Friday, August 24, 2007

Yay! A little bloggy love on a Friday afternoon


Today is my girlfriend's 30th birthday,and the countdown begins for the big move - just one more week and we're out! I'm super-frazzled, so I was quite pleased to open my inbox just now and find the following kind words about La Mode D'Indie from Lola of the Lola Collection. Rockin'!
Check it out or just look here:

My friend Kristin Eno of Pixie Petals and Halflight at etsy has turned me on to a great blog. Run by Kpoene of Miss Mignonette on etsy, La Mode D'indie is a wealth of information not only about Kpoene's wonderful work and design, but of other fine designers as well. I love her style of writing, fun and really get the sense that you are sitting down and chatting with her.

If you are on the lookout for a new favorite jewelry designer, some fresh stationary, or a one of a kind piece to complete your Saturday night date outfit, I strongly suggest checking out this blog.



Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Pretty Pretty - Witty Workshop

It is an unfortunate fact that with the advent of email and texting people have lost the ability to write a simple, heartfelt note. Gone are the days when calligraphy was a common skill and every woman worth her weight in white gloves and suede pumps kept monogrammed notepaper as a matter of course.

Alas, these days you're lucky if you get a thank-you note after a job interview, so what's an old-fashioned gal to do when she wants to say something heartfelt without the aid of a keyboard?

As often happens in those situations where life feels increasingly hasty, shallow, and filled with honking horns, a gentle arbiter of taste and style has come to the rescue: Witty Workshop!

Montreal's Valerie Parizeault has created Witty Workshop, a line of beautifully illustrated notecards, stationery, drawings, prints, and even sticker sets that feature the kind of idyllic scenes - tea parties, carousel rides, and introspective moments- that make me long for an endless vacation in the Jardin du Luxembourg, or at least a sunny Saturday at the Cloisters.

A connoisseur of all things indie, Valerie draws on nature, children, and unabashed whimsy to create her pieces, transmits it all to the canvas of her Mac, and then shares it with us.

She has the unique ability to capture private moments and infuse them with a quiet sense of magic, or to capture truly magical moments and make them outstanding. An artist and graphic designer by trade, Valerie will work with you to create custom images - personalied stationery anyone? What about your own logo?
As for her line of preprinted cards, even if your idea of a perfect childhood doesn't involve wearing white pinafores and giant hairbows, you'll be inspired to send one of Witty Workshop's glamorous ladies or soothing, gorgeous collages (check out "I Was Meant To Love You") to remind your friends, lovers, and others that the best way to reach out and touch someone is to simply say "Thinking of You". Check out the world of Witty Workshop on Etsy and you'll soon learn to appreciate the pleasures of the written word.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Check Out Eutectic

Even though we New Yorkers like to think we've got the last word on good design, every once in awhile a crafter will pop up and surprise us, someone who's got the look, spirit and vision we've been waiting for, and might have seen earlier if we hadn't been so busy gazing into our navels (aka the stretch of Mulberry between Houston and Canal).

Luckily for me, my prayers to discover someone with talent outside of the Triborough Bridge environs were answered by the likes of Eutectic, the singularly incredible jewelry line from Houston native Stevie Ballow, who is also one of the minds behind Rara Avis.

Eutectic draws not only on the oft-referenced triumvirate of "art, architecture, and other people" for inspiration, but also gets a boost from Stevie's background in biomedical engineering, a trait which pops up mostly in the spare, quieter pieces of the collection.
What's even more surprising than a penchant for science is the way Stevie uses gems and metals like paint, mixing syma curves (also known to architecture buffs as "the line of beauty"), riotous colors, and tiny semiprecious gems jagged as paving stones into her designs to create a kind of wearable masterpiece.
Though Eutectic has enough mouthwatering goodies to keep any fashionista happy, the "Day + Night" collection is by far my favorite, boasting intricately Earthy shapes that make me think of Talitha Getty on a Morrocan rooftop, or long summers in Ibiza wearing nothing but bikinis and long, flowing skirts. Among other reasons why I'm glad my cat is peacefully sleeping on my wallet are these Chandelier Earrings with quartz and labradorite, priced at an unbelievably low $116.
By mixing gold and silver elements with stones, chains, and found objects, Stevie has managed to find the perfect balance between art and design or, as she puts it on the Eutectic website, between "balance and uniformity".

Luckily for us, Stevie has developed something of a magpie's approach to creating her pieces, hunting and gathering to find the perfect mix, and then injecting a healthy dose of humor into the elevated art of her creations,
such as the Rosary-style necklace with onyx and white turquoise, which would be equally perfect on Kate Hudson in Vogue, or on me as I continue my far-flung journey for the perfect pointy black flat. I think this necklace would be divine with jeans and a simple but well-fitted tee, or for adding an edge to a flowy dress and boots. Like all of the other pieces in the Eutectic collection, it is witty and charming without trying too hard, and it is interesting without being self-conscious. Kind of like you, perhaps?

Visit Stevie here and see for yourself.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Size 9?

Don't cry, little kitteh, with feet that big, you are sure to always score at Manolo Blahnik sample sales!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Etsy Excitement for the Strawberry Dress

I'm in Ecuador this week, and yet I cannot tear myself away from the joy that is indie. In fact, I'm super-excited to go check out some of the handmade goodies that await me at the markets here. But it's still very early in the a.m. so I can't go yet.
I'll be back to reviewing the slew of awesome designers who responded to last week's request when I return to the States on Monday.
In the meantime, I want to share some of the delicious dresses that I've made recently, one of which I just made available on my ETSY page, Miss Mignonette!

As you might have read about in an earlier post, I love me some wrap dresses. I love how easy they are to wear, I love how the wrap and tie feature hides my tummy roll, I love how they instantly give you a waist, I love them I love them I love them! I could wax inarticulately rhapsodic about them for hours, but instead I would like to brag on a few of the ones I've designed, including my personal favorite, the Strawberry Dress.

What I love most about this stretchy cotton wonder is not just how cute it is, but also the wearability of it. When I started designing it I was really pining for a good wrap dress that would not fall into that dreaded "old lady dress" trap that so many wraps are prey to. A lot of my customers were pining for something that they could just throw on, preferably in a fun color, and most importantly in a fabric that didn't have to be babied.
I searched online for good polka-dot jersey and came up with this gorgeous mid-weight jersey blend with dime-sized polka dots. After modifying the pattern for the Andrea Dress to include a higher neckline and fuller skirt, I added a ruched keyhole back, closed it with some mother-of-pearl buttons, found a 2-inch contrasting grosgrain sash that could be made into a huge, flattering bow, and Voila! The Strawberry Dress!

Whenever I make a new batch of these dresses for craft fairs, they are usually gone within the first hour. Girls (and ladies) love that the sleeveless design is still wide enough to hide a bra, and that the modified sweetheart neckline is still high enough to prevent any slippage.

The tulip skirt and slightly Mandarin collar also provide enough interesting effects to take this dress from cute to *wow*.

I like making and wearing and sharing this so much that I've decided to put it on my Etsy page, Miss Mignonette, . I hope you'll check it out. It's a very versatile dress - now that I'm moving to a slightly chilly climate (silly SF! Don't you know you're in CALIFORNIA?) I plan to wear mine with a little cardigan and some pearls or one of my necklaces from Luka Designs, and of course some sky-high Minnie Mouse heels with a big bow. What would you wear yours with?

Monday, August 13, 2007

Whoo! Mignonette is on The Street!

Exciting things today!

The article about the Ladies Independent Design League is up on, and yours truly is on page 2! Check it out here, 'cause it's very exciting to get press always.

Delicious crush on Jewelry By Abby

As you might have noticed, I like shiny things, and I especially like brightly-colored, beautiful, well thought-out shiny things that I can wear. In fact, I have been known to abruptly break off conversations in order to press my face against the windows of certain stores in Soho.

As an unabashed magpie, my jewelry habit has a tendency to become somewhat problematic, so it's always nice when a designer comes along whose work is so well-edited that you cannot make a bad choice. One of my current favorites is Abby Umansky, the designer behind Jewelry By Abby.Abby's pieces go beyond mere bling - she takes into account the healing properties of the stones, the origins of the silver and gold, and the ability of each piece to act as a mood-enhancer (they certainly cheer ME up).

I had the good fortune to do a couple of shows with Abby this Spring, and convinced her to trade a one-off striped jersey halter with ribbon tie for a deep-orange chalcedony collar-style necklace with a delicate gold-chain setting. It is one of my favorite necklaces and leaves the house with me almost every day. Whenever I wear it people ask about it. I wear my chalcedony whenever I need to look more dressed-up; In fact I am wearing it right now and deciding which of Abby's new pieces should become my next all-time favorite. The colors that Abby picks for her jewelry are so vibrant that they look like little fruits piled on her display table; even the metals are unusually bright and shiny and light up your face when you put them on.

Luckily, Abby has also been blessed with a genuinely spot-on sense of what girls want to wear. Invariably she manages to mix findings, stones, and finishes that are the perfect combination of exotic, feminine, and urban, so that you can wear them with jeans or a flirty dress (my personal favorite) and look completely pulled-together. With prices ranging from $50 - $200 for special orders, they are also priced so that you can treat yourself to one (or two) and not feel any guilt.
But, as they used to say on Reading Rainbow - don't take my word for it. You can visit Jewelry by Abby here and pick up an all-time fave for yourself as well.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Stitch Austin Donation = Rad!

Here comes Stitch Austin!
The lovely ladies at the Austin Craft Mafia are once again throwing Stich Austin, the indie fashion and craft extravaganza that takes over Austin for 1 fabulous day every Fall. This year's event is Saturday, November 10th. With a hot haute fashion show and a craft fair featuring hundreds of awesome indie vendors, Stitch is the place to BE. If you can, definitely check it out.
Even if you can't make it, there are tons of ways to participate -
you can donate to the raffle, sponsor the event, give items for the goody bag raffle - including tote bags, which is a great opportunity, or have a segment in the fashion show.

Since I can't be there in person, I donated a Gidget dress to the raffle. If you like it, you can order your own from my "Movin' to SF Sale" on etsy.

Thursday, August 9, 2007


Huh. I just got interviewed by about the Ladies Independent Design League, the indie business networking group I started.
Isn't that a financial website?
When I told my friends who know about these things they freaked out and started talking about "Jim Cramer" and "huge deal on Wall Street" and wandered away looking dazed. That would be an interesting segment of the market. Bring it!

Attn: Indie Designers

Hi, designers! As you can see, I just started this little indie fashion/design blog and I want to review people's work! I'm looking for clothing, jewelry, men's items, tee shirts, pets, baby, and graphic arts. If you're interested, please email me at or leave a comment for me on this announcement. My only request is that you link to me once I review you so that we can all start getting lots of clicks and become rich and famous. Or something.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

It took 4 hours to get to work this morning.

I need some cheering up, so I took this pic from the Bonbon Blog. It's so pretty. I wish cherry blossoms grew inside of my house.

Also cheering was a lovely mention I recieved on the Bonbon Oiseau blog from the Queen of Beatiful Design Herself, Miss Deborah Stein,
which is here.
Thanks, Deb! That's really awesome. I like your pieces too.
But you know that already.

I was also greeted with the following fashionable activity, which I will hopefully be able to attend without looking too bleary-eyed or otherwise insane:

Nanette Lepore will be there! She is my idol. And the head of the CFDA.

UPDATE: Nanette was there, but I was too shy to talk to any of the important peeps and ducked out as soon as it was over. Most interestingly was the fact that Linda Hamilton from Terminator was sitting next to me. Isn't that random?

What I'm been focusing on instead of packing for our trip to Ecuador is making Anne a present for her sister's wedding and having Jane sew it. It's green shantung with brown undertones, slightly below the knee, with a ruffle down the front as a nod to the Anne Dress that she designed, and a bow around the neck. It is basically this children's shirt, but lengthened to make a dress, and made much larger. and in silk. Okay it's nothing like this shirt, I just like the picture. It reminds me of Anne, as do most things that are sweet, innocent, and kind of dorky.
I am most excited about the ethically harvested horn buttons and the chocolate velvet ribbon belt that will go with it. Jane is going to sew it for me. Hope it fits!

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

okay, less cranky suddenly:

Hmm. wonder why?

The Divine Chic of Bonbon Oiseau

Let's see, who am I crushing on today........... ah yes.

Fellow Francophile Bonbon Oiseau, aka Deborah Stein.

This lady makes the most interestingly pretty jewelry and gorgeous feathery hairpieces you've ever seen. Some of them look so much like fresh flowers that you'll swear you've never peeped a prettier bloom, unless you live in Tahiti, in which case you have gorgeous fresh flowers all the time, and anyway shut up. :)

If I ever get married Jane is making my dress and Bonbon Oiseau is making everything else for me, my bridesmaids, the wife, my mom, her mom, her friends, the cats, everybody.
Behold this piece Deborah custom-designed for a bridal party:
What I like the most about Bonbon Oiseau is that the pieces encourage you to inject some serious glamour into your everyday life, but since they are made with flowers and feathers and natural materials, the look is much more Earth goddess than anything else. They are so wearable and pretty, and with prices ranging between $42-$300, you can afford to pick up a few for yourself and your friends! I've done several markets with Deborah and her table, booth, and website are so perfectly chic and ethereal that people just flock (sorry, that wasn't intentional) to her table and try everything on. It's fun watching girls who would never think of wearing hair jewelry (including me) having fun with the pieces, but once you've got one on you feel like Billie Holiday with her trademark white camellia blossom.

Of course Bonbon Oiseau also makes incredibly cool jewelry, like these L'Eglantier (Wild Rose) Earrings. They are faceted crystal with antique glass roses. I don't usually wear yellow but I could be convinced:

Can't you see yourself in a summery dress and gold sandals with these framing your face? In fact, you are probably already wearing that outfit, so you should get these to make it perfect.
You can get them here.

And tell her Kpoene' sent you!

Monday, August 6, 2007

Yay! I'm an IndieEntreprenuer!

Awesome! Check out this interview I did on I feel so imminent!

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Witty Painting Obsession

I like to think of myself as an artist, and as such, as a connoisseur of other forms of art, especially 2-D. I have my favorites, like Kehinde Wiley, he of the *brazilliant* images of young Black men done up in saintly poses and rendered in gessos and egg temperas still wearing their normal street clothes, or Enid Crow, the Brooklyn photographer whose "Disaster Series" portraits are finally gaining some well-deserved recognition. Lately I have been looking even closer to home, namely within my own artist's studio complex, and have happened upon the quiet little career of Miss Ella Kruglanskya. Ella specializes in painting ladies who are being somehow compromised by their clothing, often physically, as in this painting of a very Hitchcockian blonde threatened by the print of her dress: Ella's ladies are all very full-figured, fashion-obsessed, and seem to get themselves into the kind of ridiculous situations we always fear (but hopefully never experience): This lady seems to be suffering from "butt-hair" a la Dracula in the Winona Ryder movie, and also the little man printed on her dress is strangling her. I hate it when that happens. A graphic designer by trade (if you live in New York, she may have designed your wedding invitations), Ella takes inspiration from a ton of sources, especially foreign fashion magazines and frequent (daily) trips to Daffys. This fashionista sensibility comes across in the styles and poses depicted in her work.
I recently attended her show at Brooklyn Fireproof, "Something Swarming Something". When I open a store I am hoping that she will do all of my advertising and also that I'll be able to paper the walls of the dressing rooms with her sketches. Right now I'm content to share her with the rest of the world, but I'll definitely be saying I knew her when. :)