Thursday, November 11, 2010

Style is ageless

Lately, I have been looking at some blogs of women who are older, older than 50, and who have great style. It all started when i found the blog "Advanced Style", which i have a link to on the right. It is amazing! Getting older  myself, I thought this would help me passover into "older" without having a big crisis about it. It did. Especially this woman called Debra Rapoport, whom I have written about on this blog earlier. I had been playing around with the idea of doing an issue #3 of project 50(my zine) on personal or individual style.  I got busy thinking of who i could put in it, and Debora came to mind first. So, I wrote to her and she graciously granted me an interview. I decided I really wanted to put it here, on my blog, so here it is=)

Deb-at age 11, i was wearing a lavender rosary, my grandfathers button down shirt, tie and jacket, black tights, and an annette funicello hairdo.
did you do a lot of dressing up when you were a child?

Debra-OH YES...I think I always dressed up for as long as I can remember. There was a long while when we had limited furniture in our living room because we were always on the verge of buying a house. So Saturdays were often spent with my sister. We would turn on music and dress up in fabrics, old clothes, hats etc and dance and prance around the living room. My mother encouraged it and loved it. We didn't play with dolls much because we had ourselves to entertain us.
I always had an unusual take on what I wanted to wear. I was a bit spoiled so my mother took me to the shops I wanted and she indulged me. I wasn' t over the top, just I could choose what I felt good in. Many things were uncomfortable to me and I wouldn't wear them.
In high school I was voted "best dressed" but also because most unusual. Not the cheer leader, popular type; just the artist type who moved to the suburbs from NYC! What an outcast in the mid 50's. It was fun.
I majored in art and design and a lot of what I did related to the body. My graduate work at UCBerkeley  1969 was FIBROUS RAIMENTS:Textiles Related to the Body. I have always loved taking things and draping them, layering them building on my body. It is part transformation and part self expression stating who I AM. A lot of my work I call A/B/C .....  Assembling/Building/Constructing...this also applies to how I apply clothing to my body.
I attribute a lot of this to my Mom. She had wonderful taste, but also loved the unusual as she was a unique and wonderful woman. My Grandmother was also an influence because she would always allow and encourage us to be creative. She was the most non-judgemental person I know!
So how could you go wrong experimenting with your body.
Our bodies are something we deal with EVERY SINGLE DAY OF OUR LIVES...whether we like them or not. We have to come to terms with them and grow to LOVE them. Our bodies are our God-given gift that gives us the right to be here on this planet!   So let's celebrate it, honor it and embellish it each and every day.
I have always believed in personal style and I have not been devoted to fashion trends. Yes, it is fun to be inspired when there is something terrific out there. But I am not just a consumer  buying the most current thing. Be inventive, re-invent things, do trades/gifting with others.
Most of all have fun. 

Deb- what were some of your earliest inspirations?

Debra-My earliest influences were beautiful objects, textiles and unusual things. I esp. loved ethnic influences way back when I was mid- teens and 20's.  The layering, patterning and multiple textures. I can't really say WHO?   It is more WHAT.

Deb-When you get dressed each day, do you build on a certain garment, accessory or color?

Debra-When I get dressed each day I first think/feel the day... what is the weather and what am I doing?  Then ONE garment may pop into my mind and I begin to build from there. That first choice MIGHT be color because of the mood of the day and what I am doing. I may have the need for INTENSE color or I might want to be SUBTLE to suit my mood.
If I have a particular garment or accessory that I am focusing on or is new, then I might build from that wanting to "show it off" and feel its effect!.....

Deb--Do you ever have "I don't know what to wear" days?

Debra-Rarely...because there is always ONE thing that I am in the mood to put on and may take me a little while to figure out "now, what to I put with this today??" So I go to mood and events of the day and it unfolds. When I open the closet and the choices pop out then I can "FEEL" what i need to do next. It is always fun and moves me into the day. I don't think I could ever wear a uniform because that would "stunt" my mood.  It is the same way I choose my food each day. What mood am I'm in and what do I need in the way of color, texture,form. It IS ALWAYS joyful.

Deb-Last question:who are YOUR style icons, past and present?

Debra-My Style icons are
Katherine Hepburn
Audrey Hepburn
Tilda Swinton
Iris Apfel
Gitte Lee...see Ari's recent post on Advancedstyle of her in Vogue Italia!!!!
Thank you, Debra! xxxx
I am so grateful to have been able to talk to Debra, she is a warm and lovely person! She not only has remarkable unique style, but is an incredible fiber artist who makes so many wearable art pieces...
Two great looks are: This neck piece made out of  shredded newspaper and baby eggplant.

a hat made from tubular knitted copper wire, wide ribbon, wooden sticks, and waxed banana paper painted with acrylic and some vintage silver tinsel ribbon.

Debra is one of my top style icons! You can check her out on the blog Advanced Style, which i have listed on the right. There are many videos there of her as well, just incredibly inspiring! xxx

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