Rachael’s suit from Blade Runner

A few detail snaps of Rachael’s signature look from Blade Runner for my costumers and cosplayers, on display at MoPOP.

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A Queen Within: Adorned Archetypes

Last week I visited MoPOP for their exhibit A Queen Within: Adorned Archetypes. The collection uses contemporary fashion to convey six feminine archetypes and how designers work with them, as well as how society interacts with them. The exhibit was incredible, and I got up close with the creations some of my favorite designers. Highly recommend visiting if you’re in Seattle, the collection is on display until September 2nd.

Iris Van Herpen

One of my favorite accounts on Instagram right now is designer Iris Van Herpen, although the word designer is too basic a descriptive. Her work is this almost unreal balance of technology and organics, utilizing 3D printing to create garments that look like the future of fashion. On visiting MoPOP’s A Queen Within: Adorned Archetypes exhibit I was enthralled with the exhibit overall (more on that later) but I certainly didn’t expect to come face to face with one of Iris Van Herpen’s creations, not now, not ever.

This piece is part of the “Sage” portion, each section dedicated to one of six feminine archetypes. And while I would’ve loved to have found much of myself in “heroine” or “enchantress” it was the Sage description that felt as though it was written just for me.

“Her strengths are wisdom, intelligence, and self reflection, which she uses to analyze and understand the world. Her biggest fears are being ignored or tricked by others. Her weakness is being consumed by the never-ending study of details that can lead to an inability to act.”

“At once romantic and futuristic, her (Van Herpen’s) 2016 collection Seijaku collection found inspiration in cymatics, or the practice of visualizing sound waves in geometric patterns.”

You can view the Seijaku collection here and follow Iris Van Herpen on Instagram here.

Christy Dawn

About a year ago I asked the best people on Instagram (aka everyone following me) for recommendations of dresses that were similar to styles I liked from Free People, but were made in a transparent and ethical way. Someone suggested Christy Dawn and I bookmarked the label for later. One problem I’ve had with switching from a vintage to mostly modern wardrobe is quality. With vintage it’s not difficult to find top quality garments that will last decades more, and at a price that many can afford. But it’s a bit harder with modern. For one thing most people can’t distinguish high quality from low, so many brands don’t waste time and resources on small details that will raise the price and go overlooked by the average consumer. Another thing is trusting that something ordered online will live up to the expectation.

I decided to treat myself to something over memorial day weekend because EVERYONE has a sale, so it would be a good time to try something new. I recalled Christy Dawn and checked their site, and picked out the Autumn Dress. It looked like the perfect LBD for me, something that could be casual or more formal, comfortable (it’s a wrap dress), and besides being very transparent about their LA manufacturing, they also only use deadstock fabric leftover from major design houses. Instead of creating more fabric, which can be an incredibly harsh process, they use what already exists, finding a beautiful and useful place for it in the world. Everything is small batch, and due to the fabric usage, very limited, some dresses only get a handful made in each size. So while I was initially drawn to the styles and manufacturing transparency, the deadstock fabric usage hooked me.

I received the dress in the most lovely wooden box, with dried lavender blossoms inside, so opening it felt ultra special. Upon first touch I could tell by the fabric alone it was worth the price. Lifting it out of the box the details unfolded. While one side of the textile is a matte black, the underside is a lush satin. Every seam is finished in traditional French seams, and every thread secured. Putting it on was like finally finding “the one” (do I even need any of these old dresses sitting in my closet?) and thanks to the high quality fabric and construction, the movement and drape is heavenly. One thing I especially appreciate is the ultra long waist ties. I can tie a bow/knot at the back, front, side, and even styled it so it wraps up the chest and around my neck.

Christy Dawn is now my go to for beautiful dresses worth every penny, and I highly recommend giving them a try. Peek below to see the unboxing and details ❣️❣️❣️

*I have no affiliation with the brand and all photos and opinions are my own*

Dimitri from Anastasia is ruining your love life: the analysis

I recently posted an image on Instagram captioned “when you grow up on 60s sitcoms and Dimitri from Anastasia was your first crush, then the only attractive men will be ones that are extremely annoyed with you 95% of the time”.

The response was both hilarious and surprising. I got some DMs and comments from people who never realized just how much either of those aspects of their childhood influenced their adult life. The more I talk to people about childhood interests the more I realize I think a lot about my own formative influences. I had a great childhood, which is a privilege many don’t have, so I can consider things without fear of unearthing trauma, and also cling to aspects that have joyful associations.

The animated movie Anastasia released in theaters in 1997, when I was 8, almost 9 years old. Still carrying around my American Girl doll and reading through the entire Nancy Drew series, boys were not on my radar. I didn’t think they were gross (girls are gross too, like, please) but while friends were chatting about cute boys and crushes at school, I was decidedly still indifferent.

And then, Dimitri.

I don’t know what it was that clicked, but that was it, I could, and did watch that movie over and over and over again. It’s a movie about a young woman who doesn’t know she’s really a long lost princess?? Like?? Already appealing to girls who are about to seek their place in the world (the fact that this was long before superhero and action movies centered around women and gave options other than “princess” is a whole other conversation”), but they added a man who would ultimately influence an entire generation for a lifetime, and may not even realize it.

Dimitri is a balance of rough around the edges with a heart of gold. Tall, fit, with hair that’s constantly tousled and jumping into action without hesitation, he’s essentially laid a foundation for what’s attractive in a man. It’s the first time a major animated princess movie really rounded out the love interest, and since then we’ve seen more men of substance and even ones obviously influenced by him (the parallels between Dimitri and Flynn Rider are uncanny)

The following could explain what appeals to us as adults, if you viewed the movie during the formative early years of puberty. Cliché or not, it is what it is.

Once connected in the past

We know Dimitri spent part of his childhood in the palace as a servant, so his origins are much lower than the princess Anastasia. Right from the start we see his interest either in her, or the life of a royal, both could apply given what we see in adulthood. In the chaos of the overthrow Dimitri essentially sacrifices himself in order to save Anastasia and her grandmother, which sets the foundation for his character development as the situation will arise again in different forms.

Pairing up for selfish gain not planning to fall in love

When we see Dimitri again as an adult he’s using his insider knowledge of the royal family to try and find the perfect impostor of the lost princess to present to the empress and collect a hefty reward. He and Vlad stumble on Anya and convince her she could be the lost princess, knowing she isn’t, only after financial gain. There’s a strong element of deceit and beginning a relationship for all the wrong reasons.

Wit, dry humor, and snarkiess

Dimitri doesn’t hold back with Anya and seems to have met his match in wit and snarkiness. His dry humor is displayed up until he realizes they can’t be together, and he adapts a much more somber dynamic with her, essentially losing himself when he loses her.

Bickering and teasing as flirting

As Dimitri and Anya spend more time together they go at each other’s throats so often, Vlad actually keeps score in a little notebook. An attraction is obviously felt but neither character will face it so the sexual tension manifests in argumentative ways, as the newfound passion has to have an outlet somewhere.

The naivete and her guide

Anya essentially puts her life in the hands of Dimitri, both emotionally and physically. Not remembering half her life, she’s naive to the ways of high society and royalty, relying on Dimitri to teach her everything. They experience multiple things Anya never has before (in her memory) like train and ship travel, new cities, and social expectations. For everything, she relies on Dimitri to teach her, not just how to behave but also teach her who she is. The dominant/submissive, teacher/student dynamic is explored frequently in these situations, he pulling out aspects of herself she didn’t know capable of.

Slow burn

Anya and Dimitri have countless moments of obvious sexual tension, from each being aware how physically close they are to kisses being interrupted before they start.

Enemies to lovers

After constant bickering, they both start to realize their feelings for each other on the steam ship, Dimitri seeing her for the first time in something other than old rags, and Anya giving into his appeal. They share an almost kiss while dancing, then after he saves her from unwillingly almost jumping off the ship to her death, they both give in to a rather intimate embrace.

“We can’t be together” emotional torture and longing

During an initial interview with the empresses companion, Dimitri sees Anya is in fact the real lost princess. He’s realized he’s fallen for her but their soon to be difference in stations will make the relationship impossible. While she celebrates her future he’s wrought with guilt over lying to her, and having to not only let her go, but watch her thrive without him.

Betrayal and self sacrifice to amend

When Anya finds out she was a pawn in his persuit of financial gain and was lied to, Dimitri begs forgiveness and tries to explain that what started out superficially turned into so much more. Anya won’t hear it and never wants to see him again. Dimitri may have come to terms with losing her, but won’t stop trying to give her the life she deserves, and convinces the empress to visit Anya, knowing from that moment on he can’t be a part of her life even if she forgives him, but he believes she’s better off with her remaining family.

It’s all for her

After the empress accepts Anya as her granddaughter she invites Dimitri to her Grand resistance to collect the promised reward. Broken and somber, he refuses, stating that while he would have taken it previously, now he just wants her to have her rightful place in the world. The empress is stunned but realizes that he’s fallen for her and Anya may feel the same.

The unobtainable

Dimitri and Anya cross paths on the stairs, he seeing her for the first time dressed in a ball gown, unmistakably royal. Their exchange is cold, and Dimitri is told he must bow to princess Anastasia, which he does, making Anya uncomfortable that this is where their relationship ends. The familiarity of previous bickering and physical closeness is gone for good.

Fighting side by side

When Anya is lured to the gardens where Rasputin intends to kill her, Dimitri unexpectedly appears and rescues her from certain death, then they join forces fighting side by side. Anya ultimately defeats Rasputin, but couldn’t have done so without Dimitri.

Realization of love when it could be too late

During the fight Dimitri is knocked unconscious, appearing dead to Anya, who realizes her love for him when it’s seemingly too late. When he comes to she concludes she’d rather be unroyal with him than a royal without him, Dimitri supporting whichever choice she makes even if that means losing her. But of course, it’s a happy ending 💗💗💗

Dimitri from Anastasia is ruining your love life: a visual guide

Things that Dimitri does, wears, and is, that ultimately shaped what we think is attractive in a man: a visual guide.

Sleeves: rolled, watch: on, waistcoat: undone, Henley: tight

Hair: tousled (also see: Tangled 2010)

The once over

Bickering as flirting

Effortlessly brooding in an overcoat

Near death experiences on trains are hot somehow??

Arms and hands and hands and arms

Slow burn

Sexual tension in the form of more bickering

Bringing you something he wants to see you in

Being forced together physically

Totally flustered while trying to give a compliment

Almost kissing no. 241

Bridal carry (also see: Star Wars the Force Awakens 2015)

Slow burn

Emotional torture realizing you can never be together

The “stunned because you look so glamorous and beautiful on the stairs” look

SLOW BURN

I mean

“It started out that way but everything’s different now

Would do literally anything for your happiness

This dramatic cape billow after giving up the love of his life

Not accepting the reward because LOVE

They officially can’t touch because SLOW BURN

The rescuer

IS HE DEAD IS IT TOO LATE

He’s fine so let’s make out

slow

burn

He still thinks she’s better off without him

That thing where they dance and the camera spins around them and they spin around (also see: Pride and Prejudice 2005)

FINALLY

The bridal carry is so good they did it twice

Cleansing oil

When you have acne prone skin, and you grew up before skincare was a way of life, the idea of putting oil on your oily skin sounds absolutely insane. But you’ve also tried everything, and all these people on blogs and forums seem to swear by it, so sure, why not?

Switching from a Cetaphil cleanser to a nourishing oil cleanser was like giving my skin it’s first drink of water in decades. I was immediately hooked, my skin was not only looking healthy, but feeling healthy. After about a year of using an argan oil cleanser, I concluded that while my complexion was 10X healthier than it previously was, it could still be better. After some research I found that argan oil can clog pores if you’re prone to it, and while my most severe acne was under control, I still had a small, bumpy texture over my entire face. With some more research (bless the internet) I found this type of acne is called subclinical, and can be caused by a number of things, including skincare products. These tiny flesh colored bumps are clogged pores without forming into red bumps and black/whiteheads. I always just thought that was the natural texture of my skin, but since I solved so many other issues with the right skincare products, why not this as well?

I stated searching for a cleansing oil that didn’t include argan oil, but also didn’t include a lot of chemicals, I really just wanted an oil combo to fit into a double cleanse routine. Having already tried (and sworn by) Primally Pure’s body butter and lip balm, I checked their cleansing oil, and not only does it not have argan oil or any unnecessary chemicals, but they even have formulas for dry, normal, and oily skin!

THIS was the stuff I’ve been looking for. It’s simple, nourishing, smells AMAZING and makes every morning and night feel like a mini spa day, that oil just begs to be massaged in for a minute or two. I use the oily skin formula, and never would’ve thought a castor oil base would work, but that thick oil accented with a short list of other organic oils and natural scents is perfect.

I use it as the first step in a double cleanse, using just my hands and water, and sometimes use the recommended washcloth if I need a little exfoliation. I finish with Primally Pure’s everything spray as a toner, and some plant derived squalane. That’s it! They have small sizes if you want to give it a little try, and you can use my code SOLANAH10 for 10% off your order. Enjoy!