Monday, May 28, 2012

Seersucker Primer

For those of you who love vintage and dressing up, the Seersucker Social is June 9th.  It's a bike ride.  It's a social scene.  It's a fundraiser.  And it ends at Hillwood Mansion with croquet and cocktails.
For the best intro watch Brandon Bloch's lighthearted video at

Some of my Takoma Park friends were having an e-mail conversation politely asking, "WTF?" which is a fair question.  One speculated that there were leeches involved, so I wrote this primer, which I am reprinting here:

Seersucker is a lightweight striped cotton that was originally used for men's suits in hot, formal places like the South:

Think of it as a chance to see nattily dressed men, which is a rarity here in the People's Republic of Takoma Park.
Yes,perhaps it can be intimidating, or just fun.  People don't take themselves too seriously, I think.  Here's a pic from 2010
Having fun is really the key.  You can go anywhere (or nowhere) with seersucker.  Isaac Mizrahi is coming out with wedding gowns that incorporate gingham.
How To Wear Stripes- Striped Womens Fashion 2011
And here are other stripey things that would be fine, I think.
As with so much in life, anything goes ladies.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Keep Red Pleather out of Landfills! A Story of Sustainable Fabulousness...

Have you been to Scrap DC in the basement of  52 O Street, NW?   ( 

It's a community resource for creative re-users and a great place to browse for odd bits like wallpaper sample books, pompons, origami papers and many, many other cast-offs that might be of interest to artists, crafters and tinkerers.  On my first visit there my heart leapt with delight to see a bolt of shiny lipstick-red patent pleather. ($1.50 per yard)  Now this is not an eco-fabric.  It's plastic.  But it's somebody's cast off, so I can buy it.  (Cue Madonna singing "Material Girl"...)  Scrap DC founders, Karen Klein and Heather Bouley, could not be more helpful in brainstorming the possibilities of their supplies.  Below is Karen in a possible bustle use:

And Heather and I remembered Angelina Jolie's strange leg pose at the Oscars...

Anyway, I wasn't sure what I was going to do with the red pleather, but my gal pal, Jodi, said affirmatively, "You need that!"  And I knew she was right.  Sure enough, just days later I chose an Artomatic site that's a dull, depressing,  defense contractor's office.  I needed to turn it into an inviting boudoir.  What's more "inviting" than red  pleather? 
Earlier that week I had read an article in Elle Decor and one in In Style about  boudoirs.  (Read "closet" for the rest of us.)  Most boudoirs seemed to center on an upholstered ottoman. 
Fashion Designer Nanette Lepore's closet/dressing room as seen in Elle Decor
So I popped in at Miss Pixie's ( and nearly tripped over a gently-used round tufted ottoman near the front door.  ($55)  And thank you Miss Pixie's for the referral to D'Carlo's Upholstery on Georgia Ave. (, where they did an expert job applying the red pleather.  ($400.)  That is a lot for me, but I will always have the ottoman, and this was NOT an easy job.  You start by sewing eight pleather diamonds into a star....)  Next craigslist brought me together with a great 7' by 9' thick white shag rug. ($45)  Will the serendipity never stop?  Well,  I dropped by my friend Sara's, and she just happened to have 4 mirrored bi-fold doors in her driveway.  They were removed during a home renovation, and she was waiting for a chance to call Community Forklift ( for a pick-up.  Could I repurpose them first?  Well, yes!  So now I have the perfect thing to soften the corners in my cubicle space.  I am well on my way to a sustainable fashion installation that will require me to buy nothing new.  I may need to pick up a couple more things from Value Village(  and Fixtures Plus (  Then I'll use up some of the leftover Benjamin Moore Eco-Spec  paint in our basement, but that ought to do it.  We truly have some great re-use resources in this area.  Peruse Scrap DC's list of other re-use resources at:
And check out my boudoir installation on the 8th Floor at Artomatic 2012 May 18 to June 23.  Come see the naughty red ottoman.  

Tuesday, May 1, 2012


Sounds about as yummy as Lima Bean Chutney.  But wait! It is  yummy.... 

First of all, fashion.  A lot of people don’t get what it’s all about, especially in DC, which is fine.  What I like about it is that it’s a 3-dimensional moving art form that uses the human being as its primary inspiration and form.  It deals with all the ways we as mammals signal to say “I’m looking for action,” or “I’m powerful,” or “I don’t give a damn what you think,” or many more complex and subtle conscious and unconscious messages.  Plus fashion is made of fabric, which is endlessly interesting to my eyes and hands.

Some people think fashion is awfully bourgeois, but, of course, creative endeavors have always been painted with that brush.  Fashion can be as high brow or edgy or accessible as the designer or wearer want to make it.

Fashion is one area of creative expression that literally touches all of us.  I daresay you will wear clothes today.  (If not, please tell us more about yourself in the comments.)  The Greater Washington Fashion Chamber of Commerce (Yes, it exists. reports that Washingtonians spend over $625 million annually on clothing and personal care services.  So it’s big business.  And it’s a sector of our economy that has lagged behind others in becoming green.

I can buy wind power over the grid, I can choose from a host of greener transportation options.  I can buy locally grown or organic or fair trade food at the grocer’s.  I still cannot go into a store and see a selection of clothing manufactured with materials or processes that make them easier on the earth.  And more so than many products we buy, people want to see, touch and try on clothing before buying it.  As I hope to convince you, there are many exciting, beautiful and ingenious products out there.  I want more people to be aware of them, and hungry for them, and I want retailers to catch the wave stock them.

(I was reading an artist’s manifesto the other day, and my 15-year-old said, “Only crazy people write manifestos.”  With this piercing wisdom in mind, I am hoping I have not written a manifesto….  Now I am wondering what shoes go best with a soapbox.  Platforms made from repurposed packing crates, no doubt.  Good-bye for now.)