Mar 18, 2020

Jean-Paul Gaultier Spring 2020, Paris Haute Couture, Tom Tierney's First Paper Doll Book

The Show of Shows for Spring 2020

Jean-Paul Gaultier, a towering talent and fearless fashion kingpin shocked the fashion world by announcing his retirement after 50 years of success. To celebrate his declaration of independence, the oft-outrageous designer staged the most exciting fashion show seen during the recent Paris Haute Couture preview week. No small event, 200 amazing looks sauntered down the runway, worn by a cast of Gaultier’s favorite interesting and eccentric models and characters. The gender fluid extravaganza revisited some Gaultier classics themes including his blue/white signature Breton stripe, denim drama, exposed corsetry and free-range androgyny. 

 Celebrating Jean-Paul Gaultier’s 50 years in fashion. A surprise appearance by Boy George.
 Gaultier’s signature blue/white Breton stripe.
 Gaultier joins the season’s great white rage.
 Corsetry, of course it’s Gaultier.
 Denim done the Gaultier way out way.
 Gaultier gets sizzling hot and sexy.
 Menswear freely liberated by Gaultier.
 One of a kind, Jean-Paul Gaultier.

Haute Couture, the Last Word

The Paris Haute Couture Continuum is an island unto itself. Because the timing of the fashion cycle is such a snarl, it’s interesting that the final act of every season is the now-archaic custom-creation collections shown only a few weeks before real-time. In other words, the spring 2020 collections previewed in January 2020 Parisian fashion shows are made-to-order and delivered to clients in time for immediate springtime wearing. Too late to set trends? Probably. But a great last-minute inspiration and confirmation as the commercial sector of the fashion industry begins advance planning ahead to 2021 color, silhouette, design detail and textile. 

 Among a wealth of ideas, the current 2020 couture collections took note of more interesting unexpected colors in addition to black and more black. Undisputed popularity turned the spotlight on popular white, white, white as well as Pantone’s “color of the year” classic blue. Couturiers, in search of a new silhouette, put forth some very interesting extremes including fish tail/trumpets and balloon/ball shapes. Beading, bows and ruffles stirred-up overt femininity echoed in fragile sheers, creamy silks and satin and textural novelties.

 Unexpected, interesting colors: Valentino, Givenchy, Alberta Ferretti.
 White, white and more white: Viktor & Rolf, Chanel, Ralph & Russo.
 Black everywhere, forevermore: Alberta Ferretti, Givenchy, Ralph & Russo.
 Pantone’s Classic Blue color of the year: Armani Prive, Martin Margiela, Armani Prive.
 Seeking new balloon/ball silhouettes: Giambattista Valli, Givenchy, Dior.
 Seeking new trumpet/fishtail silhouettes: Givenchy, Valentino, Valentino.
 Design details include the craze for big bows: Valentino, Alexis Mabille, Alberta Ferretti.
 Design details also include frills and ruffles: Giambettista Valli, Iris Van Herpen, Valentino.
 Pleats produce linear textile textures: Dior, Dior, Givenchy.
 Filmy sheer textiles speak a soft statement: Chanel, Dior, Armani Prive.
 Creamy silk and satin create a statuesque drama: Dior, Giambettista Valli, Valentino.

Tom Tierney, Keeper of the Paper Doll Flame

This month’s coloring book is an important historic cultural treasure in my collection of vintage paper dolls. In 1974, Tom Tierney was a very successful commercial artist who published Thirty from the '30s, a paper doll coloring book featuring movie stars of the 1930s with costumes from their hits. At the time, paper dolls, so popular during the ‘40s and ‘50s were past their prime time as a child’s play. Barbie dolls reigned supreme. Tom wisely picked-up on the nostalgia craze by declaring the book as "paper dolls for grown-ups." 

That book was the start of Tom’s terrific life-long success as he went on to create hundreds of paper doll books over the ensuing years. His prolific output included not just film stars but politicians and their families, major and minor royalty and book after book of fashion history. And it all began with Thirty from the '30s

Thirty from the Thirties
 Tom Tierney’s first paper doll coloring book, published in 1974.
Joan Crawford Coloring Pages
 Joan Crawford paper doll with costumes from Rain, Grand Hotel, Dancing Lady, The Gorgeous Hussy, The Women and Mannequin. Colored by David.
Fredric March Paper Doll
 Fredric March, star of Trade Winds, The Sign of the Cross, The Affairs of Cellini, The Barretts of Wimpole Street, Anna Karenina and Mary of Scotland. Colored by David.

Jean Harlow Paper Doll
 Jean Harlow, star of Goldie, Dinner at Eight, China Seas, Suzy, Personal Property, Bombshell. Colored by David.

Feb 15, 2020

Red Carpet Reviews from The Oscars, Grammys and SAG Awards, OshKosh Museum Fashion Collection, Coloring the New York World's Fair

Browsing Through My Archives

How many paper dolls have I created since I began working with publisher Jenny Taliadoros way, way back in 2004? Seldom does a day go by that I’m not immersed in a pd project. Do I have a favorite? It’s always the one that’s just been published. Some seem to have slipped through the cracks in my memory. Case in point…"Bling!" was a special book tied-in to a spectacular exhibition at the OshKosh Public Museum. It was curated by fashion historian and vintage fashion collector and friend, Scott Jorgenson. I cannot recall the year of the impressive display of fashions worn by local fashionables but I do remember how I enjoyed creating the book, meticulously rendering the "extravagant and flamboyant fashions women wore to show off, which in turn shows them off." (The book was a limited edition, now a rare collector’s item.) 

Bling! Paper Dolls cover dolls.

 1860s/1960s fashion.

 1880s styles.

 Fashions of the 1900s.
 1920s styles.

 1930s/1940s fashion.

 1950s fashion.

That Ol' Red Carpet Keeps Rollin' Along

The Screen Actors Guild 26th Awards is yet another opportunity for stars to strut their style as they arrive for an evening of ego-mania. Stars vote for each other, peer pressure personified. The 2020 SAG Awards were presented after the Golden Globes and before the Grammys, an evening that confirmed fashion is alive and well, in Hollywood anyway. Even though walking the Red Carpet may be an exclusive elitist stroll, celebrity chic does sometime trickle down to the mainstream. Colors worn by the SAG stars and starlets confirm that black and white remain the most popular choice, with a few hints that navy blue may become the alternative black. Some off-beat hues, bright or light pink especially, popped-up. Silhouettes occasionally expanded to voluminous proportions and still often dragged along long trains. In Hollywood, body-hugging sex appeal peek-a-boo skin shows are constant contenders. Necklines continue to plunge although bare shoulders are suggesting an important new erogenous zone. Note to knock-off designers: big bows are easy to copy, so beware!

 Sure bet black-and-white: Yvonne Strahovski, Lili Reinhart and Phoebe Waller-Bridge.

 Navy blue, possibly the new black: Nicole Kidman, Samira Wiley and Renee Zellweger.

 Pop-up surprise hues: Zoe Kravitz, Cynthia Erivo and Rachel Brosnahan.

 Sex symbolism: Jennifer Aniston, Sophia Turner and Scarlett Johansson.
 Bare shoulders revealed as erogenous zone: Michelle Williams, Jennifer Lopez and Reese Witherspoon.

 Voluminous silhouettes are overstated drama: Kathryn Newton, Gwendoline Christie and Glenn Close.

 Design gimmicks du jour; bows and long trains: Nathalie Emmanuel, and Kristen Gutoskie and Sarah Hyland. 

Color! Like it's 1964!

It felt as if I had turned back time when I received a surprise gift from Jenny, an un-colored Official DeLuxe 1964 New York World’s Fair Coloring Book. What memories it brought back. The coloring book depicts a cartoon-like visit to the fair by twin sister and brother, about age six. Many of the attractions and pavilions are ready to color, including the Unisphere, Dinoland, Lindberg’s "Spirit of St. Louis," the Monorail and Cablecar, various state-sponsored and industrial attractions as well as global features. I was especially delighted to see the Electric Power and Light exhibit because of a family connection. My kid sister Sally worked at that exhibit and there she met the man she married. They just celebrated their anniversary. I re-gifted them the coloring book as a remembrance.

 1964 Coloring Book and Unisphere, colored by me.

 Fountain of Planets and Light exhibit, also colored by me. 

Grammys Go for All-Out Glamour and Sex Appeal

The 62nd Grammy Awards show hit a somber note, occurring on the same day as basketball star Kobe Bryant’s tragic death. The old adage that the "show must go on" was tastefully acknowledged and proven. As far as Red Carpet fashion goes, the Grammy celebrants chose all-out glamour and sex appeal. Silvery fabrics sparkled and set the mood. Sheer fabrics teased but bare skin showed with skirt slits and plunging necklines. Color stayed true to the season… white, black and red were sure-fire success stories for style-conscious women while the Grammy guys made news by wearing color.

 Star struck style: Priyanka Chopra, Ariana Grande and Camila Cabello

 Sparkling silverwear: Alicia Keyes, Heidi Klum and Pia Mia.

 Sheer see-thru teasers: Chrissy Teigen, Mereba and Shania Twain.

 Leggy skirt slits go sky high: Bella Harris, Ella Mia and JoJo.
 Necklines take a plunge: BeBe Rexha, Saweetie and Mollie King.

 The great white way enlightens the Red Carpet: Dua Lipa, Gwen Stefani and Lizzo.

 Red pepper poppers turn up the heat: Rosalia, Njomza and Janina Gavankar.

 Grammy Guys go for color: Lil NzsX, Shawn Mendes and Lute.

Oscar Wraps Up the Red Carpet Season

It’s over! The 92nd Academy Awards show marked the end of the month-long multiple celebrations recognizing talented creators who entertain the world. The Oscars are considered the climatic crescendo of glorification for those in front of and behind the camera. By the time it’s Oscar’s turn to put on a show, both the viewers and the members of the Academy of Motion Pictures are burned-out by the string of repetitive awards. The actual show is always the same—overblown production numbers and ponderous, endless "thank you’s." The pre-show parade down the red carpet from limo to auditorium has become a sort of ritual fashion show and that is what most interests me (and millions of fans.) I have come to regard the awards season as a good indicator as to coming trends. For example, overt embellishment is disappearing and sublime simplicity looks refreshing. Allover sparkle is replacing decoratively placed motifs. Color-wise, black prevails, but white is coming on strong. Red has been important all season, but shades of rosy pinks popped up at the Oscars. A few evening capes cast a retro vibe. The biggest news is all about volume—enormous full skirts and trailing trains are statuesque statements. 

 The best is simply sublime: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Renee Zellweger, Charlize Theron.

 The worst is just plain silly: Billie Eilish, Billie Porter, Kristen Wiig.

Razzle dazzle never fails: Scarlett Johansson, Rita Wilson, Janelle MonĂ¡e.
 Isn’t it romantic? Greta Gerwig, Sandra Oh, Laura Dern.

 Black adds drama: Margot Robbie, Carly Steel, Penelope Cruz.

 Roses are red and pink: Idina Manzel, Gal Gadot, Kaitlyn Dever.

 White is the newer black: Camila Morrone, Cynthia Erivo, Salma Hayek.

 Perhaps the return of evening capes: Brie Larson, Natalie Portman, Yousra.

 Creating statuesque silhouettes: Saoirse Ronan, Caitriona Balfe, Regina King.