Thursday, September 30, 2010

Camilla Olson (B.S., M.B.A., M.F.A., etc.)

The runway show I really wanted to attend while I was in NY and couldn't because of my aforementioned metal show was that of the only school that shows at NYFW, the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. I particularly wanted to see the (MFA) graduate collection of Camilla Olson, whose bio and caged theme both had caught my eye on the AAU Fashion School Daily blog. I had completely forgotten to follow up on the show online when I got back, so I was quite happy when Camilla contacted me to let me know that there were photos up of her collection. The one dress that caught my eye in particular is still my favorite (above), but I do love the general aesthetic of the collection as a whole, as the cages, inspired by samurai armor and the movie Blade Runner, are made of silk faille, and the underdresses are laser cut silk chiffon and habotai. I think the best part of the collection, however, is the designer herself. Having acquired first a BSc in Microbiology and then a MBA in Marketing, Camilla's route to her MFA at the AAU was too interesting to leave unquestioned. And so, I questioned her: 

(Me:) Why the transition from sciences to fashion design? Are any skills in particular used in a lab transferrable to a sewing room, and/or while designing textiles?

(Camilla:) I am a curious person and like understanding other people's perspective. My nature guided me into a Bachelor of Science degree so that I could explore the microscopic world of microbiology. Later I completed an MBA in marketing to better understand the commercialization of scientific discovery. I became a venture capitalist and then founded five companies from the entrepreneurial side of the table. I worked hard and then retired from the business world and volunteered full time in my community. For pleasure I rediscovered the joys of sewing that i began in elementary school. On a lark, I took my daughter on an open house tour at the Academy of Art and ended up enrolling myself. 

While my BS is in microbiology, I worked in electron microscopy labs at the University of Maryland Medical School, Oxford University, and Johnson & Johnson. The J&J work included some fiber research which I often think about when sewing. I think the microscopy work aids an instinctual understanding of different fibers and fabrications. Also, I have always loved working in a lab and I equate that feeling to working in a studio. For me, it is pure heaven to be making something with my hands in the studio or running experiments in the lab. 

Camilla, you're fantastic. And I can conclude that there's still hope for me to use my artier skills (and BA)! Though I do hope it doesn't take until after retiring from my lab job to put those skills to use... 

Camilla has many exciting plans lined up for her following this degree, so stay tuned to her website to see what other wonderful things this ambitious lady accomplishes. 

(Photos via Apparel

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Gareth Pugh, S/S 11

Apparently I slept the whole afternoon and evening away, leaving me little time before I turn in for my proper bed time. Many thanks to Konrad then for instantly providing me with excellent material to post. This is Gareth Pugh's S/S 11 presentation, being a film by Ruth Hogben in place of a standard runway show. This is the most highly produced fashion film I've yet seen, and I think only Mr. Pugh could've created such a masterpiece. By the end of the 11+ minutes, you truly feel like you've not only had a front row seat to Gareth Pugh's imagination, but were actually inside his head for a brief moment. At least that's how I felt. And I suddenly want a giant puffer-coat.

(To see video credits, please go to

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Mandy Coon, S/S 11

It seems that NY-based DJ- and model-turned-designer Mandy Coon has passed under my radar a couple of times in the recent future. First, I probably didn't notice her in last May's issue of Vogue (page 136), likely because I was too distracted by Eva Green in Alexander McQueen (check it, page 114). Then yesterday, curiousity (a.k.a. food- and water-deprivation-induced boredom) got the best of me and I visited a well-known teenage blogger's blog, where she had just reviewed a leather bunny purse that Mandy had sent her. I probably don't have to comment further on that instance. However, Lauren of mydearthing kindly pointed me towards photos of Mandy's recent S/S 11 show in New York. Now, there's more leather than I would've liked, but if colour is the way that next spring's clothing is going, I'd rather look at a jellyfish print that 90s neon anyday. I'm also a fan of this unique take on asymmetry:

Basically, if I make it back to New York in February, I will make certain I actually go in (not just repeatedly walk past) Opening Ceremony to see this collection up close.

On an unrelated note, Freaks and Geeks is the greatest TV show of all time. Next question?

(Photos via and

Lifeguard on Duty

So yes, I know all the fashion editors and reviewers and bloggers are shouting from the roof tops about the return of colour, colour, colour. But, as I've said before, frankly I don't give a damn. And neither does Txell Miras, who is more than justified to not give a damn about anything she doesn't want to. Doing her own thing has worked out for her this long, so I'm quite happy she's continued on in this vein for her S/S 11 collection. I'm not even going to pick my favorite looks. And I shouldn't have to. In this month's meeting minutes at work, we were told to read our Occupational Health and Safety bulletin, which was about saving a drowning child. Therefore, I think these are all exactly the types of outfit I should be wearing to the event that my workplace installs a swimming pool...and children are allowed at work...

Monday, September 27, 2010

Alexandra Groover, S/S 11

After fixing the broken video for Alexandra Groover's S/S 11 'Sea Smoke' collection, I am most happy to post lookbook photos from said collection. I still love the top I had singled out from the video (the Tide Pool Minidress, bottom of post), but my eye is now set on two of the dresses. First up is the Crosscurrent Halter Dress, which would be the perfect summer traveling wardrobe staple, as it can be worn long and loose (as above), or short and ruched (as below). I love how the ruched version has the look of an old school pin-up swimsuit.

My other choice would be the Flow Dress (below), which quite brilliantly features the jersey drawstrings prevalent in this collection along the hem of the dress. I would wear this all the time. Lauren of mydearthing has gotten me absolutely hooked on low armholes for tanks/dresses. That's really the way to go in both warmer weather and whilst layering with sleeved tops underneath on colder days.

All pieces are made of black jersey (of which Alexandra uses only the absolute best), and some pieces are unisex. Though if I ever bought my man any of those pieces, I know he would never actually see them. So I'll just pretend the entire collection is just for me when it comes to ordering from this collection, rather than giving him an incredibly selfish birthday present...Good luck at Paris Fashion Week, Alexandra! 

Now, I'm off to enjoy the most delicious bowl of soup ever. Well, I'm sure even a peanut butter and jam sandwich would be the most amazing meal ever by this point of not eating for three days...


Well, that weekend definitely did not go as planned. On top of the cold that I was already battling, Friday night's supper gave me a horrid case of foodpoisoning (is there really any other kind?) that I'm still recovering from. Times like those make me wish that I was the organized type and had pre-written posts ready to publish at the push of a button. But really, I tend to just go around the Internets, see something I like, and post it right there and then. Like these boots. Oh, these boots. Now, these say they're 'Converse style', and thus I assume that the designer didn't use actual Converse shoes as the base. At any rate, I did try on a pair of Converse brand knee highs last time I was at a mall in the States, and was slightly disappointed that they didn't have my exact size. But only slightly, because the zipper that went up the back and the too-bright white shoelaces were slightly unseemly. And by 'slightly', I mean 'really'. But these hand-dyed and hand-appliqued boots from Portland-based label moovmint solve both of those problems. While my favorite pair, Silver Queen (on the left), creates another problem of price, a few of the other pairs are much more wallet friendly (such as Feathered Feet on the right), especially considering the cost of materials and time involved in embellishing each shoe. If I could have my way, these shoes would get their own night on the town, accompanied by a gorgeous Bonzie tulle skirt. Or a Frayed Spanned Dress from mono. Did I mention that all items in the monoshop are now 50% off? Sigh. If only I hadn't bought so many bagels in Brooklyn...

Thursday, September 23, 2010

My coffee mug is too big.

This coat looks just like I feel today. A little bit of a mess and in need of some pants, but still oddly fabulous. Well, perhaps after my giant cup of coffee anyway. I love how the sleeves can curl over your hands. I'm a sleeve-pulling addict, and have been chided many a time for doing so, so this coat would absolve me from any future blame. I also love the back, which reminds me of the (front of the) wondrous mydeathing Carly Dress. Now, if only I could find out more about its brilliant Russian designer, Maria Ermoshkina...

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Eggplant and (Yellow)cake

It was the eggplant colour that caught my eye for these new listings from Cleveland label Yellowcake, but that colour led me to some fantastic accessories AND taught me something I didn't know. I haven't been paying attention to Project Runway this season, though I did hear that Gretchen Jones of Etsy's MothLove is one of the designers this season (and is still in the running). And now I know that a second Etsyian is on this season (and also still in the running), being Yellowcake's Valerie Mayen. I think the moral of the story is that, if you want to get on Project Runway, you should definitely open up an Etsy shop. You know, and have tons of talent like Valerie.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Sea Smoke

Here it is: Alexandra Groover's short film (by Fritz Stolberg) for her S/S 11 collection, entitled "Sea Smoke". It makes me want to watch Bride of the Monster. And I really really want that long sleeved/bat sleeved piece (seen at about 3:42-3:46). Alexandra sure knows her way around a tube of jersey. You should see the A/W 10 dress of hers that I have...

Top 18 Finds of Summer '10

I feel like I should've posted this even before my trip, as it's been fall here for a few weeks and some trees have already lost most of their leaves. Did I mention it's supposed to snow this week? Also, this is the first of my Top Finds posts that I now have to label with a year, since I've already done a top summer post here on kOs before. In case you were wondering. Ah, it's good to have my scarves back. Though they were never really gone. But before I (continue to) enjoy them, here's some warmer articles to (re-)read first.

1) Designer: Wolfgang Jarnach
2) Fashion grad student: Laura Siegel
3) Label: SHIN
4) New collection: Dori Tomcsanyi's S/S 10 collection, Marie Saint Pierre's F/W 10/11 collection
5) Fashion show: Fashion's Night Out - The Show
6) Basic piece: Button up shirt from Wolfgang Jarnach, Mad Marv jeans from Ravishing Mad
7) Future purchase: Emily Ryan dress
8) Future purchase if I win the lottery: Anything from Marc le Bihan.
9) Most musical post: Interview with Tyler W
10) Favorite new-to-me album: Swing Swing by Nicolas Repac
11) Best use of cross-stitch: This, from Susie Quillinan.
12) Most interesting way to recruit blood donors: This.
13) Most worn pieces: complexgeometries wave t, mydearthing Carly Dress
14) Most proud moment: Konrad Parol on Dazed Digital
15) Most commented on thing worn in NYC: ArtLab's Couture Pleated Harness No. 3
16) Best vacation ever (ie. Biggest understatement ever): One spectacular week in Brooklyn and Manhattan.
17) Most bizarre vacation ever: This, as depicted by some ArtLab skirts.
18) Most amazing insect-inspired dress ever: This, by Donovan Tjon.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Gloomy Monday

Long live McQueen.

Sunday, September 19, 2010


I can never quite pin down why I've spent many hours of my life cross-stitching. It makes my eyes go blurry looking at the white cotton grid up close, it always seems like rocket science trying to figure out what symbol on the pattern matches which embroidery thread, and I can't really say I like the smell of the needle after holding it so long that I can't straighten out my fingers. Perhaps the love of cross-stitching is passed down through the maternal line, as my mom and her mom have both proudly displayed their own finished works in their own homes. At any rate, it's just one of those things that I enjoy doing and like finding other people who feel the same way. So I was rather delighted to hear from kOs regular Susie Quillinan, whose new website features some of her projects that I was not familiar with, including a couple that use cross-stitch as their medium. In her ongoing project, "tócame", the phrase 'touch me' is embroidered in cross-stitch and installed in an urban setting as a plea and provocation for those living in the city to experience and interact with their constructed surroundings (see above left and below).

Then, in Susie's project called "street x stitch", she re-creates small sections of different walls by cross-stitching them and then installing the re-creation on that wall, in a attempt to bring some softness to that urban landscape. I personally love this one the most, especially as the first two photos below are from an area in Brooklyn close to where I was staying.

I asked Susie a couple of question about these projects as I found them rather fascinating, so I thought I'd share them and Susie's answers with you:  

Me: Why did you choose cross stitch as your medium?

Susie: I have been working on a few cross stitch projects, exploring more contemporary ways of using a technique which I find to be a good antidote to my other work. In reality, I was also looking for projects which I could take with me on my travels as clearly, lugging sewing machines all over the world is not really an option... I was doing some work in the streets and had been looking for a way to add the materials I feel most attracted to working with: fabrics. I started with the tócame project because i am always fascinated by the texture of walls, especially in Lima where you have crumbling layers which create incredibly beautiful textures. I wanted to draw people's attention to the walls and their beauty and adding the word tócame (touch me) felt like the most immediate way to do that. It made sense to cross stitch the word in order to entice people to touch the walls, as the fabric and thread add an element that is somewhat incongruous in that context. I think the word itself is quite provocative and on another level it plays with the disconnection that many urban dwellers feel. It's the sensation of being surrounded by people, bodies and stories and not finding a way to engage, sensually or otherwise. After doing some tócame's, I realized that I wanted to explore the textures and colors of the walls a little more and that led to the wall replica pieces. 

Me: Will you be doing anything further with these two projects, or are the photos and the experience the end goal?

Susie: They are both ongoing projects and I like the simplicity of them and the fact that when I travel I can engage with a city on this level. I have also been invited to do a tócame mural in Lima which I will be installing later in the year.

Susie also has another cross-stitch project shortlisted for a competition in Barcelona, which you can find out more about here. Now, I think a trip to my local Fabricland is in order to buy some thread that matches that old curling rink just down the alley from me...

I ♥ NY

After telling stories about my trip for a week now, it's become apparent that my favorite memories of my vacation had to do with people. Most people visit NYC to shop, but really I barely bought anything (being a brilliant pair of Ravishing Mad jeans, a tank top from OAK which was needed because I had overdressed that day, the requisite I  NY tee and coffee mug, and a tote bag from the New York Public Library). I also didn't take nearly as many photos as I could have, as I figured I could just Google the customary tourist photos if I felt the need. But I am kicking myself for not taking any pictures of the Brooklyn neighbourhood that I stayed in, as it was really a lovely area that isn't the normal tourist destination. And I didn't take one picture of two of the most hospitable people I've ever met, or of any of the friendly locals I encountered. But those were the best parts of my trip: The many people who helped me out if I got turned around, or at least made me smile just by listening to them talk to a complete stranger on the subway. The woman who gave me the best corn on the cob ever and a chocolate bar out of her purse on the train platform since it was apparent that I wouldn't survive the 3.5 hour train ride back without some food. The 2nd generation New Yorker and the rabbi who were rather eager to share the story of a of a mural I had photographed in the Lower East Side. The elderly gentleman who was happy to share his love of the opera with me. And of course (and the absolute highlight of my trip) being able to go home at the end of a long day of walking until I couldn't walk anymore, to two people (and three cats) who welcomed me into their home without a having met me in person before. Those are the things that have gotten me hooked on traveling. And I think a trip back to NY is due rather soon.

Friday, September 17, 2010


Last week's Friday was one of the greatest days ever. First off, I got to spend the day among many old friends, being the ancient Greek and Roman art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I dedicated over two years of my life to studying such things, so it was rather overwhelming to be absolutely surrounded by hundreds and hundreds of fragments from my favorite historical eras. Can you see where I might have gotten my fashion sensibilities from?

After about 4.5 hours of trying to soak in as much marble/bronze/pottery/wall paintings as humanly possible, followed by eating some great Indian food and wine from a pickle jar as quickly as I could, my lovely host and I headed to a metal show to see one of my favorite bands. Of course my camera died within two minutes of Orphaned Land's set starting, but this video from their newest album might give you a bit of an idea what the 30 minutes of Israeli metal goodness was like:

Then, as I wasn't familiar with the rest of the bands and it was Fashion's Night Out, we headed back to Brooklyn to join in the festivities in some local boutiques. After watching a lucky guy get a relaxing straight razor shave though, I had to call it a night after having too much excitement (on my feet) for the day. Normally, just visiting the Met or just seeing Orphaned Land would've been the highlight of my year, so I feel like I'm still trying to process this day...