Sunday, November 11, 2012


Woman's body was present at the very origins of art as a symbol of fecundity and with shapes of nature as landscape.   To the first artists, men confused and inspired by woman's mystery, her body became an inspiring object because it suggested more than it seemed.  As T. W. Adorno put it: "Artworks become artworks in the production of this more."  The magazine Treats! launched in February 2011, offers multiple poses of the nude body that suggest: shy temptation, raucous display, private contemplation, confident indifference.  With a nostalgic attraction for previous decades, the magazine's paper seems sepia-tinted by age; here is one of the most original of the new-style magazines that deliberately expands boundaries.  Thumbing through these pages the reader is challenged by a wave of appropriate/out-of-place aesthetic values: contour; texture; color; part and whole; enclosed photographed objects questioning their relationship to reality. 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Paper Passion, Perfume for Book Lovers

               We develop a sense of smell early in the womb from the surrounding amniotic fluid, our first perfume, bonding us to mother's milk.   Early to arrive and often late to leave, the sense of smell is a messenger.   "The smell of a freshly printed book is the best smell in the world," writes Karl Lagerfeld, head of Chanel and contributor to a recently launched book and perfume. Aging paper and ink seem a luxurious fragrance of that reading memory when mind and imagination snuggle against worlds where we belong.  

Monday, July 9, 2012

Students of Fashion-Looks

Some eight hundred young students attended a three day workshop at FIDM, Los Angeles.  The challenge: how to convey to others that confidence that expresses you belong?  Here is what some who visited the bookstore wore.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Fashion Statements (3) Alexander McQueen

Fashion Statesments, published in 2006 contains 44 interviews with leading designers, including this one with Alexander McQueen.  Interviewer: Do you get the feeling that the art and fashion worlds are growing nearer? McQueen: On my level yes, in a very signifcant way.  Interviewer: Is there a big difference between fashion design and art? McQueen: They are two different things: one is commercial, the other is esthetic.  Esthetic and business usually don't merge very well.  And in any case, in the art and fashion worlds this doesn't happen; they just become ideas.

Monday, May 21, 2012

The Coach is a Player

Aneesha DuBois has quite a following.  Inspired by an attitude turned philosophy, she believes in "breaking all the rules: fashion is: what I like."   Asked if she is influenced by where she plans to go and who she expects to meet, she answers, "of course."  After developing a reputation for what goes with what she is seen here at the Fashion Project Cafe working on developing her own line.

Monday, April 30, 2012

What Is a Bookstore?

 A place to visit that recaptures those first happy memories of how accessible the world is;  a place that makes you feel powerful because you find subjects to pursue; a serious place where the unknown, the surprising beckon; a place to be with others who feel a similar longing; a place that teaches a respect for learning and a humility before the generosity of authors, who for often modest rewards, share; a place that makes you feel, "I belong here."  Bookstores rock!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Rin Tanaka, Pioneer of the American Scene

Rin Tanaka, whose series of books My Freedamn and Heller's Cafe  has visually chronicled the poetry of American everyday life by publishing the clothes of every-day life, visits the Fashion Bookstore to sign and deliver his latest book, Heller's Cafe Vol. 2.
With Yolanda, Bookstore Manager

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Have Vogues Will Travel

Michelle Jonas

 Michelle Jonas buys a half a dozen Vogue magazines from different countries.  A designer with a past that comfortably fits into her present: by 16 she had lived in seven different countries, thought each of them home, worked in New York for Harper's Bazaar, then Vogue Magazine where Ralph Lauren met her and asked her to join his company because he thought she was "the epitome of the Ralph Girl."  After an acting career in Hollywood, she is now the owner and designer of a travelwear company with styles "classically original, playfully confident, and comfortably sexy."

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Christian Audigier Drops In

Christian Audigier
With bodyguard, cameraman, and assistant, Christian Audigier arrives.  The celebrity designer-entrepreneur whose tattoo driven Ed Hardy brand so successfully projected the showmanship and aesthetic of the P. T. Barnum era, is about to launch something new.  In fourteen minutes he gathers thirty choice books but pauses long enough to observe a space missing on our gallery wall of famous designers. "I'll send you a photograph to put me up there," he says.


Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Shapes of Things to Come

Not a Toy, published by Pictoplasma is a book that explores ways the human body and its adorning clothes can be transformed into grotesque hybrids by mixing mascots, comic characters, the circus, the zoo, and commercial gadgets.  The result is a fantasy of return to that funny and disturbing mental process when the baby, itself a body in transition, first encountered and identified with objects, toys, and animals. "Avant-garde fashion, like art, is increasingly becoming a reflection of the repressed tensions and discrepancies that mark contemporary culture."  Imagine the mind transformed into a stomach in which all junk mail, every photographic image ever seen, all purchases made and rejected, remain undigested but randomly re-figures the body.   Mr. Wells, Help! "The body of mankind is one single organism."

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Well Worn Art, A Tale of two Worlds

Valerie Hooe
Valerie Hooe founded her company, Well Worn Art, in 2006, having seen this, done that in New York.  Now she travels the world and visits the Bookstore [she often spends an hour or two with us] looking for those aesthetic elements of the past/vintage, that still speak in present fashion.  An "eclectic kind of gal" style for her is uniqueness, one of a kind flair, which will be worn by women with an independent spirit eager to "grab the best things life has to give."

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Ximena Valero and the Art of Transformation

Ximena Valero
Ximena Valero, the acclaimed designer, calls her line "Transformables".  I asked, where did the concept come from?  "I was working in New York and began experimenting with folding garments into shapes, and how the shape created from the folds inspired the next fold and then shape."  This reminded me of Jackson Pollock, entranced by the free, impulsive and immediate drips proceeded to the next ones in a controlled accident.  She smiled and took from her purse a fabric swatch with patterns echoing the great American abstract expressionist painter.

                               Transformable in Action                                        

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Stop Staring!

Eva and Alicia Estrada
The sisters Alicia and Eva Estrada, CEO/Designer and Assistant Director respectively of Stop Staring! admired for their "retro-evolutionary" dresses came to the bookstore hunting for anything new about the '50's, the '40's, and the roaring 20's.  I asked Alicia, how did you come to call your company Stop Staring!  "In high school I wore outlandish clothes of my own design and other kids constantly made fun of me, so one day I wrote across my skirt 'STOP STARING', and promised myself if I ever became a fashion designer, I would call the line after that moment of confident defiance.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Fashion Statements (2) Wittgenstein and Clothes

“Language disguises the thought, so that from the external form of the clothes one cannot infer the internal form of the thought they clothe, because the external form of the clothes is constructed with quite another object than to let the form of the body be recognized.”   

Ludwig Wittgenstein
                            Student Fashion Show Wittgenstein House, Vienna 2010