And the Winners Are…2018 Edition

And The Winners Are…..

Well it’s THAT time of the year again. So on the Eve of Oscar Night, I would like to present the Nominees for the Best Achievement in Costume Design.

‘Beauty and the Beast’
Jacqueline Durran

This year, Designer Jacqueline Durran is a double nominee for her designs in both this film and for ‘Darkest Hour’. Busy lady! For ‘Beauty’ she does not disappoint; The colors and textures of the costume are absolutely stunning and a real treat for the eyes. Here designs are sharp and varied whether its the gothic depths of the Beast’s castle to the color riot of the French peasants costumes. Well done!

‘Darkest Hour’
Jacqueline Durran

Again, Jackie Durran. I am so sorry to have missed this one being that Gary Oldman is one of my favorite actors and Kristen Scott Thomas looks classy no matter what she is wearing. If anything this film should be awarded Best Achievement in Hair and Makeup for the amazing transformation of Gary Oldman.

‘Phantom Thread’
Mark Bridges

This film should be praised for its authenticity in all respects. Real stitchers were hired to play stitchers (really) and in order to prepare for his role, Daniel Day Lewis took sewing lessons from the afore mentioned stitchers. All that hard work paid off because he actually held the sewing needles and scissors correctly. Believe me I am really anal about stuff like that. The designs themselves where a bit dowdy. But this is understandable since his character is based loosely on Hardy Amies the designer for the likes of Queen Elizabeth etc. Not exactly on the ‘cutting edge’ of fashion. However, there where some interesting scenes depicting a fitting which showed the underpinnings needed to create ‘The New Look’ silhouette which was popular at the time and other tailoring conceits such as sewing hidden messages into a dress. Good job!

‘The Shape of Water’
Luis Sequeira

Obviously the Oscar nomination was for that ‘hide the sausage’ amphibious costume. (Whoops spoiler alert, sorry!) It was truly an amazing job on that costume that was years in the making. A minimum of CGI was used and instead the movements where enabled by a mechanically rigged radio hub embedded within the costume which allowed the actor to control is facial and body movements. A real challenge, being that the character was underwater during most of the film and electrocution could be a real problem. I also liked the murky aqua color palate as it was used in the costumes of the human characters. For more information about what went into the making of this aquatic shmata, read the L.A. Times article here.

Victoria and Abdul
Consolata Boyle

As always, Connie Boyle did a bang up job on the costumes and in my heart I hope she gets the prize since I felt that she was passed over last year for her whimsical costumes in ‘Florence Foster Jenkins’. In this film she applies her sense of whimsey once again by giving Queen Victoria’s dreary widow weeds an interesting twist with some curious little crocheted embellishments to her weeping veil and the over the top uniform worn by Abdul, her manservant. The Victorian era for me, is one of the most unattractive, unflattering historical periods for woman’s fashion. So anyone who can make it look pretty and interesting gets my seal of approval. A+.

THEY WERE ROBBED!

Why wasn’t this film nominated?

Tulip Fever, that quirky little movie about the Tulip Wars in 17cc Holland was completely passed over in the costume category and this is an effrontery on all levels. Michael O’ Conners sumptuous costumes reflect the over the top wealth of the Dutch merchants and their obsession with all things rare and beautiful. Apparently this movie was stuck in ‘Development Hell’ for many years and maybe this is the reason the omission. But if you are able to, catch it if you can, it’s worth watching.

Congratulations guys, whether you were nominated or not, You are ALL Winners.
Make sure to watch the Oscars on Sunday March 4rth and root for your favorite!

www.costumesbyantonia.com

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Who Wants To Go To Hell With Madam Satan?

Kay Johnson as Madam Satan

Cecil B De Mille’s Diabolical Musical

‘Who wants to go to hell with Madam Satan? Was the catch word for this peculiar cult classic of pre-code Hollywood. Up until the early 1930’s Hollywood movies where pretty racy in their depictions of sex and violence. Cecil B De Mille’s film musical ’Madam Satan’ was one of those and it does not disappoint. Now DeMille is usually remembered for his religious and historical epics such as ‘The Ten Commandments’, ‘Cleopatra’ and ‘The Greatest Show on Earth’. So for him to direct a racy, quirky, musical was a bit out of character for him. But remember that a talking pictures were all the rage at that time and like many of his colleagues he jumped on the ‘bandwagon’ because it was the lucrative thing to do. I suppose for the same reason that The Rolling Stones and Kiss recorded Disco songs in the 70’s .

C.B. and friend

But lucky for De Mille he had a ‘Dream Team’ of creative talent as collaborators both in front and behind the camera: Jeannie MacPherson screenwriter, Cedric Gibbons Art Director, Theodore Kosloff featured dancer and of course, costumes by the legendary Adrian (inventor of the shoulder pads). Just to name a few. These names may not mean much today but believe me back then, they did some heavy lifting.

A ‘Dream Team’ of Hollywood talent

So the premise of this movie is about a husband and wife whose marriage is on the rocks. He winds up leaving her for another woman but she connives to win him back by co-hosting a costume party on a zeppelin over Central Park which of course becomes and over-the- top musical number showcasing the dancing talents of Kosloff and of course Adrian’s uniquely original designs. As zeppelins are wont to do, it malfunctions and all the guests must bail out in parachutes to save their lives. But not before the audience is exposed to lots of upshots of scantily clad women flailing the legs and flashing their panties as they descend back to earth. Oh, the humanity!

This near death experience makes the husband realize what a jerk he had been to his wife and so he goes running back to her loving arms. All is forgiven.

Madam Satan Costume full view

In spite of the superficial sounding plot, the story does have a dose of realism not found in post code Hollywood. For starters , the couple sleeps in the same bed, something that was not allowed post Breen Code. There’s infidelity, lots of sexual innuendo, a gay sub-plot with some of the characters and then of course there are this lovely, sexy costumes by Adrian. Sometimes I wish that Adrain had made more technicolor movies. The two that come to mind are ‘Wizard of Oz’ and ’The Women’. And even those where partially in color, the culprit being ‘Gone With The Wind’ whose production had swallowed up all the technicolor film in Lotus Land.

Legendary costume designer Adrian Greenburg

 

In my opinion, the back & white film doesn’t do Adrian’s costumes justice. I finally had the chance to see Adrian’s designs for Madame Satan at an A.M.P.A.S retrospective highlighting former Oscar winners/nominees for best achievement in Costume Design. There in its own showcase was the black velvet ‘Madam Satan’ costume with the embellished cape. WOW! The colors were so vivid and the detailed workmanship was absolutely exquisite.

Adrian’s original artwork
Madam Satan from the Metropolitan Museum Costume Institute Exhibit
Embellishment detail

Another bone that I have to pick with ‘Madam Satan’ is that the choreography is at times a bit sloppy. I wonder of this is due to De Mille’s lack of understanding of the genre. One wishes for the military precision of a Busby Berkley number that would have pirouetted in lockstep with Adrians costumes and Kosloff’s athletic physique. But alas, Busby was under contract with a different studio so it was not meant to be.

Theodore Kosloff full view
Kosloff costume detail

Adrian’s creations for ‘Madam Satan’ have proved to be extremely influential over the years. Spawning a multitude of costumes inspired by his original designs. The most recent being Eiko Ishioka’s designs for the ill fated Broadway musical version of ’Spider Man’. Imitation still is the best form of flattery.

Eiko Ishioka’s designs for ‘Spiderman’ inspired by Ardian’s original designs.

Please enjoy these pictures and if the reader gets a chance to see ‘Madam Satan’, please do. It’s campy and a bit dated but still worth watching. I truly wish that Adrian’s costumes for the film would go on tour again. They are beautiful and have withstood the test of time tangibly and intangibly.

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It’s Good to be King!

~It’s Good to be King!~

~Holy Roman Emperor Leopold I in theatrical costume~

The Austro-Hungarian Empire gave the world so much to enjoy: music, literature, food, Lippizaner Stallions, Sigmund Freud and the Von Trapp Family. But who would have thought that other major contribution would have been those beautiful, over the top costumes of the royal court? Of course, I had always been vaguely familiar with that genre, in particular having caught a glimpse of the late ‘Heini’ Von Thyssen traipsing about in full Austro-Hungarian drag at some sort of cultural event or other in Madrid back in the 90’s. Heini’s ensemble echoes the  splendor of an era lost in time. Like the Hapsburgs, Heini was a voracious art collector and his extensive compilation is on view at the museum which bears his name: Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza in Madrid. In an ironic twist of fate, his eldest daughter Francesca, wound up marrying a Hapsburg.

~Baron Hans Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza (a/k/a ‘Heini’) ~

My costume designs for a recent production of ‘The Sound of Music’ notwithstanding, it wasn’t until I saw the ‘Hapsburg Splendor’ exhibit at the MFAH that I was able to really appreciate the richness and luxuriousness of their court costumes. Now, I know that some of you cynics about there are saying: That exhibit happened two years ago. Why are you blogging about it now? Well, why not. It was a great exhibit that not only featured some beautiful costumes but a lot of important art as well. As mentioned earlier, the Hapsburgs, like my buddy Heini, were prolific art collectors and this exhibit, in particular the costumes merit a belated blog. Besides, now I can finally delete the exhibit pictures from my iPhone!

~Leopold I and his horse in matching costumes~

~(more about that later)~

The exhibit begins with an overall view of the Hapsburg Dynasties then segues into their very extensive art collection with examples from Caravaggio, Velásquez, Holbein and on and on. Finally the last hall is the one that features the costumes and it showcases examples of court dress, couture, military uniforms, heck, even the horses got into the act! I will cover the fine art towards the end of the post, but being that this IS a costume blog after all, we will begin there.


~Crown Prince Otto alighting from his carriage~

Let’s begin with this painting depicting a young prince alighting from his carriage because it serves as a good reference point for the costumes featured throughout the exhibit; Study the painting closely and you will see each one of those costumes was represented in the exhibit. It’s interesting to see how the Empire, being a mix of different cultures and ethnicities, also displayed this diversity in the clothing. As you view the details of their attire, one can also see elements of the various kingdoms which comprised this multi-cultural nation.

~Cuteness Overlord~

A ceremonial velvet tunic trimmed in ermine with the matching hat and shoes. Up until the early 20th Century most children of a certain socio-economic class were dressed as ‘little adults’. It’s interesting to see the shift begin towards more ‘child appropriate’ attire. This precious costume was worthy of a little prince!
Sadly, little Otto was never to inherit the title of Emperor due to the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian Empire after WW1. But like most of his namesakes he had the talent for making lemonade out lemons and went on reinvent himself in other ways. Otto actually worked for a living as a businessman and writer. He even dabbled in politics by being an early supporter of the EU and served in the European Parliament. Bonus trivia: It was Otto’s son, Karl, who married Heini’s daughter Francesca.

~Hussar Uniform with Pelisse overcoat and Dragoon hat~

Keeping the ‘light’ in Light Calvary. The amount of gold in the bullion stitch embroidery would probably break a horse’s back. But I am assuming this is more of a ceremonial garment than an actual military uniform. Still, the detail and workmanship is lovely and I am sure that the wearer would have looked dashing on his horse. The pelisse over coat is usually worn over the left shoulder and it served to prevent swords cuts during battle. I’m curious as to why the curators of this exhibit chose to not show it worn in this fashion. Perhaps an oversight?

~Court Costume for a member of the Emperor’s Privy Council~

Looking at the hardware on this get-up, I can totally see this serving as an influence for a cosplay step punk costume. Couldn’t you? ‘A League of Extraordinary Austro-Hungarian Gentlemen’ perhaps? Unfortunately, time has faded the color of the brocaded inner tunic. But I would imaging it would have been a rich burgundy red just like the one shown in the painting.

~Footman’s everyday work uniform, yes really!~

This footman’s liveried uniform is in excellent condition and is exactly as represented in the painting. You can see him holding the door open as our little prince alights from the carriage.There was no description of the fabric but I am assuming that it is some type of wool melton and I am more than willing to assume that underneath the fancy braided livery embellishment is there is a dolman sleeve. I say this because the majority of the men’s costume feature a dolman sleeve as opposed to a traditional set in sleeve that was seen in other European court costumes. A dolman sleeve is actually of Turkish origin, and being that Austria-Hungary and the Ottoman Turks had a long history together (not always nice), it serves to prove how their clothing reflected the many cultures under their rule.

~‘Sissi’s’ ball gown designed by Charles Frederick Worth~

Seeing this elegant ball gown brought many bittersweet emotions because of the tragic legacy of its wearer. Empress Elisabeth of Austria also known as ‘Sissi’ can only be described as the 19th centuries answer to Princess Diana. Sissi was a free spirited and progressive thinker who wrote poetry and believed in the benefits of  diet and exercise. At a time when women were constricted by their corsets, Sissi believed that one maintained their figure through proper diet and calisthenics. So much so that she had a special gymnasium built at the Hofburg palace where she would work out daily. And one can appreciate the results of these work outs from the tiny waistline of this design by Charles Frederick Worth. Like Diana, she chafed under the stifling formality of the Austro-Hungarian court which caused her to suffer from bouts of depression and bulimia. Like Diana she was interested in couture like those of the aforementioned designer. And like Diana, she died a tragic and unnecessary death, having been assassinated during a visit to Switzerland by an anarchist who confused her for someone else!

~Ball Gown belonging to Princess Kinski~

I have no idea who Princess Kinski was and that was all that the information that the museum offered regarding the gown’s provenance. Googling her name was no help either. But please enjoy this beautiful ball gown of Peau de Soie satin and exquisite bullion stitching. If anyone reading this knows anything about Princess Kinski and her dress, feel free to contact me directly. costumesbyantonia@gmail.com

~Front View of Princess Kinski’s gown~

~Another back view of Princess Kinski’s beautiful gown~

~Even the horses wore costumes~

~It’s Good to be King!~

~The Hapsburg Art Collection~

The Hapsburgs were prolific art collectors and the exhibit did not disappoint. The works ranged from Roman antiquities to renaissance and baroque masters. Here is a sampling of the artworks beginning with the portrait above of Jane Seymour by Holbein. You might ask how a painting that was commissioned by Henry VIII of England wound up in Vienna? The answer is a long and convoluted one having to do with Master Holbein selling his works to the highest bidder. Obviously, the Hapsburgs had deeper pockets than the Tudors.

~Enjoy the rest of the collection!~

~Nymph and Satyr by P.P. Rubens~

~Danae by Titian~

~The Death of Cleopatra by Cagnacci~

~Infanta Maria Teresa by Velázquez~

~Wolfgirl, Artist Unknown~

~The high point of the collection ‘Crown of Thorns’~

~by the Master of dark and light: Caravaggio~

The exhibit has returned to the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna.

For more information visit their website: https://www.khm.at/en/

For more information on how to create your own royal splendor of a costume please visit my website www.costumesbyantonia.com call 832-652-9180 or email costumesbyantonia@gmail.com

 

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Will The Real Passe Partout Please Sit Down?

Will the real Passe Partout please sit down?

A passe partout is a poly synonymic term that has at times been applied to: a character in the Jules Verne novel ‘Around the World in 80 Days’, a layer of matte cardboard inserted into a picture frame and the title of a French TV children’s show. A ‘Passe-Partout’ was also used to define a particular type of Victorian crinoline hoop worn during the 1860’s that has also been described as the ‘The Carriage Collapsible Caged Crinoline’. Let’s stick with the French term, it’s less wordy.

‘Passe Partout’ literally translates as ‘pass through anything’ and that was the purpose of this device; it allowed the wearer to gently squeeze their skirt with their arms, therefore collapsing the crinoline, which allowed them to safely step into a carriage, pass through a narrow doorway or just sit down comfortably without risking a broken neck.


At the beginning of the 19cc, women’s fashion had experienced a token liberation through the ‘Empire’ silhouettes that were made popular as a result of the French Revolution of the previous century. In an effort to purge all social and cultural affectations of the’ ‘Ancienne Regime’ that had been recently decapitated by this political upheaval. The new sensibility was to return to the ‘purist’ style of the Greeks and so ladies dresses began to resemble the diaphanous draped styles of the Greek and Roman statues discovered by Napoleon as he pillaged and plundered his way around Europe and the Middle East.


Unfortunately this ‘natural style was to be short-lived and eventually, as the 19cc progressed, skirts once again began to get ridiculously wider and wider. So much in fact that they posed a risk not only to the wearer but to the public at large. There were several well documented cases of ladies suffering a loss of their lives as a result of them tripping over their hoop skirts in an attempt to board a coach or use the stairs. Ironically, these extra wide hoop skirts were referred to as ‘cage crinolines’ and they definitely lived up to their namesake because they really did confine the movements of the wearer to the point that one careless move could kill them!


Sometime around the mid 1860’s some enterprising individual created a hoop which was rigged in such a way that enabled the wearer to ‘squeeze’ their shirt thereby allowing an ease of movement without endangering their lives. And thus, the ‘Jupon Passe Partout’ came into being.


This concept of the ‘rigged’ undergarment continued to experience popularity throughout the 19cc even as the silhouettes morphed into the ‘bustle’ and ‘tournure’ silhouettes of the late 19 and early 20th century Edwardian fashions.


Thankfully these confining symbols of female oppression began to wane and female silhouettes began to be liberated. Due in part to the Woman’s Suffrage Movement and World War 1 that included more women into the workplace, one began to see the development of the simple casual styles of the ‘Gibson Girl’ and eventually the complete liberation of the Flappers in the 1920’s.

 

One interesting trivia about this era was Coco Chanel, whose suits also liberated women from the confinement of the corset, was also, at the beginning of her career, adopted the styles of a ‘Gibson Girl’.

Coco Chanel, YES Coco Chanel at the beginning of her career, as a ‘Gibson Girl’.
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And the Winners Are!

May I have the Correct Envelope Please?

 

Congratulations to Colleen Atwood Oscar Winner for

Best Achievement in Costume Design

 ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’

 

I must confess that to being a bit disappointed in the award going to Ms Atwood. Don’t misunderstand, I am a big fan of her body of work, just that I was hoping that the awards would have gone to a newcomer instead of someone who has been perennially nominated and won the gold statuette five times. Considering the Best Picture debacle at the end of the ceremony, I am wondering if the tweeting accountant from Price Waterhouse handed the incorrect envelope more than once.

Let’s honor the efforts of the other nominees:

 

Joanna Johnston-Allied * Consolata Boyle-Florence Foster Jenkins

Madeline Fontaine-Jackie * Mary Zophres-La La Land

It was also disappointing that ‘Dr. Strange’ was not nominated in that category. But there’s always next year. Till then I will see you at the movies!

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Costume Drama!

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Costume Drama 2016!

Well who knew? 2016 is almost a memory and the Awards Season is just around the corner. That can only mean that its time for the studios to release their ‘Oscar Worthy’ films and that of course means plenty of Costume Dramas for us to sink our teeth into. Let’s start by reviewing some of the major releases although there are tons more that time or space won’t allow me to cover. That will just have to wait for my annual newsletter ‘And the Winners Are..’ which is usually released right after the nominations.

So let’s begin with:

Magnificent Seven
Magnificent Seven

‘The Magnificent 7’
OK, so how many times are they going to recycle ‘7 Samurai’? Personally I prefer Akiro Kurosawa’s original but anything starring Denzel Washington deserves my attention. So here I would like to address the costumes designed by veteran Sharen Davis. Share already has some western cowboy credits having worked with Tarantino in ‘Django Unchained’, and in ‘Magnificent 7’ she does not disappoint; I liked how her use of muted colors to highlight the gang of seven was much like the samurai costumes in the original, but at the same time giving each character their own individual costuming conceit. For example, the Vincent D’Onofrio character’s almost elizabethan looking vest and Denzel’s black on black ensemble. Sharen Davies received an Oscar nomination for her costumes in ‘Django’, so let’s see if the fates smile down on her this awards season.

The Handmaiden

 

‘The Handmaiden’
WOW! This is on my ‘must see’ list and I wish the film would hurry up and make its way out here. It’s not in general release yet, so I may have to drive out to Austin just to see it. ‘The Handmaiden’ is based on a novel by the same name and the story revolves around the relationship between a wealthy heiress and her personal maid. Ok so the story has been told before but not as it’s interpreted by Director Park Chan-woo. This erotic thriller is set in 1930’s Korea and presents luscious sets and costume combining western and eastern aesthetics. Costume Designer Sang-gyeong Jo creates the most exquisite ‘costume porn’ that I have ever seen since ‘The Cell’. So far, Jo has only collaborated on a few previous project with Park and I hope that this breakthrough movie serves as a stepping stone to bigger and greater things. The Envelope Please!

Dr Strange
Dr Strange

‘Dr. Strange’
So far of all the films presented here, this has to be my personal favorite. Of course not having seen ‘The Handmaiden’, so that may change. In spite of the obnoxiously bad 3D, this movie was fun to watch and featured so many occult allusions that after the movie ended, I had to run home and brush up on my ‘Key of Solomon.’ But the costumes by Alexandra Byrne are what make the movie shine.Dr Strange’s Magical Cape alone is worth the price of admission and should get a nomination for ‘Best Actor in a Supporting Role’. It’ll be the first time an article of clothing would receive that recognition and deservedly so. Bad puns aside, the Magic Cape is a ‘stand alone’ performance. Ms. Byrne is a veteran of the Marvel franchise, having designed costumes for ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’, ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ and ‘Thor’. Good Job!

Fantastic Serafina

‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’
The Harry Potter franchise returns and perennial Oscar nominee/winner Designer Colleen Atwood is in charge of the Costumes once again. Being that this is such a moneymaker for Warner Brothers, Ms. Atwood plays it safe in the wardrobe interpretation but there are some standouts like Seraphina Picquery’s lovely tunic pictured here. There is no doubt in my mind that Colleen Atwood will receive another Oscar nomination but whether she actually gets it is another story. I am keeping my fingers crossed for ‘The Handmaiden’ or ‘Dr. Strange’.

Assassins Creed

‘The Assassins Creed’
Welcome to the Spanish Inquisition! NOT! Finally, the video games make it to the big screen and like they used to say before the ‘Auto de Fe’, you can’t keep a good Borgia down. Costume designer Sammy Sheldon is a bit of a newcomer here, having started her career in showbiz as an actress but shifted her efforts to working behind the camera. I did a quick IMDB search for her and discovered that her first design effort was for ‘V for Vendetta’ which ostensibly makes her the mother of the Guy Fawkes mask! Who’da thunk it? Well, this broad has just earned my total RESPECT! Unfortunately no amount of string pulling with my contacts in the industry was able to get me a preview of ‘Assassins Creed’ so I guess that I will have to stand in line with all of the lesser mortals when this film goes into general release of December 21st.

Jackie

“Jackie”

This film is a parable on a ‘Post Dallas’ Jackie. Natalie Portman rocks the ‘Locust Valley Lockjaw’ accent playing the widowed First Lady trying to put her life in order following the assignation of her husband. First time designer for a major American film is French costume designer Madeline Fontaine who’s previous credits include ‘Amelie’ and ‘ Asterix at the Olympics’ (really). To her credit she did a good job replicating Jackie’s pink suit worn in Dallas, her widow’s weed’s for the Presidential funeral, telling Jackie’s story through her wardrobe. For the record, I would just like to clarify one thing here and now: Contemporary fashion pundits are saying that the pink suit she wore in Dallas was designed by Chanel. That is WRONG! The suit was actually a Chanel knock off designed by American Designer (and FIT professor emeritus, Pauline Trigere).
The actual worn by JKO is now locked away in the National archives where it will stay out of the public eye until the year 2103.

Silence

“Silence”
In this new release from Martin Scorcese, veteran production crew member Dante Ferretti, pulls double duty as both Production Designer AND Costume Designer. This is quite an undertaking for the average mortal. But he has done so in the past for other Scorsese projects such as ‘Kundun’. Looking at the publicity image provided by Paramount Studios, it’s safe to say that only an Italian can manage to make a Jesuit priest look sexy!

Do I smell an Oscar for any of these efforts?

We’ll see when the AMPAS nominations are announced on

January 24, 2017!

Till then, Happy Viewing!

But wait, there’s more!

Give the Gift of Creativity!

Everyday is Cyber Monday at Costumes by Antonia. Until December 31st anyway. Give your loved one (or yourself) the ‘Gift of Creativity’ by downloading a Gift Certificate for a series of 4 or 8 private sewing lessons. Be sure to enter the code ’sewcooltenpercent’ at check out to receive your 10 percent discount.

Please contact me directly at 832-652-9180 or visit our partner site 

To download a Gift Certificate:

http://www.learnhow2sew.com/gift-certificates.html

 

Wishing all of you and yours a very Happy Holiday Season and Peaceful 2017!

With Love!

Antonia

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Sewing Boot Camp Halloween Special Edition!

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The Sewing Boot Camp returns Saturday October 8th

with a VERY Special Halloween Edition

Stuck for new ideas for your Halloween Costume? Do you feel challenged by your current Halloween costume project? Don’t despair! The Sewing Boot Camp Halloween Special Edition is your go to place for all of your costume needs. Bring you projects, your questions and your imagination for a day of fun and creativity.

When: Saturday October 8th 2016 10:00 am to 2:00 pm

Where: Costumes by Antonia Studio in the Oak Forest Neighborhood of Houston

Cost: $55.00 per person advanced registration only via credit card or PayPal.

What was that number again? 832-652-9180

or visit my website:

http://www.learnhow2sew.com/Sewing-Bootcamp-2016-flier.pdf

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Knock it Off!

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Presents!

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Saturday November 5, 2016 10:00 am to 4:00 pm

knock-it-off

In the Fashion Food Chain a “Knock Off” is the duplication of an existing design in a similar fabric. In this workshop you will learn how to create a pattern “knock off” from an existing garment. Do you have a certain article of clothing you love and wish you could have it in more colors? Now you will learn how! This is an all day workshop specifically for sewing enthusiasts who wish to take their skills to a whole other level. Click on the image to learn more! Can’t wait to click? No problem call me directly for information and registration: 832-652-9180. Hope you can join us!

Link not working? No Problem! 

Please click here instead:

http://www.learnhow2sew.com/Knock-It-Off-flier.pdf

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Wait! That’s NOT Purple!

Wait! That’s not Purple!

An example of Yellow Guipure Lace
An example of Yellow Guipure Lace

I was so saddened to hear about the death of Prince. It seems like so many cultural icons are leaving us in such rapid succession that I thought it best to post this before another one bites the dust. News of his passing stirred up a memory from long ago. Back to a time when I made a brief but meaningful contribution to the fashion evolution of the Purple One.
It was 1991, I had recently moved to Los Angeles and was transitioning from a career in Fashion Design to my first love, Costumes Design. I found a job at a now defunct fabric store in West Hollywood called ‘Left Bank Fabrics’, a retailer that sold some of the most beautiful and expensive fabric ever and was patronized by some of the biggest names in Hollywood costume design. It was a great springboard job that helped me to make a lot of connections and gave me hands on learning into the creative process. My boss was a woman named Barbara who was a very interesting person to work for. Her only problem was that she was insane. Sadly it appeared that the entire crew of that establishment had drunk the same psychotropic kool-aid which made for some very tense moments on the job.
One fine day we received a letter from the creative director of Paisley Park Productions in Minnesota. The letter requested some fabric swatches for the development of costumes for their only client, with of course a focus on the color purple. The letter did not name the client and I am guessing the reason for that was that they assumed that we already knew who that client was;
Sadly, the ladies at Left Bank Fabrics did not have a clue who they were dealing with, because that letter from Paisley Park Productions languished on Barbara’s desk for days until one day I took an urgent call from Paisley Park inquiring about the status of the swatch request. This was in the days before internet ordering and transactions of this type were still being done in the old school methods of phone calls and letters. I remember having to explain to Barbara’s assistant that we were dealing with an Oscar winning artist with deep pockets. One who could open a whole new market for them. I think they found it hard to believe that anyone who was that important actually lived outside of Los Angeles.
So Barbara immediately delegated the swatch selection duty to her assistant who promptly passed the buck over to yours truly. A very common practice in that establishment, I might add. So of course I began to diligently cut swatches with a focus on the color purple while grumbling profanities under my breath. Not that I didn’t want to be selecting swatches for a costume that was going to be designed for Prince, but for the fact that I was having to do someone else’s job for a fraction of the salary.
But I digress.
After about an hours time of cutting almost every swatch of purple fabric in that place my eyes were drawn to bolt of lemon yellow Guipure lace fabric. This fabric was so hideously fuddy-duddy that even
Queen Elizabeth would think it was dowdy! It’s only salvation was that it had a paisley motif. So in a totally subversive gesture of subordination, I grabbed my scissors and cut a generous swatch to
send off to Minnesota. As I was labeling and preparing the items for shipping, someone in management noticed the swatch of yellow and barked:
“WAIT! THAT’S NOT PURPLE! Dont send it, they’re not gonna like it”.
Right.
In a sea of purple that yellow stuck out like a sore thumb. I made
the gesture of tossing out the swatch but the minute her back was turned I shoved it back in the
envelope and sealed it shut so that no one would notice this act of rebellion. The package was
henceforth sent off to Paisley Park Productions never to be heard from again.
After about another month of working at the place, I had grown tired of the baloney and politicking.
Having already made enough contacts in the industry, I was able to fly the coop to bigger and better
things. Eventually I heard through the gossip mill that Left Bank Fabrics had gone out of business
and that ‘Barbara’ had left the country stiffing the remaining employees of their final wages.
Way to go.
But wait, the story is not over!
It has a very ‘Happy Ending!’
Later that year I was watching the MTV Music Awards when they announced that Prince was about to perform.
LO and BEHOLD!
He jumped on to the stage wearing a jumpsuit made out of none other than the lemon yellow Guipure lace fabric!
And of course there was a strategic cut out in the buttocks area!
As I always say, if you are going to be exposing your back side, it is only appropriate that it’s done wearing lemon yellow Guipure lace! Only Prince (or his designer) could make something so unfashionable look so fashionable!
So there you have it. My minuscule contribution to Prince’s enormous fashion lexicon.
That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!
To see his performance at those long ago awards show please click on the link below:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kcMJ6l7Y5cs

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Welcome to My Blog of Shameless Self Promotion!

Custom made Fantasies from the Historical to the Hysterical.
Custom made Fantasies from the Historical to the Hysterical©
The Ring Mistress Welcomes you!
The Ring Mistress Welcomes you!

Welcome to my Blog! This is your place for custom made fantasies for Renaissance Fair, Cosplay, Halloween and Corporate Events. Looking for custom made attire for your next event? Please visit my website www.costumesbyantonia.com for more information. Are you a DIY sort of person? No problem! Customized sewing lessons and workshops are available too. For more information on how to Unleash Your Inner Fashionista© visit my other website www.learnhow2sew.com.

Other available services are Historical Costume Research, Product Development and Wardrobe Refurbishing. Please contact me directly by phone (832-652-9180)or email costumesbyantonia@earthlink.net. This email address has a high filter so if you get an automated message, please click to become an allowed sender.

Now a bit about me: My name is Antonia Fuentes and I am an award winning designer, writer and teacher living in Houston, Texas. I am originally from California and I graduated from the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York with a degree in Fashion and Costume Designing. I have traveled around the world working in film, tv, theatre etc etc… This blog is dedicated to all lovers of costume and fashion design and to all of those wishing to Unleash their Inner Fashionista©! I welcome my readers to comment and discuss as long as it is in a positive, respectful manner. Any negative or abusive posts will be deleted to the fullest extent of the law.

Happy Reading!

Custom made and ready made venetian style masks
Custom made and ready made venetian style masks

 

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