Sunday, January 30, 2011


Paris hailed its (sadly diminishing) tradition of Haute Couture this past week.  Haute Couture is, by definition, not Pret-A-Porter.  Haute goes beyond everyday fashion.  Designers use it as a venue to push their creative visions to the extreme.

So, while we did see the typically diaphanous and peachy concoctions for Spring,

Valentino, Spring Couture 2011
note Butterfly choker

Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel,
Spring Couture 2011
See the black Victorian-style choker

the real visual delight of Haute Couture came from Jean Paul Gaultier.  Fashion's enfant terrible did not disappoint.  

Gaultier delivered Moulin Rouge cross-bred with Punk, with all the attention to tulle petticoat layers and mohawk hairdos one can expect.  The collection was shown in absolute silence except for Catherine Deneuve's voice announcing the outfits.   Gaultier's theatrical finish was a Parisian cabaret dancer's can-can kicks to -- who else -- Offenbach.

(All following photos from

If you love the art and theater of couture, this would have been the show to see.

Interestingly, did anyone notice the prevalence of chokers and dog collars across designer offerings?  Perhaps, as we peel off our winter layers, attention to the graceful neck is the first sign of spring.

Friday, January 28, 2011


The Mulleavy sisters behind Rodarte commented on making the edgy, much-talked-about costumes for the movie, "Black Swan".  Known in the fashion world for their intellectual approach to design, they often appeal to the artier crowd, like (surprise) Natalie Portman.   See the New York Times' video from today:

As horror film aficionados, "Black Swan" was a natural extension of their vision.  The hand-made ballet costumes for the movie used materials like angora, spiky feathers, net, and metal to create the gothic swan images for the film.

For more on Rodarte's "Black Swan" tutus and the couture art of costume making, see the previous post: Black Swan Backstage

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


Last year, I blogged about my pleasant surprise when I first encountered the explosion of colors that is Desigual:    Barcelona Buzz

Desigual Fall/Winter 2010

What's not to love about the Barcelona-based company's mixed print patchwork and rainbow palette.

Latest news is a resurrection for French couturier, Christian Lacroix.  Poor Monsieur Lacroix went through bankruptcy in 2009 and cannot even design under his name anymore.   Enter a made-in-heaven collaboration with Desigual.

Monsieur C. Lacroix for Desigual, photo from Desigual

Lacroix muses on the first time he saw a girl wearing Desigual in Paris (taken from The Telegraph, Jan. 21, 2011):
"As I watched her, I could recognise in her a member of my own tribe. It was an explosion of colours and patchwork under the elegant, discreet and always monotonous French sky. It was fantastic, truly love at first sight, a breath of fresh air, all multicoloured, scorching, revitalising, radiating Mediterranean colours and flavours and creeping into this global and colourless magma inhabited by zombies and clones."
Lacroix has renamed his label "Monsieur C. Lacroix".   I am excited to see what comes out of this collaboration!

Sunday, January 23, 2011


There is something vigorously aristocratic about riding breeches and muddy riding boots.  Hermes even turned it into a theme for their Spring 2011 collection.

Hermes Spring 2011

I was wearing out my old knee highs, so I kept looking around for riding style boots with just a little bit more oomph.   I happened upon these riding boots with attitude -- laced up to the knee, metal zippers on either side of it, and sinewy seams along the back.  They are now an everyday favorite!  Skinny jeans and dresses take equal notice.  I walk with a bit of a swagger.

This is for those who enjoy a dose of humor with their outfit.

Rosegold Olwen boot

Pair them with skinny pants and a tailored, military-style jacket to feel the charge of the Cavalry

Derek Lam military jacket

Or give a structured tunic dress some edge.

Marc by Marc Jacobs, Fall 2008

Or simply throw on your puffy jacket.  I can see Alexa Chung wearing something like this, perhaps with her signature short shorts.

Moncler fur-hood jacket

The days get sunnier and warmer here in California.  So enjoy the boot weather before pedicure season.

Sunday, January 16, 2011


Winter in the West Coast typically means rain, rain, and more rain.

Look at the little kids in wellies with matching raincoats.  Adults who refuse to be outdone can also splash around.  The classic standard of the well-bred puddle jumper has always been the Hunter Wellington boot.  For those who want added panache, Hunter has the Jimmy Choo collaboration boot in croco-embossed rubber!

Jimmy Choo & Hunter crocodile-embossed rain boots

Another innovation in rain/snow style last year was Tommy Hilfiger's high-heeled duck boots.  These look great with knit socks slouching over them.  Hilfiger also made over-the-knee versions (which are over-the-top, unless you are in flood zones).

Tommy Hilfiger high-heeled duck boots

For the rest of us who don't want to spend much on rubber gear, you can score some fun printed alternatives from eBay, like this leopard spot wedge heeled rain boot.

leopard spot wedge heeled rain boot from eBay
Interestingly, out of all these options, the one that gets the Kid Nod of Approval are the whimsical eBay finds!

Saturday, January 8, 2011


Marc Jacobs
Fall 2010

Trousers were popular in many designer's Fall/Winter Collections this year.  Some harked back to a classic, Charlie Girl look of the '70s.  No wonder -- it is flattering and looks confident.  It puts women back in the mood when everything was possible -- corner office plus a nightlife!  That was before recessions, lay offs, maybe giving up jobs to raise children (for some, this can be a positive).

Charlie Revlon perfume ad from the '70s
with Shelley Hack

Lauren Hutton, 40 years later, in Tom Ford's Spring 2011 collection looks even better than her Charlie Girl days.

Lauren Hutton modeling
Tom Ford's Spring 2011 collection
from Harper's Bazaar

Pulling off a trouser look can be tricky.  Women's physiques morph as they age, particularly after childbirth.  Tops and dresses from single days might still fit.  Not so for old trousers!

Consequently, the hunt for perfect pants can be as discouraging as swimsuit shopping.  Unless you have a great tailor, better to go to a trusted boutique or department store where you can try on several sizes and styles.  Save the bargain hunting on eBay for the other stuff instead.

Chloe Fall 2010
high-waisted, wide leg slacks

For curvy-hipped women, the most becoming shapes tend to be flat front slacks that fall straight or slightly wide.  Boot cut trousers also have a balancing effect.

Narrow-hipped women can create the illusion of hips with pleats.  Or, they can take advantage of their boyish shapes and celebrate it in slim pants.  I love this minimal look too.

Celine Fall 2010
cropped slim pants
Now let's talk about pant length.

Crucial: always have it hemmed to the pair of shoes you will wear it with!  Nothing mars the image of a great pair of pants more than falling short of your high heels, or sweeping the floor in your flats.

For a long and lean look on slacks, the hem should fall to the top of your shoe vamp.  I like mine about an inch from the ground in the back with a soft "break" in front.  The tips of your shoes should be visible but not your skin if you are in pumps.  Only cropped slim pants look good above the ankle.  Some trends deliberately go against these "rules", but in general, they only look great on models.

Monday, January 3, 2011


Happy New Year!

Along with our resolutions, we reflect on this decade's style. What still looks modern from last decade and what should we retire?

KEEP ON WEARING: Platform Sandals and Booties 

Even clog bottoms, as Chanel surprisingly showed the fashion world last spring.  Ankle to mid-calf platforms still modernize any outfit.

Chloe, beige clog-bottom sandals

open-toed, platform mid-calf boots

STORE OR DONATE: Uggs and Crocs 

Unless you're a kid.  Okay, perhaps I never quite got Ugly Chic.  (I swear I did not coin that term --fashion rags over 5 years ago did.) I understood Punk, Goth, and Grunge as personal style expressions and oddly artistic.  Yet, the classic Ugg boot and Crocs struck me as utilitarian, not Statements.

Classic Short Ugg boots


KEEP ON WEARING: Tailored silhouettes 

Runway Minimalism last year influenced the return to a simpler shape and form.  Folds, drapes and some embellishment in the fabric can still feel modern, but bows, ruffles and studs get a rest.

Burberry Prorsum silk dress with intricate twists


A few hippie accents still look good, but too much flower child belongs to another Decade.

Ralph Lauren, Fall 2010

KEEP USING: Ladylike bags

Bags held by their handles or slung in the crook of the elbow still exude posh glamor.  

Mulberry pink ostrich Bayswater bag

STORE OR DONATE: Logo shoulder bags 

Particularly longer strapped ones.  They look dated.  But wait some decades and they'll turn Vintage.

Coach logo shoulder bag

The main push towards modern dressing in the past decade is Eclecticism.  Mix up designers, from high-end to low-end.  Throw in some Vintage or Flea Market finds.  This drive towards individual style is perhaps the most important development in Fashion this millenium. It remains the key to Modern Dressing.

* Let's not split hairs, for those of you who love precision.  Most would insist the decade began with the year 2010 rather than 2011.  For the purposes of Fashion, we are still very early on in this decade, however you count it.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...