Thursday, October 28, 2010

Dancing on the ceiling...

so this is it...less than 36 hours from now we'll be done, done, done.
Can't really write in full sentences as my fingers are unsteady, my eyes are tired and I need a nap before I run off for last minute zippers at the fabric store. 29 pieces ( 26 looks) and in my eternal optimism, I say that only 2 haven't been started yet.

1. budget my time. Projects divided up by priority and what pinch hitters can handle what assigned task.

2. Pam Tuohy and her wonderful daughters arrive today from CA, with her amazing jewelry from 2ETN.

3. Alton arrives from NYC via Splendora to build a feather headdress for the finale...feathers being overnighted from Los Angeles.

4. I run into people and they say they're coming yet they never RSVP'd...hmmm, I'll leave that up to Neil, my production manager.

5. I need to nap before I can start the day.

6. Photos from last night - only there until 3am...but still punchy, nonetheless...AND we all seem to be addicted to Joy Division and New Order this time around. Strawberry twizzlers anyone? xoxo

Aaron sporting his latest find at New Bohemia - hideous Mondrian meets Lichtenstein...NOT an inspiration for us...
Gillian, my tireless assistant and her roomate, Dana...both working on whatever they can get their hands on.

Quick nap, fabric store run, then to shop to cut asymectric skirt yoke from linen and then attach leather. The leather evening gown is almost done!!::)
Eyes are closing, and my voice has left the building.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Look in the mirror...

"...and we know where we're goin'
but we don't know where we've been
and we know what we're knowin'
but we can't say what we've seen..."

The year was 1993...I had returned from designing couture (not haute! mind you) in Paris and got a job as a manager of a crazy, hip shop in Georgetown, DC called Commander Salamander. A streetwear line named "Poubelle" was inevitable. Am I embarrassed to post these photos? No, we need to look in the mirror and reconcile with our past...I sold to several skate shops and indie boutiques around the country and appeared in WWD and Seventeen. I hated it, though. The kids were fun...the blonde was named Lexie and the red head, I don't remember. The photographer was Michelle. As the song goes: we don't know, or remember where we've been...

"I'm feelin' okay this mornin'
and you know
we're on the road to paradise
Here we go! here we go!"

-the Talking Heads

n.b. even then I liked graffiti, trash and trailers...

Sunday, October 17, 2010

This is the part where I get organized...'s Sunday night and almost midnight. Evan is out working and the twins are asleep. I have made the list of things to do for the next 10 days. The show is a week from Friday and there is much sewing to be done but also designs swimming around in my brain. I've mentioned that I work in small groups that linked together to form the larger collection. I think I've narrowed it to four groups: 8,3,4,3,and 4...that's 22 prototypes. How many are completely finished? 3. How many are almost finished? 10. The rest? Not started yet...BUT patterns are made, fabric is set, there is still draping and sewing to be done. I'll probably start the late nights on Tuesday...with my list divided into 20 projects, I'll tackle 2 per day that can range from forming knife pleats in washed linen, to attaching large hooks to lace, to cutting and sewing an entire garment. Sleep beckons ce soir...and all may change tomorrow.
Bonne nuit.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Gettin' ready....a morning with Sam and Todd...

Early Monday morning with Samera & Todd and a few Arnold Palmers (that's lemonade, ice tea and some sugar) for the non-coffee drinkers. This should give you just a tease of the collection in process...and Happy Birthday, Todd!

Blackmail / 13 Years / October 29th / 7PM from todd wolfson on Vimeo.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Sustainability and all that crap...'s not that don't believe in it, sustainability, that is...I have just been doing it for years and today it seems so overused. When I studied at Esmod in Paris, I had an evening class in the Sentier - the garment district quartier. I would get out late and walk to the apartment of a friend a mere 2 blocks away just as the cutters were putting out their "coupons" or "restes" - their scraps from metres of fabrics cut that day. They would shove them in big plastic trash bags and leave them in or overflowing from their bins for the trash men to come by in the middle of the night and pick them up. I discovered this one evening as I walked to my friend's house and saw a lovely scrap of the most amazing wool peaking out from a poubelle...I, of course, immediately opened the bin, ripped into the bag and started sorting. Priceless finds: coupons of leather, wool, lace, jersey, silk, embroidery... I would go through the poubelles outside of a cafe and find bags of corks from the bottles of wine that had been consumed that night. I would stop and find a bag of discarded buttons on the sidewalk or a bundle of unused zippers that had been dyed the wrong color. William, my friend who restored paintings at the Louvre, was the absolute best picker in the poubelles. He would show up at my door after a "large item trash day" when the big bins would make the tour of the different arrondissements of Paris and bring me an oriental rug or a cashmere coat. He would haul the pieces from a retired marble mantle piece up the 5 flights of his 1800's building (that once belonged to the sister-in-law of Napoleon Bonaparte) because he had no elevator.

And so, once a week, when I had a dinner date with William, after my illustration class, I would search the poubelles for cuttings of discarded fabric on the way to his apartment. I would haul my plastic trash bags up his stairs and pile them in the corner until I could come back on a weekend and safely transport them (with his help) on the metro back to my atelier. Thus was born my "Collection Poubelle spring 1987" made entirely from used, recycled, discarded and the most beautiful fabrics you could ever imagine.

Which brings us up the present: while I was sick in bed with cancer last year, I went down to my shop one day to find 2 large plastic bins. My friend Dale had been in an old house in Clarksville and had salvaged panel upon panel of old lace curtains: stained, dust laden and stiff as boards. Today, I am finally getting around to cleaning those panels: gently hand soaking them in the tub, hoping to preserve their natural tea stained, yellow hue and then in the next few weeks, turn them into clothing. An ode to the "Collection Poubelle"...

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

A brief update...working on the logistics of the show.
  1. The show is called "13 years"...spiritually, it is inspired by several things: the thirteenth anniversary of Blackmail, the song "13 years" created by my friend Alejandro Escovedo, written through the voice of his wife of 13 years who eventually took her own life, and the "lucky" number that counts the years of life with my husband, Evan, after all of the experiences that have influenced our present lives and our future. As for the physical influences, I am trying to take my inspiration from beyond the visual with an honest representation of repeating shapes, a playfulness with weight and the absolute study and contrast of texture. I want it to be a collection that my daughter, Zelda, can appreciate.
  2. Paperless Post invitations continue to go out through cyberspace. If you haven't received one yet - please send us your email address - pronto!
  3. Met with Bryan Herbert - my hair guru - we did sticks and ball moss before sticks and ball moss were cool. This time going for a cleaner, more modern yet elegant look. He's sending me photos and we had a brainstorming session last night. I love Bryan - he gets where I am coming from.
  4. Models - pulling out the retirees - that means Naomi, Christy, Linda, etc really, my beauties are coming out to model for me again: Eva, Summer, Samera with some new girls and some special guests thrown in. Bryan saw the photos last night and is working on specifics for hair types.
  5. Shirley Pinkson from W3LL People is designing the make-up. Think very early Miss Love - smokey eyes but not too dark, perfect skin and pale lips. I am a fan of the wild hair and dark shocking make-up so all of this is a studied modern departure for me.
  6. The clothing is taking shape and form: groups include lots of leather and raw linen, yards of light vintage wool crepe, washed and embroidered muslin, and huge salvaged panels of old lace curtains from a house in Clarksville. And yes, there will be color - watch out! But don't worry, no need to wear sunglasses...
  7. "Points forts" - dolman sleeves, full pants, no rules on skirt lengths and sorry girls, nothing to curvy or frilly. A rectangular, shortened silhouette - with large, raw ruffles but no, no, no frills!
  8. House: working on bringing in my favorite show manager - Neil, pretty please??? and calling out for floor & backstage volunteers...lemme kno if you're interested.
  9. Set-up and choreography: my girls are pros but we are waiting on numbers to do floor set-up, perhaps a runway, perhaps the sidewalk, perhaps the street.
  10. Music...DJ still in the works, have some ideas on mixes.
 more to come as we get closer...but it's good to get this stuff nailed the next few weeks are sleepless sewing mode...

    Saturday, October 2, 2010

    Skulls and bones...

    ...admittedly they're not for everyone. But there is something about this new jewelry by Houstonite, Sarah Johnson, that I just adore. It is sentimental and studied yet a bit magical. It evokes history and death yet the continuation of life as well. They remind me of little Joseph Cornell boxes in pendant form. Sarah uses intricate porcelain doll parts, tiny bird skulls and bones, watch parts and tattered fabric to create her beautiful little vignettes. They are one-of-a-kind and Blackmail just happens to be the only purveyor of this collection. Take look and give us a call if you want one...they won't last long...512.326.7670

    left: pocket watch pendant by Sarah Johnson...$210
    right: porcelain doll box pendant by Sarah Johnson...$160

    left: small pocket watch tooth pendant by Sarah Johnson...$90
    middle: bird skull pendant by Sarah Johnson...$160
    right: bird bone pendant by Sarah Johnson...$140