Clotheslines by Marylou Luther


         Q: Dear Marylou:  What is upcycling and when did it start?__ J.T.T., Cleveland, OH.

             Yoehlee Born Again Upcycled Dress


          Dear J.T.T.:  Yes.  The first upcycled designs I have seen came from New York design innovator/disruptor/sustainability pioneer/waste not/want not advocate Yeohlee Teng of Yeohlee.
  By using fabrics from her archives to create new looks Yeohlee has turned the past into the present not by recycling clothes and/or ideas from yesteryear but by extracting  pieces of the past in a regenerative process that produces totally new looks by combining them with totally new fabrics.
   In  a way, the process could be likened to the original patchworks, which combined disparate fabrics to produce new quilts and bedspreads.  But as Yeohlee’s illustration shows, the combining of old and new is more artwork than piecework.  Half of what she calls her box-sleeve jacket is comprised of a double-faced silk fabric that she used in evening dresses and capes back in 1993.  The other half is a jacquard.  The  jacket was inspired by the Nakagin Capsule Tower by Japanese architect Kishnno Kurokawa.  (Yeohlee is from a family of architects, and her clothes have been called wearable architecture.)
  When I asked the designer how she can determine how many of a specific upcycled design she can produce from her fabric archives, she said that “limited editions are offered where only a few units are available.  In some cases we can do full size ranges.”  In other words, first come, first served.


illustration by Yeohlee



           Q: Dear Marylou:  I thought you said prairie dresses were going to be big this summer.  Not here.  Please explain. __ S.M., New York, NY.

            Dear S.M.:   The prairie dresses supposedly inspired by the fiftieth anniversary of Woodstock appear to have transmogrified into nightgown dresses with the same comfort-driven sensibilities.  WWD ran a story on June 4 headlined “Nightie Fever:  Nightgown Dresses To Overrun N.Y. This. Summer”, along with a photo and descriptions of several of these out-of-bed designs.
    I’m not in New York this summer so I asked the celebrated columnist Marilyn Kirschner of Lookonline to report on the appearance of these night-for-day gowns in Manhattan.  Her assessment:
    “Nightgown dresses are a ‘Thing’, as they say.  The streets here are certainly overrun with women of all ages wearing what looks to be nightwear in broad daylight (and for every occasion).  I get that they are cool and breezy but to my eyes they are unflattering, un chic, un professional and un pulled together, especially in the city.  It’s a lazy cop out.  You were too lazy to change from your sleepwear and decided to stay with what you had on.  My suggestion:  Nightie Night to Nightgown Dresses.”
     Clotheslines readers please respond (here).


       Q:  Dear Marylou: Did any one shoe design supersede all others in the recent Paris haute couture collections?__ D.D., Kent OH.

                     Dear D.D.:  Yes.  Flats were the sharpest shoes on the Paris runways.  The range includes flip-flops, openwork boots and booties, lace-up sandals and slip-ons.


       Q:  Dear Marylou: What eyeglasses look newest to you? __ N.U., Newark, NJ.

                     Dear N.U.:  The rimless glasses at Chanel caught my eye.

  (Marylou welcomes questions for use in this column, but regrets she cannot answer mail personally.  Send your questions to


©2019 International Fashion Syndicate 


Marylou Luther, editor of the International Fashion Syndicate, writes the award-winning Clotheslines column, a question-and-answer fashion advice feature read weekly by more than 5 million.

In addition to her syndicated newspaper column, Luther is the creative director of The Fashion Group International, a non-profit organization for the dissemination of information on fashion, beauty and related fields. Her twice-yearly audio-visual overviews of the New York, London, Milan and Paris ready-to-wear shows are must-seeing/reading for industry leaders. Her coverage of the European collections appears in newspapers throughout the U.S.

The former fashion editor of The Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune and Des Moines Register is biographied in “Who’s Who in America.” She won the Council of Fashion Designers of America’s coveted Eugenia Sheppard award for fashion journalism, the Women in Communications award and, in 2004, the Accessories Council’s Marylou Luther Award for Fashion Journalism, which will be given every year in her name.

Her essays have appeared in “The Rudi Gernreich Book”, “Thierry Mugler: Fashion, Fetish, Fantasy”, “The Color of Fashion”, “Todd Oldham Without Boundaries” and “Yeohlee: Work.” A book with Geoffrey Beene was published in September, 2005. A graduate of the University of Nebraska, where she received the prestigious Alumni Achievement award, Luther is a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Kappa Tau Alpha, Theta Sigma Phi and Gamma Phi Beta.