Monday, January 2, 2012

10 Fashion Exhibitions You Won’t Want to Miss in 2012

Left: George Hoyningen-Huené (Russian, 1900–1968). Portrait of Elsa Schiaparelli, 1932. Courtesy of Hoyningen-Huené/Vogue/Condé Nast Archive. Copyright © Condé Nast; Right: Guido Harari (Italian, born Cairo, 1952). Portrait of Miuccia Prada, 1999. Courtesy of Guido Harari/Contrasto/Redux

Given the record-breaking success of this year’s Alexander McQueen retrospective at the Met, museums would be smart to put more fashion in their halls. And if today’s piece in WWD on museums “getting fashionable” is any indication, they are. Harold Koda, curator in charge of The Costume Institute at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, told the trade, “Clearly the critical as well as popular success of the McQueen show suggests that fashion design has a more secure place in the precincts of an art museum.”

While any museum would be hard-pressed to recreate the magic that was “Savage Beauty,” more fashion exhibits are popping up all over the world and several big ones are already on track to debut next year.

From Diana Vreeland to James Bond to the CFDA, here’s a list of fashion exhibitions you won’t want to miss in 2012.


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Dennita Sewell Named One of the 20 Most Inspiring Arizona Women of 2011

Every woman has to make choices.

Sometimes they are big and others call them courageous. Others are small acts that you wonder if anyone even notices but that add up to who we are.

But they are choices about how we lead our lives, about what we can get through, about what we thought we could do and what we can do.

This year we have found 20 women who inspire us, who make us want to take that risk, to try something new, to live how we want to - not how we think we should.

These are their stories.


Monday, December 12, 2011

Dennita Sewell's Five Facts You Didn't Know about the Little Black Dress

Dennita Sewell - Photo by Ryan Wolf

Phoenix Art Museum's fashion curator Dennita Sewell dished out the history of the little black dress during the LBD cocktail party on Friday at Scottsdale's recently opened Saguaro hotel.

After imbibing, chatting, and snatching a few hors d'oeuvres, attendees sat down, facing mannequins dressed in a collection of LBDs from Robert Black.

Sewell shared photos and stories of the fashion staple throughout history and supplied the context in the evolution of the black dress.

Think you know all there is to know about the LBD? See five facts we learned from Sewell's talk after the jump.

CONTINUE READING HERE... (Phoenix New Times)

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Dennita Sewell Featured on PHXFashionWeek

Dennita Sewell
If you love fashion there are a number of directions you may follow to find the career you want. If you truly love the history of fashion, the evolving of it, the construction and the stories behind the incredible vintage pieces that can still occasionally be found, you may have a future as the Fashion Department Curator of a Museum, overseeing the exhibition of amazing fashions from past decades.

What Is "Haute Couture"?

Schiaparelli, c1938
 The word "couture" gets tossed around a lot these days, and its overuse has watered down the meaning of haute couture. In French, couture simply means "sewing" or "dressmaking," but in English parlance couture is an abbreviation for haute couture, which translates to "high sewing" (or more commonly "high fashion.")

Read more here (Goldstein Museum of Design)...

Sunday, March 20, 2011

A Conversation With Rangina Hamidi

By Sherry Sklar
If you believe in divine intervention, you will appreciate my story of how I came to know Rangina Hamidi, Founder of Kandahar Treasure and became aware of her important mission and work. Rangina started her company to empower women in Afghanistan by selling their traditional Khamak embroidered textiles worldwide. Our connection began not with transport on a magic carpet, but with an elaborately embroidered shawl draped around the shoulders of my friend and former colleague, Deb Glaser. We were enjoying lunch in the West Valley close to her new job at Thunderbird International School of Management. My eye immediately caught the beautifully worked fabric and complicated needlework of the piece she wore. Curious, I asked her how she came to own it…and so began my journey—which unfolded over the next three years—that led me to Rangina Hamidi. Rangina is a Fellow in Thunderbird’s Project Artemis, a program piloted in Afghanistan and launching soon in Jordan and Peru that helps educate women in business. These Fellows move forward with their individual accomplishments and education that contribute to the greater society and make an economic impact to empower women. I had the chance to “virtually” sit down with her and ask her the following questions.  What I took away from our conversation is how different our perspectives are, and how my questions reflected and were limited by my knowledge of the day-to-day reality and challenges that face the people of Afghanistan.

Sherry: In working with the women in Afghanistan, what have you found is their personal concerns and ambitions for their future, the future of their children (daughters in particular) and their nation (and its place and perception in the international community)?

Rangina: To all of the women of Afghanistan, but specifically to the women of Kandahar who live in constant fear, security is the number one priority in their life today.  Local women have raised their voices loud and clear to ask for an end to violence on all fronts.  With 30+ years of violence and war, the women are now saying that nothing has been achieved other than increasing the number of deaths, creating more orphans and widows each day with this unjust violence.  The women all dream of a peaceful Afghanistan where their children can go to school without fear; and a prosperous and developed Afghanistan so that its poor citizens can enjoy their life inside their country rather than aspiring for nations abroad. The women of the South are even willing to give up some of their freedoms to make peace with insurgents because they say "at least I will know that my son, my husband, brother or father will not be blown up in a suicide attack!" The women of Kandahar again selflessly want peace for their children at the cost of their own freedoms - this is trait that the women here are known for!
Sherry: How is Kandahar Treasure sustainably financed? In addition to profit garnered by sales, how is fresh capital obtained for supplies, inventory and expansion? Is the business micro-financed? If so, is this a banking system you developed to fund your venture exclusively (in other words in addition to production do you have a dedicated lending arm?) or are you working with other established non-profit funding organizations such as FINCA?

Rangina: Kandahar Treasure is solely financed by its sales and some personal donations from friends and family from time to time. We are a for-profit entity so we do not qualify to apply for grants, but individuals who are not interested in getting tax benefits do donate to us and we gratefully appreciate their gifts. But this is about 5% of annual budget. The remaining 95% of our annual budget comes from sales. We now have a permanent shop at the Kandahar Air Field where we sell our fine hand-made products to all of the military staff present or visiting Kandahar. Our competition on the field is cheap machine made products from either China, Pakistan or Iran. The quality of our products speak for itself and we have a great amount of repeat customers who always bring new customers. We are doing really well at the shop. Additionally, we continue to participate in exhibitions and fairs where our products are sold directly to customers or to wholesalers. We currently have a good problem in which there is more demand than the capacity in which we produce! The winter season always slows our women down because the days are short and there is no electricity during night to produce as we have less products coming than our busy summer days. 
Sherry: In light of the fundamental shift in global communication to social networking, the blogosphere and internet commerce, how will your business leverage these technologies to generate business, raise awareness and create social change in Afghan society?

Rangina: In the Afghan society, I have to honest and say that the majority of the population is still very distant from the technology world - primarily because there is no access to technology without power and we are still struggling to get power (electricity) in the city even.  So the majority of the Afghan population is still very much unaware of the benefits of internet, etc. However, in the Afghan way we are touching lives through our very real network with the women.  With over 450 women directly benefiting from our program and multiply that by at 10 other - we are easily reaching 4500 people on a daily basis. Because we are meeting the basic need of the poor in our society, we are lucky and proud to say that we have not received a threat to this day about our work. Sympathizers of the insurgent community has even sent their praises of our work because we work within the social realities set by the communities here. Kandahar Treasure's philosophy is to spring change from within. We believe that by meeting women's basic need of financial independence in Kandahar, we are certain that the changes that will result from this very attainable independence will not only be long lasting but will be revolutionary changes for the lives of not only our women but also the men in the society.  

So even if there is no light at night, we continue to work to improve the lives of our people so that a brighter and hopeful tomorrow can be built for our whole nation.  


Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The world's most expensive handbags (one costs $3.8 million!)

The "1001 Nights Diamond Purse" by House of Mouawad is covered in diamonds. Cost? $3.8 million

Since the fashion industry is constantly recycling past styles and struggling to come up with new concepts, often "in the know" stylish types attempt to get noticed by creating or wearing the most expensive or most extravagant item possible (ahem, Lady Gaga). Until now the big status get was the $20,000 Hermes Birkin bag (made famous by Samantha on "Sex and the City"), but it's nothing compared to House of Mouawad's new "1001 Nights Diamond Purse," which clocks in at a whopping $3.8 million.

Encrusted with over 381 carats of diamonds, this heart-shaped bag has been named the world's most expensive handbag by the Guinness Book of World Records. In it, 4,517 diamonds were used—105 yellow, 56 pink and 4,356 colorless—and it took 10 artisans 1,100 hours to complete. They dedicated four months to the project.

“The Mouawad 1001 Nights Diamond Purse is designed to mesmerize with its lavish attention to detail and elaborate workmanship incorporating thousands of diamonds,” Pascal Mouawad, co-guardian of the House of Mouawad, told the Today Show. The purse was on display at the Doha Jewellery and Watches Exhibition this past weekend, and it is not yet known if there was a buyer. 

See more crazy expensive handbags here...

Monday, January 31, 2011

Fashion Independent Exhibition Catalogue

The Fashion Independent: The Original Style of Ann Bonfoey Taylor exhibition catalogue will be available March 2nd! 

Published by Phoenix Art Museum, Fashion Independent: The Original Style of Ann Bonfoey Taylor is edited by Dennita Sewell with photography by Ken Howie. Cloth bound, 9.5 x 12 in. / 140 pgs / 130 color / 15 b&w


Fashion Independent opens at Phoenix Art Museum on February 27th.

Fashion Independent: The Original Style of Ann Bonfoey Taylor

Fashion Independent: The Original Style of Ann Bonfoey Taylor features more than 60 full ensembles and accessories that provide a comprehensive look at the wardrobe of a dynamic and sophisticated woman. Often designed by Taylor herself, the clothes demonstrate a refined personal style reflective of her outdoor savvy and gracious indoor elegance.


Sunday, January 16, 2011

Fashion Independent Luncheon

A Luncheon celebrating
Fashion Independent: The Original Style of Ann Bonfoey Taylor
with guest speaker
Pamela Fiori
Editor-at-Large, Town&Country

Tuesday, March 1, 2011
at Noon

For information about purchasing a seat at the ACI table at the $150 and $250 levels, please email and include “Fashion Independent Luncheon” in the subject header.
Seating is limited at these particular tables, so please reserve your space soon.

This event is organized by Phoenix Art Museum. Proceeds directly support the Ann Taylor Bonfoey exhibition.

For more information on the Fashion Independent exhibition, opening February 27th at Phoenix Art Museum, CLICK HERE...