The Woman Behind the Camera Part II

STOP! In the name of blogs! Before you read this post!

Please head over to The Pinup Professor for Part I of the post!

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I was so excited to have the opportunity to be a guest blogger for The Pinup Professor this week! It was an absolute honor, as her blog is one of my favorites. In this very special two part Tuesday Tribute, you’ll get to read about the woman behind the camera on Annie’s blog, and more information about the transformation process here.

Bunny Yeager, similar to Bettie Page and Millicent Patrick, is an inspirational woman who left her mark as a pinup model and photographer. Thus, Bunny embodies the glamorous, sexy, model and the comfortably cute artist. Why pick and choose one persona when you can be anything you want to be?

For this transformation tribute, I chose three Bunny looks to recreate with the help of my friend! For all of the looks, I used a vintage brownie camera I found off of Etsy for $10. The flash did not have the little lamp, but since it was merely used as a prop, I didn’t think of making it look realistic at that moment!

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The first look, also featured on the Pinup Professor, is one of my favorite photos of Bettie and Bunny working together.

I love this photo because of the dynamic between Bettie and Bunny. You see Bunny admiring Bettie, and Bettie looks absolutely liberated. Since the beach was such an important part of Bunny and Bettie’s work together, I knew I just had to include a beach scene. After all, Bunny lived in Miami and many of Bettie’s photos as well as her own self-portraits were on the beach. Being at the beach, feeling the [extreme] wind in your hair, and the sand in your toes is such a relaxing experience – it’s probably another factor why Bunny was so comfortable shooting at the beach!

For this look, I borrowed my friend’s vintage tiki shirt, which I actually found for him at Slone Vintage in Burbank, and the Laura Byrnes high waisted shorts in olive twill from Pinup Girl Clothing. Funny enough, my shoes are actually Bettie Page, but they no longer carry this style on their site!

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The second look was from a self-portrait of Bunny Yeager with Artistic lighting, taking in Miami in the 1950s. She is wearing casual leggings and a seemingly white, or a lightly colored cardigan. To be honest, I got rid of my basic leggings a long time ago. I definitely did not want to make an additional purchase for a photo recreation, so I opted for my Funny Face pants by Pinup Girl Clothing. Since the pants are actually much longer on me that leggings, I simply folded the pants in to look more like the length of Bunny’s leggings. I also paired it with a white H&M cardigan I got from their bargain rack. This was definitely one of my favorite looks to recreate because the items were so basic and can easily be found in most closets.

Luckily, I had my makeup and hair done professionally in the morning by Erika Reno and Missy Firestone for a different very special photoshoot, so it was great to have my hair and makeup done for this special tribute! Both ladies are absolutely amazing and super sweet!

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The third and final look I recreated was not necessarily trying to mimic the photo exactly as it is, but just to have some fun as well!

For this recreation, I used the Laura Byrnes California Sean top and high waisted shorts in olive twill from Pinup Girl Clothing. I opted for this blouse because it had the classic neckline in her photo and similar length sleeves. Once again, I already have this top in my closet so I didn’t spend any more on clothes to recreate this look. What I love about more of Bunny’s looks as a photographer is that she primarily wore basic pieces which can be mixed and matched easily. In an era of exquisite couture gowns, fabulous pinup outfits, and gorgeous tea length dresses and petticoats, these Bunny outfits definitely stand out!

I also wanted to include the following two photos, just because  I loved them so much!
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Thanks for reading Part I and II of this special Tuesday Tributes post! Until next time ❤

 

 

Bettie Page: Pinup Feminist?

I want to thank Ani for graciously inviting me to share my thoughts on her fabulous blog. Please check out my site, The Pinup Professor, for more articles about feminism and pinup fashion.  Thanks for reading!

Virgin or slut? Madonna or whore? For centuries, these reductive dichotomies have distinguished and characterized female sexual identity. We women are often forced to negotiate between tautological extremes, hoping to avoid allegations of promiscuity while maintaining our sexual autonomy. In a world full of Kardashians, we’re told, be an Audrey. We judge ourselves, and other women, based on binary systems of evaluation. But these dueling stereotypes can never fully capture our sexuality and our identity as women.

 

Throughout history, feminists have confronted oppressive constructions of female identity, including the Victorian “cult of true womanhood” and the feminine mystique of the mid-century. While many women, like Betty Friedan, articulated their objections through the written word, another Bettie chose quite a different medium to challenge patriarchal norms.

Now, it would be disingenuous to suggest that Bettie Page’s motivation for modeling was to “smash the patriarchy.” It wasn’t. Nevertheless, her ability to add complexity and nuance to the pinup genre, which, at the time, had been hijacked by the one-dimensional “Playmate,” was, in its own way, revolutionary, and dare I say…feminist?

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When Bettie Page first appeared in Bizarre magazine, pinup art had devolved from the empowered and subversive Vargas Girl to the submissive and childlike Playboy Playmate. Maria Buszek, in her book Pin-up Grrrls, attributes the regression to the postwar climate in America. Starting from the trauma of war, patriarchal America was anxious to return to a simpler time with clearly delineated gender roles. Men worked. Women stayed at home. Gone were the complicated, dangerous femme fatales; they were quickly replaced by images of subdued and compliant bombshells. As Hugh Hefner related, “Playboy is not interested in the mysterious, difficult woman…” His magazine, saturated with the male gaze, was unapologetically produced for the exclusive perusal and enjoyment of men.

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It was into this particular milieu that Bettie Page interjected her brazen good looks and lighthearted personality. Rather than being reduced to a sex object, Bettie Page turned herself into the subject of a particular brand of bondage-and-domination (B-D) photography. Instead of pigeon-holing herself as a “top” or a “bottom” (which was customary within the genre), Page performed both roles with her signature, over-the-top playfulness. Her sexuality was multidimensional, self-directed, and fun. She was also photographed by women (the indelible Bunny Yeager) for both male and female audiences. In effect, Bettie Page completely subverted the pinup standard of the day.

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I suppose that’s why I find it surprising that, just earlier this year, a house mural of Bettie Page was defaced with the note, “Stop exploiting women’s bodies” signed by “some feminists.” The argument, unfortunately, is one that has persisted within the women’s movement for quite some time. I have read too many many feminist blogs slut-shaming women for participating in burlesque or for wearing “revealing” clothing. While perhaps well-intentioned, these women are complicit in the same type of dichotomic thinking which reduces women to sluts or saints by conflating sexual expression with exploitation. The owner of the Washington house mural, Jessica Baxter, responded perfectly by obscuring the “feminist” message with one of her own: “Autonomous sexuality is empowerment. Telling a woman to cover up is oppression.”

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I think it’s about time that we abandon the archaic and rigid binaries that have defined us for so long. While I would personally never cover up for religious reasons or bare all as a pinup model, many women who do so are exercising personal agency, and that—in and of itself—is a feminist undertaking. And based on that criterion alone, Bettie Page may have very well have been a pinup feminist.

  

At Home with Monsters

Happy Labor Day, everyone! Aren’t Monday holidays just the absolute best?

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Last Sunday, I had the opportunity to view Guillermo Del Toro’s exhibition, At Home With Monsters at LACMA. The exhibition runs through November 27, so I’d recommend viewing the exhibit before it’s too late. Tickets sell out quickly, so we reserved a time slot online in order to ensure that we’ll get in. LACMA members get in for free, but those who aren’t members must pay $25 for the special exhibition, which also includes general admission.

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The exhibition was held in the Art of Americas building, which is one one of my favorite spaces in LACMA. Previously, Haunted Screens: German Cinema in the 1920s was also exhibited in the space, so I loved seeing the varying ways that LACMA utilizes that space. At Home with Monsters was organized in winding pathways and smaller sectioned off rooms, almost as if you are walking through a maze-like home. If you looked through certain openings in the walls, you’d be able to see sculptures glancing back at you.

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The exhibition featured pieces from Guillermo Del Toro’s personal collection, sketches, costumes, and clips from his films, as well as pieces from LACMA’s collection. The artworks on view were all great; I really appreciated that many etchings from LACMA’s collection were put on display right alongside del Toro’s collection, such as Disney concept art, life sized figures of writers and horror characters, and other items. Displaying older etchings next to contemporary works allows audiences to view them in a completely new, and rather untraditional context. Some of the items that were brought over from del Toro’s Bleak House included a life-sized statue of Edgar Allan Poe reading.a gothic inspired chair, and life sized sculptures of Frankenstein and his Bride.

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While I enjoyed the exhibition – as much as I was able to see from it – I do believe that there were too many pieces to completely appreciate the exhibition from one visit. When viewing any museum or exhibition, one shouldn’t try to see everything the museum has to offer. Often times, people can get overwhelmed and quickly forget most of the things they saw. Instead, if guests pay attention to a few key pieces, the experience would seem more fulfilling.

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At Home With Monsters looked aesthetically pleasing, almost like trying to recreate a wunderkammer, Cabinet of Curiositywhich I genuinely appreciated. However, there was an overwhelming amount of artworks, comics, sculptures, costumes, and film clips,  most of which I felt like I missed out on. Not only was there an overabundance of pieces in the show, but the exhibit was overcrowded. While LACMA’s efforts at crowd control are undeniable, it was impossible to get to see certain pieces that I really wanted to.

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Lately, I feel as if LACMA  has become the Disneyland of museums. Featuring blockbuster exhibitions such as this are great ways of bringing in new audiences to see museums, but the overwhelming amount of pieces, combined with the number of people there to view the exhibit means that exhibitions are no longer for single day visits. Guests must now visit the exhibition more than once to firstly see the whole exhibit, let alone understand anything from it.

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I know I’ll definitely have to visit the exhibition again, but luckily I get to see it for free, because I can’t imagine having to pay $25 admission plus $12 parking every time I want to see an exhibition. Paying for museum admission is a bit strange to me, as I firmly believe that museums should be free and always open to the public for entertainment and education, but charging $25 is absolutely preposterous! But alas, what can we do! LACMA knows how to cash in on things that people want to see, and they’re really good at it.

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For this museum trip, I wore my Glamour Ghoul dress in black and white stripes, minus the peplum. Since I got the dress from the yardsale, it didn’t come with the detachable peplum. However, since I’m a fan of wiggle dresses, I have no problem wearing it as is without the peplum! I paired it with my burgundy coffin purse from Tatyana boutique and simple black heels.

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Outfit Details:
Dress: Pinup Girl Clothing
Purse: Tatyana
Shoes: Sidecca

I’m a drawing now!

I have a bucket list. One of the things on my bucket list is to become a cartoon/illustration/painting. This is the true story of how I finally crossed that off my bucket list with the help of an amazingly talented friend.

I follow a bunch of talented individuals on Instagram because I love to stay updated with all the new work that they’re doing. Seeing creative people produce beautiful work always encourages me to try harder in my own creative ventures. As much as people like to view technology through a dystopian lens, it’s through the use of social media and technology that individuals from diverse geographic locations are able to connect and establish relationships.

Through the online pinup community, I had the opportunity to meet the lovely Miss Christine, who happens to be a talented illustrator as well. Her overall style and aura is simply amazing. She has one of my favorite vintage styles, a very kind heart, and some serious talent.

I’ve seen many of her works before and her illustrations of pinup girls are one of my personal favorites.  The girls she draws are delicate, sultry, curvy, and just plain perfect. She first posted that she’s accepting ideas and commissions and I thought I should just take a chance and ask her to do an illustration of me.

IMG_8765.JPGI wanted something that will reflect my personality. I love dressing pinup and being all cute and showing off curves, but I do also have a dark side. Immediately, I thought I drew inspiration from my first photoshoot with Keith at Angelus Rosedale Cemetery. When I brought this up to Christine, she also loved the idea of a spooky pinup illustration! Settling on the idea and theme was pretty easy because we immediately understood one another. I was so confident in this project! I really appreciated that she also shared with me each step of creative process, up to the final result. At each step, I thought, “okay, it can’t get any better than this.” But it did!

She also gave me the option of choosing what color background I’d like and if I’d like to add some glitter for just a touch of sparkle. I really liked the idea of doing a darker shade of red for the background, which worked really well with the overall spookiness of the drawing. The touch of glitter gave the drawing some more dimension and worked perfectly with the overall look.

Out of excitement, I already shared the illustration on Instagram, so you may or may not have seen it. However, every amazing artwork deserves an amazing frame. And now that I’ve found one, I’m so happy to share with you the final artwork on display in my room!

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I just love how she captured exactly what I wanted and who I was in a single portrait. Many can be great painters, but not all can be great artists who can capture exactly what their client wants. Christine is most definitely the latter!

Check out the piece it was inspired by, taken by the amazingly talented photographer, Keith:

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The dress and the shoes in the photo that inspired the portrait are from Pinup Girl Clothing, and my hair was done by Missy Firestone and makeup by Erika Reno.

Emily: History of the World, Part I

[I’m really honored to feature Emily as my first guest writer. She first asked me to guest write for her blog, which prompted me to begin my own blog. Without her, the Museum Pinup wouldn’t exist.]

Hi everyone, I’m Emily from Thoroughly Modern Emily, and I’m over-the-moon excited to be here on Ani’s fabulous blog! Ani is one of my fave pinup pals – she’s as kind as she is smart and gorgeous! – and I was so delighted when she decided to start a style blog to showcase her amazing art-inspired outfits and share her incredible art-history knowledge with the world!

Like Ani, I’m also a museum pinup: I work at a natural history museum in Chicago. For this post, I decided to embrace the theme of this blog and take you inside the incredible world of life in a natural history museum.

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Ani could tell you what type of columns these are, but I can’t ;). I love where I work so much that I sometimes visit on the weekends!

Many people are surprised to learn that what they see in a museum is often only a small fraction of all the items in that museum’s collections. This is definitely true at the Field Museum: of the approximately 27 million specimens in our collections, less than 1% are on display at any given time! You might be wondering: what on earth do they do with the other 26,730,000 specimens?

The answer, folks, is research! The museum I work at is essentially a Cave of Wonders for scientists, many of whom travel from all over the world to do research there. The people who finally figured out what type of animal Illinois’ state fossil actually was? Museum scientists! The people who figured out that DDT was killing off peregrine falcons in the 1950s and 1960s? Collections of peregrine falcon eggs in natural-history museums helped them to unravel the mystery!

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These two signs are on either side of the door to the herbarium. Science humor is the best humor!

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I learn something new at work almost every single day, and it’s awesome. My other favorite perk of the job is being able to wear whatever I want to work. It’s basically the only workplace I’ve ever encountered where my Deadly Dames Venus flytrap dress is the most work-appropriate item in my wardrobe (owing to the massive botany collection, of course! Everyone on the bus made ‘Feed me, Seymour’ comments; my coworkers complimented my Dionaea muscipula print.)

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In putting together a natural history museum-themed outfit for this post, I decided to make reference to the four overarching scientific disciplines housed inside the museum: botany, anthropology, zoology, and geology. Botany was the easiest to represent, since hair flowers and pinup dresses go together like grilled and cheese. I chose my all-time favorite hair flower, the orange rose double from Daisy Jean Floral Designs.

The Nancy dress from Pinup Girl Clothing is one of my favorite silhouettes that they make; I have it in three difference colors! It was a challenge to choose between this peach Mary Blair butterfly print and my pink lemonade version, but in the end, I went with the butterfly print to represent zoology and pay homage to the enormous insects collection.

Fun fact: There are over 8 million specimens in the insects collection alone. The insects collection includes 19,000 of what’s called ‘bulk samples:’ jars that contain a variety of species collected in a single place at a single time. Bulk samples are incredibly valuable to scientists, who can learn a great deal about a particular ecosystem and the relations between species by studying them. I’ve been told that scientists frequently discover new species when they pop open a bulk sample to study something else, and it blows my mind to think about how many species we still know nothing about.

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Geology was a difficult choice, since the Museum has the largest collection of meteorites in a private institution and I have a soft spot in my heart for the many space-themed garments in my closet. I went back and forth on whether to swap the Nancy for one of my space skirts, but ultimately decided to honor the Museum’s most famous exhibit, Sue the Tyrannosaurus Rex, with my Atomic Lucite brooch.

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Dinosaur brooches are among my most work-appropriate accessories.

Finding an anthropology-related piece was the hardest of them all. I racked my brain for ages, wondering if it was cheating to say that my engagement ring was a reference to anthropology, since I’m fascinated in cultural practices around courtship, before remembering my stroll through the Hall of the Pacific a few weeks ago. Many of the garments and artifacts on display were made out of plants, so I chose this vintage wicker purse as a nod to the woven bags used by many women all over the world.

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The next time you visit a natural history museum, I hope you will think a little about all the hard work that scientists put in to gather and study those specimens so that all of us can learn a little more about the 4 billion year-long story of Planet Earth. Where else in the world can you see rocks from the Moon, 8-carat diamonds, actual dinosaurs, long-extinct birds, plants from all over the planet, and an entire room of ceremonial malaggans, all under one roof?

It’s been an honor to share two of my favorite things with all of you, and I hope you enjoyed this sneak peek into my world. Stop by on my Instagram (I’m @emily.hallock), Facebook, Twitter, or over on my blog and say hi!

The Beauty Who Created the Beast

A few months ago, a friend of mine came across a photo on the Universal Monsters Instagram page of Millicent Patrick in the process of creating the Creature for the Black Lagoon.

Immediately we thought of recreating a few of her imagine with the creature’s mask because she just looks so great posing with her beloved monster.

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I already had the Lolita top from Pinup Girl Clothing, which was basically identical to the one in Millicent’s photos. I also had black suede heels, a vintage pearl necklace passed down to me, and earrings from one of my favorite jewelry designers, Insect Diva. Although the earrings aren’t identical, the general shape and color of the earrings worked just fine.

Now, I just had to find the perfect black skirt to recreate it. When I first saw the skirt in the photo, I thought it was be impossible to come across something similar. After all, I search through Etsy like its my job. After a lot of searching, I finally came across a black tiered skirt with four velvet strips, made of an unusually thick (and horribly itchy) taffeta-like material. The waist was 2 inches too big but I was not going to pass on this skirt!
Once it arrived and I started carefully examining the skirt, I realized it’s nearly identical to the skirt that she was wearing in her photos. Both our skirts have 4 velvet tiers and a thin velvet waistband, the skirts seem to have the same circumference, and they both seem to be made of this unusual material.

Call me crazy, but after a while I truly started believing that this may be her skirt!

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The hardest part (yes, harder than finding the skirt) was purchasing the mask. We went back and forth with various different types of masks. Firstly, these things cost a fortune! So it was a serious investment. Second, some latex masks are poor quality.

Luckily, our beloved Halloween Town in Magnolia Park had the mask we were looking for – somewhat affordable yet not completely lackluster in quality. When I went to purchase, this was actually the last mask they had left. It was definitely meant to be!

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The day of the photoshoot I also had a hair cut by the amazing Missy Firestone so I didn’t even have to do my hair. While I usually don’t like updos, we decided to try out a poodle just to see how I’d like it. And to be honest, I absolutely loved it!! It worked with my outfit for Tiki Night and it worked for the photoshoot since Millicent’s hair wasn’t down. She didn’t have a poodle, but a slight variation in image reproductions never hurt anyone!

Of course, the photoshoot itself was all fun and games, however, when you take a step back and realize the history behind the photos, you can’t help but get a little serious.

Millicent Patrick was a talented woman who’s involvement spanned multiple areas of the industry, including music, acting, animation, modeling, and makeup. She was also one of Disney’s first female animators.

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Patrick created Dr. Hyde’s look for the 1953 film Abbott and Costello Meet Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. In 1954, she worked on the Gill-Man and created the final approved version of the creature. In order to promote the film, she was sent on a nationwide tour, where she was presented as “The Beauty Who Created the Beast.” The Creature was rightfully her design, but George “Bud” Hamilton Westmore was irritated that he was not credited with the character’s creation. The PR heading was eventually changed to “The Beauty Who Lives with Beasts,” as a way to encompass all the other works she’s done, and to calm the hotheaded Westmore. He started spreading rumors that the creature was completely his own creation, not mentioning her and trying his hardest to discredit her. He went so far that she was essentially exiled from the makeup department at Universal.

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As a result of this mess, Patrick essentially disappeared from entirely from the Industry. Very little is known about what else she did afterwards, although people are certain she starred in 21 roles as an actress within two decades. She passed away in February of 1998, with little awareness of her true talent and contributions to the horror genre.

This photoshoot was very significant because I had the opportunity to honor a talented woman whose contributions were swept under the rug simply not to risk irritating a male counterpart. She is the creator, and truly deserves the title of “The Beauty Who Created the Beast.”

Outfit Details:
Top: Pinup Girl Clothing
Skirt: Vintage
Earrings: Insect Diva
Necklace: Vintage
Shoes: Steve Madden

Miracle Mile

Question: How many candy striped items can a girl have?
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I wanted to blog about the Candy Striped harley dress the day I got in the mail but I thought I should wait a little so we avoid stripes overload. I realize I have a problem, but I just can’t help myself – I love stripes!

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The moment I saw the Harley dress I immediately though of Robert Irwin’s Miracle Mile on display at LACMA. The shades and sequence of colors are very similar of Miracle Mile are almost identical to the shades of the new candy striped harley dress.

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Robert Irwin, Miracle Mile, 2013-ongoing

Robert Irwin is a contemporary installation and light works artist known for his site-specific works, whose first exhibition of paintings was in LACMA in 1957. In Miracle Mile, Irwin has used 66 fluorescent tubes covered in colorful gels varying in shades. A single photograph cannot actually capture what Miracle Mile does to a viewer’s perception in person.

The artwork is situated in a hallway that connects Richard Serra’s Band and Chris Burden’s Metropolis II. On the opposing end is a large panoramic window right along Wilshire Blvd. (yes, Miracle Mile faces Miracle Mile). The artwork’s complexity stems from its relationship to its surroundings. However, without human and natural intervention, Miracle Mile would cease to exist. The artwork evolves every second of the day, just as shadows and lighting shift outside on Wilshire Blvd. The piece can never look the same because so many elements factor into the existence of the piece. In addition, the viewer’s perception and individual experience with the artwork deepens the complexity of the piece. Where the viewer stands, how they look, and what they choose to notice in the piece creates an experience that can never be duplicated.

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Miracle Mile Sign on Wilshire Blvd, circa 1940 

Not only can you view Miracle Mile when you’re in the gallery, you can also view it outside as you’re walking across the street, which completely changes the definition of how to view art in museums. Irwin’s choice to position his piece in a way that museum goers and the public can view also gets me to question standard definitions of museums. As a museum professional, my goal is to bring people to the museum. A visitors physical presence in the museum is significant because they chose to walk through those doors and view art. But Irwin’s choice of offering Miracle Mile a dual existence allows art to trickle into people’s peripheral vision, whether they are in the museum with the intention of viewing his piece or not.

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Pinup Girl Clothing’s [sort of] new candy striped Harley dress similarly plays with a viewer’s perception. The dress has beautifully vivid red, green, blue stripes of varying thicknesses. Initially, I thought they were on a white background, but upon further inspection, I noticed they’re actually a very soft shade of pink. The dress is stunning because just like Irwin’s Miracle Mile, the Harley dress changes according to the lighting and the viewer’s perception. As you can seen in the various images, the colors of the dress shift according to the lighting and where I’m standing.

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The dress comes with a red belt which is perfect, because I love wearing red. I put in a simple hair flower I got from the H&M in Lebanon and one of my favorite Bettie Page shoes. Bettie Page shoes are so stylish and comfortable, and the best part is there are frequent Zulily sales where you can find them for very cheap.

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I was initially hesitant about the bodice because I was worried it wouldn’t look good on my shoulders. I was definitely wrong! It’s super flattering and very comfortable to wear. Because you can’t wear a regular bra with the dress, the best option is strapless. I prefer to wear a longline strapless because I find it more comfortable than regular strapless bras, and I’m less anxious about going out in them.

 

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I’m also glad that all the new PUG dresses and skirts have pockets! It’s perfect for the modern girl who has a vintage heart.

Outfit Details:
Dress: Pinup Girl Clothing
Shoes: Bettie Page Shoes
Hair Accessory: H&M
Petticoat: Malco Modes

 

Swimsuit Season!

It’s always fun in the sun until someone gets burned, right? Well unfortunately that someone was me on my recent trip to Palm Springs. I haven’t been sunburned in years so I didn’t realize that  it feels like my skin is covered by a layer of clay and is slowly cracking. Regardless, being in the sun and wearing swimsuits is still one of my favorite things.

This is a special blog post dedicated to my favorite category of clothing – swimwear! I have a constantly growing collection of vintage and reproduction swimwear. I can’t get enough.

For this trip, I decided to take 5 of my favorite swimsuits with me – 3 by Vintage Suits by Mary, one by Pinup Girl Clothing, and one by Esther Williams. I really wanted to take a couple of my vintage suits as well, but I thought I’ll just stick to reproduction pieces since I’ll be in the water most of the time.

I ended up wearing 4 out of the 5 swimsuits I took with me because I didn’t end up going in the pool on the last day of our mini vacation. Although I didn’t wear my bikini, I don’t have anything against bikinis – I love them! However, I just ended up gravitating more towards my one piece suits this trip.

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Nina Leen, Life Magazine, 1950

Any time I’m in a swimsuit, I always think of vintage photographs of fabulous girls relaxing at the beach, especially like Nina Leen’s beach fashion photographs for Life Magazine. Nina Leen is one of my favorite photographers and a pretty badass woman. She had a wonderful eye for fashion but also photographed circus life and animals. One of her goals was to publish a book about bats. She is definitely one of my favorite women in the history of art.

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The first suit I wore is one of my favorites because I got it on sale from the Pinup Girl website. I’ve had my eye on it forever but never bought it. Finally, it was on sale and although it was out of stock in my size, I took the risk and sized down. It still fit perfectly although it’s a bit tighter than I’d like it to be. Regardless, I’m so glad I finally have it in my possession. I absolutely love spiders and spiderwebs so this was the perfect suit for me!

I love a good mix of vintage, gothic, and swimwear and this piece has all that. It’s inspired by the 1960s Cole of California Scandal suit that had a mesh midriff.

Scandalous, indeed, but modest for us, millennials.

To match my swimsuit I wore my brand new 1922 Blood Red lipstick from Besame cosmetics. It is such a rich shade of red and I was so excited to wear it out.

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My second swimsuit is the one and only Queen of all swimwear, the Marilyn swimsuit by Pinup Girl Clothing.

It’s the most glamorous swimsuit I’ve ever owned in a luxurious burgundy color. The slight sparkle, gathered style, and cut makes the piece as glamorous as its namesake. It did come with detachable rhinestone brooches for the swimsuit straps but I honestly forgot to take them with me.

This was my first time wearing it in the water and not just to look fabulous. It looks just as gorgeous wet as it does dry. Naturally, it’s a lot darker when it’s wet.  It does take a long time to dry but that’s because there’s so much material. Mine took almost a full day to completely dry, but that’s why I was prepared with 5 swimsuits!

Just a random note: Pinup Girl Clothing even reposted my picture. Day. Made. 

My lipstick was American Doll Liquid Lipstick by Anastasia Beverly Hills. Its a true red lipstick that applies smoothly and stays on forever without bleeding. It’s her perfect for the pool or hot summer days when you’re too lazy to reapply lipstick!

#3 

The ultimate 1940s inspired swimsuit! I couldn’t get pictures of this by the pool, so I just have a couple of me wearing it before we headed out to the pool. It’s another swimsuit by Vintage Suits by Mary. For this, I stuck to my regular size small and it was perfect – almost as if t was designed specifically for my body. I absolutely love it!

I absolutely love this suit and it got a lot of attention from the other ladies at the pool. I had a couple of girls ask me where I got it from. Kristen Dunst was actually sitting next to me at the pool when I had this piece on – so now I have a very special memory attached to this piece too! After I complimented her swimsuit, she complimented mine. Major achievement unlocked! I just wish I wasn’t so shy to tell her how much I love her work.

The swimsuit is gathered in the center with a little triangular cutout and a little tie bust. It’s pretty much the Renee dress of swimwear.

I wanted to go for my signature color, red, but it was sold out in my size. I never thought I’d wear this swimsuit color so I was hesitant about buying it. However, I thought I needed to add some color to my collection, and I am so glad I did. The back of this swimsuit gives me a lot of anxiety because it shows off so much of my back. If you remember in my last post, I mentioned I have a birthmark on my back that I’m really self conscious about. I had to overcome my fear and go out in it. Although I’m still not fully comfortable,  a couple of drinks helped calm my nerves.

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My lipstick of the day was Victory Red by Besame Cosmetics. It’s inspired by a 1940s shade of red so it’s perfect for my 1940s inspired swimsuit!

#4

Now, last, but definitely not the least (well…in regards to coverage it’s the least! 😉), I present to you the Scandalous suit by Vintage Suits by Mary. It is inspired by the Cole of California Scandal suit. It has a plunging V neckline with a mesh insert and a completely open back.

I fell in love with this look because of Yvonne Craig’s picture of her Scandal suit. Isn’t she just perfect?!


Seriously, this girl is #goals.

I sized down in this piece per recommendations and it fit perfectly. I was really worried about coverage because I’ve never worn something like this before. However it’s so comfortable and form fitting you can confidently strut your stuff without worrying about….accidents…if you know what I mean! The back, similar to the previous swimsuit, is completely open and it was a challenge for me because I had my hair tied up on top of an open back.


But ladies at the pool were fascinated by the piece itself and no one commented on my back. Which was a serious relief for me!


I wore a hair flower by Nancy’s Fancy Fruits because I didn’t want an empty pony tail.

I also wore my Leading Lady Red lipstick by Charlotte Olympia for Mac Cosmetics. The lipstick is a beautiful shade of red that stays on forever. I’m not kidding. FOR. EV. ER.


This was definitely one of my favorite vacations because I got to wear so many of my favorite swimsuits. I had to struggle and come to terms with my insecurities.

At the end of the day, I noticed insecurities are natural – especially around the pool. We all have insecurities that we try so hard to hide, even if we’re the only ones that are aware of our flaws. If we can confidently enjoy ourselves, it wouldn’t matter what others think of us – or our imperfections.

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Nina Leen, Life Magazine, 1950

Outfit Details:
Suit 1: Vintage Suits by Mary
Suit 2: Pinup Girl Clothing
Suit 3: Vintage Suits by Mary
Suit 4: Vintage Suits by Mary

Lipsticks:
Besame Cosmetics 1922 Blood Red
Anastasia Beverly Hills American Doll Liquid Lipstick
Besame Cosmetics 1941 Victory Red
Mac Cosmetics Charlotte Olympia Leading Lady Red

Accessories:
Hair Flower: Nancy’s Fancy Fruits from Audrey K Boutique
Sunglasses: Ted Baker
Flip Flops: Target

 

Museum Mondays: the MONA

Happy Monday, and Happy Independence Day, America!

Since its museum Monday and Independence Day, I had a special visit to the Museum of Neon Art to see some great pieces of American neon and commercial history + a rather fitting outfit!

On Friday, to mark the beginning of the July 4th weekend, I decided to debut the brand new Renee dress in royal blue and head out to the Museum of Neon Art at their new, permanent location in Glendale, CA.

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I paired my Renee dress with my white and red Cosette petticoats from Malco Modes for a surprise pop of patriotism, put on my royal blue headband from Doll Me Up, Inc, a pair of red flats and my trusty Kate Spade purse in red.

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I had received my Renee dress a couple of days earlier. I absolutely love how the Renee looks on everyone, but I was self conscious because I had to bare some skin   Initially, I wasn’t comfortable at all. But since my man loved the dress so much, he convinced me to keep it. Honestly, I don’t think he’s ever loved a dress as much as he loved the Renee. Not that I need a mans approval, but this was the first time he paid so much attention to a day dress I got.

The dress is made from a beautiful cotton sateen, so it provides a luxurious look with a comfortable feel. There’s no need for a bra because there’s ample amount of padding. Depending on how you style the dress, it can completely fit the theme you’re going for. This was perfect as anIndependence Day Weekend kick off dress!

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Ideally, I match my outfit to the theme of the museum or a specific artwork the museum carries. So since I’d rather be in a potato sack than a neon outfit, I thought my “All American” look would match the aura of the vintage American neon signs the museum carries.

The Museum of Neon Art was established in 1981 but since then has had multiple locations. Its current location, I believe, is permanent. It’s so exciting that Glendale finally has a museum of its own – with the exception of the Brand Library and Arts Center, there was a definite lack in the arts.

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The museum is rather small, but they have done a wonderful job of preserving and displaying vintage neon signs. In addition to the vintage signs, MONA also exhibited the photographs of Instagram artists who, through social media, are preserving the historically significant neon signs all across the world. The wonderful docent at the museum told me they will also be featuring works by contemporary neon artists in order to show the history as well as the contemporary interpretations of neon art. This is fascinating to me – they not only preserve museum signs physically, but they do so digitally through the help of other artists and neon sign geeks.

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During my visit, three employees were working on restoring two signs, both of which I immediate recognized. The first was the Lanz neon sign from the 1950s Beverly Hills store front, and the second was the 1958 Bowl sign from Holiday Bowl in Crenshaw. I was absolutely thrilled to see Lanz and Holiday Bowl being restored because they’re both such iconic signs!

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In addition,  they had the 1928 Eagle Rock Public Library Sign, the Zodiac Room, Dale’s, and Papoo’s Hot Dog from 1949. Also in their collection but not yet on display is the one and only Brown Derby restaurant sign from the early 1930s. I’ll definitely be returning to see that legendary sign once it’s up! Fun fact: the Cobb Salad was invented at the Brown Derby!

Museum of Neon Art is definitely a gem. I asked about educational programming, [a girl can’t resist] and they did mention that they will be having workshops where you’ll learn how to create your own neon art. That is brilliant and I can’t wait to sign up!

So have a happy Fourth of July, everyone!

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Outfit Details:
Dress: Pinup Girl Clothing
Petticoats: Malco Modes
Head Scarf: Doll Me Up, Inc
Shoes: Baldi Shoes
Purse: Kate Spade, NY

🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸

I Dream of a Haunted Circus

So since my last post, the strangest things happened to me… my computer’s hard drive failed on me, which led me into a downwards spiral of stress and sadness. I lost so many important files, including childhood photos, undergraduate essays, among others.

Then, during a spontaneous trip to Disneyland, I had a sudden nerve pain even before I sat on a ride. I couldn’t sit or stand so now I’m constantly just trying to find the most comfortable position until I see a doctor.

I planned on writing a few posts but alas, I let my grief overcome me. Also, please ignore the bad quality photos this time around – I couldn’t stand and pose for too long. Regardless, here I am! Hi!

Pinup Girl Clothing came out with their new print peasant tops last week. I immediately ordered the pink and white striped because there was one specific outfit I wanted to try out. If you can’t tell yet, I love stripes! [3 out of my 4 blog posts so far feature stripes, I have a problem!]

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As usual with Pinup Girl Clothing, I received my peasant top the next business day. Their customer service is simply amazing!

The stripes on this peasant top are so perfect, and they remind me of Jo Ann Callis’ artwork, Untitled. Her work is absolutely beautiful, and I particularly appreciate the way she frames her subjects, highlighting the surrealism and seductiveness of her subjects. I came across the following photograph by Callis while perusing LACMA’s artwork database. The print is surrounded by a pink and white striped fabric mat, very similar to Pinup Girl’s new peasant top.

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Jo Ann Callis, Untitled, 1995. Photograph (LACMA)

 

I got home on Friday and I was overjoyed to see the FedEx package on my doorstep! I’m not even kidding – I did not waste a single second. I immediately put it on and paired it with my spiderweb jenny! I wanted to try juxtaposing the darkness of the spiderweb jenny with the softness of the pink and white stripes. I was inspired by the idea of the way vintage circuses are usually depicted in contemporary culture and art. Circuses are meant to be magical and happy, but the depiction of circuses reveal the darkness behind the scenes.

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The shade of pink peasant top is drastically different than the bubblegum pink voodoo vixen top and the new run of the pink peasant top. This shade is pink is a bit like Crayola’s Tickle Me Pink, in my opinion. However, you’ll notice that in the photos of me wearing it outdoors, it looks drastically lighter because of the sunlight (these photos are unedited).

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I ordered my usual size small, and I found it to be a little loose, especially in the waist. I should have probably waited to exchange it, but in my excitement I didn’t think about it. I guess if necessary, I can always alter it to fit my waist, although it’s not much of a problem.

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I’m not used to mixing prints. I usually wear a single print, either as a skirt or a dress. Initially, I was unsure of the combination, but I was reassured by some lovely friends that it works.

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And voila, my dream became a reality! I love the combination of the delicacy of the peasant top with the darkness of the spiderweb jenny. I also wore my soft pink Jennifer petticoat from Malco Modes for the extra poof!

I wore it out last Friday night to the wedding florist’s office and Ladies and Gents Night at Magnolia Park. But since my post-work hair was a mess and I was just so exhausted, I didn’t have the chance to take decent photos, but I did get this amazing photo in front of the florist’s bookshelf. It was organized by color and surrounded the entire space. Perfection! Even though I was not prepared at all, I just had to take advantage of the opportunity.

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To be honest, there wasn’t a specific artwork or artist that inspired this outfit. It was a combination of vintage circus photos and paintings, Melvin Sokolovsky, Mary Ellen Park, and others. I stopped by Pinup Girl Boutique for Ladies and Gents Night, and Doris  Mayday even commented on how my outfit looked like a creepy circus. Outfit achievement: UNLOCKED!

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For the photos, I added one of my favorite hair accessories, two skeleton hand hair clips I got from Halloween Town in Burbank. I also wore black heels that I got on sale from Sidecca. Sidecca carries great pinup style clothing and shoes for a decent price. I especially LOVE their shoe selection. As someone who orders online more frequently than I should, it’s great that I can try on all my favorite brands at Sidecca and just make purchases at the store.

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So regardless of my exhaustion, laziness, and all other problems – my outfit ended up making me so happy. So happy, in fact, I recreated it to take decent pictures for this blog post!

So here’s to a brighter, more energetic future, more art, and more fashion!

[and one last pic because I love this so much 😉 ]

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Outfit Details:
Peasant top, skirt, and belt: Pinup Girl Clothing
Shoes: Sidecca
Hair Clips: Halloween Town
Liquid Lipstick: Anastasia Bevery Hills Sarafine