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Blog Posts by Subject: Fashion

Lights, Cameras, Fashion! TeenLIVE with LaQuan Smith

Holding design worn by recording artist CassieOn Tuesday, February 8th, Mulberry Street Library hosted a TeenLive event featuring celebrity designer LaQuan Smith.

The event was an absolute smash! Teens and adults were inspired after hearing LaQuan’s amazing road to success. LaQuan has designed for the who's who's of the industry.  Some of his celebrity clients include Tyra Banks, Lady Gaga,

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The Perfect Time for Knitting

With one of the coldest winters in recent memory upon us what better time to learn the art of knitting? I joined some of the ladies of the Ottendorfer Branch knitting circle on one blustery cold Saturday afternoon to chat.

Who here has been knitting the longest?

Louise: I have. I started when I was eight.

Have you ever taught others to knit? You seem to help out the group a lot.

Louise: I tried teaching my kids but it didn’t take. Now I have more patience.

Mary this is the first time 

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Strike a Pose: Berg Fashion Library

The Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion, long-considered one of the most indispensible resources for the history of dress, is now online—with a host of other content—through Berg Fashion Library, a resource available at all NYPL locations and from home or school with a library card number.

Berg Fashion Library contains the entire run of the Berg encyclopedia (updated twice a year), sixty fashion 

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Emerging Designers' Knitting Circle: Handmade Crafternoon, Dec 18

Want to meet some of today's emerging knitwear designers and learn about what they do?  Or, would you rather look back in time and browse old knit and crochet magazines and books from the Library's Collections to find vintage patterns?  Either way, you'll be in luck on December 18th, as  Maura Madden (author of Crafternoon) and I host a free day of both old and 

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On Display: Sewing

Are you into reality shows? Maybe not, but what about designing your own clothes or choosing unique pieces of clothing? Then this is a post for you!

The season finale of Project Runway season 8 has come and gone.

Did you have an opportunity to watch the finale? Were you wowed by their collections? What did you think?

Don't get intimidated by the contestants’ collections displayed at Fashion Week, get inspired!


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From archives to center stage: newly processed Theater Division designs and originals

The Harem, 1924In the recent weeks, staff of the Special Formats Processing unit have been hard at work arranging, re-housing, and cataloging a number of collections, consisting of original costume and scene designs, and caricatures from the Library for the Performing Arts Billy Rose Theater Division. You may have seen samples from these stunning, vibrant original works in past exhibitions at the Lincoln 

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A Natalie Chanin-Inspired Booklist.

If you were one of the seventy lovely people who attended our last Handmade Crafternoon (in May—eegads, so long ago!), then you know already what a wonderful time it was.  Natalie Chanin encouraged us all to take up needle and thread and make sustainable fashions entirely by hand from the humblest scraps of soft cotton jersey.  She filled the afternoon with stories, practical advice, and enthusiasm, and Maura and I couldn't have imagined a better way to wind up our spring series.  And of 

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A Picture Is Worth…: Teen Nonfiction in Photographs

Have you got a few minutes? Good, because once you open these books, you’re going to want to keep flipping through.


This brilliantly simple concept comes from a website of the same name:

See two kittens.

Pick the cuter one.

Turn the page to see how other people people voted.


A Time Before Crack

Street photographer Jamel Shabazz takes us 

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At Least 6 Ways Lady Gaga Is Cooler Than You

In 2009, Lady Gaga exploded onto the music scene with her debut album The Fame.

Her 2009 album The Fame Monster, an update of that album featuring the songs "Bad Romance" and "Telephone", made it onto the Stuff for The Teen Age 2010 List.

Suddenly she and her music are everywhere you turn. The radio, TV, award shows, fashion shows, 

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Earth-Friendly Crafting, Then and Now.

If you like to make stuff, chances are that when Earth Day arrives each year "green" handicrafts come to mind.  Perhaps you make new items from materials that others would consider wornout or trash; or maybe you seek out all-natural materials for your crafts.  If crafting of this kind  interests you, you might want to look back in time at how crafters from decades past approached "green" crafting. 

Here are some vintage books from the Library worth browsing both for entertainment and information:

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Clothing Choices, 1941 and Today

There's much being written (Cheap and A Year Without "Made in China" are two recent examples) these days about the ethics behind the quality and quantity of what we buy and consume--including clothing.  So when I came upon this 1941 wardrobe survey in Design for Living, I wanted to share it. 

 Click image for larger view

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Where Is St. Marks? Investigating Place Names in the East Village

It is 8th Street, but from Third Avenue to Avenue A it is called St. Marks Place and is named for St. Mark’s Church in-the-Bowery, which is not even on 8th Street, or St. Marks Place, but at the intersection of 10th Street, Second Avenue, and Stuyvesant Street. The land there has been a site of Christian worship since 1660. The history of St. Marks Place doesn’t go back that far, but a surprising amount of history has happened on these four 

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A Glamorous Fashion Revolution

“The finest clothing made is a person’s skin, but, of course, society demands something more than this.” Mark Twain (1835-1910)

I like to see the end of the nineteenth century as a marvelous revolution in dress. The signs aren’t completely evident. We do have some stiff, high-collared Edwardian conventions to get through. Perhaps I can make an analogy with July. We celebrate Old Glory on the fourth and head off for the beach. New waves are coming and we want to be in position to catch them.

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Original Steampunk

The retro fashion for Steampunk has been well covered by other bloggers. Steampunk extends to more than clothes, and includes novels, films, music, and accessories. A tribute to the age of steam which culminated in sleeker industrial designs by the 1890s, I think of Steampunk as a mix of Sherlock Holmes, narrow-gauge railways, the Wild, Wild West television series, and the lovely lady pictured 

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Fallen Women

Bold hussies would get their comeuppance, predicted the morally offended critics of a society growing too racy for comfort. How dare they talk about a “New Woman,” ready to take part in every aspect of society? Such ideas were on a par with the fashion for progress in all things technological and scientific. Social change had come and left its mark. The outward signs of this, however, were still not apparent to all. Indeed, many considered the 1890s a time of uncertainty.

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Bicycle Breakthrough

A real fashion breakthrough occurs in the late nineteenth century with the notion of specific costumes for sports. As early as 1888, advertisements show models of “bicycle-gowns.” This would lead to the adoption of bloomers and divided, or bifurcated, skirts. Modesty and seemliness were deplored in vain. Why, that pernicious bicycle would even bring about a man and woman riding in tandem! How tame does costume of this era seem today when compared to our lycra and spandex sports outfits. Yet the revolutionary nature of this small first step toward sports 

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At The Beach

What a short stretch of time before bathing can become swimming! The social mores that prevent women from disrobing or showing their bodies will slowly be overcome by the end of the 1880s. Since the Enlightenment, women were permitted to wear flowing, concealing robes if they wanted to take a dip in the sea, or even a spa pool. The concept of a bathing suit was far from what we know today. In the 1880s, a woman might wear a slightly more relaxed form of dress, but dressed she remained. Contrast such clothing with the adoption of a 

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Artistic Endeavor

“I would venture to warn against too great intimacy with artists as it is very seductive and a little dangerous.” Victoria, Queen of Great Britain, 1819-1901

Women attempted to break through barriers in the arts as well. The Royal Academy of Art in London allowed women to sit in on certain art classes. Where once they could have only aspired to decorative arts—and the Victorian era is full of such efforts—women now sought painting, sculpture, and architectural training 

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Time for Reflection

When would the first flowering of feminism become important for women? Sometimes it would be passed from mother to daughter, a generational questioning that quietly put down roots. In other cases, strong individuals emerged, whose devotion to the arts or social causes ignited feminine interest. Despite the frivolous silhouette of the bustle, women were increasingly caring about more than their clothes.

Historic revivals of dress styles, including a vogue for medieval and Renaissance garment details, would culminate in 

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Room To Move/Creative Nonfiction Workshop

Women were moving from crinolines to bustles as the 1870s began. One small revolution of sorts crept into what women wore. Clothing became modified to allow women some greater freedom to participate in sports. The 1870s saw more women taking up tennis, golfing, roller skating, and hiking. Skirts were shortened a little without raising shouts of immorality. Trousers, however, were still beyond the pale.

Garments for basketball, bicycling, and swimming were just a few 

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