Heavenly Bodies

By suzi click on Monday, January 14th, 2019 in Events, Reviews. No Comments

“Heavenly Bodies – Fashion and the Catholic Imagination- was an exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2018. The exhibit was in three locations – the Met Fifth Avenue in the Byzantine and medieval galleries, continued in the Anna Wintour Costume Center and concluded at the The Met Cloisters in northern Manhattan, where elements from French monasteries have been rebuilt as four cloisters.

It featured the work of designers who for the most part were raised in the Roman Catholic tradition. While their current relationship to Catholicism varied, most acknowledged its enduring influence on their imaginations. On the surface this influence is expressed through explicit Catholic imagery and symbolism as well as references to specific garments worn by the clergy and religious orders. On a deeper level, it manifests as a reliance on storytelling and specifically on metaphor – which the sociologist Andrew Greeley describes as the essential characteristic of a particular sensibility he defines as – the Catholic imagination” (excerpted from the exhibition brochure)

My favorite was the Jean-Paul Gautier which is the featured image. I also recognize that Lacroix t-shirt by with the cross from the time it was on the cover of Vogue. I went to this exhibit on a field trip organized by the San Francisco Textile Arts Council and we enjoyed curator-led tours to this fabulous exhibit.

Evolution of Shape in Fashion at FIT

By suzi click on Wednesday, September 26th, 2018 in Events, Reviews. No Comments

In March I visited the FIT gallery in New York City and this is one of the exhibits there. “The Body: Fashion and Physique”, curated by Emma McClendon, it explored the complex history of the “perfect” body in fashion.

“Fashion is inextricably linked to the physical form of the wearer. The cut of a garment draws the eye to zones of the body, simultaneously accentuating and concealing in order to achieve a desired silhouette. Elaborate undergarments, diet regimens, exercise routines, and even plastic surgery have all been promoted as necessary tools for attaining the ideal fashion shape. However, the idealized fashionable body is a cultural construct. Over the last 250 years, full hips, narrow hips, feminine waists, and boyish frames have each, at different times, been hailed as the pinnacle of beauty. According to a Vogue article from 1950, “A ‘figure’…is considered good or bad only as related to clothing generally, and current fashions specifically”

Here are some of my favorites – see if you can spot the Norma Kamali and the Paul Poiret.

Norman Norell at FIT

By suzi click on Wednesday, September 26th, 2018 in Events, Reviews. No Comments

I saw this exhibit when I was in New York City in March at the Fashion Institute of Technology Gallery. Although the 50’s and Norman Norell were not my favorites in fashion I gained an appreciation of his aesthetic with the show.

Curated by Jeffrey Banks and Patricia Mears. “Born in 1900 Norman Norell had an extraordinary career that spanned six decades. Working in the theater, film, and fashion industries, he incorporated the highest quality couture construction techniques and workmanship in all of his designs. Norell won numerous industry awards and was the first American to launch his own perfume. Not only did he spearhead the concept of luxe ready-to-wear decades before his European contemporaries, but many of his classic works are still wearable today. Decade after his death, Norell’s legacy lives on.”

Here are some of my favorites, especially the sequined gowns.

“Veiled Meanings” Fashioning Jewish Dress

By suzi click on Thursday, September 13th, 2018 in Events, Reviews. No Comments

After reading a review by Carolyn Benesh in ORNAMENT magazine I made sure to see this exhibit when I was in New York City in March. “Veiled Meanings” was at the Jewish Museum on 5th Avenue at 92nd. It is in a former mansion residence and has a wonderful permanent collection and superb restuarant -Russ and Daughters.

This exhibit, on loan from the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, showcased over 20 countries and 100 examples of Jewish costume from the 18th to the 20th centuries to show the diversity and complexity of Jewish identity and culture.

“With Jewish migration historically worldwide, the exhibit addresses this subject thematically in four sections – Through the Veil, Interweaving Cultures, Exposing the Unseen and Clothing That Remembers. Largely subsumed by non-Jewish cultures, it is not surprising that Jewish clothing was identical to or a tweak of the dominant nationality, as well as having characteristics identifiably Jewish such as badges, the color yellow, the Judenhat (Jewish hat) and specific types of robes and face gear marking them as different from Christian and Muslim societies.”

Here are some of my favorites

Cinnabar Lacquer works from China

By Gretchen Schields on Saturday, October 29th, 2016 in Events. 1 Comment


On our recent trip to New  York City we spent a whole joyful day at the Metropolitan Museum of Art discovering a treasure trove of small and intriguing exhibits .  On of our favorites was this show of Chinese cinnabar pieces.  Below is the museum catalog’s fascinating description of the pieces in the exhibit.


Textile Museum Associates

By suzi click on Monday, January 11th, 2016 in Events. No Comments

The Textile Museum Associates of Southern California is a wonderful group that we both belong to that offers many programs each year for information about textiles and ethnic art. While serious scholarship prevails, we really love it because we get to dress up in all our ethnic finery, and there is some stunning costume worn by the other member-collectors. As Cheri Hunter, the group’s program chair, put it- “Where else would we wear all this stuff?”

TMA/SC recently had a celebration of the 30th year for the group and assembled several speakers for a lunchtime of informative presentations and fun.

Marjorie Ransome, a former diplomat, collector, researcher and author spoke on

“Silver, Silk and Cotton Threads: Textiles and Costumes of Yemen.”

Her book,”Silver Treasures from the Land of Sheba: Regional Styles of Yemeni Jewelry” is a must have for ethnic costume enthusiasts.

Available at Amazon:


Walter Denney, distinguished professor of art history, scholar and expert of Islamic art at University of Massachusetts gave a fascinating talk.

“Ottoman by Design: Branding an Empire via Floral Designs in Carpets and Textiles”.

An entertaining and vivid speaker, Walter’s told us how the Ottoman’s 6 or 7 flower designs including tulip, carnation, hyacinth, rose petal and pomegranate, were copied by culture after culture during the empire’s flourishing trading days in a floral diaspora that influences us to this day. He has us looking down at the rugs at our feet now and discovering Ottoman floral designs. Why, you are probably standing on knock-off Ottoman tulip pattern right this minute!

The programs were absolutely fascinating and informative and it was so much fun seeing so many members wearing their ethnic costumes and jewelry. Here are some of them we liked.

For more info on the group click here




Chinatown Fashion Week

By suzi click on Tuesday, January 5th, 2016 in Events, The Look. No Comments

In October Gretchen and I participated in Chinatown Fashion Week in San Francisco – the press preview -which was one of many fashion events produced by our friend Monique Zhang – a real style and fashion expert in the San Francisco fashion world!

Here are a few photos of fashionable friends and people we observed at the event.

Ethnic Arts Summer Solstice Show

By suzi click on Friday, August 28th, 2015 in Events. No Comments

To celebrate the Summer Solstice the Ethnic Arts Council of Los Angeles, of which we are both members, asked to feature us in a casual fashion show using other members as models at the fantastic Pacific Palisades home and gardens of members Daniel and Fala Powers.

Here are some photos from the event.

Tziporah Salamon’s Art of Dressing

By suzi click on Tuesday, August 25th, 2015 in Events, The Artful Life, The Look. No Comments

The daughter of a tailor and a costume designer Tziporah Salamon was born into the world of fashion. This legacy has given her a sense of style that is both unique and playful which she shares in her ART of DRESSING seminars.

You may recognize her as one of the women Ari Seth Cohen features in his book and documentary ADVANCED STYLE in which she is famous for her zany hats and bicycle riding in the streets of New York City.

One of Tziporah’s fashion hallmarks is her joyful combination of different patterns so it is no surprise that the French Impressionist painter Matisse, whose paintings vibrate with colorful patterns and details, is her inspiration. After lengthy and careful study of his paintings in her youth she remarked – “Matisse has turned my eyes into diamonds.”

Using design principles of color, texture, proportion and silhouette she assembled a variety of different looks in her animated presentation and gave us some guidelines to follow
“Know your body” (hers is petite and boyish so she prefers pants)
“Always buy quality over quantity” (especially for the classic pieces that are the base for layering)
“Vintage gives you more for your money” (her favorite LA vintage store is Golyester)
“Don’t scrimp on shoes” (she prefers feminine styles that are easy to wear – she showed kitten heels, espadrilles and 40’s style platforms)
“Pay attention to details” (make it pleasing to the eye)
“Don’t wear obvious labels or logos” (especially the double C earrings)
“Always shop the end of season sales for best prices”
and our FAVORITE
“When adding accessories always go up a notch – go where you are comfortable and then add one more” (be brave and challenge yourself)

Here are a few of the looks that she put together for us and some variations of those.
(for more go to www.tziporahsalamon.com)


By suzi click on Wednesday, August 12th, 2015 in Events, The Artful Life. No Comments

Ari Seth Cohen of Advanced Style (Click here) has made his reputation photographing the fashionable women of a certain age on the streets of New York and featured them in his blog, book and documentary film. We met him a year ago when he came to LA to do book signing at Koi in South Pasadena. He photographed us and put us on the blog. During the year we met several times for more photos. When he told us he was moving to LA we threw a party to welcome him and introduce him to some of our LA Style women. Now he photographs women all over the world and has a new book coming out in 2016.


Guizhou, China – Miao Festival

By suzi click on Thursday, June 4th, 2015 in Events, On the Road. No Comments

Every year the Miao, one of the 56 ethnic minorities in China, have a festival called the Sisters’ Meal Festival in Shidong. It is a festival for young lovers who pass messages to one another thru sticky rice packets-the color denotes the message- and some have gifts that also send a message. But the best part is all the great costumes and jewelry they wear for the festival – layers of it. I also like that it started with the older women playing the drums and the way the young girls have updated it with their fancy high heels.

Boomers in Gretchen Schields’ Necklace

By Gretchen Schields on Wednesday, October 29th, 2014 in Events. 1 Comment

I was flipping through my AARP magazine and did  double take as one of my necklaces flashed by.   There it was in  an article by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders, “The Boomer List, Boomers at 50”.  In one of his stunning photos  he has portrayed  my friend Amy Tan in a carved Chinese serpentine piece I did for her years ago.  A boomer like me, and probably you, Amy’s elegance and talent is ageless, her contribution to literature remarkable.

Boomer Article AARP small 2

Greenfield-Sanders article, book, documentary film,  interviews and photo exhibit of 19 notable personalities offer insights into what motivated and inspired our generation.  The photos are on exhibit now at the Newseum in Washington DC.

People Magazine shows us off

By Gretchen Schields on Friday, October 17th, 2014 in Events, Featured, News. 2 Comments

We were in PEOPLE magazine

We were in PEOPLE magazine


We were featured in People Magazine’s Gorgeous at Any Age special Beauty and Style issue.  The article was about our darling, Ari Seth Cohen, and his blog Advanced Style, a phenomenally popular site which celebrates the magnificent, creative style of women over 50.  Like us!

Ari also has a book out with terrific photos of his subjects in all their glory.  Advanced Style is the name, what else.  And his new documentary, Advanced Style, features several of his most colorful subjects in NYC. and their daily lives.

We attended his premiere screening in LA with Lynn, the feathered and featured owner of Off Broadway boutique in NYC.

See us below, at the premiere.

Advanced Style Movie Premier




A Visit to the Millinery Shoppe

By Gretchen Schields on Tuesday, September 30th, 2014 in Events. No Comments




Why hats, of course!

We had the great good fortune be invited to milliner Louise Green’s hat shop and factory. Entering through the tall blue doors, we stepped into a magical garden of flowers, ribbons, bows and brims.   Louise came bustling out and introduced us to her magnificent collection of current styles in the comfortably appointed showroom where she receives her celebrity and socialite clients and buyers from stores like Neiman Marcus



Here was a real hat factory and Louise showed us the machines and wooden head forms that go into sizing, blocking and sewing a hat. We were awed by Louis’s inventory of felt hat shapes in all the tones of the rainbow, soon to be steamed, scissored and blocked into their final configuration. We drooled over her vast collection of antique trims, her boxes of silk flowers – all the decorations that make a Louise Green hat such a work of art.


We were like a couple of foxes in the henhouse back to the showroom again. So many exquisite hats…the feathers flew! We finally made our choices – Suzi a turquoise top hat that matched here eyeglass frames, and Gretchen who couldn’t make up her mind took two fairyland floral headbands. Thank you, Louise!


If Heaven has hats, I will be a Very Good Girl.







Santa Fe International Folk Art Market

By suzi click on Monday, August 11th, 2014 in Events. No Comments

The International Folk Art Market now in its second decade is held every July in Santa Fe, New Mexico and it is a folk art lover’s dream come true with 690 artists from 86 countries across six continents. Artists earnings have positively impacted the lives of over 1 million people worldwide because 90% of the sales go home with the artists and their organizations. The quality and range of work shown here is astounding and just being in Santa Fe makes it a winner! to learn more go to www.folkartalliance.org





Malaysian designer Edric Ong

By Gretchen Schields on Monday, July 21st, 2014 in Events. No Comments

Seven Degrees Gallery in Laguna Beach recently presented Malaysian designer Edric Ong‘s fashions and textile art pieces

Working with the traditional artists of Sarawak in the area of textiles, basketry, fibers, ceramics, wood and stone, the creative teams of Edric Ong and his local associates have been pioneering new designs for his EO label.  Inspired by Malaysian and Sarawakian ethnic crafts, these works center on eco-textiles hand made from from silk, cotton and other natural fibers using natural dyes.

This unique couture of Edric Ong combines a touch of the ethnic and orient with the creative use of hand-woven silks and cottons.  The colors of his fabrics come from the earth: natural tones derived from the rainforest, yet the chic, contemporary garments are comfortable and stylish to wear. Everything is hand-made: from the batik block-printed designs to the bark cloth and rattan buttons from the jungles of Borneo.

A noted speaker at International conferences, he has set up the World Eco-Fiber and Textile (WEFT) Network to further the cause of natural fibers and dyes. Edric travels extensively to promote his Malaysian craft artists’ work as well as his own elegant designs.