Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Daffodils, Spring and New Earrings!

Despite waking up almost every morning to snowflakes, I keep saying "Spring is coming, Spring is coming!" Maybe if we say it enough, it'll happen. In the meantime, though, I'm working on a new pair of Babecatcher Earrings. These ones are inspired by my favorite flowers, daffodils. They're almost done, and here they are making their first appearance in the world!

**You can get your own pair of Babecatcher Earrings from Half-Lucid Jewelry for $27.99. Just shoot me a tweet (@kendrybird) or comment here for more information!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Dmitry Sholokhov: Game of Thrones, Daft Punk and a Daring New Collection

Sexy. Daring. Insanely unique. All of these words describe Dmitry Sholokhov’s Spring/Summer 2014 collection, which he calls a ‘transition’ collection.

New York City-based Dmitry Sholokhov, of Project Runway fame, has slowly been building his fashion empire for many years before his appearance on the reality television show.  He’s created luxurious dresses, trousers and shirts and has long played with cutouts, sheer material and fringe details. When he was formally introduced to the world via Project Runway, he debuted a tasteful perspective on cocktail dresses and other pieces that fit perfectly in a working woman’s closet.

Now, though, with more than a year of whirlwind international recognition under his belt, Dmitry has created a collection that is daring, exciting and different from anything he’s shown the world before.

The SS2014 collection first sashayed into the world at Panama Fashion Week in late 2013, complete with dresses made for warrior queens, a menswear inspired black jacket worn as a top (with nothing underneath!) and a gold jacket with fabulous fringe sleeves. Perhaps most surprisingly, though, the collection includes splashes of delicate cotton candy pink and blue denim. While these two polarized styles might clash in less capable hands, here they connect, one after another, as if telling a story of a family of sisters. The common thread, of course, is the designer.

 (A dress made for the warrior party-girl princess in all of us)


In person, Dmitry is both gracious and graceful, standing a little taller than everyone else and possessing an old-world charm in manner and speech. At once professional and keenly intelligent, he’s also able to surprise you with a quick sense of disarming humor when least expected. He’s a conversationalist who truly knows a little about everything… from pop culture (Grumpy Cat! Game of Thrones!) to worldwide travel (Russia, Europe, dreamy beach locales) to spiritualism and beyond.

And he designs clothes that can be worn with confidence by women of a variety of sizes.

When I first met Dmitry for his Lord & Taylor presentation, the line of fans waiting to meet him all shared a similar palpable excitement to meet the designer. At Book Expo America 2013, when he was gracious enough to join me for a brief appearance, he was met around every corner with delight from fans who wanted to say hello or snap a picture. Dmitry’s fans are a varied lot, covering every corner of our little planet, but they’re also a creative lot, making gif images of some of his quips from Project Runway and fanart that pops up on Tumblr, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. He’s inspired fan accounts on almost every social media platform, both because of his incredible talent for fashion and his affable personality.

I had the pleasure of catching up with Dmitry recently, to talk about his SS2014 collection. Read on to learn more about his inspiration, how you can purchase your own Dmitry Sholokhov piece, his least favorite Game of Thrones character and his love for Daft Punk…

It’s great to chat with you again, Dmitry. It’s been almost a year since I had you as a guest on my radio show. A lot has happened with you since then!  You showed your beautiful Spring 2014 collection at Panama Fashion Week, unleashing some really exciting new shapes on the world. You’ve said that Game of Thrones had a bit of an influence on you for this collection, and I can see some definite Daenerys-worthy pieces in it. Can you tell us how the show inspired you?

Hi Kendra, it’s always a pleasure! Yes, a lot happened since I won PR. I had an amazing and very busy year.

Panama was a great experience. I was invited to show my latest collection as VIP international guest designer.

The show was a great success. It turns out I have a lot of fans in Central and Latin America as well.

I love Game of Thrones, and the show was a starting point for my latest collection. I was inspired by the historic costumes with the fairytale flavor to them. And I wanted to create a collection that is wearable but special. I love what I did. I think the collection is modern, young and cool with the historic twist to it. And most important, it’s wearable!

Of course, many of your fans wanted me to ask you if you have a favorite character or characters from Game of Thrones!

I am obsessed with pretty much everyone; no big fan of Joffrey though!)

Oh God, right! Joffrey is only one of the most despicable characters in TV history. Okay, but we have to talk about that fabulous gold jacket. It has some definite Dmitry elements, with the fringe on the sleeves, but it’s got this fabulous punch of gold color. Why did you choose gold for that jacket?

Gold is making its way back in fashion and it’s such a statement color. Love it! And I think it’s always a challenge to create something loud but not tacky. As for the fringe, now all of a sudden everyone is doing fringe and it’s very much in style. But I never get tired of it, and I think you will see more fringe from me in the future.)

The front cutout (in some of the dresses) is a daring and very sexy move! Were you intentionally creating a sexy silhouette in this collection?

I think this collection was a bit of a transition from old me to new me. It’s important to constantly reinvent yourself but never lose your aesthetic authenticity. Artistic expression is always a reflection of who we are at the moment.

On your website (www.dmitrysholokhov.com) you have your O. Jen collection up for sale, including a lot of luxe statement pieces like faux fur jackets, dresses and extraordinary trousers.  Will your Spring 2014 collection be up for sale as well?

The Spring 2014 collection is available for special orders only.

                        (You could steal the throne, raise dragons AND look amazing with this dress)

Your art student fan Maki wanted me to say that you’ve been an inspiration to her, and ask if you’ll do another fan meet and greet at some point?

Hi Maki!) I will definitely do a fan meeting in the future, perhaps when I show my next collection in NY during MBFW.

                                  (Possibly the sexiest menswear-inspired jacket I've ever seen)

Of course your fans should keep up with you on twitter and Instagram (both @dmitrysholokhov) as well as facebook. But where should they expect to see you next? Runway shows, cover of Vogue, maybe sitting on the Iron Throne with your own direwolf?

I am in the process of building Dmitry Sholokhov brand and taking it to the next level. The best way to see all the latest updates is by following me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and dmitrysholokhov.com.

I am pretty sure that you will see me everywhere sooner rather than later. Not sure about the Iron Throne, but you never know!)  

Well, someone’s got to take the Iron Throne away from Joffrey!

                                             (Fan art by Slake Saunders... yes, my sister.)

Finally, what’s your current….

*Song you can’t stop listening to?

Can’t control myself when I hear Get Lucky by Daft Punk

*Book you can’t put down?

Need to find one!

*Favorite item of clothing or accessory?

My leather pants and YSL boots

Daft Punk, great choice! Can't stop listening to that one, either! Thank you so much for stopping by! 

Twitter: @dmitrysholokhov
Instagram: @dmitrysholokhov
Order your own Dmitry Sholokhov dress from his SS2014 collection through his website: http://dmitrysholokhov.com/contact
Listen to my April 2013 interview with Dmitry: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zcGvBxiiQ9k
And check out some shots of my own Dmitry dress making its big appearance at BEA: http://kendralsaunders.com/BEA2013.html

**Note: All photographs in this post are courtesy/property of Dmitry Sholokhov.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Authory Adventures and TBT

Today's activities included a quick shopping trip to help my sister choose a shirt for our upcoming trek to NYC and a meeting with my wonderful writer friend, Trisha Wooldridge, so I wore what any other alien-novel-writing-fashionista would do- a cool MUSE shirt!

And since it's Thursday, here's a big time throwback for #tbt .....

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Fashion Photographer Spotlight: Che Correa

 Sometime in late 2012, I was far from home physically and metaphorically, wandering the spectacular movie-set-quality TeslaCon event in Wisconsin. TeslaCon is famous the world over for its genius visual and immersive experience, created by Eric Larson. Between jetlag, though, and a stomach bug, I had spent most of the first two days of TeslaCon hiding out in my hotel room. By the third day, I reemerged to find that my friends were quite busy with their scheduled appearances at the event and I was quite alone, so I poked through the dealer room and ballroom. Along the way, I met a group of cool goths who looked as if they might have time traveled back from a war-torn, post-apocalyptic wasteland to share their desert-chic fashion sense and enjoy some cold beers, and a beautiful young woman wearing a colorful dress and some truly awesome glasses.

What started out as a chance encounter ended up becoming a night of laughter, whiskey shots, cheese sampling and an ongoing contact with photographer and cool nerd Che Correa.

Midwest-based Che Correa has an eye for dark subject matter, interesting lighting, and poses that are subtly provocative. Her style is perfectly jarring at times, and blends a feminine and masculine eye for fashion and shapes. Her personal style is enviable as well, mostly because she always looks so at-home in whatever she wears.

I had the opportunity to chat with her recently about her photography, her work for Cloud Orchid Magazine, an alternative fashion magazine that promotes fascinating new talent, and some tips she can give models who are interested in increasing their chances at landing gigs.

1. As a fashion photographer what is the most important thing you look for in models?

What I look for is the ability to transform into a character. To feel the emotion and transpire it onto the photograph. A grace and flow when it comes to the body and awareness of the light when posing.

2. Do you have certain settings that you prefer (indoor, outdoor, etc.)

Right now I'm working solely on studio settings. My ultimate goal would be to create my own sets or go to locations where I can create elaborate stories.

3. What is your advice for curvy fashionistas who are interested in becoming models?

Whether you are curvy or not, it is essential that you take care of your body. Your body is the tool you use the most to do your job, so take good care of it. Exfoliate, lotion, keep moisturized, and pamper your skin; condition and nurture your hair, etc. It shows when you walk in the door when you are trying to book a gig.

4. Who are some of the fashion designers you'd love to shoot for?

I would love to work with designers who love geometric shapes and pastel colors. That's why I really enjoy the works of Not Equal, which you happened to introduce me to. Also, I recently saw some of Amato Haute Couture gowns and they inspired me so much and Would love nothing more than to collaborate with them. I am also particular to masks and head dresses and one designer that stole my heart with her fabulous designs is Miss G Designs, from California.

5. I've seen that in your photographs, too, that eye for geometry. And NotEqual does certainly fit the bill, so I'm more than happy to have introduced you to their work. Now, you have to tell us a bit more about Cloud Orchid Magazine!

Cloud Orchid Magazine is a labor of love lead by my friends and partners in crime, Bryan Thompson and Little Alice. It is a magazine that focuses on Independent and new designers with a taste for Alternative Dark Fashions. We encourage designers with wild looks and fresh new designs to submit images for publication and love to see amazing photography showcasing the new fashions.

6. Very cool; designers, listen up! So, what do you think about Steampunk? We did, of course, meet at TeslaCon...

 I think Steampunk is the work of genius. The fashion is amazingly complicated and fun. The characters I've met make me want to dive right into that world and seriously never return. It is beautifully addictive and enchanting. I love it.

7. What is the best way for people to keep up with what you're doing?

The best way to keep up with via Facebook at facebook.com/CheCorreaPhotography, however, I also encourage people to follow me on other social media avenues, such as: 

Instagram: @fire_lies_within
Blog: http://checorreaphotography.wordpress.com/
Google +: +Che Correa.

8. If designers or models are interested in being featured in Cloud Orchid, who should they contact?

They should contact Bryan Thompson, Co-editor of Cloud orchid at Bryan@cloudorchid.com.

Thank you so  much to Che for the interview. I definitely suggest everyone check out her work, and follow her on social media. She promotes healthy lifestyle choices and posts interesting anecdotes about life as a photographer, as well as travel stories and links to art she loves.

**ALL photographs in this piece are courtesy and property of Che Correa. Do not post elsewhere, cut, or alter these photos.

(Me- far left, and Che, third from left, at TeslaCon! Photo courtesy of Cloud Orchid Magazine)

Monday, March 17, 2014

Sad News in the World of Fashion

Such a shame to hear the news that L'Wren Scott was found dead this morning.

Depression is an isolating, dangerous and often overlooked issue that countless people suffer with. Just this morning my dear friend Meghan Schuler wrote a guest post about depression and art. You can read it here.

Even the 'strongest' person can be fragile, and artists seem to be some of the most fragile of all. My wish for all of us is to cherish our loved ones, whatever their mental state, to encourage them to be safe and open about their depression. Life can be stressful, hurtful and tiring, but we can all help each other through the bad patches just by listening when our loved one needs to talk, and maybe offering a long hug.

How do you handle depression? And what do you wish others knew about YOUR depression?

Monday, March 10, 2014

The Psychology of a Bangin' Outfit

I've talked before about how empowering it is to wear something on the outside that reflects whatever you feel on the inside (wild, colorful, loud, prim, classy, etc) but it still amazes me how we can all have days when we put an outfit together and it just doesn't work. Then we might try it again and later and... it just works. You're on fire, you feel amazing, and you don't hide from any cameras that might pop out at you.

Tonight I thought a lot about that very subject, while tearing through my closet in search of an outfit for an upcoming event, and saying things like "I have nothing to wear!" to my (very patient) sister. 2013 included a lot of major public appearances for me, including a book signing at the Book Expo America, several fashion shows at NYFW, an appearance at New York Comic Con, and a book signing in my home town. And then there was that 4 day trip to Ohio to visit with my best friend. Anytime a best friend is involved, especially one you only get to see once a year, you have to up your fashion game.

So here's a collection of some of my favorite outfits from 2013. Feel free to tweet me some pictures of your own, over at @kendrybird

 (Payton dress)
 (Top: Rue 21/ Skirt: Payton)
 (Dress: Dmitry Sholokhov/ Accessories: Half-Lucid Jewelry)
 (Jacket: Old Navy/ Earrings: Half-Lucid Jewelry)
 (Dress: thrifted/ Corset: Burlington Coat Factor/ Hat: thrifted/ Earrings: Half-Lucid Jewelry)

 (Dress: Dmitry Sholokhov/ Shoes: Charlotte Russe/ Earrings: Half-Lucid Jewelry)
 (Shirt: Ali & Kris/ Dress: Connected)
 (Dress: Lauren Conrad/ Earrings: Half-Lucid Jewelry/ Flower crown: Claire's)
(Dress: Payton/ Bracelet: NotEqual)

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Accessory Artist Spotlight: Louzart

Louzart is perhaps more of a state of mind than even a jewelry mind. It's colorful, unique, and screams for attention. The creator of Louzart, Lou Romine Ratliff, is similarly fabulous. I had the honor recently of chatting with her about her steampunk-meets-high-art creations. Read on to learn more about Louzart, hear Lou's advice for curvy fashionistas and much more...

I’m such a jewelry lover myself, and usually I feel frustrated that jewelry just isn’t… well, big enough! Outrageous enough! Colorful enough! Is that why you started creating jewelry?
I’ve collected wild and large jewelry pieces since I was in high school. I’ve never had my ears pierced, as I have hundreds of pairs of huge colorful vintage clips that I wasn’t going to get rid of or pay to have retooled. I taught middle school for 30 years, and my jewelry was always my banner of recognition, not to mention unusual clothing and accessories. The kids really liked my “look”. When I retired, I began looking at some of the pieces and thought I could probably do this, too. And, I did. That’s how my little jewelry industry began.
Louzart uses some wonderful, unusual materials, many of them looking vaguely like ‘found’ items from the past. What’s the most unusual material you’ve ever used in your jewelry?
The most unusual piece of jewelry I ever created was a cuff bracelet made with fake dog poop. I saw it in a gag shop and thought it would be a hoot as jewelry. It sold immediately! So did the necklace I created out of fake barf! I never created with those two items again. I didn’t want a tag on my jewelry that it was nothing but crap.
Haha! I doubt very much that anyone would think that. So, do you wear your own creations?
Sometimes I wear my own creations and have sold them right off of my body! More often than not, I wear my own collection pieces.

How did you first find the steampunk aesthetic, and what do you love most about it?
Ah, steampunk…I’ve been a devotee for several years of the Victorian/Edwardian industrial period. I like the raw, heavy and industrial tool box look about it. My father collected mechanical pieces small and huge, most were steam powered, and as a kid, the look of it with all of its brass, cast metal, noise, and smell, etc. fascinated me. I’d give him the credit from my love of steampunk.
I think that definitely makes you one of the most authentic people in steampunk right now, then. How can new fans find and buy your work?
The easiest place for new fans to find me is on Etsy at my shop called Louzart. They can find all manner of jewelry, in different genres, altered bottles and jars, altered dolls, plus wall hanging décor, and in the summer they can find my clothing line called Gypsy Rags. All of my items are hand done using a myriad of media and none are ever duplicated. If an item is small enough, I’ll upcycle it into something that I find interesting and wearable.
I’m also in retail at the prestigious Mac Worthington Gallery of Contemporary Art in Columbus, OH, as well as shops called Simply Vague (one at Tuttle Mall & one at Polaris Mall) in Columbus, OH and a kicky little boutique in Grove City, OH called Déjà vu. 

What’s your greatest advice for curvy fashionistas?

I’m not sure how to raise consciousness for the curvy or older fashionistas.  I always get oodles of comments, all good – though there are snickers from time to time, from strangers.  Many of them say they love the look but couldn’t carry it off. I think younger gals in the majority know exactly what their style is, or the look they want to achieve, curvy or not. They’ve been exposed to a lot more edgy fashion and accessories than us older gals. As for the curvy gal…GO for it. That little black dress and black hose look is OUT. Many of the plus size retailers were heading in the right direction, but then got slack. It’s just too plain and everyday for my tastes. I’m hoping that my style will translate into a statement to the curvy gals, don’t worry about it. If you’re covered up, you can do it!

Are there any celebrities that you especially enjoy watching for cutting edge fashion or accessories? Are there certain songs, bands or movies that inspire your work?
I’ve never modeled myself after any notable gals. Perhaps I’m just too independent for that. I’m not inspired by movies, books or music. I’m only inspired by the firing of my mental synapses and don’t always know how anything’s going to look when completed.

Just the way I'd expect a lovely and independent gal such as yourself to be! What are your biggest plans for 2014?
My biggest plan for 2014 is to continue with Louzart and remain focused on the rare and unusual. 

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Huzzah for Good Hair Days

What's a good hair day for you? Clean? Curly? Straight? Natural?

For me, it's all about body for my naturally fine hair, and just a bit of curl. I grew up in Texas in the era of tight curls and crimped curls and those godawful Texas-does-it-big bang curls! For years I struggled with hating my straight hair for how lifeless it was, but avoiding anything even close to a curl. Finally, sometime last year, I found my happy medium. Hot curlers and hairspray can sure work wonders... and without the embarrassing 80s/90s results!

Leave a comment about what makes a great hair day for you, and here's to many great ones in the future!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Body Positivity in Fiction

When I set out to write The Unlove Spell, I was beginning a journey that was new to me. I’ve always written about magic, and complicated, dark haired (usually foreign) men, and I love to write with a humorous tone that wheels between screwball and dark, but a romance? That was a new experience altogether.

The Unlove Spell is the story of Marling, a young witch who accidentally placed a spell on herself to prevent her heart from ever belonging to anyone but Viktor Arson, the hot Russian writer she shared a passionate, but brief, fling with. Marling’s spent the five years since their fling alone, occupying her personal time with the internet and hot chocolate. Viktor, who is actually a fae prince, has gone on to become a world-famous writer. He can also still make a killer good cup of coffee and wear the hell out of some leather pants. Marling finds herself caught up in a screwball plot by one of her former magic teachers and winds up in Russia, hunting Viktor down and trying to determine if she really loves him, or if her feelings are just a product of the unlove spell.

Facing a story that is primarily romantic left me nervous about falling into the deep treads of BEEN THERE, DONE THAT. Let’s be honest… there’s nothing new that could ever happen in romance. Two beings fall in love with each other, face some kind of adversity, overcome it and live happily ever after. Or one of them freezes to death on a raft that could have likely supported the weight of two people. Ahem.

One of my biggest goals with Marling was to portray a girl we all know and can believe in, instead of the 'effortlessly cool' girls I see in a lot of romantic fiction. She’s a little flighty, she doesn’t know exactly what she wants to do with her life, she sometimes lies to her peers about having a stomach bug to avoid going to an awkward party. She likes to look at pictures of cute animals on the internet. She can't go all Black Widow and kick someone in the face with her high heeled boots. But my real starting point for Marling was this:

There were three things that Marling was not particularly pleased about in regards to herself. One, her nose was crooked. Two, her voice was a bit deeper than she’d like it to be. Third, even after two consecutive years of French tutoring as a child, Marling could only remember about a dozen French words. Of course, there were also three things that she was terribly proud of. One, she’d never dyed her chesnut-brown hair (well, maybe once she’d dyed it with a spray can of sparkly pink stuff but it had mostly washed out after five weeks). Two, she had always maintained a comfortable size 12 (petite). Third, she had over six thousand followers on tumblr.

Marling is never called plus-sized. Marling doesn’t endure pages of self-torture about diets, eating, losing weight, looking ‘fat’ or worrying about how thin other people are. In fact, the only time Marling’s size is called into question is when Viktor’s mother- a major antagonist in the story- calls her fat. The scene is painful for Marling, as it would be for anyone. Yes, Marling is a size 12. No, she’s not as small as some girls. Yes, she’s probably been called fat in her life. But she doesn’t obsess over her weight or expect others will either.

Marling Ellis is an average sized, brunette American girl, and she likes nice clothes and meets a great guy, no calorie-counting or salad obsessions or “aww, the fat girl gets a guy too, aren’t you shocked!?” plotline needed.

If I can make only one revolutionary wave in the world of modern romance stories, I’d be proud for this to be it.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Upcoming Features and Interviews!

The month of March has already given us some glorious moments in fashion, including Lupita Nyong'o's luminous and enthralling appearance at the Oscars last night, where she won Best Supporting Actress as well as all of our hearts. But there's lots more ahead!

I'll be featuring interviews this month with some wonderful people from across the world of fashion, including designers, photographers, models and more. You'll want to follow the blog and check back regularly for updates!

For now- congratulations to lovely Lupita!

Watch her speech here:

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