when i think back to my childhood, the things that stand out the most are not birthday parties or sports or school...its wandering thorugh malls and admist clothing racks. once, when i was about nine, my sister gave me $100 and i asked my mom to take me to the emporium where i proceeded to choose an assortment of cotton pieces with the most mix-and-match potential to maximize my dollars. i especially remember a pair of paisley print leggings with grey, turquoise, and purple tones that i wore until the knees faded.
and its weird how something is just "turned on" in your brain. my parents were not particulary fashionable people, and i can't think of anything or anyone who influenced me in that direction. and although clothing is material, its wasn't a desire for material possessions or or the status of designer ware. nor was it vanity--i wasn't so much whether i looked beautiful or fancy. the pleasure came from putting something together that was aethetically pleasing. like seeing amazing architecture or being in a room designed in fung shui, fashion is taking color and texture and cultural context and making a wearable expression from it, and i couldn't turn off that awareness if i tried.
it must have been about a year ago that i noticed something. blake and mayan have always had this deep connection--they share all the same interests, you can pretty much bet that if blake is into it mayan will become a fan as well. as she gets older their love of mutual things gets more intense, and its like this "aside" from the normal parent-child relationship, a thread of a common connection that looks more like friendship. its sweet and in the past i have been somewhat envious of their bond. so this thing i saw a year ago surprised me a little bit. it sprung up and suddenly it came to me that i might get to have this connection with another child: isadore. the two of us have always had an easy time getting along, but now a new development in our realtionship emerged: the girl loves fashion.
it took me a while to see this because it started as a love of dress up. not unusual for kids to love to dress up, but she took to dressing up all day, everyday. i began to expand our dress up box...or boxes, with thrift store finds. she would watch a movie and then immediately go to the box and create a look similar to the main character. it never had to be JUST like the character either--she happily worked with what she had, so if the character wore a puffy white shirt and vest, any old white shirt and an indian print vest turned inside out would do.
i will never forget the moment though that i knew isadore had my affection for fashion, the same mindfulness about clothing that i possessed. we were at the dinner table and mayan brought up egypt, and how she would love to go there for a family trip one day. we all agreed and then isadore sucked in her breath and proclaimed "i know exactly what i would wear when we got to egypt!" i just about died. i tried not to have a huge reaction but i looked right to blake with tears welling in my eyes, and his smiling look back told me "she's definitely your daughter!!" i just had to pull her into me then and laugh through my tears. ah, someone who understands!
on her 5th birthday, totally stoked on her new look
this is one of her first creations--using a diaper and a yoga strap, its a corset-style top...and of course with her beloved "sarah" jeans. where did she learn to work the camera like that??
our good friend Halle, who is a designer, came to visit this summer and she let Issy (who lived in her swimsuit pretty much the entire month of august) try on her "warrior" jewelry
its gotten to the point that i actually am inspired by HER. she is just so fresh and her look is aethetically clean, which i love. its not a bunch of randomness, she dresses with purpose. i have been teaching her different names for clothing, like the different types of jackets. she loves this character called carmen san diego who wears a red trench coat, so she's alwasy on the lookout for a red trench. she'll point something out and say "that's kind of like a carmen coat" and i say "thats called a pea coat" and we'll talk about the differences. while a small part of me has always critizied myself for what can seem like frivolous time spent talking about, looking at, shopping for clothing--i mean couldn't my energy be better spend on something more constructive?--but what i know, especially by watching it in isadore, is that you can't turn off a passion, you could stop shopping altogether (i practically have) and stick to jeans and a t-shirt everyday...but you would never stop observing and having a reaction to fashion. i know its like that for anyone's passion: you can ever really turn it off. so i am teaching isadore how to have balance. we don't need oodles of clothes, and we don't have to spend a lot of money on them either; we can't hold up the family looking for the perfect outfit, sometime we just have to be comfortable and move on. and when we do find that great look, we can give one good look in the mirror and pat ourselves on the back, but then lets go out in the world and be good people. not vain, not shallow--those things are not synonamous with fashion.
the latest look: vintage cat-eye glasses, a flowy feminine shirt, the ragged yet beloved "sarah" jeans, and sneakersSCRAP. i knew my friend halle, who is a fashion designer, would be here in portland (she relocated from bend on novemebr 1st!) so we made a date, and isadore was SO excited--her first fashion show, AND it would be for a good cause, and to promote environmental consciousness.
the night of junk to funk: ready to rock it
last night was a blast--we got decked out and stayed up late, and being under those lights and right up against the runway was something neither of us will forget. each creation was inspiring and amazing...and the materials used were incredible! construction cones, tampon wrappers, tyvek mailers, inflatable matresses, coffee filters.....it ended being a great way for isadore to enjoy one of the reasons we moved here: culture, and also for us to bond over our love of all things fashionable. oh, my little fashionista, it was the first night of many, i hope!
left to right: andrea (halle's friend and favorite model), halle my-friend-who-loves-all-thing-fashion, me, and isadore (trying so hard to squeeze in she's making a face)
the outfit i voted for, made from construction site materials including a cone and barrier fencing. that is her real hair wrapped around wires!
me and my girl kickin' it on the runway, discussing the last set