Saturday, February 4, 2012

Back to September 2011

Seems like a million miles away, last September. Last September the show: "Hats: an Anthology by Stephen Jones" opened at the Bard Graduate Center. Wotta show it is. Still going on through April 15, so if you haven't seen it, please take advantage of having this wondrous installation still here in NYC.
A Prelude.
Much to my surprise, I got a PM on FB from Rod Keenan. Those of us in the industry/metier who are in NYC certainly have come across Rod or his hats at some point. I was luck to be on a panel with a friend of his a while ago, and that, I believe, was our first meeting. the message from Mr. Keenan said something like: I've recommended you for the show (oh, yes, I knew which show he meant), so expect to receive a phone call or an email shortly. From the curator. As it turned out, shortly was enough of a lapse for me to have let it sit on a back burner. But lo and behold, one Saturday morning, as I was in the studio early, and alone, the phone rang. "Hello, Stephen Jones here."
WTF, as they say in the street. We all get wacky phone calls, but this one took the cake.
"Hello" again.
"Stephen Jones calling."
Well , with that I just had to say something. And what should come out of my mouth but a typical Ellen-ism: "Get the ef out of here!" No, I'm not kidding. I thought it was one of the wacky stylists I work with kidding me. But no, it was truly Mr. Jones, and he wanted a hat from me for his show. "Only one?" says she, as realistically as ever. "Yes, just one. Difficult, I know, but one that would be totally you."
Well, what a gig. How to dream up just one hat? Oh, the conversation was a tad longer, but the gist was that I would design a few things and send them to Oriole Cullen, the curator. And then we'd see. Because I'm well known for my 1920's pieces, and beadwork, I thought one of the piece would have to be a cloche. And to torture my entire crew, we'd bead it completely in different beads from our archival collection. And the other piece would be one of my feather dusters. Headpieces, that is, plumed, birded, in flight.
As it happened, Mr. Jones himself decided on the beaded cloche, when it was only partially completed. Oriole and Mr. Jones loved the prep work we had done on the cloche, that would be named "La Marianne", and decided to add it half-finished to the show. But, oops, but the time that message reached me, we had completed the beadwork on the rest of the piece. And so, it's covered in every bead I loved from the 1920's, or earlier.
Our concept:
As a modern day "flapper", more like an independent modern young lady, this customer lives well in the future, and has a yen for drama. think of it as a cross between the Great Gatsby, The French Revolution, and Mad Max. Some of the beads are from the early part of the 20th Century, made in Czechoslovakia, as most good glass beads were, and coated with an irridescent finish. Bits of broken jewelry and Swarovski crystals cut a swath across the crown of the headpiece, as a sort of dynamic tiara. Look closely and you will see a dress clip from the 1930's, and bits of neckaces from the 1950's in there , too. We love our found /recycled/repurposed art at Ellen Christine.
Please say hello to our headpiece when you're at the Bard, and say "Thank you" to Stephen Jones and the Victoria and Albert Museum for making it all happen.

The photograph of the lovely Faye Brandt wearing La Marianne was taken by Sandy Ramirez.

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