The Five Elements of Story

Despite it’s lack of words the children’s picture book Journey, published in 2014 and written by Aaron Becker, still has the five elements needed to tell a good story. Given the Best Illustrated Children’s Book Award by New York Times Book Review, it’s one of my favorites, and I’ve read it with quite a few children in my day job as a Special Education Instructional Assistant at Leo Politi Elementary School/LAUSD.

After the library clerk, at Leo Politi, recommended it to me I bought it from for my own personal library. Recently I’ve discovered there are two more books in the series, Quest and Return. Throughout all of my reading sessions, with the book, one of the most amazing things I’ve learned is that without the words the reader has to read the story themselves through the illustrations.

SETTING: The lonely girl’s bedroom in her apartment.

CHARACTERS: A lonely girl’s family: a mother, father, and older sister. The lonely girl’s cat. The soldiers at the castle. The gondoliers and their passengers. An Emperor. A purple bird. The purple bird’s captors. A little boy who later befriends the lonely little girl.

PLOT: The lonely girl desperately wants someone to play with. When she can’t find anyone she takes a red marker and draws a door on her bedroom wall. After she enters the door a magical land awaits. Alone, industrious, armed with her trusty marker then captured by the evil Emperor she learns what it is to be brave, kind, and finally befriended.

CONFLICT: External (The lonely girl’s environment-a large unfriendly city and a busy family. In the magical land it’s a powerful emperor.) Internal (The lonely girl’s loneliness, lack of self-confidence, and fear.)

THEME: Kindness can set you free.

Photo by Pixabay on

Film Critiques for “Jordanne” and “Jimmy On the Run”

For these critiques of the short films “Jordanne” and “Jimmy On the Run” I will discuss how effectively color was used in each project.


For Jordanne the color was used to express the emotions of the protagonist, reflecting her various moods and personality. It was also utilized as a way to add visual intensity to the narration. When the camera was on her she was upbeat (i.e., the archival footage of her as a little girl in a wheelchair with a pink cast, and at the end of the film when she’s talking about tennis) the colors were bright and deeply saturated. In the shots where she was sitting quietly, after revealing a melancholy memory, the hues were softer and the close-ups of her face looked appropriately muted. Color affected the film overall by also showing the passage of time (i.e., external cloud shots, playing tennis, etc.,) and the complexity of life lived as a disabled person.

The conflict in Jordanne was the inner turmoil the character faced after surviving a traumatic amount of school bullying, her insecurities about her flawed body, and the physical challenges that still plagued her despite her many achievements as a tennis champion. Her struggles, displayed in shots of her walking with a stilted gait, lifting and packing her suitcase into the hood of her car, and playing tennis with her father, seemed to consistently be ever-present despite her many accomplishments. Like Sisyphus, she would always have an uphill battle, due to her disability, and have to live with an existence similar to the woman in Langston Hughes’ poem Life Ain’t No Crystal Stair.

Jimmy On the Run

For Jimmy On the Run bright color was used intermittently to show Jimmy’s world-Amsterdam, his subjects both on the street, in his apartment/studio and in fashion layouts-in graphic black and white stills. I really felt that I got the chance to see how color looked through Jimmy’s eyes as a photographer, making his interpretation of the palette quite interesting.

Where a woman’s tattooed back would looking startling to me, if I saw her, the way he shoots her it becomes painterly instead. When the camera captured Jimmy in close-up and medium-wide shots, as he talked and photographed on the street, the color became deeply saturated and bold. Color affected this film by acting as a liaison between Jimmy’s world and the viewer’s, revealing intensity in the detail of a woman wearing a pink outfit atop a bicycle, and a tattooed man standing in from of a dark background.

The archival footage of Jimmy’s parents, and he as a little boy, were distinctly faded with time and matched the narration about his past perfectly. Despite his ambivalence about leaving his little village in China, and immigrating to the Netherlands at 16, the photos he took of it in color and black and white were stunning and made me believe he honed his talent in his hometown.

In Jimmy On the Run the conflict was Jimmy’s hope that his father would finally accept his choice to be a photographer instead of a co-restauranteur. More practical and traditional than photography, according to his father, it became a poignant statement that sadly lingered at the end of the film.

Deborah Turbeville: Fashion Photographer Analysis

Photo by MBARDO on

American photographer, Deborah Turbeville, (July 6, 1932-October 23, 2013) was originally from Stonham, Massachusetts. Later, when the fashion bug hit her, she relocated to New York. Intense, shy, and introspective her talent was subtly wrapped up in a childhood rife with isolation and poignancy.

Educated at Brimmer and May School in the Bay of Boston her love for snow-covered landscapes, illuminated windows, fog, wind, and turbulent seas stayed with her, from this time, and often showed up in her later images. From her start in the fashion industry, she was surrounded by talented people including fashion designer Clare McCardell, whom she worked with as an assistant and fit model. From there she worked for Mademoiselle in the editorial department, then as a fashion editor for Harper’s Bazaar.

Frustrated by her inability to find a photographer who could capture her vision and execute it, she become a photographer herself during the 1960s. After taking a workshop conducted by Richard Avedon and “art director” Marvin Israel, they became her mentors. “If it hadn’t been for the two of them I wouldn’t have taken my photography seriously,” she told Time Magazine. Later she would work with photographer Bill Richardson.

If her childhood helped mold the dramatic side of her style her “outside maverick” personality was further honed by the 1970s and its fascinating political backdrop. “A new mood of cynicism in the 1970s would provide a more challenging environment for fashion and fashion publishing,” wrote Kate Nelson Best in the article The Rise of Individualism: The 1960s and 1970s.

Historically linked to photographers Helmut Newton and Guy Bordin, because of her controversial, anti-fashion stance, she was actually the opposite. Where they were both obsessed with portraying models in dangerously glamorous situations reminiscent of their past, she chose to “reflect the darker side of contemporary womanhood and eschew utopia for dystopia.”

A regular contributor to American and Italian Vogue magazines, she and Newton had the unfortunate opportunity of losing Vogue subscribers in the Bible Belt, when editor Grace Mirabella published their photos as part of her 1975 editorial. At times haunting, mysterious, ghostly, and flawed, Turbeville’s photographic style is inwardly motivated and psychologically deep. This heartfelt realism matched Mirabella’s wish for Vogue to be seen as a magazine with “fashion for real life” instead of the fantasy wonderland Diana Vreeland created during her turn as editor.

Mannequins, a frequent presence in her photos, add an alienated touch and poetic harmony. When I look at her photos what really resonates with me is the way the surface smoothness of her images contrast harshly with their grimy substances. Similar to distressed fabric they appear both old and new as they relate a story that could be either disturbing or eccentric. A beautiful girl in an exquisite garment isn’t her ultimate goal, the inner workings of the woman herself is.

In the 1980s she worked with another genius designer, Rei Kawakubo for Comme des Garcons. Known for being equally “unsettling and quixotic” they clicked creatively. Besides Kawakubo, she also worked with Valentino, Jean Muir, and Rochas. Today her technique is widely copied and is no longer as controversial as it once was during her heyday. Distinctively unique, the one thing that will always be universally hers is a her sharp eye and originality.

Fallas Stores Brand Makeover

Decorative Clutches from Fallas Stores

Brand Selection Summary

First Place to Shop…First Place to Save

Fallas motto

Today when tabloid magazine readers get excited over photos of Channing Tatum and Beyonce shopping at Target in US Weekly, it feels like bargain hunting still isn’t acceptable. For the cool and sophisticated, however, “cheap chic” has always been around and the rest of us are playing catch up. Around 2000, when the economy took a dive “down shopping” was the preferred way hanging onto your disposable income. A “reverse snob appeal” punctuated conversations and any time someone complimented you on an elegant dress or skirt you’d bought at your local Ross Dress for Less, you thanked them with a haughty tone and felt ultra-smart.

Now, over 10 years later, dressing and decorating “high-low” has become such a popular occupation lifestyle specialists, Martha Stewart, Rachel Ashwell and Joanna Gaines have developed niche industries merging the precious with the pricey. The possibilities are endless, for the average person, who can now be au courant regardless of their piggy bank.

Within this retail genre of discount shopping a mind-boggling series of sub-genres exist-big box, extreme, membership-only warehouse clubs, multi-price point variety chains, and off-price- that’re all competing for the same dollars.

Fallas, whose store motto is First place to shop…First place to save, has established itself among its regulars as a go-to place for school uniforms, scrubs, and on-trend apparel. Maite Perroni even had a co-branding collaboration with them, in 2014, for the line Collection Maite Perroni.

Fallas Files Bankruptcy

Unfortunately, in August 2018, National Stores Inc. (Fallas’ parent company) was forced to file Chapter 11 bankruptcy and close 74 of its 344 stores. Later that year, they were saved financially and purchased by Seventh Avenue Capitol Partners LLC. Renamed Fallas Stores and allowed to remain in their headquarters in Harbor Gateway, California. At this point they need to reinvent themselves.

Their online presence needs to be strengthened and professionally developed. Customer service protocol needs to be instituted for their store staff. The quality and style of their clothing has become inferior, so that needs to be addressed to

How to Fix What’s Wrong with Fallas Stores

My suggestions for making over this store would start with a complete brand focus and look. A more cohesive and curated design with professional interior and exterior layouts is needed, along with a change in their product mix. I would also like to see a more inclusive atmosphere, open to all the target ethnic shoppers that visit their stores. An updated and refined logo would help, as well, and could bring in new customers. A switch to garments made from both sustainable and natural fibers, instead of synthetics, would give their appeal an aesthetic and environmental appeal that would prevent a public backlash against environmental pollution. Poised at the precipice of this second chance, if Fallas Stores makes these changes they might be able to avoid their previous mistakes and thrive again in their retail environment.

Back Story: Fallas Stores

In a small “single-store operation” in 1962 Joseph Fallas founded a new family-owned business, Fallas Parades, in Downtown Los Angeles. Based in Gardena, California, it was initially marketed for the Latino consumer. Operating under its business umbrella, National Stores Inc., it “primarily served low-income communities by selling men’s, women’s, children’s apparel and household items for under $20.” Joseph’s son, Robert is their CEO.

Throughout its existence, the company has expanded by acquiring other companies, usually thought “bankruptcy auctions.” In 2001, they acquired 31 of Weiner’s stores; in 2004, 100 Factory 2-U stores; in 2014, 78 Conway stores, and in 2015, 40 Anna’s Linens. By 2016 Fallas had 344 locations, in the U.S. and Puerto Rico, (where it’s known as Falas). They had $l202,500,000 in sales and around 1,001 employees. Among “companies with similar revenue,” that year, were Zara Belgique S.A./N.V. at $209,600,000 and Gucci at $195,400,000. Profits didn’t get in the way of their dedication to the community, and in 2018, store manager Don Greene was awarded an Operation School Bell Award by the Assistance League of Victor Valley for his support for those in need.

That same year, trouble hit them, and a Chapter 11 bankruptcy became part of their tale. Bad luck caused by “low-performing stores,” Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico and a malware security breach, were the looming problems. Currently they’re also over $1 million in debt and owe clothing manufacturer Armouth International $15.6 million, One Step Up $10.3 million, Louise Paris around $4 million and Seven Apparel $3.9 million. Understandably, during this part of their history, it’s natural to want to retain their business relationships with proven manufacturers. The problem is, compared to the upscale clothing and accessories lines offered by Ross Dress For Less, Target, Walmart and their other competitors Fallas’ offerings seem overly trendy and paste.

Discounted fashion, in 2019, is in a transitional place without too much brand loyalty, causing the well-dressed consumer to shop wherever the best deal is. The trick now is to create an image where Fallas Stores are a reliable resource for wardrobe additions.

Current Brand Status:

Fallas Bags

After filing in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware on August 2018, National Stores Inc. went from Chapter 11 to Chapter 7. With this process, and the partnership with Second Avenue Capital Partners LLC, Michael Fallas feels it enabled him to “preserve 2.500 jobs, keep 85 stores open, and continue providing their customers with an enjoyable shopping experience.”

On March 1, 2019 two new Fallas Stores re-opened one at Plaza La Cienega Shopping Center, in Los Angeles, California, and one in El Paso, Texas. Previously closed on September 11 by the fire department, due to an electrical fire they could re-open once the “safety problems were resolved.”

For years, Fallas has catered to a predominantly Latino demographic which was the focus of Fallas Paredes. Now they’ve chosen to re-open in the larger building that used to house the Toys ‘R’ Us and Babies ‘R’ Us stores at 1833 S. LaCienega Blvd., and have a noticeable presence online. African-Americans and other races have started shopping there changing how the brand is critiqued and accepted.

What was once considered “fashionable” among their regular demographic has been deemed unacceptable and dated by these new demographics. Even among their competitors Target and Walmart they appear to fall behind, because they still offer too many items that “look as if they come from a discount store.”

Their social media presence includes Instagram (fallas_discount_stores) where they have about 25 posts and 125 followers, Facebook, Twitter (@fallasstores) with 77 followers, and Pinterest with 521 followers and 32 monthly views. Although they don’t promote it widely, if a consumer wants to subscribe to their emails and learn about “new store openings, promotions and new merchandise” they can log onto If they want to know what’s happening in the men’s or women’s section they can log onto either or They’re also available on

Online Fallas Stores Shopper


Historically, Fallas have tried to offer their customers inexpensive styles, in clothing, accessories and housewares that are more budget-conscious than stylish. I would say now their womenswear is heavily Latina in that it currently emphasizes the boho chic of Frida Kahlo, the rugged gear of the chola and the sleek sexiness of performers Selena Gomez and J.Lo. The menswear, while classic, is sportier and more utilitarian. The casual L.A. lifestyle adds to the ease of their selection, along with prevailing trends, distinguishing them in a place that’s safe but conformist and modern. Their niche places them in direct competition with other companies who’re providing better products at the same low prices, such as Walmart, Target, and Ross Dress For Less. For this project I will examine what makes them similar and what distinguishes them from each other.


Like Fallas, this company was also founded in 1962. Founder Sam Walton, unwilling to directly compete with Sears and Kmart, opened in Rogers, Arkansas and concentrated on the rural market instead. It has since become one the top discount stores in the world. With a similar clothing philosophy to Fallas, today they offer inexpensive styles for the whole family. This year they premiered their new We Dress America campaign and have continued to advocate for sustainability. By embracing and promoting this important issue Walmart has surpassed Fallas by displaying increased responsibility for their “global footprint.”


Target originally a “mass-market retail company” started by George Draper Dayton in 1902 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and known as Dayton Dry Goods Company finally became the first “Target on May 1, 1962.” Like Walmart, they began offering covetable fashion gear, and have consistently added new lines regularly

Neat and well-organized, their separate departments for Wild Fable, Universal Threads, A New Day, Who What Wear, Knox Rose and others, resembles Fallas’ spacious new in-store layout. Unfortunately, Target suffered a “major data breach in 2013,” and like Fallas, it cost them financially too. With the improvement of their merchandise selection, interiors and customer service they’ve been able to win back regulars.


Ross Dress For Less was launched by Morris “Morrie” Ross in 1950 in San Bruno. Where Walmart and Target are discount stores, Ross is an off-price store that regularly sells “department store brands at reduced prices.” Like Fallas, they’re also known for their designer and high-end labels. Their future, for 2019, include expansion of over 100 stores. Earlier in March 2019, “their posted fourth-quarter earnings results were $441.7 counts million on revenues of $4.11 billion.”

Upon analysis it’s easy to see why a consumer would shop at each store and have three different experiences, despite their range of merchandise. While Fallas, still struggles through their business travails Walmart, Target and Ross Dress For Less remain relevant with a wider demographic by providing excellent inventory, appearing on T.V. in high profile commercials, and being as strong online as on-site. Compared to the way Fallas presents itself the disparity is glaring and demonstrates why they need to refine their discount store image.

Now they find themselves in a strong place with those who’ve always looked to them for inexpensive goods, but in a weak place with those who’re new to discount shopping and expect better quality despite the price tag. At this point, the areas of discrepancy are the ones that should be addressed first.

Frida Kahlo


Selena Gomez

Since 2012, consumers have accepted a new way of shopping that doesn’t look down its nose at bargains. Fallas shoppers, and the newly initiated, who habitually troll the aisles at Target, Walmart and Ross Dress For Less and other lower-priced retailers are pleased with the benefits. For Fallas, who’s had a predominately Hispanic demographic shopping there, they face certain dynamics particular to this ethnicity. The following facts feature the particulars. : (Targeting the Ethnic Shopper by Jennifer Popovec).

  • Hispanics shop as a “multigenerational” (the whole family on one shopping trip).
  • First generational shoppers want merchandise that reminds them of home.
  • Non-English speaking Hispanic shoppers prefer bilingual signs and Spanish speaking clerks and managers.

Although statistics show that by 2020 “Hispanics will be the largest minority with 57 million,” now that Fallas has gone through bankruptcy and re-opened in areas with more diverse demographics they need to be more inclusive. That includes considering the needs of African-American, Asian, and Caucasian customers by race and “lifecycles.” “Generation X” (38-52 year olds) and “Baby Boomers” (53+ year olds) want “deals”, “convenienc” and “variety”. They prefer “personalized email and direct mail” correspondence with less attention paid to overall social media.

Various ways Fallas can attract this customer on-site is with “artisan goods” that’s from Africa, Asia and other countries, and with items featured during holidays and occasions other cultures celebrate (i.e., Black History Month, and Year of the Pig). Regular tie-ins with the city’s cultural events that reflect these cultures would be a good idea too (i.e., Alvin Ailey Dance Theater, the Charles White exhibit that was at LACMA and Shen Yun Performing Arts). Online they can strengthen their accounts on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest with more professional photos and an interactive hashtag blog that allows customers to post selfies of themselves in their Fallas finds.


Dress Section at Fallas Stores

When the new Fallas opened on March 1, 2019 at Plaza La Cienega Shopping Center the exterior and interior of the store looked great, but after looking around and considering that they didn’t advertise their re-opening, it’s apparent they still have a ways to go before successfully entering the new retail game.


Annie Bananie Apparel
Annie Bananie Apparel

Starting with the logo, it needs to be modernized enough to make recyclable shopping bags, store t-shirts, business cards, brochures, flyers and other on-site advertisements stand out.

Next their product line needs to be upgraded to include fewer trendy pieces, that’s made from synthetics, to ones that’re made from sustainable and natural fibers. Besides being aesthetically pleasing natural fabrics are “breathable,” “softer,” and “biodegradable” where synthetics can be toxic and harmful to one’s health and the environment.

Instead of the manufacturer that created the 100% polyester sleeveless A-line dresses, I saw when I visited, they should try clothing made by a local manufacturer instead. Annie Bananie Apparel, a custom-made line manufactured in Los Angeles would be a great choice for this department.

Their accessories are fine, but they should try to tie them in with the merchandise better by creating face-out and small shelf displays within or near the other sections. The walls within should be utilized better too and instead of a plain array of merchandise a story should be told with the colors, silhouettes and arrangement of the garments and accessories.

Besides changing the merchandise, Fallas needs to replace their current hangers with classier ones that would make the merchandise look better. A few mannequins, arranged in a boutique style, would create a nice, intimate feel. A similar technique would work throughout the rest of their store.


Bob Marley T-shirt at Fallas Stores

Since Fallas is a discount store their pricing is “set to encourage sales at the consumer level,” making part of their draw the prices. The two types of strategies they use are “pricing below competition” and “economy pricing” which seems to work for them. Traditionally factors that affect the prices at Fallas, and allow them keep them so low, are a “dependence on imports” and hiring minimum wage workers. Two external factors that affect them adversely, as well as the rest of retail, are “organized retail crime” and budgetary restraints on consumers.


Fallas seems to have always depended on brick and mortar placement, with a minimum of online presence, I would strongly recommend developing a stronger online presence that should include a mobile app, online shopping opportunities, and daily posts on where merchandise can be tagged and bought. Their competitors all have mobile apps, and T.J. Maxx, even has a personal shopper feature one theirs called “create your shop.” An app, and other online experiences, would also help them gain increased loyalty from old and new customers in the future.


Locally, Fallas should be promoted in the Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Sentinel, Our Times, The Argonaut and other metropolis newspapers that serve their demographics. Press releases can be written by a staff writer when they have something to promote that’s newsworthy. Their grand re-opening would’ve been perfect.

Inexpensive ads can be placed in the Value Pak, along with sale coupons and flyers that accompany supermarket circulars. Magazine ads in US Weekly, InStyle, Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar might be more expensive but would catch the eye of Fallas’ consumers who want to keep up with Zoe Saldana, Selena Gomez, Zendaya, Tracee Ellis Ross, Gina Rodriguez or Jennifer Lopez, making them excellent places to advertise.


Before Fallas filed for bankruptcy, they had numerous complaints that were posted online to and To turn around this negativity they need to “educate their staff” by having weekly store meetings to teach them how to create a positive environment where customers feel welcome.


Lasta Icelandic Shop

Additional steps Fallas should take to insure financial success, maintain customer loyalty, attract new markets and compete effectively would be as elemental as (1) creating a weekly blog on their website; (2) replacing their current shopping bags with chic recyclable ones; (3) printing survey feedback information on their receipts; (4) creating in-store clothing catalogs and flyers that can be given away and mailed to customers; (5) collaborating with nearby stores for seasonal fashion shows within the store; and (6) doing more Hollywood collaborations with style icons Penelope Cruz, Zoe Saldana, Selma Hayek, Selena Gomez, Bianca Jagger, Benecio del Toro, Javier Bardiem, Jennifer Lopez, Zendaya, Daisy Fuentes, Antonio Banderas, Tracee Ellis Ross and Samuel Jackson.



Crouch, Dorothy. “Discount Retail Favored by U.S. Consumers Regardless of Age or Income.” California Apparel News, October 12-18, 2018.<>

Peltz, James F. “Parent of Fallas retail chain files for bankruptcy, will close dozens of stores.” Los Angeles Times, August 06, 2018. <;

Narayan, Shwanika. “Fallas Plans to Get Back Up: RETAIL: Everything but e-commerce hit discount chain.” Los Angeles Business Journal, August 20, 2018. < %7CA559906>

Gonzalez, Jessica. “Fallas manager receives Operation School Bell award for helping low-income families.” Daily Press, May 5, 2018. <…ool-bell-award-for-helping-low-income-families?template=ampart&gt;

Friedman, Arthur. “Walmart Commits to New Plastic Packaging Waste Reduction.” Sourcing Journal, February 26, 2019. <https://o-sourcingjournal-com.>

Kolenc, Vic. “Fire hazards resolved in historic Downtown El Paso building: Fallas Discount Store reopens.” El Paso Times, March 4, 2019. <…town-el-paso-building-deemed-fire-hazard-in-2018/3034209002&gt;

Belgium, Deborah. “Parent Company of Fallas Paredes and Factory 2-U Files for Bankruptcy Protection.” California Apparel News, August 7, 2018. <;

Dun and Bradsteet. “Discount Department Stores.” Dun and Bradstreet, December 17, 2018. <>

Young, Vicki M. “Ross Stores to Open 100 New Locations in 2019.” Sourcing Journal, March 11, 2019. <;

Popovec, Jennifer. “Targeting the Ethnic Shopper.” Natl Real Estate Investor 48 no5 My 2006. <>

Lesonsky, Rieva. “Demographics Secrets Revealed: The Ultimate Guide for Retail Marketing to 4 Generations of Shoppers.” Small Business Trends, July 25, 2017. <;

Digital Fashion Sourcebook

Victorian Mourning Dress

Mourning one’s dead, during the Victorian era, was a serious undertaking especially for women. One of the most famous widows, Queen Victoria, was so bereft after her husband Prince Albert died in 1861, she wore black “widow’s weeds” until her own death. Mourning dress was primarily black, and worn to isolate the mourner from the public during a time of sorrow.

Mourning Dress, ca. 1894-95 British, silk, formerly owned by Queen Victoria

Divided into two successive stages- “first”and “second”-the fabric utilized had to have a matte, non-reflective surface. The first photo from 1880, is French, created from “medium silk” and from the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Department. A dark palette, with somber details were replicated with dramatic appeal in Thom Browne’s Fall 2015 Ready-to-Wear collection. The photo of the off-the-shoulder dress, next to the French Mourning Dress, is long, nipped in at the waist, and has tight fitting sleeves. This garment has the same austere fit as the classic 1880’s Mourning Dress, but the off-the-shoulder collar and shorter hem length gives it a contemporary edge.

Edwardian Shirtwaist Blouse

From 1890 to 1900 a societal and economic shift occurred, whereby women joined the working world and they needed something to wear. At times called a “bodice” and at others a “blouse” the Edwardian shirtwaist solved this problem.

Designed as a simple button-down it reflected the straight lines of the Neo-classical movement, and with the fanciful “silk and lace trimmings” the curvy, naturalistic signature of art nouveau. For Spring 2016, Zimmerman’s Master and Mischief Ready-to-Wear collection recalled the blouse with romantic high-necked collars and ruffles.

In photos one through three the classic shirtwaist can be seen, then in photo four it’s shown as a more updated, contemporary garment that’s just as lovely. By maintaining the traditional features, of the blouse, using beautiful, nostalgic textiles and redefining its original purpose, Zimmerman has updated without losing any integrity.

Harem Pants

French fashion designer, Paul Poiret, was determined to do two things in 1911-free women from their corsets and design an exotic, comfortable garment. Taking his passion for “Orientalism” into consideration he designed the juke-culotte (harem pants) thereby introducing Western women to a new way of dressing.

Fitted at the waist, full and voluminous at the leg, and tight at the ankle, they allowed the wearer the freedom of movement. In 2014 Maison Martin Margiela’s Artisanal Line for the Spring/Summer season introduced a collection that included wide-legged pants in the mode of Poiret’s harem pants.

While each creation features a fitted waist and spacious leg section, Margiela eliminated the ankle tightness and let the fabric flow into a natural long hem length. Margiela’s striped pants, in photo three, also deviate why having roomy side pockets. The light fabric and easy flow of the silhouette do ultimately connect the two designs and reflect Poiret’s vision and inspiration.

Ivy Style

Ralph Lauren’s Fall 2018 Ready-to-Wear collection embraced the “Ivy Style” of the 1920s then added plenty of contemporary twists. A red parka added over the otherwise traditional pairing of stripes, knits and heritage print trousers brings the look, in photo two, up to the present.

Initially the “Ivy Style” was a type of casual dress adopted by college students in the 1920s in reaction to their parents’ more formalized wardrobes. A precursor to sportswear, it’s come to personify the American look.

Carine Roitfeld: Fashion Stylist Extraordinaire

French style is more the way you mix the clothes and how you move, how you open your bag, how you cross your legs-just little things that make a difference,” Carine Roitfeld told Jessica Booth in “14 fashion ‘faux pas’ Americans make that French women don’t.”

Carine Roitfeld

Je-taime French Chic:

I have always had a thing for the way French women dress, to the point that it’s inspired a few school projects featuring Gabrielle Coco” Chanel, during my undergraduate days as a Fashion Merchandising major at CSULA, to a blog “Homage to a French Girl” I wrote for a classmate I met in a Fashion Illustration class I took one summer at “Santa Monica College”.

Soignee and louche, my friend, a vision in an oversized white men’s button-down shirt, wide-legged navy-blue pants and white sneakers she personified the “effortless, luxurious, naturalistic” chic her fellow fashionistas are known and envied for.

French style is more the way you mix the clothes and how you move, how you open your bag, how you cross your legs-just little things that make a difference,” Carine Roitfeld told Jessica Booth in “14 fashion ‘faux pas’ Americans make that French women don’t.” “With French women, you first see the women and then you see the clothes. In France, you cannot see what labels we are wearing. It is very snobby.”

Carine Roitfeld in Vogue

Carine Roitfeld’s Personal Biography:

Born on September 19, 1954 Carine Roitfeld is a Parisian resident who’s been in the fashion game ever since she was discovered as a model at 18. A habitué of “junior magazines” she parlayed her talents into writing and styling for French Elle. Her formal education includes graduation from Parson’s School of Design in New York City and her professional training, as a stylist, includes a fruitful collaboration with Italian photographer Mario Testino. Their partnership led to advertising gigs and “shoots for American and French Vogue.” Her classic, but edgy style, attracted the attention of Tom Ford, when he designed for Gucci, and Yves Saint Laurent, whom both subsequently hired her as a consultant/muse for their brands.

Fashion Illustration of Carine Roitfeld (“The Cut”)

One of the 50 best-dressed over 50.

The Guardian, March 2013 issue

From 2001 to 2011 she was the Editor-in-Chief of Vogue Paris and was named “one of the 50 best-dressed over 50” by The Guardian in their March 2013 issue. Uniqlo also selected her as their style mascot for “Fall/Winter 2016” creating a line that mirrored her penchant for leopard prints, pencil skirts and structured suiting.

“It’s very me,” Roitfeld told Matthew Schneier in The New York Times article Carine Roitfeld Is Her Own Muse. “To have bad taste in a good way, it’s very French.” Editorially, she became “global fashion director for Harper’s Bazaar in 2012″ and created her own magazine, CR Fashion Book which she recently left.

Photographers and Client List:

Besides Mario Testino, Roitfeld has worked with a number of photographers for Harper’s Bazaar-Anthony Maule for the Carine Roitfeld Astrology shoot, and Sebastian Faena for her Unmistakable, Unforgettable, Always In Fashion Icons July 2014 shoot

According to WWD, in the article EXCLUSIVE: Karl Lagerfeld Taps Carine Roitfeld for His Brand she was scheduled to partner Lagerfeld in September 2019 and kick off The Edit by Carine Roitfeld, based on “her own selection of essential pieces from his fall 2019 collection.” Widely renowned for her distinctive looks her collaborations reflect that aspect of her persona as much as her styling chops. She uses clothing and accessories to display who she is to the world, and through her own distinct filter her culture and lifestyle are equally represented.

The Carine Roitfeld Look:

Carine Roitfeld’s classically coordinated style of sexy blouses, structured blazers, pencil skirts and sky-high heels is both retro and modern because while the combination bears the traditional markings of the 1950s female, it still has an air of modern hard-core street and ’70s Klute thrown in as well.

“My style is very simple but very specific. Everything is about proportion and silhouette,” she told Alexandra Fullerton in the article Carine Roitfeld reveals the fashion lessons that have helped her create her signature style. When I examined the various shoots, layouts and ads she’s done throughout her career, the styling elements that inspired me the most are the same ones that inspired me when I examined her personal style photos online. Distinctive, due to their astute physical perspective and singular focus, the fact that her work is an extension of herself is both powerful and immensely creative.

Works Cited:

Booth, Jessica. “14 fashion ‘faux pas’ that Americans make that French women don’t”,

Schneier, Matthew. “Carine Roitfeld Is Her Muse”. The New York Times, Oct. 2, 2015.

Socha, Miles. “EXCLUSIVE: Karl Lagerfeld Taps Carine Roitfeld for His Brand”. WWD, Jan. 30, 2019.

Fullerton, Alexandra. “Carine Roitfeld reveals the fashion lessons that have helped her create her signature style”.

Feeling Good About Buying Second-Hand: Goodwill and Council Thrift Shops Make It Stylish to Give Back

Two of the most important reasons I shop at a thrift store is to (a) obtain timeless, stylish gear on a budget, and (b) to help others. Goodwill Industries International, Inc. and National Jewish Women Los Angeles are the charities, who have the best chain shops in Los Angeles that meet this criteria.

Not Charity, but a Chance.

Goodwill’s philosophy

While the Mission Statement of each is tailored to reflect the organization, their overall goal is to “enhance and improve the quality of life for individuals and families facing poverty, homelessness, mental and physical disabilities and unemployment.” Goodwill’s history, based on the philosophy, “Not Charity, but a Chance” was founded in 1902 by Reverend Edgar J. Helms, “a Methodist minister and social innovator.” Initially, they provided “indigent citizens with unwanted goods collected from the wealthy they were hired and trained to repair.” In order to provide them with quality items, at no or low cost, the items were then either re-sold to the employees who fixed them or given to them.

Doing Good and Providing Experience

Today their main focus is to provide training to job seekers and offer programs for seniors, veterans, the disabled and others. Ranked by consumers on the 2017 Brand World Value Index as number one in “doing the most good two consecutive years in a row”, in 2016 they trained and secured employment for over 313,000 people in “IT, banking and health careers” with donations and retail sales of $4.16 billion from “more than 3,20o stores and an online auction site.”

Daniella Wallace ( and The Goodwill Blog, with blogs like Spring Closet Cure by Julia Marchand, also make shopping at their thrift stores worthwhile by providing consumers with tips on what to buy and how to coordinate their finds according to contemporary runway trends.

Charles Jackson, 2016’s Achiever of the Year, and General Manager for the Goodwill thrift store in Central Texas for the past 10 years, can definitely thank Goodwill for turning his life around.

“Twenty years ago, before I became a general manager, I was working as a manager for a Rent-to-Own store by day and selling drugs by night,” he says. “I was arrested, and after spending 24 months in jail I had a difficult time getting a job. I felt like I had “convict” stamped on my forehead.” After going to 20 places, and receiving a ‘No’ at all of them, he finally went to Goodwill where they welcomed him with respect. There was a job opening for a manager, so he applied for it, and got it.

“Now, my days consist of making sure we meet our production goals, organizing the clothing so that they’re in their proper category, and encouraging our cashiers to greet everyone who comes into our stores,” he said. Relieved that he isn’t incarcerated any longer, he believes Goodwill also gave him a second chance to be there for his family.

National Council Jewish Women (NCJW)Thrift Shops

Black print blouse by Emanuel Ungaro (Council Thrift Shops)

National Council Jewish Women (NCJW) was originally founded by Hannah J. Solomon following the 1893 World Exposition Chicago. The Los Angeles chapter was subsequently founded in 1909 by Rachel Kauffman. Patterned on the three Jewish values: Kavod Ha Bri’ot: Respect and Dignity of all Human Beings, Talmud Torah: Education and Awareness, and Tzedek Tzedek Tirdof: The Pursuit of Justice they provide services for more than 12,000 people through their Community Mental Health, Youth Educational and Social Advocacy programs. Their annual “free clothing giveaway” is their largest, and most popular charitable event of the year providing additional resources to those attending.

But it’s through their eight Council Thrift Shops where they earn the most significant amount of revenue to support these programs. “The shops are the main money makers for the organization,” said Cory, a company spokesperson at their MarVista, California location. “After we receive our intake, from sales, we then deposit them in the main organizational account daily.”

Known in Southern California, for high-quality designer clothing, accessories, furniture, etc., on April 23, 2014, in homage to Issey Miyake, a writer for their blog celebrated “his designs that came through their stores in the ensuing months.”

Ultimately, it doesn’t matter whether I luck out with a white Theory sleeveless top from Goodwill or a green Marc Jacobs bag at Council Thrift Shop, because the real payoff is knowing someone’s life will benefit from my purchases.

Works Cited:

Marchand, Julia. “Spring Closet Cure”,

Beverly Hills Courier Staff. “National Council of Jewish Women Sets Annual Clothing Giveaway, Volunteers Sought”, Beverly Hills Courier, November 11, 2017,

Folven, Edwin. “NCJW/LA clothing giveaway makes difference in the lives of thousands”, Park LaBrea News Beverly Press, November 30, 2016,

Kemar Newall: Modern Liaison Between the Collecting and Fashion Industries

Men’s Patent Leather Sneakers by Rei Kawakubo (Designer) Comme des Garçons, c. 1990s
Philadelphia Museum of Art

Kemar Newall, the creator of the FLIP app is an unlikely fashion game changer, but that’s exactly what he is. A dreadlock-wearing, sneakerhead/techie from Brooklyn, New York he’s bridged the gap between the world of collecting with a street style staple-sneakers. Before he started in 2014, one of the only ways dedicated fans could get the latest kicks was to wait in long lines. By taking the obstacle out of the equation, he devised a genius strategy: an auction site. Sellers can post the goods and buyers can acquire them within 90 minutes.

Featured in Nylon, Hypebeast, Coveteur and others, his message is clear-make “trading sneakers accessible and easy for what he calls the “snapchat generation”. Within the sneakerhead culture appearance is important, especially when it comes to their footwear. The way that differs from how fashion has traditionally been viewed is the Yeezy, Nike and Adidas have become as coveted as an “It” bag. But this time the trendsetter wearing it isn’t Kate Moss it’s A$AP Rocky.

A racial and cultural shift has occurred with the sneaker as the impetus. Historically political, with our current climate, the rise of their relevance symbolizes contemporary fashion as succinctly as a charged slogan tee that reads Diversity. Function and cool designs have carried the shoe throughout its history from its inception, in the 1900’s, but recently they’ve also been elevated to art.

Out of the Box: The Rise of Sneaker Culture, an exhibit originally from Toronto, aptly chronicled why they’re an important accessory. James Dean appropriating the Chuck Taylor’s for rebels everywhere and Run DMC giving Adidas hip-hop cred are just two examples of their instant aestheticism. A pair of Nike Air Jordan I Royal’s can even elevate the standard sneakerhead “garms” equally with a spark of edge and beauty.They allow an otherwise casually attired individual to strut like a dandy. Another phenomenon that’s changed in the fashion industry, making FLIP a revolutionary game-changer, is hip-hop’s prominence. Moving from the back to the front it’s poised to become part of that dual influence.

1960’s Fashion Icon: Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy

She branded herself and anything that came out had to be that brand.

Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Podcast Spokesperson

The main thing that really strikes me about Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy, when I look back on her as a 1960’s icon, was how much her inner sadness and fragile emotional state from her turbulent childhood and dysfunctional marriage to John F. Kennedy contributed to the way she packaged herself.

Her perfect appearance, which included her iconic structured garments and accessories, coiffed hair, and erect posture, are more fascinating to me now that I know what they hid underneath. Like Frida Kahlo, Coco Chanel, Audrey Hepburn, and other icons who’ve used clothing to disguise their pain, her ability to function beautifully under difficult circumstances, and remain impeccable, makes her even more admirable.

Strong Impact Audio

Throughout my television and cinema viewing career, I’ve noticed the shows and movies that’ve had the strongest impact on me have been ones that have a positive or negative soundtrack attached to them. Depending on the scene they’re emphasizing I’ve learned it’s the goal of the editor to convey the overall emotion and tension and use the music as a clear barometer. Below are two examples of excellent sound editing:

Soul Train: Curtis Mayfield “Get Down”

Soul Train

The original dance show, Soul Train, during the 1970’s is one of the TV shows that still impacts me emotionally and psychologically today because it has one of the best, and most cohesive, segments pairing soul music and dancing I’ve ever seen. One of my favorites, Curtis Mayfield singing Get Down as dancers go down the Soul Train line is so smoothly edited it’s possible to see every dancer involved really feel the song and express it within their own spotlight. At times, other dancers can be heard making exclamations out of joy and excitement adding to the party atmosphere of the program.

A Man And A Woman

A Man And A Woman

Both melancholy and lighthearted, the lilting theme song from the 1966 French film A Man and a Woman, directed by Claude Lelouch and starring Jean-Louis Trintignant as Jean Louis and Annouk Aimee as Anne works for me as movie whose music still affects me as much as it did when I first saw it. Poignant and haunting-composer Francis Lai created a track that flows through the movie like a “sound bridge” and continues as a pleasant afterthought regardless of its final outcome.