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!