Learning from Vogue

I have been gratified to see how many people have fallen in love with Cece's vintage wardrobe. I am often asked how I come up with some of her amazing outfits. The answer is sometimes I invent them whole cloth (no pun intended), and sometimes I cheat. Call it inspiration: it comes from all over the place: old movies I rent, people I see, clothes I own, clothes I fantasize about owning, vintage clothing sites, art/fashion histories I read. Then, there are the magazines I devour with religious fervor. Suffice it to say, when VOGUE arrives every month, my family knows to steer clear of me for several hours. If I see something that strikes me as particularly Cece, I tear the picture out, and stick it up on my bulletin board, where it stays until it the edges of the paper start to curl up from the humidity in my garage office. That's my benchmark: if I haven't used it in a book by then, it goes in the trash. After all, another VOGUE is always on its way. In the opening scene of NOT A GIRL DETECTIVE, Cece is wearing a "Gina Lollabrigida goes beatnik" outfit: cropped toreador pants and a shrunken black turtleneck. The model in the picture has Cece's long, brown hair and Jackie O sunglasses, but I like to think of Cece as covering a bit more of her midriff (she's pushing forty, after all), and wearing a different pair of shoes: the ones in the picture, which I think are by Michael Kors (I ripped it out without taking note of the designer) look like they kill, especially around the base of the big toe, where I myself have suffered blisters on more than one occasion. Also, the outfit is too matchy-matchy for Cece, who not only doesn't have the money for a purse like this one, but wouldn't carry it if she could. It's too serious. Well, maybe she'd wear it lightened up with a flouncy, wraparound Etro sundress, halter-style, mid-calf length, with multicolored bangles from Little India up and down her arms, and huge gold hoops...oh, dear, I want to go shopping...) In Chapter Six of NOT A GIRL DETECTIVE, Cece and her two best friends, Bridget and Lael, set off on their Nancy Drew-esque road trip to Palm Springs. Bridget is wearing skintight black leather, and looks like the star of a blaxploitation flick; Lael is wearing stained lavender painter's pants and a puffy-sleeved smock; and Cece is wearing a white, lace-up mini-caftan with big, bell sleeves, a white head-scarf, and white-rimmed Jackie O glasses. Once again, she eschews total looks, and in my mind, would be carrying a pair of lace-up Greek sandals, natural leather, and a vintage Pucci beach bag, wildly colored and patterned. Cece has very short nails (she's a biter), so they are never manicured, but her toes are impeccable.

Fuschia. No, orange. Bright orange. In Chapter 12 of NOT A GIRL DETECTIVE, Cece takes a walk up to Eurotrash enclave Sunset Plaza to visit her favorite bookstore, Book Soup. Her outfit is by Prada--purchased on sale, and a size too small, unfortunately. I describe it as "Andalusian retro, with hair pulled back into a bun, an off-the-shoulder blouse, and a matching silk chiffon skirt with tiered ruffles." Cece wears the beige, white and red outfit with beige suede spike-heeled boots, as opposed to the flimsy kitten heels in the picture, which I do not like at all with the outfit. They are sixties space-age where they should be bohemian rhapsody. Check out www.enokiworld.com under dresses for the teal, ruched Giorgio di Sant Angelo dress from the seventies that Cece spies in the window of On the Bias, Bridget's store, in Chapter 15 of NOT A GIRL DETECTIVE. The writers at enokiworld, who are truly brilliant, describe di Sant Angelo's dressmaking talents thusly: "Like his hand is resting on a cluttered table and his pinky pushes a small stack of paper, which the wind catches and turns into some psycho origami Noah's Ark..."

Talk about inspired. I wish I could've come up with that.

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