Monday, December 24, 2012

Best Holiday Wishes!

Best holiday wishes to all my magnificent fans and followers! Thank you for making this year so incredible. It has been an awesome journey growing HCH from the ground up, and the ultimate Christmas gift would be to see it grow more in the coming year.

I hope you'll stay tuned to all the HCH happenings in the new year (and there are some pretty awesome ones in the works). Even more, I hope you get everything you wished for this holiday season. I know I did.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Belle Cose & Molte Cose Trunk Show on Thursday December 20

This Thursday is the last Honey Cooler Handmade trunk show of the year! Join Teresa of Belle Cose & Molte Cose and me for some refreshments and last-minute gift shopping. Whether you're looking for a stocking stuffer, or something even more decadent, we can help you score the perfect gift and impress your special someone this holiday season.

Join the event page here. Hope to see you there!

Friday, December 14, 2012

RAWards Recap 2012

It's been a month since the big RAWards show, and things have finally calmed down enough for me to be able to share photos. To have been selected as a finalist in the RAWards was one of my biggest accomplishments to date. To make my installation extra special, I made a fortune teller's booth, draped my space in deep, dark velveteen damask and dressed my models as Victorian gypsies: sexy, mysterious and powerful.

My installation at the RAWards, trunk and all. Image by Space Cat Photography

Kaila, Rachael and Kelsey rock the runway. Images by Space Cat Photography

Thanks to Belle Arts Photography and Space Cat Photography, I have some pretty incredible shots to share. Thanks a million to my models Kelsey, Rachael and Kaila, and Teresa Song for the gorgeous gypsy-inspired hairstyles, and Awny Rael for her amazing makeup. A solid team is invaluable!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Now on Etsy: The Doris Deco Camisole

These days, I don't usually take to the blog to announce an individual new piece, but the Doris Deco Cami is a special exception.

I've had a lot of requests for larger sizes over the year and Doris is my first foray into a more generously cut silhouette. I draft and drape all my patterns based on a pretty small dress form, so taking a leap even one or two sizes up from a 4 is quite a task. Doris is my first size XXL, roughly a size 16 and I am so excited to see her in action.

Doris will be making her in-person debut at A La Folie's Men's Shopping night tomorrow evening. In the meantime, check her out here.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

A Little Gift with a Lot of Luxury

Still undecided on a holiday gift for your favorite Sleeping Beauty?

Crafted from the most luxurious fabric imaginable and featuring vintage insertion lace flourishes, an HCH Private Eye Sleep Mask marries sensual style with practicality - it's the perfect present this holiday season. Tucked in a cat napper's stocking, or gifted before a long transatlantic flight, an HCH Private Eye Sleep Mask blocks out the peskiest light, prettily!

Clockwise from top left: Orpha, Lupe, Shirley, Phoebe, Dinah

New masks have just been added to the Etsy shop, so be sure to swing by to check them out and snap up yours. And since I ship Priority Mail, there is still plenty of time to snag one before Christmas if you live in the US!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Happy Birthday to Honey Cooler Handmade

Well, actually it's happy birthday to ME, not my business, though sometimes I feel like we're one and the same. Since this is a milestone birthday (30) and I don't plan on spending the day in a negative nostalgic funk, I figured I'd share a dorky story about how I got to where I am now. It's no secret that I love pretty stuff. It's also no secret that lots of little girls like pretty stuff, gowns, glitter and dressing up, so in many ways I'm not that different than any run-of-the-mill girly girl. That is, except for one major detail: Most responsible people grow up, and I didn't. I'm 30 and I still love costumes and dressing up. I love champagne pink, rhinestones and bows. Tutus, bustles and organza are my favorite drug, and I feel like it's always been that way.

Historical costuming is one of my biggest obsessions - long ago, clothing seemed so much more lovely and important than it is now. I sometimes feel like I was born in the wrong era. Even though I wear jeans and sweats on the regular, I never feel more right than when I wear a vintage dress.

Babes in Toyland, The Wizard of Oz

I have always been drawing dresses. My favorite movies always featured pretty things, be it the 1960's cupcake dresses from Babes in Toyland or the ruby slippers from The Wizard of Oz. I didn't have much of a concept of historical costume, though, until my dad took me to see The Phantom of the Opera for my 8th birthday. We'd been to the ballet tons of times before, but when it came to Phantom, something was different. I fell in love with the show: the romance (even though I couldn't quite comprehend it), the set, the music, the special effects, and yes, the costumes. A few months and fan letters later, I was invited backstage to meet the cast: probably the most exciting thing I could have imagined at eight years old.

Steph, Colm Wilkinson, Kate

If you've seen it, then you know the whole show is unabashedly 1980's rock-opera, but despite that, designer Maria Bjornson was able to create 19th century silhouettes that still stand the test of time. When I saw Christine's wedding gown (my favorite piece from the show) in person, I knew I had to get in on that awesomeness.

It's pretty safe to say that this over-the-top musical had paved a road of costume nerd-dom for me, all of which now culminates in the first job where I've felt like I truly belong. Nothing has changed from the days of my childhood, and yet it seems like everything has changed. Here I am, literally in the business of girly stuff: at once working an adult job that was born in the imagination of a kid. It's so cool to think that on this day in 1990, my dad took me to a show that would change my life.

Happy birthday, indeed.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

First Glimpses at the Fall Shoot

Well, I did it again: teamed up with the incredible Antonette Streeter for another phenomenal aesthetic shoot for my line. The first images are beginning to come in, and I thought I'd share some of them while I have a quiet moment to myself.

Photographer: Antonette Streeter
Models: Alexis Hutt, Kate Coneely, Bunny Zlotnik
Hair: Jai Carrillo, Peggy Poveda Sipe
Makeup: Alicia Campbell
Stylist: Dominique Guillen

Set Design: Antonette Streeter, Dominique Guillen
Jewelry: Taxil Hoax, What About Phoenix

Since it's Thanksgiving, it feels appropriate to say that I'm incredibly grateful to work with such amazing people on a regular basis. I have been so blessed to work with Antonette. She is a wickedly talented girl (and RAW SF's photog of the year!) and I really don't know where I'd be without her. To my amazing team: Antonette, Dominique, Alexis, Kate, Bunny, Jai, Alicia, Peggy... you all nailed this shoot. Thank you!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

First Peeks at RAW:Provocations

The very awesome Space Cat Photography has posted photos of RAW:Provocations on their Facebook page, and I am delighted to share them with you here. It was a lovely night and I had three gorgeous ladies by my side (you'll recognize Rachael from RAW:Stimulus). RAWard-nominated hairstylist Sonja Eckre stepped in for some gorgeous pinup hair styles, and the wickedly talented Elizabeth Markham rocked the screen siren makeup. The video is forthcoming; Peek pics below.

All in all, the ideal ramp-up for the RAWards!

Richelle, Karla and Rachael being styled by Sonja

Monday, October 29, 2012

Still Kicking

I'm not dead.

I may seem like I've been off the radar lately, which is kind of the case and kind of not. My poor beloved blog has been neglected of late, a tragic casualty of an impossibly long sickness and far too much stress. I've been very busy putting together my shoot, shows, and sewing my heart out since my return from Pennsylvania. There are some lovely new pieces coming your way, and I figured it was time for a little peek at what's been on my machine lately.

Hardcore HCH fans will recognize the left piece (the Lucky Star Deco Camisole) from my last photo shoot - I created this custom version for a special customer last week. The piece on the right will be starring in next month's shoot. Diana features a skull crowned in stars, set upon the most intoxicating lavender silk jacquard. A gorgeous piece to shoot, and she's only the beginning.

Want to see what I've been working on in person, and scope out never-before-seen lingerie on a trio of lovely models, live? Then please come to the RAWards show in San Francisco on November 14th. Your generous online votes placed me among the top five fashion designers in SF, and now it's time to take the title of Fashion Designer of the Year. Once again, your votes count more than anything, and you need to cast them in person that night. Hope to see you there!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

HCH: Fashion Designer of the Year?

It's been a busy month for HCH. Even with two weeks of traveling far away from my home base, my shop has maintained buzz and excitement, not the least of which is being up for RAW's Fashion Designer of the Year.

My first fashion show for HCH was at RAW:Stimulus in March, and the experience really helped me to gain momentum as a brand. Each RAW artist has an opportunity to compete in the annual RAWards, where one lucky exhibitor from each category is selected from thousands to win some amazing prizes. RAW's Fashion Designer of the Year wins the chance to meet with Fred Segal's buyer and scores retail placement on, among many other awesome perks. Needless to say, winning this award would mean a lot for my little lingerie brand.

Please vote! If you like what I do and want to see more of it, there's no better way to show your love than by nominating me. And vote every day! The nominations portion of the contest ends on the 15th, so there are only a few days left to vote. Yes, you have to register on RAW's site, but required registration is only in place to ensure fairness. RAW will not spam you.

Even better, you can vote for one artist per category! That means you can pick from your favorites in Photography, Film, Music, Makeup and more and show them you love what they do.

PS: If you're looking for a photographer to love up on, please vote for the amazing Antonette Streeter. Without her and her lovely photographs, my brand's vision would not be where it is today.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Something Sweet Recap

Saturday September 29th was possibly the most exciting day for Honey Cooler Handmade yet. My trunk show, Something Sweet, was a smashing success. Without my lovely hostess and high school friend Anna, my college friend Josh from Charm School Chocolates, and my SF pal Kristen from What About Phoenix, Something Sweet wouldn't have been possible. Thank you to everyone who came out to support us!

Missed this one? Never fear. More east coast trunk shows are on the horizon. Stay informed with my events page, and sign up for the newsletter to stay on top of all things HCH!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Honey Cooler Handmade at Heroine on Friday October 12th

Bummed you missed the Something Sweet trunk show in New York last weekend? Never fear, San Franciscans! There's another trunk show on the horizon and it's coming your way!

Join me and Kelly from Elizabeth Street Cosmetics for a trunk show at Heroine boutique in Noe Valley on Friday October 12th from 5 - 8pm. Check out Kelly's brand new fall hues that guarantee a perfect pout, and I'll have a lovely collection of new pieces for you to peruse.

Stay tuned to my Facebook page for more details and to RSVP. Hope to see you all there!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Fashion Love Affair: Louche Lolita Dress by Boudoir Queen

My mind has been a fog for the past few weeks. My Something Sweet trunk show was a smashing success (photos and a re-cap to come), and the time spent prepping for it left me with so very much to finish before leaving my home base for two whole weeks.

Needless to say I didn't have a lot of free time this past month, but what small amount of free time I did manage to scrape up, I spent wandering Etsy and fashion blogs. It turns out that even though it's clothing that makes me insane (HCH), it's also clothing that calms me down. Who knew?

Behold my latest obsession: Boudoir Queen's Louche Lolita Dress.

The bow flourish is precious and the skirt is perky and feminine, but what really stuns me about this piece is the bodice and fabrication. The reworked 1930's foundation gives way to a gorgeous ruched neckline and delicate puffed sleeves. I'm not usually a big fan of daisies, but this lovely sheer embroidered netting caught me by surprise, especially because the ground fabric is black. Just gorgeous. If I could think of a place to wear this baby, I would start saving my pennies.

This dress doesn't even begin to scratch the surface of Boudoir Queen's amazing collection on Etsy. Well worth a check out if you're into original Deco-era vintage and re-worked antique pieces.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Going for the Goal

What a month! In preparation for tomorrow's Something Sweet trunk show in Brooklyn, my goal for the past three weeks was to bang out 20 new pieces to bring to New York. When I announced my goal at the monthly Success Squad meeting I attend, reaching it felt impossible. Now, as I sit on my JFK-bound flight, I'm reflecting on just how much work I did over the past few weeks. Not only did I finish 20 new pieces to sell, but I also made two custom pieces, plus an additional 8 Private Eye Sleep Masks for a wholesale order at the 11th hour.

When I started my business, I thought of myself as someone who could never see a project through. This past year and a half has definitely changed that mindset, and I have to admit: it's refreshing to think of myself as someone who can get things done.

Above, the 20 new pieces I'll have with me in New York, most of which have already been listed on Etsy, should you feel the need to snap them up before the big night.

Hope to see you tomorrow night at the trunk show!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

New Style: Bloomers

A new style has landed in the Honey Cooler Handmade shop, just in time for my trunk show in New York next Saturday, and they're beyond precious. Welcome HCH Bloomers to the fold: a sweet little ode to the bloomers of yore, and the perfect melding of a pair of HCH Knickers with my Garçonne Tap Shorts.

One of my customers requested a bespoke pair of bloomers recently, and after seeing the finished prototype on a model, I couldn't help but include the style in my existing line.

Spoken for, but lovely nonetheless!

My Bloomers are cut with lots of wiggle room, featuring an elasticized waist and leg openings. Of course they also feature the HCH signature: insertion lace and appliqué details on the rear. They're cheeky, they're pretty, and they make the perfect gift. Not only are they ideal for lounging in, but worn with leggings, they make an oh-so-sweet statement when out and about.

More pairs coming soon, so keep your eye on the Knickers & Bloomers section of the HCH shop. Want to see them in person? Come to the Something Sweet trunk show next Saturday in Brooklyn!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Something Sweet: A Trunk Show for the Tempted

I am so delighted to announce my first trunk show ever in New York! I'm teaming up with Kristen Linney of What About Phoenix Jewelry and Josh Rosen of Charm School Chocolates to bring you a fantastic event celebrating all things tempting.

Join up on the Facebook or Pingg invite, and spread the word! This exclusive event keeps getting more exciting every day, and is not to be missed! For more information, read on.

Sip champagne and treat yourself to delicious locally-made sweets by Charm School Chocolates. Indulge in luxury lingerie by Honey Cooler Handmade and gorgeous hand-forged jewelry by What About Phoenix.
Enjoy 50% off Conversation Heart Necklaces and with your lingerie purchase, take 50% off any Private Eye Sleep Mask. Best of all, Charm School Chocolates will be offering an exclusive pre-release item, this night only!
About Us...
Charm School Chocolates:
Hand crafted without the use of animal products. Charm School Chocolates combines modern science with traditional candy-making methods to refine raw materials into playful, yet sophisticated sweets. All our products are tastefully produced without the use of dairy, eggs or any cholesterol containing ingredients.
Honey Cooler Handmade:
Created with love in San Francisco, Honey Cooler Handmade lingerie utlilizes Art Deco embellishment techniques to impart a vintage sensibility to sexy, contemporary cuts. Indulge in Ribbon Corsets, Deco Camisoles, Knickers, Tap Shorts and more!
What About Phoenix:
Hand made in San Francisco, What About Phoenix jewelry is inspired by nature, feelings, the cosmos, and sacred geometry. Using a combination of precious and "non" precious metals each piece is hand-crafted with care in a way that brings the wearer powerful positive energy. From dainty inscribed heart charms to three-dimensional pyramids, What About Phoenix jewelry will literally or figuratively make a statement about the adorned. 

Robe de Style Recap

If you've been following my exploits on Twitter, you know that I created a robe de style dress for a party my husband and I threw to celebrate our anniversary. We rented The Russell Room, a small cigar lounge inside Bourbon & Branch (a fantastic cocktail bar in San Francisco that was once a speakeasy). We asked our guests to dress in the style of the 1920's to keep with the overall feeling of the location - and that meant I had to find the perfect outfit.

The Russell Room inside Bourbon & Branch

Though I love the fashion of the 1920's, most of the dresses were not flattering on women with busts and hips. The trend back then was to bind an ample bosom down to boyish proportions while wearing a girdle-like corset contraption to tame wide hips. Lucky for me, the robe de style dress was a perfect choice given my shape. It was first created by Jeanne Lanvin, and coveted by women who didn't want to wear the uber-short dresses that were then fashionable. Whether or not it's truly the case, I like to think of the robe de style as evidence of a prolonged affection for all things Edwardian. It's a more streamlined and comfortable version of the frou frou gown of the teens, yet retains all the trappings of the prior decade's girliness: ruffles, faux flowers, bows.

I just had to find a pattern that would work... and sadly, there were not many options online. Then I found this lovely creature on eBay. Not quite the right size, damaged and too pricey, but luckily the seller took a million pictures and the body looked easy to mimic.

The finished product

I had a wonderful time working on this project. I got to play around with from-scratch pattern drafting, an unholy amount of gathering, and a rustling Thai silk that smelled like heaven and still makes me swoon when I see it.

Faux flowers, pleats galore and a silk organza hem

For the flower flourish up front, I visited The Ribbonerie. The owner, Pauline, helped me find the perfect spray of vintage German blossoms. I was hoping to get something similar to the original, but had to keep reminding myself that the color and limpness of the 1920's version was due to patina and was unlikely to be replicated. The flowers I picked were as close to perfect as I was going to come with only a week to go.

Dress back and pleating close-up

Even though the misplaced darts on the original dress suggest it was photographed backwards, I couldn't resist keeping the flowers up front, and I loved the idea of the back pleating mimicking the shape of a derrière.

The bodice was a cinch to make - two pieces with four long sashes that tie at the natural waist and cinch above each hip. The skirt was cut double wide, copiously pleated, then sewn into the front and back torso panels before stitching them together. I also finished the hem in a papery silk organza, just like the original. Unlike the original, though, I bias bound the neckline and created wider straps so I'd be able to wear a regular bra underneath.

Jewelry from Etsy, Haute Bride and vintage stores around San Francisco,
1930's evening shoes from Torso Vintages

And if I was going to pull this whole thing off, I had to accessorize like a flapper too: with a bucket of bling. I pulled every sparkly thing I had in my possession, including the necklace I wore for my wedding. What I didn't already have, I snagged off Etsy. Shoes proved to be more difficult to find, but I lucked out and found a pair in need of repainting. They turned out to be wickedly uncomfortable and I kicked them off an hour into the party (see below). I faux-bobbed my hair and gave myself a half-moon manicure. All set!

In action

I love this entry on the flapper from Wikipedia:
Flappers were a "new breed" of young Western women in the 1920s who wore short skirts, bobbed their hair, listened to jazz, and flaunted their disdain for what was then considered acceptable behavior. Flappers were seen as brash for wearing excessive makeup, drinking, treating sex in a casual manner, smoking, driving automobiles and otherwise flouting social and sexual norms.
True to Flapper style, I was so preoccupied with doing my own version of the Charleston and drinking Revolvers that I never settled down for some refined photographs, but so be it. There's always Halloween!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

New Style: The Vaudeville Bralette

I've had a lot of requests for bralettes from customers over the past year or so and I'd always hesitated to jump into working on the project. When I worked in a lingerie store awhile back, one of our reps explained that her brand's most coveted bra contained over fifty separate pieces stitched together. Suffice it to say that making a brassiere is quite a daunting task. Lucky for me, bras in the 1920's were built on a delicate and basic foundation - no underwires, no side slings, no complicated architecture. Just an easy delicacy that blends effortlessly with the existing Honey Cooler Handmade line.

Behold the new HCH Vaudeville Bralette - merging sweet styling elements with a sexiness suited for your inner burlesque star.

The Vaudeville Bralette features front pintucks a back hook-and-eye closure and straps that tie just behind the shoulders.

Keep your eyes peeled for more Vaudeville Bralettes as the range expands over the next few weeks. In the meantime, visit the HCH store on Etsy to see what else is new!