Athena Magazine

Fashion, lifestyle, passions

Fashionista Must: The September Issue September 6, 2009

septissue_largeConde Nast once called me to interview for a fact-checker position at Vogue. I turned it down, declaring indignantly that I was an editor, not a lowly miserable factchecker for Vogue, a punching bag for staff editors. This, of course, was in the 1990s, long before The Devil Wears Prada and now The September Issue. Really, if I had played my cards right, I could have written Devil before that writer had finished fifth grade, and better, I like to think, hah!

I wouldn’t turn that job down now, if only to be inside the citadel doors; I imagined at the time that I had much bigger fish to fry than to get sidetracked into Vogue factcheckerdom. But since I was too foolish to leap at an opportunity to work at Vogue when Conde Nast called, I can just go see The September Issue, an almost frightening insider documentary based on the production of the September 2007 Vogue, the biggest ever.

Now playing in New York theaters and opening in Los Angeles and other select theaters around the country on September 11th. Learn more about The September Issue here …


The Sweet Hong Kong Finish … By Hand March 30, 2009

hongkong2I just love the way a Hong-Kong finish binds a raw seam edge, and it’s a perfect alternative to a lining. But by machine, it can often end up looking clumsy. Well, I learned a better way in my FIT Haute Couture Sewing Techinques class … by hand. First cut 1″ true bias strips from silk (raw or charmeuse). Then align strip with the raw edge of fashion fabric, right sides together. Chalk line 1/4′ seam line, pin, baste and machine stitch. Next, being careful not to twist bias, wrap the strip around the raw edge and finish with a svelte running stitch variation. Bring needle up from wrong side through the “ditch” formed on right side by the bias strip and fashion fabric seamline. Then bring needle back down through ditch in same spot to wrong side and jump needle forward 1/4″, coming back up to right side. Repeat this modified prick stitch as you work down the raw edge, wrapping the silk strip. Unlike the machine-sewn counterpart, that hand stitch will disappear invisibly into the seam. Doing this by hand gives you the control to make the sweetest of finishes. Note: Machine sewers will often trim off excess bias on back, but in a hand sewn finish on a couture 1″ seam allowance, you don’t. You can press lightly, but couture tries to minimize overworking the fabric, so go gentle with the iron.


Cool Couture by Kenneth D. King February 17, 2009

coolcoutureweb_000I know fashion designer and author Kenneth D. King from my days as a sewing editor, and along with being an absolute delight of a person, he’s also amazingly talented in his art and supremely generous in his sharing of his knowledge. In fact, he’s been teaching the second semester (embellishments) of the FIT Haute Couture certificate that I’m pursuing, and I’m crossing my fingers I’ll be lucky enough to get him as a professor. But for those of us who don’t get to learn from Kenneth in person, he’s recently released an updated version of his 1996 favorite Cool Couture: Construction Secrets for Runway Style, and frankly, his timing couldn’t be better. His sensibility is both classically original and futuristically fresh. And couture (and knowing how to accomplish it) is truly just so cool now.

Order Cool Couture here.

Visit Kenneth D. King’s web site here.