Monday, January 4, 2010

10 Thangs for January

Happy New Year everyone!!!

So glad to have the 00’s behind me.  I am feeling super inspired as we begin the new decade and feel it is going to be a decade of much change.  I am envisioning a compassion revolution and a softening of America’s grip on greed and consumption.  I know that many designer friends are feeling much more adventurous about following one’s own path and not trying to fit themselves into a box that no longer makes sense.  We are all connected and it is getting harder and harder to ignore the struggles and hardships that many of our brothers and sisters are experiencing.  We cannot be at peace as a society until everyone is included and cared for.

Work wise, life is good.  We ended a very difficult economic year in a good place, only 4% behind last year.  My “comps” for November and December were up 30% from last year, which is very encouraging.  I want to thank everyone who has supported the brand and promise to keep newness and innovation as my mantra for the year.  I have some exciting things coming up that I will share once they are a bit further along ... but for the mean time, here are some of my favorite thangs for January 2010!


1.   Starsky and Cox – Cosmic Couplings: The Sextrology of Relationships
My wonderful friends and astrological gurus Stella Starsky and Quinn Cox have released their second important book, following their best seller “Sextrology.”  This dynamic and very creative couple merge modern day pop culture with the infinite wisdom of astrology.  Their book, “Cosmic Couplings,” helps couples of all kinds (gay, straight and everything in between) to understand the stars’ influence on their lives and their relationships. 

2. Richard Haines “What I Saw Today” blog
Richard Haines is a supercool fashion illustrator who captures the latest beat of urban fashion in his blog.  He has an impeccable eye for fashion and what is happening right now and has been employed of late by many fashion companies to bring a fresh take to their visual merchandising.  J. Crew is a big fan and has collaborated with Richard on many visual displays and in-store portraits of customers.  I love his sense of proportion and color and his commitment to bringing his vision to his admiring public via his exciting blog.  Here are some images he rendered after seeing my Claiborne by John Bartlett Spring 2010 collection.

3. Claiborne by John Bartlett Final Season
As many of you may know (or not), the Liz Claiborne women’s brand and the men’s Claiborne brand have been licensed exclusively to J.C. Penney, starting Fall 2010.  Sadly, I will no longer be a part of that equation and Spring 2010 will be my final season.  By the end of this month, I will have the final designs in my store.  The collection I did as my swansong is crazy colorful and naughty-nautical.  I am looking forward to other interesting collaborations alongside the continued evolution of my main label John Bartlett.

4. Orlando Diaz-Azcuy
One of the wonderful things about having my own shop is that I get to meet an array of incredibly interesting people visiting from other cities.  One such groovy dude is Orlando Diaz-Azcuy who stopped by the store with his partner, John Capo. Orlando is one of San Fran’s most inspiring interior decorators and his sense of minimal luxury is very refreshing and apropos for January cleansing.  I loved Orlando’s look and his enthusiasm for design.  He has a book out with Rizzoli of his work and it is in its third printing.  Please check out this very inspiring man’s work.

5.   Way Bandy
I received a facebook request to become a fan of Way Bandy, the incredible make-up artist who created the look of the 70’s and early 80’s and who died from AIDS-related complications in 1986.  Bandy worked with Francesco Scavullo and dictated the look of the disco and post-disco era.  He was 45 when he died but left behind an undeniable legacy as the world’s most famous and (in his day) highest paid make-up artist in the world.  He is one of those New York icons that I wish I had met. I am not sure why I am feeling him right now, but I am sensing that his work is going to pop up again on the runways for Fall 2010.

6.   Hand/Eye Magazine
Hand/Eye is my new favorite mag and is an independent, international journal dedicated to the artisan and the dialogues of modern design, commerce, consumerism and social responsibility.  They cover everything from artesian materials, inspiring retailers, global crafts peeps and is the brainchild of Keith Recker.  Check out this inspiring mag.  I can’t really do it justice with mere words.

7.   Daughters of Bilitis
I have been inspired and curious of late by the pre-stonewall “homophile” gay movement that began to take shape in the McCarthy era 1950’s. The DOB (Daughters of Bilitis) was founded in 1955 in San Fran by lovers Phyllis Lyon and Del Martin.  Bilitis was believed to have lived on the isle of Lesbos during the time of Sappho and was adopted as the name of this lesbian social club-turned-political group.  In 1956, they began to publish a monthly magazine called The Ladder which included more art-related items like poetry and fiction alongside psychological studies on homosexuality.  Interestingly, they were quite a conservative bunch and encouraged conformity to the straight mainstream.  They did not endorse female cross dressing or butch dyke-ery.  As the sixties brought a more militant and radical feminist voice to the fore, the DOB struggled to maintain its assimilationist (is that a word?) approach to living as a homosexual.  If I were ever to re-start my women’s collection again, these pioneers would definitely be my muses!

8. Winter Sale at JB                                                                                                  
Following the European world’s lead, I tend to do my sales twice a year, not every week (!) like many retailers out there. We have our Winter Sale going on right now and items are up to 40% off regular price.  I love shopping this time of year and we still have lots of great pieces left, many in extra small and extra large.  Come by most Sundays and I will be there manning the cash register.

9.   The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest by Stieg Larsson
The third in the millennium series, this is the final book from Stieg Larrson who created the incredible fictional character Lisbeth Salanger, the heroine of this Swedish crime series.  I fell in love with Larrson’s first book The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo and read his second installment The Girl Who Played With Fire this summer.  I even made a trip to Stockholm after falling in love with the Swedish crime thriller genre.  If you are looking for a great read, check out Larrson’s work.

10.  Major Nesting
January is, for many people, a difficult month.  The holidays are over and winter is in full swing.  I love January, however.  It is one of my favorite times of the year.  It is the natural time to nest, to cuddle, and to reflect.  Every new year brings an opportunity to grow more into the souls we are representing here on earth (I know, I am a woo-woo!).  I feel only optimism and renewal at this time of year and am loving hanging out in my long johns at home with my hubbie and hairy kids.  Life is good.

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