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12.31.2013

Capitol Couture: Effie Trinket's Delusions of Grandeur

"Happy Hunger Games! And may the odds be ever in your favor!"
                                                 -Effie Trinket

Avant garde-clad Effie Trinket, a character brilliantly crafted by Suzanne Collins, takes the spotlight (the fashion spotlight that is) in the latest installment of The Hunger Games trilogy. Actress Elizabeth Banks beautifully captures Effie's eccentric behavior and stuns in designs chosen by the film's costume designer Trish Summerville.

With a resume that includes The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Summerville already knew the pressures of living up to readers' expectations, a task much harder than dressing actors for an original film. "When you’re reading a book, each individual person gets to imagine each character. What they look like, as well as what they’re wearing and what they do, and how they act. So I just had to take the approach of what I thought would be visually appealing, ‘cause a lot of things that are written don’t necessarily translate onto film." explained Summerville.

The unassuming drab clothing worn in the post-apopcalyptic districts and the contrasting fantastical designs of the frivolous capitol crowd ranged from hand-crafted pieces to show-stopping looks chosen from past Alexander McQueen collections. One of the most talked about dresses worn by Effie is McQueen's butterfly dress paired with Iris van Herpen boots with soles adorned with fangs. The look was punctuated with miniature butterflies perched on the tips of her eyelashes and glued to her arms. Not something one could easily pull off on a winter Kansas day.

Effie Trinket's costumes were over-the-top, but Katniss Everdeen, played by Jennifer Lawrence, also wore impressive show-stoppers, including her white wedding dress that transformed into a black mockingjay costume as it was engulfed in flames. When asked about the mesmerizing gown, Summerville said, "I wanted to have a subliminal feel of flames and feathers to keep her the Girl on Fire while also representing the Mockingjay."

As with most things Hollywood, capitol couture is being capitalized. Summerville has partnered with one of my favorite fashion one stop shops, net-a-porter.com, to exclusively sell her mini collection inspired by the popular film. The collection includes a mockingjay printed silk chiffon dress for $550 and a black twill jumpsuit priced at $414 that you can imagine Katniss wearing in the arena. These pieces may not be worthy of Effie's outrageous style, but they are a little something for the masses.

Although I am slightly obsessed by Effie Trinket's frocks, you won't see me traipsing about covered in butterflies anytime soon. I did, however, make a few unique pieces this week with a modern vibe.

I designed a top that buttons up the side with a high collar, added red lace accents, and paired it with some basic skinny pants I sewed with ankle cuffs. I also made a black and white dress using an Italian fabric that I keep coming back to. It is stiff, durable, and could easily be transformed into a bat suit.


MADE IN KANSAS

11.26.2013

Much Ado About Plaid

"Any self respecting Scot knows that a good tartan is the solution to everything: it tells you where you are, where you belong, who your friends and family are."
                                                               -Trisha Telep, author

Prince Charles, lumberjacks, hipsters, rockers, and the fashion world unite with their common love for plaid this winter. There are many reasons why the classic pattern is in high rotation on the revolving trend carousel.

Some give all the credit to tartan-enthusiast Queen Victoria for bringing plaid to the masses. Not only did she don the traditional Scottish print herself in the 1800s, but she also draped the inside of Balmoral Castle in it.

Celine Fall 2013 Collection
Fast forward to an article in The Washington Reporter on March 20, 1931, which advised that a plaid jacket was best paired with a plain skirt and that "women who have the manner to 'get away' with anything, however daring, will be seen in all plaid suits." Oh, how times have changed. Not only will head-to-toe plaid looks be worn this season, but also contrasting variations, as seen in Emilia Wickstead's collection. Others hopping on the bandwagon include Gucci, Dolce & Gabbana, Band of Outsiders, Marc by Marc Jacobs, and Vivienne Westwood.

Punk and plaid have always gone hand-in-hand, so it makes sense that some designers have included edgier looks in their collections. Karl Lagerfeld embellished his punk-inspired plaid with studs and leather. Whether you're shopping for a wool coat, a dress, wrapping paper, shoes, or an umbrella, you'll be sure to find everything your heart desires adorned with plaid.

Recently, I stepped inside a local fabric shop with one thing on my mind: plaid flannel. After rummaging the racks for a few minutes, I found a black and gray print perfect for making my husband a button down shirt.

If you've ever tackled a shirt like this with no pattern, you'll understand when I say that constructing it was no walk in the park. Aside from never doing menswear before, I also had never done a buttonhole. Just my luck then that the shirt needed 14. The buttonholes were a cinch (thanks, Brother sewing machine pre-set), but the "chimney plackets" near the cuffs of the sleeves were anything but.

With the leftover fabric, I designed a dress for myself. I was deliberate in my plaid placement to create an eye-catching pattern and sewed pockets into the side seams. And no, you won't be seeing us out and about in matching "his and hers" outfits.

MADE IN KANSAS

10.30.2013

Cape Fear

"This ensemble has a cape made of tufted coffin lining in a lovely shade of cemetery grey. This little number was very inexpensive. The fabric is made of black widows webs, and the underslip, pure unborn centipede."
                                                                  -Lily Munster

Vampires and superheroes aren't the only ones donning capes this week. Fashionistas around the world are embracing the whimsical accessory that can make you feel mysterious, powerful, or part of a fairytale. Capes, popular for both costumes and everyday wear, have been around for centuries and continue to be a great accompaniment to any fall wardrobe.

Audrey Hepburn, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, and Paul McCartney gravitated towards the versatile outerwear. Hepburn wore a beautiful floor-sweeping blue cape in the movie Funny Face that was designed by Hubert de Givenchy. Once she had been draped in one of Givenchy's exquisite designs, she could never go back. “His are the only clothes in which I am myself,” she told reporters in 1956.

Jackie O selected an elegant white cape for her husband's inaugural ball in 1961. Ethel Frankau of Bergdorf Goodman created both the gown and the cape.

Capes can be dramatic or subtle and made out of anything and everything from organza to fur. Who wouldn't want to own an accessory that Red Riding Hood, Dracula, Superman, and the Queen of England can pull off?

My sons both opted to be superheroes this year for Halloween and lo and behold, they will be sporting capes. Having never owned one myself, I decided to make a cape using an exceptionally soft Marc Jacobs wool that I purchased from Mood. Not wanting my arms completely confined, I added openings adorned with zippers on both sides and a zipper up the middle. It was surprisingly easy to make. I learned how to insert the zippers within the garment via a YouTube how to video. I also found time to make a pair of pleated, tapered black pants and a red top with lace accents. Cheers to the cape!


MADE IN KANSAS

10.02.2013

Parting is Such Sweet Sorrow: Jacobs Says Farewell to Louis Vuitton

"You say goodbye and I say hello. Hello, hello. I don't know why you say goodbye, I say hello."
                                                                         -The Beatles

Louis Vuitton Spring 2014
We bid adieu to Paris Fashion Week today just as Marc Jacobs says au revoir to Louis Vuitton. After 16 years of rebuilding the Parisian fashion house, the former LV creative director is packing his bags and heading back to New York where he can focus on his own brand. His final show earlier today took place in the Cour Carrée du Louvre tent where he commemorated his history with LV by creating a magnificent set that included elements from previous shows: a carousel, fountain, pair of escalators, and a grand hotel elevator. 

Valentino Spring 2014
The theme was all about showgirls. “The first thing I thought was about Esther Williams and synchronized swimming,” Jacobs said. “But then I decided I wanted to do something about black, sparkling black, and texture and night!” Feathered headpieces and beaded detailing gave drama to Jacobs's exit collection. And aside from a few pairs of blue jeans, the only color on the models was black. Being his last LV collection, is it a coincidence that he chose the color associated with mourning? He also included the LV graffiti from past handbags, with those three little words, "I love Paris". Jacobs summed up his collection by saying, "It was an ode to Paris and to all the people I have been involved and work with. This city has been so great." After hearing the news of Jacobs's departure, the real question is, what's next for Louis Vuitton? It is rumored that a new creative director will be named by late October. The show must go on!
Chanel Spring 2014

What Louis Vuitton was lacking in color, Valentino and Chanel made up for. Valentino creative directors Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli gained inspiration from opera. Their designs were full of vibrant hues and gold accessories that complemented the color palette. Karl Lagerfeld's new collection for Chanel was a tribute to art, although when addressing the topic, Lagerfeld said, "I’m collecting books. I have no space for art.” The Grand Palais was transformed into a pseudo gallery with artwork lining the walls. The wearable designs were full of life and Lagerfeld included bright tweeds that will shine next spring. "Life is not a red carpet," Karl explained. "This is for daily life. I wanted color, and a fraîcheur. It’s a very happy mood."



This week I have been sewing my heart out. In fact, there are horrific screeching sounds coming from my serger that are probably a result of overuse. I made a long-sleeved striped cotton tee, cotton sateen black pants, a fully lined zip-up jacket out of an Italian fabric, and a graphite colored dress with cap sleeves. Pants are not my forté, so they were a challenge and the jacket was my biggest accomplishment thus far. It took me quite some time to figure out how to properly line the jacket while also installing a zipper up the front.

The dress was a fairly simple design, so I wanted to add interesting belt loops. The only fabric I had to work with at that point were two scraps that were cut into cap sleeves. I added white trim so they would stand out, attached them to the dress, and voilà!

MADE IN KANSAS

9.28.2013

Charming Prints Light up the Runways

"Fashion week is about celebrating the industry we’re in and gathering friends and industry people together."
                                                                         -Alice Temperley

Temperley London Spring 2014
Pretty prints, feminine silhouettes, and all colors of the rainbow have been on display this month in New York, London, Milan, and Paris. It's no surprise that the dresses from Temperley London were ultra-feminine and full of charm. Alice Temperley is an expert at designing pretty clothes for women. Season after season, she puts on a good show.

Talbot Runhof Spring 2014
One designer that experimented with a new look is Victoria Beckham. She strayed from her usual militant and office-ready design aesthetic by adding an all around lighter feel to her spring 2014 collection. The pieces are still minimalistic, but with less buttoned-up stiffness. She also embraced the concept of layering, which is perfect for the changing seasons. “It’s just me,” Beckham said when referring to her new designs. “It’s everything I want to wear!”

Another collection full of girlish silhouettes and clever prints was Talbot Runhof's. Comprised of Johnny Talbot and Adrian Runhof, this Munich-based design team is mostly known for its red carpet looks. For spring 2014, the two designers pulled inspiration from Barbra Streisand. There was a lot of emphasis on geometric prints and some looks featured built-in capes. Who doesn't want to feel like a superhero?

This week I constructed a top using a Marc Jacobs polka dot cotton voile. The print is very retro chic, so I added a peter pan collar to make it reminiscent of a past decade. I also purchased a black suiting fabric made of rayon, wool, and lycra for an a-line skirt to complement the top.


MADE IN KANSAS

9.12.2013

The Three Ms: Michael Kors, Marchesa, and Marc Jacobs

"I am the oldest young designer in New York City."
                                  -Michael Kors

It was a hot day in New York yesterday, but that didn't slow down fashion enthusiasts flocking to the city. The spring 2014 designs seen at the Michael Kors show mid-morning were reminiscent of clothing worn in the 1940s. Not only did the prints give a nod to the decade, but so did the silhouettes. Wartime in the 40s led to fabric rationing, which greatly impacted clothing production. Dress lengths were raised and clothing was worn closer to the body to save on yardage. To give his designs that 40s flare, Kors kept some hemlines just below the knee and waistlines above the belly button (think 40s swimwear). "Michael Kors has gone romantic!" said Kors when referring to his latest collection to walk the runway. “It’s that forties versus seventies moment!” Loving all things retro, Kors's collection blew me away.

Later in the day, models geared up to walk at the Marchesa show. "It was this idea of curiosity cases, full of birds and butterflies," said Marchesa co-founder Georgina Chapman. As always, the dresses were extravagant, romantic, and full of exquisite detailing that would highlight any woman's femininity. Often worn by celebrities on the red carpet, designs by Georgina Chapman and Keren Craig (who happened to meet at Chelsea College of Art and Design in London) are inspired by the Italian heiress Marchesa Luisa Casati. If I had the financial backing, I would don a Marchesa dress every day of the year.

Tonight marked the end of New York Fashion Week and for the grand finale, cue . . . Marc Jacobs. Always beating to his own drum, Jacobs's new spring collection is very dark. As Marc Jacobsites fanned themselves while they waited patiently for the show to begin, a creepy soundtrack worthy of a Tim Burton film slinked through the speakers. Out walked, or rather speed-walked, the models down the winding runway. Floor length black lace dresses with a hint of sparkle, board shorts paired with military-inspired jackets, and a print you'd likely see on a floral Hawaiian muumuu were all on the agenda. Only Jacobs can take all that hodgepodge, pair it with the ugliest shoes you've ever seen, and somehow make the most wildly absurd combinations seem hip. Sometimes I think it's a little joke he's playing on the world. 

The runways are focused on spring again, but I'm gearing up for fall. I recently purchased the mother load of fall and winter fabrics and have them piled high in my closet waiting to be sewn into something grand. I love autumn because there are so many pairing options. It's always fun to mix and match summer and winter clothes for a new look. I purchased a Carolina Herrera textured brocade and sewed it up into a skirt. Then I striped a black stretch charmeuse with a black lace for a top. Here's to a new season!


MADE IN KANSAS

9.08.2013

Cut it Out

"The woman is the most perfect doll that I have dressed with delight and admiration."
                                                           -Karl Lagerfeld

Another September, another fashion week. Models have begun to walk the runways of New York sporting fresh spring/summer 2014 designs. One trend that seems to be holding strong from 2013 collections is cut outs. Here are three of my favorite dresses with the cut out or peekaboo design element from this summer, made by Stella McCartney, Versace, and Cushnie Et Ochs. 


Another trend that seems to be sticking for next spring is black and white ensembles. Rather than the candy-coated pastels we saw back in 2012, the first designers to show at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week have focused on the contrasting hues. The following new designs for spring/summer 2014 are by rag & bone, Helmut Lang, and Jason Wu.

 
I made a dress using a retro floral cotton fabric and paired it with a black fabric. The airiness of the sheer peekaboos at the waist is perfect for those hot summer days. After selecting a slinky black jersey and Anna Sui floral lace from Mood Fabrics, I sewed another dress with peekaboo detailing.

It's always fun to see repeat trends from a past season recreated in a new, innovative way, but let's hope the upcoming shows at fashion week have a few surprises for us as well.


MADE IN KANSAS

7.13.2013

Perfection in Paris: Haute Couture Fall 2013

"In order to be irreplaceable one must always be different."
                                              -Coco Chanel

Giambattista Valli Haute Couture
There was a little something for everyone in Paris last week at the fall 2013 haute couture shows. Giambattista Valli proved once again that he is an artisan when it comes to manipulating flowers. He was thinking of "porcelain goddesses" while crafting fragile and delicate masterpieces reminiscent of vintage Christian Dior gowns. Fittingly, the runway was lined with statues adorned with white hydrangeas, adding to the romanticism of the dresses. 

Valentino Haute Couture
In contrast to Valli's light and airy designs, Valentino displayed fall colors and heavier textiles. Many of the looks were, surprisingly, wearable for day-to-day affairs. The quote, "Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication," by Leonardo da Vinci inspired the design process. Clients seeking custom, haute couture clothing also desire originality and that is why wunderkammer came into play. The German word means a place where a collection of curiosities and rarities is exhibited. "In a cabinet of curiosities, the pieces are very unique, very one-of-a-kind," said Valentino Creative Director Pierpaolo Piccioli. "We've tried to make something that is not only special, but also surprising, unexpected."

Chanel Haute Couture
Karl Lagerfeld's futuristic haute couture collection for Chanel debuted at the spectacular Grand Palais with a dramatic set that was both creepy and brilliant. "On the way from the Old World to the New World," was Lagerfeld's summation of his grand show. "And fashion is the only way to make the trip." He based the looks on "tradition with future." There were design details that resembled past eras, but also a nod to what's next. He completed each look with a wide belt. That sealed the deal for me.

Couture week in Paris always inspires pushing the limits of fashion and creativity. I have been wanting to experiment and create different silhouettes. This week, I put aside my go-to black fabric and chose a bold, colorful print on a stiffer textile from Mood. I wanted to create a structured dress with box-like cap sleeves. Through trial and error manipulating the fabric, I finally got the sleeves just right. As the old proverb goes, "If at first you don't succeed, try, try, try again."


MADE IN KANSAS

6.26.2013

The Dressmaker, The Mob, and The Fashionable Housewife

“What is the most decadent thing anybody could ever do? Get all dressed up, do their make up, and stay at home.”
                                                                      -Marc Jacobs

Jazz music, speakeasies, flappers, and the mob were all part of Kansas City in the 1920s, but the Paris of the Plains was also swarming with creativity and innovation. In the early twenties, Walt Disney started an animation company called Laugh-O-gram Films on E. 31st Street in Kansas City where he created black and white animated short films based on classic fairytales. He befriended a small mouse in the building, which was said to have inspired his creation of Mickey Mouse. Later that decade, Ernest Hemingway, who had previously worked for The Kansas City Star, drove his wife back to the city for the birth of their second child while, at the same time, he was putting the finishing touches on one of his greatest masterpieces, A Farewell to Arms. And just around the corner, dressmaker Nell Donnelly Reed was making her mark in history.

Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/2007/08/03/217594/ernest-hemingway-and-kansas-city.html#storylink=cp

Nelly Don Sketch
Nell, born in 1889, grew up in the humble town of Parsons, Kansas and developed an interest in sewing at a young age. After moving to Kansas City and marrying Paul Donnelly, she quickly grew tired of cooking, cleaning, and handling other day-to-day domestic minutiae in the unflattering, drab clothing available to middle-class housewives. She asked herself, "Why not put a frill on it, the way I do on my holiday aprons?" As a result, Nell quickly reinvented the house dress in a way that would have made June Cleaver swoon. Her friends and family were so smitten by her dresses that they encouraged her to start a business. Nell told The New York Times, "I'll make women look pretty when they are washing dishes." And she did just that.

1950s Nelly Don Dress
In 1916, Peck's Dry Goods in Kansas City ordered 18 dozen of Nell's dresses with the hopes of selling them for $1 (compared to the average price of 69 cents). Nell rushed out and purchased a few sewing machines and hired two girls to help her construct the 18 dozen dresses in her home. An article published in The New York Times about Nell's beginnings wrote, "Nell inquired at the store at noon of the day of delivery. Not one was left on the racks. From then on she contracted to deliver two dozen a day. It was not long before the other stores in the city became aware of the new style in house dresses. They sought out the young designer."

Donnelly Garment Company in Kansas City
In a building not far from Walt Disney's studio in the early twenties, Nell employed 250 employees. Mirroring Henry Ford's approach, she brought the assembly line to garment production and came up with catchy tag lines for ads including "Nelly Don, Just Try One On" and "'Tis inward satisfaction to don a Nelly Don". Ironically, Nell's achievements proved that women could be successful outside the home, but she still embraced her initial passion of making quality and stylish dresses for housewives of all sizes at an affordable price. By the early 1930s, Donnelly Garment Company housed over 1,000 employees and was up to $3.5 million in sales.

Aside from her booming success, Nell made headlines across the country when she and her chauffeur were kidnapped in 1931. Their abductors forced Nell to write letters to her husband and a lawyer demanding $75,000 for her release. James Reed, a former U.S. Senator from Missouri, neighbor of the Donnellys, and father of Nell's newborn son (that's a whole other story) was contacted about the kidnapping and sprung into action. Reed went straight to Johnny Lazia, the reigning mob boss of Kansas City's organized crime scene, and threatened that if Lazia didn't find Nell within 24 hours, he would buy 30 minutes of radio time and reveal his shenanigans and shady connection to Tom Pendergast. Lazia acted quickly and sent 25 carloads of armed gangsters out into the city in search of Nell. Needless to say, members of Kansas City's mafia soon found Nell and her chauffeur unharmed in a four-room cottage in Bonner Springs, KS. Nell later said that the men who rescued her were scarier looking than her kidnappers.

Ads from the 1940s and 1950s
Nell acquired a New York office in the Empire State Building as Nelly Don dresses were flying off the racks of high-end stores such as Bloomingdale's. Fortune Magazine described her as possibly the most successful businesswoman in the United States. She kept her self-made business thriving through the great depression and wartime (Donnelly Garment Company was the largest manufacturer of women's military and work clothing during World War II), while still managing to be among the first in Kansas City to offer paid group hospitalization for employees and tuition benefits. She also strived to make her workers happy with perks such as a cafeteria, a cart that offered lemonade and snacks in the afternoon, company parties, and an in-house shop where employees could acquire unused fabric to make their own clothes at home. Nell designed and sold more dresses in the 20th century than any other single person in the United States. 

Just like Nell Donnelly Reed, Marc Jacobs shares the concept of feeling "decadent" at home by wearing exquisite clothing. The drab, Mother Hubbard clothing worn by housewives in the early 1900s may be comparable to the styleless, matching sweat suits and yoga pants worn by modern day homemakers. Inspired by Nell, I recently designed and sewed my own house dress (highly unlikely I'll be doing housework while wearing it). I chose a unique black fabric with appliquéd flowers and added fullness to the skirt, which gives it a 1950s vibe. As Nell once said, "No housewife in America today need look dowdy and frumpy, unless she wants to be that way."


MADE IN KANSAS




6.04.2013

I Got Stripes

"I got stripes, stripes around my shoulders."
                               -Johnny Cash

Dolce & Gabbana
Not much different than the prison-bound Cash once sang about, fashion enthusiasts will be donning wide stripes this season. Although the contrasting black and white reigned supreme at the spring/summer 2013 shows, designers used a variety of color combinations such as red/white, green/white, yellow/white, and blue/white. Whether vertical, horizontal, or curved stripes, there is no doubt that the eye-catching print flatters the body.

Marc Jacobs
Not only are stripes being seen on clothing, but accessories as well, including shoes, sunglasses, and handbags. The details that make the common graphic unique this time around are the width and placement of the stripes, making them sixties-inspired mod. The transformation of the often mediocre pattern is definitely a visual treat. Marc Jacobs, Dolce & Gabbana, Moschino, and Christian Dior are among the many fashion houses to embrace the made-over and beloved stripe.
After zero success searching local fabric shops and online stores, I finally found a wide-striped black and white fabric at an Ikea just outside of Denver. Although a heavier fabric meant for home decorating projects, I went ahead and bought a yard and a half to make a summer shorts romper similar in shape to the one I made last summer. After creating a new pattern out of muslin (six pieces for the torso, a waistband, and four pieces for the bottom), I cut, carefully lined up the stripes, and began sewing. The romper turned out exactly as I imagined and will be perfect for the upcoming warm summer months.





MADE IN KANSAS

5.01.2013

The Great Gatsby Costume Collaboration

"I like large parties. They’re so intimate. At small parties there isn’t any privacy.”
                                 -F. Scott Fitzgerald


The Great Gatsby, one of the most highly anticipated movies of the year, will open next week after it's release date was pushed back five months. Movie enthusiasts and fashionistas alike wait patiently to watch director Baz Luhrmann's film come to life as it depicts F. Scott Fitzgerald's classic. Catherine Martin is not only the director's wife, but also the mastermind behind the motion picture's well thought out costumes that take the audience back in time. A vital part to the film's success is based on designer Martin's ability to capture the lively and free-spirited era of the Roaring Twenties among Long Island's elite through fashion. 

When Luhrmann discussed his vision with his wife he said, "I don’t want a nostalgic New York, I don’t want a sepia-toned New York, I want a New York that feels as vibrant and sexy and visceral and modern as it would have to Zelda and Fitzgerald, or any of the characters in the book." So Martin began her research by reading the book and assessing what the characters were wearing. She then travelled to the Met library and FIT and followed up with online research.
Miuccia Prada, a friend of Luhrmann, teamed up with Martin to help with costumes for the party scenes. The famed designer already had experience working with Luhrmann and Martin when she created a dinner suit for Leonardo DiCaprio to wear in Romeo and Juliet. She ended up designing 40 costumes based on past Prada and Miu Miu dresses that she adapted for The Great Gatsby. "I usually try not to literally reference periods in my work, because that's not the way I think," Prada said. "But when I worked on the costumes, I realized how many pieces could become very 1920s with a little intervention and another point of view." 20 of the dresses were for the "glamorous party" and 20 for the "sad and tawdry party". Prada also designed Daisy Buchanan's dress and fur (worn by Carey Mulligan) for her first Gatsby party in the film. Martin made a clever decision when partnering with Prada to convey the nostalgic fashion of the Jazz Age to a modern audience. 

As for F. Scott Fitzgerald's personal fashion sense, his primary clothing source was Brooks Brothers, a men's outfitter that has been fashioning menswear since the 1800s. "Brooks Brothers is mentioned numerous times in Fitzgerald's writings as a representation of the ultimate gentleman's purveyor of fine clothing," said Martin. So it was appropriate that the company was a large part in outfitting the men on set. Apparently, Brooks Brothers provided more than 500 looks for the stars, including Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire, and a large amount of extras. Martin was given access to the company's clothing archives for inspiration. The New York-based brand is now selling The Great Gatsby Collection, which includes twenties-themed leather wingtips, bow ties, linen vests, dapper suits, and genuine onyx and gold-plated cuff links. 

Tiffany & Co. also partnered with The Great Gatsby and provided headpieces, bracelets, rings, and long strands of pearls that were influenced by the flapper-filled decade. Jon King, executive vice president for Tiffany & Co., told WWD, “Tiffany was certainly part of this era. The brand was at the center of the parties of the rich and famous.” Following in Brooks Brothers' footsteps, the fine jeweler is also marketing a new collection based on the film. One of its most exquisite items for sale is the savoy headpiece, which is adorned with freshwater cultured pearls and round brilliant diamonds for the shocking price of $200,000.

Ralph Lauren, Gucci, and Marchesa all rolled out twenties-inspired designs in their spring/summer 2012 collections, possibly with Downton Abbey moving into the 1920s and The Great Gatsby in mind. Since the film postponed its release date to this month, will the resurgence of twenties fashion hold strong? Martin replied when asked why the decade is making such a comeback, "The 1920s was an influential era because you basically saw every single style of neckline, dress shape and dress length reinterpreted. It’s also an interesting era because it was both modern and nostalgic at the same time. On the one hand it was extremely modern—dresses were shorter, there was a freedom of movement, and sportiness—but at the same time there was nostalgia for the embellishment, beading, and lace of the 18th century."

I bought a beautiful black and white lace and combined it with a black satin-like fabric for my modern day flapper dress design. It is more fitted than an authentic 1920s frock, but does have the comfort and drop-waist that footloose and fancy free flappers longed for. I sewed the black down the sides and middle of the top portion for added contrast. It's perfect for a Gatsby-style affair.

MADE IN KANSAS