Saturday, November 9, 2013

Hello Chanel, La Troisième Partie: My leading lady fashion moment

I have watched awards shows forever. The Tonys and Oscars are my favorite - I love the fashion and the drama of awards shows. There's always going to be that moment when someone thought they were going to win and they don't. Of course, the camera stays on the loser as they make a horrible face or something. And of course, the gowns. More than the show itself, I truly love the fashion recap shows and articles that run for weeks after. I also secretly hope someone will trip in their enormous gown (thank you Jennifer Lawrence). Makes the celebrity seem more human.

My company hosts an annual meeting and awards program every year. It's a way to come together to celebrate the accomplishments of the year and to celebrate those who made significant contributions to our success. We can it the H'Oscars (ha ha) and I am actually a two time H'Oscar winner. This year, the event planning team announced that the theme of the awards portion would be black and white. It would also be less formal (cocktail attire). I opted for a statement purse. 

About a month ago, I started chronicling my fashion moment, creating a purse made out of Legos (part two can be found here.) I found the idea through a Buzzfeed post and decided to attempt to make this for an upcoming work event. As I started working on the purse, I decided to drop the pencil box version (although I did complete it and am staring at it as I write this) and go for a purse made entirely out of legos. I mean, if you're going to make a statement you should make a statement. Right?

Last weekend I finally finished the purse. The last stages of construction included figuring out the hinge situation and making the interior pocket and cover so that my phone and lipstick wouldn't make noise or move around the night of the event. I had no idea how to make the hinging portion of the purse work. I had the two halves of the purse and there wasn't a ton of room to add a hinge. I didn't want to make it bigger; that would make it harder to carry. So I did what any girl would do when approached with a construction question: I asked my dad. My dad and I measured the space and he figured I could use a medium size hinge and glue it so that the purse would open and close with little to no gap. We also attempted a closure but it didn't work (and wasn't necessary).

Dads know everything! The glue worked perfectly for the hinges and the weight of the purse keeps it closed so there was no need to have a clasp. I'll figure out clasps on future versions of the purse (and there will be future versions).

The final stage in construction was lining. Legos are plastic and if you put anything in a plastic container and move it around there's going to be noise. Since I made both versions of the purse, I spent my last construction day lining them with plain black fabric. For the purse I would be using, I made one of the sides a pocket instead. I thought that it would be more usable if I could stash my ID and room key and lipstick in a pocket rather than letting them roll around. My cell phone got its own side. Pumpkin decided to help me measure and cut the fabric. You know how she likes to help.

Both versions turned out better than I expected. And this wasn't that difficult of a project to complete. It's time-consuming but not a hard craft project. The most challenging part was the design phase since I kept going back and creating different patterns before I finally settled on the design on the left (one of my friends described it as "way more Chanel than Chanel" - probably not true but a nice compliment.)

I packed the purse in a velvet jewelry bag and eagerly awaited its debut at the H'Oscars. At the airport on Wednesday, I showed it to some of my friends as we waited for our flight. Their reactions were fun; I don't think any of them really knew what to expect even though they had seen photos or read the previous posts. That's part of the fun of fashion right?

People love legos. And they love lego purses. I'm sure this isn't something that they thought they'd love but love they do. Everyone wanted to hold the purse and would ask if they could open it (since you should never open a lady's purse without her permission). Some of the greatest reactions came from the men - I don't think most of them realized that legos could do that. I also talked to 2 or 3 that wanted pictures to show their daughters. I thought that was exciting. I loved legos as a little girl and now I can make them into fashion. And they can too.

At least four people asked if I would make them one (the answer: probably). The lego purse was the exact fashion moment that I needed. My dress was a simple black cocktail dress. The purse elevated the look and was truly a statement piece. This, my friends, is what fashion is supposed to do. And it was fun and whimsical - you know I love whimsy.

While I didn't win a H'Oscar this year (although I was nominated), this was a particularly successful event for me both professionally and personally. I presented twice this year (as part of the general session in front of the whole company and at a breakout session later in the day). Both were extremely successful. The feedback I received was overwhelmingly positive. It's both gratifying and humbling to be considered an "expert" in anything and then to be told that you are by your peers and the senior leadership of your company is just, well, amazing. Work has been a challenge recently and an event like this helps to put that challenge into perspective. Does it fix the problems? No, but now I have some thoughts for how to better approach my job and to feel proud of what I accomplish.

And, of course, we had fun. I have never worked for a company that has an event quite like this. It's really meant to be experienced not explained. Now to catch up on sleep and word count for NaNoWriMo (I fell a little behind this week).

(I call this last photo "At the Club".)

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