The Couve Couture Spring 14 Fashion Show (part 2)

18 Apr

Happy Friday!

I’m back today to finish up my musings on the Couve Couture Spring 2014 Fashion Show.  Earlier this week I wrote about the event itself, and today I’m going to cover my 4 favorite designers from the event.

ALSO, there was a VIDEO made of the runway show!  Watch it here.  No really, watch it.  I can blather on until the cows come home, but you really should see for yourself.

1.  Alisa Ann of Most Everything Vintage.

Alisa is the owner of Most Everything Vintage in downtown Vancouver, and her collection was a blend of vintage and modern pieces.  The dresses were true 1930s, but she created additional pieces (collars, clutches, knickers, etc.) in a similar style and brought the two together.  The result was a look that was clearly retro, but with a modern twist.  She also utilized the blending of masculine and feminine items (my favorite example was a chunky necklace paired WITH a bowtie), and the blend of rough fabrics with smooth for a look that was textured and innovative.  Best of all, I found many of these looks and pieces to be wearable.  Alisa’s collection was first, if you’re following along on the video.  Photos courtesy of the Most Everything Vintage website.

2.  Kate Beeman

According to the program, Kate had been making handbags under the label ORIGIN for a few years, but only started designing full collections last year.  A friend was on her first national tour and wore one of her Kate’s designs–a lace poncho–one night and everyone wanted to know who designed “the cape.”  And so it goes.  I was attracted to Kate’s designs immediately.  I’m a sucker for summertime BoHo and that was this collection’s bread-and-butter.  Loose, flowy fabrics in exciting prints, bared bellies, boho headbands (the headbands that go across your forehead).  Learn more about Kate at her website.  Kate’s collection is third on the video, beginning around the 2:20 mark.

A Kate Beeman design, courtesy of her Pinterest.

A Kate Beeman design, courtesy of her Pinterest.

3.  Lydia Wagner

Lydia describes her inspiration as coming from classic movies, the beautiful rural area she grew up, the “effortless” fashion of her mother and sister, and dance.  These elements came together beautifully in a collection that is elegant, graceful and timeless.  As a person who gravitates toward “funky” rather than “elegant,” I was almost surprised how much this collection stayed with me.  But days after the show, this is the collection my mind keeps returning to.  If you’re watching the video, Lydia’s collection begins around 4:45.  You’ll notice her use of simple lines, exposed skin (those bare backs!), and flowing fabrics.  Simple, elegant, and stunning.  Learn more about Lydia at her website.

A Lydia Wagner design, courtesy of her website.

A Lydia Wagner design, courtesy of her website.

4.  Seth Aaron

I mean, duh.

For those of you know don’t know, Seth Aaron was the winner of Project Runway Season 7 AND the winner of Project Runway All Stars Season 3.  He’s a big f*cking deal, and he’s now a hometown boy– living in Vancouver with his fam.  But you can read all about this for yourself, because dude has a Wikipedia page.  His line was outstanding, and very different from the rest of the fare.  His garments were structured, funky and futuristic.  His program bio described his ready-to-wear collection as being “distinctively rebellious,” which is just perfect.  Watching his models strut down the runway, I was reminded of racecars–but really cool, futuristic racecars.  And then, there would be an outfit or an item that was very feminine, or distinctly retro, which kept the surprise factor high.  His designs were works of art–but works of art that could you also wear.  You know, if you’re cool enough.  Watch for yourself (no, seriously, watch it), his collection begins around 6:35 on the video.  And visit his website.

Seth Aaron design, courtesy of his website.

Seth Aaron design, courtesy of his website.

So there you have it. Couve Couture Fashion, 2014-style.  And friends, I can’t WAIT for next year.

The Couve Couture Spring 14 Fashion Show (part 1)

14 Apr

Last Saturday, I was lucky enough to attend the Couve Couture Spring 14 Fashion Show, a showcase of 10 Vancouver-based designers.  Kids, I had a killer time.  And I’m bringing you coverage of the event in 2 parts.  Today, I’ll give you the rundown on the event itself, and next time I’m gonna give a profile of my 4 favorite designers from the show.  Let’s GO.

Pre-show selfie.  Look at how excited I am.

Pre-show selfie. Look at how excited I am.

The event was swanky as hell.  The venue was the grand ballroom of the Red Lion hotel on the VC side of the Columbia River.  The ballroom was decked out with a long, serpentine runway, cameras everywhere, DJ, videos, a bar (with a fantastic black cherry specialty cocktail), eats, and a room full of beautiful people in beautiful clothes.

Swanky.

Swanky.

I’m a reluctant suburbanite.  When I left the city for the suburbs two years ago to move in with my beloved, it was with a heavy heart.  But last night, I was proud to be a Vancouverite.  Fashion and culture is coming to the Couve in a big way.  So suck it, Portland (just kidding, don’t ever leave me).

The show was great.  Exciting, funky and modern.  I was also pleased to note some cool racial and age diversity in the models.  There was even some representation of diverse bodies, although the majority of the models were more “traditional” (tall and skinny).   An addition of a plus-sized collection next year would be amazing.  But the show was awesome, and the clothes were gorgeous.  Truly.  Everything from ready-to-wear to couture.

A Kelsey Lovelle design.

A Kelsey Lovelle design.

I’ll go into more detail regarding my favorite collections in the next post, but some fashion and beauty trends I spotted last night were:

  • light, sheer fabrics
  • colors and prints
  • big-ass heels
  • loose, flowy hair
  • light makeup that put the focus on glowy skin
  • a blend of the masculine and feminine
A model looking Boho Chic in a design from Kate Beeman.

A model looking Boho Chic in a design from Kate Beeman.

As for yours truly, I wanted to pay some honor to my hometown, so I decked myself out in Vancouver duds.  My pink dress was a clearance find from the Willow Boutique (not represented, but still awesome), located on Columbia House Blvd.  But my showcase piece was a green flowered vintage hat purchased at Most Everything Vintage in downtown Vancouver.  Most Everything Vintage was a host of the event.

All in all, it was a great show.  Fashion no longer belongs just to Paris, Milan and New York, and there is more to be seen than what is in magazines.  If you’re local, hit up these designers.  If you’re not local, hit them up anyway–and check out the designers your city has to offer.

A list of the designers:

  • Alisa Ann of Most Everything Vintage
  • Nicole Noel, Junior Designer of Sweet Spot Skirts
  • Kate Beeman
  • Caryn Stockwell of Second Star Designs
  • Kelsey Lovelle
  • Nike Pappas, a Couve Couture Scholarship
  • Lydia Wagner
  • Carlie Bailes
  • Dawn Elise
  • Seth Aaron

More to come.  Stay tuned.

The Two-Face Experiment!

2 Apr

Last night, I found myself alone at home and bored, and so I started doing what I do when I’m alone and bored.  I started experimenting with makeup.  See, I love makeup.  I wear makeup almost every day–although I’m certainly not afraid to leave my house without it.  Some days I don’t give a fuck.  But the days I give a fuck…well, I wear makeup.  Not only do I love the ritual of applying it (and, oh, how I love that ritual), but I think I look PRETTIER with it.  I’m fine with how I look bare-faced.  But I look…boring.  Plain.  But with makeup? BAM.

…Right?

I got curious.  How much of a difference does my makeup actually make?  Does it truly make me look better, or is it more the ritual of applying it and the subsequent boost in confidence that makes the difference?  So I decided to do a little experiment.  I would apply makeup to HALF my face, leaving the other half bare, and post the results.  YAY!

My tools.

My tools.

So here’s what I put on:

  • Rimmel Match Perfection Foundation in Classic Ivory (101)
  • Rimmel Natural Bronzer in Sunlight (021)
  • Nyx Eyebrow Cake Powder in Brunette
  • Maybelline Chic Naturals Eye Shadow in Silken Taupe
  • Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner in Intense Black
  • Two Faced Size Queen Mascara
  • Ardell “Glamourous” False Lashes (cut in half)
  • Lancome Gloss in Love Lipgloss in 162 (I think? Label faded)
  • Makeup Forever HD Powder

I may not wear this exact combo every day (especially the lashes), but this is something you could see me in out and about in the daytime.  Nothing fancy, just a basic look. And here are the results:

Two Face

Party on the Left, Plain on the Right

What do you think?

The differnece might not be HUGE (although those false lashes do me all kinds of favors), but it’s enough.  I’m all for natural beauty, but I like the lift that makeup gives me.

 

Catching up

25 Mar

I decided to take a few minutes on this lovely sunny day to follow up on some posts I’ve written in the past month or so.  Give y’all a little update on my life, so to speak.

First off, the KICKSTARTER.  In case you missed it, a few weeks ago I posted an internet plea for funding for my upcoming show, INDEPENDENT WOMEN.  Not only was our Kickstarter fully funded (!!!), but the director told me that some of those funders came directly from Rosettes and Revolution.  To those of you who were inspired to donate, THANK YOU from the very bottom of my heart.  Truly.

Our show, INDEPENDENT WOMEN, closed Saturday  night.  The run was very successful, and we had great crowds and great response.  Here’s a photo of the 6 cast members backstage closing night!

Throw your hands up at me.

Throw your hands up at me.

And then, two weeks ago, I posted about some struggles I’d been having with food–and with it, some weight struggles.  So  many people reached out to me via facebook, email and text (not to  mention in person) to offer support, suggestions or advice.  I really, really appreciate the concern and care everyone expressed to me.  I wanted to let you know that I’m doing much better.  The week that led up to me writing that post was terrible–and what I learned from it is that stress makes my dietary condition (whatever it is) much, much worse.  The past few weeks have been much smoother.  I continue to have to be very particular about what I eat and how much, but I’m feeling healthy and energetic.  Psychologically, I’m trying to wrap my brain around the fact that I probably will be losing weight without trying to lose weight or without becoming obsessive in my eating.  I’ve spoken to some people I trust and asked them to be on the watch for disordered eating and other behaviors.  I think I just have to accept that my way my body processes food is changing as I get older, and that my eating habits have to follow that.  Still figuring it out.

So there it is.  An update on what’s going on with me.  I now have a few weeks of (relative) quiet before jumping into my next project.  I’ll see you next time. :)

 

Vintage Shopping: A Breakdown

19 Mar

A note on photos (or lack thereof):  my stupid iphone camera isn’t working,  so I wasn’t able to take any pictures to accompany this post!  You’re going to have to use your beautiful imaginations!
xoxo-Sarahphina

Yesterday, I found myself with an unexpected hour to kill.  Normally, I’d dart into a coffee shop and do some work/writing/online time wasting, but my computer was having woes connecting to the internet and  (blah blah blah, no one cares)…well, I didn’t.  So if I couldn’t zone out in front of my computer, all that was left to do was spend money.

And for those of you who say I could have “gone for a walk” or “taken a nap” or any other sensible suggestion that doesn’t involve shopping…well, keep it to yourself.  WE DON’T WANT YOUR SENSIBLE SUGGESTIONS HERE!

So I rolled up to Bombshell Vintage, my favorite vintage store in all the land.  And today I am going to give you the play-by-play on my shopping trip.  Are you ready?  Good.  Oh, and if shopping doesn’t interest you, that’s fine.  Go read War and Peace or something.

Before we begin, I’m gonna take a moment to familiarize you with the RULES I follow when shopping.  Don’t worry, these aren’t stupid, downer rules.  They’re fun rules!  Like safe words!

Rule 1:  Know your budget.  And then know your actual budget.

When I go shopping, particular when I go vintaging/thrifting, I have two figures in my head.  The first is my budget.  The second is my actual budget.  The budget is what I’d like to play.  The actual budget is what I can pay, and it’s to be used on those very special shopping trips where I find a lot of hidden treasures and want to sweep them all up.  The actual budget is “how much can I spend before I’m financially irresponsible?”

Rule 2: Know what you could pair a piece with (that you already own) and a place where you can wear it.

There is nothing in my closet that I don’t wear.  I don’t have dresses that sit, neglected, for years and years because they are never “appropriate.”  Part of this is because I tend to wear whatever the sweet fuck I want without worrying about “appropriate,” but I also take steps to make sure I’m only filling my closet with things I’ll actually wear.  So each time I try on an article, I must be able to think immediately of somewhere I could wear it and what I could wear it with.

Rule 3:  One trip to the dressing room.

This is a time-saver.  If it didn’t catch  my eye on the first scan, I can probably live without it.  Know that I will totally break this rule for the right thing.

Rule 4:  In vintage shopping, there are no rules.

*grin*

Armed with my rules and my budget ($50, with an actual budget of $100), I went in.

I knew immediately it was gonna be a good day.  In under 10 minutes, I had my arms full of dresses and was heading to the dressing room.  And it just got better.

I have a policy (NOT a rule, this is TOTALLY DIFFERENT) when it comes to looking at the prices of stuff I pull of the racks.  Basically, I don’t.  Look.  At least not right away.  I try things on blind and put them into three categories: Yes, No, and Under Consideration.  The “Under Considerations” are pieces that need a second look, or are Yes contenders if I have cash to spare, or maybe need an extra minute to decide what I could wear them with or whatever.  Once the dresses are sorted, I look at the price tags of my “Yes” and “Under Consideration” pieces and start making decisions.

Dress 1: Textured Elegance

Did I mention that I sometimes name the clothes I try on?  It helps keep them straight in my mind.  Dress 1 I called “Textured Elegance” because it’s textured and elegant.  I’m very creative.  It’s a 1960s cocktail-length black dress with fantastic quarter-length sleeves with a slight bell.  It’s black with greenish-gold thread embellishment, and it’s textured.  I put it on and immediately knew it was a keeper.  It paired gorgeously with the patterned fishnets and blue metallic shoes I was already wearing.  My hair was loose and wild, which added an unexpected quality to the look.  Not only was I buying this dress, I was walking out of the store in it.  I looked at my sad aubergine Nordstrom Rack dress that I wore in, now in a pile of the floor.  Three years ago, it was a beloved staple of my “business” wardrobe.  But all the good things must come to an end, and Aubergine Purple must step aside for the next generation of awesome clothes.

Category: YES

Dress Two: Textured Adorable

Another textured 1960s dress, but this one had adorable bows at the mid-thigh level.  Fit like a dream. Closed my eyes and saw myself in this dress with colored tights and ankle booties with a badass updo, maybe at a dinner date or show.  But…is it too much like the other dress?  Need to think.

Category: Under Consideration

Dress Three:  Laid Back Linen

A forties-style dress, but I’m thinking it’s actually from the 80s.  A pale pink color with a blue and purple pattern.  Light and comfortable, would work with flats and light, simple jewelry for the day-to-day.  I LIKE this dress.

Category: YES

Dress Four: Eggplant

Gorgeous purple gown with lots of “flow” factor and puffy sleeves.  All seems in order–the color is a dream–but…wait.  It’s a little snug around the hips and ass.  I know, suddenly, that I’ll never be able to sit down in this dress.  Which means…

Category: NO

Dress Five: Sexy Dorothy

Mid-calf length blue gingham.  Thick strappy sleeves and a lace detail at the neck with barely-noticeable (and perfect!) rhinestones.  Paired with red shoes for funsies, or pink espadrilles for realsies.  Maybe a Katniss braid.  Dress SCREAMS to be work at a summer BBQ.

Category: YES

Dress Six: 70s Goddess

This dress is perfection.  Black base with a crazy golden orange print, maybe a Pucci influence.  It’s 70s and glam and fabulous–also deliciously sheer, which means its begging for a sexy black lace slip to go underneath.  Strappy sandals.  Huge gold jewelry.  Where would I wear it?  Where WOULDN’T I wear it?  Fuck, I will pay ALL the money for this dress.

Category: Fuck yes.

Dresses Seven and Eight: Who cares, they were no’s.

So.  I clearly had more YES dresses than I had money for.  I said a sad goodbye to Textured Adorable and Sexy Dorothy.

Down to three.  Time to look at some prices.

Textured Elegance is priced at $44, which is an effing miracle. I feel like I’m committing robbery.  70s Goddess is $42–but as we established, it’s cheap at any price.  Laid Back Linen is a whopping $94–turns out it’s not forties-style, it’s actual 40s.  A great dress, but out of my price range.  So.  I’m left with two great dresses for under my actual budget of $100.  I’m ready to go.  I leave the dressing room (leaving everything neatly hung, of course, because I’m not a terrible person) and head for the register.

BAM.  Then it happens.

In the slips/lingerie section, I see it.  A brightly colored, striped knee-length crinoline.  It screams “carnival chic” and I want to weep from joy.  I love anything that says “busted circus.”  I’m drawn to this adorable crinoline like an old-timey fortune teller to a mark, and before I know what’s happening I’ve busted right over rule #3 and I’m back in the room.  It looks a little small, but I try it on anyway and…

…it’s a dream.

Even though I’m standing in the dressing room wearing nothing but my stockings, shoes, bra and this divine slip (we’ll call it Circus Crinoline), that’s not what I see when I look in the mirror.  I see myself dressed in this slip with fishnets and black ankle booties, paired with a black peekaboo tank blouse with a black shrug or jacket.  Dangly earrings.  Elaborate updo, maybe with a silly hair piece.  It’s perfect.  I carefully take the crinoline off and look at the price.

$40.

It’s more than I want to spend on a skirt–especially a skirt that’s technically underwear.  It’ll take me over actual budget, because there’s no way in Hades I’m returning Textured Elegance or 70s Goddess.  Should I do the right thing and follow my budget, or the wrong thing and follow Circus Crinoline and my dreams of looking like a tightrope-walker-circa-1910-who-scandalously-shows-her-calves?

But it’s a question that is no question.  The Gods of Vintage Shopping are fickle, and you might make 5 bummer trips for every extraordinary trip.  Grab the abundance while you can.  Gather ye rosebuds while ye may!  BUY THE DAMN FUCKING SKIRT!

So with purpose and direction I walked up to the counter.  $126 seems a small price to pay to the Vintage Clothes Gods, and I offer myself (and my wallet) up willingly.  It stings now, but how the sting will ease when I’m out in the world in my new/old clothes feeling all the joy such articles can bestow.

“I’ll take these three.”

Sick & Skinny

10 Mar

Alright folks, it’s about to get real up in here.

About two months ago, I caught some kind of sucky stomach bug.  Not the worst stomach upset I’ve ever had (that honor still belongs to Valentine’s Day 2013), but nasty.  I was sent home from rehearsal to moan and groan in peace.  I blew a tire on the way home, and had to wait for a gallant friend to come and rescue me, but that’s a story for another day.

Anyway.  I went to bed and woke up right as rain…except….not.  Ever since that little bug, my normally healthy digestive system (I’m fond of saying my stomach could shred a tin can) has been completely out of whack.

For a few weeks, I figured my body would probably just right itself as time went on.  But when a month passed and I was still battling upset and nausea (and other things I’ll spare you the details of), I decided drastic measures were necessary.  I completely re-hauled my diet.  I took out EVERYTHING that could possibly be causing the problem, and planned on slowly re-introducing things like meat, dairy, starch, etc.  I figured that 1) a few weeks of clean eating would reset my janky system or 2) I’d be able to pinpoint what exactly was triggering my tummy upset.

So I did.  And folks, as an almost-lifelong dieter, let me tell you that it is way easier to limit your eating when you’re doing it to not feel sick rather than to lose weight. So I was doing ok.  I was taking great care with my food, much more than I ever have before.  And I was feeling better.  Not 100%, but better.  My one concern was that after about the first week, I wasn’t eating very much.  Not so little to cause major concern, but I was definitely only eating two small-ish meals per day.

Then the last two weeks happened.  I have been a mess of business, exhaustion and anxiety due to all kinds of stressors.  The stress and lack of sleep caused my sick stomach came back with a vengeance, and I found myself basically unable to eat.

Now.

With the healthy eating over the first two weeks, and the barely eating over the most recent two weeks, it’s no shocker that I’ve lost weight.  I can’t be sure how much, because I rarely weigh myself, but it’s at least eight pounds and possibly as much as twelve.  And my-oh-my, the compliments they are a-flyin’!

“You look amazing!  Did you lose weight?  How did you do it?”

I try to explain that I’ve been sick, that it’s not a new weight loss plan or a newfound love of Zumba (fat fucking chance on that one).  And while some people seem genuinely concerned that I’ve been unwell, most people’s eyes glaze over once it’s clear I’m not going to reveal some amazing new weight loss trick.

But you know who the worst offender is?

Me.

Because here’s the honest truth:  I think I look fantastic.  I was okay with my body where it was about 85% of the time, and that was a huge victory.  After years of self loathing and yo-yo dieting, I finally said fuck it and decided to just deal with liking where I was, chub and all.  But I’m not immune to our culture. Like all women, I’m getting the message that skinny = hot at all times and from all sides.  To be considered a hot woman in America, you must be thin and you must be young.  AND NONE OF US ARE GETTING ANY YOUNGER.  Choosing to love my body even though I wasn’t skinny fueled me because it was an act of defiance.  Fuck you, world!  I’m gonna be a little chunky, and I’m gonna think I’m pretty anyway, and you’re going to have to fucking LIVE with it!

But now I feel like my defiance is draining away along with the weight.  And once again, my sense of self is getting locked into how thin my body looks on a given day.  I feel triumphant when the dress that was a little-too-snug slides on with room to spare, or when my skinny jeans that haven’t seen the light of day since I visited Prague 4 years ago zip up effortlessly.

And my disordered eating is re-appearing with a vengeance. I want to eat, but I’m scared to–and I’m scared both because I might get sick and also because I don’t want to gain weight.  Two very tiny meals has become the norm for me, and I freak out if I eat more than that.  I drink coffee instead of eating.  I also know that disordered eating for me has always  meant “binge eating,” and I’m scared for the day when my inner diet rebel declares enough is enough and pulls me to the corner market to drown myself in candy.  I’m afraid that my metabolism will slow because I know I’m not eating enough.  Now that I’m losing weight I want to keep losing it, even if it’s painful or scary.  Which is why I’m sitting here, shaking after just involuntarily vomiting up my breakfast, and feeling glad.

I know this is fucked up.

I want to feel better.  Even if (especially if?) it means I eat nothing but healthy food for the rest of forever.

I also want to be thin.  And I want to not want to be thin.

 

BRB

5 Mar

Hello friends!

I am up to my metaphorical nuts in tech and opening and work and all that jazz. I’ll be back next week with something new and exciting (well, at least something new).

BUT BEFORE I GO, I’m thrilled to announce that our Kickstarter for Independent Women was FULLY FUNDED the day after I posted my online plea to y’all.  THANK YOU to all who contributed.

 

Loves!

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