Week #7: A Tribute to Bella Pomeranian

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A shining light went out last night when Bella Pomeranian, one of our celebrity models, suddenly crossed the bridge.

Bella was sassy, darling, powerful, and a pure delight. She found the spotlight when she became the 1-800 petmeds.com dog, and she used her power wisely.  She spread kindness in every picture that her mommy & Daddy posted.  She was the pom rescue ambassador, helping to re-home so many poms in peril. She helped her mommy make blankets of love to further help lost and forgotten dogs.
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Bella charmed us through the love she shared for Teddi B Kori. She recently travelled to Canada for a week of wedding and honeymoon festivities. Their wedding album, as well as their love letters were the finest example of kindness and friendship.  I looked forward to each day’s simple accounting of their days.  It took me back to simpler time, a time when letter writing was an art. Bella and Teddi reminded me of the kindness that our high-speed world is forgetting.

1937484_814546305252445_1655259739652858595_nAnd then there was Bella’s tenth birthday party!  On August 30th, fifteen doggies and their parents joined together at Lisa Vanderpump’s restaurant, PUMP, in West Hollywood, for the grandest of soirees! The food, the wine, the company! It was the event of the season, and Miss Bella was the most gracious of hostesses.  These wonderful events that Bella, her Mommy and her Daddy shared with us burned her memory on my heart, and I thank them for that.

A while back I read a story about a little boy who lost his beloved best friend. The family was heartbroken, but the boy took it pretty well.  He had a great understanding of his doggie pal.  When asked why he was so calm, he said, “People are born so that they can learn how to live a good life — like loving everybody all the time and being nice, right?”  The six-year-old continued,  “Well, dogs already know how to do that, so they don’t have to stay as long.”

Dogs teach us.  Mine teach me every day.  Our world moves so fast.  Dogs instinctively know how to slow it down. Bella showed us that in every cute smile that she shared.   She knew love.  She knew kindness.

She knew the code of dog:

When loved ones come home, always run to greet them.

Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joyride.

Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure Ecstasy.

Take naps.

Stretch before rising.

Run, romp, and play daily.

Thrive on attention and let people touch you.

Avoid biting when a simple growl will do.

On warm days, stop to lie on your back on the grass.

On hot days, drink lots of water and lie under a shady tree.

When you’re happy, dance around and wag your entire body.

Delight in the simple joy of a long walk.

Be loyal.

Never pretend to be something you’re not.

If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it.

When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by, and nuzzle them gently.

There comes a time in life, when you walk away from all the drama and people who create it.  You surround yourself with people who make you laugh, forget the bad, and focus on the good. So, love the people who treat you right.  Think good thoughts for the ones who don’t.  Life is too short to be anything but happy.  Falling down is part of LIFE…Getting back up is LIVING…

Live simply.

Love generously.

Care deeply.

Speak kindly.

Have a great life.  And thank you, Miss Bella, for the lessons you taught us all. Run free, Sweet girl! You left your mark on the world!

xoxo
LOLA

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Week #7 — I missed last week!

WEEK-#7---DRESSES

It was mostly a week of draping, cutting and sewing, for both the show and the PUPSCOUTS!

It would be wonderful to do nothing but create for this wonderful presentation, but I do still have to pay the rent, and the Pupscouts are helping me do that!  Pupscouts Canada is about to take off, and the US troops are growing as well.  Dogs and their parents doing great deeds…. that is how it should be. My job is to make it so they can do it with class and style.

I did do some creating for the show.  I can’t wait to have 10 show garments that each demonstrate the core of what I am doing; garments that might inspire a famous fashion photographer or a celebrity dog lover to become involved.  Once I have those garments, garments that tell a full story just by looking at them, I will make a press kit whose purpose will be to involve people in our editorial style fashion photo shoot.

That’s really all I have to say today.   The loss of our lovely little Bella Pomeranian has wiped me out, and I have a lot to do — miles to go before I sleep.  I’m going to make something special in Bella’s name.

<3
LOLA

Week #5 — Halloween!

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Since I’m focusing on costumes, it’s only logical that I do something special for Halloween.

I’m making a grouping of costumes, and we’re taking them on the road! Myself, Woofie and Bear will be attending a real live Dog & Pony Show!  Applewood Pet Resort will be holding its Canine Couture runway show on Saturday, Oct. 25th at The Fourth Annual Bentley Scottsdale Polo Championships. The event will be a showcase of Scottsdale’s most stylish pooches. Participation in the fashion show is open to all breeds and age of dogs. They will be judged on their appearance and the creativity of their outfits by a panel of canine couture experts. We will also be going to Mr. Bones Pumpkin Patch on October 21 with the Pupscouts for a cookie decorating party, and I’m working on a possible TV appearance.

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But first I need to finish the costumes! Costumes by definition are special occasion wear and as that they should be very special.  I wanted to find exaggerated silhouettes for dresses and hats without weighing down the dog.  Boning was my answer. It’s a magnificent way to create shape, so the first half of the week I just played around with it, seeing what exactly I could do and how to best do it. A dog is such a beautiful thing, I hate to cover him or her in too much fabric, and I hate to inhibit their movement.

And then there’s hats. Hats contain so much style. I love a dog wearing nothing but a hat and some jewels.  I spent two days designing hats, nothing but hats — one kind of hat, a top hat.  And boy did I ever master that top hat!  It’s difficult to make because there is a lot to struggle with under the needle, but it’s a pretty cool looking hat.

The boning part of the week resulted in my naked dog dress. This may look simple, but it was extremely labor intensive.  Each piece of boning is covered with a fine black elastic casing. I had to stitch the casings, then thread the boning through them.  It’s the rich black finish of that trim that gives the piece a finished look, partly because it looks so good with the velvet.

SONY DSCWhich takes us into next week, but first I want to tell you, today I filmed my segments for the sponsorship video!  I have a lot of footage to look at but I think it came out good.  I’ll be storyboarding it over the next few days, and gathering additional footage.

My main focus for the week is my two clients’ orders, then making the rest of the costumes, then stroyboarding the video, plus a trip downtown somewhere in the middle of all that. And at some point I need to make my dress for the Dog & Pony show… Yes, it is going to be a busy week!

xoxo
Lola

Week #4 — Drawings & Dresses

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The week began with drawings and ended with a dress and a thousand ideas.

Looking at a dog and capturing his or her personality in cloth is so different from designing a dress line.  For one thing, since most of these items won’t be for sale, I don’t have to think about cost, or production time, or if someone will want to buy them!  I just get to think about what their special charm is and how I’m going to amplify it. In some cases, I’m only working from a picture and mommy or daddy’s words!

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The front and Back of my rack card! How exciting to have someone besides me do the artwork.

The drawing above is for Nella. She’s a bull dog, and the sweetest little girl. She was born with major heart complications and her family surrendered her to rescue at the age of 3. Doctors gave her weeks to survive, but with the right meds and lots of love she has surprised us all and is still with us a year and a half later!

Today I signed up Soda Pop.  She had been at the Stockton shelter for over a month and although she was a staff favorite, her time was up. She now lives on three acres in the Sequoias!  Her mommy has 2 other sweet pitties, and if Soda Pop isn’t ready for the show, we will use one of them.  This will be a great opportunity to show the world the true nature of this wonderful but misunderstood breed.

Back to the designing.  Production is always slow when you’re in the early stages of designing.  I don’t mind.  I just relax into it while watching a lot of TV. I think I watched the whole Top Chef series last week! I did a slew of drawings, then I started constructing a wonderful structural piece. It’s funny how designs morph into something unexpected — if you let them.  If you don’t, you never find the magic, but if you allow yourself to be completely unsatisfied, constructing and deconstructing it until you absolutely love it, you can find something truly original.   That is what I did.  For three days I worked on one dress and hat! Making it — remaking it — and now this dress and hat has inspired a whole new direction for me, along with a fantastic idea for a reality show!

For those who are wondering, I closed LOLA canine couture. My business partner wanted out and I couldn’t afford to buy her out. I could have fought the situation, after all she was the one that bailed, at the worst possible time. And we didn’t have a clearly written contract defining our obligations to one another. The vagueness and the fact that we didn’t follow through and write a clear contract would have worked in my favor.  But I’d rather turn and walk away, take the loss and start something entirely new, than get caught up in any sort of legal wrangling. The best way to live life is with clean hands and a happy heart, so I accepted responsibility for my part, LEARNED A LOT, and moved on.

Enough of that! I have big news! I became the leader of Pupscouts Hollywood Troop #12!  We’re starting off slow, but I imagine we will do great things.   Our first outing will be some Halloween fun… more on that next week. First I need to get the Halloween costumes done!

See you next week!
xoxo
Lola

Week #3 — The Dogs! The Fabrics! The Chicken or the Egg??

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The week began with an incredible meeting between myself and the show’s producer. It makes me feel so secure knowing I’m in such competent hands. I was so excited to get rolling that I decided to postpone making the sponsorship video and to just dive in.

When designing for people at this point I would turn to the fabric and I did that here as well.   I went fabric shopping and trim shopping, then I started draping some of the garments.  But the main thing I want to do here is to amplify the personalities of the dogs involved. I couldn’t figure out which to do first!  I want some medium and big dogs from striking breeds and the designs for them will be quite specific. So I stopped with the fabric and I went in search of dogs.

I found a darling Italian Greyhound named Antonio who I just adore.  He lives in Southern California and he shares his cuteness to help the Italian Greyhound rescue.  Everything about him screams charm and whimsy.  I’m going to put him in something French with stripes, like a painter or a mime. And his second outfit is going to be a wonderful waistcoat and top hat.

I also really want an afghan hound. They have such a grand and unique quality.  I don’t know anyone with that breed, so I contacted the Afghan Hound Rescue of Southern California. Hopefully we’ll get one.  It doesn’t have to be one with perfect hair, in fact I’d like one with shorter hair. I just love their faces and their tall skinny physiques.

I also want a Bulldog, so I contacted the Southern California Bulldog Rescue.  I’d love a sweet English bulldog girl.  A cute French Bulldog would be great, too.  There is a darling little girl named Bella Rose Reed who does lots of rescue / philanthropic work and I would love to dress her, but she lives in Tulsa OK.

I think my focus was on these larger and more unique shaped dogs because I’m not used to dressing them, and to personify them is very inspiring. And these are dogs that could look silly if dressed wrong.  A lot of the little dogs will be wearing mommy and me outfits, and that is a whole different challenge that I’m not ready to consider.

It’s so hard in the beginning, because there are so many possibilities and you want to make sure you consider all the possibilities — of fabric, of dog, of style.  Time gets spent playing around with trims and textures, looking at dog pictures, and the spending of lots of money!  More went out than came in, and that is never fun — inspiration to get that video done!

Tomorrow this week begins with a trip downtown to buy more fabric.  I hope to get some responses from the rescues and some measurements so I can get started on a few designs.  And maybe I’ll get to that video…. :)

 

Week 2: Sometimes You Have to Slow Down to Find Speed

This is an inspiration board for a small grouping I'm making for Halloween. Halloween will be our first PR event for the big show.

This is an inspiration board for a small grouping I’m making for Halloween. Halloween will be our first PR event for the big show.

I finished my inspiration boards and I now know EXACTLY what I want to say. It left me feeling a little restless.

I think there is an invisible stream of energy that runs under life, maybe through it, and it is the thing that artists tap into.  It flows fast, so you have to be spry enough to first see it and then to catch it. It’s not made up of words.  In fact it’s not made up of anything I can easily define. But we tap into it and from it we know something about society — what it feels, what it fears, and what it yearns for.  Then we interpert that into material things.

We don’t generally put it into worlds (unless of course you’re a writer.) But, since my task this week was to conceptualize my promotional video, I had to put it into words. It was a frustrating week.  Luckily I had a few orders to focus on while everything percolated within me.  Finally, today, Saturday afternoon, it came to me.  I got the basic script down.  Tomorrow I’ll make the story board.  Then next week I’ll film it!

I felt artistically blocked all week while I was doing this and that was so frustrating! I had orders to make, and I had the task of making this month’s specials.  I hope to get funding to cover the cost of materials for this project, but my time creating won’t be covered, so I still need to pay the rent!  After I got the script done, a rush of creativity flooded in, and I draped my monthly specials!  I’ll make them next week and then post them, so stay tuned!

Coming next week, the filming of the video!

Week 1: Miles to go Before I Sleep

the-woods-are-lovely dark and deep, miles to go before I sleepOnce upon a time there was a little girl.  Like most little girls, she was trying to find her way.

It’s a difficult thing, being young. You know things that you’ve not been taught; you feel things you’ve never touched.  It’s all a mystery to be unravelled, and you’re in such a hurry to do the unraveling! (Unlike older days when life unravels with its own spinning speed.)  We land here and our job is to make the most of it, so we do.  Or we try. Success or failure is relative.2o---alternate-MADNES_7E1

This little girl came with a head full of thought-soup.  Maybe that’s what twisted her spine and made her toes point in.  Maybe it’s why she wrote and read backwards. Maybe the pains and joys of a life before did all that; there’s so much we don’t know. In centuries past, the disfigured survived as spectacles of curiosity, living in cages and watching the world pass.  We look at that and say, how horrible, but maybe it’s things like that that teach us empathy. Our empathy is our artistry. If I had that in my past, I’m grateful for it now.  It’s given me my voice and in that, the power to change the world.

So today is 200 days until my big show! Le Chein at Fashion Week El Paseo.  I’m a writer but I’ve somehow gotten on this road of dog rescue, which has lead me to artistically expressing myself while on that road. I’m humanizing dogs, because when something is humanized, you don’t keep it as a curiosity in a cage.

I’m creating a show of enchantingly dramatic proportions and I’m inviting some of the most wonderful people to be a part of it.  Organization is the core of all design. I am probably one of the most organized people you will ever know and I’ll be sharing that with you here.  Now, if you’re ever around me at a creative moment, you’ll see a tornado in motion. Don’t confuse that with disorder.  My brain is seeing connections, it’s just happening really fast.

I don’t want money to be a driving force in this, so last week I began researching art grants and ways to get funding.  And I found a very cool solution!  It’s called Hatchfund, and it hosts an online community where artists can post projects for funding and connect with those who love and support artists. They only work with professional artists, and they offer hands on-help to the projects that they accept — and they accepted me!  It’s a lot like Kickstarter, only the artist gets 100% of the money raised, and they have a match-funds program. My hope is to raise a minimum of $2,500 to pay for the fabric, and if I raise $12,000 I’ll donate everything to the silent auction the event is hosting. Okay!  On with the weekly briefing.

This week was all about inspiration as I conceptualize my vision for the show.  Artists find order that visually speaks to the heart which then engages the brain and, with that energetic interaction, sets the viewer on fire. You can’t just make a bunch of stuff and expect to create a big effect. You need to find order and for a show as big as this one, that’s a complex job. I made inspiration boards. These are collections of colors and textures, shapes and lines, that evoke a feeling you want to express.  I’ll make a bunch of them and the ones that get me going will tell the story of the show.

The next step for me is to build my funding campaign. Part of that is the video and textual presentation, and part of that is press events that will bring people to the page.  Halloween is a great press possibility, so I’m making some wonderful Halloween costumes in the next few weeks.  Then Christmas is next.  We are also planning an editorial style people-matching-pet photo shoot that I hope to get published in a human fashion magazine.

“The woods are lovely, dark and deep… miles to go before I sleep!” That is my mantra for this experience, really for my life.  I have found so many wonderful friends in the dog & rescue community. I know we will use this wonderful opportunity to bring about great change for all the dogs that die simply because people don’t know they exist. Hopefully, by the time we are done, people will know.

I’ll tell you more next week!

xoxo
Lola

 

My New Project — Let Dogs Speak

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Dogs make life better.  I’m celebrating that.  The plan is to make incredible works of art, get them in front of large audiences and promote dogs — the lost and forgotten and those helping them. Cloth is my medium.  Dogs are my muse.

For the past three years I’ve been designing LOLA canine couture, a line of pet fashion intended to promote dog rescue. It was a wonderful line — beautifully cut, expertly crafted, magnificently styled — providing for dogs the same designer quality that we expect for ourselves.  But it didn’t really do much to help dogs, so I’m shifting gears.

LOLA-DOG is an artistic vision I am embarking on, a project whose goal is pet advocacy.  I’ll be sculpting with cloth, creating unique and compelling forms that tell a story, a story aimed at shining a light on the beauty of dogs and what happens when humanity decides they have no value.  A story aimed at reminding us of the feeling that kindness has on the heart. The face of the world right now is a serrated edge.  I want to soften that by enchanting, surprising and at times shocking an audience.

My goal as an artist is to find meaning and bring it to life through my work.  With this project I will step beyond dog fashion into a world of thought-provoking vision.

A March show is in the works, more details to follow.  Feel free to contact me if you are interested in a commissioned work.

~LOLA

Dog Fashion

I created a line of dog fashion to promote dog rescue. The plan was that the line would explode and continue to save dogs on an even grander scale.

Pet Fashion Week in Japan.  The event gave the designers an opportunity to dig in the $10 billion Japanese Pet market.

Pet Fashion Week in Japan.

But I wasn’t smart.  I should have done some market research, at which point I would have realized that this was a tiny niche market where my grand intentions wouldn’t fit. Dog fashion doesn’t exist. Not on a measurable scale. Not in Los Angeles. Not in 2014. Yes, people buy clothes for their dog and some are very fashionable. Usually it’s a dress or a coat intended to last the life of the dog without the desire for something new built into it. That’s not fashion.

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Nintendo held a dog fashion show to promote “Nintendogs”. Gaming deity Shigeru Miyamoto was the judge.

With fashion comes desire. Fashion is the social experience that revolves around getting dressed.  It’s the parties, the press, the anticipation of what the next season will bring. It’s the stories the clothes tell; the characters we become when we wear them. It’s a tool of self expression; a shield to hide behind. It’s the hope that a dream will come true. It’s feelings personified… the future unveiled… it’s an involving experience, and what fun it would be if dogs were a part of it.

We have become an isolated society filled with lonely people, hungry for social engagement and outlets for kindness. I think people enjoy fun experiences that allow them to step outside of themselves. Experiences where they can make a difference, maybe even change the world. A really cute dog in a cocktail dress that everyone fawns over gives you the power to do that.  It feels like the people are fawning over you!  Suddenly you’re the belle of the ball. It’s exciting.  Empowering.  Innocent.  Sweet.  Attach all that to a cause… it’s magic.

 

My Mom Decided to Redecorate. It Was Torture.

Redecorating sucks. I can tell you this is true, from a dog’s point of view. What is wrong with humans? Why do they need things to change?

bed - dog's point of viewBy Woofie Sweet-thing

There we were, me and Bear, comfortably lounging on our bed — a bed that we LET Mom sleep in. I’m not sure she truly understands the gravity of that.  Suddenly she starts pulling everything apart! Pillows were flying. She was changing the colors!  The fabric! Me and Bear voted on it — none of this was necessary. Curtains came down, new ones went up.  We thought we were moving! We thought, if things went badly, that we might be left behind. Life had been so good since our shelter days. Was all that over? Would we soon return to that dark din of sorrow? We tried kissing Mom.  Kisses are supposed to fix everything.  She has no time for us! This was not looking good. Bear even started hyperventilating.  We were very happy with things as they were…

Well, the storm is now over and we are recuperating.  We didn’t move. We didn’t get left behind. The shelter was not in the cards. Mom just wanted a brighter world. She wanted the feeling of more space. We’re still cautious.  She’s guarding the rug like it’s Fort Knox. What? Does she think we will pee on it?  If she wants us to not pee in the rug, she needs to take us on long walks through the neighborhood so we can see our friends!!! We have made that abundantly clear.  We model her dumb dresses, the least she can do is allow us our social life. Human’s are a little slow on the uptake.

Here is the blog she wrote about the redecorating: MOM’S BLOG… We kinda like the new place.

We’ll write again soon!

~Woofie Sweet-thing & Elmore Buttercup Bear