A Day at the Museum: Wardrobe Wizardry at FIDM

Film Costumes at FIDM – Academy Award Nominated Films and the 2019 Season
Taking an ART & CULTURE tour of Downtown LA? This is a great stop for everyone in the whole family.
The first time I saw a costume exhibit was in England at an ancient castle on a tour (I was still in high school). The costumes for a Henry VIII television series that had been shown on PBS were displayed and it literally changed my life. I decided I had found my passion for fashion and history; I decided to pursue a career in costume making and design that led me on a unique journey. People often ask me – what sort of job is this?

What does a Costume Designer Do?
People often forget that there is a costume designer who partners with an actor on the journey of creation when creating a story on film that is guided by a director who acts as the leader of the band. The ‘wizards of wardrobe’ bring bring the look and feel of a world with a number of unique skills to the process: painting, crafts, plastic injection molding or metalwork, sculpture and all forms of decoration with sewing and pattern. making (much like fashion) living at the heart of it. The knowledge of story, character and history is also an intrinsic part of making costumes; all contributing to a process of ‘willing a character into existence’.  A whole group of talented artists go along on the journey to add to the Costume designer’s vision that is an interpretation of the director’s take on the story to be told. Other artists join in such as hair, make-up and a production designer for the environments that make project a collaborative effort that is ideally the sum of its parts. The art of the media itself (film, television, stage) can change some processes, but telling a story with a character is always the same.

The Exhibit Experience: A Classic Museum with a dash of Multi-Media

Once inside the museum…you will take a path along the way through the many films of 2018 including those that were nominated and the winner of the Oscar for Best Costume Design Ruth Carter (Black Panther) herself a veteran of the industry.
Media is on display throughout the gallery space with interviews and backstage video of how the clothes are made and the people behind them. Interviews with costume designers, producers and actors share in the story.
Costumes in Films are Unique to Their Time: They are both a link to the Present and the Past.
Costumes in film often are inspired by fashion runways and are seen through the looking glass of the epochs they inspire reflected back to our own time. One interesting aspect of the show was just how many late 1930s and 1940s looks inspired the modern fashion whereas the period clothes had a very modern and edgy spirit that made the period seem even more fresh and modern. Surprises like the AQUA MAN outfit up close (he is really tall!) or the magic of the NUTCRACKER (Trim Heaven) or MARY POPPIN’S travel ensemble (for her flying entrance) tailored to perfection really brings the viewer into the artistry and skill of this unique art form. The outfits for the FANTASTIC BEASTS could have easily marched down the Thierry Mugler runway (super fashionable) making it hard to pick a FAVORITE which by the way was one of the most modern takes I had seen of this period (The Restoration of England) that in other hands tend to make actors look like “moving pieces of furniture” in their heavy brocades and starched collars. I had a difficult time picking my favorite set of costumes; I am sure if you put the kids in the car and take them over to see their favorite films up close, it will be a great experience for everyone.

What a year for the Period Costume…and even the Modern ones which require their own special kind of art as well.

Editor’s Note:
This should be on your list of things-to-do after a nice lunch at one of the many restaurants in the area and easy parking for just $5.00 in the building also makes it convenient. Our thanks to Costume Designer & Creative Director, Jacqueline St. Anne for the invitation to the show. For more information on FIDM and the museum please see their website at: www.fidm.edu

Karl’s Leading Ladies

Karl Lagerfeld’s Oscar Red Carpet Gowns tell a fashion story that is part of the Oscar red carpet history and of a cultural lexicon of Chanel fashion that has permeated our culture. It is with great sadness that the world mourns the death of a man who seemed literally, so ageless. From afar his irascible personality always amused, his marketing genius and creativity inspired and lately his love for a white fluffy cat, “Choupette” endeared him to a new generation of fashion followers all over the world. As the Oscar red carpet is just a few hours away, I join the audience of fashion-watchers who are anxiously awaiting  to see who will wear a Karl Lagerfeld creation this year.

Karl’s masterful Oscar gowns were based on a his constant search for a new story or his own casting of a role for his leading ladies; princesses, fairies, winter sprites, grand dames, showgirls and every sort of female fantasy projected onto these unique ladies who willingly played along just to be included in this ultimate exclusive club. Artful spangles, sheerness or feathers or jewel encrusted glories became jewels in themselves. His ability to cast his ladies in the perfect dress was almost uncanny; he could see Kirsten Dunst in a sexed up Peter Pan collar or ‘JayLo’ wearing a sheer bodice that revealed her (almost) nude upper torso or Penelope Cruz looking like a heroine from a 19th century Manet painting; using art deco tailoring on Juliette Moore she always resembled an upscale 1920s film star. Nicole Kidman’s unique height and coloring placed her into the world of forest sprite, with lightness and air that never weighed down her personality.  Some of these dresses were ‘Good Luck’ charms for the wearers, as well.  All in all, Karl seemed to capture the star’s inner personality and the zeitgeist of the moment but then, he always did it so beautifully in all his CHANEL collections where his settings spared no expense and took us from airports, to fairy forests, to nightclubs to even the streets of protest for women’s rights.  Karl was always about the women, the stars, the glamour and everything a girl could want in a fashion brand, never forgetting the leading lady of his fantasies, Coco herself.

Take a moment to look at the gallery and see for yourself  just how unique, glamorous and extraordinary these fashion moments are.  I am not sure they will ever be repeated. The HOUSE OF CHANEL appropriately will go through a period of mourning before they announce his replacement (an unimaginable idea) just 24 hours before the Oscars.  Fashion and Oscar have sometime had a dubious history (remember the moment BJORK showed up dressed like a swan?) but this is almost forgiven when Karl’s dresses grace the red carpet.  We must all raise our glasses (exquisite cut crystal of course) and drink a champagne to Karl’s unique life and art in the history of fashion and for Hollywood, the passing of a mastermind who made his leading ladies of the red carpet rise above the earth and into the stars, above.

(Editor’s Note: See photo credits are at end of the post).

Photos Distributed by AP: Mario Anzuoni, Eric Gailland, Lucas Jackson, Richard Shotwell, Jordan Strauss, Mark J. Terrell

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen


Awards season has brought with it the well dressed and well turned out gentlemen of the A-List on Hollywood’s red carpets. This year the guys have stepped it up on the redcarpet and made use of their swoon worthy looks in a variety of tuxedo looks that ranged from the classical to the updated in both color, lapel shape, and combinations of fabrics.  Too vest, or not to vest, that is the question! What a dash of color does for one tuxedo and the use of neutrals or textured fabrics does for another.  A dash of bowtie, pocket square or cufflink finishes the look and the shoe ranges from a slip on to the classic lace-up to versions in-between.   An option to wear a trainer or sport shoe once reigned on the carpet but this year gentlemen seem to have fallen for the classics.  I have put many a tuxedo on screen and tv talent and when a man puts on the finishing touches he always feels good and ready to take on the world. Up next in awards season is the OSCAR carpet so we are already gearing up for the ultimate in Tuxedos at this Red Carpet show.



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Rose Intense Limited Edition Collection: Romance is in the Air at DIPTYQUE

“What’s in a Name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet”.    William Shakespeare


The Rose Fragrance collection from “DIPTYQUE” the French fragrance company blooms this Valentines Day for a brief and glorious time. If you have never considered a rose fragrance before, this is your moment. The signature DIPTYQUE candles are presented in elegant containers in shades of purple and pink and orange and pink rose designs. One fragrance is called “Centifolia” and the other scent “Damascena”. The first is a sweet garden rose with a final note of newly mown grass reminiscent from a garden in the south of France; the second rose is more exotic with a hint of sweet spice incense. Evocative of love, passion and romance to inspire your Valentine’s Day gift giving or for anyone you wish to celebrate with the eternal rose.  

The ROSE COLLECTION: Ultimate Interpretation of the Rose

Layering fragrances and placing candles in the perfect location in your home immediately turns a room into a luxurious and elegant space. Lighting and romance go together and a candle creates a calming and sensual space for you and your partner and is the first step to igniting your own romance.  A quiet moment for yourself is also the perfect time to light a candle and there are fragrance moods to appeal to both men and women in their extensive collection.  To fully experience this I suggest you stop into a DIPTYQUE boutique near you; smell and experience and see the options like gift sets  that allow you to fully experience the range.  The collection has a wide range of ways you can experience the rose scents: a drawer liner, a closet sachet, facial oil, hair oil mist, scent compact, body lotion and candles for home and travel. 

DIPTYQUE began as a shop on Paris’ Left Bank at 34 Boulevard St. Germaine. Originating in 1961 a trio of an interior designer, a theatrical director and a painter took their artistic curiosity and ideas about interior design, art and travel to create ‘the bazar’ that inspired the first DYPTIQUE candle, the 34 Signature fragrance now the centerpiece of the 34 Collection. The French have always been wonderful at the art of living that goes back to the days of the palace of Versailles and its influence on fashion, furnishings, food and fragrance that captured the imagination of the world. As a boutique fragrance company that emerged in 1960s Left  Bank Paris the founders revolutionized the boutique fragrance world. If you request a gift set at a boutique they can also personalize a boxed set for your Valentine.  When you see the delightful colors and ribbons its (almost) like a trip to Paris so what could be better?

To discover more more about DIPTYQUE see their website at: http://www.diptyqueparis.com.

Shoulders are the New Black


SAG Awards Red Carpet Review: 2019

The 25th Anniversary of the SAG AWARDS brought back my memory of doing the very first version of the award show before its zenith in popularity and fashionable buzz. Yes, the awards show started small and now the SAG red carpet is one of the most popular in the run up to the Oscars. Trends that start here are often carried on through to the Oscars. It’s always fun to predict “who will wear what” as the red carpet season marches towards the finish line. 

Major Trend: Shoulders and more Shoulders. There was the ‘Off the Shoulder’ gown, the sheer or tulle capes that covered and revealed and also gowns with unique shoulder embellishments as well. For example, a swirling shoulder piece on Emily Blunt by Michael Kors or Mandy Moore’s black and crystal Off-Shoulder sheath  by Jason Wu. Emma Stone wore a one shoulder top with a necktie worn like a bow that topped her pitch perfect silk slacks by Louis Vuitton.  A beautiful white off shoulder gown festooned with bird feathers, the lovely Danai Gurira wearing Ralph Russo. Constance Wu work a lovely Oscar de La Renta gown that was strapless and simple; its elegance and minimalism highlighting her shoulders and upper chest area which were jewels in themselves. Elizabeth Moss wore a princess gown with rows of lace that showed off her clean shoulder line and accented the waist with a black ribbon that had a chanel inspired vibe by French designer L’huillier.  White gowns seemed to have taken over the pre-spring carpet fortelling a trend of wedding inspired gowns that work both for brides and red carpet worthy evening wear. Sandra Oh also wore a one shoulder look that is almost becoming her signature lucky color RED by British designer Jenny Packham. Patricia Clarkson wearing another Goddess inspired gown in a creme silk chiffon (scads of layers) had gold embellishments that also highlights both her waist and shoulders prove that while cleavage is a Hollywood staple the shoulders have entered the fashion pantheon as the next place to focus on. Lady Gaga stunned us all in her shoulder bearing and grand skirted DIOR gown that she was easily able to work with its thigh high slit that suited her personality. Television can be unkind to miles of cleavage; few can pull it off but a set of lovely shoulders is always elegant, appropriate and the look is always perfect. I believe this trend that started a few seasons ago is not dead, but better then ever and the ladies are working it. 


Mandatory Credit: Photo by Rob Latour/REX/Shutterstock (10072501ff) Emma Stone 25th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards, Arrivals, Los Angeles, USA – 27 Jan 2019


THINK PINK: A Fashion Girl’s Guide to Pink Champagne.

Let’s talk Pink Champagne, girls.

Start your reading by first seeing the scene clip from “FUNNY FACE” (above) https://g.co/kgs/5zcoZ2. and then you will truly be in the mood for what lies ahead. Now that the awards season is upon us, here’s another excuse to share the bubbles and celebrate all things Pink and Glamorous.

I just returned from an exclusive tour of my favorite region in France (well, the one with the bubbles) and it included a personal tour of all things pink and bubbly. Here my curated list of favorites to bring some elegant pink bubbles to your next event in all price ranges.

Prestige Rose Brut: The Party Girl of Pink Champagnes by Tattinger

The House of Tattinger is an authentic journey of both a family history and a champagne house that was once lost and found again through sheer passion and commitment. The head of the company,  Pierre-Emmanuel Tattinger returned to the family roots through the buy-back purchase of the company in 2006 in a historic move that brought the family name back to its original place as one of the most notable champagne producers in the region. When a bottle of Tattinger is opened at the tasting room, you are experiencing the beauty of this unique and remarkable series of decisions by both a committee and the family who are intimately involved in every aspect of the business. Each champagne house has a signature taste and character in itself that is like a fingerprint that expresses each collection of champagne.

Prestige ROSE Brut is the party girl of the house that benefits from both a high proportion of Chardonnay grapes (30%) with (15%) still red wine in the blend that contributes to its beautiful color and flavor. Tattinger  describes their rose champagne like it is a gorgeous and witty woman we all want to know: lively, fresh, voluptuous and the life of the party. I found the taste to be both sweet and crisp, with a price range of $79-125.00 per bottle. This one is a comparable to the high mid-price range. The box is an elegant pink/silver foil bubbly design perfect for a hostess gift. For further information on the house of TATTINGER (www.tattinger.com)

The RUINART Brut Rose Champagne, “Versailles in a bottle

Once you step into the quiet and hushed elegant world of the RUINART champagne headquarters and enter into the hall at RUINART, a little voice echoes in your head:  “Toto, I don’t think we are in Kansas anymore”.  Ushered into a waiting room the center table showcased the artistic interpretation of the French tradition of elegance, a chandelier and its own bottles melted together to remind you that it is the oldest champagne houses and the first champagne house created in 1729 and served the court of King Louis 15th of France.  The shape of the bottle also reflects this unique history, as it is the same color and shape that began the tradition. The Brut Rose Champagne recently was discovered to have been shipped 250 years ago so it may serve to document its invention by RUINART. The delicious light rose color is the most subtle of the group with just a hint of sugar and after several glasses you won’t feel a thing. (www.ruinart.com) for distribution points. In the Price category this one is near the top of the range. RUINART.com


It was a pleasure to meet the CEO and creator of the POL COURONNE champagne house that is based on traditions that go back to the 19th century and a new generation is taking it on. Thinking outside the box the tasting room is the only one located in downtown REIMS just a short walk from the train station. In this jewel box of a space you can sip champagne on a comfortable chair or outside in good weather at a cafe table. THE POL COURONNE ROSE is a light salmon pink color with very small bubbles with notes of strawberries and raspberries. Created with a curated selection of Pinot Meunier grapes the blend is never too sweet but light and quite right for a rose champagne. The champagne can be ordered through the house directly as they await their US point of distribution. A rose GRAND CRU is also available. If you live in California, or some states (please check) you can have the champagne shipped directly to you without certain taxes and import duties. (Price will vary) http://www.champagne-polcouronne.com

ONE HOPE WINES: Sparkling Rose for a Cause

This winery is a benefit company that supports charitable causes and this pink bubbly supports ovarian cancer research. This lovely sparkling wine is not dry but lightly sweet and bubbly for those who prefer something without a dry finish. Since it is made with a California style champagne method, the time in the bottle is limited but the results are well worth it. The fun of this one is that it makes a great base for cocktails or a lively brunch beverage to share with the girls. The price is on the lower mid-priced end for sparkling wines at about $36.00 per bottle and it has a luxe golden label making it perfect for gifts. Purchase this at: http://www.viaonehope.com/pikkea

GRUEN of New Mexico: Sparkling Rose Wine

THINK PINK: Pink is the latest color at the Golden Globes, shown here on the red carpet so its only fitting that your champagne should match, don’t you think?

This USA vintage is a sparkling wine that is literally so good, you can’t believe the price and the flavor. What’s the secret? Well, the family that produces it has roots in France and in discovering the perfect climate in New Mexico, they found these perfect conditions for growing grapes created a sparkling wine using the champagne methods that re-create the flavor and effervescence of the French original. It has a bright pink color and a juicy strawberry nose with a dense and fresh flavor with good balance and style. It is considered a ‘new world bubbly for those who prefer a fresh and light beverage. This Rose Pink sparkling wine is a lovely option for the Price range from 18.00-26.00 per bottle. Order at: http://www.gruetwinery.com

Hideous Joys of Hallmark Channel Holiday Fashion and the secret sauce.

Second only to the popularity of the HALLMARK Channel’s Holiday Line up, the fashion is a throwback to a simpler time and created uniquely to mimic a holiday card or family photos. Production values have improved and certainly there is more attention paid to the fashions of the stars and leading actors in the shows. Trendy, is not quite the vibe here; its more like HOLIDAY COMFIE with a dash of all American chic, but not quite of the RALPH LAUREN variety. Both the ladies and gentlemen of the HALLMARK holiday line up can somehow manage to wear those sweaters we all consider laughable with their graphic patterns or colors, even better than the celebs who try to get in on the act. (see photos pulled from the internet of some celebs who are trying) that the rest of us can’t quite pull off.

Let’s face it, in these times of daily stress and hideous stories of fire, famine and floods, somehow a Hallmark Movie just reminds us of a gentler time. Small town America is always on display and at odds with Big URBAN cities (and the people who populate them). Where a country cabin stuffed with decorations and holiday cards, tree and “comfy” food is just the thing to cheer you up, HALLMARK CHANNEL films are “Holiday Cotton Candy” that literally give you a break from the news. This year finally, the narrow view of this world is opening up to a more diversified cast with both stars and story lines; I hope to report next year that the hunks will also be more representative and diverse.

The entire experience of a HALLMARK CHANNEL movie is also the product placement of both holiday decor, cards, gifts and tree that is all part of the HALLMARK CHANNEL experience that is wrapped up in subtle marketing (or not so subtle) that makes you wish you had every piece of greenery and tinsel.

The audience growth of the Channel is staggering in comparison to other outlets. What’s the secret? Fashion, is not important, though the characters seem to live in and enjoy their holiday outfits on a regular basis in each story. With a host of problems and family issues tied up in one hour and 25 minutes you are given a happy pill during these challenging times. So, go ahead an indulge; put on your happy sweater, sip that eggnog and get cozy under the fur throw and enjoy!