In High Fashion – Wallis Simpson Shops eBay for Oranges

Last  Christmas one of my dearest friends and I met downtown and brought gifts for each other.  We arranged ourselves at a table in a large and fairly quiet cafeteria on the top floor of Vancouver’s heritage Bay building.  This is where we always begin our visit before we hit Holt Renfrew, Sephora, and Robson Street; finally squeezing into Artigiano across from the Vancouver Art Gallery.

When I removed the wrapping paper from my gift, I saw the cover of a ‘coffee table’ book titled, ‘In High Fashion’, Photography by Edward Steichen. What a thoughtful gift Jessie chose.  I adore it!  I handed her an Hermes bag (the color belongs to her) and added that a modest gift was inside…but I wanted her to own an Hermes bag (No! Not a handbag – are you daft!?) a customer shopping bag to specially place in her apartment.  Every woman should possess an Hermes bag or box, even if it’s empty, or merely contains a strip of embroidered ribbon.  This bag held a Clairfontaine journal from France with tangerine and magenta flowers on the cover.  She loved it!

Then I had her open the canonical kraft brown shopping bag with the leopard and black patent handbag she had been putting off buying and we both let out a whoop because she knew, and I knew, how much she wanted it.  When she opened it up to look inside she found I had tucked a few small gifts into the zippered compartments, just for fun, so they wouldn’t be empty when she peeked into them.

Hermes empty shopping bags and boxes are for sale on eBay.  They run about $15.  More about why we want these orange icons is revealed on the site below.

That Orange Box

The 'Orange Icon'

We’re surviving January wearing the old and the new year styles are swooping into the media all clamoring for us to notice them.  Last Friday I was browsing in the newsstand at Park Royal and while flipping through January’s British Vogue I saw a lot of whimsical, lacy and fancy fragments.  Think:  Wallis Simpson suffers nervous breakdown overseeing reconstruction of remnants in fashionable lingerie design studio.

Later that day I received a link from Scarlet Black introducing me to:  The penniless fashionistas.  They are Canadian designers creating with a focus on dynamic use of color, prints, and fabrics, while integrating intricate details that highlight the designs.  These can’t live withouts are online:

Next, a stop at The Coveted will make you just want to book the week off and drool all over the electronic pages offering up delicious and outrageous fashion manifestos.


Not quite ready to quit:  not until we’ve stopped in at Gala Darling and looked into 2010 Style Direction:  and “Psychedelic” Ladies Who Lunch:  the Icing on the Fashion Cake!

I dreamed I awoke in Paris in my Hermes scarf woven from the silk of 250 mulberry moth cocoons.

Dreams Always Come True

Wikipedia:  The per-pound cost of a scarf today is approximately $1,965.00 USD (compared to a pound of steel at $0.19)

Copyright © 2010 Nicole Rigets

Fashion Collage that makes No Cents

Sometimes I like to lay out an imaginary wardrobe.

'When I feel capricious I want ruffles'
Ruffles Mirrored in Roses

Evening brings out black as necessity and accessory.

Tiffany Black

Sleepless and on the alert; hunting down the nonessential:  the treat!

"The Sophisticate"

Bare-shouldered for an "opening" at the Gallery
"Convert Clutch" - To be Worshipped and Rejoiced Over!

…and something for him!


Treat yourself; be frivolous or romantic, sleek and bare-shouldered.

I love these fashions and wouldn’t hesitate to wear them to

enhance occasions when I want to make, “Moments big as years!”

(in the words of Keats).

Copyright © 2010 Nicole Rigets

Smart Art-Effects

Altered books, journaling, scrap-booking, and collage all jump from the same ground and share boundless experimentalism. Deep from within, these processes surface and swell, to reveal story, history, allegory, narrative, and expose’. Everything from found bottlecaps flattened on pavement to string from Grandma’s kitchen drawer can become a part of these art forms.  We may be doing this work for illustration, for remembering, for inspiring, or twisting away from the ‘norm’, but for whatever reason it’s easier to express ourselves and what we want to say to the viewer if we have a variety of tools and techniques to choose from.  Here are some I have encountered:

  • Using a page from a newspaper fastened to a support, apply  a layer of encaustic (melted wax), and write or draw into the translucent wax.  Try smearing with oil paint and then wiping and polishing the surface to achieve a layered effect. Photocopied images of objects or scientific gadgets from the 19th Century can be clipped and incorporated into the design.
  • Create an eclectic journal by collecting urban particles of paper.  Peel flyers from walls, save wrappers from fruit, use parts of bags and tags from shopping and purchasing goods.  Fragments of maps, painted and drawn entries, and photographs can work in a way to unify the pages of this artist’s book.  Even the cover can be modified if the book is store-bought.

I have a humble little paper book I bought in Chinatown with a brown paper cover that I immediately attached a tiny Chinese tissue-paper parasol to once I got it home.  Each time I go to Chinatown I return with some artifacts to attach to the inside:  the string and tag from a jasmine teabag, a hand-written receipt for a steamed bun filled with a paste made from red beans, a round bronze coin with a square hole.

Found Objects

  • Found objects can be incorporated into work to add an unusual dimension in the resolution of a piece.  This can hint at a deeper meaning to the work.
  • Found objects can be used to block out areas of paint and create a negative  shape.

Making New Work Look Old

  • Coat heavy paper with plaster.  When it’s dry bend it to form cracks.  Add a wash of paint to this.
  • Spread modeling paste or spackle on paper and while it’s wet stamp textures or patterns into the surface.
  • Paint gesso onto craft tissue and let it dry.  Stain these with liquid acrylics or inks.
  • Add non-toxic dry pigments (being careful not to inhale the powder) to clear polishing wax and rub it onto painted papers.
  • Peel, tear, or sand papers after they have been glued in place.
  • Brush non-toxic crackle glazes over painted papers or images.

Christmas Papers

  • Crinkled, wrinkled brown bags can be carefully brushed or sprayed with non-toxic paint to emphasize the texture.
  • Use sheets of plain brown paper and sponge, drizzle, or brush on, non-toxic metallic paint to embellish the surface. Add extra sparkle using metallic ribbons, baubles, bows, and faux jewels.

I bought a Baroque black and white paper one year and randomly glued individual faux pearls to the top of it.  I then added a rich violet organza ribbon tied with a generous bow.

Graphic felt pens, inks, gesso, pencil crayon, foil, and glue on graph paper

This fashion design is an example of composing with a variety of materials and reworking them until the desired result is achieved.

Copyright © 2009 Nicole Rigets

Baking with Snow

While at work writing this afternoon I’m surrounded by the beautiful voice of Sarah Brightman and the first song on her recording of A Winter Symphony called, Arrival’.

Christmas card snow is drifting across our windows.  There is  a collection of it on the metal railing outside that looks just like flaked coconut.  I think of baking with snow. In the outside corner of the diningroom window snow has clung to a spider’s web turning it into a ghosty negative snowflake.

There are surprisingly few dogs out today except for the two big black ones next door that let out an occasional bark against the flurry of icy flakes.  Cars slow down, people bundle up and the holiday season has arrived wearing white.

Not being a big fan of malls, and not a frequent shopper, I have stayed indoors today and kept my Buffalo china mug filled with dark organic ‘Rainforest’ coffee as I browsed about online.

Always an admirer of Karl L. and Chanel (when I read her biography I encountered many surprises and discovered her life story a true inspiration.)

Karl Lagerfeld’s Chanel Christmas Windows for Printemps, Paris

Stills from Lagerfeld’s Chanel Silent Film

Oscar de la Renta for next week.  The black shift dress on the left fast-forwards sixties sophistication seamlessly.  Is that a Judith Leiber handbag the model is holding?

'Pre-Cocktail Party and Party'

Glamourous and exciting handbags!

Judith Leiber

Fancy Champagne – “…burnished gold reflections…with a powerful finish”!!

Louis Roederer Cristal Brut 2000 2000 750ML

Winter-White Tree.

'Tree Dressed for a Winter Symphony'

The afternoon has turned past dusk and I obviously have been day-dreaming over the Internet.  Time for a glass of champagne.

Copyright © 2009 Nicole Rigets

$ Dollars – The Aphrodisiac $

“Brand new car – not a drop of gas.”  Lyric taken from an old Blues recording.

Makes me think of how we spend and how we long for certain possessions. What lengths we’ll go to to get them.  How these steps will lead to our relationships with others in our lives.  And how our thinking is affected by things; things we buy or have or ‘need’.

There was a time in the late sixties and early seventies when an area of West Vancouver B.C. called the British Properties was being built.  New homes in a lovely treed and rocky splendor.  Many lots had long distance views to the Pacific ocean.  Views were spectacular and the owners had spent to the max on the newly built house, then ran out of money to furnish it.  The British Properties seemed, by onlookers, to be a very rich and affluent development.  Those of us who attended parties at these homes found walls embellished with flocked wallpapers and empty rooms.

This week a friend passed along a tissuey 16-page booklet to me; Maison & Objet Paris thumbnails a universe where over 3,000 international brands will unveil their new collections and concepts.

'Paris Capitale de la Creation'
'Griffes Maison' for the Home

Why don’t you visit the website and tune into the photographs and short videos for an unusual and sensual encounter.

Two nights ago I had a dream that I was riding in a french navy blue Porsche Carrera. I was sitting on a flat platform in place of the conventional car seat.  Small opulent gold satin cushions punctuated with tiny dark emblems surrounded me.  I moved forward to let ‘movie star guy’ thoughtfully arrange these cushions for my comfort as he sped through the dark navy night.

For me, the best part of dreaming is, being able to view it while the action is taking place. The other best is:  anything’s possible in the world of dreams.

May your dreams come true!

"Dollars - The Aphrodisiac"

Copyright © 2009 Nicole Rigets

Weird Eyelash Science

"Not a Mona Lisa"

Having sourced the shu uemura “Premium Black Gown” False Eyelashes yesterday I couldn’t stop feeling intrigued by the idea of buying a pair.  Seattle’s Nordstrom sells these for $52.  More than I need to spend on a weird whim.  I wondered if I might buy the eyelashes on eBay and I spotted a site for them right away.  The downside is the winning bid was $41.80 plus $8.99 Shipping. Has anyone tried attaching a fragment of lace to a conventional pair of false eyelashes?

Are You In-Or-Out…of Style, Silly

Beauty and Fashion Itch for Each Other…and when a magazine like In-Style publishes tips on these subjects my antennae reach to great lengths to pick up pen and paper and immortalize them in my journal.  It was by pure chance that these morsels found their way into my pages of providence.  I had swiftly grabbed a dog-earred copy of In-Style from the give-away shelf next to the recycling containers on my travels one morning.

I won’t keep you holding your breath:  these ideas were submitted by young stars and appropriated by Moi.  This is my little gift to you just in time for the Holidays.

  • Keep a spoon in the fridge to put on your eyes for five minutes before “dressing” them.
  • A little black lace is all that’s needed to add a special touch to an outfit.
  • My Choice:  shu uemura “Premium Black Gown” False Eyelashes.  These are made with black lace to cast mysterious shadows on the eye.
  • Use shimmer to put a little sparkle above your tear ducts so your eyes will shine and appear larger.
  • Line the inside rim of your eyes with white pencil to make them look bigger.
  • Use brown mascara for a younger look.

To quote Parker Posy: “Black eyeliner says you’ve been through stuff:  you know things.”

  • Jackets make jeans and t-shirts look decent.
  • My Choice: “Weird Jacket Science” (term used by Suzy Gershman in “The Born to Shop Lady’s Secrets for Building a Wardrobe”). This means rummaging at sales and thrift shops to track down the most outrageous jackets ever made in retail history. When paired with a plain top and jeans these ‘dark dogs’ bark out, “Audacious, Assured, Nervy Woman.”
  • Carry layers of necklaces in your purse so you can throw them on in the evening.
  • Combine different materials in your accessories.   ©”Gravity Collage” Wearable Sculptures – available from Nicole Rigets
"The Tuscany"
"The Attic"
  • Don’t throw anything out (I love this one).  Buy some sparkle at an arts and crafts store and turn an old shoe into the talk of the town.
  • Big bust?  Never wear crew neck t-shirts.
  • Men’s white shirts can be worn loose or belted.  My Choice:  leave the sleeves long and let the cuff flow low across the back of your hand Beau Brummell style.
  • Clip-in hair extensions take 3 minutes to attach and they don’t damage your hair. I watched two demos on You Tube and I liked a straight look, slightly layered, best.
  • Top Stick Boob Tape – Go Sheer with Confidence.  BTW you can always wear a weird jacket over this.
  • Wear ‘Pasties’ under a dress instead of a bra.
  • And remember it takes a 3-inch heel to help you walk with purpose, presence, and elegance!
  • My Choice:  Cut-out Bootie by Bettye Muller in black suede with a 3″ heel.  Cut out detail at vamp.  Elasticized gore.  Side zip.  Leather Sole.  Made in Italy.

  • While out shopping why don’t you pick up some paperwhites and enjoy their bright white flowers and exclusive fragrance.

Copyright © 2009 Nicole Rigets

“Dead Loved Red”

Dead Loved Red (after e.e. Cummings)

Diana Vreeland’s


Who used to

love to wear cashmere and silk

in Bazaar;

and could break onetwothreefourfivenails just like that.


She was a New Yorker

and what I

want to know is:

who will red fashion her rooms

Mr. Death?

Copyright © 2005 Nicole Rigets

Diana Vreeland  1906 – 1989  Former Editor-in-Chief of Vogue magazine

In the days of Veruschka, Vreeland was the force behind shooting models in exotic locations throughout the 1960’s.

‘Vreeland vision’ popularized certain attitudes, objects, and ideas.

“Why don’t you………”, she would often ‘press’.

Vreeland was one of a kind:  100% Vreeland.

Quote: “People who eat white bread have no dreams.”

She never held-back!

Copyright © 2009 Nicole Rigets

Day to Day Experience is the Music of Life

Every day experience helps tell your story.

You can say it or write it.

You can sing it or paint it.

Your story can be, at best,an autobiography,

a chronicle, a poem,

and at worst,

merely the inscription on your gravestone.

Copyright © 2005 Nicole Rigets

Warning: Don’t be caught dead holding back!

Dollikins – Follykins

Follly - nickname of costly building (The Pocket Oxford Dictionary 4th Ed.)

Uneeda Doll Company Inc. made the Dollikin dolls from 1958-1970’s.  Dollikin’s began as 19-20″ fashion dolls – the world’s most posable doll.  Marked UNEEDA 2S(sometimes mis-read as Uneeda 25 or Uneeda 28), they had rooted hair in various colors and several styles, sleep eyes and most amazing – 16 joints to pose her, just like a human (well a young one at least).  The doll had a wardrobe as usual, that resembled the current fashions.

Note; There are Uneeda 2S marked dolls that used the same dollikin heads, but do not have the 16 multi-joints, just (6) the neck, shoulder, waist and hip joints. These dolls are “dollikin like”, high heel fashion dolls, but do not command a price anywhere near that of the true multi-jointed Dollikin dolls.  Excerpt from

Uneeda used the same head mold, marked “Uneeda 2s”, on their non-articulated, 18″ fashion dolls as well. A number of hair colors and styles and face paint that were not available on the 20″ Dollikin body can be found on the fashion dolls bearing the same head molds. It is not known what years or for how long these straight-legged, hard plastic fashion dolls were produced.  Source: Wikipedia


“Women as objects are compared to the false perfect.  Oh, the pain this viewpoint causes! Cracked, stitched, illusory:  selling parts…”

“Painted dolls attempt to symbolize the perfect female.  The material that makes the head of a doll is used as a method of classification.”

“The magazine images are formed much like a doll with the models faces perfected by Photoshop.  The art director mounts the models on a stand or they are set in whatever position or contortion the stylist selects dictating the image…”

“To be beautiful on the outside leaves us wondering about the inside…”

Copyright © Nicole Rigets  Taken from the Series “Eat the Whole Bag”

What are we worth; what parts are we missing?