Sunday, August 29, 2010

Roberto Alagna Time!

to get us completely psyched for the 1010-1011 opera season at the Metropolitan, the Met has now begun it's outdoor DVD extravaganza. Easy: get to Lincloln Center, and grab a seat early. Bring a picnic lunch/snack/bottle of champagne, and get set to enjoy another superbly performed opera on the biggest screen you could hope for. The Met has been programming these video recordings of their latest season for a few years now, in cinemas around the country. Last summer, they instigated this glorious festival so we could all enjoy opera under the stars. No, it's not live, but the performers are the stellar line-up we all know and love. Contemporary operas, new productions, and old favorites are among the selection from last season.
Last night, the festival kicked off with Karita Mattila in Tosca. Monday night it's Renee Fleming in Der Rosenkavalier. And HOORAY, on September 6th, Labor Day evening, it will be our beloved Roberto Alagna in the new production of Carmen.
It's not the same as being in the Opera house itself. It's not the same as seeing it at the movies, with the intermission interviews. But it's wonderful. It's huge. And it's the Met!!!
See you up there!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Hats off to Queens!

Invited to a huge party at The Astoria World Manor, we found ourselves in the heart of kitschy Queens. I've never seen the Sopranos, or Gossip Girl, or even the American version of Ugly Betty, so I wasn't privvy to the glorious layout of this renowned banquet hall.
I grew up in the 1950's, just a nip and tuck outside of Philly, so hanging chandeliers, dripping plastic fountains, and artificial greens were the mainstay of many a lounge, foyer, restaurant, and banquet hall. It's comforting, in a way, to know that this atmosphere still exists, and we can revel in the tackiness of it all. The Astoria World Manor has endless rooms, hallways, floors, stairs, much crystal it could be in New Jersey. Dripping with chique, it envelops you in a blanket of festivity.
No snobbery here. No superficial insecurities. Just people having a good time. Down the hall from our party was a wedding. I know this because we asked, because it looked like a cross between Mardi Gras and St. Patrick's Day in there.....plastic (gold) fedoras and derbies are apparently now the de rigeur party favor at these affairs. Gold leis adorned the men, and women.
Far be it from me to offer these comments as a criticism. As an anthropological experience, there isn't much better. You gotta love the whole reality show of it.
Our party was a "Reminiscence" for a woman who was an important milliner in her 94 years in the Harlem community: Mother Mays. Her fellow style finders and fans convened in a sparkling room , and celebrated her many facets with a fashion show,( hats by Ellen Christine Millinery), music, dancing, and more food than anyone in there could eat. An endless bar, and cheerful fellowship made the evening speed along. May I note that only one other person had a hat on besides myself, and my friend, Marie. So much for being fans of millinery........what does it take???!!!! It was the perfect place to wear a hat, ladies. Wotup?

By the way, if you should find yourself in the Manor, ask for Patrick as your bartender. The servers are all brilliant, but he will go out of his way to concoct something interesting.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Forbes Gets The Hat Trick

In an article in this month's Forbes Magazine (see online link above), writer Hannah Elliot mentions the wave of hat popularity that is sweeping the nation. Since we gabbed with her for an hour or more, we were happy to see her upbeat piece. AND all the lovely pictures that Forbes ran of our lovely hats, including the now famous Moet Bowler, of course.
Thank you, Hannah! Did I mention that my great grandfather was "Forbes"???? Not one of those, mind you, or at least I don't think so.........

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Panama Hat

As the last fragments of summer waft past our eyes, and the school year becomes more than a far away dream, spring 2011 is on every milliner's mind. We design now for next year, as with all fashion, and fashion presentation, it is done 6 months in advance.
This past season, we all had problems with materials coming out of Ecuador. Because of earthquakes and climate changes, the toquilla palm growth wasn't up to par, and orders for panama hats got backed up. We've just heard of another earthquake in Ecuador, so we're keepingour fingers crossed for the ingenious weavers of Montecristi, and every other village there, where they make our elusive bodies for hats.

Here's to Spring 2011!! May our market expand, and may every head in NYC be wearing a hat!
sigh. a girl can dream, can't she?

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Restorative Hat Works

When in doubt about your favorite hat, don't throw it away...ask a friendly milliner if it can be saved.
One of my favorite customers brought back a superb Montecristi extra super fino from South America . These hats are very, very expensive, and finely woven to perfection by craftsmen in one tiny village in Ecuador. When you have one, you prize it. A favorite of the Duke of Windsor, Winston Churchill, and FDR, the Montecristi is as close as you can get to hat heaven for a man.
So my customer was hanging out with his ladyfriend, and her dog decided that his hat was fair game, and a new toy. So off went the dog , bounding and leaping,to the lake, hat in mouth, happy as a clam in a mudhole. Believe it or not, the weave held up, but the hat did need to be reblocked. Worry, worry worry, but no need to fret: we were able to restore the original shape, and give him his hat back, whole, and now with a happy history.
The morale of the story is this: you'd be surprised at what can (and cannot) be restored. In the vintage world I frequently inhabit, hundreds of antique , dusty, moldy, misshapen hats have passed through my hands. Truth be told, this is how I learned to make a proper couture restoring hundreds, literally, of vintage hats to their former glory.
Bring us your hat, and we will tell you yay or nay, but don't throw it out until you know your old standby can be saved!!!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

More My Fair Wedding

We don't often get follow-up from our celebrity shoots, but the staff at David Tutera is extra kind, and super efficient: here are two shots from the show currently running in this season's episodes.
The Gatsby Bride, our lovely Kimberly, is shown from the side. The beading on the lace cap is just showing here; the detacheable feather ornament is on her right side, away from the camera.
The bridesmaids wore irridescent peacock feather headpieces in their hair. We designed them so they could sit high, or low.
Watch the episode for more of the fun....she was a very special bride, and more so because she was one of mine.

David Tutera's "My Fair Wedding", on WEtv

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

French Revue

We got the cover of FRENCH!

Thanks to the intriguing styling of Marcell Rocha, and the dead-on photography by:
Thierry Le Goues, both Coco Rocha and Yulia Vasiltosova shine on the day-glo spring covers of this hip French fashion magazine.
It's the new darling of the make-up people in town. It's got new, it's got hip, it reminds me of a gallery stream of images.

Pick it up at a specialty newstand now: #16 printemps/ete 2010.