22 December 2007

idle(prattle): holiday spirit

I was picking up some last minute gifts yesterday. After dealing with several traffic jams, parking lot mishaps, and just a overwhelming presence of people, I found myself very grumpy, in the check out behind a woman who had on (close your eyes and imagine) -- bright red leather loafers, red & green plaid pants, a red turtleneck and an ornate sweater with a Christmas tree and a snowman on the left & right sides. Nice. I tried to divert my attention elsewhere, but my eyes kept drifting back to her....like a magnet.

I didn't want to be rude, so I just looked down. Then I started to feel her looking at me. So I looked back up.

HER:   Look at the line of people behind us!  
*Turn around to see that I am no longer the last person. There are now at least 20 people behind us*
ME: Hmmm. Looks like we got here at the right time.
HER:    I know! There are so many people out this time of year!  
ME: Yeah. It is kind of hard to have Christmas spirit, having to deal with all these people.
*She taps my arm in agreement, one of the tree ornament bells on her sweater jingles and an angel gets its wings* 
HER:  That is so true! It is hard! 
ME: ...*blank stare*...

Thank goodness it was time for her to go to the next register. Correct if I'm wrong, but I thought Christmas spirit would have automatically come with and built into, the red & green plaid pants. No?

19 December 2007

design(mode): kai milla

Knotted Caftan
I was looking through the Vivre 2007 gift catalog and saw this Knotted Caftan and One-Shoulder Jersey Top both by designer Kai Milla. They are very simple, but still caught my eye.

One-Shoulder Jersey Top - front & back views
Now through Dec. 31st, if you buy any Kai Milla, Vivre will contribute 10% of each sale to the Name Campaign—an effort to raise awareness of the Northern Uganda conflict, in which over 20,000 children have been abducted from their homes over the last three years.

I decided to do a little research on this designer and she has a background as a graphic designer and her signature is comfortable architectural draping. She is also the the wife of Stevie Wonder.

Below are eight looks that I liked from her Spring 2008 show. I like them for their simplicity and  monochrome details. I wear a majority of solid colors, as opposed to patterns, so I instantly liked the overall collection. Plus, I feel like they are wearable straight off the runway, to the office and afterwards.

photos from vivre and elle

14 December 2007

idle(prattle): jeffrey

I got this postcard from Jeffrey in the mail a couple of weeks ago and have been meaning to scan it. Laziness.

That's it. On the other side is my address and their return address.  Here is what went through my head,

There is no date or what is actually on sale.
*flip it over*
There really is no date on this thing.
*flip it back over*
What is actually on sale?
I know its not the whole store.
I hate them.
And you know what, this postcard is kind of cheap looking.
Why is this so cheap?
No colors, no graphics, thin paper.
I mean the store isn't cheap, but they send me something so cheap?
They want to me come in and spend my money and they send me this cheap little thing?
*put it down on the table*
*30 secs pass*
*pick it back up*
I guess it fits in their minimalist, black & white style.
I guess that's kind of cool...'we're having a sale. you're either in or out'
And they don't have a lot of sales do they?
And they were nice enough to let me know.
You know i should go ahead and stop by.
Just in case i am getting this late.
You can never know.
It might be the whole store!
Where are my car keys?

I guess the moral of the story is who knew that so little could create so much. Or maybe I am  bi-polar. Only when it comes to shopping though.

11 December 2007

idle(prattle): thrift shopping

Mrs. Fashion wrote a recent post {"Role Reversal"} that inspired this post. She asked if readers have noticed the trend of how a lot of charity shops are no longer for the poor - instead the middle class folks, therefor the prices have gone up and really don't always serve the people truly in need.  Basically, have you noticed a role reversal between poor and rich shoppers and their destinations? It made me think about one of my recent shopping experiences...

While on holiday a couple of weeks ago, I noticed a thrift shop's grand opening banner and made a mental note to make a visit. Leaving my boyfriend behind at the house because in his own words, - "I'll only hold you back."  So very true.

Once inside, I noticed a sign that said one paper bag full of clothes for $5. I asked for full clarification from the clerk (one must know the rules of engagement.) and he said that I could fill it up with clothes, shoes, handbags, belts, anything in the store. Ok, so I made my first walk through and picked up three dresses. Made my second round and picked up a clutch, five belts and two shirts. My third round, I got a shopping cart and started to seriously consider the pants.  The fourth round, I got a second brown bag and asked the clerk if they took credit cards. On the fifth pass, I discovered the skirts and offered styling tips to the woman trying on a sweater in the corner. Seriously.

So, there I am in a shopping haze, throwing everything that remotely caught my eye into my cart. It was a liberating feeling...I paid my $10 cover and could grab whatever I wanted. The only thing that I passed on were the shoes. Reasoning that - one: they would take up too much room and two: I am not too keen on second hand shoes. Maybe except for boots because I always wear socks with those.

I am back at the skirt rack when my hand lands upon an Armani charcoal grey wool skirt. I grab it and look quickly around as if anticipating hoards of women waiting to fight me for this skirt. None do. I don't even look at the size. It is mine now. I bury it one of the bags, just in case. This discovery gives me a second wind, and I score some Michael Kors pants with the tags still on,  along with a YSL and cK shirt for my boyfriend, a Ralph Lauren sweater for my dad and blazer for my mom.

I position myself behind a rack in the back to take inventory and do some serious packing. An older woman wearing a Christmas applique sweater approaches my cart and immediately I become very territorial. Instead, she tells me that the proper way to fit the most items in these bags were to roll not fold them, and that I could just steam them out later. With with advice, I ended up with just enough room for another two skirts and tops, which I pickup up on the way to check out which felt like the walk of shame.  Here I am, trying to scheme to fit the most clothes in my bag, which is filled with the most random (however, prized) stuff.  I really thought the clerk was giving me the stink eye. I paid, carried out my bulging bags and tried to ignore the clothes that I didn't see displayed on the sidewalk.

I try to reason to myself that I donated my money to the charity even though I prevented another woman from having a classic, tailored pencil skirt that will never go out of style. Right? In the end, I walked out with approximately: 3 dresses, 5 belts, 1 killer navy blue clutch, 2 pants, 3 sweaters, 27 tops, 13 skirts, 1 blazer, and 1 vintage dark green knee length wool coat; all shamelessly packed into two brown paper bags. How? I do not know, because once unpacked back at the house since the paper bags began to tear, took two big garbage bags to transport.  I am told that in times of stress, that one is able to come up with creative solutions.

Thinking back, I don't think I was the only one who was theoretically out of place. First, the location of the shop. It was across the street from a golf course and spa. Second, one of the ladies around me kept saying that she was just browsing and she really didn't need any more clothes before she cleaned out her closet. Now, correct me if I am wrong, but the truly needy don't have this mentality. And finally, (the coup de grâce) during my brief sweep through housewares, I overheard two women comparing the boarding schools they sent their children.

I like thrift store shopping because of the hunt and finding that one of a kind item to fit my style. There are a few thrift shops that are still the essence of charity shops and they are located in the neighborhoods they need to serve. Because of the location, the price ceiling is minimal.  For the others, you will consistently bump into hipsters and stylists browsing through. My only hope is that since they have raised their prices more money is going to the charity. I can only hope. I did look at the normal price of the clothes that i bought, and shirts are going for $2 and skirts for $3.  I made out major and admit I am greedy. However, I still try and remain positive that the thrift stores that find themselves in the better neighborhoods are positioning themselves to make more money off the people who can afford to give and giving back to those who need it most.

05 December 2007

front(lines): green luxury

There is a new study by the World Wildlife Fund stating that the luxury industry is not being green. The WWF report argues that luxury brands are "slow to recognise their responsibilities and opportunities vis-a-vis global warming & ethical trade and [urge] celebrities who help sell the brands to sit up and take note.” The WWF-UK environmental group looked at the world's 10 largest publicly-traded luxury firms and ranked them A to F (best score to worst score). The highest score was a C+ and the ranking was based on reports by the companies themselves to the Ethical Investment Research Service (EIEIS) and on media reports collected on the companies by a Geneva-based research house, Covalence. Here is how they ranked:

   [1] L'Oreal : C+
   [2] Hermès : C+
   [3] LVMH : C+
   [4] Coach : C
   [5] Tiffany & Co. : D+
   [6] Swatch : D
   [7] PPR : D
   [8] Richemont : D
   [9] Bulgari : F
   [10] Tods : F

You might not be familiar with some of these companies, however some own the brands that you probably are more familiar.
  •  L’Oreal: Guy Laroche, Kiehl’s, Lancôme, Paloma Picasso, Ralph Lauren, Shu Uemura, Victor et Rolf parfums, Vichy, Giorgio Armani Parfums and Cosmetics, Diesel Perfumes
  •  LVMH:TAG Heuer, Louis Vuitton, Fendi, Dior, Celine, Donna Karen, Emilio Pucci, Givenchy, Kenzo, Loewe, Marc Jacobs, Thomas Pink, Le Bon Marché, Sephora, Guerlain
  • Swatch: Breguet, Omega, Calvin Klein, Rado, Hamilton, Longines
  • PPR: Gucci, Yves Saint Laurent, Sergio Rossi, Boucheron, Bottega Veneta, Alexander McQueen, Stella McCartney, Balenciaga
  • Richemont: Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, Piaget, Chloé, Montblanc, A. Lange & Söhne, Vacheron Constantin, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Baume et Mercier, International Watch Company
  • Tod’s:Tod’s, Hogan, Fay
To learn more about the study and brands, WWF has launched a website called Deeper Luxury. To read the full report click here and for tips as to what you as a consumer can do, click here and here.

13 November 2007

front(lines): designer cbgb

CBGB closed its doors at 315 Bowery in NYC a little over two years ago. CBGB was not only known for its legendary shows, but for its dirtiness and griminess. However this spring, 315 will get a spit and polish when it turns into a John Varvatos boutique, a designer of high-fashion menswear designer.

It is kind of funny that this location will go from fungus to $300 shirts. I guess it is mildly appropriate because past Varvatos spokesmen have included - Slash, Ryan Adams, Chris Cornell, Iggy Pop and currently Alice Cooper. We'll see how they tie in the new store with the history and the clientele will definitely be different. From the Spring 2008 S/S:

photo cred: style.com

13 October 2007

ciné(screen): signé chanel

Signé Chanel is a five-part series by filmmaker Loïc Prigent, documenting the evolution of Chanel’s Fall/Winter 2004-2005 collection. It is kind of a slow watch, but if you are truly interested with the history and behind the scenes stories of a chanel haute collection = brilliant. Surprisingly, there is not a lot of Karl (just enough). The series focuses more on the seamstresses that actually make the clothing, by hand of course - all having this subtle french humour and calm. I caught it on Sundance, but a wonderful person has loaded all the episodes on You Tube for you to enjoy at your own leisure. Also, if you want to check out the french site, click here.

photo cred: arte video

05 September 2007

idle(prattle): bluffing while shopping

I am very serious about my shopping endeavors. I make quick, decisive decisions when I am in the dressing room because I have anxiety that someone out there is grabbing my favorite colour dress, in my size, at 75% off, okay. I could go on, but I think my biggest annoyance is when someone is in front of the rack that I want to look at. I do the, "oh, I am just going to look at the rack beside you so I can immediately take your place once you take a step away" impatient browse through. Sometimes they move quickly, other times they linger. I am the latter when I am the person in front of the rack, I don't move until I am done. I know, hypocritical.

Anyway, I do have a trick to make them get out of my way faster -- I stumbled upon it yesterday while waiting for my mother. Position yourself close enough to the "mark" that they can hear you talking to yourself but far enough that they have to actually move to see what you are looking at. You pick up something, preferably similar to what they are looking at, and subtly examine it, coupled with a perky "hmmm...." Then look at the price tag and give a shocked/approving/surprised/omg that is cheap! sound. put the item back down and move away, the "mark" will go over to see what an incredible deal you just passed up and viola, their spot is now ours. use in moderation and best used in sale situations only.

30 August 2007

ciné(screen): the awful truth

The Awful Truth is a 1937 screwball comedy starring Irene Dunne and Cary Grant. Dunne and Grant play a soon-to-be-divorced couple, who jealously take turns trying to ruin either others chance of finding another partner. The above picture is a still of when Dunne makes her first appearance in the film. The dress is a beautiful sparkling floor length gown, unfortunately I cannot tell what color it is though since it is a B&W movie...

She walks in with her French voice teacher after having car troubles and spending the night out with him. If I gave my boyfriend that excuse, in that dress he would look at me like that too....

If you are a Cary Grant fan, this movie is the first to show his comedic persona that he is known for. Dunne has some other pretty interesting ensembles...watch out for very interesting feather hat - Isabella Blow style.

28 August 2007

idle(prattle): buying shoes

Sales Associate: Did you find everything alright?
Me: Yes.
SA: Would you like to sign-up for...blah, blah, blah...discount card...blah, blah, blah...free...blah, blah, blah...save an extra 20% today
M: Sure, what do I have to do?
SA: Just fill out this form
M: Okay
SA: Those are cute shoes
M: Thanks [filling out form]
SA: There are a lot of weird shoes....
M: [pretending not to hear her...filling out form]
SA: ...especially those with the toes out
M: [still filling out form. what, blood type?....processing what she just said] Huh? Do you mean peep toe shoes?
SA: Yeah! I think it is weird to have your toe out like that. Ugly!
M: [finally finished form & handing it to her] You mean shoes like these? [picking up the "cute" shoes]
SA: [awkward moment] ooooooh, I didn't see that part...
M: [weirdo]

24 August 2007

mag(rac): forty something

Roberto Cavalli sequined silk taffeta dress
Etro rings
Yves Saint Laurent clutch
Fogal hosiery
Louis Vuitton shoes

I love a good photo spread, so before the BIG BOOKS come out in September I wanted to post one of my favourite for this month. While everyone is gushing over the posh + becks W Magazine spread, I flipped back to the spread before - "Forty Something," photographed by Michael Thompson and styled by Karl Templer. The theme is "forties film noir with a dash of seventies divine decadence." The photography is beautiful, even being so minimal.

Escada silk chiffon blouse
TSE cashmere turtleneck
Marc Jacobs hat
Patricia von Musulin earrings
Fallon ring
Missoni bracelet

Dior silk satin blouse and skirt, by John Galliano
Helen Kaminski hat
Dior gloves and belt
Etro bracelet and ring
Yves Saint Laurent clutch
Wolford hosiery
Marc Jacobs shoes

Gucci silk dress with crystals
De Grisogono earrings
Gucci gloves, cuff and shoes
David Webb ring

Yves Saint Laurent wool coat and silk crepe shirt
Giambattista Valli hat
Echo scarf
Sermoneta gloves
M&J Savitt bracelet
Patricia von Musulin ring
Yves Saint Laurent clutch and shoes
Stockingirl hosiery

Louis Vuitton wool jacket and skirt
Marc Jacobs hat
M&J Savitt earrings
Louis Vuitton belt and bag
Robert Lee Morris bracelet
Carolina Amato gloves

Brioni wool dress
M&J Savitt bracelet and ring
Fendi belt.

Hair by Serge Normant for Serge Normant at John Frieda Salon; hair color by Gina Gilbert for Serge Normant at John Frieda Salon; makeup by Marc Carrasquillo; manicures by Deborah Lippmann for LippmannCollection.com at The Wall Group. Set design by Randall Peacock / Magnet NY. Models: Alana Zimmer / Supreme; Irina Kulikova and Anna Maria Urazhevskaya, both at IMG; Olga Sherrer / One Model Management.

photos taken from the August 2007 W Magazine

22 August 2007

love(notes): gucci

This is the Gucci Dahlia High Heel Platform Mary Jane. Let's get the formalities out of the way:

Dahlia 4¼" high heel platform Mary Jane pump in grey leather. Also available in black leather. Made in Italy.

Don't let the sweet Mary Jane strap fool you, it has a metal plate on the toe. The Dahlia can be pre-order at Saks for $795, although there is a limit of three per person every thirty days due to the high demand. Hmm...

20 August 2007

front(lines): central department store

I don't know quite what to say about this. It reminds me of the mock debate I had in school about whether companies advertising directly to kids are committing a moral wrong. I had to defend the business position so I argued it was the role of parents to teach their children about the difference between reality and advertising. But seriously...sometimes I can't tell the difference.

The billboard above is dedicated to school year preparations in Moscow and has a little girl getting ready for school, while talking to her old toys. She says,
‘I’m going to school! Now I think only of frocks and frills and don’t need you, two losers! Daddy, if you love me, buy me shoes, a dress and a hat! Dolce & Gabbana, Armani and Prada!’ 
Recently, visitors of the shop featuring the billboard noticed that all the word by the characters were taped up. The Russian Advertisement Investigation Department is investigating the billboard.

17 August 2007

style(hunt): mary janes

Mary Janes hold a warm spot in my heart. They remind me of being a little girl and parading my first pair of heels. I thought I was sooo grown then. I haven't worn Mary Janes in awhile because I grew out of the chunky heel. However, for the fall they are here with a skinny heel (hooray!) I found a couple at Net-A-Porter (high end) and then a pair at Target (low end). All cute, but some how the more expensive look better, why is that?

Ninette leather pumps, Pedro Garcia ($340)

Black Mary Jane leather pumps with a 100mm heel. Pedro Garcia shoes have a pointed toe and a buckle fastening strap across arch.

Super Wallis platform pumps, Christian Louboutin ($720)

Black leather Mary Jane-style pumps with a dark brown 120mm heel and a 20mm platform. Christian Louboutin shoes have a stud fastening strap across arch and a signature red sole.

Regal Pumps, Rupert Sanderson ($595)

Black patent leather Mary-Jane pumps, approximately 105mm high. Rupert Sanderson pumps have an almond shaped toe, a silver buckle, stiletto heel and cream lining.

Patent leather Mary Janes, Miu Miu ($430)

Black patent leather Mary Jane style shoes with double buckle-fastening straps. Miu Miu shoes have a round-toe and are approximately 100mm high with a hidden 20mm platform.

Black Skyler Patent Mary Jane Pump, Xhilaration ($19.99)

Black Embellished with Button Accents. Faux Patent Leather Upper with Thermoplastic Rubber Outsoles. 2.75" High Heel. Features Slip On Styling

10 August 2007

biblio(file): jacques helleu and chanel

Jacques Helleu joined the house of Chanel at the age of eighteen and served as its artistic director for over 40 years. Helleu was the driving force behind the house's bold commercials and print ads created by  photographer Helmut Newton and director Baz Luhrman, for example, and featured the likes of  Catherine Deneuve, Nicole Kidman, Kate Moss and Keira Knightley. It is safe to say that Helleu helped establish Chanel as a key brand name in the modern consumer market.

The first section is a biography of sorts about Jacques Helleu and then the rest of the book is literally an A - Z pictorial of people, places and things associated with Chanel. It is a very interesting concept, however, I would have preferred more than a sentence or two for each description. It is filled with such great photography but I was kind of left wanting more details. It was like walking through a museum and reading the little the art labels - very brief.

Overall, it is a gorgeous and quite heavy - 9.4 pounds! The Amazon.com picture above is a little misleading; it actually comes in a black holder (pictured) and the book itself is white. Yes, I wish there were essays beside every single photo but at the end of the day I guess that would have taken away from the overall 280-page aesthetic and it probably would not be as inspiring.

photo cred: amazon.com

09 August 2007

front(lines): istithmar wins barneys battle

And we have a winner! This all reminds me of the ebay auction I lost the other day. My only satisfaction was that the winner had to pay $13.51 more.

From WWD:

Istithmar has won the bidding for Barneys New York following the decision Thursday by Fast Retailing Co. Ltd. of Japan to drop out.The Dubai-based Istithmar is paying Jones Apparel Group, Barneys' parent, $942.3 million in the all-cash deal. It inked the initial deal with Jones in June for $825 million, but then Fast stepped in and a bidding war ensued.

08 August 2007

brief(critique): limited editions

Yesterday I got this article from WWD in my email - Fashion Brands Use Scarcity as Strategy With Limited Editions and then I stumbled upon this one from London Financial Times - Get it While You Can. My first thoughts based on the titles alone - "duh" and "move out of my way lady!" respectively. There seems to have been a greater increase of 'limited edition' items to hit the market recently. This is a great strategy for a quick boost in brand recognition and possible revenue, but too much of good thing can become tiresome.

I find this topic interesting both from the marketing side and as a consumer. On the first level I am a marketer's dream -- just dangle some shiny object in front of me long enough to distract me from my wallet. But on the second level, once I get the emotion of 'I want that!' I go in to marketing mode, dissecting what did this brand do to make me crave that item so much? It it heavily psychological, and it is not too hard to figure out that the whole idea of rolling out limited edition products is brilliant. You have a once in a lifetime opportunity to own something that only 500 or 10,000 or 200,000 people on the planet will ever get to take home as their own. Who doesn't want to be part the special club, proudly wearing your badge of honor? Especially if there is a great story to go along with it of how you waited in line for seven hours, in the rain, without any guarantee that you were holding one of the golden numbers à la Willy Wonky style. Limited editions = status symbol. Unfortunately, there are two problems for the buyer.

First, it is easy to get caught up in the hype that is swirling around and one does not necessarily take the time to answer the question if they will ever use or wear the item. Sometimes it is more about the experience of attaining something everyone else wants. But what if the appeal really is not as high as you thought; sometimes you have to ask yourself "am I really this lucky or is this just junk?" And what if it is really popular; this opens the door for competing brands and knock-offs. Your once celebrated limited edition is now one of many.

Secondly, since premium or luxury editions cannot be replaced because by definition limited, you become more hesitate to wear it out. There is a man in the FT article who says that he wears his limited edition trainers all the time. I don't know about you, but I have to qualify each event I take one of my limited edition handbags to...no smoking, not overcrowded, limited food & drinks, etc. Okay maybe that is stretching it, but you know what I mean. There are specific places and times where you know certain things are not going to be respected (ex., rainy days).  Being hypersensitive about messing it up somehow ruins the whole enjoyment. Add this to the fact that some limited edition items are very trendy or quickly become dated. So your brand new status symbol becomes less of a symbol and more of a target.

The WWD article takes the view point of fashion as art. Not entirely just about the artistic value but as a collector. Sometimes I think I am like this, getting satisfaction by simply opening my closet. There are things I am totally happy about and don't hesitate to pull out and wear. There are others that I cringe about wondering what was I thinking when I bought that...anyone want to buy a lime green trucker's hat?

03 August 2007

love(notes): celine fall 07

Champagne double faced cashmere wool cape coat
Satin hat
Satin smoking scarf
Lambskin driving gloves
Nappa 95mm platform thigh boot

Black double faced cashmere and wool tunic jacket
Black shiny leather slim pants
Tweed hat
Lambskin driving gloves
Lirine Fermoir Large Nappa bag in black shiny lambskin
Smooth calfskin 95mm laced platform ankle boot

from thestylemusings.com
photos provided by style.com and celine

23 July 2007

mag(rac): yellow is the new black

I've always considered Harper's Bazaar as being the 'smart' womens magazine, so imagine my total shock and dismay that it has a full feature on the Simpson, transforming designers and their clothing into the yellow realm. I kid! I actually got really giddy once I saw the spread, even wondering how they took Homer to Paris and he didn't mess anything up or wipe his greasy hands on all those expensive dresses. Back to reality. I appreciate the times when fashion doesn't take itself so seriously. You can find The Simpsons and their designer cartoon counterparts are in the August 2007 US edition, illustrated by Julius Preite.

"The Simpsons go to Paris with Linda Evangelista"

All four are wearing shirt dresses from The Gap:

Next are Marge and Evangelista in Versace gowns with Donatella Versace in the background.

Chanel's Karl Lagerfeld with Marge and Evangelista wearing Chanel. Even Homer is stylish in Chanel.

Lanvin's Alber Elbaz with Lisa and Evangelista. And Homer is back to his old self.

Jean Paul Gaultier walking the streets with Evangelista and Marge.

Rolf Snoeren and Viktor Horsting (Viktor & Rolf) with Evangelista, Patty and Selma.

Marc Jacobs for Louis Vuitton. Bart, Lisa, Maggie, Evangelista, Marge and Homer.

from thestylemusings.com

runway photos provided by style.com
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