April 26, 2010

Teaching how to make a sinamay fascinator

I was approached recently by Castelltort to give a few classes on how to make a fascinator. Castelltort is a  Spanish wholesaler that has just recently started carrying material to make fascinators (sinamay bases, sinamay by the meter, some feathers, veil and horsehair). The classes are aimed at customers (owners of shops) who want to get an idea of what can be done with the material being sold, and who are interested in selling it in their shops.

Today I gave the first class, 3 hour long , in which the ladies attending learnt to make a fascinator. They were supplied with a kit bag containing instructions, templates and the material needed to make the fascinator that I designed for the occasion. This is the table just before the class stared:

Here’s a picture of the ladies that have attended the course with their fascinators on (I’m there in the center):

It has been a very interesting experience and I’m really happy with the results, and really lucky I met such wonderful ladies!

April 23, 2010

Sant Jordi – a Rose and a Book (well two actually)

Filed under: daily life,Hat book and magazine reviews — Cristina de Prada @ 7:07 pm

Sant Jordi is the patron saint of Catalonia, the region where we live.  On the 23rd of april there is a tradition for the man to buy a rose for the woman and for the woman to buy a book for the man, that’s why it’s also know as Book day or Rose day.

Today, Barcelona has a flower stall on every corner selling roses, and many shops have book stalls on the street. In the spirit of the day I have put on a little rose fascinator and have been to Gratacós (the fabric and accessories shop)  where the author of the book “Barcelona alta costura”,  Josep Casamartina, was signing.

Here you can see me with my new book (on the right), “Barcelona alta costura” (sold internationally as “Barcelona haute couture”). It is a gorgeous book showing both haute couture dresses and hats from the Antoni de Montpalau Textile Collection. This hardcover book is packed full of wonderful full page color pictures, and very little text  (three introductory articles, the cataloguing and biographies). Both versions (the one in Catalan with a green dress cover, and the Spanish with a pink dress cover)  have full English text, which is wonderful. Some of the couturiers shown are well known (Balenciaga, Pedro Rodriguez, Pertegaz, Lanvin), while others not so much, but throughout the book the constant is incredible quality, design and workmanship. These were the dresses worn by the Barcelona elite and it shows they had excellent taste.

Here is the dedication from the Author, Josep Casamartina i Parassols (I love his curly hand):

The other book in my hand is my Mom’s book, “Joaquín y Loli. Un encuentro de cine”. Those who have been following me for a while know about this wonderful book, written by my mother as an homage to my father, and they also know that my mother was sued because of it by the surviving brothers of my dad. The book is wonderful, and I want to repeat this to my mother, I LOVE YOU MOM, and I think your book is beautiful, innocent, romantic and fun.

This is the dedication that my mother wrote to me in my copy of her book, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did:

Translation: "What to say! it's the most precious thing in the world, it's our daughter Cristina, sweet, intelligent, pretty, loving ¡How much we love you dad and I! and how much you love us. We give you little starts, but hey, don't give them to anyone. My whole life is yours. Loli de Prada, 25 April 2007

A mother’s love, what can I say!!

SPANISH TEXT follows… for my Mom, and her friends, and my friends, so they can read it without using a silly online translator (just this once).

Haz click en “More..” para leerlo en castellano…


April 16, 2010

Trying on hats, that’s a party!

Filed under: daily life,Millinery trivia and events,Passejada 2010,Passejada amb Barret — Cristina de Prada @ 3:38 pm

Last Sunday, April 11 2010, we celebrated the VI Passejada amb barret (Hat stroll) in Barcelona, and that was an excuse for a couple of friends to stop by, try on some hats and decide which one they wanted to wear for the event (about which I will blog shortly).

Above you can see the lovely Helena (a wonderful storyteller, checkout the blog that she writes along with my brother José Manuel: http://escuchandoconlosojos.blogspot.com/), she’s in front of the harpsichord which is serving temporarily as an exhibition area for my hats (I knew it would come in handy one day… naaah!! just kidding!!! Sorry Peter!!).

My friend Eulalia also visited me to try on hats and they both had a great time, and had to try every single hat (some of them more than once!).

It was a pleasure for me to see others taking pleasure in my hats. Thank you Helena! Thank you Eulalia!

April 2, 2010

Traveling in style with my Samsonite Streamlite hatbox travel case and Loewe umbrella

Filed under: daily life,Millinery trivia and events,Samsonite vintage hatbox — Cristina de Prada @ 2:48 pm

Truth be told, the only traveling I’ve done with this wonderful vintage Samsonite Streamlite hatbox is the trip a couple of years ago from Cologne (Germany, where I bought it at an antique fair for a hefty 50 euros) to Barcelona where I live. But it’s such a beauty that I could not resist buying it, specially considering its mint condition -key included- (after buying this one I saw others cheaper, but they where all dirty or damaged). These come up frequently on eBay (US) and can be bought at a reasonable price.

The vintage style Loewe umbrella on the other hand was a gift, a couple of years ago, from my wonderful mom. The umbrella has a green leather handle and luscius fabric that is green on the inside and shocking pink on the outside, with the lettering LOEWE making a repeated circle pattern. I believe these umbrellas are still available, although from looking at their website I think the handles are now all brown, which is a pity.

Funny enough, after having bought the hat box I happened quite by chance upon the corresponding patents, one for the manufacturing process and one for the design.  The patent allows us to date the design to 1955 (that’s when the patents were filed, although they were granted in 1958). I’ve also found an old ad for the hatbox, dated 1955, already with the famouse catch phrase “… it’s strong enough to stand on!”.

If you check out the patents you might be surprised (as I was) that they are not under the name of Samsonite but Shwayder Bros. Jesse Shwayder founded the company in 1910 and Samsonite was a trademark (that was first used in 1941). The name of the company was not changed to Samsonite until 1966.

All pictures can be seen in more detail on Flickr if you follow this link.

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