Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Day 32 - Step Up

Very recently I was given the opportunity to do something for myself. I should probably mention this was something that had frightened me for a very long whole life actually. Dramatic? Perhaps, but it's a fashion blog...if ever there was a call for a little drama.

Here goes, I am adopted. That might not seem like big deal to some you reading this, but for me it was. I'll start from the beginning. My parents were wonderful amazing people who never hid anything from my sister and I, always telling us we were loved and wanted. When I was about 8 we moved and started at a new school. My sister told her new friends, very proudly, we were adopted, "We are 'chosen'..they had to have you"...see why she's my hero.

Anyway, me peers decided to tease me about it, as kids do.  They told me that I was an orphan and that no one loved me or wanted me.  Well, in that moment, I made a decision...don't trust anyone with this information. This is something to hide and be ashamed of...if people find out they won't want to be my friend and like that afternoon on the playground, I would end up alone. So, like any rational person, I based the next 30+ years of my life on the comments of a bunch of 8 year olds. Here's the crazy part...we all do fun is that!

About 16 years ago I got a letter from a lady in Wisconsin telling me that my birth mother wanted to have contact. I swear, when I got this letter it was threatening, invasive and it made me angry and very scared...wonder why...tapping at the core of "my greatest fear" perhaps? No surprise that I said no and moved on with my life.

Recently, I began thinking about where I am in my life and what questions I have that I want answers to.  Simple things, "What's my heritage?", "Where did I get my artistic side?", "Who do I look like?"...this list goes on. I can only describe it as having a chunk of your life left in the dark. I had decided it was time to turn on the light.

A couple weeks back I found that old letter and reread it, guess what? It was a loving and caring, saying that if I choose to, my birth mother was available to answer any questions. I decided I was ready.  With wonderful support of my Mom, sister, and a couple of awesome friends I stepped up to plate.

It didn't take long, on Sunday I called my birth mother, her name is Claire. We had an amazing conversation.  A lot of info was shared; I'm French...I come from a long line of creative people...and apparently sound exactly like her brother on the phone. Suddenly that part of my life was filling with light.

She shared the story of my birth and how she and her high school sweetheart were separated by War and his manipulating Mother. Apparently his mom convinced him, my biological father, that I had died. It was then that Claire realized that she was alone and do what was best for me, she gave me up to my parents. 

Claire also told me I come from huge extended family...she is one of twelve.  She told me they all know about me and there isn't a family event that goes by where I don't come up.  She said I was never alone and they were always with me. Let me tell you, when the 8 year old in me heard was a pretty powerful. I have spent a good portion of my life gripping the people close to me for fear of being alone. When she said that....I could metaphorically feel that grip loosen. I am not alone and never will be.

So why the shoe today? Well he's my wish for all of you. Step up and into your life.  Even if it is scary, nothing can stop you if you walk right through it. Whether it is work, your family or a relationship thats not working, nothing is too terrifying to paralyze you. I am truly inspired by what I see around me.  From my friends who leave behind everything to dance around the world, to another who opens up with his family about a secret he has kept for years, to my 10 year old niece who gets back on the balance beam after breaking her world is filled with courage. Look at my story...complete with war-torn lovers and an evil grandmother. There is nothing there to frighten me anymore...I am standing in the light and I love it.

Get up and get going...and strap on this beaded satin pump before you leave...after all, a little drama calls for some style.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Monday, April 28, 2014

Day 30 - LBD

The little black dress… That kind of says it all.  Here it is done in Viscose Rayon.  Holly your heart out.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Day 29 - In the army now

Inspiration can come from open to it!

Who doesn't love a good Military inspired look? Wool jacket over silk "camo" pants and black leather about a few good men!

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Friday, April 25, 2014

Day 27 - April showers....

...bring May flowers....and fun cotton floral dresses.  Pick a color, any color! 

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Day 26 - Je ne sais quoi

There is something about this outfit that makes me feel like spring....I don't know what.

Satin side-zip trousers with a chiffon blouse.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Day 25 - Action

There are several definitions of the word action. The one that resonates with me is the following: an act of will. Simple, clean and to the point.  

Isn't everything all about willing oneself into action? Whether it is work, sport or relationships, it is all the borrow a phrase from a local, "just do it". Get up and take that act of will.  Is it scary occasionally...sure, and don't let that stop you. Life is short and we only get one shot. The key to making the most of our ride is easy. Work hard, play your part to the best of your ability and say "I love you" when you can. Keep it simple, clean and to the point. 
Silk knit top, silk twill pleated skirt over silk chiffon pencil skirt.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Day 24 - Mardi

So what could be more Parisian than a simple, chic, cowled neck linen-cotton dress paired with chunky heeled sandals? No really… I'm asking? I have never been to Paris.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Day 23 - B & W

Life is not always is shades of gray with wonderful color thrown in to make it interesting.

Tonight I was so sure I was right about something.  I'm correct, they are  Then my friend did me the service of pointing out just the opposite. Not only was I not right, but I might have been a little wrong...we have entered the gray area.

I began reflecting, why did I need to be "right"?  Upon doing so, a world of possible answers began to flood into my head.  I was suddenly awash in emotion.  I was, amused..purple, uncomfortable...yellow,, all of these possible feelings came up through my contemplative conversation.  Suddenly my black-and-white way of thinking was awash in a cornucopia of color.

Perhaps, all one needs to flush out the multiple dyes is a good friend willing to point out your gray.

This sketch was originally inspired by My Fair Lady and Lady GaGa...or what would Stefani Germanotta wear to Ascot?  In this case it is geometric b&w satin dress with a reversible train.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Day 22 - Easter

I was lucky enough to get to spend the day with great friends.  My Easter wish is that you got to spend the day with the people you love....friends or family...hopefully both!

Silk twill high-waisted trousers paired with a silk charmeuse top.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Day 21 - Twas the night before...

Well, here it is...the final Easter option. In retrospect, this look might have benefited from a hat...if I had a dollar for every time I thought that.

Silk tweed and satin dress.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Day 20 - Easter's on its way

Option four...a silk tweed tank and matching skirt with chiffon ruffled trim.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Day 19 - Hippity hoppin'

Option three....a sleeveless cotton dress, or maybe silk shantung... I'm diggin' the oversized buttons.  Am I allowed to "dig" my own design?

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Day 17 - Here comes Peter Cottontail

So in anticipation of Easter, I thought I would throw up some "frock" options between now and Sunday.

Our first is a fitted lavender number done in linen.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Day 16 - Playful

A little something for the stylish soccer mom.

Silk blouse with a beaded waist and linen walking shorts. 

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Day 14 - Under the Wire

The title says it all....almost forgot to post today...but I made it!

Ladies velvet tuxedo with satin it!!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Day 13 - Rah-rah-ah-ah-ah-ah!

So one guess as to which "Poker Face" diva inspired this look? 

I sometimes wonder what my younger life might have looked like if there had been a Mother Monster.  Someone to say its ok, you were "born this way". I believe Lady Gaga has given her voice to a minority that, at times, may not have the had courage or strength to use their own. She does not shy away from continuing to speak up for LGBT issues. I find this admirable. Strip away the "insane" fashion and crazy theatrics and your left with a talented musician who isn't afraid to say what she believes. That is admirable...and that I believe deserves my "applause".

I would normally use this sentence to tell you what the sketch is constructed of…It's Lady could be silk moire or tin, either way it's going to be fabulous.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Day 12 - It's the Serengeti out there!

I was going to say "it's a jungle out there", but that seems so cliché....Besides, are there any giraffes in the jungle?

Satin and chiffon blouse paired with a high-waisted satin skirt.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Day 11 - Potential

The world is full of potential.  Opportunities await us around every corner...we just have to be open them.  I also believe it's important to be fluid. What I mean by that is stay open to possibilities. Just because something might not look like what we have wanted doesn't mean it isn't perfect.

Take this dress...satin and beaded organza wedding gown or red carpet attire? Same dress, just a different way of seeing it...either way it's perfect. 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Day 10 - Keep Moving Forward

So today I got some disappointing news. However, I'm not going to let this keep me down. Instead I am picking myself up, dusting myself off and jumping back in with both feet. My mantra...keep moving forward.

And what better uniform for this "take no prisoners" attitude than silk tweed with pink satin finishes... After all, you've got to look the part to kick butt. :-)

Monday, April 7, 2014

Day 9 - Bionic Inspiration

When I was a kid I loved rugby shirts…I still do. Actually, I have one similar to this, it is from the Gap. I've had it for years… Green and white stripe and I can't bear to get rid of it. Come to think of it, this look was brought on by something else from my childhood… Jamie Sommers.  

Yes, the Bionic Woman herself served as inspiration for this sketch. So a friend of mine back in Atlanta loaned me his DVD of the complete first season (Yes, I realize how "gay" that sentence is a blog about fashion with it!). What's funny is how chic her clothes look's wonderful how a few decades can turn "tacky" back into "trendy".

As I was sketching this, I was suddenly struck by the image of Jamie, dressed in a belted tunic and trousers, leaping from a ten story window to escape the one does. All the while she was looking incredibly stylish. Then I thought, "What can I add to make it different, put my stamp on it?" As luck would have it, I was wearing the aforementioned Gap shirt when "EUREKA!"! 

So, here you have it, a silk tunic, belted at the waist and worn over silk twill trousers.  This look is brought to you by our friends at the Office of Scientific Intelligence and the NRL. Nobody said the creative process was pretty.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Day 7 - One Week and 1,000,000 Dollars

So today's blog is brought to you by my buddy and the Bare Naked Ladies. Last night my friend asked what I was going to do when I got to day 55 of this blog? My response, "Write day 56." Wisecrack comment aside, he did bring up a valid point. I mean one week is easy(ish), but after that... Where is my inspiration going to come from? 

One week…hmmmm, that makes me think of the Bare Naked Ladies song. Which in turn leads me to one of my favorite songs of theirs, "If I Had a Million Dollars".  They have a wonderful lyric that compares owning a green dress to owning a fur coat. 
"If I had a million dollars
If I had a million dollars
Well, I'd buy you a fur coat
But not a real fur coat, that's cruel.....

If I had a million dollars 
Well, I'd buy you a green dress
But not a real green dress, that's cruel"...brilliant!
This of course is based on the old wives' tale that no woman looks good in a green dress. However, I disagree...I love a good emerald frock.

Do you remember the Kiera Knightley film and how amazing she looked in that green gown? You remember the movie… It's the one where she acts all indignant and kinda slutty? Perhaps I need to narrow that down more… In any case, she was stunning.

Well, here's my take on the whole shamrock colored couture: silk faille with polished glass stones at the waist and ruby red pumps.

With that, I thank my pal, along with our musical comrades from the north and the inspiration they gave me to complete one week... Ready or not, here comes week two. Let the ideas flow!

Friday, April 4, 2014

Day 6 - Curtain Call

Last night I was fortunate to have dinner with my friend and his parents.  Just like him, his mom and dad are wonderful people.  I have been lucky enough to meet his mother before, but this was the first time I met his father.  He is a quiet man with a sweet sense of humor...he cooked us all a delicious meal.  The evening was filled with reminiscing, story telling and lots of laughter.  It all got me to thinking about my father.   

Growing up my Dad and I did not have a lot in common.  He was a former quarterback who owned an asphalt company and loved to deer hunt.  I am a fashion designer who can't catch a ball and looks horrible in orange.  On paper we shouldn't have gotten along...but we did.  We just accepted each other and laughed...a lot.

Funny enough, as the years went on, we did find something to "bond" over.  Don't'll never get it... musical theatre.  Thats right, the grease monkey and dress maker came together thanks to Andrew Loyd Weber.

When I was in college my parents came to see me in Minneapolis.  I had scored tickets for the national touring company of "Evita".  I thought Mom would love it and Dad could sleep peacefully for a couple of hours. A few days later Mom called and asked if I had the "soundtrack" to the show.  I said yes and was happy she liked it....she informed me it wasn't for her, but rather my father.  Apparently for the last week he had strung together all the choruses of the show and made one big was driving Mom crazy. I still smile at the thought him working in his shop, knee deep in oil and spark plugs, belting out a rousing rendition of "Don't Cry For Me Buenos Aries On This Rainbow High Tour".  

Eleven years ago this April, Mom and Dad came to see me Atlanta.  I took them to see  "Damn Yankees".  At intermission my father said, "You didn't say this was about baseball?!?!"  I asked what he thought he thought he was seeing, "I don't know, we are in South...I figure it was the Civil War."  

The next day I was showing my Mom a project I was working on.  Dad sat down and picked up the sketches and fabric swatches and began to study them.  Eventually he looked up at me and said, "Jas... I'll be honest, I don't know what I'm looking at, but I know it's really good."  That weekend was the last time I saw Dad...he died a few days later. 

Though I miss my father, I feel his spirit still with me.  Whether I am spending time laughing with friends over a home cooked meal, seeing a new musical spectacular or sketching out a fab idea, I feel Dad is with me; Quietly, happily, and proudly.

I dedicate these sketches to dad. A velvet tuxedo trimmed in satin and a beaded chiffon fishtail gown. Like my father,  they are elegant and simple  while still exciting and unexpected.  Here's to you Dad....I love you.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Day 5 - These boots are made for walking...

So if you have to maneuver the "Urban Jungle" you might has well do it in a pair of knee high hiking boots with four inch heels.  

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Day 4 - And now for something completely random.

Question… Do you think the Duchess of York resents Fergie and her Fergiliciousness?  Seriously, she survives the shadow of Diana, a royal divorce, bankruptcy, Weight Watchers, a freaking toe sucking scandal… Only to have her spotlight stolen by "Lovely Lady Lumps". For real?!?! 

Feel free to ponder the thought on this aptly titled "hump day". Enjoy the bias cut satin and chiffon.  

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Day 3 - Muse

Last night a friend asked me, “Who’s your Muse?”. Good question, right? So I had to think, “what’s the definition of a ‘muse’”?  Webster’s defines it is as a source of inspiration. No help there….everything inspires me…art, music, Kylie, nature, films, other designers…Kylie.  I needed to narrow this down. A muse to me always seemed like an actual person, someone who inspires real creativity…and not the ethereal Olivia Newton John/Let’s build a roller disco kind.  No my muse is not a daughter of Zeus, but rather a daughter of Gerhard…my dad.  My sister is my muse. 

Truth is, she has been slotted in the role for some time now. As kids she let me pick out her clothes and put together outfits for school.  We would raid my father’s closet and send her off to class in rolled up painter paints, a man’s dress shirt cinched at the waist with a neck tie, slouchy flat suede boots and tons of jelly bracelets.  She looked like the love child of Annie Hall and Madonna.  I thought it was fantastic. Eventually, Jak (my baby sis) didn't want my help with her ensembles…lord knows why…apparently she no longer found the whole thing…amusing. (Sorry, couldn’t help myself.)

Over the years I created everything from prom gowns to wedding dresses…I even designed an entire line inspired by my sister’s stylish, practical side. However, truth be told, it was the early days of pulling a “look” together out of Dad’s closet that held special place in my heart. Alas, you can’t go home again….or can you? Turns out, according to my sister, my niece loves shopping and “working” a look as much as I do…dressing up is loads of fun for her. So I guess what the Lord taketh away, Zeus giveth back.

Inspired by my Muse(s)…the new mother/daughter look made of suede and wool plaid…Greek mythology never looked so good.