Saturday, July 30, 2011

Inspired by Geoffrey Beene

As promised, here is my Geoffrey Beene project.

The first page is the mood board, with an images of Geoffrey Beene along with his work:

Next is the fabric board -- from left to right, top to bottom -- a blue fur, a red/navy check plaid, a red/navy/cream tweed with gold thread, a cream solid wool, a navy solid wool, a gold panne velvet, a red chiffon with gold thread, a white/gold sheer fabric, red silk charmeuse, and a blue embroidered laser cut satin.

These are the day looks -- the coat in the check plaid with fur trim, and suits.  Beene did some cool asymmetrical jacket shaped, which I used here.  I tried to modernize the looks with the shoes.

These looks transition from the day to evening, although they are probably more evening.  Beene liked using sheer insets and back details, and sometimes incorporated wools into his evening looks.  His designs have a three-dimensional aspect to them.

These are the evening looks.

My figures are a little tight but I'm working on getting them looser.  I enjoyed doing this project.

On an unrelated note, tops and dresses on my online shop are 75% off until tomorrow, so check it out here.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Say hi to my new Diana mini camera

A friend of mine works at the company Lomography, which has brought back novelty analog cameras -- Diana, Holga, Fisheye, etc.  For Fashion's Night Out in September, they've invited a few designers, including me, to document our creative process using one of their cameras.  I was given the Diana mini.

Here is a sample of a shot taken by a Diana mini (not by me), from the Lomography site:

The photos are a little more saturated in color, and sometimes come out a little vignetted.  

The Diana mini (unlike the Diana) uses regular 35mm film, (with which the Lomography people generously provided me, in addition to the camera), but the images come out square, like this one.  There is also the possibility of doing split shots like this one: 

I've spent the past few days getting acquainted with the camera.  The detachable flash runs on a single AA battery; the camera itself runs on magic (no batteries).  It's been a while since I've used an analog camera, so it's been fun going back to winding the film by hand and turning the flash on manually.  The Lomography people gave me a refresher on loading and unloading the film.  With the camera, there is a knob to choose between indoor and daylight, a know to choose between natural and B (which means long exposure but in my head I think of as blurry), and another knob on the lens for adjusting the focus.  There are four settings for the focus, which are actually just distances from the camera to the subject -- 0.6m, 1-2m, 2-4m, and 4+ m.

I just shot a test roll to get acquainted with the camera, which I need to drop off to see how I did.  I'll be posting a couple of photos on the blog as I progress through the process of documenting and developing my collection, so check back!

The Diana mini is available for purchase here or at one of the Lomography stores.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Graey reverse auction sale - happening now!

Today we kicked off our reverse auction sale -- basically that just means that we're going to lower the prices gradually starting from 25% off to a maximum of 75% off over the next week or so.  You can check it out here:

I'll be announcing price drops as they happen on Twitter and Facebook, so if you want to stay updated, follow us on one of those outlets.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

My hair is short again!

It's that time again.  Time when I get bored with my hair and chop it all off.  As you may recall from my previous post, after my trip to Miami, my hair looked like this:

Long, but buzzed on the side.  My hair was quite long, a few inches past my shoulder blades.  Although it was pretty, it's been hot in NY this summer, and in general, my hair feels like more of a nuisance, especially when I go rock climbing and my hair is so long it doesn't stay in a bun so well any more.

I've always admired Kate Lanphear's style, especially her hair, which looks like this:

I'd been looking at images of women with short hair for inspiration for the project I'm working on, and came across an article online about salons that specialized in short haircuts.  One salon was Crops for Girls, in the East Village (437 E 9th street between 1st and A).  Reviews on Yelp were positive and I read that he gave free hair cuts for people planning to donate their hair, so I called and made an appointment.

Michael, the proprietor, was very nice.  I got there a bit later than planned after hitting up a friend's BBQ, but he didn't get angry.  He is a little shy but knows his shit.  I showed him pictures of what I wanted, and after snipping off my ponytail (which I will be donating to Pantene's Beautiful Lengths after a friend mentioned this NYT article that says most of the hair donated to Locks of Love are trashed), he got down to business.  We listened to jazz singer Peggy Lee croon as he snipped my hair, and talked about the stars from the 40s whose portraits adorn his salon.  His salon has a retro feel, and was very clean and nicely decorated.  About an hour later, I had a beautiful new haircut.  He touched up the buzzing that was growing out on the side (and fixed some mistakes I had made while trying to touch it up myself) and created a sleek bob on the other side.

I've gotten lots of compliments and even my parents like it, so I know that he did a good job.  I am hoping to shave my head at some point though, or bleaching my hair so I can be more like Kate, who is such a badass.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


It's hot, and I've been having a hard time sleeping these days.  I'll surely feel the repercussions of my insomnia in the morning, but for now I have decided to do a post on Geoffrey Beene.  I had heard this designer's name before, but had always associated it with the dull licensed menswear that the brand has become.  

However, lately I'm taking a class at FIT (to brush up on my sketching skills) with the amazing fashion illustrator Steven Stipelman, and for our final project, he suggested I choose Beene as my inspiration (we were given a bunch of deceased designers to choose from).  He showed me a book of Beene's work and I was amazed at how current it felt, though the clothes were from decades ago.  So I borrowed a couple of books on Beene from the library and have been researching him, and have been surprised at how relatively little I've heard about him over the past decade or so I have been obsessing about fashion.  Apparently he didn't really pander to the press or pay too much attention to other designers.

His work has a playful spirit to it, and apparently due to his abandoned medical training, his clothes reflect an appreciation for the female form.  I love the shapes and cutouts he uses in his designs, and how his garments cling to the figure.  Here are some images, but you should really try to look at a book of his work to see the scope of it.  

One of the details I liked was his overlay of bras and harnesses over dresses. 

I love this cutout detail over the bust.

This dress is one of my favorites of his.

Towards the end of his career, when supermodels were becoming celebrities in their own right, he started using dancers as models instead.

There is a cool little video that follows a Parsons student who had recently won the CFDA Geoffrey Beene award, with cameos from Doo-ri Chung and Anna Sui on the Geoffrey Beene site:

Chung worked under Beene for several years before starting her own line, and her work reflects the time spent.  Although Chung's signature draping is uniquely her own, there is an appreciation for the three-dimensionality of the figure that comes across in her work, as shown in the images below.  Her work is quite beautiful, and until I studied Beene's, I had no idea how he influenced her.

When my project is finished I will try to scan the images and upload them.  I'm really enjoying my class. Stipelman is a great teacher and I have been learning a lot.  Many of my classmates are college students but there are also others who are my age or even much older, which goes to show that you can always learn something new.

Another great site to look at Beene's clothes is Beenemania, a blog where a woman took photos of many different Beene outfits she wore over the course of a year.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Tribute to Chanel

I'm not going to lie, I've never been a huge Chanel fan.  I'm not trying to be a hater.  I recognize her contributions to fashion, and how her designs helped liberate women from burdensome garments, and Karl Lagerfeld's team makes some beautiful clothes in today's Chanel, and I would be ecstatic to even be able to set foot inside the rue Cambon headquarters.  But everyone has favorites, and I don't have a visceral reaction to the clothes in a way I do to other designers' clothes.  However, I will also acknowledge that they seem to make way more money than these other designers!

Anyway, my friends and I got free jade colored manicures at the First Fashion's Night Out a couple of years ago at the Chanel in SoHo, and I really liked the color.  However, I didn't want to buy a Chanel Vernis for $25 (and it was a limited edition color, so I don't think they have it any more), so I mixed it myself.

I bought green and white nail polish at the dollar store, got a plastic cup, and poured enough white polish so that it covered the bottom of the cup.  Then I put in a drop or so of the green and mixed it together.  Please don't judge my manicuring skills -- I go for speed rather than accuracy.  I keep my nails super short out of habit -- I grew up playing the violin and my teacher made me cut my nails and now they feel uncomfortable if they grow even a little long.

Anyway, my photo makes the color look a little more blue than it is in actuality, but I do think that I needed to add even less green than I did.  What I might end up doing is adding a drop of green to the remaining polish in the white bottle, and see how that turns out.

While I painted my nails, I enjoyed the Signe Chanel documentary on YouTube.  It came out in 2004 or so, but I hadn't seen it since then.  It gives a great look into the world of haute couture. What I love about it is that the focus is not on Karl Lagerfeld as much as on his petit mains in the ateliers.  You should check it out (see below)!  You can see all the episodes on YouTube, although they are each chopped into four parts.  It made me want to see Loic Prigent's other documentary, The Day Before, which chronicles the last 36 hours before the fashion shows of Proenza Schouler, Fendi, Sonia Rykiel, and JPG.

I've also seen his documentary, Marc Jacobs & Louis Vuitton which was exciting and inspiring to watch. (Clip below)

Friday, July 8, 2011

BryanBoy mentioned Graey's purse video on his blog!

Marc Jacobs' favorite blogger, BryanBoy, mentioned and complimented the flask purse video on his blog! Somehow it all looks fancier on his blog.

Later today, we'll be announcing the winner of the flask purse contest.  Last minute hopefuls should follow us on Facebook or Twitter.  Stay tuned!