fashion

Posted by Ellen

The harsh, moody climate and mysterious, treeless landscapes that define the western Nordic islands–Iceland, Greenland, the Faroe Islands–are swept up somehow and transformed by imagination into a fashion sensibility, the focus of the Third Nordic Fashion Biennale.

Curators Sarah Cooper and Nina Gorfer–American and Austrian by birth, Stockholm-based photographers by choice–have produced an exhibition, book, and film they call The Weather Diaries, which explore fashion as a wind-blown wonder. 

Posted by Ellen

We open this post with a small step back in time, to October of this year, when our niece Melissa Koehler married Matt Solomon. We noted this elegant and awesome occasion at the time but somehow managed to omit any photo of the bridegroom. By now, photographers and videographers and Facebook contributors have documented the day in images worth a billion skillion words, and from all that treasure we selected a frame from a video, with its swirl of wind and an imminent kiss.

Below are pictures of four other of our nieces, two sets of sisters, taken as they celebrated with Melissa that day. At left are Maggie and Amelia; to the right are Avi and Gillian. These pictures are tightly cropped to feature the nieces; people have been cropped out literally and perhaps also figuratively as we try to keep the focus on these young women.

Gillian's wedding, of course, was just this month in New Zealand. Maggie's was back in June in Maine. Gillian works in Wellington, New Zealand, organizing ecotourism adventures. Maggie is a nurse in Rochester, New York, studying to become a nurse practitioner.

Maggie's little sister, Amelia, wearing blue in the picture, lives and works in New York City, where she is creative director for a brand new startup fashion label, The Girl That Loves. Amelia prepares marketing materials and designs the company's overall look and feel.

Who is The Girl That Loves? According to the website, she's a girl who's "going places, but she plans to have a good time getting there."  

She mixes edgy and trendy pieces with cute and playful pieces. Her favorite combo? Sexy heels, jeans and a sweatshirt (and possibly a fedora). Tadaaaa! Looking great has never been so comfy! Instead of breaking her bank over one designer piece she lines her closet with a variety of fun pieces. She likes simple, elegant clothing but enjoys taking an occasional risk: the right neckline, a bit of cool embroidery or an edgy color scheme can turn a piece from “like” to “love.”

Here is one of The Girl That Loves' new designs, in the playful category, a rhinestone panda skirt that perhaps, when some people wear it, can go from "like" to "love" in a heartbeat.

At the other end of the world from New York City, on New Zealand's South Island, Amelia's cousin Avi is herself no slouch when it comes to fashion; in fact, she once was almost turned down for a job because an interviewer thought she dressed much too nicely for someone in her line of work. Avi earns her living by studying penguins in their natural habitats.

She's just beginning a new position at Oamaru Blue Penguin Colony, on the east coast of New Zealand about three hours' drive south of Christchurch. There at the edge of town, hundreds of little blue penguins, the world's smallest penguin species, sometimes called fairy penguins, have colonized an abandoned limestone quarry, making their nests at the top of a steep rocky slope just outside Oamaru's harbor.

Most days, the penguins leave the colony before dawn to swim several miles to their fishing grounds offshore; they fish all day and then return home at nightfall. Their nightly return has become something of a tourist attraction in Oamaru, so much so that an important research focus for scientists like Avi is how best to manage interaction between the public and the penguins.

Below is a huddle of Oamaru penguins just back from the sea; they swam in together as a "raft" and then paused amidst the rocks, perhaps just to catch their breaths and cool off after their long swim. Penguins' greasy feathers keep them very warm, so warm that to prevent overheating they have to fluff themselves, as they've done here, to allow chilly evening air to reach their skin.

Little blue penguins are not endangered, but many local populations are at risk because of land predators such as dogs and cats, which are not native to New Zealand. In the water, they are preyed upon by fur seals. In some coastal areas, they get hit by cars while trying to cross the road at dusk.

At the bottom of this post is a portrait of a little blue guy. He weighs about four pounds or less and is only 12 inches tall, not even knee high to a ten year old.

Posted by Ellen

Back in the year 1638, in the colonies that would eventually become the U.S. of A., Massachusetts Puritans were busily banning Anne Hutchinson and Swedish Lutherans were building a settlement in Delaware. But in Paris, on the other hand--ah, Paris--the French fashion industry was already edgy and extravagant, as evidenced by this illustration of headdress designs, published as part of a collection titled Ouvrage Rare et Nouveau Contenant Plusieurs Desseins de Marveilleuse Recreation sous Diverses Caprices et Gentilesses.

Posted by Ellen

"I don't know," noted the photographer, who calls himself I Shot Baltimore. "Dude bought these shoes. I don't know wtf to say. Whatever."