Balenciaga and Spain Take Over San Francisco

Cristóbal Balenciaga has invaded the de Young museum in San Francisco. The exhibit, running until July 4, has more than 100 pieces of Balenciaga clothing and accessories. These items date from the start of his career in the early 1930’s to the late 1960’s.Included are breathtaking evening gowns, empowering suits and of course abstract pieces. Balenciaga was able to capture a woman’s essence at every stage of her life. He changed the mold for women’s suits in 1947. During a time when Christian Dior had made the hourglass figure iconic, it was Balenciaga who made the fitted suit more appealing for decades to come.


Balenciaga spent a great amount of time of his career in Paris, but always made sure to draw from his Spanish roots when creating his art. He used bullfights, flamenco dancers and tunics that Spanish fishermen would wear as influences. Balenciaga even drew inspiration from attire worn by members of the San Salvador Catholic church where he was an alter boy. In 1952 he introduced the famous pillbox hat that was inspired by Catholic clerk skullcaps.


The exhibit consists of four rooms, each with more clothes then the next. The third room has many of the designer’s culturally inspired works, with matador jackets and flamenco dresses. Visitors can even hear the rhythms and melodies of traditional flamenco music that Balenciaga would listen as he designed. Though he did not like bullfighting, he could not resist creating clothes from the sport’s iconic costumes.


The exhibit also shows how Spanish royal families from the 15th and 16th centuries and Spanish artists also inspired Balenciaga. He combined strong red and black pieces combined with regal and elegant velvets and silks. Francisco Goya and Diego Velázquez were two of Balenciaga’s muses. Both artists at one time were painters for the Spanish royal court and Balenciaga would study these paintings of the royal families and create dresses from the artwork.


One of my favorite pieces from the exhibit was a summer evening dress from 1951. It’s a white, silk, long sleeve dress. On the dress there are cluster of black beads that from a distance look like polka dots, but up close it’s impossible to miss how beautiful the detail is in the dress.


Another favorite was another summer evening dress from 1956. A white taffeta dress with a red carnation flower print. The same flower is the national flower of Spain and symbolizes the bullring where the sport takes place.


One of Balenciaga’s last pieces before the end of his career was a wedding dress and veil he created in 1968. The white silk and satan organza dress is very sleep, with clean lines and no adornments. Simple, yet classy and elegant. The veil resembles a nun’s veil to symbolize purity.


In 1968 at the age of 74, the “Picasso of fashion” closed the doors of his stores and stopped designing. As guests walk through and gaze at the marvelous exhibit it is difficult to believe all the pieces at the de Young are at least 40 years old – it is easy to imagine them on the runways during last season’s fashion week. Balenciaga’s mind and imagination were far beyond their time and will forever be timeless.


LA Fashion Week! Reporting for Mode Bay Area

Day two of Fashion was go go go! But then again, what person doesn’t enjoy running around LA and Hollywood to ultra chic events.

My night started out in Hollywood at the SIWY denim preview. Designer Michelle Siwy’s looks for the coming spring/summer season are to die for. High-waisted shorts and cargo pants are going to be must in every fashionista’s wardrobe. At the preview, I got an up close look and feel of SIWY’s denim and you can truly feel the quality. What I loved most about the denim line was the stretch in every pair, to ensure you are comfortable and stylish in them. Sizes start from a 24” to 31” some styles come in a 23” and 32”. Check out your local Bloomingdales or boutique for SIWY.

The next event that evening was EM&Co boutique in Hollywood where Jordan Klein and Mariska & Tatiana Mclane present their spring/summer collections. Klein’s mens line was trendy, edgy and fresh. It had a Diesel, William Rast vibe to it. Klein women’s line was also edgy, but sophisticated. She was able to execute leather dresses and sheer blouses without making them look to bondage-like.

My favorite show at EM&Co was a collaboration between Mariska and Tatiana Mclane. Their line consisted of reconstructed, recycled materials that left me in awe with what I saw. Their look and was intended to be very dark and industrial. Models adorned a white mask on the runway and gave audiences an erie feeling. Many of the pieces had fringed edges and large boat necks and combat boots. Combat boots seem to be another trend to become promising this upcoming spring season.

The night ended with the Concept LA kickoff party where there was live art and a photography exhibit and silent auction.

State laws applicable to electronic cigarettes

Originally published in the Spartan Daily March 18, 2010: Click here for link

Electronic cigarettes are an example of when technology has surpassed the rules and regulations, said Sgt. John Laws of University Police Department.

With electronic cigarettes becoming more familiar to people, Martin Lau, a graduate student in graphic design, said he was thinking about buying one.

“A pack of cigarettes is about $6 to $7,” he said. With those e-cigs, a carton is $20.”

Lau said the state may take action on the issue.

“If e-cigs prove to become a problem, (the state) will deal with it,” he said.

According to Section A of California Government Code Section 19994.35, “No tobacco product advertising shall be allowed in any state-owned and state-occupied building excepting advertising contained in a program, newspaper, magazine, or other written material lawfully sold, brought, or distributed within a state building.”

This means any advertisements for products containing tobacco or that are prepared with the leaves of plants of the nicotiana family are illegal within state buildings, according to section C of the same government code.

“I think in the long run you will not be able to smoke e-cigs indoors, because at one time people were able to smoke regular cigarettes indoors,” said senior business major Jansher Ashraf. “I think it’s just because e-cigs have not caught up with the law.”

In the state of California, each college and university is responsible for making its own rules and regulations, including the distance a cigarette can be smoked from a campus building, according to California Education Code, Section 89031.

Section 89031 states, “The trustees may establish rules and regulations for the government and maintenance of the buildings and grounds of the California State University. Every person who violates or attempts to violate the rules and regulations is guilty of a misdemeanor.”

At SJSU, Laws said the rule is a lit cigarette must be a minimum of 25 feet away from all campus buildings.

“We have not encountered any issues with students smoking too close to a building,” he said.

The penalty for smoking closer than 25 feet from a campus building is a citation of $ 1,000, and it is charged as a misdemeanor, Laws said.

“This is usually not our first response when dealing with this rare situation,” he said. “Usually we just give a warning.”

Lau said he is aware how it may bother some people to smoke too close to a building.

“I wouldn’t go next to a door and do it,” he said. “It’s rude.”

If e-cigs become popular and people use them often and become a problem, something will be done, Ashraf said.

“At some point, you will find somebody who has a problem with them and sure enough, a group of legislators will decide (a law) on e-cigs,” he said.

SJSU gymnastics: Gymnasts develop bond after perfect landing

Originally published in the Spartan Daily March 16, 2010: Click here for link

When Jessica Khoshnood, Gabrielle Targosz and Tiffany Louie came to SJSU as freshmen on gymnastics scholarships, they all hated having to come here and were not sure if they had made the right decision.

“Freshman year was the worst time of my life,” Khoshnood said. “Adjusting was so hard – adjusting to the gym, the coach, everything. But after Christmas things changed and we started to compete and I fell in love with it all over again.”

Targosz, originally from Phoenix, said she had never been to San Jose before joining the team.

“I didn’t know anything about the city, the state, the coach or the team,” she said. “At first I hated it, but later it ended up being the perfect fit and I adapted well.”

Louie said her freshman year was also tough.

“I’m not a quitter, and I knew after freshman year, things were going to get better,” she said.

“Since my parent’s house was not too far from school, I still had the comfort of going home when I needed to,” Louie said.

The trio agreed that a love for gymnastics has always been in all of their lives since they could walk.

“When people ask me how long I have been doing gymnastics, I just say ‘forever,'” Khoshnood said. “In eighth grade, I decided I wanted to try and get a gymnastics scholarship, and since then I worked to achieve that.”

Khoshnood said she wanted to stand for something in life during high school. With this plan in mind, she went forward and succeeded in getting a scholarship.

In her freshman year of high school, Targosz decided she needed a break after participating in gymnastics for five years.

“I wanted to have a real life, and not be in the gym or practice all the time,” she said.

As her senior year in high school approached, Targosz said she started to train again because she wanted to get into a good school and her gymnastics background would help.

Louie said she knew at a young age that gymnastics was her calling.

“I was six years old and when you’re little, of course, you say you want to go to the Olympics, but you learn that it’s not as easy as you thought,” she said.

It was in seventh grade that Louie said she decided she wanted to be a college gymnast, and was later recruited by SJSU.

Over the past four years, the trio has developed a bond that goes beyond the balance beam and the bars.

“We have such a special bond, and the three of us deserve all that has come to us,” Khoshnood said. “To make it through to your senior year is a great feeling.”

When Khoshnood, Targosz and Louie started together as freshmen at SJSU, there were seven girls in their class on the gymnastics team. Today, only three remain, Targosz said.

“I’m glad it was us three because we have developed such a good connection,” she said. “I learned so much, and everything I have learned in gymnastics I can bring into other parts of my life.”

“I’ve quit everything I have done and gymnastics is the one thing I have made it through,” Targosz said. “I’m just so proud of the three of us.”

Louie said she can hardly imagine never performing at the Event Center again. The gymnastics team performed for the last time at home this season on March 5.

“I remember as a freshman, I didn’t understand how big of a deal it was for the seniors at their last home meet,” Louie said. “But now, thinking about it, after this, we are never going to compete in that gym ever again.”

Women’s gymnastics head coach Wayne Wright said it’s not just about the competition in the sport, but how the student-athlete changes and develops as a person.

“It’s always hard when you recruit an athlete to see them leave because you see them grow and progress during the time they are here with you,” Wright said. “But you feel good because they have had a successful career.”

Khoshnood admits she is apprehensive about the future because she doesn’t know what comes after college gymnastics.

“All I know is gymnastics, and the fact that I have to leave it behind is probably the scariest thing I have to do,” she said.

“Gymnastics is what we live and breathe for,” Louie said. “There is so much time and dedication in gymnastics. It takes up your life, and now you have all this free time and you just don’t know what to do with it.”

Mosquitoes in Santa Clara County sprayed

Originally published in the Spartan Daily February 24, 2010: Click here for link

Santa Clara County’s Vector Control District (VCD) applied a spray over the country to prevent the surfacing of the Aedes squamiger mosquito on Feb. 17, according to a VCD news release.

Since the spray has been completed, the mosquito no longer possess a threat to SJSU or Santa Clara County, said Jeffrey Honda, a biological science professor and entomologist at SJSU.

The Aedes squamiger, also known as the California salt marsh mosquito, is not only an aggressive biter, but is one of the few types of mosquito that bites people during the day versus in the evening, Honda said.

When the mosquitoes hatch, mostly in March and April, they have the ability to travel up to 20 miles from their homes and breeding grounds and vigorously bite people and other animals, Honda said.

“That’s really freaky,” said Desiree Thomas, a freshman health science major. “These insects can fly so far and specifically target humans.”

A helicopter treatment that covered about 400 acres, which used environmentally safe chemicals and affected no residences or business, was used, according to the news release.

This specific type of mosquito has not been linked to West Nile virus, although their bite might cause discomfort, Honda said.

“This specific mosquito’s mechanism is ineffective and unsuccessful to transfer West Nile virus, but it’s one of the most aggressive biters of people,” he said.

Since the salt water marsh is not linked to West Nile virus, the reason for the spray is more of a pest control and providing comfort for people in Santa Clara County, according to the news release.

“This spray is more of a comfort factor rather than a disease factor,” said Victor Romano, VCD operations supervisor.

The spray was a success, and Santa Clara County should be in the clear, Romano said.

“We don’t have to worry too much, because (the county) is spraying, but if they were not spraying then we would have a problem”, Honda said. “Usually people get worried when the country does not do these sprays on an area.”

The salt marsh mosquito lays its eggs in moist soil, which then hatch in spring and summer time. The eggs can survive for years through weather conditions, such as high tides and seasonal rains, according to the news release.

Michael Stafferson, a junior communications major, said what bothers him about the salt water marsh mosquito is that, unlike most mosquitoes, it is not nocturnal.

“It’s bad enough during the summer nights (that) mosquitoes are a big pain, but now there are these ones that bite in the day,” he said.

A salt water marsh, where the mosquito gets part of its name, is a place where fresh water runs into the bays, Honda said.

“A mixture of fresh and salt water is a perfect environment for them,” he said.

Honda said that, though people of Santa Clara County prefer this spray, he has concerns in regard to what this treatment could potentially do for the ecosystem, he said.

Even though the spray is intended to target this specific mosquito, it will kill other mosquitoes and flies. With that, other animals might have fewer insects to eat, Honda said.

“Wouldn’t the spray mess the way other animals eat?” Stafferson said. “Then people wonder why some species go extinct.”