Monthly Archives: October 2010



This weeks FAB FIVE FAVS #9 is all about Treasure Hunting and Discovery which led me to Crown Heights, Brooklyn, home of Montgomery Boutique/Atelier where treasures for every aspect of your life where found. Montgomery’s esthetics are refreshing, original, and rich with cultural history! A trip to her Atelier is like taking a trip to a Gallery or Museum! It’s a “Visual Orgasm!”

With the present state of our economy, and the holiday season quickly approaching, I find that there’s an interest in more than just fashion, and many are looking for more buck in their dollar. Whether it’s that perfect piece of furniture to spice up your home, or that perfect object d’art to spice up your collection, Montgomery Boutique had a potpourri of unique and fantastic choices. There were so many delectable finds that I had make this week’s FFF’s five categories!

With Montgomery’s richly diverse and seasoned background in fashion, her Atelier offers such services as Custom Fitted designs, Costume/Wardrobe designs for Film, Theater, and Dance, along with Restoration Work on Vintage/Antiques.

Montgomery Boutique/Atelier is a Crown Heights Treasure Trove!
This weeks FAB FIVE FAVS categories;
– Decoupage
– South African Art
– Furniture
– Fashion
– Lamps

1. One-of-a-kind hand made leatherette doggie with decoupage accessories
The details on this soft sculpture is “Out of Control Beauty!” At first glance you see immediately how stellar Montgomery’s eye is for detail. For example the red felt tongue rolls up into a two-way zipper lip, and the eyes are oversized snaps with crystal studs. I’m especially fond of the contrasting layer of delicate black lace in the “Jolinda” collar tag!

2. Museum quality South African hand beaded one-of-a-kind mask
I’ve never seen anything like this piece, and hands down, it would be a worthy addition to any collection!

3. Collectible rattan chairs circa 1970s (as seen in Architectural Digest: 100 Years of Design, April 1999)

4. Collectible Brown Leather rattan chairs circa 1940s
Extremely comfortable and worn in chairs that you don’t want to get up from!

5. Antique Mable wood frame chair covered in baby calf skin
Definitely, a statement piece!

6. 2008-2009 A/W Italian Vogue
For those of you who missed out, here’s your chance!

7. Handmade one-of-a-kind Black cut Velvet Dorothy Dandrige Dress, size 10 American
Couture Quality you must see for yourself! Stunning!

8. Hand made 8 1/2 W men’s DR ADAMS, Jimmy Dean like style genuine Python Snakeskin boot with turqouise top stitching in mint condition

Dr. Adams sell lots of trendy shoes, for example signed Kenzo, Fuerteventura and Diesel. They have only one pair per size of each shoe available, so you have to be quick to buy when new collections appear. You will find Dr. Adams footwear in several central spots in Amsterdam, also in Leidsestraat and P.C. Hooftstraat.

9. collectible mermaid lamp with original lamp shade circa late 1940’s early 1950’s (as seen @ “The Coffee Shop” in Union Square)

10. Faux Draft Wood lamp has multiple lamp lite features circa early 1950’s
This piece blew me away as more of sculpture, or organic form. Pure Genius!

contact #; 646.260.1486

Email or call for appointment
Cash & Carry Final Sales

Select, One of a kind pieces also available @
BOUTIQUE FLEA 7 Rutland Road (off Flatbush Ave)
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With Greed becoming the “New Cancer,” This weeks Fab Five Favs #8 reflects back on an era of simplicity where less was more and clothing was Made in The USA / UNION MADE, and features Vintage Garments from the 90s available at BOUTIQUE FLEA for “worth the trip prices!”

What excites me about these selections is not so much that they are Vintage, but what Vintage represents like the pride in craftmanship that each garment reflects from the inside out. From flawless finishings, and fabrications that stand the test of time to simple details like a lace covered hemlines, or bakelite buttons, all of which truly reminds me that “Less Is More!” It was during the era of the Great Depression that Bakelite reached it’s height in popularity. Something as simple as a colorful plastic accent was used to jazz up their existing wardrobes. What I also found interesting, was that four out of five garments in this weeks Fab Five Favs are all made of a simple fabric, Wool. Pure Wool was very popular during the early 90s due to it’s many beneficial properties. Since this wasn’t a time of excess, but more of necessity, wools extremely durable and hard wearing qualities made it the most sought after and allowed for long wear and the passing down of garments to future generations. Some of the other timely benefits were;

– absorbs humidity while remaining dry

– naturally contains lanolin which is a biologically active substance that is water resistant.

– it’s breathable

– has antibacterial properties

– is static resistant

– is highly flame resistant

– is resistant to dirt

– does not wrinkle easily

– natural wool helps reduce upper respiratory tract infections, asthma, skin diseases, and dust mites in the home

– with little weight, wool naturally keeps you warm

– takes dyes very well

With all that being said, it really drives me up the wall when I purchase a high end designer garment (even if I’m smart enough to purchase it at a 75% off Loehman’s Sale) to have a button fall off. There I go into 911 mode rushing to my local Organic Dry Cleaner to have all the buttons reinforced because the one extra button is no longer extra! Button reinforcement is something the manufacture should have done in the first place, and what’s up with the one extra button idea?

It’s no coincidence that our S/S2011 collections are taking use back to the 70s. I saved the September 20-26, 2010 issue of CRAIN’S which talks about the rewind of runway shows to looks from the 1970s, and featured a quote from one of my favorite clients, Susan Scafidi, who refers to me as her “Secret Weapon!” The article was entitled, “Boogie nights and conservative hemlines” by Adrianne Pasquarelli. What stood out for my in this article is that “designers are giving in to consumers’ demand for value by offering looks that last in neutral tones, a sign that fashion houses and retailers remain cautious about the coming year.”

I was also thrilled to note that “even those not completely on board with the trend still went back in time, chiefly in the form of the bell-bottom pant…”
“Trousers are a somewhat new category (for spring),” says Susan Scafidi, academic director of the Fashion Law Institute at Fordham University School of Law. “If you buy trousers, you have to buy at least one other piece-a blouse or a jacket to wear on top.” This is where we at BOUTIQUE FLEA come in to offer original stellar pieces at incredible low prices and thereby extending the opportunity to keep your wardrobe up to date for everyone!

“Sans Tambour Ni Trompette” or in other words I’m looking forward to seeing less bells and whistles and more of a quiet approach to fashion with luscious, luxury fabrics and clean classy silhouettes!

Fab Five Favs celebrates

Made in The USA / UNION MADE

UNION LABEL 1974-1995

ILGWU, the International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union,
was one of the most prevalent and powerful, and the first major union to have mostly women members.

ILGWU History
The International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union was formed in New York City in 1900, the consolidation of seven smaller garment workers’ unions. After two major strikes in 1909 and 1910, the union and manufacturers executed a Protocol of Peace. This achieved union recognition, improved wages and extended benefits to workers, as well as establishing arbitration as the means of solving disagreeements. Additional benefits were negotiated in the years following the tragic Triangle Shirtwaist factory fire in 1911. ILGWU was a member of the American Federation of Labor.

Weakening greatly during the Great Depression, ILGWU continued to be active in recruiting. With the formation of the Committee for Industrial Organizations in 1935, ILGWU tried to work with both organizations. Actual CIO members were suspended from AFL in 1936, and they joined to form the Congress of Industrial Organizations in 1938. ILGWU disengaged from CIO in 1940 and rejoined AFL. On December 5, 1955, AFL and CIO merged to form AFL-CIO. In 1995, ILGWU merged with Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers’ Union to form UNITE!, the Union of Needletrades, Industrial and Textile Employees, representing over 250,000 workers in the United States, Puerto Rico, and Canada. In 2004, UNITE! merged with HERE to form UNITE HERE.

1900 – 1936 ILGWU AFL
1936 – 1940 ILGWU CIO
1940 – 1955 ILGWU AFL
1955 – 1995 ILGWU AFL-CIO

1975-1992 Look for the Union Label campaign
1995 – 2004 UNITE!
2004 – UNITE HERE’_Garment_Workers’_Union

In 1974, ILGWU decided to change the colors of its label to red, white and blue. This is recorded in the records of the 35th annual convention, archived at the Kheel Center at Cornell. The Report of the General Executive Board to the 35th convention in Miami Beach, Florida, May 31, 1974 mentions the change in colors to “an all-American red-white-blue and the addition of the line ‘Made in USA'” on page 79. (emphasis added) They explain it in part as a result of the need to support the fight against the competition from low-wage imports, particularly to strengthen the nation-wide anti-imports campaign. All label material prepared in conjunction with the campaign used the slogan: “Buy American: The Job You Save May Be Your Own.”

Thanks to never*ending*search and Patrizia Sione, Reference archivist, Kheel Center for Labor Management Documentation & Archives for this key information.

– UNION LABEL 1974-1995,
Thanks to funkoma for the Label image from an 80s glittery prom dress.

– JANTZEN designed 60s Turquoise 100% Virgin Wool Matching Skirt Set $25

– BOTANY 500 designed 70s Navy Blue Jacket Sport Coat 100% Pure Wool with gold button detail $20

– COUNTRY PACER designed 70s Raisin Faux Fur Pimp Daddy Coat with gold button detail $30

– GILLIAN designed 80s Purple 100% Pure Wool Dress with gold button detail $30

– TOWNLEY BERRY-BURK designed 60s Black 100% Pure Wool, Mink Collar Princess Coat $45

– Charley Chaplin inspired example of 70s Fashion Rewind Trousers comeback; Rayon Mat Jersey high waisted full leg trouser exclusive from MontgomeryBoutique.Com $15, Brooks Brothers 90s “Brooksweave” dress shirt $15, Bill Robinson 90s Silk Jacquard weave tie $10, Ralph Lauren vintage wool tweed vest $15. Total look $55 Continue reading

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LESLEYLICIOUS! One word I created in summation of the talent & beauty, the woman, role model, and entrepreneur I call my friend, (Creative Cookie) Lesley Williams brings to our world. ELEMENTS of FIERCE applauds Lesley for boldly exploring and pursuing her creative dreams in hopes of inspiring others to do the same.

While working in the corporate world as Project Manager, Lesley has transformed into a confident artist, writer, photographer, and seamstress. The catalyst for this growth emerged from The Creative Cookie Blog
( which recently celebrated it’s two year birthday and has transported her into the world of fashion, and the mission of non-profits connecting her to people and places of inspiration that without her courage she would have missed.

Lesley, as someone easily inspired, tracked her sources of inspiration over a two year period and turned it into her first handmade zine entitled EASILY INSPIRED which was launched on September 2, 2010. This blog you are now reading was easily inspired by Lesley and another dear friend, Lynn Levoy
Autographed copies are available for $20 at
7 Rutland Rd. off Flatbush Ave. in Lefferts Gardens, Brooklyn

Our initial connection occurred when Lesley choose to celebrate another woman going for her dreams, Zenobia Marion owner of Boutique Flea, a thrift shop designed to provide a platform for Brooklyn artist, and a Madison Ave. shopping experience for unique items at unbelievable low prices. I decided to give Lesley a first hand experience of what the shop had to offer by giving her a head to toe makeover for under $45 and then photographing her for The Creative Cookie Blog feature. Lesley’s joie de vivre is so infectious and it was a sheer delight working with her as she pulled me out of my comfort zone and into photographer extraordinaire. I was so inspired and moved by her passion for creativity that I invited her to be interviewed on my talk show, ELEMENTS of FIERCE, stay tuned on November 8, 2010 Monday 9:30PM on Time Warner 67, RCN 85, and can be streamed at

In collaboration for the press event and launch of it’s new artist, Lesley joined forces with Zenobia & I to create a postcard in the branding of the boutique. Being inseparable, we have amazed each other with the innovative ideas that our creativity has birthed.

KIM CRAWFORD & IVANA HELSINSKI were the highlights of our evening at the close of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week NYS/S2011 and it was so apropos in our celebration of MBFW’s premiere at Lincoln Center. Since their launch in 1996, Kim Crawford has been serving up award winning excellence, and are the proud exclusive wine sponsor of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week.
“Indeed, when we first started Kim Crawford we didn’t even have a vineyard or winery. Just an idea and a lot of energy.” This is really what true entrepreneurship is all about, believing in your dream, and we celebrate Kim Crawford here at ELEMENTS of FIERCE!

Likewise, Paola Ivana Suhonen of Ivana Helsinski, an Helsinski born designer, artist and filmmaker who gave us a colorfully cultural closing presentation for FW NYS/S2011 started off with an idea to celebrate cultural heritage through her creative expression translated into genuine everyday-use fashion clothing. Paola and her sister Pirjo Suhonen founded the Finnish fashion company in 1998 and went on to be the first to Finnish company to ever present at Paris fashion week in 2007. As an exclusive Finnish design brand and the hottest representative of “Fennofolk”, the new Scandinavian design scene, ELEMENTS of FIERCE feels that Ivana Helsinski was an elegant conclusion to the historical migration of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week.
Note: Brava to owning your middle name, IVANA!

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