Gleb Derujinsky by Andrea Derujinsky


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:

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.


Gleb_6_Ruth Neumann-Derujinsky

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!



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.



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.



1962, Harper’s Bazaar

First mother-daughter shot of Andrea and Ruth.





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.


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.



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.



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

Christian Dior

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Christian Dior by Francoise Giroud and Sacha Van Dorssen is a coffee table book that goes in depth on the founder/designer Christian Dior. In February 1947, when Dior presented his collection  “Corolle and “Huit” other wise known as “The New Look,” coined after Harper’s Bazzar editor Carmel Snow. Dior had become a superstar overnight. His success lead him to be one of the top 5 best known people in the world.


The New Look became an instant success around the world, especially for the working American women. Although women loved “The New Look” their husbands did not. Dior himself received death threats from American men in Texas and Iowa because they didn’t believe Dior’s approach to fashion was modest.




Christian Dior born in 1905 in Granville. The man himself Christian Dior worked in fashion without having a steady career path. Dior originally is from an aristocratic family that was known for owning factories in chemical products. Dior originally wished to study architecture in an arts school but his parents opposed the idea and opted for him to study political science. Dior still found himself doing something artistic on the side like studying music and art. Dior eventually owned an art gallery on  Rue de la Boetie with his partner Jean Bonjean on the condition that his name “Dior” could never be the name of the gallery.  It wasn’t until 1929 when the Dior family had is troubles, his brother Raymond fell into illness, his mother passed away and the stock exchange of 1929 along with bad investments ruined the Dior family. Dior later found himself selling the gallery and work in the gallery, seeking offers of new work and eventually Dior gained recognition by designer Jean Ozenne and sold 6 of Dior’s sketch designs at 20 francs each. Dior’s life has begun as a sketch artist and his involvement in Le Figaro magazine along with his sketches for Piguet his life as a designer has begun. All the experience at Le Figaro and designing at Piguet lead him to opening his own design house a few years later. In 1957, at the age of 52, Christian Dior passes away and leaves all the design management to the young apprentice Yves Saint Laurent.

Within a few years after The New Look, the House of Dior alone in the 1950s accounted for “75% of French fashion exports”(Giroud). Now, Christian Dior is a well known name all around the world, having boutiques from Paris, New York, Beirut, Tokyo, Beijing and the list goes on. In 1985, Bernard Arnault acquires Christian Dior and is now apart of the Moet Hennessy (LVMH). Christian Dior is such a precious company, that after Raf Simons departure, there still hasn’t been a new creative director.


NOTE: This book is published in 1987, so it only has information and photos from Christian Dior, Yves Saint Laurent and Marc Bohan. Majority of the photographs are in black and white. It’s the kind of book, for one who treasures more of the historic, beginnings of Dior. All the statistical data in the book is for perspective during the 1940s.till the 1980s.  This book does not serve the complete the full history of Dior from 1940s till now.


IT by Alexa Chung is a beautiful, short book of what encompasses the typical “it” girl like her favorite movies, muses, music, makeup advice, fashion advice and life advice. Chung writes this book as if the reader is reading her diary. Chung lists her life experiences that shaped her like fashion shows, modeling, festivals and etc.

My favorite parts in the book was when Chung made her personal experiences relatable like describing meeting Karl Lagerfeld, she pretended to act nonchalant but in the inside she was terrified! A sweet quote her mother used to tell her to understand heartbreak “Nobody goes through life without having their heartbroken and one day you’ll wake up and it will be okay.” Those are sentimental words everyone needs to hear during a heartbreak. My last favorite story is  Chung explaining how she got up to her signature style. Like how it took years for her to discover her personal style by a process of elimination and trying out what silhouettes worked best for her.

The best part about this book are the personal touches like Chung’s personal photos and the Polaroid photographs along with the cute sketches. Amazing read for any Alexa Chung fan.

Fashion History Film List

To learn a thing of two about fashion history, why not do so while having fun? Here are my top fashion film choices to learn a bit on every era in fashion.


Cleopatra- Starring Elizabeth Taylor (1963) is amazing for the exaggeration of Ancient Egyptian fashion. The beauty of this film is that it can be watched without sound, it’s all visually stimulating like the ancient Roman clothing, Egyptian decor, and the views of Egypt.  The only flaw with this one is it’s running time- around 4 hours. I split this film for 2 days to watch it in it’s entirety. cleopatra_glamour_3jun13_PR_b_720x1080

Elizabeth- Starring Cate Blanchett (1998)- A strong female leader like Queen Elizabeth I is portrayed beautifully in this film and an inspiration for female empowerment. I loved the Elizabethan fashion from the pearled hair, ruffles and elaborate farthing gales.


Marie Antoinette- Starring Kristen Dunst (2006). Anything French history related I am obsessed with. My personal favorite era in fashion is Rococo, which is the 18th century style popularized in France and Germany. I love this film because it’s a very modern take on Marie Antoinette’s life from her childhood in Austria till her escape of France during the French Revolution. It’s very frilly and a fun kind of film. No blood and no violence!


The Young Victoria- Starring Emily Blunt  (2009). Royal Victorian fashion is breathtaking. I couldn’t get enough of both the men’s and women’s fashion in this masterpiece. The splendor of this film is the portrayal of Queen Victoria’s early life through her diary and her romance with Prince Albert. Perfect romance and historical film.


My Fair Lady- Starring Audrey Hepburn (1964). Impeccable Edwardian fashion. This has to be one of my favorite musicals of all time.  I love the story line of how Eliza goes from this ungraceful Scot to become one of the most elegant women in England because of the training of the phonics teacher Mr. Higgins. This is a must watch!



The Great Gatsby- Starring Mia Farrow (1974) In my opinion I love the 1974 version of this F. Scott Fitzgerald classic more than the 2013 one. All the Art Deco fashion in this film is designed by Ralph Lauren. I love the costume design because it’s american fashion done with sophistication and simplicity despite the decorativeness of the 1920s.



Deluxe: How Luxury Lost It’s Luster

Dana Thomas wrote one of the best books I’ve ever read when it comes to the combination of everything is to know about the Luxury business. It stretches from how small businesses became corporations, the mass production of luxury goods to appeal to the middle class, the loss of authenticity and where the luxury market stands today in our economy. I personally loved it because it was a big overview of the luxury industry, it wasn’t one sided towards a particular part in luxury or one brand. It covers the costs to making couture, ready to wear, handbags, and fragrance.

The important topics Deluxe covers:

  • History of fashion brands like Christian Louboutin, Hermes, Louis Vuitton, Chanel and etc.
  • The brands corporations like LVMH, Prada and Gucci Group control and the growth of corporation in luxury fashion.
  • Luxury brands influence on tourists like in luxury shops opening in Las Vegas and Hawaii and the growth in flagships around the world like in Japan, Russia and China.
  • Celebrities influence on fashion
  • History of the fragrance, silk and handbag industries
  • Costs it takes luxury brands to make products and mark up pricing
  • Influence of the online luxury shopping like Net-a-Porter
  • Counterfeit industry in China, New York and LA.

Deluxe: How Luxury Lost It’s Luster is a book to read for anyone interested in the luxury side of the fashion industry because the high fashion industry is what influences the other classes in fashion like the middle, low and fast fashion industry.


The True Cost

The True Cost directed by Andrew Morgan is an insightful documentary on the cost of fast fashion. This documentary primarily highlights the flaws of the current system in the fashion industry.

After watching this documentary, I have been inspired to be more of a conscious consumer and buy quality not quantity, thus I will do my best NOT to shop at fast fashion brands.

Some important facts to consider from the documentary:

  •  The fashion industry is the second industry in the world responsible for polluting our planet, the first is the oil industry.
  • 3% of clothing in the USA is made in the USA, 97% outsourced. In the 1960s 97% of clothing was produced in the USA.



  • In the fast fashion stores (H&M, Wal-Mart…etc) the workers (in places like Bangladesh, China, Cambodia) have harsh working conditions, low wages and no alternatives are made because the governments of those countries want to keep prices to low to keep having business.
  • 40 Million workers in Bangladesh are mainly women in the garment industry and make less than $3 a day!
  • Clothes that are made with harsh, non degradable material can’t be recycled and end up in landfills.
  • The GMOs and other harsh chemicals are having an impact on our environment. They pollute rivers, contaminating the soil of cotton fields and it causes brain tumors to men working in agriculture.

With all these problems in the fashion industry the only current solutions for a consumer are to buy more expensive clothes or conscience clothes made from organic materials. Another solution can be from the corporations themselves by raising prices of their clothing.

To learn more about the The True Cost– Check out their website- The True Cost

The Leopard

“Be the swan surrounded by a lake of frogs.”

Screen Shot 2014-01-30 at 11.44.54the_leopard__claudia_cardinale_1963The_Leopard_rgb062910leopard718Gorgeous Italian film. It is highly recommended film for lovers of fashion history.  This film is about the 1800’s unification of Sicily with the rest of Italy, so you get to learn some Italian history and language for 3 hours.
Visually the film is beautiful, not only for the Italian landscape. I love the costume design of the Victorian era with the mix of italian bright colors. The men’s top hats, tail coats and military uniform, and the women’s bright colored dresses whether it was for the everyday or the ball gowns. Stunning!

It’s interesting how much this film has analogies to the Virgin Mary and how many themes are symbolized with History of Italy and Spain, Italian Artwork and Catholicism.

-Eman Alami

#Girlboss- Sophia Amoruso

My candid images of Sophia Amoruso

_DSC2948.JPGLast month, Sophia Amoruso visited Santa Monica, California as  part of her Girlbus tour. Amoruso is the author of #Girlboss but more importantly she is the founder and CEO of Nasty gal. I was very fortunate to be in the audience, hear her powerful words on topics like career, relationship and dream following. I also got a paperback copy of #Girlboss! I finally finished the book and here are some reasons why #Girlboss is worth reading.

  1. #Girlboss is not a prep for the fashion industry rather it’s a book that gives advice for girls of any industry to make an impact in this world, to take risks, be creative, stay original and a girl who knows she wants to take charge of her life.
  2. This book becomes much more relatable and inspirational for many girls when Amoruso talks about her personal struggles, thoughts, life experiences and her inspirations. It proves how much hard work Amoruso dealt with to make Nasty gal a success.
  3. I love how #Girlboss’s chapters are broken down into important topics whether it’s about becoming a #Girlboss, shitty jobs, being mindful, spending habits, employment tips, finding creativity in everything and the list goes on.
  4.  This book is written in an easy to follow format. It’s lovely how Amoruso wrote this like she is face to face with her audience, speaking street language. It’s a type a book that anyone of any language level in English can understand. It doesn’t have any complicated vocabulary!

Here are some of my favorite quotes that I took into heart from this book:

“Treat your mind like money; Don’t waste it.”

“Learn to create your own opportunities. Know that there is no finish line; fortunate favors action.”

“I’m telling you that you don’t have to choose between smart and sexy. You can have both. You are both.”

“There are some folks who straight up hate work… Unless you’re born the child of a billionaire, work is something we all have to do. So hell, make it something you enjoy, because bored is not a #GIRLBOSS’s natural state.”

“Money looks better in the bank than on your feet.”


-Eman Alami




Saint Laurent Rive Gauche: Fashion Revolution

Fashion Revolution: Saint Laurent- Rive Gauche book.
Saint Laurent Rive Gauche: Fashion Revolution book.

“I tell myself that I have not gotten far enough away from fashion, from haute couture, and I hope that this field will change even more profoundly… That the stereotypes will explode, as they have in every other domain” Yves Saint Laurent, February 1969.

The Saint Laurent legacy all began on Rive Gauche, 21 rue de Tournon, Paris in 1966. This book is beautiful for focusing on Saint Laurent’s store’s influence from 1966 till 1972. The setting is brought to life with it’s simplicity to read and the vintage photographs newspaper and magazine articles featuring Yves Saint Laurent. The bright colored cover serves as a wonderful coffee table book for anyone to skim through. Must have for every French fashion fan, YSL lover or passionate fashionista.

-Eman Alami