Friday, October 19, 2012

The Skinny: Halloween is for Lovers

Halloween is a holiday with deep roots. Many of the traditions can be traced back to the early Celts, when Druids held rituals in honor of the dead on the night before their new year, when departed souls returned to earth for one night. The holiday evolved as various religions reinterpreted it, moved to new lands as colonies were established, and, in America, benefited from the spice of our millions of cultural immigrants to become the holiday that we celebrate today. We know it's all about costumes, and parties, and tricks (or treats), and witches and ghosts, and scary stories. But, we tend to forget about the reasons for our rituals, and the superstitions behind them.

For example, why do we spend millions (if not billions) of dollars per year on costumes? It's really to disguise us from the spirits of dead people. Since Halloween is the night when souls return to earth, people out after dark need to look like somebody (or something) else, so they don't get spirited away (ha!) by the dead.

But, there are some Halloween superstitions that are more about the living. These are all Although they are much less common today, quite a few Halloween rituals were specifically intended to lead to marriage. An Irish girl who found a ring in her serving of mashed potatoes (put there by the cook, of course) would find her soul mate within the year.  A Scottish girl would gather hazelnuts, name each one after her potential lovers, throw them in the fire (the nuts, not the suitors), and pay attention for a nut that burns to ashes rather than bursting. This is the nut she will marry! Of course, other parts of the country thought the reverse was true--if it burns, he's not the one. I'm sure this was very confusing, and wreaked havoc on the hazelnut harvest.

Magic nuts!

 In other countries, eating a particular type of candy (with hazelnuts again) would trigger a vivid dream of your true love's face. Apple peels tossed over your shoulder might magically spell out your betrothed's initials on the floor. A bowl full of water, with egg yolks floating delicately on top, can stand in for a crystal ball for the girl desperately seeking a glimpse of her future marriage. Or, if uncooked yellow blobs are less than appealing, you could always stand in a dark room, in front of a mirror, and light a candle. This is supposed to show the reflection of your soul mate standing behind you. Or, a serial killer who is actually standing behind you. Either way, it's useful.

She might want to run....

 The first person to successfully snag a fruit while bobbing for apples will be the first of the party guests to buy a fancy dress and veil. This, I feel, is cruel. Have you ever actually tried to grab an apple with your teeth while trying not to drown in front of a group of your peers?

October, 1933

 Personally, I feel that all of these methods involve way too much effort. It is so much more satisfying to turn off the porch light at 6:30pm, eat your way through the candy bowl while ignoring the crying children at the door, and watch a movie. This is even more effective if the movie features, say...Robert Downey Jr.

from Italian Vogue

 I knew I could count on that Halloween magic to show me my true love! And also, there's candy!

*Information obtained from

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

On the Radar -- Hot Under the Collar

High Tech Fur collar by Emerson Fry
We Blackbird girls have a dirty little secret. And I'm going to spill it right now.  We LOVE fur.  We know it's wrong, but it just feels sooooo good!  Mink, fox, Persian name it, we've got it (or, at least we've lusted after it when we see it!).  However, the majority of fur we can afford, own, and wear, is in collar form.

We've always worn our vintage fur collared coats, so I didn't really pay attention to just how many designers did them for their fall lines.  It wasn't until we sold three fur collars in under two weeks that I thought, "Hmmm....what's up with that?"

Turns out everybody did their own version of a fur collar this fall.  And I mean EVERYBODY.  Michael Kors, Marni, Derek Lam, Elizabeth and James, Louis Vuitton....and you know our fave, Alexander McQueen.

Derek Lam, Fall 2012

These collars don't have to be just for coats and jackets.  You could wear one with a sweater or dress to cozy it up.

It doesn't have to be formal either.  I love the casual-luxe feel of this:

From Le 21eme

You can even go for different colors!

Moncler Fall/Winter 2012

And while I pine for all of these fur pieces, I know that the best bet is to buy vintage or handmade.  They are more affordable, one of a kind, and no animals were recently harmed in the making of the collar.

From our shop! 

Or you could be a good girl -- buy faux fur, like this pretty handmade collar -- and still be fashionable.

From imali on Etsy

Monday, October 15, 2012

Junk Love Monday: How to Live Like Barbarella

One of life's greatest pleasures is a late-Saturday-night pizza and channel surfing session. This is when you are allowed to watch weird stuff, without worrying about To-Do lists, deadlines, or the judgment of others. It's Guilty Pleasure time. It's Barbarella time.

A few weeks ago, on just such a night, we were moaning about the available options on cable, not yet ready to retire to our rooms, when we saw that Barbarella was coming on next. This prompted a conversation about how our parents were too mean to let us watch the movie as children (although we understand why now...), and the quick decision that the moment had arrived for us to fill in that missing link in our pop culture education.

And so, we watched Barbarella, laughing and gasping all the way to the end. It's a little bit dirty, and a lot bit cheesy, and fantastic in its badness. It was also powerful, in its own way. We can't stop talking about it. There is a part of both of us that secretly wants to live like Barbarella, and we've decided there are two ways to do this:

1. Exercise (a lot), use hairspray (a lot), wear very tight clothing (not a lot), accept an important mission on behalf of Earth, and sleep with everyone we meet in the name of Patriotism.


2. Buy junk that reminds us of the movie's better (yes, this is subjective) moments.

We have decided to explore option 2, as it aligns more closely with our normal routine. We're not sure that we'd be very good at top secret government work anyway. And so, here are the ways that we would live like Barbarella, if we could....

You could wear an actual space suit, and spin in mid-air whenever you take it off

or, you could wear a snazzy metallic 1960s dress like this one:


Like this?

Shiny! Green!

Try this.

We would love to live in a pod entirely carpeted in lush shag,

But we'd also settle for a cool vintage rug.

unfortunately, this one has been sold from
And then we'd have to have a goddess statue to go with it.

We love this,

And who wouldn't love a vintage skunk fur coat (yes, they made them, and they are fabulous)?

 We love, love, love her boots:

 So, we could buy some like these:

And speaking of black and white (and more boots):

Oh, how I love thee. Let me count the ways...

vintage mod dress,

With some boot options:

Vintage mod boots, from

Boot Fashion: Olga Sherer in Chanel Thigh High Boots. Elle France, 09.2012.
Black Chanel thigh-high boots, from Elle France Sept 2012

Vintage black and white boots, from

And you can't wear it, but you can certainly watch Barbarella on it (but not in the same room as the rug)...

Now, all we need is some colorful mood lighting, a blind angel to fly us places, a backyard maze full of naked people, and a hookah room with swings and piles of pillows. I think it could work.