If you happen to be flying anywhere on Horizon Air this month, make sure and check out their magazine. Our very own Julia La Tray is featured in an article about some regional fashion designers. Photos (also featuring our friend and supermodel Kim Pollock) by yours truly. An excerpt:
“The wilderness and the rural landscape make Montana fashion unique,” says Missoula fashion designer Julia LaTray. “I love the ingenious ways people mix the practical with the impract
ical, like party dresses paired with scuffed-up wellies, or a Filson vest in place of a suit coat. Even after the most formal events, at some point you’ll leave the party or the dinner or the wedding and may find yourself walking through mud, snow or a cow pasture to get back to your car.”
I’m pretty proud of her. Odd that “DonkeyGirl” as Julia’s official brand (now appearing in fancy new tags!) is never mentioned. For the record, Julia tells me it was mentioned, so who knows why it was omitted.
I almost missed it, but it turns out the Fall Fashion insert was in the Sunday Missoulian this week. It came out sooner than I expected, but, thanks to a tip Julia received from a customer at Betty’s today, and verification by my always vigilant mother, I was able to wrangle a copy.
These inserts come out twice a year, Spring and Fall. What is significant is that this time last year Julia and I debuted as the writers for it, so Sunday’s edition was our third time writing the articles (all but one, though Julia contributed to that one as well).
I have to guffaw at the idea that I, of all people, am writing fashion articles. I have to admit though that it’s a gas; I’ve come to look forward to doing it. It’s fun to collaborate with Julia (who is the real brains behind what is going on and what we do with it), plus research and write my own stuff. It’s one of the things I love about writing, the researching and trying to make something new (to me) interesting. It’s also a challenge because, for better or worse, I don’t think our stuff gets edited. Occasionally there are some formatting typos, but for the most part they come out pretty clean.
In particular Julia was amused that, as she put it, “‘Mr. Rhino-hide’ wrote an article about skin care. Your idea of personal skin care is what, rubbing gravel all over your face?”
Her comments refer of course to my constant running commentary as to how I want a weathered countenance ala dudes like Jim Harrison as I get older. I keep threatening to spend the winter sleeping with my head sticking out the bedroom window, particularly on these cold, windy nights in Western Montana.
It’s good it’s in the paper, though, considering I’ve got a face meant, at best, only for print or radio. I mean, would you take that kind of advice from this guy?
I landed some photos in it too. In that capture of the page with the skin care article, toward the bottom, I shot the picture in the Betty’s ad to the lower left on the facing page. Then I also did the interviews and shot all the pictures in the following scarves article as well.
As I said, this is a fun project to work on. One of those things where it’s cool to take ideas to fruition, then have something printed on old school newsprint to show for it. It’s sad when one considers those days may be numbered, so I’m sure to enjoy it when I can.
There’s this little blurb in the Indy today you can check out HERE about this art event happening in Missoula tomorrow called West: A True Romance. You should check it out.
The significance of it is that it is an art show put together by my wife, Julia. It features artists of a bunch of different disciplines all contributing pieces on what their ideas of the West are all about. I’m even doing a mini photography exhibition on, of all things, trailer parks.
The idea came out of Julia’s fashion design habit. When she is constantly making stuff that she thinks people will buy, she gets burned out. It loses its artistic luster. However, when she does periodic shows of fashion as “art” pieces, it keeps it interesting. This is one of those events, and rather than just make it all fashion (as her last one was, a collaboration with a friend of ours they called Order of the Red Antler), she decided to invite a bunch of different artists.
This is a sneak peek of one of the pieces she’s working on, or part of it. It’s a jacket, obviously, which she designed. It is made of brain-tanned buckskin, which she acquired from a friend of ours who does all the skinning and tanning herself. Another Native artist friend provided the beadwork. The rest is canvas (it was originally going to be all buckskin, which was a little cost prohibitive at the time). It looks great, if you ask me. I can’t wait to see the entire thing finished.
So if you live in Missoula, come out Friday night. It should be pretty cool.
Julia keeps cranking away with her DonkeyGirl stuff, after a so-so summer of market. Big plans are in the work, big plans. Here’s the latest stuff for Fall, with some holiday stuff right on its heels. . . .
>Julia continues to kick ass at the Project Selvedge contest. Five challenges have been completed and she’s still going strong. This Friday is the challenge which will narrow the field to three contestants for the big finale on May 7th. I’m sure Julia will advance, unless she totally blows it on this challenge. That ain’t gonna happen though. So here are some photos from the last two challenges.
April 2nd: Challenge Four — Make a Paper Dress
This was kind of a weird one going in. They had a little bit of fabric, but the rest had to be made from paper, with any other features being made from recycled materials and/or objects. It was sponsored by Noteworthy Paper & Press downtown. Julia decided to do a dress as a tribute to the work of Alexander McQueen, a big-time fashion designer who recently died (suicide — a very sad and tragic story). Here is a little collage of some of his crazy designs.
And here is Julia struttin’ her stuff. The big flared skirt is made of pages from the Missoula phone book, painted blue (from some old paint we found in the garage from this house’s previous owners), and the funky headdress were from stationary she acquired at Noteworthy:
What surprised me most, after what seemed like kind of a dubious challenge, was how awesome all the designs were. So much color and creativity — it was very impressive.
The judges were left speechless. I was amazed by what these women pulled off. In the end, the judges decided they couldn’t eliminate any of the designs, so that meant that during some future challenge they would have to eliminate two people.
However, and unfortunately, during the week that followed, we learned that the designer named Theresa, who was far and away the best seamstress in the whole contest, quit for unknown reasons. It was disappointing, but at least that means things are back on track. She designed this Ming Dynasty-inspired piece as her last creation in Project Selvedge.
If you’re in Missoula and care to look, these dresses are on display in Noteworthy’s window, right on Higgins.