June 26, 2012

Style Essentials- The Black Patent Pump

My Personal Photo

Hope you all had a lovely weekend. We had a nice reprieve from the scorching heat and humidity in the form of nice crisp breezes. 

The word that comes to mind when it comes to my wardrobe is CONTENTMENT. I take pleasure (and a bit of pride) in only adding items that will meld seamlessly with my wardrobe. Oftentimes, finding these items is an exercise in patience. One such item is the black patent leather pump. 

The black patent pump is an essential in my wardrobe- it’s elegant, graceful and chic. Perfect for every occasion- it transitions easily from day to night. I keep a pair of black patent pumps at the office. For a while, I’ve been looking for a pump to replace a pair of black patent pumps that had seen better days. Since patent leather is easy to maintain, I kept breathing new life into my pumps.

The black patent pump is an investment piece in many professional wardrobes and yet elusive. My criteria for the “perfect black patent pump” includes-

  • A subtle pointed/almond toe to balance a sturdy heel
  • 4 inch heel
  • Quality leather lining, sole and uppers
  • A single piece of leather lining the instep from the tip of the toe to the heel. (This speaks to the craftsmanship and quality. The alternative is when the heel is attached separately. The sole of the shoe is sturdier when a single piece of leather lines the instep.)
  • A timeless shape (Not dated or overly trendy.)
  • Discretion- No red soles
When I spotted these on sale at Bergdorf (Bergdorf does a great shoe sale) I scooped them up. The Manolo Blahnik Tuccio pumps met all of my criteria. Very little caught my eye in the sales. Due to the distribution size curve in which buyers purchase items, I rarely find the items that I covet early in the season on sale in my size. The Manolo Blahnik Tuccio pumps were a pleasant surprise and have quickly become a wardrobe essential that I’ve been living in.

Have you indulged in the sales?

June 18, 2012

Carven Resort 2013

My Personal Photo

I had the honour of attending Carven’s Resort presentation last Tuesday. Those who follow this blog know that Carven is one of my favorite revivals. The dresses, coats and separates are always precise. The fabrics and quality are impeccable. As I chatted with the lovely KCD PR Executive Brie about Carven’s legacy, we agreed that the quality, craftsmanship and execution are rooted in the house’s couture heritage. 

Guillaume Henry’s ability to contrast modernity with heritage is at the forefront of what continues to draw me to Carven. Each collection features contrast and tension, whether it’s between modernity and heritage, the masculine and feminine, the playful and the intellectual or quotidian and spontaneity. 

On a gray, dreary, day (it was pouring, hot and humid) I couldn’t think of a more uplifting collection to view. The Summer 2013 “introduction” collection has the fresh, fun, coquettish spirit that I’ve come to expect. Upon entering the Meatpacking District presentation, I was instantly transported into an English Garden with bouquets of gorgeous flowers and models lounging on park chairs and perched on ladders. The inspiration was girls having tea or a picnic in the garden. These are clothes that I would wear to grab take away at Poilâne with the gentleman for a courtyard picnic.

My Personal Photo

The inspiration was Peter Schlesinger’s classic “A Chequered Past” (a wonderful photography book to get your hands on) which captures the allure and energy of London and all of its’ famous inhabitants in the late 1960s and early 1970s. You can imagine that the stylish women photographed in Schlesinger’s tome- Marisa Berenson, Jane Birkin, Marianne Faithful, Bianca Jagger and Paloma Picasso are the fabulous guests invited to the gathering. The Carven girl is very much still Parisian, but on holiday and being influenced by her travels. The beautiful prints and use of cashmere and silks spoke to this. 

The collection’s colors captures a true sense of optimism. It’s hard not to feel cheery in sorbet colors- pale limoncello yellow, mint green, blues, and persimmon (the gamine suit and little cocktail dress in persimmon were two of my favorites). To me, the strength of the collection is its ability to balances the things I’ve come to expect- gorgeous silhouettes (that are easy to wear), the dress with collar, the gamine suit, statement coats and jackets (they’re all quite cute), while presenting new silhouettes and proportions. Resort’s wide-leg silk pants (inspired by the girl's journey to India) and bohemian influence was a fresh take on silhouettes and proportion. 

Guillaume Henry knows his girl- she’s intellectual, but a bit mischievous. The eveningwear exemplifies the inherent sense of whimsy. She doesn’t take fashion too seriously. Each season, I admire how the hair and makeup compliments the clothing- loosely tousled hair or a casual bun, clean face, a bitten lip… This season was no different. 

*Complete collection here

June 11, 2012

Little Black Jacket

My Personal Photo

“There are clothes that keep rejuvenating themselves instead of getting worn out.”  -Roberto Juarrozz 

Hope you all had a lovely weekend. At long last, The Little Black Jacket Exhibition finally made it to New York. The exhibition commenced with a raucous fete and a window tribute at Bergdorf’s commemorating fifty-eight years of the iconic jacket. It’s safe to say that New York has Little Black Jacket fever.

My Personal Photo (Carine Roitfeld as Coco Chanel)
Originally conceived as a man’s jacket, the jacket is now considered a feminine symbol of elegance. When I think of my style essentials- Chanel’s impeccably tailored, collarless tweed jackets top the list. In addition, to the classic black jacket, I love the ivory and black bouclé, midnight blue and maroon/aubergine versions. 

My Personal Photo (Anna Wintour)

Jackets are the crux of professional dressing and a practical way to look instantly pulled together. There’s an effortless nonchalance to the design and construction. The Little Black Jacket is hand-stitched with silk and lined with a fine chain. During the design process, Coco Chanel used the chain to help the jacket to retain its shape while fitting the contours of the body.

My Personal Photo

The importance of fit is evident in the paneling in each jacket that allows the jacket to be taken in or out depending on the needs of the wearer. The paneling allows the jackets to be sized up or down three sizes with ease and flexibility. Everything from the sleeve length to the placement of pockets is carefully considered. Chanel’s jackets are relied upon and trusted classics. 

My Personal Photo (Sofia Coppola)

The Little Black Jacket: Chanel’s Classic Revisited and the accompanying book by the same title capture the timelessness of the Little Black Jacket. The exhibit features one hundred and twenty images of inspirational personalities and muses wearing the jacket. Each photograph is a window into the subjects’ personality, creativity and style. Proving that individuality and something new can be brought to even the most classic garments. 

Courtesy of Chanel (Scarlett Utzmann Huynh and Vanessa Paradis)
Courtesy of Chanel (Natalia Vodianova and Akuol de Mabior)

I had the pleasure of being shown around by the Soho store manager and French press office. It’s always a treat to get to spend an afternoon surrounded by passionate people, previewing a book and discussing elegance. If you are in New York this week I highly recommend stopping by this exhibition. 

Here’s a little video I think you’ll enjoy.

The Little Black Jacket: Chanel’s Classic Revisited
18 Wooster St 
June 8- 15, 2012 
12 PM- 7 PM

June 6, 2012

Style Essentials- The Handmade Sandal

My Personal Photo

Growing up, I always looked forward to our annual trip to the old-fashioned shoe store for sandals. Sandals symbolized the anticipation of summer with its’ long days. I didn’t wear sandals to school, so they were solely associated with all of the wonderful things that childhood summers are comprised of-afternoons by the pool, days spent on the beach, getting lost in books, popsicles…

Today, sandals still epitomize the carefree days of summer. I can’t wear sandals to work, but when the days warm up they’re one of the first things I reach for off-duty. Perfect for evening soirees, days spent in the Hamptons or just running errands. The sandal can go effortlessly from polished casual to evening. 

Sandals like scarves are one of my favorite items to bring back from my travels. There’s nothing like discovering a well-made item with a great story behind it or taking home the lasting memory of an artisan perfecting his or her craft. I fall hard for great craftsmanship and items that are handmade. 

Here are a few of my favorite handmade sandals that I've been wearing for years.

Jack Rodgers Navajo Sandal

Courtesy of Jack Rodgers
The iconic Navajo Sandal originated in Capri and was popularized in America by First Lady Jackie Kennedy as elegant resort footwear. Initially, independent cobblers in Palm Beach produced the sandals, until Jack Rodgers expanded production in 1961. 

Today, the Jack Rodgers Navajo sandals continue to be made by hand in Palm Beach. They’re a timeless classic. 

The rich upper leather on mine has gotten better over time and the signature stitching has remained intact. I love that they quickly mold to the shape of your feet. They also work really well for those of us with narrow feet. 

Every time I put them on I’m reminded of journeys and escapes. 
Jack Rodgers 
1198 Madison Avenue
New York, NY 10128


Courtesy of Garance Dore
I have a fondness for Sandales Tropeziennes and the Rondini family has been working as sandal cobblers (they were the first sandal cobbler in Saint-Tropez) for over eighty years. Rondini sandals are made by hand in a small workshop behind the boutique. I could spend all day in the workshop observing how each piece is put together.

There is an enormous amount of pride and care put into each aspect of the process. 

The sandals come in a multitude of colors and leathers- including snakeskin and croc. These sandals are thick-soled, comfortable and last forever.

16 Rue Georges Clemenceau
St. Tropez 
France 83990 

K. Jacques 
K. Jacques (pictured in the first photo) are another one of my favorite Sandales Tropeziennes. The craftsmanship is impeccable. K. Jacques has remained family-owned despite successful collaborations with Karl Lagerfeld, Balenciaga and Givenchy to name a few. 

Handmade by trained artisans in Saint-Tropez, many of the styles offered are the original styles from the bespoke business the family cultivated in the 1930s with a few new styles added each year. At their store in Le Marais (and online) you can choose the style, color and leather and have your sandals arrive in NYC within ten days. 

I wore my K. Jacques all last summer- they only get better as I wear in the footbed and the leather straps.

K. Jacques 
25 Rue Allard 
Saint-Tropez, France 83990

Melissinos Art 

Courtesy of Melissinos
Melissinos Art is a gem of a shop. From their website, “My hand-crafted sandals as products of love and personal joy combined with quality are not mass-produced for speedy delivery to customers. I do not feel satisfied unless I see the footwear I create perfectly fitted to your feet, but since people's feet are so different, I often have to get your measurements and re-adjust the sandal straps for a perfect fit, right on the spot.” What a refreshing point of view...
These sandals are chic and cheap, but fit the foot perfectly. Here’s a great read on the shop.

Melissinos Art
2 Aghias Theklas Street
Athens, Greece 
Thank you for reading. Sandal weather always makes me excited for my classic OPI red pedicure. What is your footwear of choice for warm weather?

June 1, 2012

Simple, Chic & Functional

Courtesy of L.L. Bean

Hope you all are having a good week. If you are in the US, I hope you had a nice long Memorial Day Weekend. I had an extended weekend that began last Wednesday. I spent the weekend in Cambridge and Boston with my family attending and celebrating my brother’s graduation from HBS- we’re all so proud of him. It was a lovely weekend indeed.

In my mind, nothing signifies the return of Summer Hours and quick weekend getaways like the classic L.L. Bean Boat and Tote. Originally designed to haul ice “from the car to the ice chest” when block ice was used to keep food fresh in an icebox. There’s comfort in knowing that after more than sixty-five years; the design, construction and notion of functionality remain. 

The heavy-duty cotton canvas just gets better with wear. The reinforced bottom allows me to haul clothes (and more importantly shoes), pétanque sets, picnic supplies and mounds of library books. The extra-large tote is larger than I am, but the long handles make it easy to manage. After years of use, there’s a worn in perfection. 

I unearthed one of my totes this past weekend. I love travel and all of its’ accoutrements- functional and chic luggage, trunks and train cases. Yet, my favorite summer getaways to Sag Harbor, Oak Bluffs and Charlottesville, Virginia call for the ease of a simple but elegant tote. Precious luggage just won’t do when you’re hoping on the jitney or a ferry. The classic monogram is essential to insure that there are no bag mix-ups.

The classic tote is a reminder of just how fleeting summer is with its Kinfolk-like gatherings and days spent by the sea. There’s not much spontaneity to my life at the moment, but hopefully we’ll get there one day.

PS- Here’s a short little video on the handcrafted tote.