PIEDMONT -- Kate Mitchell has had her eyes on fashion her entire life.
Beginning with Barbie dolls in her youth, Mitchell's interest in what women wear grew into a career that eventually included creating her own thought-provoking fashion lines.
Now, Mitchell, of Piedmont, is embarking on a new venture that marries her style sense with her views on the industry. At 56, Mitchell is the new author of "Fashioning Women," a satirical fashion book that "pokes fun at and challenges ideas of" today's fashion world, she said.
"This is kind of like the ultimate message that we can fashion ourselves," Mitchell said. "If you love to wear makeup and high heels, that's great. If you love to wear men's suits, that's great too. I'm really proud of this. It's a personal statement."
To celebrate the accomplishment, Mitchell is hosting a book release party from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Nov. 8 at A Great Good Place for Books, 6120 La Salle Ave. in Montclair Village.
A second event held Nov. 16 in San Francisco will feature a fashion show and dance performances. Tickets for that event are $25 each and can be purchased at www.FashioningWomen.com.
Mitchell said the 72-page, soft-cover book is loaded with photography, featuring some of her fashion designs, as well as faux articles meant to make readers laugh at what Mitchell considers unreasonable beauty standards put on women by society.
"The first thing that happened was I started realizing all these anti-aging ads were making me feel bad," Mitchell said of what prompted her to write the book. "I'm asking about contradictions about female life and trappings of our experience. How could Kate Moss look exactly the same (today) as she does in the '80s? That's just not possible. It kind of sends a very difficult message."
A lifelong artist, Mitchell also runs a studio in West Oakland. For guidance and support, Mitchell said she turned to her sister and sister-in-law, both of whom have had experience in publishing. Still, she said, the load was significant;