Monday, October 20, 2014

BIG NEWS! - New Website

Hello Everyone!  I am proud to announce my new website!


Going forward I will be updating the blog from there.  Please visit for the most up to date articles.

-Philip Estrada

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Prime Viewing

Since our house is a cord cutting home, we spring for Amazon Prime to avoid going all "The Shining" on each other. Below is a list of some choice movies I find particularly inspiring. Also, I have added the reasons why you should cancel all your plans, pop some Orville Redenbacher and stay in all night.

"On A Clear Day You Can See Forever"

Reasons to watch: (other than the above photo)
  1. Barbra Streisand
  2. Amazing soundtrack
  3. Cecil Beaton period gowns
  4. The extensive wig and hat budget
This movie will change your life and make you want to buy a wiglet. In fact, upon the first viewing I paused it just to run out and buy one so I could finish the film properly coiffed. Did I mention the epic turban? Oh yeah, that turban is EVERYTHING.

"What A Way To Go"

Reasons to watch:
  1. Shirley Maclaine's legs
  2. The Edith Head designed half million dollar wardrobe
  3. A young Paul Newman and his beard
We watched this movie to celebrate my birthday, low key style. It's a slow one but the costumes make it worthwhile.  I wish they made a full length version of "A Touch of Mink."  I uttered WERK a few times under my breath during that scene.

"First A Girl"

Reasons to watch:
  1. Original version of "Victor/Victoria"
  2. The stage numbers are insanely lavish
  3. The insane amount of egret feathers explains how they ended up on the endangered species list
The only drawback to this flick is that it is in black and white... man those sequins were probably amazing in person.

"The Girl Rush"

Reasons to watch:
  1. Rosalind Russell's fast talking wit
  2. Roz's fur stole in the big stage number
  3. Fernando Lamas... le sigh
Watched this one randomly night. It's a fun movie, but when Fernando sweeps on screen everything else melts away. In all seriousness I turned to Ryan and said, "I'm not even sure what anyone is saying when he's on screen.  He's so DAMN pretty!"

Did I miss any of your favorites?  Do you have any hidden gems that you've found that I should be aware of?  I'm always up for a good 'old timey' film.

-Philip Estrada

Friday, August 22, 2014

Current Obsession- Marlene Dietrich & Jean Louis

Right now I'm having a Marlene moment. Specifically during her "let' tour the world singing my signature tunes" period.

Marlene Dietrich, Las Vegas by John Engstead

Marlene Dietrich graced stages from Sweden to Las Vegas ensconced top to tails in beads, rhinestones and not much else!  All this finery was provided by the genius talents of Hollywood Legend Maker, Jean Louis.

jean louis costume designs | Her frosty allure drove American audiences wild.

Jean Louis will forever be remembered for designing the infamous nude gown for Marilyn Monroe when she sang Happy Birthday at 'a friend's' birthday party.

The nude embellished gown became a signature Marlene Dietrich. Bob Mackie is also known for his nude embellished looks and gladly points to his former boss as his source of inspiration. 

jean louis   costume designs | Marlene performing her one woman show. Marlene Dietrich in Las Vegas - 1955
Jean Louis, Marlene Dietrich in Las Vegas, Sahara Hotel, 1953 Marlene Dietrich

Just look at those photos, I mean come on! That is the epitome of 'Legend' with a capital "L."
One day I would like to make one of these bad boys. All I need a girl and a reason...

Who should that girl be?

Philip Estrada

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

WERK... It Out!

One of my favorite terms is "WERK."  I say it all the time!  Under my breath, loud and guttural, sometimes even just in my head... over and over and over. So it was natural for me to want to sequin this my fave term onto a t-shirt, in my signature style.  Not one to rest on my laurels I decided to step my sequin game up a notch. Therefore I opted for an ombre effect.

To achieve my desired effect, I used two colors of holographic sequins.

The finished motif .
I started working horizontally at the top with solid color rows and slowly integrating the opposite color. When the sequins got to the center rows each color was alternated back and forth each color. I reversed the effect on the way to the bottom row returning to a single color.  
How about that Varsity style font?  Go team!

The finished product!  When trimming away the organza I left it inside the letters to avoid any accidental cuts!. The end result was very nice since it added an additional level of color.
Trust me... everyone I meet is obsessed with this beauty!

Doesn't everything looks better when run through the "Sparkle" app?

Sometimes the top sequins appear pink and sometimes they appear orange.  I love the AB effect of them!
Little know fact: 
Holographic effects on sequins and rhinestones are referred to as "AB."  This stands for "Aurora Borealis" to reference the rainbow effect.
  I mean come on, isn't that just the epitome of glamour?!

Any suggestions for the next color combination?
-Philip Estrada

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Makin It Happen With The Cap'n

This update has been a long time coming. For Halloween 2013 I transformed myself into an over the top Vegas style version of Cap'n Crunch. 

Concept illustration 

With an outfit like this I'll surely be promoted to Admiral in no time!

My feather festooned hat. 

Detail of the sash across the front of the hat.

Detail of the epaulette.
The beaded fringe on these were hand strung by me, because I never have enough to do.

Detailed photo showing the soutache motifs.
There was four pairs of this motif down the front of the jacket, one on each sleeve, each tail and the back of the neck. The fabric is an epic blue sequinned material that I found in the garment district.  I love it because it looks like crashing ocean waves, perfect for an old sea dog like The Cap'n.

Detailed photo of the sleeves.
I made doubly sure to include a total of four stripes to avoid the Cap'n/Commander controversy that the Quaker Oats company recently faced. 

-Philip Estrada

Tuesday, August 5, 2014


Hello everyone!
I am proud to announce some upcoming changes to the blog.

I am beginning the process of transitioning the blog and website from "Hire Me Bob Mackie" to "Philip Estrada - Sparkle Zealot." This transition will be a work in progress. 

Keep in mind my enthusiasm for Bob Mackie's prolific career and current  projects hasn't waned in the least.  It will continue to be a dream of mine to work alongside him one day. His team in both New York and Los Angeles are some of the sweetest people I have had the pleasure of meeting. However, the stars haven't aligned allowing for my skills to be put to use quite yet.

I have decided that now is the time to focus my energies into promoting my talents as a designer. The blog will become a running record of my design process and a progress report on all my creative endeavors. The blog will continue to include sequins and rhinestones by the pound, I promise you that. 
I am humbled and touched by all the support and encouragement I have received from all my readersMy hope is that you will continue to share in my passion for all things glamorous and sparkly. 

-Philip Estrada

Friday, May 23, 2014

Turnt Back The Times

Ryan and I had the pleasure of seeing our patron saint, Cher, in concert here in NYC. She puts on a great show. I hope I'm still giving them hell at her age. 

Since we were seeing The Diva herself we had to dress accordingly. The outfit I made myself was inspired by her iconic "Turn Back Time/I Found Someone" look designed by Bob Mackie. 

Bob Mackie inspiration 

In-mirror bedroom selfie 

Obligatory Bathroom Selfie!!

Detail of the rhinestones

The shirt is a fishnet and black sequin combo. Painstakingly hand sewed and detailed with rhinestones in crystal and two shades of purple. The iconic motorcycle jacket was given an update by making it from black and silver sequined material.

Nothing goes better with an exposed midriff than beer!

This is me going nuts, rightfully so, when Cher sang "Turn Back Time"

Ryan's look was also A HIT!!
Ryan paired his sequined Cher T-shirt I made him with a custom sailor hat encrusted with hundreds of Swarovski Crystals. I even rhinestoned the inside of the brim of his hat in a light blue stone in order to give him even more sparkle.  All night he was greeted with adulation and cheers of delight. At one point money was offered for his hat. Sadly the dude wasn't a serious buyer. 

Before and After

We had a blast and will cherish that night forever!

-Philip Estrada

Blurry Shade - LOL

Wednesday, March 19, 2014


By this time everyone has read the news that Bob Mackie regretfully had to bow out of providing the wardrobe for Cher's latest tour, "Dressed To Kill."  Some are saying that this is her final tour. Personally I'm not buying it. As long as you can glue rhinestones to a wheelchair there is still a chance for a follow up tour.
I won't bother copy/pasting the tweets and statements into this post. It is obvious that both Bob and Cher are disappointed in the circumstances, we all are.  Oh what Mackie visions could have been...
But life goes on and there is no use dwelling. Cher is in good hands with Hugh Durrant since he's worked with her in the past. 

Although the tour will be sans Mackie my ensemble will be paying homage to both divas. I am doing this for solidarity, tradition and mostly because I've already started and I'm not one for looking back. 

Until then let's enjoy some epic Mackie-Cher Realness. 

-Philip Eatrada

Monday, January 6, 2014

Lesage: Broderie D’Art

This post is long overdue and that is my fault since i'm a slacker.  
The fiancĂ© and I took advantage of the long weekend for Thanksgiving and jetted off to Paris!  It wasn't really as last minute as it sounds. While I was there I was able to take classes at Ecole Lesage.  Since this was our first visit to Paris I only had enough time to take the 2 day, 12 hours of class time.  It was FASCINATING to properly learn the sequin and beading techniques I taught myself. The instructor was impressed with my proficiency and praised my speed. Since I attended the classes I also had the opportunity to purchase the actual stretching frames Lesage uses. What a world of difference?! The fabric stays stretched much better than my jerry-rigged system.

Paris was a feast for a designer's eyes!  Since returning I want everything in my life to be Art Nouveau designed. It was also very inspiring being at Lesage, the place where so much unsung fashion history happened.  To think of the countless gowns that were embellished for Christian Dior or Pierre Balmain. It induces chills.  It makes me smile even more because the building is so unassuming and humble. 

Embellishment by Lesage

Embellishment designed by Balenciaga for Princess Grace Kelly - 1953

This is where the Lesage workrooms were. 
(Top two floors)
They have since moved closer to the Chanel offices just outside Paris.  

This young lady, from London, was finishing her professional level training. 150 hours in class and an additional 150 at home.  I wish I had that much time to spend in Paris.

A French student working on her sampler also at the professional level training. 

This little fella is the project I completed during my time at Lesage.
He was eventually cut out,  and had a pin applied to the back so he could be worn as a brooch.  
His name is Lester.

I can't wait to go back to Paris. Not only for the beautiful sights but to take more classes at Lesage!

-Philip Estrada
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