About Joyatri

Avid thrifter and vintage clothes wearer. Love 1960s and early 1970s styles. Partial to Art Nouveau, Pre-Raphaelite, Victorian, Renaissance and Medieval art. Former art historian. Current packrat. On a continual quest for good-looking, comfortable vegan shoes. Bhangra dancer since 2002. Fascinated by all things Indian. Vegan and animal advocate. 

Click on Products to browse hand-crafted scarves, bags, and jewelry from India for sale.

The Joyatri on Etsy shop will be temporarily closed until mid-January, 2015.


 

 

 

Please do leave a comment and let me know that you stopped by! I love hearing from you.

Words I like:

"She was dressed, as usual, in an odd assortment of clothes, most of which had belonged to other people." 

Excellent Women by Barbara Pym (1913-1980)

 

 

“I said "Somebody should do something about that." Then I realized I am somebody.”

 Lily Tomlin

 

 

 

Why Vegan?

 


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Joyatri is on Spy Girl's Digital Catwalk


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Wednesday
Sep252013

On the Digital Catwalk

I am honored that Anne of Spy Girl has put me on her Digital Catwalk again. She has captured all the details of United Nations challenge outfit: the embroidery and beadwork on the Ethiopian scarf, the patterns on the Indian blouse and vest, and the embroidered patchwork of my Guatemalan skirt. And I love that I look 6 feet tall!

Thank you, Anne!

Sunday
Sep222013

Stepping through the wonderwall

What a fun, vintage-filled weekend! On Saturday, I re-visited the Hippie Chic exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (closing Nov. 11) with my friend Lauren (the curator of the exhibition) and Ms. Hippie Chic herself, the fashion designer Anna Sui, who came to Boston to see the show with a mutual friend of ours.

Her enthusiasm for fashions of the '60s and '70s has filtered into her collections of the past couple decades and she has been one of the few (only?) contemporary designers I have paid attention to. In the early 1990s, I often made the rounds of galleries in Soho (New York) for my job and always stopped for a gander around the Anna Sui boutique. With its dark red floor, purple walls and ornate furnishings, I admired the look of the store as much as the clothes. I remember racks full of panne velvet, leg o' mutton sleeves, stripes in primary colors, dandy hats, floaty fabrics and all the other fashion elements I've loved pretty much my whole life. I have a shiny, dark red Anna Sui jacket from that period. Then and now, it is my go-to jacket when I want to feel like a rock star.

Jan Toorop (1858-1928), Delft Salad Oil Poster, lithograph, 1894After visiting the Hippie Chic show, we took in a small Dutch Art Nouveau works on paper exhibit. Can you believe this is an advertisement for salad oil? 

I finally got to wear the vaguely medieval maxi dress I purchased at Second to None when I visited Vix in Walsall last year.

The label is still a mystery. Anyone know anything about a boutique in Hampstead (London) called Aurium?

Rayon dress made in India, Second to None, Walsall, UK. Contemporary denim vest, thrifted, Goodwill. Mid-century Norwegian brooch I've had for decades (I'll post more about this brooch later). Moon face pendant and silver and amethyst moon face necklace, purchased in the 1970s. Indian brass and glass necklace, purchased from Frocktasia. Strands of 'love beads' made by me in the 1970s.Vintage embroidered velvet and corduroy bag, Made in Pakistan, thrifted, Boomerang. Contemporary shoes, thrifted, Goodwill, painted by me. Vintage stockings with stars, thrifted, Goodwill. Vintage hat from Frocktasia. 1970s Butte Knit black velvet jacket, thrifted, Goodwill. Late 1960s/early 1970s Patty O'Neil polyester mini-dress, thrifted, Goodwill. Hand-crocheted vest, thrifted, Goodwill. Blue tights, thrifted, Goodwill. 1960s chain belt and 1930s Bakelite brooch, both owned for decades. Clogs, thrifted, Goodwill, painted by me. 1990s black nylon bag, painted by me.Can I get away with wearing a micro-mini? I went out in public and I wasn't arrested, so I guess so.

The next best thing to fabric-covered buttons? Giant ball-shaped buttons.

Patty O'Neil Jr. Petites label. This dress once belonged to Anita L. Nichols. Thanks for the dress, Anita. Sunday morning, over home-made baked goods (including those banana muffins I inflict on everyone), Anna, our friend, and I met to pour over a selection of my horde of vintage clothing and Indian textiles. It's so much fun to hang out with like-minded folk who get excited by bits of schmata, especially ones who are as knowledgeable as Anna is about textiles and fashion. I only wish we'd more time to chat!

You know how much I enjoyed the exhibition, "Pre-Raphaelites: Victorian Avant-Garde" that was at the Tate Britain last year. So to see a fashion collection inspired by that exhibition makes me too giddy for words. I keep watching the video of Anna Sui's Spring 2014 Collection over and over. It's a veritable bounty of Art Nouveau motifs, peacock blues, diaphanous tops and frocks, gladiator sandals, purples, Glasgow-School-style roses, panne velvet trousers, and glorious pattern mixing.

Enjoy!

Linking up with Not Dead Yet Style's Visible Monday party.

Thursday
Sep192013

Dressing for world peace: the U.N. challenge

You can tell the weather is getting cooler; I take outfit shots more frequently. There are a whopping three in this one post. In the summer, it is usually sweltering in my apartment, too hot to fuss about taking photos. The days have been gorgeous, cool air and lots of sunshine (sorry, people in not-sunny places).

When I saw that Spy Girl's 52-Pick-Me-Up challenge was 'United Nations' (wear items from different countries), I couldn't not participate. About a third of my clothes and accessories were purchased in India. Here's my India/Guatemala/Ethiopia/Pakistan/Kenya submission. How's that for diversity?

Vintage hat purchased from Frocktasia. Fab India printed cotton shirt purchased in India. Anokhi printed cotton vest, thrifted, Goodwill. Mayan Connections embroidered patchwork skirt, made in Guatemala, purchased at the Washington DC Green Festival. Vintage Pakistani embroidered velvet bag, purchased, eBay. Tights, thrifted, Goodwill. Embroidered and beaded scarf from Ethiopia, thrifted. Non-leather boots purchased on sale. Necklace and beaded bracelets, gifts brought back from Kenya.

I also have tons of thrifted clothes to show.

I love a striped menswear-looking shirt and I've been on a mission to acquire more vests.

1970s 'Catch Can' striped blouse, thrifted, Goodwill. Hand-crocheted vest, thrifted, Goodwill. Gap jeans, I recall getting these on sale ($7) at The Gap about 7 years ago. 1980S Fiorucci belt, thrifted, Goodwill. Indian brass necklace, Etsy. 1970S applique vinyl bag, Etsy. Boring black shoes, thrifted, Goodwill (worn to determine if they're comfortable enough to be worth painting). Mission accomplished.

This pattern has been in my collection for decades, but I don't yet possess the skills needed to alter it to fit. But, I've always wanted a 30's-inspired jacket with a large pointed collar and a nipped in waist.

1970s does 1930s knit top, no label, thrifted, Goodwill. Fedora from vintage/consignment shop Raspberry Beret. Michael Kors trousers purchased new 12 or so years ago Filene's Basement. 1940s or 50s metal bead necklace I've owned forever. Fabric flower from a hat. Bangles purchased in India. The thrift store gods again looked favorably upon me and I found one a few months back. 

Can't recall where this straw hat came from. 1970s does 1930s velvet and vinyl bag, purchased at the Rock and Roll Yard Sale. The chevron top stitching and insets in the pockets and sleeves are pretty cool. I most certainly don't have the 'dolly bird' shape of Biba's models, but I was reminded of this outfit from one of the Biba catalogues.

My wardrobe is so geared for fall weather: jackets, boots, tights, scarves, vests. Anyone else feel more inspired by cooler weather?

I drafted this post while sitting in a cafe earlier this evening and the guys at the table behind me were having a passionate conversation about meteorology, spewing out phrases like 'aerosol particles,' 'refractory material,' and 'invigorating convection.' I love Cambridge.

Friday
Sep132013

Using the veg box, part 1

Thank you so much for your kind comments on my last post!

I love my veg box. The home delivery service, Boston Organics, brings vegetables and fruit to me every other week. I do all of my food shopping on foot and can only carry so much. I eat so much better when my fruit and veg is taken care of. And it's fun trying new recipes to use whatever arrived. 

The coconut milk and the sweet potato give this dish a lovely soft orange color. Lately I've been getting lots of dark leafy greens and sweet potatoes. A big bunch of callaloo was turned into this Jamaican stew of the same name (recipe here--it can also be made with spinach). I tend to cook for an army and eat the same thing for days. In order to mix things up a bit, I've made the freezer my friend, and in goes the callaloo or vats of minestrone or lentil stew.

One of my favorite summer recipes, using summer squash, zucchini, tomatoes and basil is Super Quick Tomato Basil Cream Pasta. I double the recipe of the tomato-cashew sauce and freeze some. Instead of pasta, I use a vegetable peeler (you can use a mandoline if you want to get all fancy) to make “noodles” of summer squash or zucchini (or both as here)The tomato-cashew sauce needs lots of stirring to 'toast' it after it's blended. The squash ribbons are sauteed in oil just to get them hot and slightly softer.The sauce is very rich (and addictive) so this meal is as satisfying as a plate of pasta. This summer I have been eating lots of homemade 'ice cream.'

For a single serving, put a chopped up frozen, very-ripe banana in a food processor with about 8 frozen cherries, add ½ teaspoon vanilla extract and 1 teaspoon cocoa. Blend until there are no lumps (it'll be the texture of soft-serve ice cream). If I want it sweeter, I also blend in a teaspoon of agave nectar. Voila, a chocolatey dessert with virtually no fat!

I'll save 'baking with my veg box' for another post.

Sunday
Sep012013

Dog was my co-pilot

 

With two of my favorite charges at the hurricane relief center. 'Red dog' just wanted cuddle all the time. From his scars, it appears he was a 'bait dog' used in dogfighting.I started this blog on December 23, 2005 and two days later, on Christmas Day, I flew to New Orleans to take care of dogs rescued from Hurricane Katrina. In February, 2006, I went back for a second volunteer stint. This blog was intended to be about the plight of the rescued dogs, but then came to be about all animals and particularly animals in India (how’s that for a niche?)

Looking back at old posts, I see that I even managed to work in my craft endeavors.

Embroidered and painted quilt square inspired by images from aftermath of Hurricane Katrina For decades I collected vintage dog photos (unfortunately, still packed away since my move back into my apartment 3 years ago) and all manner of dog tchotchkes.

Vignettes from my living room:

1950s Phil-Mar Corporation ceramic TV lamp. The company called this the TV 110 Wolfhounds lamp. Click pic for more info on Phil-Mar TV lamps.

One of my favorite vintage photos, of a woman and her German Shepherd. The cookie tins store my postcard collection. And in my kitchen:

Contemporary and vintage dog mugs.Glass dog-shaped containers and glass dogs. Vintage "my best friend's biscuit" tin, 1930s framed tile and 1930s painted tray. And, of course, there were a dozen years with the love-of-my-life, Rudy, who’s been gone for 10 years, but I still think of her nearly every day.

Me and Rudy when she was quite young, 1991.As you can see in the photo that accompanies this post memorializing her, Rudy liked to ride shotgun with my friend Chris (who I co-parented her with). So, I created some low-budget bumper stickers for his truck.

Rudy poses with bumper sticker with her likeness.After neglecting my blog for a couple years, it was reincarnated in 2010 as a ‘whatever-strikes-my-fancy’ blog (which usually means vintage clothing, thrifting, sewing, shoe painting, vegan food, books, and travel).

So back to the present, which, unfortunately, is not so dog-focused --

My local thrift stores aren’t as cheap as I would like, and I’m always jealous of bloggers who find treasures for pennies. A couple weeks ago, I took a bus over to the next town, to a giant thrift store I had never been to before. Wednesdays are ‘senior’ (to them, anyone over age 50) discount days. The place is huge, and it took some digging, but I ended up with 2 dresses, 4 blouses, 2 scarves, some hair accessories and a pair of curtains. In the check-out line I was pleased that I was going to get the senior discount, which I assumed was 20-25%. Imagine my delight to find out it was 50% (but just on clothes and accessories). My total came to $21.00!

My favorite purchase was this late 1960s-early 1970s peacock blue, paisley/ikat patterned, low-cut, empire waist maxi dress (I think I just typed all of my favorite dress descriptors). It cost all of $3!

Hair flower taken from a hat purchased in the 1980s. 1970s pewter and ceramic pendant, purchased at a car boot sale in London. Embroidered corduroy and velvet Pakistani bag, purchased at Boomerang’s.There is no Visible Monday this week, so I’m joining Judith at Style Crone’s Hat Attack. For all manner of vintage and contemporary headwear, have a look!

It seems like most of the bloggers I know live with cats and not so many with dogs. More dogs on blogs, please.

Sunday
Aug252013

Rock, roll (and recuperate)

My end-of-summer lookI hope to get this post completed before I pass out from exhaustion. Today my friend Chris and I were selling at the annual Rock and Roll Yard Sale, a street fair/market with vinyl sellers, live music, crafters, and vintage dealers. I’ve spent most of my free time the past few weeks sorting through boxes of stuff that I’ve had for decades as well as pricing and preparing -- with the hopes of clearing out loads in one fell swoop. And I did. We couldn’t have asked for more perfect weather and the crowds were non-stop all day.

I didn’t get much time to perfect my display before it got very busy. With the exception of two right nearby, I didn’t have a chance to visit the other vintage sellers, so no purchases for me today.

.I’ve always loved the scarves, linens and jewelry in the shop ‘Carmen & Ginger’ on Etsy, so it was fun to get a quick glimpse of their retro wares. 

On the other side, I met vintage seller, July White who was sharing a space with Maria of Tezcatlipoca

July purchased this early 1970s striped knit mini by Whistle Stop from me and wore it immediately.

Tezcatlipoca’s Colin Glascoe plum and gold print velvet maxi dress was drop-dead gorgeous.

I didn’t get to see much that wasn’t in a 15-foot radius of my tent. So I was glad that Famous Seamus, the world's mellowest cat who puts in appearances at a number of outdoor events in the area, passed close enough for me to give him a head scratch.

Skirt, tie-dye peasant blouse, and corset, all thrifted. Moon face pendant purchased in the 1970s. Bangles from India. Flower crown made by me.No pictures of me at the Sale, (and I wouldn’t have allowed any as I was too hot and bedraggled). I wore this outfit with a straw hat instead of my flower crown, and tons more jewelry.

I'm linking up to Not Dead Yet Style's Visible Monday and then crashing into bed. Now that this event is over, I do plan to catch up on my blog reading!

Nighty night.

Monday
Aug052013

King's Row anyone?

Darn you, eBay.

Since they added the ‘here’s some listings from your recent searches” on the home page, I’ve been sucked into perusing 1960s and 70s dresses that I have no business looking at. Well, I bought one. It fit but I just didn’t like it on me. So the dress is headed for Etsy.

I have a weakness for fabric-covered buttons and psychedelic prints.

I was intrigued by the label, King’s Row, which, of course, sounds similar to ‘King’s Road’ in London, home to 1960s avant-garde boutiques like Granny Takes a Trip. But which company issued the King’s Row label? By searching the RN number, it was revealed that the manufacturer was Puritan Fashions!

Puritan Fashions, a Boston company that had been around since the beginning of the 20th century, helped introduce British mod fashion to the U.S. Aided by Paul Young, a British entrepreneur, Puritan launched the Youthquake label in 1965 bringing in designers like Mary Quant, Sally Tuffin and Marion Foale and fostering young American talent like Betsy Johnson. At this time London had a number of forward-thinking boutiques, but the U.S. fashion industry was fairly staid in its approach to the youth market. So, the establishment of Youthquake led Young (who was inspired by Biba in London) and Puritan’s CEO to open Paraphernalia in New York, a ‘happening’ store that brought together music, fashion, art and popular culture to give American youth their own shopping experience.

I own a metallic knit Youthquake dress that I bought decades ago, which I used to wear to art exhibition openings in London in the early 1990s. It was far too short for me to consider wearing in Boston. Note that the delightfully flouncy sleeves are as long as the dress.

I love the label.

So it seems that Puritan also had the King’s Row label (again capitalizing on British fashion), but I can’t find out when or why. The King's Row clothes for sale online appear to cover the early to mid-1970s. If anyone knows more about this label, please let me know.

Like the ice-blue dress in my last post, I seem to be finding lots of 1970s vintage at the thrift store (I’m guessing no one else wants it). Since I have a dearth of short sleeves in my wardrobe, I picked up this early 1970s knit dress (no label) and shortened it (thanks to everyone who offered that advice for the ice-blue dress).

For the bag, I broke out my textile paintsand painted gold stars on the Tyvek-like fabric (when it comes to crafts, rather than ‘put a bird on it,’ I put a star on it) and made new straps out of star-print fabric.

The general style of the dress reminded me of this one by Betsey Johnson for Alley Cat, from an editorial in the March 1974 issue of Seventeen magazine.

The print of little pink flowers springs recalls the sweet floral prints of the early 1970s, for example, on these Butterick patterns for Betsey Johnson/Alley Cat designs.

Source

Source

In addition to filling out my summer wardrobe with short-sleeve dresses, the thrift store has me prepared for fall. A load of opaque tights by American Apparel had been deposited there yesterday. All looked to be unworn, perhaps just taken out of the package or used for display. Retailing for $16 - 25 each, I paid 99 cents each.

A dozen just-washed tights in lovely fall colors.

I pulled something out of my closet last week and thought, "this would look great with a pair of mustard-colored tights." Now, I have two pairs of mustard-colored tights! It's like the Law of Attraction or something.

Joining in with this week's Visible Monday.

Sunday
Jul212013

Christmas in July

I recently drafted a pattern for an A-line skirt and when I went to the fabric store to get muslin, I found that the cheapest cottons they had were Christmas prints on sale. (What, me buy something new? My local thrift store rarely has fabric or cotton sheets). So I decided to make the muslin for my skirt out of green cotton with gold stars.

‘Christmas’ print cotton skirt, made by me. 1970s blouse by Nutmeg, thrifted, Goodwill. 1970s green plastic bead necklace, thrifted, Goodwill. 1980s star pin, thrifted, Boomerang. 1960s striped belt, thrifted, Goodwill. Bangles purchased in India. Dansko clogs, thrifted, Goodwill. Thai silk handbag, thrifted, Goodwill.I then broke two of my own rules (Rule #1- Never tuck anything in. Rule #2 - Never wear yellow since it makes me look jaundiced) by tucking a mid-1970s blouse in yellow with black stripes and piping into my ‘Christmas’ skirt.

It was also like Christmas this weekend because I received a little package in the mail from Cardiff, Wales. I had sent Sian--who blogs about crafting, vegan cooking, books, and more-- a couple of the novels I acquired and read when I was in London. Both were set in 1960s Wales and I thought she would appreciate them.

She did, and sent me this sweet bluebird pin (packaged in a Leone pastilles box that matched the blouse I was wearing). I love it and planned to wear right away.

Like Saturday’s outfit, Sunday’s was in the category of “things I never wear.” I don’t normally wear pastel colors or lace or self-belts that tie. But, I was attracted to the butterfly sleeves of this 1970s home-sewn, ice-blue polyester dress at the thrift store.

I was put off by the large coffee stain (that’s the story I gave it and I’m sticking to it) on the back of the skirt. I've had good luck getting stains out of polyester, so I bought it, washed it and it was as good as new. Except for a couple pulls at the waist where the thrift store had pinned the belt that came with it. Aargh!

I wore it to trek over to the Davis Flea, a weekly flea market that started last year but which I hadn’t visited yet. Unfortunately, the market wasn’t very big and I didn’t see much worth reporting on.

1970s polyester dress, thrifted, Goodwill. Hat, no idea, as before. Bluebird pin, gift from Sian. Silver necklace, Cultural Survival Bazarr. Bangles, purchased in India. Late 1960s/early 1970s Pakistani velvet bag, purchased at a yard sale years ago (the first bag of what would become a collection!). Sandals, purchased new at Moo Shoes, NY.I’m thinking that I’ll shorten this dress to just above the knee. What do you think?

On my way to the Flea, I cut through the campus of Harvard University. And was dismayed to see that the tree where Winnie the Pooh has had his pied-à-terre for nearly 30 years (no one knows for sure how long) had been cut down.  Thankfully, a stump had been left and a new roof was built for it.

Happy 65th birthday, Yusuf (a.k.a. Cat Stevens)!

 

I wasn't invited to Yusuf's birthday party, so I'll head over to Not Dead Yet Style’s Visible Monday shindig. And, join '70s flashback get-together on Spy Girl's blog.

Tuesday
Jul162013

Highlights from Hippie Chic

Here is a wee tour of the Hippie Chic exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. This Facebook album (you don’t need to have a Facebook account to see it) has many more photos of the show. I didn't photograph every mannequin—so there will be some surprises if you do see the show or read the exhibition catalogue.

The exhibition shows designer fashion inspired by the street style created by hippies, and touches on the different elements that went into hippie style: Trippy Hippie, Fantasy Hippie, Craft Hippie, Ethnic Hippie, and Retro Hippie. The phenomenal wigs by Jason Allen, a hair and make-up artist for the Boston Lyric Opera and Boston Ballet, are critical to each look since hair was as way out as clothing in this period.

All fashion is in the collection of Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, unless I’ve stated otherwise. Props and accessories provided by a number of lenders (including me). If you do share these images, please link back to my Facebook page or my blog.

The info on each piece comes from the exhibition catalogue, which is available for purchase here. I can't recommend it enough. It not only contains images of many of the pieces in the exhibit, but there are supplementary photos that place each example in context.

Trippy Hippie

In the center of the gallery, on round platforms covered with shag carpeting in acid colors, the Trippy Hippies lead you into the exhibition. In case the colors and styles of these psychedelic clothes weren’t mind-altering enough, a couple of the platforms actually rotate.

One first encounters Patti Boyd’s doppelganger in a Cosmic Couture dress by Barry and Yosha Finch for The Chariot, about 1970. After the design collective The Fool disbanded, Barry Finch and Yosha Leeger moved to Los Angeles where they opened a boutique called The Chariot selling handmade clothing and furnishing fabrics. They eventually shifted to providing the “Cosmic Couture” label to upscale department stores. This dress is perfection with its vaguely medieval style, celestial theme and rainbow sleeves in cotton velvet.

A peak at the lining of the sleeves of the Cosmic Couture dress.

Alkasura jacket with stippled cat and flower print, c. 1970. The mannequin wears my faceted rose-tinted glasses (the ones in the header image of my blog and blog's Facebook page), which I’ve had since 1968.

On the left, the Noel Redding (of the Jimi Hendrix Experience) mannequin wears a Granny Takes a Trip jacket in fabric by Morris & Co. designed by John Pearse in about 1967. On the right, a Granny Takes a Trip velvet suit from the early 1970s.

Lauren told me that these jackets and the trousers were so small, they wouldn’t fit contemporary male mannequins, which are 6 ft. 5 in. tall and buff. So it was necessary to take the mannequins to the Museum carpentry shop to be cut down to shorten them. It was also necessary to have the chest, shoulder blades, pubic area and buttocks sawed off, leaving an effect, as Lauren says, "like Swiss cheese" which "caused the carpenters to be scarred for life."

Fantasy Hippie

As a hippie, you could be a Renaissance troubadour, a homesteader on the American prairie, a medieval princess, or any other persona pulled from history or fairy tales.

The ‘three graces’ in the center wear some of the most beautiful dresses in the show. From left, designed by Lee Bender for Bust Stop, circa 1970. Silk crepe dress designed by Ossie Clark with fabric designed by Celia Birtwell,, early 1970s. The exhibition catalogue notes that the center dress by Giorgio di Sant’Angelo was likely inspired by Sandro Botticellie’s early Renaissance work, Allegory of Spring (La Primavera). Dress from 1972 by the fantasy-frock master, Bill Gibbs, in a sea-shell print.

Betsy Johnson’s 1968 Tara dress inspired by 'Gone with the Wind'.

Craft Hippie

Much of hippie fashion was about DIY and designers followed suit by using a variety of construction and decorative echniques.

You can’t have a hippie show without tie-dye. This Halston pantsuit in silk velvet from 1969 is a luxe version.

Star-embellished boots (made by Gohill, retailed by Granny Takes a Trip, 1969) accompany a Holly Harp tie-dyed dress with an embroidered suede belt. The mannequin is seeing stars in 1970s sunglasses.

Ethnic Hippie

The hippie penchant for travel and the romanticizing of cultures that seemed to offer a "purer" way of life was reflected in the use of textiles from these cultures.

Left to right: John Bates hooded djellabah (barely visible) Geoffrey Beane dress, Thea Porter coat made from an Iraqi textile with fur added to cuffs and collar (1969), Thea Porter dress, Zandra Rhodes dress, fringed and beaded suede East West Musical Instruments Company jacket (loan from FIDM Museum).

The mannequins have been raiding my wardrobe again. This one wears a stamped leather hair slide I bought in the early 1970s, when my hair was this long.

Thea Porter chiffon dress with Central Asian suzani bodice (about 1970). Velvet Pakistani bag with gold braid on loan to the exhibition from my collection.

Retro Hippie

Unlike the romance of fairy tales and costume from earlier periods of history, the ‘Retro Hippie’ mined the recent past—the 1920s-40s. Recalling free spirits such as bootleggers, flappers and Hollywood villains and vamps, these fashions have a more glamorous vibe.

Ossie Clark certainly knew how to make feminine, flattering dresses with his use of bias cut fabric (black and white one with fabric by Celia Birtwell).

An art deco-print jumpsuit designed by Barbara Hulanicki for Biba in the early 1970s. The mannequin holds one of Biba’s mail-order catalogs.

See more photos of the fashion in the exhbition on my blog Facebook page.

Monday
Jul152013

Hippie happening at the MFA, Boston

At tonight’s opening reception of the Hippie Chic exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, curator Lauren Whitley encouraged attendees to be inspired by the exhibition and approach their wardrobe with creativity and a sense of fun, as hippies did. I think that’s something my fellow bloggers have taken to heart long ago.

I had planned to give you a tour of the Hippie Chic exhibition, which I previewed last week. But that would have made this post ridiculously long. So this is just about the party.

The Museum had two psychedelic painted VW buses parked out front to be used as photo opps

As predicted Lauren was the belle of the ball in her bright turquoise Mexican wedding dress. She had purchased a vintage maxi online to wear to the opening. Turns out it didn’t fit her. So I told her I’d find a dress for her in the vintage wonderland that is Frocktasia’s stockroom (you can see the dress behind me here) and brought it back from London. I must have had at least 20 people at the opening, including Lauren's mother, tell me how perfect that dress was for her (word had gotten out that I had a hand in its acquisition).

Lauren’s online purchase did not go to waste--I wore it. We both wore flower crowns that we made from flowers left over from a headpiece the Museum designer made for one of the mannequins in the exhibition.

My dapper escort Chris in a vintage seersucker suit and embroidered shirt. I made his boutonnière.

Lauren looks so beautiful, like a Scandinavian fairy princess. I usually go for an ‘ethnic’ or ‘medieval’ hippie style in earth tones, but I quite like this romantic look on me.

I was reminded of this photo taken at the opening of an exhibition I curated at the MFA, Boston, 17 years ago. I found the off-white satin Richard Tyler jacket that Lauren is wearing at Filene’s Basement. So, we have a long history of finding clothes for each other!

Throughout the evening, a number of people asked to take our photo. Check out Boston fashion and lifestyle blogger, Chynna Pope's post here. We're her "favorite Hippie couple of the night."

I worked at the MFA for 14 years and haven’t been to an opening there in at least a decade. So, I was catching up with folks and forgot to take party pics.

One of my favorite looks at the opening was worn by Barbara, who heads the Education Department. Her sister made this dress from an Indian block-printed bedspread in 1970.

Another Museum employee borrowed this hand-embroidered blouse from a colleague who made it in 1970.

The end of the evening.

Lauren singing along to Joni Mitchell, which the DJ was playing. By the end of the evening, she was a bit punch-drunk from being ‘on’ all day.

Late 1960s/early 1970s maxi by Young Innocent by Arpeja, borrowed from Lauren. Flower crown made by me. Victorian velvet bag I’ve owned since the late 1960s/early 1970s. Vintage necklaces. 'Natural Comfort' platforms with lengths of purple chiffon tied to them, thrifted. After the opening, Chris and I went to get some vegan ice cream at FoMu. I chose the flavor ‘Chocolate magic bar’ (chocolate ice cream with graham cracker crumbs, chocolate chips and coconut flakes) which seemed a hippie sort of flavor.

Squeaking in under the wire for the party over at Visible Monday. And how can I not link to Spy Girl's 52 Pick-me-up: 70s Flashback.

Saturday
Jul132013

V.I.C.E in the park

After a strenuous 1 ½-hour bhangra rehearsal today, I got to make up for any burned-off calories by gorging myself at an annual vegan ice cream event (known as “V.I.C.E.”).

It seemed like a good occasion to wear my newly thrifted 1970s patchwork maxi skirt.

1970s patchwork skirt, thrifted. Another 1970s DR (Design Research) t-shirt (I bought a bag of them at a yard sale 20 years ago). Rajasthani wedding bangles purchased in India. Purple tagua nut ring purchased at a charity shop in Walsall. Carnelian and silver ring, present from A. Silver band with star cut outs, I’ve had since the 1970s.Trio of metal pins I acquired in the 1970s. I don’t know if ice cream socials are just an American thing. This one was potluck, where everybody brought some vegan ice cream--store-bought, from the local vegan ice cream parlor, or homemade--plus a variety of toppings. I was short on time and just made some healthy blueberry topping. Ice cream flavors available were pomegranate chocolate chip, rosewater saffron, peanut butter chocolate, strawberry, mint chocolate chip, and some that I didn’t get to try. Non-dairy ice cream can be made with a nut-, coconut-, or soy-milk base. I was never big on dairy ice cream (it felt “mucuosy” to me). Vegan ice creams are rich without being heavy, if that makes sense.

It was a rather messy, chaotic event, but a cooler kept the ice cream from melting too much.Hello, little guy. Jasper put the “social” in “ice cream social.”I was having flashbacks to Jennie’s recent pocket puppy incident in the park.

He’s like a dog and a kitten rolled into one! Total non-sequitur: When I returned to Cambridge (U.S.) from London, my neighborhood was green and lush due to the copious amount of rainfall of the past couple months. The overpowering smell of the honeysuckle trees permeated the hot, humid air no matter where I walked. This has faded, but one of my neighbors has lilies around their house and now I get accosted by an equally intense floral scent.

I had a friend from New York staying in my apartment while I was away and the one thing he gushed about was how pretty my neighborhood is. I do have to agree.

I hope your weekend is filled with ice cream and puppies, too.

Thursday
Jul112013

Hippie Chic sneak peek

Curating and installing a museum exhibition takes an enormous amount of planning and effort. When I worked in a museum, my colleagues and I would joke that ‘museum years’ were like ‘dog years.’ You could be writing a catalog of the collection or curating an exhibition for many, many years. There were no ‘quick fixes’ in terms of seeing your work come to fruition. But, it was creative and fun and I sometimes miss those days.

Detail. Man’s suit, Retailed at Granny Takes a Trip, London, England, about 1969. Rayon velvet with acetate lining. Museum purchase with funds donated by Doris May. Collection: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. 2009.2348.1-3My friend Lauren has pulled off the amazing coup of the Hippie Chic exhibition running from July 16 to November 11 at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Curating the exhibition entailed choosing which items would go into the show as well as filling in gaps by acquiring pieces and arranging loans from private collectors and other museums. Plus, there was choosing and dressing the mannequins, finding and co-ordinating accessories, working with designers on the display, overseeing photography for and writing the exhibition catalog, writing text panels and labels, and a whole host of other things.

Given that I’m a bit obsessed with the topic of fashion of the late 1960s/early 1970s, I’ve followed the planning and preparations of the show with keen interest.

Detail. Woman’s coat. Designed by Thea Porter, England, London, 1969. Wool twill embroidered with wool yarns, fur trim, and silk satin lining. Textile Income Purchase Fund, Textile Curator’s Fund, Alice J. Morse Fund and partial gift of Shrimpton Corporation. Collection: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. 2008.1040Yesterday, Lauren was kind enough to give me a sneak peek of the exhibition. The premise of the show is the “trickle up” of hippie street style to designers in late 1960s and early 1970s. I don’t want to give away too much before the opening, but let’s just say that there was enough purple (the gallery walls), velvet, psychedelic prints, flowing mannequin locks, embroidery, fringe and Juliet sleeves to have me continuously oohing and aahing.

The wigs of the mannequins were created by the designer for the Boston Lyric Opera and the Boston Ballet. Lauren provided images of period hairstyles and each wig was thoughtfully co-ordinated with the outfits.

This mannequin wearing a leather and suede jacket by East West Musical Instruments Company in San Francisco sports a hairstyle modeled on Lauren’s (she doesn't usually work in bare feet, but has removed her shoes to stand--at my insistence--on the newly painted platform).

The show is divided into five areas: Trippy Hippy, Fantasy Hippie, Craft Hippie, Ethnic Hippie and Retro Hippie.

We decided that my ensemble yesterday placed me firmly in ‘Ethnic Hippie’ so I posed with the exquisite Thea Porter embroidered and sequined caftan from about 1969.

The tea rose cotton gauze dress with a smocked bodice and ties at the neckline was purchased in 2011 from Nabali at Greenwich Market (same designer who made the red wool coat in this post.) Since a smocked bodice is not a flattering look on me, I’m glad I had my trusty, recently thrifted denim vest. The antique Indian necklace was purchased from Tribal Arts at the Cultural Survival Bazaar and the Mexican embroidered bag came from another Cultural Survival Bazaar vendor.

The opening reception is next Monday and I still need to complete the finishing touches on my outfit. Lauren will be wearing a maxi purchased from Frocktasia and will be the belle of the ball.

Monday
Jul082013

Independence Day weekend

After my last post, I got a bit carried away with red, white and blue.

Red, White, and Blue Cowgirl

I found these T.U.K. cowboy boots (and they're non-leather!) at the thrift store last week and raided my Etsy store for the 1970s cowgirl dress.The denim vest was another recent thrift-store find and I know it's going to become a mainstay of my wardrobe.

The Indian print scarf I've had since the 1970s and the Indian embroidered bag (which you can’t really see) just got a new lease on life after I refurbished it with a new zipper, lining, and strap. The beaded bracelet may have been something A.’s mother brought back from Kenya (where she grew up), but he can’t remember.

Red, White, and Blue California Girl

Straw hat, thrifted with hat band added by me. 1970s Graf Californiawear blouse. 1990s H & M denim mini-skirt. Bloomingdale’s b-line stockings, thrifted. Clogs, thifted and painted by me. Beaded necklace, thrifted. 1970s woven belt – no idea.I might have to reclaim this 1970s Graf Californiawear polyester blouse from my Etsy shop.

Last week saw some good thrifting. Imagine my delight at finding this pair of star-patterned knee-high stockings--what with my star mini-obsession (yes, those are stars that I painted on my clogs).

Sporty Red, White, and Blue

1970s DR (Design Research) t-shirt, yard sale. Metal peace sign pin I’ve had since the 1970s. People used to dream about the future (an experimental design collective in the 1990s) red pants, purchased in the 1990s at Filene’s Basement. Linking up with Not Dead Yet Style’s Visible Monday and Spy Girl's 52 Pick-Me-Up: 70s Flashback.

Thursday
Jul042013

Stars and stripes - 1970s style

I have a small collection of vintage fashion magazines that I’m always thumbing through for inspiration. Since today is a holiday here in the States and I have no plans, I embarked on a project to catalogue images in these magazines by theme. Or maybe it’s just procrastination in order not to complete the more challenging project I started on the weekend of drafting a waistcoat pattern.

I’m not sure how far I’ll get but in honor of the 4th of July, I bring you Stars and Stripes.

“Hurray for the Red White and Blue.” Ad for Miss America shoes. Seventeen magazine, February 1970.“It’s Denim-ite! Explosive star-studded denim knits, beautiful as all get up and go! Ad for Pandora. Seventeen magazine, November 1970. “A new year, a new you” editorial. Coat by New York Mackintosh. Scarf by Glentex. Bag by Jaclyn. Photo by Joseph Santoro. Seventeen magazine, January 1971. “Fashion ca$h-in $10 & under: The Flag Fling” editorial. Illustration by Garie Blackwell. Seventeen magazine, March 1971.“Pants have it made” editorial. Photo by Marc Hispard. Seventeen magazine, March 1971.“Jeans get set for the sun with a top and some easy pieces” editorial. Photo by Bruce Laurance. Seventeen magazine, June 1971.The pervasiveness of star and stripe patterns in the early 1970s probably resulted in my life-long love of these patterns.

There are a few more images on my blog's Facebook page.

Let's see what other procrastination avenues I can go down today.