Blue Eyes

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Blue eyes surround and devour me.

Scarcity of guidance, I abruptly ignored.

Hurt of haste, dismissing the key to let me be.

I’ve mistaken what it means to be adored.

 

The unknown beauty of a throb.

When they cry, tears of pearls roll down.

The most precious stone came from sores.

With heads high upon the heaviest of crowns.

 

From this day on, daylight is when they’ll be adorned.

 

 

 

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Branding Within Branding

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As I was looking through Harper’s Bazzar’s September issue and I came across a Calvin Klein fall 2017 ad. I instantly thought of Las Meninas by Velasquez (1656). It’s not surprising that fashion takes it’s influence from art and vice versa. It’s clever for a brand to advertise using references to themselves. Calvin Klein became a world renowned brand because of their controversial, sexy billboards, TV and magazine advertisements.

 

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Las Meninas, Velasquez, 1656.

The art history concept of branding within branding is present. Notice how Velasquez is painting a royal portrait and includes himself in the work? Velasquez is branding himself as an accomplished artist by giving himself credit with the task of painting the portrait of the Spanish royal family. This trend continues with another piece, At the Moulin Rogue by Toulouse Lautrec (1895). Toulouse Lautrec includes himself in his own artwork as a man of the people. Lautrec was influenced by the night life in Paris and he responds by including what he see’s and himself interacting with the people in the night scene. Lautrec gives himself credit of his daily life inspirations. Velasquez and Lautrec include themselves as another way of branding themselves as artists.

 

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At the Moulin Rogue, Toulouse Lautrec, 1895

This all relates back to the Calvin Klein fall 2017 ad campaign, in which the models are posing the new fall collection while a billboard of the past spring Calvin Klein season is in the background. As a reference to how Calvin Klein got famous while including the new vision of the brand under Raf Simons.

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Velvet Heart Intern

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The fashion world’s illusion of a fun, happy and colorful life with endless photos of clothing, parties, events and travel makes it seem like the fashion is a frivolous career path. Beginning my career in fashion isn’t as glamorous as the illusion of fashion perceives to be. Starting my career in my passion began with my interest in learning about how a fashion brand works. I applied for 7 fashion internships throughout the past year and have finally started working at Velvet Heart for the past few months this year. As my internship approaches its end, it’s time to reveal what the secrets behind the world of a fashion brands.

Velvet Heart is a L.A based, contemporary, women’s wear line that follows the hottest trends while remaining faithful to classic pieces that can survive years to come. They’re merchandise is mainly sold in Macy’s, Dillard’s, Burlington, TjMaxx and certain locations of Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue.  As an intern the cinematic life of a fashion intern on The Devil Wears Prada, aren’t too far off from reality. My daily tasks were picking up drinks at Starbucks, tagging and organizing clothing for showrooms, buyers and meetings, organizing paperwork from orders and tech packs, using Microsoft Excel to log garments and being a photographer’s assistant during photo shoots. At first my managers didn’t bother with learning my name because of my short amount of time of work with the company, I was simply referred to as “she” “girl” and “the intern”. When my coworkers talked to my managers, my coworkers had to speak to me to refer me to a task my manager might have needed me to complete. My managers didn’t always speak to me directly.  However, one of the nicest experiences I had a when I was an intern for less than a month,  I visited the showroom and the vice president and merchandise manager took me out to lunch and gave me lots of fashion career advice. They made me feel welcomed. Overtime, everyone knew my name and my situation changed. Thankfully. This experience taught me the importance of diction, wording and respect in how to interact with others. When I become more experienced with my company’s expectations I was asked to do more tasks like photographing garments for logging purposes, trimming hems for garments before meetings, recording measurements of future designs , editing all the grammar on Velvet Heart’s online site and asked for advice for posts on social media.

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I assisted on the photo shoot, my e-commerce manager later turned the photo to an online ad.

 

In between all my tasks, I watched the designers design garments, my coworkers interpreting the designs on Adobe Illustrator, photoshopping images for the online store and scrolling across other retailer’s websites for inspiration for the future. I walked across the halls and every wall was filled with images of magazines and fabric swatches. Every day, with people of different departments like design, marketing and business. I overheard all the heated discussions about the business and its future for making a profit for the seasons ahead. Plans for new designs, photo shoot ideas, advertising ideas, profit margins and etc. Personally, most of my time was spent with the marketing and e-commerce department because I had a best connection with the marketing manager and the tasks were fun to me. However, despite all the tasks and people I have met, I learn best by observing and making my own interpretations. Throughout my days at Velvet Heart, I mainly remained silent to watch and to complete my tasks at my best level. Although speaking can allow me to be closer with my coworkers and managers, I knew I was there for a learning experience. I want to get the most of my time and complete every task to the best of my ability. Asking questions every now and then relieved my curiosity. As long as I remained serious, I could be taken seriously.

 

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Another photo I assisted on, but was used for showing merchandise to sell on Velvet Heart’s e-commerce site.

My experience as an intern taught me the process of the business behind a fashion brand:

1. The process of finding inspiration.

2. Designing a garment.

3. Making the accurate measurements, illustrations complete with swatches, button details on the computer.

4. Sending the design to China, having it manufactured in China and shipped back to the United States.

5. Having the garment be presented in showrooms and meetings to buyers of various retailers.

6. Advertising all the new styles for the upcoming season.

7. Selling the products on e-commerce and retailers.

The most important lesson from this experience is learning my purpose in my pursuit in the fashion industry. I’ve most enjoyed working with the photographer on photo shoots, styling images for social media and contributing my writing for Velvet Heart’s online site. Photography takes a lot more time than I ever imagined in the fashion industry, photo shoots for advertising, social media and e-commerce are shot in 2 days taking around 7-10 hours for each day. Photo stills take around 1 hour to shoot for social media and e-commerce styling ideas. Thousands of pictures to get the perfect shot is time consuming, but rewarding.  Enhancing my knowledge through the practice in writing and photography in Velvet Heart, let me practice the two things that I’ve always had a passion for. It takes a variety of tasks, to know what I like and don’t like in my future career. The only way to know is to try it all out.

 

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Photo stills, I assisted on. Both used for style inspiration from Velvet Heart.

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Gleb Derujinsky by Andrea Derujinsky

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A few days ago, on April 20th, 2017, Andrea Derujinsky visited Santa Monica College to talk about her father, photographer, Gleb Derujinsky and her new book Capturing Fashion Derujinsky.

Gleb Derujinsky was a photographer who famous images appeared in Harper’s Bazaar in the 1950s. Andrea Derujinsky wrote this book to represent her father’s work when he photographed her mother, model Ruth Neumann. All for the purpose of rediscovering her roots as a daughter to a model and photographer. It was touching to hear about Andrea’s experience of travelling the world with her parents to make history in American fashion.  Gleb’s images made us all want to travel the world in lavish styles to the point where back in the 1950s and 1960s husbands of wives who read Harper’s Bazaar wrote to Mr. Derujinsky about his fabulous works. Most of his photographs only took a few shots to take without any modern retouching. Gleb made it his purpose to travel the world with excessive amount of clothing to let the viewer fantasize. What’s funny about all these photographs is that Gleb never saved his negatives nor did he name any of the locations of any of the shoots. Andrea had to set out on her own journey to find all the locations and rediscover family history. It took her 5 years to get this book published! Now it’s out and the works of Gleb are celebrated for lovers of vintage fashion photography.

Below are my favorite photos discussed during the conference:

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1958 Harper’s Bazaar

Taken at the Victoria Harbor, Hong Kong this stunning photograph shows Ruth Neumann in a traditional Chinese gown and fan standing on a boat.

 

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1959 Harper’s Bazaar

Andrea’s mother Ruth Neumann, dressed as a bride for an editorial shoot in Harper’s Bazzar. Claudia was playing bride, this is not her actual wedding photo. Taken in Paris!

 

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1950s (year unknown) Harper’s Bazaar

Ruth Neumann wearing a stunning Valentino gown. The rippling effect of the water was shot several times, Gleb’s assistant had to keep throwing rocks in the river to get the effect to be just right at Central Park.

 

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Carmen Dell’Orefice, Paris 1957 for Harper’s Bazaar

This magical image was taken at the late night next to the river that connects the Notre Dame and Musee d’Orsay in Paris.

 

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1962, Harper’s Bazaar

First mother-daughter shot of Andrea and Ruth.

 

Beaded Glory

The decadence of sewn jewels on garments has made it’s mark in fashion. It was a trend that started with Queen Elizabeth with her pearled gowns and over time it became a symbol of wealth of women to wear their wealth because it’s clothing, an outfit wouldn’t be worn for several years they’d get new dresses with new designs, which means sewing more jewels in different places. The trend followed through many eras and appears on runway shows today, but what’s interesting about this trend is it isn’t consistent. It appears in one era and it disappears for a while and reappears again, being most prominent in the Elizabethan/Baroque, Rococo and Georgian era then disappears to a more practical form of a brooch to be reused on several outfits from the Victorian era and throughout the 20th century. Now it’s modern interpretation is reappearing now through designers like Balmain, Gucci and Dolce and Gabbana.

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Portrait of Elizabeth I at the National Portrait Gallery of London, Unknown artist, 1580s-1590s.
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Portrait of Anna Dalkeith, Countess of Morton, and Lady Anna Kirk by Van Dyck 1631.

Notice in the Elizabethan/Baroque era how the jewels sewn were one or two layers of gold string, pearls and a mix of precious jewels like sapphire, emerald and rubies. All pieces in few stones but in heavier, larger pieces to be apparent from a far distance.

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“Comtesse d’Egmont Pignatelli in Spanish Costume” by Alexander Roslin, 1763

The Rococo era expressed women’s femininity, behind all the bright pastels, ruffles, bows, lace and silks, jewels aren’t huge and have been replaced with rows of pearls. However, if all stones are no longer present, nothing replaces the timelessness of a  diamond, it is said that Marie Antoinette had gowns with diamonds sewn in.

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“Frances Anne Vane, Marchioness of Londonderry” by Dubois-Drahonet, Alexandre-Jean, 1831

After the flamboyance of the era before, regency represents a period for women to have garments more true to their figures and high waisted empire gowns. The extravagance of beaded dresses isn’t a lost art with the aristocracy and royalty, smaller gems are sewn with rows of smaller pieces of diamonds and pearls or sewn threads of gold.

Women of the Baroque, Rococo and Regency who wore those garments all used their garments to represent the wealth of their families or empires, none of their clothing were functional or used for most of their daily lives, it served a more ornamental purpose. The few modern interpretations with subtle past references show how beaded garments have made a point of interest for the 21st century in mainly for ready to wear collections of Dolce & Gabbana, Gucci and Balmain. It’s what gives women a hint of glamour and fun in their clothing of basic garments for everyday life. Ready to wear serves as function with quality because most women are working in today’s society, moving from place to place unlike walking, leisure and remaining in one place for most days of the month. However, it’s influence will always be a stamping point on couture for example in John Galliano for Dior in his spring 2000 collection all inspired by Marie Antoinette. What all these garments have in common, is it’s use of luxurious fabrics and technique of sewing the garment but  its more practical materials for affordability for the upper middle class and higher classes, none of these jewels are genuine, they are all made of crystal, plastic and metal beads, therefore if these garments were to loose their function, no one would feel guilty to clean these artful pieces from their closets. Beaded garments whether the jewels are genuine or artificial is a never ending trend that enhance a woman’s love for shinier, finer and beautiful things in life.

Women’s Empowerment Through Lenses of Queens.

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Netflix series, The Crown

 

Since the American election of Hillary Clinton’s name appearing on the ballot, Theresa May becoming prime minister of the United Kingdom, the second woman to serve that position since Margret Thatcher. Women have voiced their concerns and came together to march all over the world on January 21, 2017. Through the course of these events there has been more cinematography made with a female leaders, all in the purpose to send a message about women’s future roles as leaders and the change of gender roles in society. Shows that celebrate history through virtuous queens like Netflix’s series The Crown which highlights the life of Queen Elizabeth II and ITV’s series Victoria, which is about Queen Victoria’s life as a queen of the British Empire. Although majority of the world isn’t royal, these shows present themes of women’s accomplishments, strength, passion, leadership and determination to provide the best for their nation.While their husbands have greater strength to stand beside their wives and find ways to make their own influences they still have to give up parts of themselves to the women they love.

With the slow process of more women in powerful positions, it creates change in the gender structure. Nowadays in the workforce, women and men are working  and it’s not always an option for a woman to leave her career to support the family. Nor longer does the man have to be the breadwinner of the family, with that in mind. Men have to prove their strength of being in a nontraditional marriage and adapting to tasks that are usually linked with women. The Crown and Victoria represent these changes of gender roles for example in The Crown, notice how Queen Elizabeth II is taking care of political, societal issues and spending most of her time with her prime ministers, as opposed to her husband Philip who has to watch over the children, accompany his wife on her trips around the world and is limited on following his dream of becoming a pilot. It’s hard for Philip because he feels like his wife’s shadow, he can’t pass down his name nor can he and his wife Elizabeth live in their own private home. Ultimately, prince Philip proves his strength by standing by his wife’s actions. But both Prince Albert and Prince Philip aren’t  favored because of how their seen by family and parliament, both parties don’t think they are capable of having a significant role in power, one is seen as a German outsider and the other as having a youthful, too radical personality. It’s their wives love for their husbands that allows them to have more tasks for their country.

It’s encouraging and inspiring for young girl to see a TV drama which presents the direction of becoming an influential, female leader as much as it’s inspiring to see women currently in power on the news like watching the current Chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel. These messages through media influence girls to believe they are capable of accomplishing anything. But it’s their inner strength, the love of those dearest to them and their job that makes them even more powerful. These shows will leave any girl dazzled with delight that if she works hard, she’ll be living her life like a queen.

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ITV, Victoria. Leaders have historically been linked as a male dominated path but in the show Victoria, it’s Queen Victoria’s traits of stubbornness, her inner self will, determination, purity, willingness to learn and her attentiveness towards the people closest to her heart like Lord Melbourne and Prince Albert makes her a genuine leader despite her young age.

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Assouline

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Books are the essential to every home, it doesn’t only make the owner seem more intelligent and cultured but it adds a touch of a personal touch of sophistication. Assouline is a book retailer that specializes in creating chic libraries, selling books in fashion,interior design, architecture, cooking, photography and vacation spots. Assouline was founded by a French couple Prosper and Martine Assouline in 1994, they got the inspiration to create a  book publishing business after the couple’s first book, La Colombe D’Or was published. Assouline’s survival through the internet age is astonishing because their differentials are unbeatable compared to ordinary bookstores like Barnes and Noble and Vromans. In fact, their competitors carry Assouline books.

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What makes Assouline special is their services of creating custom libraries for their clients, complete with books, artwork and furniture. They’ve kept their level of prestige by publishing as few as 50-60 books per year, some books produced have a small quantity of a few thousand copies, some books come in limited edition boxes, shelves, cases from brands like Chanel, Coach, MCM and Goyard, their book price points range from $25- $4,500 which creates a wide atmosphere of accessibility for their customers.

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Assouline is still expanding their brick-n-mortar locations, they so far have 20 locations and 5 offices in places like Paris, New York, Seoul, Istanbul and Costa Mesa. They’re goal is to open 4 additional stores every year with a grand total of 50 stores worldwide in the next 10 years.

 

 

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Here is my photo of the store’s exterior in South Coast Plaza, Costa Mesa, CA. I highly recommend visiting their store because of the inviting, sophisticated and classical atmosphere.

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Here is the attached PowerPoint Presentation on Assouline’s founders, iconic books published at Assouline, statistics and fun facts- Assouline. To purchase or get a wider perspective on Assouline visit www.assouline.com.

Design Principals

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Advertisements are inescapable in this day in age, they’re on the internet, television, the radio, newspapers, magazines and etc. All these advertisements are trying to get our attention to consume what is being presented to us. It can be a ad campaign to support a particular cause, a company believes in or to spark controversy to gain free publicity. Advertising does its job right when people are talking about a particular brand’s product or advert because it gets their name out there. However, has it ever came to one’s mind to think how an advertisement is laid out visually? Our eyes follow a certain path when looking at any ad, whether it was the brand or message in the center, a girl’s shape shape in a horizontal direction, a pyramid shape of man’s figure and the list goes on. It’s important to recognize the different techniques in advertising because it was a marketing tactic to catch the target market’s attention and product/service they are advertising.

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Design Principles PowerPoint, Here is my PowerPoint  on the visual principals of advertising, each slide presents an advertisement and the design principle. A design principle of advertising is the technique presented in an advertisement to capture where a viewer’s eye travels.

 

 

 

 

Franca Sozzani

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Yesterday morning I heard the disturbing news that one of my role models has passed away a the age of 66, it is Franca Sozzani, the editor in chief of Vogue Italia from 1988-2016. The cause of her death is linked to cancer of one year.

What I’ve always admired about Sozzani was her intellectual perspective in fashion, to her fashion wasn’t only a fantasy but a business and a representation of the world that surrounds us. Not only were the images beautiful, but they were different perspectives on race, gender, pop culture, interpreting news into fashion. Sozzani kept Vogue Italia a representation of modern fashion.

I love these two editorials below because there is a sense of combining artwork with fashion. These two fashion photos look like they’re inspired by the past.

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Franca Sozzani is most well known for introducing and popularizing photographer Steven Meisel, his photography shaped Vogue Italia. She was one of the first fashion editors to defend bloggers.To add on to the mix she was  a humanitarian by serving as Ambassador to Fashion for the United Nations.

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Sozzani’s accolades include the French Legion d’Honneur and the Swarovski Award for Positive Change.

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There is a documentary film about Franca Sozzani, directed by her son, Franceso Carrozzini, Franca: Chaos and Creation.

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To me, Franca Sozzani is the representation that a woman can be fashionable, humane and intellectual. The perfect role model of the 21st century. A woman is not one or the other but a mix of everything. You will be missed Franca Sozzani, but your work will never be forgotten.

 

Los Angeles Fashion Week

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Last week, I was extremely fortunate to be apart of the volunteer crew for Los Angeles Fashion week. It was from Sept 28-Oct 2. I helped out with social media, center of house and set up/clean up. I couldn’t have been anymore thankful for the experience and the people I have met.

Above is a photo gallery of my best runway photos from my SLR Nikon camera with the caption of each designer.