fashion design inspiration

I’m digging the unlikely and brilliant cross pollination of themes in the print on this Fall 2013 Quicksilver jacket with a vintage feel seen at the SIA show last month. Gondolas, pheasant and elk – who woulda thunk?

Click to see  Vintage Camper Fabric


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Si Leong Chan, a London College of Fashion student,  has created a series of  unusual menswear jackets surrounding the theme of “Hug Me”.

In Chan’s words, the collection “makes use of hand movement especially the hug to express the (dis)connection between people to people. “Hands” are the key point of the collection and a very figurative object to express this abstract idea.”

I particularly like this jacket’s group hug humor. Its intricate construction is worth admiring too. To see more of Chan’s Final Major Project for Fall 2012  including beautiful concept sketches and the fashion show click here.

Photography: HILL&AUBREY Model:Tom Nelson

To see more fashion inspiration click here.


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Dutch apparel designer Maartje Hoogland has come up with a cycling themed collection she calls “Valsplat”. (I can’t figure out how it translates into English so if anyone does, would you share it here?)

Hoogland’s collection was inspired by the colors of the rainbow jersey, features found on cycling jerseys and the “whole circus” surrounding bike racing.

Her knit dresses are really great, but I feel her cut and sew pieces need a bit more polish and attention to fit. Overall I love the way she’s translated the World Championship rainbow stripes into non-cycling fashion. For more about Maartje Hoogland click here.

More cycling inspired fashion here and here.

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Kathleen from Fashion Incubator blog pointed me to an article that a meteorologist friend of hers posted on her Bad Mom, Good Mom blog about the global environmental impact of raising cashmere goats to feed the western world’s insatiable desire for garments made from their luxurious fiber.

Little did I realize that the soft and lovely cashmere sweaters in my closet were a cog in the wheel of global warming. Her post has stuck with me for many months and I feel compelled to share it with you as winter sets in and holiday shopping begins. Sadly it all really makes sense.

photo: © Ellen Warner (

In her post titled “The Planetary Cost of Cashmere”, which I strongly urge you to check out along with all the links attached to it, Bad Mom, Good Mom writes,

“The global dust belt has not received as much press as the global fashion weeks so you might not be familiar with this story. Occasionally, dust can be injected into the jet stream, a fast-moving river of air that circles the globe. Asian dust ends up in north America, American dust ends up in Europe, European dust ends up in Asia and so on.

The Sahara desert used to be THE major source for dust, but there are other smaller seasonal sources, such as glaciers grinding rocks in Alaska. The amount of dust is rising, and global dust season is lengthening due to both growth in dust sources (industrialization and desertification) and lengthening of local dust seasons.

In recent years, Mongolia has become a major source of dust. The Gobi desert is spreading up into the Mongolia Steppes and the goats did it. Or rather, we did it, with our collective lust for cashmere.”

Photo: The Green Backpack

So what do the goats have to do with it? Here’s what The New York Times article “Pastoralism Unraveling in Mongolia” says

“Sukhtseren Sharav has a herd of 150 goats and 100 sheep, and as they chew their way through everything else, and the sharilj spreads, he must shepherd them ever higher into the mountains to find fresh grazing land.

The lack of foraging terrain is not Mr. Sharav’s only worry. The price for cashmere, the wool made from the fleece of his goats, has plunged 50 percent from last year. The price of flour, his most essential food staple, has more doubled.

These are hard times for Mongolia’s cashmere industry, which provides jobs and income for a third of the country’s population of 2.6 million and supplies about 20 percent of the world’s market for the fluffy, feather-light fiber, prized for its warmth, delicate feel and long wear.

To compensate for low prices, herders have been increasing supply by breeding more goats — a classic vicious circle. Mongolia’s goat population is now approaching 20 million, the highest ever recorded.

Environmentalists and social scientists say this is destroying biodiversity and pastureland, and undermining herding livelihoods. But goats are hardier than other livestock, breed faster and can survive on sparser resources: so, the more the land is degraded, the more herders are driven to switch from cows, camels or other less destructive herds — another vicious circle.”

This is a tragedy for the herders with global consequences. Aerosols are a strong feedback to the global radiative budget. In plain English, this means that dust traps heat. This can have both local and global consequences as the trapped heat changes the global air circulation, impacting storm patterns, heat waves, etc.

With all this knowledge I feel guilty about my cozy cashmere collection and realize that I need to take good care of those sweaters since I won’t be buying any more new ones.  Whether you are consumer or manufacturer I urge you to carefully consider the global impact of purchasing or manufacturing cashmere garments.

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I am flattered to be included in an article  in the most recent issue of MPD Vision devoted to Autumn 13/Winter 14 trends. The feature, titled “Exploring The Extremes” by Amy Trayford, discusses one of fashion’s hottest influences – extreme sports and the great outdoors. It’s safe to say that none of the runway styles cited in the spread have any resemblance to anything one might remotely wear for extreme outdoor endeavors. They’re pure fun and fashion fantasy. As an outdoor industry insider I’ve witnessed a continuous loop over the years;  designers for outdoor brands look to runway fashion for inspiration, and designers for fashion and luxury brands are drawing ideas from us! Each camp’s interpretations yield interesting and diverse results.

MPD Vision is assembled by one of the world’s leading trend forecasting companies, Mudpie. They have been kind enough to allow me to clip the article and share it here. It includes a nice blip about ISIS and a super short interview with me. Enjoy it and let me know your thoughts on this emerging trend!



photos and text via: MDP Vision


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One thing always leads to another when I’m searching for something on the internet. I get side-tracked and discover things I didn’t even know I wanted to know about! Yesterday I found this amazing ski-themed blouse circa 1957-1960 on the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising’s blog. It’s just too great not to share. Here’s a bit of ski fashion history cribbed right from their blog.

“Until the 1950s, ski wear consisted of baggy woolen pants and knitted sweaters, topped with a bulky wool overcoat. Though warm and functional, these clothes did nothing to flatter the figure. This changed in 1952 with the introduction of Bogner ski pants. Created by Maria Bogner, member of a German skiwear producing family, “Bogners” were a form-fitting ski pant made of wool and a newly developed nylon fiber called Helanca. By 1955, Bogners were available in a variety of bright colors. Because they displayed the muscular curves of both male and female skiers, Bogners were credited with introducing sex appeal to skiing. According to Ski magazine, “Marilyn Monroe, Ingrid Bergman and the Shah of Iran wore them. Henry Ford ordered 15 pairs. Overnight, skiing had been transformed into a sexy and very visible sport.”


“Bogners appeared at the perfect moment, just as North Americans were experiencing unprecedented economic prosperity in the wake of World War II. Many individuals with surplus income turned their attention to the serious pursuit of sporting and leisure activities, such as skiing. Widespread interest in skiing was encouraged by simplifications in ski boots, skis and ski lifts, making it easier for a novice to get both up and down the mountain. At the end of the day, skiers could relax at comfortable resort lodgings, which often included spacious rooms for dining and dancing, along with heated outdoor pools. Skiing was now a fashionable activity, no longer limited to those rugged enough to withstand a cold slog through the snow.”

While the Bogner family might have stolen the limelight, there is historical evidence that in Megeve, a collaboration between skiier Emile Allais and the AAllard family brought about the first ski stretch pants. Armand AAllard was a skilled tailor in Megeve and made custom clothing for both on and off the slopes.  Unlike “Bogner” his was a custom not production affair which is why he likely has taken a backseat to the internationaly known ski brand.

The FIDM Museum ski-themed blouse seen here details the daily activity of a stretch pant clad skier on vacation. As you can see from the silk-screened images, actual skiing occupies only a portion of her day. Her brightly colored ski wear is typical of the late 1950s, when retailers offered ski wear in a variety of fashionable colors and patterns. Many urban department stores featured ski boutiques, and in 1959, at least one fashion writer suggested that ski wear would soon be seen both off and on the slopes. Not surprisingly, the slim silhouette of late 1950s ski wear echoed (or vice-versa) the slim pants then seen in casual sportswear.

For more vintage ski fashion click here or follow my “Vintage Winter” boards on Pinterest.

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I’m a sucker for anything with an alpine theme. Naturally I fell in love the Tyrolean twist that Guillaume Henry, designer for French label Carven, infused into his Spring 2012 ready-to-wear and resort collections. It’s modern and sweet and sexy.

A vintage postcard-like scene of alpine chalets against a backdrop of snowy peaks and glaciers adorn this simple dress.

The tee shirt graphic appears to be inspired by folkloric paper cut outs of hearts, flowers and deer.

On closer inspection the print on this dress is a beautiful oversized vintage map.

A nod to traditional lederhosen suspenders complete with decorative hardware similar to that found on leather cowbell collars.

Interestingly placed aforementioned hardware. I might not have placed it on the bust myself!

“Like” Poppy Gall Design Studio on facebook  - click here or follow my boards on Pinterest here.

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Satin, silk, lace and fur echo layers of frost and snow in these dream-like dresses, coats and capes suitable for a New Year’s Eve Snow Ball.

Satin strapless dress, damask coat with satin bow Sassi Hoiford. Sheepskin wrap, Celtic Sheepskin

Bouclé wool and satin bodice dress, bouclé wool coat with floral collar, Bruce Oldfield

Satin jacket with a bustle trimmed with faux fur and matching satin skirt, Angelina Colarusso. Sheepskin wrap, Celtic Sheepskin

Vintage lace paneled dress, vintage lace coat with appliquéd flowers

Satin Spaghetti strap dress, collarless silk coat with train and silk bar at bust, Amanda Wakley. Fur cape, Vlasta Coilu

Images by Carl Bengtsson via Selvedge 

For more New Year’s inspiration click here


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My husband and have been invited to a nighttime wedding, on skis, at the top of a mountain this holiday season. It seems a little dull to don our daily skiwear for such a special occasion. I’ve always love skiing in skirts and I plan to pull something together folkloric or Nordic inspired – and warm.

When I suggested that he wear one of these quilted men’s sport coats, my husband scoffed at the price tags, and the look entirely. However, I think the trend of insulated (down or synthetic) button front jackets with lapels is pretty cool. Designers for these high-end brands most likely see the success of the lightweight down sweaters made by popular outdoor brands and are reinventing them.

Getting your ski bum man into a down sport coat, one turn shy of a parka, is another turn closer to a coat and tie – if that’s where you want him to go.

Jacket | $1,495, Barneys, New York

Nylon Quilted Coat | $1,347, Etro, New York

Z Zegna Outerwear | $1,195,

Moncler Gamme Bleu Jacket | $2,780, Moncler Boutique, New York

Ralph Lauren Black Label Quilted Down Filled Jacket | $995,

Via: Wall Street Journal

To “like” Poppy Gall Design Studio on facebook click here.


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Last weekend’s jaunt to New York City was just the reinvigorating boost I needed for my creative juices. I was delighted to visit the Met’s new galleries devoted to the Art of the Arab Lands, Turkey, Iran and Central Asia, wander through the Christmas market at Union Square, check out the over-the-top skiwear at Paragon Sports, eat fresh cannoli in Little Italy, meander along the High Line and to wear out my soles walking every street in Soho.

It’s been so warm and snowless in Vermont I’ve been having a hard time believing the holiday season is upon us. In New York people were dining in outdoor cafes and the roses were blooming!

However, the Bergdorf Goodman holiday window displays on 5th Avenue nudged me into the spirit. They are absolutely magical and it was worth ogling them shoulder to shoulder with the throngs of onlookers.

This year’s theme is “Carnival of the Animals“. Each mannequin is draped with the most exquisite couture dress and surrounded by multitudes of antique and hand crafted animals. Some are taxidermy intricately hand decorated with beading, sumptuous fabrics, papier-mâché, paint or needlework. I could have spent an hour with my nose pressed to each window and still not have seen every intricate detail!

Built around a vintage collection of mixed-metal birds and jungle animals, “The Brass Menagerie” is set in a stylized tropical forest of metal and mirror and glimmers with leafy foliage of brass and steel.  Within this forest is a fantasy recording studio, with vintage microphones and a brass “primate” jazz combo.  The floor is covered several inches deep with a secret quantity of copper pennies and hundreds of fishing lures hang from the walls and ceiling.  For this window, a special dress was created by Naeem Khan.

“Breaking the Ice” is my favorite window.  It invites viewers to a mid-afternoon arctic garden party whose guests include “couture plush” animals such as polar bears, a moose, an arctic mountain goat, a seal, and a of pair wolves.  All the animals have been upholstered in luxe white textiles and appliquéd with icy crystals, beads, and sequins.  A Baccarat chandelier adds luster.  The party hostess is the focus of attention in her specially designed dress and one-of-a-kind cape, all by J. Mendel.

Completely encrusted with hand-cut Italian mosaic tile, this intensely blue window is truly an undersea fantasy.  A single mannequin, in a seashell dress from the Alexander McQueen Spring 2012 collection, appears to be floating amid a massive collection of mosaic sea creatures. Everything is highly patterned, with swirling textures and oceanic colors. The ocean floor is dotted with a treasure chest worth of jewelry. “Testing the Waters” is quite the aquatic triumph as its production was 10 months in the making and is the most labor-intensive single window display in Bergdorf Goodman history.

“Teacher’s Pets” is an inspiration for book artists as it takes viewers inside a 3-dimensional paper classroom filled with black and white paper animals, including a life-sized paper zebra, ostrich, panda bear, aardvark, white peacock, and more.  As the “students” pose within a cascade of zoological textbooks, the teacher – dressed in a black and white lace Marchesa gown – presides over the paper bestiary.  Noted New York calligrapher, Bernard Maisner, provided hand-lettered labels, in Latin, for all the animals.

In the final window, “Artists and Models,” a diverse collection of wood and leather folk-art animals from all continents gathers together.  The setting is a sculptor’s studio out of a folk tale, with an enormous assemblage of wooden creatures and woodworkers hand tools.  A mannequin, dressed in a mélange of designers, assumes the role of sculptor, assisted by several antique wooden artists’ models and by a quartet of antic leather monkeys.

 Bravo to David Hoey, Senior Director of Visual Presentation at Bergdorf’s and his team who devote an entire year to the production of the holiday windows! This qualifies as a dream job!

Info about the windows from 5th/58th. The full window photos were taken by Ricky Zehavi. I took the detailed shots and wish I’d taken more!

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I’m a huge fan of polka dots, so this fall’s flood of big and small, flashy and subtle polka dots makes me happy. These simple dots can be anything from bright and fun to subtle and sophisticated depending on scale, fabric choice, application and color. Did you know that spotted prints were christened “polka dots” in the 1840s as polka music captivated the world?









Paul Smith

polka dot



polkadot skirt

Stella McCartney


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Greek born and London based designer Mary Katrantzou’s original and inspired Fall collection imagines the woman as a connoisseur enveloped in Fabergé eggs, Meissen porcelain, cloisonné enamel, and Ming vases.

To match the luxurious collectibles that inspired her colorful and explosive prints, Katrantzou borrowed silhouettes from the haute couture wardrobes of their imagined owners; legendary style icons like Diana Vreeland, Babe Paley, and the Duchess of Windsor. Her pieces are a treat for the eye!

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Before I headed into town last week to buy a pair of tall rubber boots I checked out the web to pinpoint what kind of boot I wanted and how much I could expect to pay. In case you haven’t noticed, women’s rubber boots have become a fashion statement. So many fun choices – different heights, colors, prints and prices. (No, I won’t pay $300 for a pair of rubber boots no matter how cute they are!)

I discovered that in my area of Vermont there has been a run on rubber boots in the wake of the flooding caused by Hurricane Irene. “Yup, they’ve been flying off the shelves. People buying them so they can help dig folks out of the flood mud”, is what I heard as I tried one work wear and farm store after another to discover that my size 8 ½ foot is a very popular size. Who could have anticipated selling out of rubber boots? I happily ended up with a utilitarian pair of LaCrosse boots – in a men’s size 6.

Rubber Boots


If you want to don rubber boots and help Vermonter’s dig out click here. Or write a check click here. Thanks!

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I can’t resist showing these fun confections from the Knapp – a new fashion brand from Sofia, Bulgaria designed by ELLE Bulgaria fashion editor Antonia Yordanova. The Knapp Light collection for Summer 2011 features bicycles as design elements! While I can’t see myself riding a century in one of these creations, or even pedaling down to the store to pick up some milk, I applaud Yordanova’s design eye, and of course her bicycle theme! To see more click here.






Via: Adventure Journal

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The Italian luxury brand Missoni, which has a flare for original knitwear design, has collaborated with Brazilian footwear company Havaianas on a collection of flip flops. Now these fun “designer” flips are something I can wrap my mostly-barefoot-outdoor-lifestyle brain around! At $60 they won’t deplete my piggy bank.




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