ITALIAN INNOVATION: EUROJERSEY

An italian innovation: Eurojersey is a mix of microfibre and lycra that ‘behaves’ very well on a skirt. Breathtaking colors, washing machine, quickly dry, no ironing (!), no wrinkles. That is the shortcut for this amazing fabric. The perfect fit with happyskirtt!

YELLOW: THE COLOR OF SUN AND FUN

Look at the picture and tell me what happens. Are you starting to smile? I bet you are. That’s what yellow does. It gives you a happy, uplifting feeling. At least that is what the color psychologists tell us. Yellow, they say, stands for happiness, positivity, energy and optimism. (Okay, for jealousy too but that’s not the subject now). It is the color of sun and fun! And of all the Pinterest boards of happyskirtt, for sure the happiest.

Look at the picture and tell me what happens. Are you starting to smile? I bet you are. That’s what yellow does. It gives you a happy, uplifting feeling. At least that is what the color psychologists tell us. Yellow, they say, stands for happiness, positivity, energy and optimism. (Okay, for jealousy too but that’s not the subject now). It is the color of sun and fun! And of all the Pinterest boards of happyskirtt, the brightest, the happiest.

THE LIGHT BULB WENT ON IN THE BURBERRY BOARDROOM

Of all brands it is Burberry that takes the lead in the upcoming fashion revolution.

It is Burberry that takes the lead in the upcoming fashion revolution.

Here is the news: of all brands it is Burberry that takes the lead in the upcoming fashion revolution. The brand has announced that it will quit the lead-time between catwalk and shop. From September, all of the clothes featured in Burberry’s runway shows will be available to buy immediately, instore and online, a significant departure from the conventional model in which clothes appear on catwalks four months before they go on sale (source: The Guardian).
Brave, good old Burberry, existing since 1856, and now in the drivers seat for a shake up in the fashion industry. The light bulb went on in the boardroom so to speak. Runway Show is not you get what you see, Runway Show is you see what you can’t get. And I am not talking money here (though, in case of Burberry…), I am talking about the physical appearance of the dress, trouser, shirt in the shop of course.
One day the catwalk will live in realtime, because the Burberry shake up will be followed by others, my water tells me (read also The Fashion Industry is obsolete). Poor copycat chains! How to get your counterfeit ready in time for the shop? And what to think of the Vogues and Bazaars among us. Runway show means running to the office to produce the magazine overnight. No time for champaign and shopping in Paris or New York during the fashion weeks. No lead-time of months, but days, hours perhaps…
A second bulb went on in the boardroom: cool down the heat (read money drain) of 4 collections a year, return to the good old habit of 2 seasons. Two seasons. Summer, winter. Finally someone understands.
Thank you Burberry.

THE SILLY SHOE PARADE OF THE FASHION DESIGNERS

From left to right: Red Light District; The Shark Tooth; My new job is in the circus.

From left to right: Red Light District; The Shark Tooth; My new job is in the circus.

A shoe is an item of footwear intended to protect and comfort the human foot while doing various activities (wikipedia.com).
Yes, that’s the core business of the shoe.
A shoe is an outer covering for your foot that usually has a stiff bottom part called a sole with a thicker part called a heel attached to it and an upper part that covers part or all of the top of your foot (merriam-webster.com).
No doubt, that is what a shoe is meant to be.

From left to right: Hobbling Horror; Me and my sewing kit; The orthopedic surgeon lives next door.

From left to right: Hobbling Horror; Me and my sewing kit; The orthopedic surgeon lives next door.

The oldest ones, discovered in a desert cave in Oregon, carbon-dated at 9000 years old, were made from sagebrush. Actually a sort of hip sandals, not bad at all. The next ancestor-shoe was found in Armenia. It was a leather one in the comfortable shape of a sneaker, and laced with a leather cord, like an ancient brogue. Handmade, sustainable, for sure, 5500 years ago.
They were their time ahead!

From left to right: The Powder Puff; 6-year sentence; No one will steal my shoe.

From left to right: The Powder Puff; 6-year sentence; No one will steal my shoe.

We know where that first shoe landed: the footwear market is an x-times billion industry nowadays. None of us like bare feet on sharp rocks, after all. But the shoe becoming a fashion victim, that is another piece of cake of course. The glove of our foot crawled out of its comfort zone, literally, and popped up in the label chain of the designers.

From left to right: My new job is in the circus 2; Let's shuffleboard; Does it bite?

From left to right: My new job is in the circus 2; Let’s shuffleboard; Does it bite?

Poor designers! Forced to make a collection of pumps, boots, sneakers, sandals at least 2 times a year. Happyskirtt gets the idea that they dry up and we do understand this, don’t we?
But we are very, very happy too that we have such good orthopedic surgeons to help us out one day. After all.

 

IMPOSSIBLE THAT YOU COULD AFFORD A PURPLE SKIRT AT THAT TIME

Classic skirts in purple

Purple. Magnificent, eye-catching purple. Now affordable to all, lucky us, purple lovers!

Purple, the intriguing combination of red and blue, once was outrageously expensive. So expensive that only emperors, queens (Elizabeth I of England!) and other wealthy dignitaries could afford it.
The purple dye trade (we’re talking 1900 B.C now) was centered in the ancient Phoenician city of Tyre, in today Lebanon. The color came from a small exceedingly rare mollusk that was only found in the Tyre region of the Mediterranean Sea. More than 9000 of those mollusks were needed to create just one gram of the pure dye. Barely enough for dying a Roman toga.
The exorbitantly expensive color (a shawl made from Tyrian purple silk cost its weight in gold) was reserved for the rich and powerful only. Roman magistrates, the rulers of the Byzantine empire, later the Roman Catholic bishops; their toga’s were purple. In the Elizabethan era (1558 to 1603), people in England had to abide by Sumptuary Laws. Those Laws strictly regulated what colors, fabrics and clothes could and couldn’t be worn by different classes (imagine!) within the English society. No one other than the Queen and the close relatives of the royal family were allowed to wear purple. Interesting.
The color became more accessible and affordable in the nineteenth century thanks to an 18-year-old English chemist, William Perkin. He attempted to synthesize quinine, an anti-malaria-drug, and accidentally created a synthetic purple compound. He discovered that the compound could be used to dye fabrics, he patented the dye and manufactured it under the name aniline purple and Tyrian purple (and the boy became very rich).

That was the end of the high class monopoly of the color purple. But purple still is associated with royalty, luxury, power and (yes) nobility. So let’s go for it! Happyskirtt has a purple skirt that you will like (actually two, the Hepburn and the Kelly).

The color combines two opposites: the calm stability of blue and the fierce energy of red. It “promotes harmony of the mind and the emotions, contributing to mental balance and stability, peace of mind, a link between the spiritual and the physical worlds, between thought and activity.”

Is that why the US Military awards wounded soldiers with the Purple Heart?

“DO YOUR HOMEWORK EDITORS, IT IS JACQUARD!”

Beautiful jacquard from the fabric supplier in Bologna for happyskirtt. At the top: the Black Blossom. In the middle: the Yellow Jacq. At the bottom: the Green Jacq. The Kelly Yellow Jack is available now. The Kelly Black Blossom, the Hepburn and Monroe Green Jacq in 2 weeks time.

Beautiful jacquard from the fabric supplier in Bologna for happyskirtt. At the top: the Black Blossom. In the middle: the Yellow Jacq. At the bottom: the Green Jacq. The Kelly Yellow Jacq is available now. The Kelly Black Blossom, the Hepburn and Monroe Green Jacq in 2 weeks time.

In the nineteenth century the son of a French silk weaver inherited a workplace and two looms of his father. The son, not a successful weaver at all, earned the daily bread in a factory but in his spare time you could find him in the workplace. He tried to repair the fifty years old machines and while doing this he invented a mechanism to produce repetitive patterns. The first full automatic loom was born. He presented his invention at an industrial fair in Paris and the world of fabrics was changed for good. The silk weavers, afraid for their living, destroyed several times the new machines but no way that progress could be stopped. The inventor got the Légion d’Honneur from Napoleon himself, a royalty for every loom sold and a yearly payment. In 1806 the loom was declared public domain and in return the inventor got a pension. Joseph Marie Jacquard died in 1834.
Countless fabric patterns are his legacy.
Remember Lidewij Edelkoort, the trendwatcher who declared fashion dead? If not, just click.
Crusty about the lack of education of fashion editors, she is not afraid to place a punch right between their eyes: “We have seen in major magazines such as Vogue or Marie-Claire triumphant announcements rejoicing in the return of prints. Do your homework madam editors and stop talking about prints when what is meant is actually jacquard.”
Jacquard.
Named after its ‘father’, the inventor of the full automatic loom, of course it is woven and not printed.
But just in case, when in doubt, look at the inside.
See the difference?
And see how beautiful an inside can be as well?

THE CORNER OF MY EYE CATCHES A DELICATE WHITE CHIFFON WITH BLACK DOTS

You smell a mandarin with a hind of cinnamon, and suddenly you are in the big square kitchen of your grandmother. You see her bare hands kneading dough. You hear her voice, she’s turning her head. She is laughing, gives you a small bite of the yellow dough, it tastes heavenly. The memory is strong, vivid, like it happened yesterday.
That is what smell can do with you, it can bring you back to a place hidden in the shadow of your memory lane.
How come? What is the secret here?

I see my young beautiful mother standing on the deck of a military ship. She is wearing a white summer dress with black dots. She laughs, she is happy.

I see my young beautiful mother standing on the deck of a military ship. She is wearing a white summer dress with black dots. She laughs, she is happy.

We are not into brain surgery or science, so we do the explanation in a nutshell: we have a bulb inside the nose that runs along the bottom of our brains. This bulb (the olfactory bulb) has direct connections to two brain areas that are strongly implicated in emotion and memory (the amygdala and hippocampus, in case that you feel the need to google some more brain anatomy). That’s why smell can call up memories instantaneously. And very strong. A picture (visual), sound (auditory) or touch (tactile) never will open the memory box like this because these 3 are located somewhere else in your head.

And here I have a question. Come with me.

“That’s my fabric”, I point to the white chiffon with the black dots. And I buy meters and meters of it.

“That’s my fabric”, I point to the white chiffon with the black dots. And I buy meters and meters of it.

I am sitting at a table in an Italian office. The table is  full of fabrics. The corner of my eye catches a delicate white chiffon with black dots. A shock. The table disappears. I see my young beautiful mother standing on the deck of a military ship. Gentlemen in white tropic uniforms with glasses in their hands. A reception? It is hot. She is wearing a white summer dress with black dots. She laughs, she is happy.
“That’s my fabric”, I point to the white chiffon with the black dots. And I buy meters and meters of it.
The experts warned me that white, black dots or not, is a very difficult color to sell (true).
But I couldn’t resist my mother on that warship deck, her dress, her happiness, her fun.
And the olfactory bulb was not even triggered by a smell.

1 July 2015 

THE BUSINESS PLAN FOR HAPPYSKIRTT WAS FIRM: NO SKIRTS IN SALE (BUT THE REALITY…)

It is June 18 and I just came back from my favorite department store (where part of the staff speaks Chinese by the way and announcements are done in Russian) and this is the score:
Theory trouser, 50% off. Hugo Boss men’s shirt 30% off, sleeveless summer dress Filippa K 40% off (I am not allowed to buy skirts, just that you know). Saving around 230 euro.
I am a happy person. This was a very healthy day for my wallet. Sale heals I would say.

SALE, I love it too.

SALE, I love it too.

But: I am two of a kind I’m afraid.
I am not so sure if sale is healing for the fashion industry as such. Where the necessary evil has been self-created. New collections 4, 6 or even 8 times a year. No wonder that sale is an ongoing part of the business. You only can fill a glass when it is empty, no difference here with stores and shelves. Production speed dictates the pace and thus the seasons. Spring in Winter, Fall in Summer. The immense volumes have to be replaced, earlier, quicker.
And where do they put the leftovers of the leftovers? Continue reading

SKIRT BESTSELLER: BLACK & WHITE

This is not a surprise isn’t it? Black and white, the most used colors in fashion. Before Chanel invented her famous little black dress (1926), the color black was to express grief, intended for funerals, meant to mourn. But she promoted black to fashion color number one. And when black entered, its counterpart white naturally followed. Opposites attract, as we all know. Black & White, always right. Separate or together, a safe bet for any occasion. But classy and beautiful.

This is not a surprise isn’t it? Black and white, the most used colors in fashion. Before Chanel invented her famous little black dress (1926), the color black was to express grief, intended for funerals, meant to mourn. But she promoted black to fashion color number one. And when black entered the fashion scene, its counterpart white naturally followed. Opposites attract, as we all know. Black & White, it seems always right. Separate or together, it is a safe bet for any occasion. But so classy and attractive!

THE BREAD DIET

Suddenly, out of nothing, the word superfood is everywhere. Superfood. My ice cream tastes super and it is food, but for sure it is not superfood. Superfood is meant to keep you healthy, in shape, young and happy (the latter also applies for my ice cream by the way). It is loaded with vitamins, minerals, fibre, antioxidants (pops up in our cremes too, interesting) and phytonutrients, what ever that may be. It is in blueberries, quinoa (ever heard of this 5 years ago??), beetroot and pomegranates. Salmon with its omega 3 is on the list and good news! cacao.
The hype is a vegetable-fruit smoothie for breakfast, a quinoa salad for lunch, fat fish or beans for dinner and oh my, NO pasta, NO rice, NO bread.

My ice cream tastes super and it is food, but for sure it is not superfood.

My ice cream tastes super and it is food, but for sure it is not superfood.

Currently I stay in a wonderful villa on an island (in Lovina/North-Bali, to be specific) where rice is the molecule of life, offered to the Gods who generously give it back to all of us on dazzling green fields. How to explain the superfood trend to the people here? No rice?

copyright Villa Bali Breeze in Lovina (www.villa-on-bali.com)

On Bali  rice is the molecule of life, offered to the Gods who generously give it back on dazzling green fields.

And what does it cost actually, to keep yourself in the superfood shape?
Regarding diets, well, we are old enough to know that the hype comes and goes.
Comes-and-goes.

I tell you a story. Once I was the editor of a magazine (publishing is my background, as you know). A leading women’s weekly in the Netherlands. The word DIET on the cover was a magic word. NEW  DIET on the cover was twice as magic (in terms of sales). So we brainstormed and brainstormed and finally we found (or invented) a new diet.
THE BREAD DIET.
Because we all liked bread, thick slices of dark brown crispy bread. The superfoodies will shiver by the idea but bread was healthy. As long as it wasn’t white. And cheap!

Day 1: bread only, whole-grain, naked, no limitations. Sense of hunger? Hop slice of bread.

Day 1: bread only, whole-grain, naked, no limitations. Sense of hunger? Hop slice of bread in your mouth.

We were a serious magazine after all, at that time by far the biggest in the Netherlands (over 800.000 copies sold every week, that is big for such a small country), so a dietician had to figure it out.

This was the diet:

  • First day bread only. Whole-grain, naked, no limitations, as much as you like. Tea, coffee, water. Sense of hunger? Hop slice of bread in your mouth.
  • Second day: green light for everything. Everything? Yes, everything. French fries, cheese, pudding, steak …
  • Third day  bread only.
  • Fourth day: green light.

Etcetera, etcetera. And it worked. The diet worked!
It became a hype, a wave of bread all over the country. Sold out bakeries. Total sales increase. We couldn’t believe our eyes. But suddenly it was over. A new hype knocked on the door.

But if you think, mm, few pounds here, few pounds there, try the bread diet. Easy to alternate with supertastyfood. An ice cream makes happy too you know.