Friday, March 1, 2013

The Skinny: Not What It Seems

You know how daydreaming can take your mind down a twisting, turning path, until you end up thinking about something completely different? This often happens to me when I play around online. I love to click on embedded links, and sometimes do this until I've drifted to a far different shore, with no memory of what I started out looking for.

So, today I was looking at a list of companies that turn 100 this year (I don't remember why I was doing this), and I somehow went from Prada to Miu Miu (a reasonable jump), which reminded me of muumuu, and so I thought of Hawaii. I collect vintage hula girl pinups and sheet music, which for some reason brought to mind Dick Van Dyke (no idea how this jump happened). This made me think of Fitzwilly, a fabulous movie co-starring Barbara Feldon. I remembered that Ms. Feldon famously portrayed Agent 99 on Get Smart, so I decided to look at images of her back in the 1960s. While doing this, I came across a blog with the iconic picture of Tippi Hedren and a crow that came out as a promotional item for The Birds. I Googled Tippi (and doesn't that sound weird?), and then I found this:

Wait...are those lapels painted on? Is that even a real belt? What about that stitching detail? In 1952, Tippi Hedren was photographed in this trompe l'oeil dress. Hermes had come out with an entire collection of painted (or screen-printed) clothing, which was copied in the US by Herbert Sondheim (legally) and sold at a lower price. Now, I generally hate trompe l'oeil clothing. Why paint on fake pockets? I want real pockets! But, not surprisingly, vintage Hermes won me over. So, I just had to find more of these gems....


And this got me thinking about what other sorts of vintage trompe l'oeil clothing I could find, like these adorable John Carr Doughty knit ensembles from the 1960s:
For those who prefer colorful clothing with fake details, here are some Roberta di Camerino designs:
di Camerino velvet coat;
Roberta Di Camerino Rare Trompe L'oeil Gown circa 1970
di Camerino gown, 1970;

Roberta di Camerino exhibit, Palazzo Fortuny museum in Venice
Of course, nobody is more famous for trompe l'oeil clothing than Schiaparelli, who captured hearts in the late 1920s with her cravat sweaters:

Of course, she was also a bit weird. Here are some positively creepy Schiaparelli gloves from the 1930s, complete with snakeskin "fingernails":
Made in Paris, France, Europe. Winter 1936-37 Designed by Elsa Schiaparelli, French (born Italy), 1890 - 1973  Black suede, red snakeskin 9 3/8 x 3 3/8 inches (23.8 x 8.6 cm)

Also weird, this Surrealist collaboration with Salvador Dali, called the "Tears" dress:
"Tears" dress, Salvador Dali collaboration
I did manage to bring my strange train of thought back to fashion, at least. Plus, not only did I manage to waste an afternoon on Google images, I learned that every now and then, trompe l'oeil is kind of cute. Except for those Schiaparelli gloves. Creeptastic. Seriously.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

On the Radar -- Bacterial Beauty

Fractal art by Sylvia C., here.
It's ridiculous how in tune we Blackbird girls are with each other.  Sometimes it gets a little spooky.  I got the image to the left in an email newsletter from Patternbank.  It's digital, fractal art by Sylvia C. that looks like magnified bacteria/fungi/icky junk. I thought Ms. Blackbird, the Biology edition (i.e. not me, the other one), would dig it.  So I emailed it to her.  She then sent me this beautiful image of real bacteria under stress:

Turns out she'd been looking at images of real magnified biology thingies already.  Needless to say, it's escalated since then, and we've been looking at magnified bacteria (among other things) a lot lately.  Turns out, we're not the only ones inspired by bacteria.  Surprise, surprise!

I've found lots of artists that have been recently inspired by magnified bacteria.  Here's a quick selection:

Bacteria art using pasta and bamboo skewers, Sinead Foley
Glass E.Coli, by Luke Jerram. At the Museum of Art and Design NYC through April 7
Balloon bacteria, Jason Hackenwerth
Bacteria watercolor, Sarah Roberts
Clothing and accessories using real bacteria, Sarine Zakin
Designer Iris van Herpen, 2013
SAYMYNAME, 2013, Pathovar (bacterial strain) collection

Monday, February 25, 2013

Junk Love Monday: Red Means Go

Although we Blackbird girls are known for being unapologetic shopaholics (ahem...addicts) when it comes to junk, we are selective with what we buy. We do have a budget to stick to, so the items that we buy need to meet certain standards. However, certain characteristics often throw all of our other criteria out the window. At this point, there is no civil discussion. Do we need it? Do we have a place for it? Is it functional? Who cares? It's red. Throw it in the cart. (*This also happens with turquoise items. We'll talk about that later.)

Vintage Dansk Kobenstyle Red Casserole Dutch Oven Pot - 2 Qt - Iconic Jens Quistgaard Design - Mid Century Danish Modern
Dansk enamel pot, from EightMileVintage on etsy

Red things just speak to us. It doesn't really matter what it is. From where I am sitting at this moment as I write this post, I can see the following items in my living room: a red handled glass cutter, a red toy telephone, a red planter, five red tins, a red and white toy guitar, vintage red and white polka dot bean bags, a red ice bucket, a selection of large red dice, a red lantern, a red metal store display box, a red letter R, a large red D, and a red bowl full of vintage billiard balls. When I'm bored, I like to type "vintage red" into the search box on Etsy and look at page after page of glorious stuff.

Red vintage enamel bowl, white hearts decoration
from Evergreensdreams on etsy
So, we like red. And this doesn't even touch the amount of vintage red fabulousness in our kitchen. More to come on that later, but here's a great teaser:

So, I thought I'd look around the Internet for some items that speak our language. What can I say? I'm a glutton/shopaholic who is known for having no restraint whatsoever when buying junk in the month of February (every day is my birthday!), so I may or may not also be buying some of these items. Enjoy!

Red Rotary Phone Telephone
Hello?, available at TheRotaryShoppe on etsy

1940's Red Bakelite Catalin Handles
handles, from fallaloft on etsy

Red and White Vintage 1960s General Electric Telechron Wall Clock Model 2H44
from BlueSugarVintage on etsy

Vintage 1960s Tom Thumb Junior Typewriter - Bright Red with Original Box
from twinkleberrytoys on etsy

Rare Peter Ganine 1947 RED Mid Century Gothic Soldier Chess Piece Brayton Laguna
Be still my heart....; from VintageHoopla on etsy

Vintage Marquee Letter Sign Red Q Industrial Typography
wallsantiques on etsy

Mod Bright Red Orb Shaped Fondue Pot
Fondue pot!; HerVintageCrush on etsy

red modern lithograph to frame signed and numbered
Mid-century lithograph; ModishVintage on etsy