Fashion for Women: A Conversation with Florence Müller

On October 25th, I walked into a quiet room full of 10-15 people working delicately and silently moving into what resembled a makeshift Paris atelier inside the Denver Art Museum. You could hear murmurs of soft French being exchanged between seamstresses and Florence while video cameras and observers silently looked on. The room is expansive and one of the backdrops of the new exhibition opening November 19th Dior: From Paris to the World. Hundreds of mannequins were neatly tagged and placed in lines along every wall. I take a deep breath and am introduced to the mastermind behind this quiet and beautiful chaos: Florence Müller.

  Florence Müller, Avenir Foundation Curator of Textile Art & Fashion at the Denver Art Museum. Photo by Marc Piscotty.  Wearing: Dior ready to wear Winter 2017-2018

Florence Müller, Avenir Foundation Curator of Textile Art & Fashion at the Denver Art Museum. Photo by Marc Piscotty. Wearing: Dior ready to wear Winter 2017-2018

Florence Müller, a Paris native has a long history with Dior and fashion. Now the Avenir Foundation Curator of Textile Art & Fashion for the DAM she has spent many a days, months and years watching, exploring and curating a world of Dior. Since the 1980’s Florence has worked on over 15 exhibitions about Dior including the Christian Dior Museum in Normandy which takes place in the former family home of Christian Dior. That is where our conversation began…

In 1987 Müller worked on a retrospective of Mr. Dior’s life for the prestigious Louvre Museum. Needless to say, I was already shaking in my semi-platform loafers, but I quickly settled into the awe of the woman in front of me and the knowledge and stories she was going to unpack for me over the next half hour.

After the YSL exhibit at the DAM, Müller accepted a position leading her to be in Denver for the past three years, but not completely full time. Getting ready for Dior: From Paris to the World required countless flights from Paris and back almost every month for the past two years. Curating from famous museums, the achieves and private collections, including 7 pieces from Hamish Bowles, editor at Vogue. As she says “I am always in an airplane, I still have the same lifestyle”.

After noting how much work that sounded like she assured me it is also a lot of fun. Each day Müller remembers counting a sum of 100 dresses being placed on and off mannequins to find the perfect ones lucky enough to spend their next few months on display. Of course, she didn’t do this alone, but only with the help of her most trusted team members, Hélène Starkman, from the Dior exhibitions team in Paris and Jane Burke, senior curatorial assistant for the DAM’s textile art and fashion department, who I also had the pleasure of meeting (both humble and dressed impeccably).

As Müller was pulled aside by Hélène to check the work of a seamstress I watched with a sudden realization of the moment I was observing. Quick French was exchanged as Müller hurried back to me explaining exactly what words were exchanged and jumped back into the conversation without missing a beat.

“It is like Christmas morning” she describes each time a near king size box is lifted onto a table opened and with the most delicate gloved hands and an exquisite dress is pulled out to be shown to the world. I asked if there was ever one that stood out more than the others and she replied no, that they all amaze her and began giving me a tour of each dress being worked on that day.

When I asked her about Maria Grazia Chiuri, the current artistic director at Dior Müller seemed to settle into a conversation into what truly inspires her and Chiuri: women. According to Müller, Chiuri loves women. She wants them to feel powerful whether they are in tulle or a suit (similar to the one we both showed up wearing in fact). This led us to my final question: What do women need to hear from you?

“You have to be conscious of yourself, you have to understand that fashion is here to help you. It means you don’t follow the trends like a blind person, pick and choose what works best for you.” She believes we need to have a list of what we as women believe are our best assets and what is not. You need to accentuate your best and wear garments that reshape your worst. Which is exactly what Dior has been about since 1946.

Fashion is for all. And just as quietly as it was when I came in Florence Müller lowered her voice, looked me in the eye and simply said,

“There is nothing to be afraid of. Women are too beautiful to not try fashion”.


Thank you Florence Müller for your grace, poise and inspiration you left me with. Thank you to the Denver Art Museum for this opportunity of a lifetime. I am beyond excited about many upcoming Dior festivities and will be filling you in on it all. Make sure to buy your ticket now to see the exhibition for yourself - I promise you, you will be awed.




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5 College Survival Tips

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This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Cengage Unlimited.  The opinions and text are all mine.


Going into my senior year of college, if there is one thing I know for sure it is that my freshman year I knew nothing at all. That being said I got by with lots of help from my sisters and upperclassman friends but here are five things I wish I knew before going into University:


1. Read the Syllabus

Most professors will send out the syllabus before class starts or on the first day and trust me, you want to read it! It may seem tedious but there is so much information in there i.e. how many skips you get a semester and maybe even a schedule of EVERY SINGLE ASSIGNMENT for the semester – hello planning ahead


2. Drop Costs


Using subscriptions such as the new Cengage Unlimited subscription services can really help you cut costs because let’s face it, college can be expensive! This service gives you a access to all your Cengage courses and library of eBooks (total game changer) study tools, assignments and more all in one place. Plus, it also saves you money in the process! I really think it is such a good tool for new and returning students.  Learn more here


3. Make Friends


And I don’t mean just the peer kind. My biggest survival tip has been to make friends with my professors. This doesn’t mean you need to suck up to them, but having a good relationship with them and utilizing their office hours can go a long way. Whether it be needing extra help, understanding something, or a reference letter later on, I truly have found so much value in my professor “friends”.


4. Plan Downtime


If you are like me, then you can’t pull all-nighters to write a paper the day before it is due. So what I like to do is actually plan out the odd hour I have between classes some days. Instead of using it to do nothing, get in some quick study time and really give yourself the afternoons and nights off to have fun! Pro tip: find a great planner to help schedule you out, I have loved this one.


5. Be Flexible

 
Finally, if there is something that I have learned the most, and that has helped me in every job I have held in college, it is to be flexible. Sometimes you may have to meet with your group at 9pm on a Sunday, but it is all worth it in the end. Study hard, enjoy time of,f and make the most of these four years because I promise they will fly by!



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A Guide To Austin

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We just got back from Austin, Texas where we spent a full 24 hours packed with activities. I wanted to share what we did because I gathered the best information from all of you guys and thought it would be fun to compile it into one post! 

First up... 

What to Do

I wanted to make sure we had plenty to do around the city because we had late and early check in times with our AirBnB. These were our favorites: 

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1. Scooter Everywhere Austin has TONS of electric scooters that are the best (and most fun) way to get around. They are way cheaper than Uber and if you are only going a mile or two they are perfect. Our favorite was Lime with Bird being a close second. 

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2. Barton Springs My sister had been to Austin and knew we had to go swim in Barton Springs, but here is the important pieces. SKIP THE POOL. You have to pay and it is such a long line. Just follow the trail down the creek and hop in the water. You may even find a good tree or rope swing to jump off of.

3. The Bats Ok now this one I was skeptical at first, but Jon was very into the idea. Right around sunset thousands of bats come out from under the Ann. W. Richards bridge. It is packed, but seriously a one of a kind experience. 

4. Museums Did I mention this was a birthday trip for Jon? Well I know he LOVES museums so they were a must for us. The two we visited and really enjoyed were the LBJ Presidential museum and the Texas History Museum. Walking distance from each other and both affordable for Students! 

5. Shopping  Another Jon must visit was Uncommon Objects a vintage store with well... uncommon objects! For me it was 2nd street district where I found the best designer clothes at a steals at United Apparel Liquidators (THIS IS A MUST SHOP!) 

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6. Nightlife We were recommended 6th street and Rainey Street to go out. We ended up on Rainey and had a blast! I recommend bar hopping because each one is SO unique. We actually took a break to see the Bats and took a pedicab back it was hilarious and soooooo much fun! Also stop for doughnuts! 

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7. Congress Avenue

This is where we started our trip and it is the perfect street to walk up and down. The highlights for me were the Saturday farmer's markets and a circus themed candy store. They also had great food options which leads me too.... 

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Where to Eat

1. Jo's Coffee  Jon is convinced I only wanted to go here for the "I love you so much" sign, but it really was good coffee. Great patio to sit and catch a break from the heat too! 

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2. Food Trucks There are so many food trucks in Austin I don't think I can begin to break them all down, but on Congress Avenue was my favorite Juice Austin which had a grilled cheese truck right next door for Jon! 

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3. Resturants. Being there for such a short time we didn't have time to try everything out but the two places we went we were not disappointed. For dinner and drinks we headed to Javelina on Rainy street. For brunch the next day we went to Elizabeth Street Café a noodle infusion place that had a good brunch selection for the adventurous eater.

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Where to Stay

I say Airbnb all the way! We loved being in SoCo and I loved the cute place I found! It fills up quick so book ahead of time here

Wow that is a lot now that I am looking at it! We had so much fun and can't wait for more summer weekend adventures! I also documented the trip on instagram so make sure you are following me there @emmawlker 


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5 Ways To Stay Organized in a Small Space

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Thank you PBdorm for working with me on this post! Storage under my bed has become a problem.. see images below (yikes!). Since moving into my own apartment a year ago I seemed to have collected more and more "things" and just shoved them places they don't belong. You can shop all my new items below.

Under bed storage bin // Sheets // Fringe Pillow // Skull Pillow // String Lights // Throw Blanket

^^ Before!

Since living in dorms and apartments over the past few years I have picked up a few tricks on how to stay organized in your small space!

 

1)     Use storage bins

In any small space it can be tempting to keep bins away as they seem to take up extra space, but in reality you will be happy you have them! They help separate out items such as sweaters and workout clothes and are great for under the bed storage

 

2)     Get Creative

Like I mentioned above under the bed storage is a great place to keep out of season items or extra items you may not need to access everyday! Store them in bins like mine from PBdorm to keep it looking cute yet functional

 

3)     Declutter

This can apply to sentimental items you hold on to but especially clothing. I like to stick to the rule that if I haven’t worn it in the season it is intended for it has to go! Small spaces often mean small closets so stick to what you know you wear and love.

4)     Have a place for everything

The enemy for small spaces is the junk corner or drawer that becomes a drop zone as soon as you get home from class or work! This falls with tip #3 because if you can’t find a home for it do you really need it? Finding a place and sticking to it for things like bags and extra charging cables will keep you organized and give you less to clean on the weekend!

 

5)     Don’t Be Afraid to Decorate

This isn’t a organizational tip but I remember how many of my friend’s didn’t want to decorate their dorm because they weren’t living in it for very long. I believe the more you make your space feel like home the more you will want to keep it clean and organized because you will find yourself spending time there! Wherever you are you can make it feel like home with a few special touches such as fun sheets or string lights.



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