Tag Archives: designer

Lindy Focus 2013 – Vendor Report

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

Al and Leon, as illustrated by Ryan Calloway

Al and Leon, as illustrated by Ryan Calloway

I’ve waited long enough to post, but I have largely been in denial about Lindy Focus ending – watching the myriad videos posted daily and attending in my local dances with the tidal wave of positive energy remaining and commiserating about the days that we don’t get to dance now that Lindy Focus is over. I’m still on LF sleep schedule, which means I have started this blog post at 2:15 a.m., as if in anticipation of a 3:00 a.m. DJ shift. But I must move on, and I’ve got to get these vendors posted if I’m going to remember anything about them – on with the post!

I’ll start off with this year’s Lindy Focus feature artist, Ryan Calloway, who not only had fabulous jazz dance and jazz music prints available for purchase, but whose artwork was also featured in a limited edition Lindy Focus tee shirt. I particularly love his style and the way in which he depicts the movement in his prints – a feast for the eyes on the walls of any Lindy Hopper home.

A custom bridal piece by Creations by Crawford

A custom bridal piece by Creations by Crawford

Next, we have what I believe to be my most frequent topic on Lindy Shopper, which would be Miss Sharon Crawford and her Creations by Crawford – her prolific event attendance as a vendor is unparalleled in the Southeast and her custom creations a work of art inspired by each wearer who contracts for her creative services. She works during the entire event, often so that a purchaser can wear their custom pieces to the dance THAT NIGHT. Her women’s pieces are stellar, but I think she really shines with menswear and her use of feathers to create custom lapel pieces.

Sharon also vended jewelry pieces from Plain Jane, a local to Asheville designer, and shared a table with Zoe Lechucita, who was also making custom hair pieces during the event, with accents of sequins and jewels.

Glitter taps...so close, yet so far away...

Glitter taps…so close, yet so far away…

The Lindy Focus consignment shop was in full swing, with everything from madras plaid pants to beaded gowns to glitter tap shoes. I was dying for a pair of the glitter tap shoes, but the sizes were just out of reach. I made a little money consigning a few things, which is great, and I overheard several people on New Year’s Eve saying that they had purchased their dress at the consignment shop. What a great idea to recycle dancer clothing and, as far as I know, this is unique to Lindy Focus.

A Forties Forward display!

A Forties Forward display!

Forties Forward, another consistent southeast swing event vendor, was set up with their glorious blooms and has also added some feathered pieces to the lineup. Bejeweled centers decked the blossoms, as well as the feathers – the overall feeling from the booth was opulence. Right on, ladies!

Nestled in the consignment shop I saw a small display for JitterButtons, featuring a selection of 8 buttons with clever, swing dance-related designs and slogans, such as “Friends Don’t Let Friends Clap on One” and an anti-pretzel sign. You can purchase one of their stock buttons from their website and you can also order custom buttons for your own event, as well!

Seriously...about the clapping...

Seriously…about the clapping…

Last, but certainly not least, Nicole Lenzen dazzled us with another fashion show during one of the camp meetings, highlighting her new collection and using instructors to expertly show off the movement of her garments. I’m sad that I didn’t get a chance to look at the garments more closely due to schedule constraints, but I am sure, after speaking with her last year, that the fabrics are of excellent quality and texture, and there were some repeat details that I loved, such as the lovely belt on the Mariposa dress (now in more colors!). Take a look at the entire fashion show and collection on the Lindy Focus YouTube channel:

A selection of Ryan Calloway's jazz prints

A selection of Ryan Calloway’s jazz prints

Plain Jane's baubles

Plain Jane’s baubles

Zoe hard at work on a feathered piece.

Zoe hard at work on a feathered piece.

Sharon shows off a custom hair piece.

Sharon shows off a custom hair piece.

An array of men's footwear at the Lindy Focus consignment shop.

An array of men’s footwear at the Lindy Focus consignment shop.

The consignment shop comprised most of the vendor area square footage.

The consignment shop comprised most of the vendor area square footage.

All the feathers!  This lovely piece is by Forties Forward.

All the feathers! This lovely piece is by Forties Forward.

Nicole Lenzen's display served as a teaser for the fashion show earlier in the week.

Nicole Lenzen’s display served as a teaser for the fashion show earlier in the week.

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Trumpet Skirts Triumphant! Meet [ From ] Chloe Hong

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

At last...my love has come along...my lonely days are over...and life is like a song...at last!

At last…my love has come along…my lonely days are over…and life is like a song…at last!

After what seemed like an exercise in futility, my trumpet skirt crusade has returned a winner that I hope will take off like gangbusters. Like every good crusade there’s a story and mine begins with a Facebook message from Valerie Salstrom.

Val messaged me in May that she had a great lead on trumpet skirts in Korea, a tailor named Chloe Hong who had a shop called From. She raved about the quality and construction of the skirt and, knowing Val’s extensive knowledge of vintage clothing and construction, I started to get excited. “They have a little more weight and a little more “slip” to them. They move like a dream.” I was sold.

I messaged Chloe about the skirts and after some discussion of sizing I ordered one in brown and one in black. She was so helpful and gracious – she also made arrangements to have a Korean dancer, Jade, bring the skirts to ILHC for me so that I could save on shipping. It was well worth the wait and after I picked them up from Jade (thank you for transporting them!) I ran back up to my hotel room to try them on and twirl in front of the mirror.

Chloe Hong's store in Korea

Chloe Hong’s store in Korea

This is a superior skirt for several reasons:

- The fabric has this wonderful weight to it – it’s 100% polyester, but it almost feels like a soft faille, with the drape of a crepe silk.

- The fabric has a slight stretch, which helps with fit and movement.

- The waistband is substantial enough to stay put and not roll over.

- The cut is superb – flattering to the tummy, hips, and bum, it starts to go out from the waist from the waistband, rather than hugging the hips too tightly and then flaring out (which can create several fit issues and give the illusion of gut or hip bumps). It just lays so nicely!

Oh, the lovely drape!

Oh, the lovely drape!

- The skirt is lined in a way that creates a mini-slip at the top of the skirt, from the waist down to just below your bum. The lining also helps in terms of smoothing things out (like your top that’s tucked in or the elastic line from the top of your bloomers) and helps with the movement of the skirt, so that it doesn’t catch on whatever you have underneath the skirt. Because the lining/slip hits just below your bum, you still get all the benefit of showing off your legs during the twirl, without having to worry as much about what is covering your bum (or what may have shifted).

- Machine washable!

- Travels well – it came from Korea to ILHC to North Carolina, I hung it up for two days, then wore it to work without having to iron it.

The price is a mere $52 for what I would consider to be the best trumpet skirt I have put on my body. If Chloe does not carry your size, a custom skirt would cost $80, which is really not terrible considering the quality of these skirts. Colors available appear to be black, brown, steel gray, mauve, and red.

Giselle Anguizola in the shorter version of the "flare skirt"

Giselle Anguizola in the shorter version of the “flare skirt”

Chloe also has some other great skirts for dancing, including a shorter version of the trumpet skirt and a pencil skirt with a front slit that Laura Keat has been sporting (and rocking out with her dancing) for competitions. Chloe also does custom work, which Val has attested is simply beautiful.

Chloe’s website is set to launch very soon, so you may wait until that occurs, or you may want to go through the Facebook page for her shop, From. I was able to order by waist size – measurements and sizes are available on Facebook. Also, Valerie says that Chloe will be at All Balboa Weekend in 2014 and that she is bringing a bunch of ready made skirts with her from Korea! Looking forward the website launch and seeing more from Chloe Hong. :)

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Gatsby Collections

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

From the Brooks Brothers Great Gatsby Collection

From the Brooks Brothers Great Gatsby Collection

With the pomp and fanfare given to Baz Luhrmann’s upcoming film rendition of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby,” comes the opportunity for various merchants to cash in *ahem* I mean present collections of Gatsby era inspired clothing, rugs, shoes, flooring, you name it. It’s one of those things that sort of elicits a collective groan and, at the same time, a hope – a groan for the fad, the hyped up eBay prices for 20’s clothing, the assumption that you are part of the fad even though you’ve been an Art Deco lover for years; a hope that some really beautiful items will come of this that may not be plentiful in their vintage form.

I’d love to have a complete list of all the collections for 2013 that have been inspired by the movie – please feel free to submit your own! In the interim, here’s what I’ve been able to dig up:

(I’ll have to make an exception to my maximum price rule with this post, but Gatsby is all about luxury and what we can’t have, no?)

Brooks Brothers – there are several threads on Facebook criticizing the collection for its modern cuts, uniform hat sizing, and other elements that would either not be period appropriate or luxurious enough to warrant the cost. Yet, with a retailer as large and established as Brooks Brothers, one can always hope for knockoffs.

I would wear this EVERY DAY if I owned it.

I would wear this EVERY DAY if I owned it.

Tiffany & Co. – some simply stunning pieces with, what I would consider, an appropriate mix of modern and Art Deco elements. Anyone with an extra $200,000 in their bank account can purchase one of the gorgeous headpieces… *drool*

Armstrong Hardwood Floors – I’m no wood floor expert, so I’m looking for a tie-in to the Gatsby era…perhaps inspired by hardwood flooring stains of the 1920’s? I do know that Tudor architecture was popular during the 1920’s, so their Oak – Tudor Brown makes sense. The rest, I’m not sure…

Rhapsody Rug by Catherine Martin

Rhapsody Rug by Catherine Martin

Sue Wong – designer Sue Wong debuted her Fall 2013 collection inspired by the Great Gatsby. The collection is not on her website and I’m having a hard time finding photos of the actual collection, rather than the celebrity attendees. From the scant photos, it looks to be a modern interpretation.

Catherine Martin Rugs – this is probably my favorite, these Art Deco rugs are just divine, pieces of art themselves.

We can keep going…I’m happy to add to the list, if you have others!

Lindy Focus 2012 Vendors

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

Wide view of the Lindy Focus consignment shop

Wide view of the Lindy Focus consignment shop

This was a bit of an interesting year for vendors at Lindy Focus, in that few of the usual suspects were present, so the vending was made up mostly of DIY lindy hoppers, including endeavors by Lindy Focus itself. Lindy Focus offered a consignment shop for those who had danceable clothes and shoes to get rid of and for those who needed/wanted such items. I did pretty well in the selling department, so some of you may have left Lindy Focus with a Lindy Shopper vintage garment. :)

Noticeably absent was Dancestore and their signature Aris Allen shoes, a serious business faux pas, in my opinion – 900+ attendees, many of which (including me) were looking to buy or replace dance shoes. To make up for the lack of being able to replace dancers’ worn out shoes, Lindy Focus offered a shoe sueding and repair service.

One of Sharon's creations

One of Sharon’s creations

Marathon dance event vendor Sharon Crawford of Creations by Crawford was on hand creating custom hair pieces, boutonnieres, and other elegant accoutrement for ladies and gents at her table, positioned next to the ballroom off the registration lobby. Sharon’s table was always open and always had a bevy of guests – from hairdressers to nappers to chatters, all were welcome to hang out. I don’t know how she got any work done, but I’d wager to say she’s the longest working vendor at Lindy Focus (as evidenced by the sunrise/survivors photo on the last day, she was probably working the whole time).

Forties Forward - love these gals!

Forties Forward – love these gals!

Forties Forward, one of my favorite hair flower vendors, was right across the hallway from Sharon, making sure that the ladies of Lindy Focus had all the hair flowers they needed. With the customary gussying up for New Year’s Eve, I’m sure they did well. Added inventory this year: false eyelashes. Va-va-voom!

Also a regular, Mike Thibault’s jazz and lindy hop prints are always a welcome sight. I love his selection, especially the new-ish one of the interior of the Savoy ballroom packed to the gills with dancers. If you haven’t seen what he has, definitely check out his website – Vintage Jazz Art – and pick up something inspiring to put on your wall.

Next to Mike’s table was a curious little table of notecards with photograph images of dancers with a sign saying “Dance Cards by DJ Stone.” Perhaps a few campers picked one up to send a note saying “Wish you were here?”

The designer and her models - photograph courtesy of Jessica Keener Photography

The designer and her models – photograph courtesy of Jessica Keener Photography

Finally, New York designer Nicole Lenzen not only had a lovely rack of dresses at her vendor table, she debuted her first collection of dresses and rompers for dancers at Lindy Focus in a glorious fashion show during one of the camp meetings, featuring some of your favorite female instructors as models for her designs. The collection was movement-conscious, high in twirl factor, and rich in textiles. The designer loves to work with fine fabrics, produced ethically and created into garments in New York’s garment district. Nicole hopes to have her website ready to take orders soon – she does custom garments as well as those featured in her collection. Nicole is a delight and I look forward to seeing her business grow and flourish. Check out the fashion show in the video below for a full view of the collection and also Jessica Keener’s lovely photographs.

I think a fashion show and debut collection must be a swing dance event first, if not a Lindy Focus first, no? Clearly we are heading in the right direction.

I’ll close by saying I really enjoyed being on a panel discussing blogging and social media with Rebecca Brightly, Michael Seguin, and Jerry Almonte. Everyone had thoughtful commentary and different insights based on our different experiences. Special thanks to Abigail Browning for inviting us to participate and giving us questions so that we actually had something to say. :)

Mike Thibault's wonderful Vintage Jazz Art prints

Mike Thibault’s wonderful Vintage Jazz Art prints

Dance cards by DJ Stone

Dance cards by DJ Stone

I couldn't resist posting the beading detail from one of Nicole's dresses.  You should go look at the fashion show, but you won't be able to see all the wonderful details in her dresses!

I couldn’t resist posting the beading detail from one of Nicole’s dresses. You should go look at the fashion show, but you won’t be able to see all the wonderful details in her dresses!

Bernie Dexter Clothing

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

If you’ve been to just about any website that sells rockabilly clothing, you’ve probably seen Bernie Dexter, a lovely model who looks like Bettie Page reincarnated and makes every dress she models look flawless. I was trolling Mod Cloth the other day (who isn’t? every day? ;) ) and happened upon a wonderful green and white dress with a distinctly 1940’s shape, which happened to be designed by Bernie Dexter. Until then I hadn’t put a face with a name, but I was delighted to discover that Ms. Dexter has a whole line of 1940’s and 1950’s-inspired clothing, in addition to her illustrious modeling career. Unfortunately, you can’t order her clothing directly from her website, but through a number of other online and brick-and-mortar retailers (including stores based in the USA, Germany, Australia, France, Canada, England, and Austria) you can piece together the wonderful garments from her collection. Here are my favorites:

Wizard of Awesome dress available on ModCloth.com - poppies, anyone?

Landscape dress available at UniqueVintage.com

High waisted pencil skirt, available at UniqueVintage.com

Oh, the gingham! There's a dress, a romper, and a bikini in this fabric, available at UniqueVintage.com

Sweetheart neckline dress, available at UniqueVintage.com

Sailor shorts, available at bearflagrepublic.com

Target GO! International Designer Collective for Spring 2011

Alice Temperley dress, $34.99

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

I have followed Target’s GO! Designer series over the years, intrigued at the concept of bringing high end designer goods to the masses. While obviously there are some compromises in fabric choice and construction, overall the series has been welcomed with open arms by me and countless others who show up at Target on the day a new designer’s collection is released. This latest collection, to be released online and in stores this Sunday, March 13, 2011, is not tied to one designer, but is a celebration of many of the designers, featuring popular dresses from the individual collections. The collective also marks 5 years of designer collaborations with Target.

This sort of thing is brilliant for the fashion conscious dancer, who needs to save as much money as possible to go to as many events as possible. Also, the fabric choices, while not high end, are much more practical for dancers, so you can feel OK about getting the dresses sweaty and then throwing them in the washing machine.

Here are some of my favorites, but no links, as the collection isn’t out until Sunday:

Tucker dress, $34.99

Tracy Feith dress, $39.99

Richard Chai dress, $39.99

Erin Fetherston chiffon dress, $39.99

Thakoon dress, $39.99

Zac Posen dress, $39.99

Proenza Schouler dress, $39.99

Luella Bartley dres, $39.99

Libertine crepe dress, $42.99

Libertine dress, $29.99 - I used to have this in off-white - it's the perfect combo of cotton sundress and flapper, with a slight drop waist, but enough room in the hips that it's not confining