The Idiosyncratic Fashionistas – The Craft of Style at a Certain Age

(Above: Valerie and Jean having too much fun!)

These iconic New York women have been featured on The Today Show website, spotted at New York Fashion Week, and included in Ari Seth Cohen’s hugely popular Advanced Style blog. They’ve been attending the Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show for well over a decade and are looking forward to this year’s online Show. Jean and Valerie met in 2008 at the Manhattan Vintage Show. Connecting over their shared love of hats and fashion, the rest is herstory and they’ve been friends ever since. They started their blog over 10 years ago and have a wildly popular presence on Instagram. Tried and true New Yorkers, their love of craft and fashion have taken them around the world and around the region including their annual visit to Philadelphia. As this year’s Craft Show goes virtual, we asked what they have in mind for their online experience...


What are you looking forward to at this year’s online Show?

Jean: In the current climate, supporting craft artists is especially important. Besides seeing what known artists are up to, I’m looking forward to seeing the work of emerging artists.

Valerie: I’m excited to see new color combinations, new shapes, new textures, new techniques, and new uses for materials that I’d never thought of. I’m looking forward to seeing things that will wake my brain out of the artistic slumber that modern life lures us into.

(Above: The gals at a lecture they gave at Parsons School of Design in NYC)


What advice would you give for ways to enjoy the online version of the Show?

Jean: My advice is to relax and go with the flow. Look at new categories and artists as well as old favorites.

Valerie: Use it as a springboard!  When you see an artist whose work intrigues you, look further into that artist’s work. The online possibilities are endless and joyful.


What would you like people to know about the Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show?

Jean: It features the best of the best craft artists and is not to be missed. The behind-the-scenes support of donors, museum members, show committee and attendees is critical to its continued success.

Valerie: It's easier than ever to visit the Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show now because it's online. You can drop in even if you're in your armchair in Australia, and even if it's 2am. Stay as long as you like, and it’s okay to bring a snack (or a cocktail!). Treat yourself. Particularly during these pandemic times, your new objet d’art will not only spark joy, it will help keep an artist in business.

(Above: A sign of the times)

We heard you were spotted by the actress Olympia Dukakis on the streets of New York and acknowledged by famed Vogue editor Anna Wintour at a press event for the Metropolitan Museum of Art. What else do you enjoy about your fame as the Idiosyncratic Fashionistas?

Jean: I love the opportunity to meet people IRL (in real life) from other countries with whom I've connected online. Also, meeting British milliner Stephen Jones and designer Jean Paul Gaultier and reconnecting with both of them at the Metropolitan Museum's 2018 Heavenly Bodies exhibition are my all-time highlights! 

Valerie: Numerous older women have written to thank us for demonstrating that older women are fun and funny, engaged and engaging, smart and thoughtful. Numerous younger women have also written, saying they dreaded growing old until they read our blog. We unwittingly became role models just by doing what interests us. I’m so glad to have been able to do that.


What are some common questions you get asked?

Jean: People ask if I'm an artist or a designer. Because I have no skills in either area, I say that I am neither, but support those who do.

Valerie: We get asked: Are you artists? Are you designers? Are you models? Are you actors? Are you going to a party?

Above: A sampling of the many artists at this year's Show. From upper left to lower right: Kathleen Dustin, Biba Schutz, Steven Ford & David Forlano, and Danielle Gori-Montanelli

(Photos of the Idiosyncratic Fashionistas provided courtesy of themselves.)


Follow the Fashionistas on Instagram: @idiosyncraticfashionistas - and tune in to the Craft Show November 6th -8th, with a virtual preview on November 5th


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