Sunday, October 24, 2010


If you are tired of the standard black, witch costume, it may be time to go wildly colorful for Halloween.  Two artist inspirations came to mind: Frida Kahlo and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec.

Kahlo, for her bold use of color especially on herself:

Frida Kahlo photo by Nickolas Muray
Frida Kahlo photo by Nickolas Muray
Toulouse-Lautrec for his subject matter -- the bohemian life of the Moulin Rouge with its "dangerous" women:

by Toulouse Lautrec 

by Toulouse Lautrec
Both use a color contrast to a black foil.  Kahlo's black hair, black eyebrows or black shawl stand out against the strong magenta flowers or a golden, yellow blouse.  Lautrec's ladies use more acid and garish colors.  We see a scarlet dress framed by details in a bile green or a blood orange can-can skirt.  Both offset black stockings or black hair.

Either way, there are no shy, pastel colors here.  We want vivid eye poppers.

So, enjoy playing with the Color Wheel.  For highest contrast, pick complementary colors at opposite ends of the Wheel.


Wednesday, October 20, 2010


The latest buzz in designer-meets-fast-fashion collaborations is the upcoming Lanvin collection for H&M.  The looks become available on November 23rd.  Everything is currently top secret but the first teaser photo has been released:

Lanvin collaboration with H&M,  from H&M

Guess what?  It looks very Lanvin!  And I love the use of the grey-haired model.  Style knows no age.

Designer, Alber Elbaz, says he never wanted to compromise and go mass market.  However, the notion that H&M was actually going luxury excited him.

For the first time, I am also excited to check out H&M!  I often end up hoping for better quality fabrics and construction from their outfits.  However, the prices are certainly tempting for fast, trendy items.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


I keep seeing articles on Retro Fashion bicycles these days.  Great follow up to our discussion on Urban Cycling Chic.

The NY Times just posted this new Linus bike:  Retro fashion bikes

Linus retro bike, photo from Linus

And Velorbis, the Danish maker of designer retro bikes, will soon be carried in San Francisco.

Studine Ladies' Bike, from Velorbis

Of course, one always has the option of getting a truly vintage bike from eBay or an estate sale.  That would tend to be my personal preference!

For those who like brand new things that look old, Marc Jacobs' Fall 2010 collection for Louis Vuitton was ideally Retro.  The ladylike looks would be perfect perched on top of the bikes ...

Louis Vuitton Fall 2010
Louis Vuitton Fall 2010
The long, full skirts give freedom with decorum for cycling legs.  

Again, let us thank the original Victorian ladies' cycling clubs for pushing women in this direction:

Ladies' section of the Leicester Rovers Bicycle Club, c 1900

Thursday, October 14, 2010


Halloween: the season of costumes and spooky parties.  Hmmm.  I want something bizarrely fantastic -- straight out of Victorian Gothic fiction.

Where do I turn for inspiration?  Naturally, to Tim Burton. The master of Gothic imagery in cinema has visualized it all for me.  Tim Burton's Magical Fashion.

Tim Burton-inspired, from Harpers Bazaar

Tim Burton-inspired, from Harpers Bazaar

Look to any incarnation of Johnny Depp in Burton's films - even something as juvenile as "Alice in Wonderland" or "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory".  It's magically mad.

Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp) in Tim Burton's
"Alice in Wonderland"

Willy Wonka (Johnny Depp) in
Tim Burton's "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory"

Tim Burton's female characters are a Goth's heroines.  Remember Winona Ryder in "Beetlejuice"?

Winona Ryder in Tim Burton's

Even the White Queen has a deranged quality to her.

White Queen (Anne Hathaway) in
Tim Burton's "Alice in Wonderland"

So what are the elements of the Victorian Gothic look?  We're talking great-grandmother materials: heavy taffeta, velvet, lace, strings of crystal jewelry or silver works - in black or a dusky mauve.  Black leather lends a dangerous edge.  I'm thinking Edward Scissorhands.  Finally, your pasty face and dark, hollowed eyes will draw you right into Tim Burton's magical world.

Thursday, October 7, 2010


When I was in school in England, the French and Italian students always stood out on campus.  Was it just culturally genetic to be impeccably dressed?

Fashion week is now in Paris, the land of tres chic.  Will the French come up with something outside of the minimal, nearly dowdy looks sweeping the fashion world?

Let's see: Sarah Burton kept the spirit of Alexander McQueen alive with a beautifully surreal collection.

Alexander McQueen Spring 2011

Alexander McQueen Spring 2011

Chanel, perhaps the house most associated with French couture, issued an extensive and humorous collection.  Karl Lagerfeld snipped holes in garments, or frayed up edges with fringes.

Chanel Spring 2011
"moth hole" outfits
Chanel Spring 2011

Jean Paul Gaultier's final collection for Hermes upheld their equestrian roots.   We got sexy equestrienne, sometimes even bordering on S & M, with a dose of Zorro.

Hermes Spring 2011
Hermes Spring 2011
Emanuel Ungaro's looked very Parisienne with the scarf, though I thought the VW Beetles overgrown with spring flowers were the best part of the show.

Ungaro Spring 2011
Yves Saint Laurent showed some clever graphics with neck bows, often in the back.

Yves Saint Laurent Spring 2011
But the show I found refreshing was by Kenzo.  Japanese mixed prints in curious shapes felt like a lemon sherbet in between courses.

Kenzo Spring 2011

* All photos from

Monday, October 4, 2010


Archimedes had his in the bathtub. I had my Eureka moment in the shower one day.  I squeezed a little too much mini-thermal peel in that age-old quest for youthful skin.  So, I decided to slather the leftovers on my feet, hands and knees.  What do you know.

Monterey Hyatt's Spa

Glowing.  10 years younger.  It takes a manicure and  pedicure 1 1/2 hours to reach that state.

Quick Tip:

Use the beauty product left over after scrubbing your face.  If it works on your face, it can work on other parts!  In fact, manufacturers now re-package products for your extremities that were previously meant for your face.
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