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Reading, Wellington, and whatever else – teenblog@wcl.govt.nz

Category: Le Chic Librarian Page 1 of 9

Fashion Friday

Syndetics book coverWorn stories / Emily Spivack.
Have you ever thought about what your clothes say about you?  Or rather what stories your clothes could tell?  That’s, kind of, the idea behind this book, each piece of clothing, especially your very favourites, are a mini memoir of you.  Spivak has chosen people to talk about their favourite item of clothing to create an intimate, highly personal telling of individual style or fashion.  I think it fits with the evolution of fashion that’s happening – from catwalk and magazine to street style and personal style blogs, from models to real people.  Spivak has also created the Smithsonian’s fashion history blog Threaded, so her book fits the intellectual-fashion movement that’s going on too (more on that in Women in Clothes and Why Fashion Matters).

Also, if you want some real (librarian) person style, check out the library’s tumblr.  Every week (well, hopefully) you’ll find a librarian wardrobe post (and other Fashion Friday stuff too).  Here’s the lovely Francoise.


Fashion Friday

Fashion tag is a website I’m currently obsessed with.  It was created by Dana Christina Straut, a fashion journalism graduate and writer, and it covers all things fashiony, high and low, street or runway.  And she’s not afraid to ask the big questions, like do we still like overalls, are birkenstocks ugly (THE question for summer) and are high-waisted jeans the best thing ever (personally, I’m undecided).

Syndetics book coverA denim story : inspirations from boyfriends to bellbottoms…
Keeping on with the denim theme I just discovered this new (old) book at the library, by Emily Current, Merritt Eliott and Hilary Walsh, of Current Eliott denim fame (they ‘invented’ the current incarnation of the boyfriend jean).  It covers their denim inspirations and features denim icons Marilyn Monroe, Jane Birkin, Kate Moss and Patti Smith, amongst others. It’s a visual, moodboard type book.  Really cool!

Fashion Friday

Do you like sewing?  Most fashion lovers worth their salt can find their way around a sewing machine.  Did you know that the library has been amassing a small collection of Japanese – English translated – pattern books?  They are a bit of a thing.  Stylistically they have a very Japanese aesthetic and tie into the whole Mori girl thing.  But the books themselves offer patterns for quite simple, wearable clothes.   The designs are quirky, but not over the top, with enough little details to be interesting.  And although you have to draft the patterns yourself, they are totally doable for a modest sewer.

This is a top that my friend made using Stylish Dress BookThere are heaps more options, check out the titles below.



Syndetics book coverI am cute dresses : 25 simple designs to sew / Sato Watanabe ; [translated by Asako Ohashi].
“Including tunics, halters, sundresses, and more, these … dresses are created from basic, one-size-fits-many shapes and designed to be flattering on everyone”



Syndetics book coverSimple modern sewing : 8 basic patterns to create 25 favorite garments / Shufu To Seikatsu Sha ; [English-language editor: Deborah Cannarella ; translated by Atsuko Imanishi].
“With this book, you’ll be able to make 25 new garments by working with only the 8 basic full-size patterns included. Each pattern shows you which folds and cutting lines to use for each unique garment. Almost all of the garments are sized as extra small (XS), small (S), medium (M), and large (L). Pattern 8 is sized S, M, and L”–P. 6.

Syndetics book coverShape shape 2 : sewing for minimalist style / Natsuno Hiraiwa.
“Interweave’s latest Japanese translation is this follow-up to 2012’s Shape Shape, which continues Hiraiwa’s focus on modern, minimalist fashion. As the title implies, the focus here is on shape, whether billowy or spiral or vertical, and the garments include an A-line skirt that can be transformed into harem pants, a puff-sleeved bolero jacket, and a seamless wrap skirt that is flattering to most figures. Don’t mistake “minimalist” for easy-to-sew, though-despite their simple appearance, there’s a lot that goes into the creation of these garments.” (Library Journal)

Fashion Friday

Fashiony films continue to be a feature of the New Zealand International Film Festival.  This year two awesome films have been selected.  I will definitely be going to both.

First up is Yves Saint Laurent, a fictionalised telling of the great designer’s life.  It was released in 2014 by French director Jalil Lespert and is considered the ‘official’ biopic of YSL, having been given the blessing of YSL’s partner Pierre Bergé.  Jalil was given free range with the YSL archives and the film covers all aspects of Saint Laurent’s life – his designs, talent, depression and drug use.

The second film is Dior and I.  It is a documentary about the House of Christian Dior’s current designer (the much acclaimed) Raf Simons as he prepares his debut collection for Dior.  The film looks at the nitty gritty of the creative process and all the hard work and planning that goes into presenting a collection.  It was written and directed by Frédéric Tcheng, who also made the fashion documentaries Vreeland: The eye has to travel (EXCELLENT) and Valentino: The Last Emperor.

Fashion Friday

Marie photographed by James K Lowe
for Katherine is Awesome

Syndetics book coverSneakers : the complete limited editions guide / written and designed by U-Dox.
Sneakers, I guess you either love them or hate, wear them or don’t.  But either way you can’t deny their practicality and ubiquity.  Their popularity in ‘fashion’ comes and goes.  Right now I would say they’re having a moment – 90s revival Stan Smiths, high-fashion Celine / Vans rip-offs, ever-present Converse, high-tech mimimalist Nikes.  The library has some new sneaker books for you to enjoy and obsess over.  This lovely, glossy Thames and Hudson pictorial above and the newly reprinted classic tome below.

Syndetics book coverWhere’d you get those? : New York City’s sneaker culture, 1960-1987 / Bobbito Garcia.
Documenting more than 400 pairs of sneakers in a highly illustrated, chronological format, this expanded edition includes new sneakers.


Fashion Friday

jeans 3
(Michele Quellet – photographed by Taylor Jewell for Jean Stories)

Syndetics book coverDenim : from cowboys to catwalks : a visual history of the world’s most legendary fabric / Graham Marsh and Paul Trynka ; fashion editor, June Marsh.
My friend said the other day it was time to pack away the jorts.  Winter has started I guess.  Let the real jeans season begin. 
What is more fashion AND anti-fashion than jeans.  Probably every person owns a pair and most people wear them, either to look cool, or fashionable or to look ordinary, as a type of uniform.  Denim has become a ubiquitous fashion feature and for such a basic wardrobe staple they are still subjected to the whims and trends of fashion (moving away from skinnies into a looser fit, at the moment I think).

jeans 1
(Jessica de Ruiter – photographed by Katrina Dickson for Jean Stories)

The jeans I’m really loving right now are my Acne skinnies (soooo comfortable) and ripped vintage jeans. But see, everyone has a very personal opinion on jeans and some are devoted to them.   A website I’ve been loving lately is Jean Stories.  Created by jeans lovers and former Vogue writers Jane Herman and Florence Kane, who talk to fellow jeans obsessives about their favourite styles, how to wear denim, what’s new, sneakpeeks into wardrobes.  Seriously love it.  (Particularly love the story of how a worn out pair of jeans, ripped and dirty,  from a guy from Christchurch ended up on an editor from Vogue, ha!  so FASHION)

jeans 2
(Jennifer Fisher – photographed by Taylor Jewell for Jean Stories)

Fashion Friday


Zinio is here!
What is Zinio you ask? weeelll…

Zinio is a magazine database that the library now has.  It’s not just any old magazine database though.  It has full story and image magazines (much like Press Display is for newspapers).  And there are popular magazines you’ll want to read too – fashion mags included are Australian Vogue, US Elle, Grazia (South African, so a bit different), Nylon, Harpers Bazaar, Peppermint, Yen, Esquire, I could go on.

The best thing about Zinio is that it’s free to take out the magazines (or rather download them to your account and then read on your computer, smartphone, tablet, ipod – there’s an app) and you can keep them forever.  YES, FOREVER.

All you need to start is your library card.  Then you can find Zinio on our website, on our Mygateway page (under Magazines).  From there you create an account on the library Zinio page.  After that you need to create a Zinio account (you can you the use the same details for both accounts; you must use the same email address for both accounts).  Finally, you’ll need to download the Zinio app if you’re using a tablet, ipad or smartphone. ( If you need any help take a look here for setting up and starting the app).

And away you go!

Fashion Friday

Normcore, is it a thing?  A new ‘trend’, a joke, something you need to be wearing right now?!

According to The Cut, who broke this very important story yesterday, the latest trend for the youngsters in New York is to dress ‘normally’.  Not like a fashionista, hipster or an authentic individual, but with a sameness which means they blend into the crowd. (Or look like an extra from Seinfeld).  Plain mum-jeans are a feature, as are socks and sandals, New Balance sneakers, baseball caps and plain t-shirts and jumpers.  (Alexa Chung’s buddy Dev Hynes favours a turtleneck).

Is this real? Do you – or would you – dress like this?  I have been digging my trackpants lately…
However, not everyone belives.

Here’s an example of library normcore – a workmate wearing her totally normal, plain (and comfy) Nikes.  (Co-ordination with the carpet way too fashiony though).


Fashion Friday – extra

(OOPS I missed my week, so you can have this extra post today!)

(Vera Wang Fall/Winter 2014 – Fashion Gone Rogue)

As the high fashion treadmill trundles on, with New York fashion week kicking of the Fall/Winter Ready to Wear 2014 shows (what you will be wearing in 2015? Blah, who knows!) it all seems rather yawn-some.  The same big name designers putting out some interesting and knockout clothes (Karen Walker LOVE, Proenza Schouler COMPLICATED LOVE); the same old street style coverage (which Style.com and Tommy Ton do BEAUTIFULLY) its all a bit predicatable.  New York is currently suffering under an Polar Vortex, so this has shaken things up style-wise, but you may find yourself asking “what does it all mean”?!

Syndetics book coverWhy fashions matters.
Aha!  This wonderful new book by Frances Corner – the head of the London College of Fashion – might help.  Certainly a bit weighty in substance,  it looks at the social and economic impacts of fashion and it will help you understand fashion’s place in the world, putting it in a much wider context (than the internet ha ha!)  Sometimes you have to stop and assess, take it all in and learn why leather midi skirts/slogan tees/platform boots are SO important.

Fashion Friday


Candice – FOUREYES

Syndetics book coverFoureyes : New Zealand street style / Alex Blanco … [et al.].
Foureyes is a street style blog run by four fashion and photography loving guys, you’ve probably heard of them by now.  I guess they have one of teh most influential fashion blogs in New Zealand and one of the only blogs that focuses on street style photography. (Check it all out here).  NOW they have a book, which is actually pretty cool.  Therre’s some quirky stuff in there (do people really dress like that?  In Auckland apparently? Good for them I say).

I don’t read that many NZ street style blogs.  The most obvious one is good old Stuff’s Daily Street Style (in the Life and Style section).  Photographers from around NZ feed into that – such as Street and City Photos (which i don’t really like, too ernest) and Femmehysterique (which is from Dunedin, refreshingly different).  Do you have any good suggestions?

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