Thursday, October 31, 2013

Boston Fashion Week's Emerging Trends: Naomi Davidoff

           The next designer I met at BFW’s Emerging Trends press day was a young designer, who is launching her company to success, only months after graduation. Naomi Davidoff is a costume designer who has a way with fabrics and technique. She studied fiber with a concentration in experimental fashion at the Maryland Institute College of Art.

Juggler - photo credit: Ron Davidoff
          Davidoff creates couture garments for performances and special events. “I am not only interested in fashion, but also wearable art, costume, and blurring the lines between the two and working with a lot of performers, dancers, circus artists, musicians, theater people, and actors,” she said.  

Madeline - photo credit: Ron Davidoff
          Part of her love for costume design is because of the people she works with. “They’re really half of what makes my work really special, I think, is working with them,” she said. She loves bringing her clients’ ideas to life. “That kind of leads me to want to work with different people and to want to make clothes for them and get inside their heads and think about who they are as personas and characters,” she said.

Siamese Twins - photo credit: Ron Davidoff
          Her most recent project is costume director for the Baltimore Rock Opera Society back home in Maryland. “We are a volunteer organization that’s a community theater and we are dedicated to making the most innovative, original, crazy rock opera you could ever imagine,” she said. For their last show, Murder Castle, the costumes were inspired by the Victorian era and The Chicago Worlds Fair. “They were experimenting with electricity and people putting that into garments,” she said. So she created glowing ballgowns with LEDs in the hoop skirts.

Mermaid - photo credit: Ron Davidoff
          Her collection this year, called “Phantasma,” is inspired by “surrealism, freakery and circus arts, and living nightmares.” She took a special interest in making a lot of the textiles in this collection. “So not only am I using found fabrics, I’m also using hand dyed, hand screen printed, over dyed, resisted fabrics, shibories, so experimenting with all different techniques,” she said.

Check out her SS13 collection video below!

To see more about Davidoff and her collections, visit her website at

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Boston Fashion Week's Emerging Trends: Thaddeus Du Bois

          One of the last events during Boston Fashion Week was the Emerging Trends fashion show. The day before the show, I attended the press event at Cyclorama - Boston Center for the Arts so I could meet some of the designers who would be showcasing their pieces.

          Thaddeus Du Bois’ handbags immediately intrigued me. His table was set up at the back wall of the room, yet his intricate metalwork stood out among the racks of clothes next to him. One bag, a saddlebag style with twisted tentacles emerging underneath it, hung from a metal stand as if it belonged in a gallery. I could tell right away that these handbags are intended for more than just their utilitarian purpose.

Narcosis w/stand - $32,900

          “I view them as sculpture. I love the idea that they can be sculpture at home that you don’t put them away in a closet, then when you take them off their stand and carry them out...they change in context and content everywhere you go,” Du Bois said. Narcosis, the aforementioned saddlebag, is one of his couture pieces. Priced at $32,900, it is also the most expensive piece in his collection. “Narcosis is one of my couture pieces where there’s only one and there’s only ever going to be one,” he said.

Miss Adventure w/stand - $4,200
          Another showstopper in his collection is his Emy Clutch.  “It’s all about glitz and glamour,” said Du Bois. Made with mirror polished aluminum, white deer skin, and 23 Swarovsky crystals, it’s designed for a walk down the red carpet. “The paparazzi snapping all their photos with the flashes, with the mirror polished aluminum, it’s going to reflect all those flashes and I really think it’s going to look like a ball of light in your hand, which I think is so cool. But it’s also going to ruin some of those photographs because the flash is going to reflect,” he said. With such a reflective surface, it also doubles as a mirror for touching up makeup throughout the night. “So [there’s] no reason to leave the party, and it’s definitely going to attract some attention,” he said.

Emy Clutch w/carrying trunk - $4,200
“It’s never in another country and I really want to stick to that. As I grow my line I really want to keep it all US made and US sourced.”

          My personal favorite of his collection is the Elson Bag, a rugged, versatile piece he made at the request of his art friend in Alaska. “She’s the type of girl [who] wears a flower dress and combat boots and she rides a motorcycle. She paints,” he said. So he created a bag that fit her lifestyle. It was big enough to fit her sketchbook, had a pocket for her pencils, an outside pocket for her cell phone, another pocket inside, and a flap closure. To be extra secure, he also added a zipper closure so nothing could fall out of the flap. As if these didn’t make the bag functional enough, he created straps that can transition from a shoulder strap, to cross-body, to backpack. “She loves it. It fits her personality so perfect,” he said.

Elson Bag - $3,200
          With all of his thought into what a woman wants, it would seem as if Du Bois has been designing handbags his whole career. However, he happened upon them in an unexpected way. In 2005, he was working as a suit salesman at Nordstrom and would see women buying handbags across the aisle. He thought they were ridiculous for buying the same bags until one woman told him, “Look at them as sculptures. It’s about the hardware.” And everything clicked. “At that point there was a spark for real in my head and I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, handbags are the coolest thing ever!’” he said.

Romano Bag - $3,800
          For now, Du Bois makes his pieces himself, by hand. “So I’m in my studio with a torch and a welder and making it,” he said. He gets all of his materials within the US. “The leather is all sourced in the US. The hide comes from a tannery so it’s US cows that are tanned in Tennessee,” he said. As he expands his line and hires others to help, he intends to maintain this standard. “It’s never in another country and I really want to stick to that. As I grow my line I really want to keep it all US made and US sourced,” he said.

Ella - a purse he made for his wife to take to church
          However, he doesn’t want to grow too fast. He would rather keep production levels low to keep the couture, luxury, and personal elements of his brand. “If I can keep the production 300 or even well under, then I think that’s going to hit the market that I want to keep it exclusive,” he said. He values connecting with each customer over becoming a household brand and enjoys talking to the people who will be owning his bags. “I know they’re going to pass it on to their children or someone else is going to get it and it’s going to have the story that goes behind it,” he said.

To view and purchase Du Bois’ handbags and sculptures, visit

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Spotted at BFW 2013 - Erykah Chanel

          I met the beautiful model, Erykah Chanel, at Boston Fashion Week's "Extrinsic 2" show and adored her style. She was tabling for Visual Content Magazine, as Operations Manager for the local publication. She wore a canary yellow jumpsuit that looked amazing on her body, with a plunging neckline and bare back. She accessorized with simple, black heels, a vintage belt worn as a necklace, a Tory Burch purse, and a killer ear cuff (the kind I go crazy over). Her hair was in a chic, Janelle Monae-esque roll. Chanel is one, stylish woman who most definitely turns heads on the streets of Boston!

What she wore:
Jumpsuit - by Kerly Bernard of Envieux 
Black Purse - Tory Burch 
Chain Necklace - vintage belt
Ear Cuff - Tiffs Treasures
Black Heels - Make Me Chic

The bare back showed off her great figure and cool tattoos.

To see her work, visit her website at

Sunday, October 20, 2013

What I Wore to BFW SS14

        My outfits for Boston Fashion Week were a bit more playful than in New York. For one thing, I wasn't dealing with a big city I was unfamiliar with and not as comfortable in. Boston is practically my home, so I tend to dress more carefree and less reserved. It's also easier to get from one end of Boston to the other, so I could stop at my boyfriend's apartment to change more often. Whereas in NYC, I opted for simple pieces that could take me through the whole day (and black clothes that wouldn't show spills, like the pumpkin spice latte I dumped all over me).

         I still wore a lot of leather, but I incorporated more color and patterns. The first night, I attended the Denise Hajjar and Candice Wu shows in a black, ruched one-shoulder dress with silver beading down the side. Throughout the week, I wore my new dark blue tuxedo pants, my favorite plaid flannel, a vintage metal belt my grandma gave me, and a purple lace peplum top.

         Before Tricia Cromwell's Style Swap, I took a trip the MFA with my boyfriend, Andy. It was surprisingly hot and I was glad I chose to wear the only skirt I brought! I paired it with a studded (in the back) collared top, a dark green, vintage belt, gold jewelry, and my DIY bucket bag. For an unexpected touch, I wore my sneaker wedges that I love combined with the leather skirt.

 Top - TJ Maxx
Skirt - Charlotte Russe
Sneaker Wedges - Urban Outfitters
Necklaces - Daisy Fuentes, La Mer
Belt - vintage
Bag - thrifted

The Hippie Exhibit at the Museum of Fine Arts.

My favorite piece in the exhibit was the little jumpsuit number in the back complete with a floppy, felt hat.

I loved the fabrics in this dress.

My silly boyfriend!

Photographs courtesy of Andy Cahill.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Fall 2013 Mood Board

Fall 2013 Mood Board

Fall 2013 Mood Board by fashionistagal1 featuring Utzon

          This fall I've been obsessed with leather, lace, plaid, black ankle boots, and sneaker wedges. I love them together or as separate pieces in an edgy, casual outfit. For me, it's all about wearing statement pieces in a laid-back, effortless style. I also had to incorporate tuxedo pants, as an alternative to jeans, and cropped sweatpants, for lazy days, into my wardrobe this season. For accessories, I'm going for skulls on everything and lots of hats. My handbag of the moment - bucket bags, which I wrote about earlier last month. 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Announcing Jenny's Open Closet on Etsy!

         Consider this the official press release for my Etsy shop! Since I'm currently taking time off from school, I needed a creative project to benefit my spare time. It's a bit hard finding a part time, no degree required job out here in the mountains of NH, so I decided to turn all the jewelry I make for fun into a business!

          My designs revolve around re-purposing old pieces to make new, stylish ones! So far, I have a collection of nine jewelry pieces, all made with materials from old jewelry, my own bead stash, and stones from a local gem shop. Each necklace, pair of earrings, and bracelet is unique because I only have so many of the same supplies. They all fit different personal styles and most can be worn for both everyday or special occasions.

          I'm also working on a clothing collection of reconstructed vintage, like the pieces I made this summer! So stay tuned for updates to come! Until then, here's a look at some of the jewelry on my Etsy shop right now...

Purple Gems Duchess Statement Necklace - $36.50

Fringe and Rhinestone Statement Necklace - $26

Dangling Triangle Stone Pendant - $37.75

Twisted Stone Pendant with Pearls Necklace - $31.25

Braided Turquoise and Gold Beaded Bracelet - $10.75

Photos courtesy of Jeff Ortakales Photography

Monday, October 14, 2013

BFW SS14: Extrinsic 2

          DH Studios represented over eight designers in their fashion extravaganza called Extrinsic 2 at the downtown club, Venu. They showcased different clothing, jewelry, and accessories designers in each portion of their three hour fashion show, while vendors sold pieces between intermissions.

          The first segment started the show with too many frills and flowers, but the second launched the presentation into a serious, fashion forward event. While La Bella Moda's idea behind their decked out wedding and evening gowns was intriguing, unfortunately, it was executed as tacky and cheap. However, this set the stage for a wow moment from Julie Kontos' feminine designs that were beautifully accented with T*Racy's intricate, edgy jewelry. Tracy Belben's leg and hand chains were a highlight of the night. The last segment was Daniel Hernandez's shining moment as the featured Boston Fashion Award Winning designer of the night. A short film explained his journey from poverty and a dancer opened the fashion show with some acrobatics and choreography. His collection for DH Studios was dark and urban, with sophisticated separates and sexy dresses. For a short moment a multicolored, geometric top paired with shiny pants was outdated-disco and felt awkwardly out of place. But overall, the craft that Hernandez puts into his pieces showed through and proved his award winner status.

Segment 1
Clothes - La Bella Moda by Antoinette Piesche
Jewelry - Ortega Jewelry Designs

 Segment 2 
Clothes - Julie Kontos
Jewelry - T*Racy by Tracy Belben
Bags - The Kitchen Sink Bag

 Segment 3
Clothes - DH Studios by Daniel Hernandez
Jewelry - Tina Lang Creations Jewelry
Bags - Eliann