CLOTHESLINES: Is there an It Bag today?, by Marylou Luther

 

CLOTHESLINES

 

Is There an It Bag Today?, By Marylou Luther

 

Dear Marylou:  Is there a so-called It bag today?__A.C., New York, NY.

   Dear A.C.:  It’s more pre-It than It, but my bet is on the Audrey bag, named for Audrey Hepburn, as the one to follow in the hands of Chanel’s 2.55 bag of l956, Hermes’ 1956 Kelly bag, named for Grace Kelly, and Gucci’s 1961 Jackie bag, named for Jacqueline Kennedy.

  Designed by India-born, Los Angeles-based Deborah Sawaf of Thale Blanc, the clutch with attachable chain strap dates to 2013.  The prototype was inspired, she recounts,  when she and her family visited a longtime friend and former Los Angeles neighbor Sean Ferrer, son of Mel Ferrer and Audrey Hepburn and wound up staying in the home of Ferre’s mother, Audrey Hepburn.  That visit to Italy resulted in Sawaf’s homage to Hepburn called--of course--the Audrey bag.

Illustration by: Deborah Sawaf

   The gold metallic version illustrated here is the designer’s latest tribute piece for the year that would have marked Hepburn’s 90th birthday:  2020.   This metallic lizard rendition (the bag also comes in luxury  leathers and bamboo) is priced at $495 and is available online at www.thaleblanc.com.  The metallic iteration makes the bag most desirable right now as metallics surged on runways “everywhere”.  Another boost comes from Sawaf’s support of charities such as the Make-a-Wish Foundation and “The Happy Project”.  The Thale Blanc bags come with cards intended to be passed on “to those who make you happy”.  You could call it “Happiness at your Fingertips”.

 

   Dear Marylou:  What do you see as the future of “voice searches” in fashion?__B.C.I., Miami, FL.

   Dear B.C.I.:  To quote from WWD’s coverage of The Consumer Electronics Show Estimates have it that 53 million voice speakers will be sold this year, making up 40% of all searches, and facilitating everything from news to online ordering.

   “It’s an area in which  retail has yet to really break through, in part because of the difficulties of searching and finding specific products through voice.  And it’s only just starting to be worked through by some on the tech side.”

   Or:  Voice shopping has yet to find a meaningful voice.

 

   Dear Marylou:  What was the biggest trend of The ‘70s. And how is it reflected in its re-runs?__N.N., Chicago, IL.

   Dear N.N.:  The mega-trend of The ‘70s was pants—first as a social protest against midi skirts, later as a sign of sexual equality. Designer jeans became status symbols, and the whole world learned that nothing came between Brooke Shields and her Calvins.

   Today’s pant-emonium indicates the anything-goes thesis of next fall’s widely diverse fashion trends. From shorts to Bermudas to culottes to mid-calf lengths to ankle pants to puddlers, balloon pants and even pants with trains—there is no “wrong” pant.  Wide-leg, skin-tight, tailored or ruffled, denim or satin, the choice is yours.

 

   Dear Marylou: No matter how much I spend for black T-shirts, they seem to become grayer with each washing.  I always use cold water and the appropriate cold-water soap, but that does not help.  Any ideas on how to make my blacks stay black?—C.T., Fayetteville, NC.

   Dear C.T.:  You can keep your blacks in the black longer if you don’t dry them in a dryer.  The heat and friction cause not only graying, but fabric deterioration.  You know all the lint that collects in dryers after each use?  That’s part of your T-shirt that was worn away.  You can never restore the fabric lost in the dryer, but you can restore the blackness by dyeing your T-shirts black.  It works.

 

   (Marylou welcomes questions for use in this column but regrets she cannot answer mail personally.  Send your questions to Clotheslines in care of this site.) info@fgi.org

   ©2020, International Fashion Syndicate 

 

 


 

CLOTHESLINES

Minimalism to the Max, By Marylou Luther

 

Dear Marylou: As a design student, I follow the fall fashion openings on the Internet and see a lot of talk about “the new minimalism”.  

Who started the “old” minimalism?__J.W.T., Kent, OH.

   Dear J.W.T.:  It kind of depends on which “authority” you ask.  To me, the Japanese can claim provenance with the kimono, the Chinese with the cheongsam, the Qatar natives for the abaya.  In the U.S., Halston was the original minimalist.  In France it was Helmut Lang.  In England it was the mini-malists of Mod memory.  All have introduced simple, restrained, streamlined, clean, frill-free  silhouettes.

Illustration by Halston

 

Halston, who designed the bias-cut, one-shoulder gown in his illustration here, created clothes that were far less complicated than those by his ‘60s contemporaries.  You could say he was one of the first designers to make comfort a fashion condition .  A Halston design was deceptively simple, but never simplistic, made in the finest quality fabrics, produced meticulously in his own workrooms and worn by the most elegant women of that time. 

   As he once said, “the most important elements in fashion are comfort and sex”.   His clothes were both—not glitzy sexy or sex-object sexy, but discreet sexy.   Those are the exact elements that next fall’s renewed minimalism movement exudes.  The one-shoulder silhouette is, too, a big comeback of the upcoming season.  In my opinion, one big reason the new minimalisms look fresh is designers use of color.  The earlier minimalisms were definitely more somber, as in  shades of black, white, gray, beige and silver for night.

 

   Dear Marylou:  In May, I will be starting a new job.  Any advice on what to wear?  I will be working as an executive assistant in a public relations firm. 

I’m 20, 5 ft. 5 and size 12.__E.K., Chicago, IL.

   Dear E.K.:  Wait to select any new clothes until you have worked for the company a week or so and seen what your co-workers wear. Then you can decide if you want to join the crowd or stand out in it.

 

Dear Marylou:  I say brocade is older than. lace.  My classmate says lace is older.  Who is correct?—P.L., New York, NY.

 Dear P.L.:  You are!  Brocade dates from the 6th Century.  Lace dates from the early 16th Century. In this time of fashion nostalgia, both are back importantly.

 

   Dear Marylou:  Of all the trends for spring, which one do you see as the most wearable by most people?__C.C., Lincoln, NE.

   Dear C.C.:  My favorite fashion calling for spring where you live is to be a sport.  Score in biker shorts.  Catch a wave in scuba gear.  Run home in a baseball jacket.  Jog to the gym in track pants.  Get your game on in mesh. 

And intuit the inuit in an anorak.

 

  (Marylou welcomes questions for use in this column, but regrets she cannot answer mail personally.  Send your questions to Clotheslines in care of this site.) info@fgi.org

   ©2020, International Fashion Syndicate

 

 

 

 


 

CLOTHESLINES

 

Getting Ruffled Up, By Marylou Luther

 

Dear Marylou:  Is a ruffle dress too feminine to wear in this age of gender blending?__B.B., Houston, TX.

   Dear B.B.:  It’s okay to look feminine.  Just as it’s okay to look masculine. 

   To me, the ruffle is a fashion classic that always remains worth rebooting.

The dress illustrated here is by the late great Oscar de la Renta,  a designer I consider the ultimate romanticist.  And fashion is once again speaking the romance language.  De la Renta’s romantic ruffles were never overtly sexy, a fact that probably made his clothes so acceptable for first ladies.  By my count, the Santo Domingo-born designer dressed more first ladies than any other designer.  Think Jacqueline Kennedy, Nancy Reagan, the two Bushes and Michelle Obama.

Illustration by Oscar de la Renta

  

Dear Marylou:  Is there any yardstick to use in predicting when a certain look from the past is worthy to  be repeated?__N.T.E., Los Angeles, CA.

   Dear N.T.E.:  Back in the day, the day before the Internet and streaming and drop-ing, the going theory was that fashion repeats itself every seven years.  Trash that idea.  Today’s technology has changed all that.  In spring/summer fashion, The ‘70s and ‘80s are major, with The ‘50s and ‘30s also in the step-and-repeat mode.  Outer space is on the radar.  This appropriation of ideas from the past means that fashion is less predictable, but more accommodating of different needs, different attitudes, different cultures, different geographics.  To their credit, designers are bringing most of these remembrances of times past with new fabrics, new fabric manipulations and new accessories.  (And to reiterate my contention that ruffles are classics, they are one of a limited number of dressmaking techniques that always seem to look relevant.)

   Dear Marylou:  Now that the award shows are over, what do you see as the biggest fashion takeaways?__N.K., Iron Mountain , MI.

   Dear N.K.:  The big fashion cliché I wish designers would take away is the gown with the stick-your-leg-out-up-to-the- thigh level.  You know, the dress Angelina Jolie made famous at the 2012 Oscars, and the one I wish would go down in fashion infamy.  To me, it has gone from vulgar to dumb.

While there were no real trends at the Golden Globes, Grammies,  Critics’ Choice, Screen Actors Guild, BAFTAs, etc., the red carpet looks did seem to reiterate fashion’s anything-goes continuum.  Innovation?  Not so much.

   Dear Marylou:  How does a tailored type like me make the transition from man-tailored clothes to more feminine looks?—G.H., Boston, MA.

   Dear G.H.:  Who says you have to?  If you have selected  a look that suits you, stick with it.  If you really want to try some feminine touches, consider wearing your blazer with a ruffled skirt, wearing your pinstriped pants with a lace blouse or wearing your tailored coat with a decorative belt.  Or, if you’re brave, with a corseted bustier.

   (Marylou welcomes questions for use in this column, but regrets she cannot answer mail personally.  Send your questions to Clotheslines in care of this site.) info@fgi.org

   ©2020, International Fashion Syndicate

 

 

 

 


 

CLOTHESLINES

Madonna Works It, By Marylou Luther

 

   Dear Marylou:  With Madonna now back in the headlines, what do you see as her major fashion contribution?—E.H., New York, NY.

   Dear F.H.:  Her “work pants” and  “Eisenhower jacket” in our illustration— both by  Dickies, the workwear company that got its start as aa purveyor of overalls—inspired what I think of today’s leap into cheap.  Madonna, who wore them during her heyday in The ’80s, is said to have liked the work pants so much she signed them with a red heart and sent them back to Dickies, where they are preserved in the company archives.  The originals of the men’s work pants are from The ’30s and were later worn by G.I.s during World War II.  They were customized by Madonna’s staff with side zippers at the hem of each pantleg.  Like the original work pants, the waist-length, bellows-pocketed Eisenhower or Ike jacket originated during World War II.  The look is definitely on trend.

 

Illustration by Fernando Flores   

 

Dear Marylou:  What is grunge and why is it back in the fashion firmament?—D.P., Miami, FL.

      Dear D.P.:  The word is taken from both its literal meaning of dirt, filth, rubbish, and its fashion meaning.  The fashioning of grunge began as a Seattle-based music movement in the 1980s and lived well into the ’90s, merging rock and heavy metal with a touch of punk.  The groups that inspired the movement include Nirvana, Sonic Youth and 10,000 Maniacs

   By bringing versions of the of the clothes worn by the music groups to the fashion runway, Marc Jacobs got himself fired from Perry Ellis for his 1992 collection but landed a spot in fashion history.  For fall of that year, he presented a polished version of the original thrown-together plaid lumberjack shirts, baggy pants, striped pullovers, Birkenstocks, Doc Martens and Converse shoes and what was to become the quintessential mark of grunge—aka the skull cap, or the stocking cap, or the beanie.

  

Dear Marylou:  I noticed that the bomber jacket is a hit again.  Then I look at photos and I’m confused by what they are calling bombers.  Please tell me the difference between a bomber, a biker, a flight jacket, an athletic jacket (aka a warm-up jacket), and a windbreaker.  Is the front-closing zipper the only common denominator?—A.C., Kent, OH.

   Dear A.C.:  I took your question to multi-awarded menswear designer/historian/author Jeffrey Banks, who explains the differences this way:

   “A bomber always has knit trim at cuffs and waistband, and sometimes at the neckline.  It can be in cloth or leather.  The name comes from the standard issue WWII garment for American servicemen.  The bomber is sometimes called a flight jacket.

   “A biker jacket is also sometimes called a motorcycle jacket or a motocross jacket.  The original bikers were made in America by Schott Bros., a company that’s still in business.  They used an extra thick cowhide to insulate against wind and accidents.  A motocross is sometimes longer.  It was developed by the Belstaff company in Europe for long distance motorcycle trips.

 “The athletic jacket, made for sports including running and yoga, comes with or without hoods, usually in jersey-type fabrics, often synthetic.

 

   “The windbreaker is lightweight, often in polyester or nylon, and meant to ward off rain or wind, particularly when playing golf.  Windbreakers tend to be very packable.”

 

(Marylou welcomes questions for use in this column but regrets she cannot answer mail personally.  Send your questions to Clotheslines in care of this site.) info@fgi.org

   ©2020, International Fashion Syndicate

 


 

CLOTHESLINES

The Bomber Explodes, By Marylou Luther

 

Dear Marylou:  In a recent column you quoted a fashion historian/author/designer as saying the bomber jacket “always has knit trim at cuffs and waistband and sometimes at the neckline”. 

Not the ones I see.  Your take?__J.N., Newark, NJ.

   Dear J.N.:  Just as T-shirts, jeans, shirts and so on have many manifestations, so does the bomber.  Jeffrey Banks gave the literal definition, but he can’t be responsible for what other designers, retailers, fashion writers and bloggers call bombers.   While the bomber originated for WWII servicemen, it has never really disappeared.  The quilted leather version in our illustration was called a bomber by Karl Lagerfeld when he showed it in his l991 collection for Chanel

   Ever the fashion forecaster, the late Paris designer-of-designers showed his bombers with taffeta and lace ballgowns as his homage to the streets, accessorizing them with baseball caps.  Sound familiar?

  

Illustration by Fernando Flores

 

Dear Marylou:  Designer Virgil Abloh, whose Off-White brand helped to define streetwear as it is known today, told Dazed magazine that streetwear is going to die in the coming decade. 

Do you believe him?__E.T., Los Angeles, CA.

   Dear E.T.:  As with most major trends that come and go and then come back again, I believe streetwear will survive, but maybe not as the force it is today.

Streetwear has already been upgraded by designers who now make the looks of the street into salon-worthy fabrics and with plenty of nuances.

   To me, streetwear in the U.S. is really based on American sportswear—hoodies, T-shirts, sweats, jeans, motorycycle jackets, etc.   Just as streetwear in London is based on the Mods and Rockers of ‘60s fame.  And streetwear in Paris is based on the crowd-induced clothes of other decades, other times.  As Coco Chanel said:  “Fashion doesn’t exist until it goes down into the street”.

  

Dear Marylou:  Vicky Tiel, an American designer who became famous working in Paris, wrote in Lookonline that Coco Chanel invented sportswear.  Is that true?__U.W., Denver, CO.

   Dear U.W.:  I’m not sure.  To me, jeans (yes, the fabric, denim, came from Nimes, France) were the invention of America’s Levi Strauss.  The hooded jacket came from the basketball court and other sports arenas.  The sweatshirt, running shorts, baseball caps, football jerseys, cowboy pants, shirts and boots, all started as sports gear. 

   Yes, the Chanel jacket supposedly emanated from the four-pocketed Loden cloth jackets worn by Tyrolean mountaineers.  The late, great Geoffrey Beene told me that the legendary photographer Horst P. Horst told him that he gave Coco the jacket as a gift.  Lagerfeld long attributed  the jacket to the braid-trimmed Tyrolean jackets ones worn by the staff at the Baron Pantz hotel in Salzburg, Austria, and admired by Coco.

   I don’t think of the mountaineer’s jacket as sportswear, but maybe Tiel has a point.

  

Dear Marylou:  What do you see as the trend that is most likely to continue into the new decade?—E.J.K., New York, NY.

   Dear E.J.K.:  I like the way Christian Lacroix put it in an interview with WWD:  “Gender blurring is a powerful path forward, not just a gimmicky fast-fashion trend but a reality.”  I agree. 

 

(Marylou welcomes questions for use in this column but regrets she cannot answer mail personally.  Send your questions to Clotheslines in care of this site.) info@fgi.org

   ©2020, International Fashion Syndicate

 

 


 

CLOTHESLINES

 

Cheongsam, by MARYLOU LUTHER

 

Dear Marylou:  I will be going to Shanghai in May, and am wondering if anyone there still wears the cheongsam?  I have a beautiful embroidered satin version I could take with me, but not if I would be the only one to wear one.  Also, what is the difference between the cheongsam and the qipao?__A.C., Los Angeles, CA.

   Dear A.C.:  I took your question to China-born, award-winning New York apparel designer/costume designer Han Feng, who commutes between Shanghai and New York, where she operates art spaces.  She says that the traditional cheongsam, once considered a relic of the past, is becoming more interesting to China’s young women.

   “This generation is interested in reconstructing outfits drawn from almost 1500 years of costume history, anywhere between the Teng and the Qing dynasties—600’s to 1900’s.  Their elaborate creations are known as hanfu, and wheras in the past one would only see them on TV in costume dramas, today you see them on weekends in the cities and scenic areas, camera-ready to share on social media.  Elements of traditional Chinese dress are more commonly seen as a mix of a pencil dress and a qipao.”

To Han Feng, there is no difference between the cheongsam and the qipao, explaining that the look has “only been around a hundred years or so, and that the word cheongsam is based on the Cantonese pronunciation of the name, and qipao is the name used in Mandarin.  Her illustration here is the classic cheongsam/qipao made famous in the last century by Madame Chiang Kai-shek.

  

Illustration by Han Feng

 

Dear Marylou:  What is the difference between a Mao collar and a Mandarin collar?  They look alike to me.__D.L., Boston, MA.

   Dear D.L.:  They look alike to me, too.  But China-born New York designer Vivienne Tam says they are totally different.  “Many think of the Mao collar, named for Chairman Mao Zedong, China’s leader during the Cultural Revolution,  as being Chinese, but it was borrowed originally from the Germans, who wore them at university.  It is therefore hard to claim that the Mao suit is Chinese.  The Mao is two-layer, folded down, while the Mandarin is stiff and high, designed to block the cold.  The Mandarin has appeared in different incarnations throughout time, from the horseback fashions of the Manchurians of the Qing dynasty to the emperor’s dragon robe to everywoman’s cheongsam.

   Dear Marylou:  I’m a stay-at-home mom and I’m really concerned about protecting my family, your family, the earth from global warming.  What are things I can do—or not do—to help.  Or can one individual really do anything to help?__D.P., Lincoln, NE.

   Dear D.P.:  New York designer Eileen Fisher, known for her work in sustainability, has a list of what-to-do actions to help save the planet that include such simple acts as switching to cold water the next time you fill your washing machine.  According to Fisher and her eco experts, by switching to cold you can cut your energy impact by up to 90%.  To see the entire list go to www.eileenfisher.com/repair-and-care/wash-green.

  

   Dear Marylou:  In shopping for my engagement ring, my fiancé and I found a ring we both love and can afford, but it has a flaw.  The flaw is totally undetectable to our eyes, but shows up the the jeweler’s loupe.  Should we buy it?__E.T., Des Moines, IA.

   Dear E.T.:  Gemstone expert Camilla Dietz Bergeron says not to be too insistent on a flawless diamond.  “While color and clarity are important considerations, a smaller flawless tone is not necessarily more desirable than a larger one with a slight or indistinguishable flaw.”  So yes, go ahead and buy it!

 

      (Marylou welcomes questions for use in this column but regrets she cannot answer mail personally.  Send your questions to Clotheslines in care of this site.) info@fgi.org

   ©2020, International Fashion Syndicate

 

   

 

 


 

 

 

CLOTHESLINES

Up in Arms, by MARYLOU LUTHER

 

Dear Marylou:  Do you really believe women will start wearing over-the-elbow gloves again?  If you do, why?__D.K.K.:  Los Angeles, CA.

   Dear D.K.K.:  If Zoe Kravitz wears them to the SAG Awards, if  Beyonce wears them on some red carpet, yes, I believe long gloves will shine again, at least some some carpets.  To get a better background on the why-gloves-happen phenomenon, I took your question to the man who is, hands-on, the world’s master glove maestro.  He’s designer/artist Daniel Storto, and he traces the latest glove love to Lady Gaga, who wore long black gloves to last year’s Academy Awards.  Before that, he says, “all formal rules went out with the bustle,” pointing out that those formal rules from the 1800s and 1900s forbade wearing gloves while having dinner.  “To be proper, you either removed the gloves completely before dinner or you slipped your hands out of the wrist opening and tucked the hand parts inside the wrist area.  After dinner, you removed your glove hands from the wrist opening and put the hand part back on.”

Storto’s advice for today’s glove-wearer:  “Leave your gloves on while having dinner and create sensational gossip for morning-after coffee breaks.”

  (Editor’s note:  I  can personally attest that Queen Elizabeth II, during her visit to Chicago in the late -50s, left her white gloves on while eating at a luncheon in her honor.  I covered the event for The Chicago Tribune.)

The glove propriety that prevailed when a woman of style wouldn’t leave her house without her hat the gloves ended in The ‘60s.  But with The ‘50s and early Jacqueline Kennedy ‘60s back in today’s fashion spotlight, maybe gloves will once again be a five-finger fashion exercise.

 

Illustration. By Daniel Storto

 

 

Storto, who first became fashion-famous/nation-famous  in 2000, when he made a pair of black leather gloves hand-printed with the late great Designer Bonnie Cashin’s obituary.  Those gloves and other what he calls “obituary gloves” for women of style, including Edith Head and Diana Vreeland, are now in the permanent collection at Storto’s “The Glove Museum”.  Located in Dorloo, NY, the museum features a collection of more than 5,000 pairs of vintage gloves dating from The 1700s, glove-making tools from The 1800s, glove drawings from The 1930s and ‘40s and glove-making machinery dating to the 1900s.  

   The hand-sewn leather and suede gloves in his illustration are priced from $200 to $750.   They and ready-made gloves ranging from $25 to $150. are made at Storto’s glove shop on Main street in downtown historical Gloversville, NY.  A complimentary catalog with color swatches is available on request at info@danielstorto.com.

   (Editor’s note:  Storto is currently writing the chapter on glove-making for film and television for The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences in Los Angeles.)

 

  

Dear Marylou:  When the San Francisco 49er’s head coach Kyle Shanahan started wearing “the trucker hat”, it seems to have started a fashion trend.  What is the difference between a trucker and a baseball cap?  (And you might ask, why do I care?)__E.D.G., Chicago, IL.

   Dear E.D.G.:  You care enough to ask me about it.  To get right to it, the trucker is technically a type of baseball cap.  I have not interviewed Coach Shanahan, but it would make sense to me that he wanted to differentiate himself—and his cap-- from baseball to football.  According to Alex Williams of The New York Times, Shanahan worked with the league’s official cap maker New Era to design a hat inspired by the trucker caps he favors off the field.  The trucker differs from the baseball cap because the front section stands up straight, making the cap taller than other caps.  The trucker also has a snap-back closure, and it’s made of “breathable mesh”.  The trucker started in the 1980s as a promotional giveaway from food stores and farming supply companies.  To see New Era truckers, go to www.neweracap.com.

 

   Dear Marylou:  With The ‘70s recycling into fashion, what do you see as the big influencer of that decade?__E.M., Baltimore, MD.

   Dear E.M.:  I pick the movie “Annie Hall”, starring Diane Keaton, for its widely-copied girls-as-guys clothes.  With that 1977 film, fashion androgyny filtered from the silver screen to the runway.

   Dear Marylou:  If you could only buy one thing to update your menswear wardrobe right now, what would it be?__J.K., Denver, CO.

   Dear J.K.:  A cardigan sweater.  

 

   (Marylou welcomes questions for use in this column but regrets she cannot answer mail personally. 

Send your questions to Clotheslines in care of this site.) info@fgi.org

   ©2020, International Fashion Syndicate

 

 


 

 

CLOTHESLINES

 

New Cycle for the Motorcycle, by MARYLOU LUTHER

 

Dear Marylou:  As a 22-year-old I’m still paying back a student loan while working at my first, entry-level job—at the attendant entry-level salary.  My funds are obviously limited.  What do you recommend as a coat or jacket that will get me noticed by the “crowd-selector” at the clubs and still be suitable for work?—J.D., New York, NY.

   Dear J.D.:  A leather motorcycle jacket.  For your sorties on the club scene, you might want to decorate your jacket with studs or jewels, as in this version by the designer who first drove the motorcycle into fashion heaven.  If embroidering your motorcycle with religious icons, as Versace did, seems too ecclesiastic, a plain leather style will do just fine.  If you like the idea of decorating your jacket but are wary about wearing it to work, just slipcover the jacket with a vest.

Illustration by Fernando Flores

  

Dear Marylou:  I own two quilted satin jackets that have painted letters  which have been applied professionally.  Is there any way to remove the lettering without ruining the jackets?  I’ve called silk screeners and they know how to put them on, but have no idea how to get them off.  Do you?—R.P.T., Denver, CO.

Dear R.P.T.:  No, but I do have some ideas for covering the letters.  For example, how about stitching on quilted satin appliques in multicolor amorphous shapes?  Or hiding the letters under rows of fringe?  Or sewing rhinestones, pearls, sequins or crystals all over your jackets?  Or rickrack, passementerie braid or tassels?

 

   Dear Marylou:  I’m back from the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s “In Pursuit of Fashion”.  I’ve seen Christian Francis Roth’s “”Breakfast Suit” you wrote about, and now I’m determined to learn more about him.  (Yes, I’ve Googled.).  This guy is fabulous!  Tell me more.__J.J.A., Newark, NY.

   Dear J.J.A.:  First off, did you know that Roth is one of two living American designers (The other is Roberto Rojas) and one of three living designers from any country (London’s Zandra Rhodes is the third) whose apparel designs are featured in the exhibition? (It runs until May 20 at the museum’s Anna Wintour Costume Center, and also features American designers in accessories.)  So here’s what I’ve found out about Roth since my original report.

   His “Breakfast Suit” was created in 1990, when he was 20.  He says it was inspired by the 1953 Warner Brothers cartoon “Duck Amuck” with Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck.  Roth says his name for this fried egg wonder was intended as a spoof on the idea of the “Ladies Who Lunch” (ladies who breakfast, get it?) and the suits worn by the society figures of that period by designers such as Chanel, Oscar de la Renta and Bill Blass at restaurants such as Le Cirque, La Grenouille and Harry Cipriani.

   In case I did not mention this earlier, the designs are all from the Sandy Schreier collection, which was recently donated to the museum.  The Schreier marvels  include haute couture and ready-to-wear designs by Fortuny, Christian Dior,

Cristobal Balenciaga, Charles James, Madeleine Vionnet, Karl Lagerfeld, Franco Moschino and Roth, who revealed to me that he is about to introduce a new collection.  Could the Dinner Suit or the Cocktail Suit be next?  Stay tuned!

 

   Dear Marylou:  I’m a male nurse married to a nurse, and I’m writing to comment on the recent return of sanity among younger women who have begun to wear stockings and garter belts instead of that gynecologist’s dream, pantyhose.  I’ve passed along several catalogs to women I work with—women who didn’t know there were options to sagging crotches and frequent trips to the doctor for yeast infections.  In the 2 l/2 years since my wife started to wear stockings, our hosiery budget has taken a nose dive.  Buy four pairs of pantyhose, get four runs and you’re back  at the store.  Buy four pairs of stockings, get four runs and you still have two pairs left.—A.T., Canton, MI.

   Dear A.T.:  Your remarks are right on target, but I think one reason some women still prefer pantyhose is that they provide one clean line from the waist down instead of the revealing garter marks that show through clothes.  (Yes, I know some women and lots of men find that look sexy.). Thigh-high stockings that stay up courtesy of gentle rubber grips are also good pantyhose options because they also eliminate the show-through of garter straps and stocking fasteners.  I should also point out that if your pantyhose fit properly from waist to crotch there would be no problem.

  

 Marylou welcomes questions for use in this column but regrets she cannot answer mail personally. 

Please send your questions to info@fgi.org

   ©2020, International Fashion Syndicate.)

 


 

 

CLOTHESLINES

The Up and Down of Stripes, by MARYLOU LUTHER

 

Q Dear Marylou:  Why are vertical stripes so difficult to find in knitwear?__H.G., Iron Mountain,  MI.

   Dear H. G.:  I took your question to Rosita Missoni, who, with her husband Ottavio and sons Luca and the late Vittorio, and daughter, Angela, now ceo of the company, have truly defined knitwear in modern times.

Here’s her answer:

   “In 1958 we wanted to make striped knitted dresses using vertical stripes.   At that time, we had very simple machines but we had the possibility to make tubular plain striped knitted fabrics which we started to use vertically, making dresses and shirts not fully fashioned but with the classic cut and new method.  It was our very first fine-knit dress with vertical stripes—a small collection called Milano Sympathy.  It was our very first edition of 500 v