verbal croquis

Carnivale sweep #2

Posted in events by verbalcroquis on February 28, 2006

Okay, I’m lame.  I suck, and not in the good way.  Two seconds after I emailed everyone, I get 2 pings telling me I forgot them.  D’oh!

First, Rondi, who writes Begin Each Day As If It Were on Purpose, would throw a party with Pope Julius II, the man who hired Michaelangelo, and Oscar Wilde, among others.  A pope, a heathen, two rival fashion designers and the antiChrist of feminism-turned war heroine, Italian food and Rondi: what’s not to love?  I hope she has room at her house for a catfight.

Second, I can’t believe I forgot The Fashionable Kiffen, considering I even sub to her blog and read it fairly regularly.  (Did I mention I was tired and hungry?)  Her goal was to get a good representation of different eras and styles and I think she picked a great guestlist.  I’d love to have just one hour with Catherine de’Medici.  Okay, a week, to answer all my burning questions.

Thanks for understanding, ladies.  Keep the posts coming!

Carnivale sweep #1

Posted in events by verbalcroquis on February 28, 2006

I was fascinated by people’s picks, especially the overlaps. My post will have to wait for tomorrow, as I’ve been in L.A. the past weekend and am suffering from low energy levels. I mean, read this intro! You fabulous bloggers have been saying so many nice things about my wit and I sound like The Most Boring Person Ever ™ right now. Maybe it’s the rain. Maybe I should quit making excuses and get on with it.

First up, smart and witty Yalie La Dulcinea of Shangri Law toasts some of history’s finest, including her own grandfather, at her dinner party/private interviewing rooms. I hope she can stand the smell of both Elizabeth *and* Victoria in one room together. I don’t think they bathed regularly back then.

Not to play favorites, but my favorite fashion student (how could you help but like her?), the writer behind Final Fashion throws an outdoor party for an interesting mix of mostly smokers, including fellow blogger (who I also admire) Kathleen Fasanella and me! As if my ego wasn’t big enough.

Kim at I Am Pretty NYC would get overhauled from the masters (why didn’t I think of that? darnit.) and go visit Robert Plant back in 1972 (quite frankly, I’d go for Jimmy Page, myself) and have a long chat with Meryl Streep.

Over at Jack & Hill (I write like these are street addresses you could physically visit or something), the blogger puts an interesting spin on the topic and invites 3 people to dress her id, ego and superego. I’d like to see some people write responses to this particular subtopic. Maybe I’ll write one…

The best part of Carnivale is discovering new blogs. Check out The Bling Blog. I really don’t have much of an interest in jewelry, but after reading the post, I have to go sift through her archives. Her guest list is second to how funny her post is.

Brainiac blogger Counterfeit Chic invites fascinating brains like herself to her dinner. Except I don’t think Karl Lagerfeld counts. Fascinating, yes. Brainy? Hrm. Sorry to keep imposing my ideas on what would happen at dinner, but I would love to be there to see if Coco would chew the Kaiser out or not.

Designer Ella at Kiss Me Stace would invite people that has almost nothing in common from each other except for the fashion angle, and I think once the ice is broken, that combination of people would make for some nutters convo (in a good way). I can just picture Coco staring at Tyra’s and Marilyn’s tits in a jealous/condescending fit while Isaac tried to decide whose were better. I’d go to her party for the salmon. Yum.

My girl Henri-V of the Tribunal of Good Taste invites a few great under-rated stars, like Clair McCardell. Come on, you gotta love a girl who would invite Kevyn Aucoin to pluck Frida Kahlo’s unibrow. Love it! I’d sit there, hungry as a horse, just for that bit. (Sorry honey, I guess when we meet up, we won’t be doing dinner. I love me my meat! Who said they’d serve BBQ? Can you tell I haven’t had dinner yet?)

Lesley Scott, EIC of, is a girl after my own heart. Get ’em drunk! Let ’em loose! And document it all, of course. With that particular combo of people, and Francesca Sorrenti behind the camera, those would make some amazing pictures.

Notes: feel free to leave scathing, nasty comments if I forgot to post your entry. I will rectify immediately. I know there are some of you who have lives and haven’t gotten around to posting yet. No worries, I’ll do another sweep later this week. If you’re one of those lazy bums people with lives, please email me at verbalcroquis at gmail dot com by Wednesday morning, Pacific Standard Time. Thanks!

some conversations to drive you mad

Posted in rants by verbalcroquis on February 24, 2006

Over 2 weeks after I send in a PO, I get an email from my vendor, saying I didn’t order up to minimum. I email her. Four hours of no response later, I call her. Leave her a voicemail saying she needed to call me back or reconsider my use for her. I don’t fuck around. This gap in communication is unacceptable to me. If I didn’t order the minimum or if there are sampling surcharges, you need to call me right away so we can clear it up. If you’re going to be late on delivery, you need to call me so I know.

So she calls me back, SCREAMING AT ME that she’s been sick and she just got back to work three days ago and still catching up.

me: I’m sorry you were sick, truly. But are you telling me there was NO ONE in the office to pop me an email requesting clarification on my P.O.?

her: No. Yes. No one took over my workload.

me: And you’re telling me NO ONE in the office bothered to let me know you were out of commission for the past two weeks?

her: Uh, apparently not.

me: So you’ve been back at work for three days and you’re just now calling me? And I fired off an email to you right after you emailed me and you’re saying you never got it?

me thinking: We give you a lot of business. You need to reconsider your tone. Now.

her: I haven’t checked my email today.

me: At all?

her: Look, the minimum is X yards per colorway, take it or leave it. I already told [my boss] that before.

me thinking: Look, if you want to sit around and use personal problems as an excuse for your poor business performance and lack of temper control, I’ll do you one better. About 3 hours after you spoke with her, her sister passed away and telling me that the minimum for this is X yards wasn’t really top priority, you twit.

me out loud: When we spoke on the phone before, you told me something else entirely. Besides, I am the contact person for this P.O., as I’ve always been the contact person for you at this company. I don’t understand why you were talking to her to begin with. I’ll email you my response in a few minutes so we have written confirmation.


what number Carnivale is this?

Posted in events by verbalcroquis on February 22, 2006

I lost track.  Whatever.  According to Manolo‘s schedule, I’m next after I Am Fashion to host. So while I may seem to be posting a bit early, I’ll give out the topic now while I have a moment’s peace.
So the topic is “The Ultimate Dinner Party”.

You are throwing a little dinner party in your apartment featuring fashion glitterati, past or present, dead or alive.  You are only allowed to invite 5 people, so be careful in your selections.  Feel free to include designers, style icons, journalists, models, moguls, intellectuals, you name it.  Make your invite list, please share your reasons why you invited each person.  Remember, every good hostess takes into consideration how their guests will mingle, so tell us about that too.  For brownie points, tell us what they’re wearing, what you’ll wear and what you’ll serve, etc.
Stay tuned here for my post on the round-up of answers.  Have fun, kids!

designer Q&A

Posted in opinions by verbalcroquis on February 21, 2006

This post is to answer questions posed in the comments section of “i need funding”. I felt it warranted a post of its own.

henri-v asks:

“I don’t understand the process behind designers simultaneously, collectively establishing trends anyways — e.g., how did this legging thing come about among so many runway shows in NY? Is it the work of stylists consulting for multiple design houses? Do designers share/copy between one another to create an easily-identified thing for the season? I feel completely clueless as to how these things evolve from idea to a force on the marketplace; I can sometimes trace a reference or quote from a high-profile designer as it filters through subsequent layers of the industry (and 3 years later it reaches Middle America in much diluted version), but the machinery that puts the idea in place is what? where? how? Just Anna W.? Who is really pulling the strings?”

Up until about ten years ago, the political and socio-economic climate of the time either dictated or influenced fashion. We designers are naught but slaves to the sway of the times. Forties’ dress were a result of war era shortages; the New Look springing from post-war boom. The women’s suffrage movement led to uncorseted styles. Visual rebellion comes in many forms after war and a conservative government–see grunge. Notice Marc Jacobs trying to revive grunge towards the end of the second Bush’s term.

The past ten years have been about nostalgia and uncertainty–the turn of the century brings the collective design front at a loss for their own look, their mark. Isaac Mizrahi said in an article a few years ago that nothing is new and as designers all we can hope to do is successfully re-innovate the inventions of the past. Also in the period that lacks a strong trademark look, we are in search of the next big fashion star. This is the reason behind Project Runway. This is the reason why every season there’s a new It girl. Every decade in the last hundred years had a few key designers that personified the decade. In the eighties, everyone wore Alaia. In the nineties, Calvin Klein’s minimalism. The big names in fashion now are yesterday’s big stars–see Prada, Jacobs, Lagerfeld.

One of the major factors that have influenced the cycles of trends in the last ten years is the media. The faster news spreads, the faster everyone wants something new. Two hundred years ago, fashion moved slower, much slower. Trends evolved–they didn’t flipflop like they do now.

To answer your question (in the most roundabout way possible), there are trend cycles already in place. There’s the trickle-down effect, but there’s also the trickle-up effect. Marie Antoinette was famous for her double-panier skirts. How did she come about this look? She saw poor women wearing enourmous breadbaskets on either side of their hips as they took their goods to market. They looked like skirts because they were topped with cloths to keep the bread warm. For centuries, the rich defined themselves with their pale skin, people who stayed out of the sun because they didn’t have to work. Now, all the rich fake’n’bake to get that look that says “all I do is sit around and work on my tan because I don’t have to work”.

Good designers understand trend cycles, watch the news, scour the streets, digest it all and ask themselves “what’s next?”. The fact that a lot of them produce a lot of the same thing is just a sign that that’s next. Now just because a lot of designers decide that that’s what their going to to peddle one season doesn’t necessarily mean it’ll appeal to the buyers or the consumers.

No, designers don’t gather at meetings like some exclusive version of AA. Most are rather tight-lipped about what they’re working on until it’s too late for anyone to copy them without looking like it. You notice I don’t post anything about my actual design work until it’s (very) near completion?

There are many fashion forecasting services that sell books, magazines, CD-roms of their ideas on what’s next, what consumers are going to want next, including color stories, fabric boards and visual concept themes like “Urban Jungle” and whatnot.

Major editors like Misses Anna and Carine do not set the trends. They point out things that are happening over and over again in the show season. The influence they foster is more about the designers they think are important. Miz W adores Prada so she’s going to keep pumping Prada and the trends Prada produces. Prada gets the editorial space, so that trend is pushed into a more prominent place in our minds when thinking “what should I wear from the SS06 collections?” To go back to the Project Runway analogy, so many people were wondering why they left Santino in. Yeah, he made for good TV, but that wasn’t everything. In the first couple of episodes, he did very well. The judges kept putting their faith in him that he would eventually do something amazing again. So if the Kaiser has one bad collection, Vogue will still sell the adspace because they have faith in him.

I hope that answered your questions. If not, pick at me some more and I’ll try again. 🙂 Or you can email me at verbalcroquis at gmail dot com.

i need funding

Posted in my work,personal by verbalcroquis on February 18, 2006

How timely that this week’s Carnivale topic (hosted by the girls over at I Am Fashion) is how you would spend $10million. Gah! We all know what I’d do with that money! Start a fashion empire, of course!

This has been a very very bad week for me. Basically, what’s happening is that I continue to work my day job while I work on design projects of my own at home. Being the ambitious sort, I also bring my work home, doodling, scribbling, making lists, planning and so forth. I try to blog as often as I can manage because it’s important to me to know what’s going on in the fashion news and in the blogosphere, stay current. I think that there’s an audience out there who wants to know what fashion is like for the average(?) designer and I try to write things in that perspective. I cherish the opportunity to connect and network with the fashion community in any way possible. I also try to have a life beyond the work, because the last time I worked 90+ hours a week, I ended up in a hospital bed, with a tiny wrinkly Korean doctor hovering over me asking “do you know how to relax?”.

This leaves me little time or energy to work on my own projects. My most productive hours are 9-4 during the day (which are work hours and then some) and 11-3 at night (which is not compatible to having a day job). But I still sketch. Why? Because I love it. I can’t help it. This is me. That’s not the problem. The problem is I never have time to complete these things in a presentable format before the next round of shows.

When I design, I try to design half on trend and half more avant-garde, looking ahead, trying to be a leader, a forecaster. Consistently I’ve been doing this, and my designs work along the collective trends while still being half a season or so ahead, which means by the time the shows come out, my work will be obsolete by the time I illustrate everything. It will look like I copied the essence of the shows. Being a copier is not an option for me. So I move on to the next collection.

So here’s the routine: I design for season X at work for work, while I design for that season at home for my own designs. Months later, with an unfinished project, I scope out the shows. Feeling happy that I’m on track, I move on. This time was different. This time I felt frustrated beyond belief, miserable. Why am I not out there too? I kept asking myself.

There’s this empty warehouse across the street from my house. It used to be a Copenhagen furniture store. I’m on the 4th floor and from my desk window, I can see into the big windows. Whenever I’d get frustrated, I’d stare into those windows and I could visualize my own business–the cutting tables, the sewing machines, the corkboards, my office, production staff bustling about with proformas and orders, samplemakers in their smocks, a perky receptionist in the lobby, design staff poring over pantone books, swatches and sketchpads.

The problem is money. As in I don’t have any. Fashion designers don’t get paid that well. I’m still recovering from years of family leeching and student loans. I got scholarships, but my school was really expensive. My senior thesis evening gown cost $3000 alone.February 15, 2006. That was the day I decided I was ready. Ready to do my own thing. I’ve waited, working in the industry, learning learning learning. I have design experience, I have both overseas and domestic production experience. I know fabrics (especially silks and leathers), I can illustrate better than most people I know. I know how tradeshows work. I have a business plan. I’m ready now. Someone give me some money, dammit!

Posted in people i know,recommendations by verbalcroquis on February 14, 2006

We interrupt this program with a breaking news bulletin.


Go check out What it does is keep track of conversations on blogs. When you leave a comment on a blog, do you keep checking back to see if anyone responded to what you said? Annoying! All you have to do is drag and drop the bookmarklet to your bookmarks menu. This will create a new bookmark. To tract new comments on a blog post, click on that bookmark and co.mments will do the rest. You can view all new comments on your homepage. When you don’t want to read the thread anymore, just delete the thread on your homepage. Done. Easy. Simple.

How does this differ from just subbing to a comments feed? Co.mments is for individual posts only. Maybe you just don’t read that blog that often, but you want to see how people respond to just that one post.

Have I mentioned my boyfriend is a genius? If you have any questions, go bug him on his blog. If he’s patient enough to live with me, he’ll be patient enough to answer any of your questions.

carnivale de couture #4

Posted in events,fashion shows,opinions by verbalcroquis on February 12, 2006

The best thing about the Carnivale is finding out about new blogs! So the host this week is i am pretty nyc’s Kim Weinstein. Miz Kim blogs about fashion, but mainly about beauty and make-up. She recently did a show and the girls look lovely! No high concept deathbed crap that was all over the catwalks this season–just pretty pretty girls. Nice.Without further ado, the question is:

What was your most/least favorite part/garment/party/celebrity sighting of The Week and, as a result, are you looking forward to the upcoming season with anticipation or trepidation?

My favorites:

  • Lots of black. Love black. Slimming, sexy, black is the new black. *snort* Sorry, I couldn’t resist.
  • The fact that 2006 really isn’t about the new minimalism. I was pretty sure 2006 would be more about dressing more womanly, tailored, restrained and sophisticated instead and it’s nice to be right. Okay, now I’m being dumb and smug. Sue me. ;P
  • The blogosphere! I looooove clicking through all the blogs and reading what y’all think. As a designer, I’m much more interested in what consumers (especially consumers with an avid interest in high fashion but wear all across the price board, like a lot of the bloggers) have to say than what the media has to say. The best thing about blogging is there are no politics involved; people really say what they think. Honest opinions on the direction of fashion is invaluable to me, so if you’re a fellow fashion blogger, thanks!

My least favorites:

  • Too much black and neutrals. It’s wonderful and all, but if I have to resort to clicking through a Jeremy Scott collection just so my eyes can adjust to looking in RGB again, it gets me cranky.
  • Too many conceptual designs. This is not creativity. This is wannabe-art. It’s not even wearable art because it lacks the wearable part. Dear fellow designers, please remember that women want to look good and that is our umbrella goal. Having a few high-concept pieces that are truly avant-garde is great. I encourage it, but quite frankly, I admire the designers who are able to create high-concept dresses that are still wearable. Not wearable to the office, per se, but still wearable. Ugly is not wearable. When the bulk of your collection is more concept than product, I wonder if you’re in the right industry. Key word here is “industry”. We make stuff for other people to *use*. Thank you.
  • The lack of brides. Where are the finale brides? They used to be my favorite part of the shows.
  • A lot of collections are starting to resemble each other. A united fashion front or a bunch or copyists? You tell me.
I always look forward to the next round of shows, because even if the general direction of fashion is not going where I’d like it go, there’s lots to be learned about why fashion is headed where it’s headed. It’s never boring and that’s why I stay, I guess, despite the craziness. An ex used to always say to me, “Good or bad, as long as it’s interesting.”


Posted in events,personal,the day job by verbalcroquis on February 9, 2006

is not a good day.

I never blog while at work, but I just can’t focus on anything right now.

One of the three heads of the company I work for just passed away last night.  We’ve been expecting it for a while now.  Cancer.  Off and on for three years now. 

We will be closing tomorrow.  Everyone at the office has been making phone calls to let people know and to give them info on the services.

Everyone at the office is listless, sluggish, jittery.  The air is weird.  I didn’t work with this person at all.  I was originally hired to be her assistant, actually, but ended up running that department because she fell ill (again) right after I was hired.  (I still run that department as part of my promotion.) 

I can’t really put my finger on what mood I’m in right now but I guess it doesn’t matter.  My boss is heartbroken (the three people who run the company are two sisters and their mother; my boss is the younger daughter) and that’s what matters.  My job now is to take care of as much as I can so she doesn’t have to worry too much about what’s happening at the office.


Rest in peace.  I’m glad you’re finally free from your pain.

the worst thing about fashion week

Posted in fashion shows,rants by verbalcroquis on February 8, 2006

So, you’re checking out the shows on the web, you click on a designer’s name, you watch the slideshow, and at the end of it, all you can think is, “I’d kill to have the last 5 minutes of my life back.”


Next Page »