fashion events spaced throughout the year with each being touted as “the Super Bowl” of fashion or fashion’s biggest night.

The Cannes Film Festival, held on the French Riviera, can be declared “Fashion’s Biggest Red Carpet Fortnight*.”

Cannes, France
Cannes, France

Imagine having to get ready for multiple red carpet looks on a daily basis for a week – some being all out formal and some more a little more relaxed depending on the occasion. The pampering must be epic…

Favorite looks from the many days of red carpet looks:

Bella Hadid
Bella Hadid
Aishwarya Rai Bachchan
Aishwarya Rai Bachchan
Deepika Padukone
Deepika Padukone
Deepika Padukone
Deepika Padukone

Books to explore the festival and the location.

If you are into collecting travel posters and graphics, check out the festival posters online.

*Ok, so a fortnight is two weeks and the festival this year is 12 days. What else do we call it?

Fortuny, Balenciaga and the Museum at FIT

Fashion truly is art. We are living in the golden age of new museums and exhibits being formed to preserve and archive these functional pieces for all to enjoy.

If you have never seen a couture garment up close, you have to see them in person at one of the many museums or traveling exhibits focusing on this art form.

(Yes, you can go visit one of the modern stores of the designers to see the work. Many of the staff are gracious and appreciative of the attention on the art forms they sell. But it is a STORE. Not all are willing to hear “just looking” and it kills the experience if you feel like the poor country cousin who’s lucky to make it to the big city.)

For international Museum Day, we wanted to focus on just three to start with.

First stop: New York City.

Besides the Costume Institute at the Met, there is an amazing FREE fashion museum at the Goodman Center. The Museum at FIT ( Fashion Institute of Technology) has three types of exhibit space in the museum: special exhibitions, a rotating display of items from the permanent collection, student and faculty shows. It has an amazing online archive to explore for when you cannot visit in person as well as a YouTube channel with 125 videos. New exhibit “Force of Nature” opens at the end of May exploring how nature has inspired fashion designers for centuries.

Museum at FIT
Museum at FIT

Now jumping over to Spain, visit the Balenciaga Museum in San Sebastian, Spain. Focusing only on the work of Cristobal Balenciaga, it uses permanent and special exhibitions to showcase the mastery of the designer. Current special exhibit focuses on the personal collection of Rachel (Bunny) L. Mellon. Site currently also has a digital exhibition in co-op with one of the fashion programs in the region.

Balenciaga Museum
Balenciaga Museum

Our last stop on this mini tour is in Venice, Italy to Palazzo Fortuny, home of Mariano Fortuny. designer of many turn of the century and early 20th century gowns of distinction. Includes his paintings, gowns, textiles and photographs. Wide range of exhibits from the region, covering all eras in addition to exhibits focusing on Fortuny’s own work. YouTube has about 1700 videos for armchair travel.

Palazzo Fortuny
Palazzo Fortuny

Books to explore the designers and the museum locations*:

*I LOVE the DK Eyewitness Travel Guides – great maps, info and depth to learn about a location in one book. You can enjoy it on many levels as they typically have great photos, illustrations and maps.

Fashion Illustrator – Andy Warhol

It’s National Drawing Day!!!

Perfect time to kick off our new feature on fashion illustration and the people who make them.

Today, we visit Andy Warhol’s work.

Although known prominently for his pop art portraits and Campbell Soup cans, he was also an amazing illustrator and got one of his early assignments drawing shoes for Glamour Magazine.

Whimsical and charming, he developed his own style of illustrating with a blotted line technique. He produced drawings of cats, dogs, fashion and other items as inspiration and art directors commissioned him to create during the 1950s.

He became so successful as an illustrator he took on assistants he trained in his style as his business expanded. Opportunities for exhibition of his personal work started to appear and Warhol took full advantage to build his reputation and connections, getting him more than his fifteen minutes of fame.

Books to explore both Andy Warhol’s life and work AND some to get you started drawing.

Online classes to learn about fashion illustration:

  • Brit & Co – Online class taught by Anum Tariq teaching how to draw a basic fashion illustration from the underlying structure to the finished look.
  • Fashion Illustration Tribe Free beginner class and resources with longer online classes.

Skillshare classes by Katie Rodgers, artist/illustrator of Paper Fashion.

Udemy. Skillshare and other online sites have multiple classes on learning to draw by subject and technique.

YouTube also has close to 400,000 online videos to watch about fashion illustration.

For further reading about Andy Warhol:

Style Icon – Katharine Hepburn

Who is a style icon? An individual who redefines the rules to live on their terms and ends up changing fashion.

Born on May 12, 1907, American movie and theatrical star Katharine Hepburn changed the accepted norms of fashion and we are ever so grateful.

Called “a pioneer of the American sportswear aesthetic,” Katharine went against cultural norms and wore pants whenever she could. During the rise of her early career in the 1930s, it was illegal for women to wear pants in public. Along with Garbo, Dietrich, Britton and Wray, she and her fellow Hollywood stars worked hard to change this practice.

Although many of the images of Katharine are due to photos shot on movie or theater sets, she worked closely with the costume designers to make sure the clothes met her standards of taste and character.

“One does not design for Miss Hepburn,” the Oscar-winning costume designer Edith Head once said. “One designs with her. She’s a real professional, and she has very definite feelings about what things are right for her, whether it has to do with costumes, scripts, or her entire lifestyle.”

Kate used this same sense of style in her personal life. Clothes were tailored with structure and ease to allow her to move her tall thin frame with ease. Whether traveling or on the tennis court, she wanted to be able to move without constriction.

“I was never a victim of the times I lived in. In fact, I was a success because of the times I lived in. My style of personality became the style.” Katharine Hepburn

So true! Images shot over her lifetime could be clothes worn today.

But here’s what’s important.

Before Katharine Hepburn wore them in the public eye to make them accessible, none of these clothes were considered normal or classic. Her wearing them turned them into classics they are today.

Movies to watch:


For further reading:

May the 4-0 Be With You

It’s THAT day! The day when all us Star Wars fans celebrate the stories of a galaxy far far away…

Take the amazing vision of George Lucas, add in the music of John Williams and stir in the magical creation of thousands of set designers, costumer designers, visual effects artists, actors and more who came together to create these stories splashed across the big screen. (Everyone ever listed in the credits for any of these films and the families who support them – we salute you!)

Released in 1977, we have now experienced the Star Wars universe for FORTY years. 40. The big 4-0. That’s a huge cultural impact on the world.

Ranging from the high (queen, princess, lords, senators) to the low (farmers, drunken bar patrons) and everything in between, the costume designers and their teams worked to make functional expressions of the characters the actors brought so vividly to life.

Darth Vader, Princess Leia, Han Salo, Luke Skywalker, Queen Amidala, Rey – can you picture them in your mind’s eye? The clothes they wear are a part of the story.

Our hats are off to the creative genius of John Mollo (Star Wars 1 & 2), Aggie Guerard Rodgers (Star Wars 3), Trisha Biggar (Star Wars 4-6, the prequels), Michael Kaplan (Star Wars 7), David Crossman and Glynn Dillon (Rogue One).

Staying out of actually critiquing the story lines, the most elaborate of the costumes created so far have been the court gowns of Padme, Queen Amidala. Luckily for us, these were well documented during and after the creative process. Using haute couture techniques, these richly decorated gowns feel familiar and foreign to us at the same time. Using everything from ancient Japanese samurai to Celtic influences, the design team then added enough “other” elements to come up with something new and beautiful. If you want to learn more about it and have an amazing piece of the Star Wars universe, buy Dressing a Galaxy: The Costumes of Star Wars by Trisha Biggar. There are two editions – both pricey. The special edition version of this includes a DVD and fabric swatches from the materials actually used in the costumes.

Although closed now, the Denver Art Museum staged an exhibit of over 70 costumes from the movies for several months. Check their site as they still have some sketches, photos and short film clips posted of the exhibit. (So wish I could have seen this in person.)

If you want to watch more clips, check out these available at YouTube.

Great fan site – Star Wars: Fit for a Queen which focuses primarily on all the amazing costumes created for the prequels, but does have images from some of the other films.

So geek out my friends and escape! If you run out of Star Wars content before the weekend ends, you are not trying hard enough.

May the Force be with you…

The movies:

Books to get inspired by:


Met Gala Madness

The Super Bowl of Fashion occurs tonight at the Met Gala in support of the Costume Institute. The new exhibit spotlights designer Rei Kawakubo of Comme des Garcons. She is the first living designer since Yves Saint Laurent to be honored with the exhibit. BIG STUFF.

So why should we mere mortals care about a fancy party we can’t attend happening in New York City?

Because believe it or not, it will be affecting our clothes, accessories, movies, music, homes and any other thing which intersects between design and entertainment over the next few years. (Lemon yellow.)

The theme is announced in the fall of the previous year to allow designers time to study the work being spotlighted in the upcoming exhibit and become inspired to make new creations for celebrity clients attending the party.

Here’s where it gets interesting.

The designers can choose to be influenced by the theme OR they can choose to design clothing that is suitable for a red carpet occasion.

Regardless of which path is chosen, the designers all now have the theme rattling around in their minds whether they want it or not. Seeds planted. Remember that color “Lemon yellow” randomly added a few lines up in this post? That’s how it happens. You will see that color or be sensitive to it everywhere until another color takes precedence.

Why should it matter this year?

If you haven’t seen any of the Comme des Garcons looks throughout the years, imagine every outrageous avante grade look you’ve seen and multiply it by a factor of two. So this should be a very interesting red carpet to see who will wear looks Lady Gaga or Katy Perry (one of the chairs this year) would feel comfortable wearing for a performance.

How does entertainment fit into this? Because most of the invited guests are strategically seated to introduce new people to one another and cross-pollinate connections across the movie, music and fashion design industry to foster new collaborations and ideas.

So get ready for a wild ride. It can be a great thing to disrupt the status quo and see what comes.

Now I’m off to find some Lemon Meringue pie to eat after watching the red carpet shows…

Movies to stream to get a fashion fix:

Books to get inspired by:

Fashion Images from

Image of Lemon Meringue pie from the Village Inn.