When Unzipped, Douglas Keeve’s documentary about designer Isaac Mizrahi, came out in 1995, audiences had never been given such a personalized peek into the world of fashion. Before films like The Devil Wears Prada, documentaries like The September Issue, and a slew of reality TV shows like Project Runway and America’s Next Top Model, designers were seen as aloof and unknowable, the industry a walled garden. Sure, many designers displayed themselves as the personifications of their lines, allowing their likenesses to grace magazine articles and ads, but no one had opened themselves up to the cameras the way Mizrahi did.
The film, which follows the creation of his fall 1994 collection, is bursting with Mizrahi’s talk, from his style maxims (“It’s really impossible to be chic without the right dogs”), to his reciting campy quotes from old movies, to his moaning about the stresses of staging a runway show. Most upsetting is the discovery that Jean-Paul Gaultier had also mined Inuit culture (what Mizrahi problematically calls ‘Eskimo-chic’) for his collection and, as his assistant reminds him, “they show before us!” Canadian supermodel Shalom Harlow informs Mizrahi that ‘eskimo’ is a slur meaning ‘raw fish eater,’ to which Mizrahi shoots back, “If there’s a word for gefilte fish eater, that’d be me!”
Pattern Inspiration: Sonia Delaunay and Fashion
Since Sonya Wornette wrote about Sonia Delaunay in issue 4, I’ve been a big fan. This post from Sarah Scaturro (Textile Conservator at Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum and, ahem, WORN issue 11 contributor) compares some textile patterns that fashion designers this past year have shown with selected objects from our their upcoming exhibition, Color Moves: Art and Fashion by Sonia Delaunay.
How fashion week is cramping Haute couture’s style
Nathalie Atkinson is one of my favourite Toronto writers because she gives style writing a good name. It’s so refreshing to read smart, thoughtful, and entertaining observations of this business we call fashion.
What Should We Be Doing?
A short report on a panel discussion to share ideas on how to increase production for NYC’s stagnant garment district. This is an event I would have loved to have attended, in a city I would love to be in, at a school I would love to study at. What do you say, Parsons?
Stitch by Stitch and Block by Block
A profile of the Williamsburg Seamster, an honest to goodness door-to-door tailor. This makes me happy. “I don’t really want to contribute to the clutter, I’m more of a problem solver than a designer.”
Made in L.A.
The trailer for the 2009 documentary following three Latina immigrants working in Los Angeles garment sweatshops as they embark on a three-year odyssey to win basic labor protections from a trendy clothing retailer. I’m annoyed slash irritated with myself for not tracking this down yet.
Before last week, I had never heard of George W. Trippon. Now I know he was a dancer in Hollywood movie musicals, apprenticed at MGM studios for costume design, studied fashion design in Paris under the G.I. Bill, founded and operated the Trippon Fashion Center School of Dress Design in Hollywood for 26 years, and finally and gloriously starred in a daily TV show teaching women how to sew called “Sew What’s New” from 1972 until 1994.
This documentary was made by Shawn Quinlan, who met Trippon in LA in 2008. After Mr. Trippon died a couple of years later, Quinton was given a stack of his show tapes and a box of photographs and clippings. Inside he found the makings of a interesting documentary and, according to the YouTube posting, a chance to fill the void of information on gay life in the 30′s and 40′s.
I’m so glad I found out about this guy. That’s what happens when you have drinks with awesome friends, they tell you about facinating things, then send you YouTube links the next day. (Thanks Grant!)
Hair India presents what can arguably be called the uglier side of the beauty industry. Directed by Raffaele Brunetti and Marco Leopardi, the film shows the extreme differences between India’s richest and poorest, and the roles both play in the obtaining and selling of one of the most popular recent accessories: hair extensions.
The film follows a young girl named Gita and her family living in West Bengal. Having no other material possessions to donate to their temple, they plan on collectively shaving their heads and sacrificing their hair, a common ritual where they live. In a culture where a woman’s beauty is so highly regarded, the act of giving up one’s hair is not a simple decision. Meanwhile in Bombay we meet Sangeeta (pictured above), the editor of a gossip magazine who busies herself with such tasks like finding a professional palm reader to dish on the personal lives of major Indian celebrities. While looking for a new hairstyle before a huge party, Sangeeta turns to hair extensions. Continue reading →