Monday, 3 November 2008


Perhaps it’s her freshly shaved head or her deep, husky voice revealing her penchant for heavy starch, but it is hard not to hit “repeat” on Donna Beth Joy Shapiro’s submissions to Expert Village.

Her opus is ironing, more specifically what to iron and what to dry clean. She also has video about starch („I take great pleasure in ironing pleated garments“) and other straight forward how-tos about removing wrinkles.

The instructional fashion video has it’s place on the web. It is far easier to show someone how a belt can accentuate an outfit than to write about it. Whether it be the offerings on Expert Village, which runs the gamut from how to fold a cowl neck sweater to applying glue to the first false eyelash (the category awkwardly groups fashion, style and personal care), to the hosted style reports on Who What Wear TV. In these sponsored, journalistic-type segments, viewers can learn the latest way to tie a square scarf into the „adult bib“ style (practically state-issue in Berlin), and that Balenciaga started the trend.

Shapiro’s authoritative exclamations and real-life wardrobe examples are what make her videos stand out. According to her bio, she’s a historic preservationist and owner of the Old Waverly History Exchange & Tea Room in Baltimore City. Unlike Who what Wears sponsor-flooded „Fashion Closet“, Shapiro uses selections from her own wardrobe for the sake of our wrinkled existences.

Her delicate brown rayon dress with subtle pleating, her faded Gap jean shirt with tuxedo details, her leather jacket with rayon sleeves are all revealed to us. One can’t help but wonder, „how long has she had that brown cordouroy sack dress?“, knowing all the while that the next time she sports it, Shapiro will turn heads in Baltimore.


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