Best coats: Burberry Prorsum
Best colors: Matthew Williamson
Best prints: Holly Fulton
Best work attire: Antonio Berardi
In the world of Elie Saab, magic comes from anticipated objects used to define beauty, flowers, lace, and sparkles, not latent and ironic details like in Prada’s creations. That’s why it is always interesting to see him design something more practical and well…professional. He truly delivered last week when he revealed a collection featuring flattering cuts, solid colors, and feminine details for pant suits, office dress, and gowns. Long coats were balanced with shorter flippy skirts, knee-length dresses were offset with peplum ruffles and he countered professional pant suits with matching purses and sheer blouses. Everything had a womanly touch but these somewhat subdued looks showed a more realistic approach to looking pretty. Most outfits were completely monochromatic except for a gold accessory or two, including a waist-cinching belt which was worn with half the collection pieces. The single but dramatic color (red, cobalt blue, teal, grayish periwinkle, gray, white, and black) allowed there to be more attention given to the frame and fabric. An office filled with confident women dressed in Elie Saab’s collection is likely what Beyonce envisioned when she wrote “Run The World (Girls).” The other half of the collection is evening wear, gowns that hit past the toe and which either hugged the whole body or hung looser as caftans with bell sleeves. Even though his designs stand out, he didn’t neglect all the popular trends that other designers doted on, sheer skirts, fur coats, and a high slit. The most adventurous outfit is look 27. It is a white bodysuit with a floor length cape that swings on her shoulder like a hooked aisle runner. The white is too stark and crisp to appear ethereal; this is the leader of the office who wears her jewels on a clutch instead of a crown.
1. 3D flowers- They add a sweet, romantic feel to dresses. Beautiful for an outdoor tea party or gala.
(Valli, Dior, Saab)
Sheer Necklines- With sheer netting instead of bare skin showing on the top of a dress the outfit is demure and comfortably glamourous. The detail stands out on its own, so add earrings rather than a necklace.
(Saab, Valli, Valentino)
White (almost white) mod dress- Although the Valentino has a fuller 50′s style skirt, the zero embellishment and boxy top fit make it a feasible stretch to include in this category. Wear it with a birdcage headband (like the Chanel model below) to add a contrasting complex conversation piece.
(Jarrar, Valentino, Chanel)
Every month I will feature five stores or websites and their best “Just In Stock” products. I’ll showcase about five pieces from each company covering with something for everyone as far as price and age group. It will be a great chance to drool over lustworthy garments, get to the good stuff before it’s sold out, and hopefully discover and rediscover new shops. Let the fun begin!
Below I’ve complied a sample of some of the great looks from the best dressed celebs of 2012. I didn’t include all the fantastic looks (Emma Stone had about 1,000) or even just my favorites, but after seeing these three selections from each lady I think you’ll see why they topped my A-Z list. I also excluded a few (P, Q, U, W, X, and Y). Do you think Penelope Cruz or anyone else should fill in one of the empty spots? Tell me what you think!
(*Pictures all from Instyle.com)
Allison Williams (left to right) in Ralph Lauren, Valentino, Naeem Khan
Blake Lively in Lavin, Gucci, Zuhair Murad
Carrie Underwood in Reem Acra, Oscar de la Renta, Randi Rahm
Diane Kruger in Philip Lim, Azzedine Alaia, Diane von Furstenberg
Emma Stone in Burberry, Valentino, Miu Miu
Freida Pinto in Valentino, Raoul, Ralph Lauren
Gwyneth Paltrow in Hugo Boss, Unknown, Boy by Band of Outsiders
Halle Berry in Dolce and Gabbana, Roland Mouret, Dolce and Gabbana
Isla Fisher in Stella McCartney, Dolce and Gabbana, Reem Acra
Jessica Alba in Unknown, Versace, Valentino
Kerry Washington in Temperly, Monique Lhuillier, A.L.C.
Lea Michele in Lavin, Versace, Pucci
Miranda Kerr in Acne, Unknown, Equipment
Nina Dobrev in J. Mendel, Jenny Packham, Unknown
Olivia Munn in Temperley, Valentino, Michael Kors
Rosie Huntington Whiteley in Burberry, Stella McCartney, MiH Jeans
Selena Gomez Dolce and Gabbana, Emilio Pucci, Dolce and Gabbana
Taylor Swift in Maria Lucia Hohan (twice) and J. Mendel
Viola Davis in Juan Carlos Obando, Vera Wang, Michael Kors
Zoe Saldana in Armani Exchange, Prabal Gurung, Armani Prive
Donna Karan- Breathable dresses in mostly pale colors, jackets without closures or collars, on the models some dresses appear mermaid like– as if the dress emerged from the sea
Jenny Packham- modernized outfits gussied up with shiny circle and square embellishment adorning a spot or the whole dress, unquestionably beautiful and glamorous evening wear
Altuzarra- jackets worn as capes, mix of professional work attire and industrial uniforms, tassel fringe, a taste of Rome with garments folded like togas and tall gladiator sandals
Marc Jacobs- boxy tops, stripes, high necklines, scalloped edges, dark colors
Reed Krakoff- unexpected transparent sections (sleeves, bottoms of shorts, pockets, etc.), combination of fabrics to make it appear like multiple layers, palette of beige, white, and black
(From left to right)
Rag & Bone- layering, mix of sporty casual and tailored, white and black with gray, blue, green, and orange
Jill Stuart- Sheer fabric, delicate flowers and/or leaf print, black and white or fleshy peach, silk bedroom styled pieces
Zac Posen: Sweetheart necklines, thick pleats at the bottom of knee-length dress, grandiose dresses with either trumpet style, mermaid, and ballgown skirts, true shape hips or thighs sometimes masked but the natural waist is accentuated
Herve Leger by Max Azria: Skin tight bandage dresses he’s famous for, geometric shapes inspire the prints and the leather additions on the bodice, cut-outs and illusion created with tan fabric and skin
Carlos Miele: Racy animal prints, asymmetrical skirt hems, glossy satin and flowy chiffon, mix of textures or colors/patterns
If you’ve been a tourist in Washington, D.C. and you love fashion, you have probably seen First Ladies’ dresses, a permanent exhibit at the National Museum of American History, which now includes Michelle Obama’s inaugural ball gown by Jason Wu. Even for those who closely follow designer fashion there is not always a chance to see the attention to detail on designer garments in person. A majority of collections cater to runway show buyers and skip the department stores. Sure, you can visit the stores that line Rodeo Drive and try on the pieces you can’t afford while sales associates watch you like a hawk, but some of us don’t even have the gumption to touch a Roberto Cavalli sheer ombre tunic without washing our hands three times in a row.
For three more weeks the Prada and Schiaparelli exhibit will be housed in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC. The exhibit is titled “Impossible Conversations” and they do a superb job of drawing parallels between the two Italian designers, despite the fact the two worked decades apart. About five years after Elsa Schiaparelli’s death, Miuccia Prada commenced the takeover of her father’s business.
Last year the museum picked Alexander McQueen as an ode to his successful but all too brief career. This exhibit is different in that they work to find comparisons and mix the designers in an unexpected but conceivable display, with a casing of Schiaparelli blazers and boleros and Prada skirts in the first room. The showcase also features a video dialogue between the living designer and Schiaparelli, played by Judy Davis, to create a conversation that could have taken place based on quotations from interviews and Prada’s true opinions. While Prada doesn’t consider her pieces products of art, the exhibit is a rare chance to explore contemporary fashion as something more than the dress Jessica Alba wore to a movie premiere. As a highlight, you’ll be wowed by what you remember, such as the canvas rugby striped skirt from 2011, and what you’ve dreamed of, the ethereal dresses from the 1930s.
*Picture from Artnet
Do you remember Diva Starz? (If not, look them up!) But their giant heads, long hair, frail torso, and humongous shoes may have helped Jeffrey Campbell’s vision for footwear. If you don’t covet a pair of Jeffrey Campbell shoes you may still know the name from browsing fashion blogs. He is the creator of Lita shoes which have since been mimicked with cheaper imitations and line the closets of fashion bloggers across the world. The line has much more to offer though. These are my tips for shopping Jeffrey Campbell shoes:
1. Choose your Litas carefully- Before ordering Litas try them on and explore all the patterns. Sometimes we just want a cool shoe to go with everything (a pair of Litas in black) other times we are trying to find the wow factor with a wild pattern that covers the whole shoe. Either way that 5” heel is steep, so make sure you practice before you wear them in public. hoes are bold and sometimes even gravity defying like Lady Gaga’s heels. So if you’re afraid of a little leopard print or a few silver spikes, turn back now. Here are my tips:
Lita in Mint- $159
Lita in Gold Glitter- $160
2. Explore knee-high boots- One of my favorite pairs of shoes are Jeffrey Campbell boots that hit my knee and lace all the way up but have they have a flat heel so they don’t scream Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman pre-modesty.
Victorian Thine Boot- $305
Joe Lace Up Boot- $295
3. Get people to notice you- When a person is wearing a gorgeous outfit people will usually look down to see what shoes they paired it with. Other people stand by the belief that shoes sell the entire upper portion of a look. Sometimes though people just don’t shift their eyes downward and you’re purchase of Kate Spade kitten heels seems like a waste of cash. One way to avoid that? Buy outrageous shoes that you won’t be able to find anywhere else. Whether that means a shoelace alongside the back of the heel, or a carpet bag print with a thick wedge bottom, you can definitely find something extraordinary.
Ramona Platform Sandals- $205
Ramona Fest Sandal- $158
4. Determine where practicality ranks on the scale of virtues- A lot of the shoes provide a good balance and can be worn for dress up or play. Do keep in mind though that most of them have towering heels even though they might be comfortable or have support. When I say “play,” the most athletic you should get while sporting a tall pair is ambling around the mall.
Foxy Platform- $137
Str8up Platform- $180
*Picture from What I’m Loving
With BCBG there is something for every posh lady out there. They have items with crazy shapes, sheer material, and asymmetrical draping. They also carry other things like solid silk button downs and pencil skirts. Their seasonal styles are not unpredictable, just varied. From age 20-80 you can get a wardrobe for weddings, grocery shopping, and getting drinks with co-workers.
-Know that for different price ranges the brand has other lines, BCBG Generation which is the cheapest and Herve Leger, well known for the steep price tags. You’ll need a big paycheck to shell out for one of his famous bandage dresses but they are worth oogling.
-The website currently has a fun quiz that will set you up with a great style. Be sure to browse for yourself, but it is the fastest way to locate your best pieces.
-Their dresses fit perfectly. I have four of them and they all fit like a glove. This does not mean that just because you try on a 4 in one dress you will be a 4 in all their dresses. What I do mean is that once you find the right size in that particularly dress it will be flattering all around.
-Do not underestimate their cozy pieces. Yes, they have ballgowns, some shapewear, and thick waist-to-hip belts, but they also have adorable basic things like cowl neck sweaters, ribbed knee-length dresses, and linen pants.
It is time for pay homage to sporty style, a category often neglected by me and my favorite shopping websites. The fact of the matter is though, pragmatic active wear deserves its own dresser drawer. A designer who specializes in this is type of fashion is Lacoste, exporting items from the French label to the United States since the 1950s. Shopping to cover all bases, head to toe, man or woman, child or adult can be done in one stop shopping with the Lacoste brand. You recognize the label by the small alligator insignia tagging nearly all casual items. They have even taken their symbol like Ralph Lauren Polo and inflated it on items like their original short sleeve tops making the amphibian unmistakable for any sort of imitation icon.
1. Buy classic. They are always adding things to their more favored and standard pieces, drawstrings, extra buttons, an overbearing pattern, etc. Usually I am all for stepping out of the norm, but the tops which are not embellished with extra things are the timeless ones you can wear year after year without looking like a jester.
2. Be sure to check out the cute athletic gear, especially sneakers. I love walking shoes that aren’t bulky! For serious work-outs and sports activities you need a thick sole and a heavier shoe than most of ones they sell, but for a light game of tennis, or walks in the park, get a shapely shoe that provides excellent comfort. Be the best dressed girl on the court with their apparel designed for tennis and golf.
3. Flaunt your purchase. It’s exciting to buy designer brands, but shirts that say Juicy Couture and Marc Jacobs in huge letters just for the heck of it? You’re not a billboard and advertising like that should be making you money, not the other way around. I can handle nonchalant wording or a headband worth of Burberry’s tartan print, but I especially HATE when fancy items like pretty dresses are labeled in an egregious font on the outside. Lacoste’s small insignia shows off your savvy shopper skills and pricey purchase without appearing ostentatious.
Lady Gaga. A name more talked about for her styling and fierce videos than her music. But behind the wearable meat (debatable just how wearable), the opaque veils, and the face-masking makeup, is just a singer who hates being called by her real name, Stefani. Sorry to burst the bubble, but she was not born this way. So how does she get picture ready with her costume fashions? With the work of designers of course!
My sister recently found an article on CNN about Kobi Levi, an Israeli designer who created shoes worn by Gaga in her recent video for the song “Born This Way.” The shoes are one of kind… and pretty awesome. After all, if Lady Gaga requested a pair, we are not exactly talking average. The current collection features slippers, heels, and boots. Some display a subtle imitation to an object or a creature, such as a dog, doing a heel in chocolate brown leather and adding flapping ears. Others look exactly like what they represent, like a banana or a slingshot. Levi finds a way to bring art into wearable fashion. Be sure to check out the designers named Olive Oyl, Chewing Gum, and Mallard Duck. And as for possibly being a little freaked out about by finding two boots in one shoe…well you’re not alone.
*Picture from Kobi Levi- Footwear Design
In honor of the concluding prom season, I thought I would post about one of my favorite dress sites. It might be related to the fact that the models posing in the clothes are breathtakingly beautiful, or it might be that the black-tie bedazzled masterpieces seem a bit impractical, but Jovani draws me in every time I take a peek at their website. They keep an eye on the trends and incorporate them in cocktail and ball-gown masterpieces. The dresses have parallels to Marchesa with their attention to detail, with use of color, and exotic fabric combinations. Most options are even too fancy for prom, as noted in the name of their labels “beyond evening” and “beyond prom,” filled with dresses for pageants and bridal parties. The merchandize is expensive and their prices are omitted from the site, but it is worth it to feast your eyes by fishing through their online catalog. Be warned though, as with every good designer there are some duds… in this case, sparkling duds. I advise you to avoid the ones that make you look like an ice skater, a seven layer cake, or a peacock. I know, kind of tempting. If you find the perfect one though, maybe you’ll even be inspired to throw a glam party, complete with masquerade masks and high style dresses. Don’t forget my invitation :) For those of you who have an excuse to spend the money on one of the dresses, I have picked out a few of my favorites. It was such a difficult task only choosing a few! Check out this website as well: Net Fashion Avenue. It is a Jovani retailer (and therefore has the prices and provides the opportunity to buy online).
*Picture from Jovani Prom Dresses 2012
In honor of Mother’s Day this coming Sunday, I thought I would do the Designer Corner on a wonderful jewelry company, Swarovski Crystal. One great aspect of purchasing crystals is that it eliminates the risk of getting blood diamonds. In addition, the prices are much more reasonable than diamonds with high karat counts. My mom loves Swarovski’s necklaces, and I would not be surprised if your mother did as well. I also hear that getting your mother-in-law a brooch might do the trick in healing her less-than-ideal attitude when visiting : )
These are my tips for shopping Swarovski:
1. Just like everything else, I think you should go to the store and try the pieces on if you are purchasing them for yourself. Some of the items look dull on the shelves, but look great jingling on a real arm. Other items looks a tad gaudy in real application.
2. Perfect for grandmothers, mothers, and even me (yes, I do not have my ears pierced) they have gorgeous clip on earrings that look and feel modern! In fact, if you like one of the styles, there is no reason why someone who does have pierced ears cannot try them out as well.
3. If you are a collector, they make beautiful crystal figurines. Just be sure to put them on the top shelf if you have children, they are very fragile.
4. If you can afford to splurge on an evening clutch, they make lovely ones covered in so much light reflecting “bling” that it would be impossible to misplace it during the night.
Nova Clip Earrings- $90
Piano Ring- $50
*Picture from Swarovski
For my second Designer Corner I wanted to build the hype about one of my favorite shoe brands, Cole Haan. Not only are the shoes sleek and sexy, but they are well designed to prevent agonizing foot cramps and pains. The designer paired up with Nike and launched their shoe line with Nike Air Technology full of trendy shoes and heels. When it comes to high fashion, sometimes a few comfort sacrifices need to be made, but if you spend all day on your feet in excruciating shoes, you’ll be close to keeling over by the end of a workday. While I have not “test-walked” these shoes, I own three pairs of Cole Haan Nike Air shoes, and not only are they cute, but I can walk in the shoes all day long and the heels for the majority of the day. Another bonus, they may not be cheap, but they are much more inexpensive than a pair of classy Louboutins! Here are some tips for shoe shopping this brand:
1. Don’t waste your money on flip-flops. Yes, they may look nice, but you can get simple and pain-free ones elsewhere at much lower cost. Also, flip-flops are a major no-no in the office. Even dressier ones can potentially be frowned upon in the work place.
2. While their thin soled sneakers are not for working out, they are one of the most comfortable shoes you’ll even sink your foot into. They are not bulky so they look stellar with skinny jeans, and they will help you look like the fun, up for anything, chic. You can run, but with shoes like this, you can’t hide (that’s a good thing!)
3. Take advantage of the cute colors they offer. They have heels, sandals, and other shoes in cheery yellows, punchy blues, and va-va-voom reds. Celebrate your feet with a new shade.
4. No matter what, 3-5 inch heels are meant to be worn in moderation. Yes, these shoes should be relatively comfortable for the average leg-lengthening footwear, however you still won’t want to kill yourself by trying them out from 12pm-12am. Treat your feet well with a little rest, and they will thank you by walking you somewhere fun. Sorry…the martini is still on you. These picks are likely to be cozy, and you as you can already tell, compliment-worthy:
*Picture from Cole Haan