March 26, 2012

En Plein Air

My Personal Photos
Happy Spring! Here are a few pictures of spring blossoming all around New York City. Despite an incredibly mild winter, there’s a renewed sense of energy that comes with spring.  Overnight, the entire city is in bloom. The days are longer. The streets are crowded with a palpable energy.  
I find myself leaving a few minutes early to every appointment on my calendar, just to linger in the warmth and sunshine. The Cherry Blossoms and Dogwood trees on my street are at their peak- weeks ahead of schedule. I have a newfound joy for hydrangeas. I’ve always found hydrangeas a bit too fragrant, but the freshly planted blooms in Bryant Park smell divine when the wind blows. My windows are open wide to let in a refreshing breeze, and I couldn’t be happier. 

Admittedly, we’ve had a few days that felt more like summer than spring. I’ve come to realize that I have a deep appreciation for my collection of beige and navy trench coats (worn with scarves). I’m looking forward to the weather cooperating. 

In honor of spring, we’re overdue to announce the winner of the Dior Couture book giveaway. I wish I had more books to give away.  I still grin when I think about this lucky lady. 

CamisaBlanca, congratulations and please forward me your contact information.  

A warm thank you to all who entered the giveaway. 

March 20, 2012

A Matter of Versatility

My Personal Photo

Dress: Yves Saint Laurent, Necklace: Chanel, Shoes: Miu Miu

“Simplicity is about subtracting the obvious and adding the meaningful” John Maeda 

One, two and this dress makes three, little navy dresses. Coincidentally, I have a few evening dresses that are navy as well. Clearly, I have a love for this color and a penchant for beautiful dresses. I gravitate to dresses that are simple (at first glance) with glorious subtleties. To me, there’s no greater simplicity. 

Admittedly, I don’t have a very casual lifestyle, so I’m very keen on items that can transition from day to night. This dress works for every occasion. I wear it to the office with a cardigan and to the multitude of after work events. It’s a dress that can be worn to my alumni clubhouse, which has a strictly enforced dress code. It’s the dress I instinctively reached for to attend the preview for the Met’s Costume Institute exhibition. To me, this dress is the epitome of versatility. 

My Personal Photo
I adore the sweet bib detail that doesn’t lack sophistication and the subtle folds and pleating at the waist. The bib, folds and pleats stand in stark contrast to the back of the dress. The back drapes ever so gracefully, in a purely architectural way. As someone who loves textiles, the silk feels so luxuriously soft. Most importantly, the dress has pockets, which speaks to my desire for garments that satisfy form and function. The internal construction is divine.

My Personal Photo (Don't ask what my arms are doing)
As winter comes to a close, with a seventy-five degree day, I’m reminded of my love for my collection of Yves Saint Laurent dresses. I rely on Yves Saint Laurent for dresses that are smart. There’s nothing like putting on that garment that makes you feel most confident. That’s what I loved most about Alber Elbaz and Stefano Pilati at Yves Saint Laurent. In the same manner as Yves Saint Laurent himself, both Elbaz and Pilati have such a passion for women that is evident in the way they design. To put it simply, Yves Saint Laurent has always stood for clothing that makes women feel beautiful. I truly hope that Hedi Slimane succeeds and honors this legacy as he takes over the reigns at Yves Saint Laurent. 

So, I have to ask, do you have a garment that makes you feel most beautiful? 

PS- Thank you all for the sweet words on my interview. I cannot begin to express my gratitude.

March 17, 2012

Thoughts On This Little Thing Called Style...

My Personal Photo
One of the things I treasure most about blogging; is the friendships I’ve made with readers and fellow bloggers. I never cease to be amazed by the depth, intelligence and inspiration that blogs provide.  

When Lin, from Out of the Bag, asked me to participate in her Question Time interview series, I couldn’t have been more humbled. I always look forward to spending time on Lin’s blog; it’s truly a thought-provoking read. You can read my thoughts on this little thing called style here. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed answering the questions. 

Lin, thank you once again for taking the time to interview me. To Pret a Porter PMiss Sophie, Amanda, Aissa and Hannah-Rose – I’m honored to be in such wonderful company. 

Have a lovely weekend.

March 13, 2012

Dior- Balancing Legacy and Modernity

Courtesy of L’Officiel Juin-Juillet 2010 (Scans by me)

Since so many readers are self professed Dior girls,” I thought I would share a little Dior inspiration. While tucked into a flight on my way back from Paris I came across these images from Christian Dior’s Creative Director of Accessories- Camille Miceli’s Paris atelier. I remember neatly tearing the pages out and placing them into my carry on, knowing they would make their way into my inspiration binders. I’ve constantly returned to this article to look at the wonderful sketches, objects, photographs and inspirational motifs that Miceli’s moodboard is comprised of. It’s less about a love of Dior, and more about the careful consideration that’s given to researching the past, perusing the archive and taking classic Dior iconography and making it modern.

At a time when there are so many questions about succession at several storied fashion houses, (including Dior) and an emphasis on finding the right designer or team that can honor the legacy of the house, while designing something relevant; Miceli’s designs stand out. I appreciate that she designs with the house at the forefront of her mind, visiting markets, Dary’s (a favorite of mine) and local craftsmen. 

As Miceli has said “Dior is about a silhouette. I wanted to create a range of bold, feminine and desirable jewelry with a couture feel. It has to be classic, but with a modern twist- I have always liked breaking rules.” Pearls are a recognizable Christian Dior motif and a starting point for Miceli, but she intertwines a multitude of materials (my favorites being grosgrain ribbon, lurex and ceramics) with the traditional. 

As for this idea of breaking the rules, I truly admire women who aren’t afraid to take their careers in exciting new direction. After eight years as the Chanel’s French Public Relations Director and a decade heading up communications at Louis Vuitton, Miceli began to crave the opportunity to creatively express her self. She took the opportunity when Marc Jacobs presented it to design jewelry to accompany the collections without formal training, but with a passion for the design process, which ultimately served as an apprenticeship for her current role. It’s an important reminder to constantly evaluate one’s goals.

PS- I love the diversity of the inspiration here- Michael Jackson dancing, Avedon and Newton photographs, the Lanvin fan, a Lucien Freud book... 

March 8, 2012

From Me to You--- A Giveaway As We Turn One!

© Patrick Demarchelier; DIOR COUTURE, Rizzoli New York, 2011

In the midst of a very busy week, which included a spring breakfast in honor of Aesop’s Sage & Zinc Facial Hydrating Cream with Sunscreen (the brands first facial moisturizer with SPF), heart palpitations from an intense project and a few wonderful invitations to Paris Fashion Week shows, it escaped me that my blog turned one. Seeing the honor of your presence requested, at Paris Fashion Week would make any girl ecstatic. At the urging of a handful of people who knew I was writing; I began blogging publicly on March 1, 2011, a challenge for someone who is fiercely private. I never dreamt that this blog would become what it has and I cannot thank you enough.

Thank you for the continued support. I’m so fortunate to have a place to share my passions. When I started blogging, I never thought I would be turning down advertisers (I like my independence), entertaining collaboration ideas, giving designers feedback or most importantly, that there would be this- intimate place to share ideas. I’m grateful for every reader, comment, email, and tweet of encouragement. I look forward to another year of inspiring conversations.

Since this blog is about the subtleties and little things that I love, it’s only fitting that we celebrate tuning one with a giveaway. As a small token of my appreciation, I’m giving away a copy of Dior Couture to one lucky reader. As you all know, I enjoy peeking into designers’ ateliers and working out how things are constructed. I consider a studio visit the utmost luxury. I’m very inspired by silhouettes and who does silhouettes or femininity in a more compelling way than Dior? I hope that Patrick Demarchelier’s gorgeous photographs sweep someone away…

To enter for a chance to win, leave a comment below. For those of you that like to comment anonymously, you'll have to include your email address as well. If you're inclined you can follow me on Bloglovin' and Twitter.

The giveaway is open to readers WORLDWIDE and the winner will be drawn at random. All entries must be posted by 11:59 EST on March 15, 2012.

March 6, 2012

Spring Awakening

Courtesy of VeePost

Hope you all had lovely weekends. This time of year always leaves me anxiously awaiting signs of spring. We haven't had a true New York City winter and I'm certainly not complaining, but I'm looking forward to everything being in bloom, fresh fruits and vegetables being in season (what more could a vegetarian ask for?) and warm evenings spent eating outdoors.

During the winter, I'm most likely to be lost in a museum, if I have any free time. The glimmers of light in the Greek and Roman galleries and the fifteen newly opened Islamic galleries to explore, pull you into a world of antiquities at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. It's stolen hours spent at MOMA, Neue Gallery, The Cooper Hewitt, The Frick and far too many museums to name. A chilly overcast day is perfect for cozying up at John McWhinnie at Glenn Horowitz Bookseller (one of my favorite rare book shops) with a limited-edition art, photography or fashion book.

This weekend was a little different. Saturday was a glorious, sunny, sixty-five degrees. I'm keen on spending as much time outdoors as possible when the weather is nice. It felt good to pull on my Repettos and feel the sunshine on my feet. It was a nice reminder that spring is just around the corner.

Spring invokes the feeling of reawakening, throwing open the windows and pulling out familiar loved pieces. A special order for the always polished and elegant Virginie Dhello, this blouse from the legendary Charvet epitomizes my version of transitional spring dressing. This blouse is 100% cotton voile that’s similar to chambray fabric, but a touch more formal and features the sweet collar that I keep coming back to. It also has a secret monogram tucked away, which is so charming.

I’ve mentioned it before, but the made to measure cotton shirts at Charvet are perfection. Each shirt is made by a single employee.  Upon walking into the shop, a couple of years ago, the talented staff immediately realized exactly why I was having such difficulty finding shirts. It never hurts to flatter a girl with “you should consider tailoring and belting an oversized button down into a shirtdress.” Who knew?

We all know Sophia Coppola considers her Charvet shirts to be essentials and I have to agree. As my style grows and develops, the more appreciation I have for a few wonderful pieces that are my essentials. What are your wardrobe essentials for spring?

March 1, 2012

New York Fashion Week- Chadwick Bell

Run of Show

KAMILA- Formula One Red Felted Wool Coat 
FATIMA- Cerulean Blue Trapunto Jersey Tee, Jade Trapunto Hem Jersey Slim Skirt 
FATIMA- Saigon Rose Printed Georgette Draped Shoulder Dress
MARIA- Midnight Wool and Silk Tucked Bodice Long Sleeve Dress and KAMILA- Black Wool Silk and Midnight Velvet Tux Dress 

As promised, here are a few images from the first show I attended this season at Lincoln Center. If there’s one thing to be said about the New York collections, it is that they are incredibly well produced. It’s always fascinating to see friends come to the collections for the first time with the belief that “New York is so commercial” only to have a more nuanced opinion by the week’s end. There’s a unique feel and perspective to each of the fashion weeks that’s valuable to our understanding of style in the larger sociopolitical context. 

Each season, there are a few shows that intrigue. For me, The Chadwick Bell show was one of those shows. There’s something refreshing about seeing a designer take that critical next step. From the moment my invitation arrived, I was anticipating attending this show for its craftsmanship. There’s a consistency to Chadwick Bell’s work, and a precision that I find compelling. Careful attention is paid to tailoring and fit, which so many designers are overlooking. The Autumn/Winter 2012 show did not disappoint. 

The show was titled Midnight Rose, and a previous engagement prevented me from attending the preview so, I had no preconceived notions of what to expect. The disclaimer on the wall notifying attendees that scent would be used during the show set the mood and trend for the week. The olfactory branding company 12.29 developed a subtle scent that brought incense, smoke and spice to mind. It’s remarkable how powerful scent is and the emotional responses it can evoke. This collection; was about romance and danger colliding. From the show’s notes, “She is a perfect woman in an imperfect situation. Her look is polished, rich, and refined, but she is dangerous.” While the clothes are demure, they evoked a sense of mystery and seduction.

There’s a duality to the Chadwick Bell woman that seems very real. There’s a clear tension between; masculine and feminine, embellishment and utilitarian, our perceived notion of power and vulnerability. These clothes are incredibly luxurious utilizing fur, feathers, leather gold jacquards and wonderful brocades. The fabrics and embroidery are superb. 

There are some obvious standouts for me: 
  • The long gloves by Carolina Amato (I’m having a Lanvin long glove moment, as of late). 
  • The cocodrillo jacquard and melton wool coat with matador embroidery (look 26) that feels like a modern take on the breathtaking riding ensembles I saw here
  • The timeless tux re-imagined. (look 27)
  • Casting by the brilliant Bethann Hardison, who always puts together a multicultural cast of models who bring such personality to the runway
  • Hair that takes inspiration from falling asleep in a cab. I’m guilty of this when exhausted. 
What stood out most is the notion of beauty in imperfection. Who doesn’t need to be reminded that imperfections are so beautiful? 

* PS- A warm thank you to Jackie Smith at UFCG