HAPPY HALLOWEEN! (COURTESY OF MARTHA STEWART)

Hue loves a good Halloween scare. But even more than that, we love design-competition reality TV. And Martha Stewart delivered.

Shriek or Chic, a Halloween-themed web miniseries, is a competition to craft Martha’s Halloween costume this year. Miraculously, all three contestants–Joelle Samaha, Taylor Ormond, and Gabrielle Ruffino–went to, or are enrolled at, FIT!

The show is delicious–and if it’s not quite as dramatic or catty as Project Runway, it’s still impossible to stop watching. And if you’re game for the insanely work-intensive decorations Martha Stewart is famous for, then you might get some pointers on sewing your own costume. Or you could just go to FIT.

So skip the Halloween party and check it out.

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Did you know? Halloween is Martha Stewart’s favorite holiday. Photo courtesy marthastewart.com.

 

THE CODPIECE, DEMYSTIFIED

We at Hue have our favorite fashion weirdnesses. We love bustles, of course, and those super-bizarro horned headdresses that women wore in the 15th century.

But the codpiece takes the cake. What was it about? Can it really be as obvious as it seems?

Fortunately, we now have a video, created and narrated by FIT faculty member Chloe Chapin, to explain it all: history, significance, even a bit of theory.

Chapin made the film on an artist’s residency at The MacDowell Colony. Her work there eventually led to a Fulbright grant in which she did research on the history of men’s suits. She now uses it in her Fashion Design courses at the college.

MUSEUM AT FIT DOLL DISPLAY EVOKES OOHS AND OZ

In the Blink-And-You’ll-Miss-It category, a display of Wizard of Oz dolls wearing character-appropriate couture made a weeklong appearance in the lobby of The Museum at FIT earlier this month.

Dorothy Gale is looking very on trend in her gingham Reem Acra gown.

Dorothy Gale is looking very on trend in her gingham Reem Acra (Fashion Design ’86) gown.

To commemorate the classic film’s 75th anniversary, Warner Bros. Consumer Products and the Tonner Doll Company collaborated with a dozen name designers to create hot outfits for Oz characters. They were on display at The Museum at FIT for a week, during which anyone could bid on them, with all proceeds going to Habitat For Humanity’s (wait for it…) “There’s  No Place Like Home” campaign.

In the foreground, a red-headed Glinda by Ruth Myers. In the background, Betsey Johnson's Glinda in fabulous fuchsia.

In the foreground, a red-headed Glinda by Ruth Myers. In the background, Betsey Johnson’s Glinda in fabulous fuchsia.

The Wicked Witches commanded the premier prices. Donna Karan’s witch, seemingly inspired by Morticia Addams, went for $1,205. A Marc Jacobs fishnet witch fetched $1,525. And a Scandal-ous black-and-white Wicked Witch ensemble by Lyn Paolo (costume designer for the popular show) with Kerry Washington brought in a whopping $2,125! The Glindas weren’t far behind.

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Erickson Beamon’s disco glam Glinda earned $1,600 for Habitat For Humanity.

Hue is glad all these witches and Dorothys found homes–and that they helped people in need find homes of their own.

THE MANY ZINGS OF FIT ALUMNUS MICHAEL KORS

We at Hue are nothing if not serious, academic, and scholarly. We routinely pepper our conversation with high-minded references to modernist works of art and literature. Nothing we ever do is the least bit trashy. OK, maybe a little. Maybe sometimes.

Anyway, this morning Hue happened to come across the most astonishing video of FIT alumnus Michael Kors. It strings together a miraculous volley of quips–“disses,” or, as they are called in some quarters, “shade”–from Project Runway.  We happen to adore Mr. Kors, as can be seen in the profile we wrote about him last summer.

Weirdly enough, Hue finds Mr. Kors’s quips more affectionate than venomous. Maybe we’re blinded by our own affection for Mr. Kors. Or maybe we’re just amused:

(Brought to you by the film review duo MovieBitches. Thanks, you two.)

THE SECRETS OF TABLECLOTHS

Dressed for Dining is a small exhibition of tablecloths from the mid-20th century, on view until October 5 in FIT’s library. We asked the show’s curator, Patrice George, Textile Development and Marketing faculty and a student in FIT’s MA program in Fashion and Textile Studies: History, Theory, Museum Practice, to write a blog post about the show.

As a weaver/textile designer, I love table covers because they are one of the few items that are pure textile (no buttons, zippers, or trimmings). They also make great souvenirs, because you can always fit a tablecloth into a packed suitcase, and not worry about them breaking.

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Above: At the turn of the 20th century, a proper dining table still required spotless white linen table covers. Maintaining delicate white linen textiles, embellished with embroidery and lace inserts, required hours of labor to clean, bleach, press, and repair. After World War I, the emergence of timesaving washing machines made family laundry easier, but the mechanical washers could damage delicate fabrics. Heirloom household linens appeared only for special occasions after that. This particular tablecloth, embellished with satin stitch portraits of Victorian ladies, represents an heirloom quality table cover from the late 19th or early 20th century.

 

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Above: In the mid-20th century, American weaving mills added color and texture to classic checked and plaid tablecloths. Simtex, a division of Simmons Mattress Company, produced many novelty damask checks in high-quality cotton. Examples of Simtex checks on display include themes of the Gay Nineties, lobsters, and sailboats.

Only after I started to plan the exhibition did I realize that I had collected nearly 100 tablecloths from flea markets, garage sales, and  gifts from friends and family.  Actually, all of the tablecloths, except for one on loan from my fellow TDM faculty member Ann Denton, are from my own collection.

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Above: On my third birthday the table was set with a Nottingham lace tablecloth, and cake from a Betty Crocker recipe! But, I just wanted to know if the cloth came from Philadelphia, Scranton, or Wilkes-barre! PA was the largest producer of lace curtains and tablecloths in the USA in the mid-century. Ads for Quaker Lace, Scranton Lace, and Wilbarry Lace appeared in most home design magazines.

Check out the Dressed for Dining page on Facebook.