Better Shopping, Better Wardrobe!

Shopping can be very tricky. How can someone who loves fashion keep taking risks while simultaneously minimizing purchase mistakes? Here are a few tips and guidelines to help create a better wardrobe that satisfies your wants and needs.

DO MAKE PRIORITIES

Think about trends you want to incorporate into your wardrobe and don’t be afraid to wait. Think about things like comfort, style and longevity. Is style greater than comfort? What event could I wear this to? Do I choose trending over easy dressing? Is it the brand I’m into or the actual fit? How often will I wear this? You can just as easily ignore a fad as you can be interested in it.

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DON’T GO SHOPPING WITHOUT A BUDGET

Multiple items add up quickly and you never know what could catch your eye in a store. Make priorities. Don’t just shop because you want anything, go with an intention. Remember to try and improve your wardrobe. Try not to be brand excited and remember that layering pieces in standard colors are always good investments. Knowing what your wardrobe needs, rather than the things that look cute but will end up collecting dust, will help you build an amazing collection that works for you.

DON’T BE AFRAID TO TRY SOMETHING NEW!

Fashion changes, so can you! Allow room for new styles or interpretations. Try not to limit yourself, because you previously disliked a style. At worst, you might still dislike it, at best, you have a new way to wear something. Also remember brands you love AND the ones that fit well!

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DO SHOP ALONE

It’s so fun to plan a day with friends getting lunch at a nearby restaurant then hitting all the clothing stores. However, peer pressure can persuade or discourage you from something you actually want or don’t want. You know what you like best, and when you shop alone, you can’t be coerced into wasting money on something you don’t love because a friend swore up and down it looked good.

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DO SHOP EARLY

Another good idea is to shop earlier. You are more alert in mid morning. By afternoon or evening, you used up mental resources and been stressed out by the days work, and can be grumpy or just plain tired and make purchase mistakes. If you really want to check something out, then window shop. If its something you are convinced you love, put it on hold. Most stores will give you a 24-hour hold period, which is also good for impulses. Also keep in mind that shopping while hungry can lead to a negative experience. I know I am so cranky and irritable and get frustrated if I’m hungry. Have a snack or small meal before you start perusing and trying things on. I know personally I have a more positive experience following this idea!

DON’T BUY THE SAME PIECES 

I am so guilty of this. I like a certain color, and next thing you know, I have 8 shirts in the exact color and fit. If you are dead set on a color, opt to play with texture or pattern to add depth and avoid the clutter.

DO UPGRADE BASICS

Occasionally, worn clothes need to be replaced. A good rule to follow is visualize 2 or 3 ways to style pieces. Try to keep in mind multi-seasonal items for more usage and wear that will also save money. And don’t forget  simple customization. Got a hole in the elbow of your sweater? Learn how to sew a patch over it. Jeans too long? Cut the hem to fit your inseam. Lost a button? A quick stitch with a cute button can be a stylish upgrade. Customization’s give old clothing items that have seen better days a breath of life that can transform them to like new.

DON’T SHOP WITHOUT A GOOD BRA

The right undergarments can vastly improve how clothes fall and shape your figure. This can help you avoid that negative feeling of seeing the reflection in the mirror under terrible lighting (what’s with that anyway?) not matching how you thought it might look in your head.

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photo courtesy of fabcocktail

DON’T BUY EVERYTHING ONLINE

It’s convenient and fun, but when it looks different or the fit is off, its you on the hook schlepping back to the store, waiting in a long line only to have to return it for in-store credit. The safe bet is to make online purchases for accessories and what you know will fit.

DO PUT ON HOLD

Sales, busy shops and pricing can influence how you feel. Most stores offer a 24 hour hold, don’t be afraid to use it, especially on a splurge. That way you can be picky and see if you still really want it after a short breather. Also keep in mind that if something, like a t-shirt, looks really great, buy it in a few different colors. It would be a smart investment, knowing you not only like the piece, but that it looks good so you would likely wear it often. Plus, when the shirt for example, get worn or faded, you have that same style and fit because you bought a few.

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DON’T OVERSPEND ON SPECIAL OCCASIONS

Yes, its perfect for that night, but when you’re out shopping for that piece, think about if you’ll ever wear it again. Obviously a splurge every now and again is fine, but remembering cost per wear, (total cost to how many times it will be worn) can lead to better investments to your wardrobe. Also keep in mind there are rental fashion services that might be a good idea for events like holidays or weddings where you want something nice but will only wear it once.

DO TAKE CARE OF YOUR CLOTHES!

Doing so can increase the life and wear of them. A tailor can transform a piece with a few alterations to become the perfect fit. Keep in mind this will be an extra cost. Hand washing or dry cleaning delicate items will allow for a deeper clean, preserve material and have a crisp finished look. Using a laundry bag for underwear will also preserve materials and shape.

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DO BELIEVE IN YOU!

Though important and trendy, the biggest part of style is not in the clothes you wear, but how you wear them. When they fit to your preference and lifestyle, you won’t just feel happier with your clothes, you’ll look confident! To quote Coco Chanel, “Beauty begins the moment you decide to be yourself.”

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Paris Fashion Week Fall/Winter 2018

Paris is always a good idea. Have I said that before? Probably. Is it any less true? Unlikely. With industry names and generally, style that can be worn and lived in, it’s easy to see why Paris brings fashion month to a close. Taking one last look back over the fashion from Paris so we can see what things we have to look forward in a few months time. Here are the hits and misses.

 

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Darker, edgy vibes were a medley of personality. Leather jackets, top hats, capes, corsets,  studs and a small rainbow dot print at Elie Saab were very dramatic. I loved the scarves that accompanied many looks adding to the drama while providing a light layer that takes you to a crisp September morning. There was a touch of vintage to some of the styles with Victorian era influences that weren’t overplayed and actially quite striking.

 

The Isabel Marant runway was a mix of bohemia and Americana that was very fresh. Blanket like capes, classic button downs and crisp blouses paired with western style boots were updated silhouettes worthy of the Southwest that inspired them. The end of the show took a turn to eighties trends, lame and metallics completely with big curls. Through and through it seemed an American heart beat in the show, all that was missing were the stars and stripes.

 

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Louis Vuitton had an odd collision, hybrid style never before seen; a good start. A medley of textures, corseted tops with ruffled fronts, tweed skirts with billowing tops and two tone sweaters, sequin collars, gold chain belts, leather pemplum and a few cocktail dresses were all thrown into the ring. It all stood askew, although maintaining ladylike lengths, but I’m not sure what or if that meant anything. It was well fit, and the mix was inviting, but didn’t carry much zest, leaving for a bit of a disappointing ending.

 

Deep rich colors and fierce animal print were highlights from Givenchy. Dark, polished gowns were plentiful throughout the precisely tailored runway with a dash of sequins to really say let’s party. This fun collection was 80’s inspired, but finally someone gave it a spin and omitted the parachute pants.

 

Dries van Noten carried subtle statements in an artsy and elegant motif with a healthy dose of flair to go around. Graphic prints were carried across spare lines and excellent draping. Feathered collars, puffy sleeves and bright colors elevated seemingly basic pieces for truly artistic, unique high fashion.

 

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Pierpaolo Piccioli of Valentino said of this runway, “as an individual, personal, passionate approach to life. I think that is a real strength today, to be able to be fierce, to be strong and gentle at the same time, not to be aggressive but to be assertive. I started this collection with this idea of romanticism as a strength and not as a fragility.” I thought this was a wonderful expression that came together well in the presentation. There was commotion that came with these style, but in an easy manner. Like a fine meal, each piece was just enough, leaving room for a little more. I thought it was a unique choice to use medieval shapes and styles of dressing, but they paired so well with the collection’s palette. Many looks were adorned with flowers and layers, a favorite of mine, the scalloped edges.

 

Magenta was the popular color choice from the runways. Clockwise left to right Alexis Mabille, Chanel, Alexander McQueen & Valentino. This bright color will be great for fall as it mixes well with other colors, like that maroon dress from Valentino, and is a great accent for neutrals.

 

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Balenciaga started out with simple shapes in electric colors before building extensively and with velocity in its proportions. Mentioning snowboard culture as a point of reference, the runway included hoodies, faux fur and ski parkas sometimes three plus to a model. Layers upon layer upon layers until the final enormous look. It was slightly objectionable, although on a cold day I do look for every possible way to keep warm, as a play on that feeling I’m sure we can all relate to, it was a dose of humor to a fine collection.

 

Clockwise left to right Valentino, Isabel Marant, Altuzarra & Guy Laroche

Similar to the trendy cold shoulder of last season, but want a little more drama? Paris present the single sleeve. The asymmetrical shape can be very flattering and because of the dramatic style, need little to be accessorized. Dating back to Ancient Greece, where one style may feature a bare shoulder on one side and be completely sleeved on the other, a different take could be draped, puffed, cap or kimono sleeved, just to name a few styling techniques. Various elements like fringe or beading can also be included to add feminism and drama. Asymmetry can also be found in hem and necklines, really making this trend experimental yet timeless.

 

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Where there was pretty and stylish this season from Balmain, the majority of the runway consisted of PVC plastic looking material, meant to be inspired and futuristic that just fell flat. Clear shafts of boots, neon fringe and a quilted metallic suit felt detached and slightly tacky. Numerous looks, however, held iridescent and prismatic colors the made up largely for the aforementioned faux pas. About half of this collection could have been omitted and better constructed for future use, personally, out of a 90 look show, I was done at 38.

 

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More attire from Paris fashion Week! Be sure to tune back in for full length show videos!

photos courtesy of WWD & Vogue

Milan Fashion Week Fall/Winter 2018

Milan Fashion Week concluded February 25. We were treated to bold and glamorous designs- including a guest appearance by American designer, Tommy Hilfiger. I was discussing with a friend how Milan is so articulate in and with their fashion. After all, “Made in Italy” are the most luxurious words one can read on a label. It’s what everyone seems to clamors after. But at the height of fashion, instead of begging to be seen by onlookers, Italian brands hold such composure. The fashion is not just lusted after, but comprehensive without austerity. Everyone is welcome, but if you miss it you miss it, hope to see you next time. Something about this calm attitude in the commotion of fashion month is so appealing, intended or not.

With that being said however, I found Moschino to be insensitive at best and asinine at worst. I felt the Jackie O inspired collection was poorly executed. There are better ways to show appreciation and admiration of the former first lady. Specifically, why recreate an outfit in which she witnessed her husband and one of our great leaders assassination? It was just plain offensive.

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Annakiki had an odd choice of make up, using neon shades of lipsticks in all kinds of colors. It was fun for the runway, but is anyone anxious to wear green lipstick?

There was alot to see at Gucci. There was also a disturbing beginning as a purposely paled faced model walked down the runway with a replica of her own head. Through many cultural and era refrences, Alessandro Michele said that we decide who we want to be. If you take the time to break down each ensemble there are some treasures to be found. But from a glance its dizzying and with nowhere in particular to focus I don’t focus on anything at all. I can only imagine the panic I would have felt if I had been sitting in the audience. I understand Gucci has a large amount of creative energy and maybe even more to say, but I can’t keep up and I wasn’t that interested in the first place.

With that off my chest, we can continue with better topics, like among the anorak jackets, wedge boots, suede, shearling and leather from Tod’s were the most adorable puppies.

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We saw many maximalist styles in Milan. I like the anything goes attitude. There’s definitely big personality and its far from redundant. I think the messiness of it is what draws me in. I’ve found myself in numerous creative ruts the last few months and maximalism is what currently speaks to me the most.

Left to right clockwise: Jil Sander, Fendi, Max Mara & Angel Chen

While it was a little more sporadic for the upcoming season, I still enjoyed the minimalist looks that were featured.

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Ultraviolet also making an appearance at Milan Fashion Week at Marni!

Statement hair accessories were a trend. The bold drama they brought to the runway were a very feminine touch. If you aren’t feeling the glitzy headdress, you can just wear oversized earrings for a dose of glam that is less overwhelming.

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The color palette and its contrast from Giorgio Armani was so striking. Intricate fabrics, oversized fur hats and watercolor patterns were all apart of the 96 piece runaway. Separates, sports jackets and dresses in shades of pink, purple, navy and black were the prominent colors, but there were some pastel shades included. Bubble skirts, fur teal sashes and chunky layers of jewelry were fun details that complemented the attire. There were numerous menswear styles including abstract pattered jackets and suits in velvet. The materials were superb, as expected, but those vivid color choices equally carried their weight and were unexpectedly pleasing.

Ermanno Scervino was polished, graceful and best of all wearable. Again we see tartan as a big component like at previous fashion weeks. I love the streamlined edge this brand has. The lighter and darker color contrasts, exquisite tailoring and playfulness with proportions made for some great fashion. I definitely am taking some style notes for the fall from this collection.

Left to right clockwise is Sportsmax, Stella Jean, Prada & Marni

A favorite trend was the sport inspired pieces in all kind of bright hues.

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Other styles from Milan fashion week.

Photos courtesy of Vogue, WWD, InStyle & The Cut

London Fashion Week Fall/Winter 2018

Jumping across the pond, London Fashion Week, held February 17-20, was very vocal. Many brands shared maximalist styles that got the blood pumping, even if there were simultaneously multiple scribble lines etched over my head. But the optimism spoke to me, it stood out, it was screaming “notice me I’m fabulous!” Bold colors, big sequins, loud patterns, volume and amalgamating hues created a vigorous fashion week that was easy to embrace. See some of my favorites below. As always, we’ll have full length videos you won’t want to miss, so tune back in for more!

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A big highlight was that Queen Elizabeth went to her first fashion week show and sat next to Anna Wintour at Richard Quinn’s show.

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Christopher Bailey said good bye to Burberry after 17 years in a picturesque manner. Vogue mentioned that he included a licensing collection the company had in the 80s, as well as many other archived looks. I liked the classic cape and white skirt with a rainbow jutting across the fabric. The puffer jackets and cocktail dresses, the abstract and brushstroke print sweaters.

The company is initiating a partial see-now-buy-now strategy. Stores are selling its Rainbow Check collection as part of an initiative to support charities that help LGBTQ youth now.

I’m not sure if customers of a heritage brand will appreciate the blatant statement, or want to wear a rainbow, but guests included Chelsea Clinton, Sienna Miller, Naomi Campbell, Kate Moss, Keira Knightley and Naomi Watts, Michelle Dockery, Naomie Harris, Lily James and Daphne Guinness. Maybe Burberry has succedded in becoming the more democratic brand they wished to be. I guess we’ll have to watch for rainbows.

left to right clockwise Erdem, Maison Margeila, Temperly London, David Koma

Silver, has cool properties like gray, but is a touch livelier and its sleekness can be very refined. The color silver takes association with industrial, technology, and royal meanings. Silver is ornate, glamourous, and sophisticated. It works as a great neutral with louder prints and can liven up a simple look. If you’re not sure about incorporating this color into your wardrobe, you can always start small with accessories. Shoes, bags or a pair of sunglasses can instantly add a dose of metallic drama.

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Shrimps was a standout collection. Launched in 2013 by Hannah Weiland, she plays with patterns and textures in the liveliest way. While she’s known for her outerwear, her handbags were what caught my attention! It was very connected and served up emotional, vibrant pieces. The loud motif wasn’t ambiguous, but rather incredibly cohesive. You can set your worries aside, all the fur pieces are faux.

From left to right clockwise, House of Holland, JW Anderson, Burberry & Mother of Pearl.

Another trend alert for fall is tartan. Isn’t tartan just plaid? Well, in North America it is, but in Scotland, tartan is an iconic material that is worn, like a scottish kilt. The tartan material is a woven wool with a pattern that consists of criss-crossed horizontal and vertical bands in multiple colours.

In the Victorian era, tartan became a component of menswear and through the 70s, took on a punk persona.

There are many ways to wear the pattern. It comes in a variety of colors and can be an accent scarf or an entire outfit, show off your unique take of the style!

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Rebellious and glittery, obviously Halpern couldn’t be missed. Inspired by the 80s pwer woman, big shapes in louder shades were heighted to yet another level by the massive amount of sequins. I may have no where to wear these creations, but it doesn’t mean I love them any less.

Did you know Ultraviolet is the Pantone color of the year? We saw it pop up in a few lines including Burberry, David Koma and Mulberry. I really love this bright color, its tied to royal and spiritual roots historically, and Pantone calls the blue based shade of purple complex and contemplative, meant to inspire visionaries of what is yet to come.

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More contemporary styles from London.

Photos courtesy of WWD, Vogue & Mirror Uk

Ultraviolet color information from Pantone 

New York Fashion Week Fall/Winter 2018 Pt. 2

Continuing with a New York Fashion Week review, its crazy to think Paris Fashion Week has already begun! But before we head over to the City of Lights, there are more highlights and lowlights to talk about from the Big Apple. And don’t forget to keep tuning in for new full length show videos!

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Prabal Gurung blended cultures in an uplifting manner. I loved the intricate prints, and this season was very on trend. I have a piece I’m working on for the trends page and you’ll be seeing some of these styles that will be very popular this fall!

Outside a few sleek pieces, Zimmermann was kind of lost on me in the sea of beige. I wasn’t feeling the fringe and frills or the waist corsets featured on a number of ensembles. Victorian equestrian was a noted inspiration, in hunting jackets, riding boots and flouncy tops that I also didn’t find too inspiring, but I did love those Juliet shoulder sleeves. I hope we start to see more of those bold sleeved tops around the runway.

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There were similar boho styles to Zimmermann at Anna Sui, although thankfully this line was a rainbow of colors. It was pretty heavy on the prints, but the styles retained some sensibility. The orange dress with black lace paired with the logo hat and scarf was pretty cool since the scarf and dress matched in length. The blue floral jacket and dress with the solid blue scarf was another chic choice, though I might have paired it with simple black tights and omit the extra dose of floral.

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Derek Lam also noted equestrian, like Zimmermann and Anna Sui, although this line carried a much more refined color palette with a simpler vision. An embroidered silk turtleneck against rich emerald suede, a belted purple trench, graphic patterns and giant bucket bags created a refined bohemian collection.

Its hard not to love a Carolina Herrera dress, and these were extra special, with them being the last as she has her understudy, Wes Gordon take over the brand. This fall season started with her classic black and white styles with some sharp contrasts, like half fur sleeves. I loved the dramatic cat print dress and sweeping silk ball gown best, but there were plenty of dresses as heartwarming as they were sentimental to the powerful style Carolina creates.

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Inspired by french streetwear and rock ‘n’ roll, Zadig + Voltaire celebrated 20 years. Mixing mini and oversized shapes, ranging from leather overalls to boxy blazers the message was simple and concise. Great fashion doesn’t have to be messy, and the best accessory is confidence.

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The diverse range from Rosie Assoulin kept you guessing at what fun style would follow the last. Voluminous amd colorful daywear show included bright dresses, roomy jumpsuits and trousers and a few coordinating sets in a rainbow stripe. There were even some basics like flared jeans, hoodies and sweatpants. Vogue even noted the marbled looks were reversible, which is such a cool extra for our wardrobes.

Velvet isn’t going anywhere according to Vivienne Hu, which made me very happy. I haven’t dived into wearing the material much, but I’ve loved seeing it pop up more and more. The color scheme of deep greens, amber oranges with maroon reds and canary yellows were very warm and inviting with a little bit of moodiness. The line was inspired by her Chinese heritage, in particular the Thousand Buddha Grottoes, caves that have cultural and historical significance, being a place of significance during use of the Silk Road. Hu’s design team took a trip there in summer of 2017 and captured a really unique essence.

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Vivienne Tam was inspired by a spirited journey to the Himalayas. The layers,  textures and colors showcased the regions cultured very well. There was an emphasis on materials, everything from nylon, corduroy, shearling and lace made an appearance. Chunky outerwear, pleated skirts and Mongolian lamb bags also appeared in addition to fur hats and fleece vests had me wishing for cooler days just to bundlphe up amd head into the mountains. Ok, maybe not that extreme, but this was a collection I’d at least play dress up in.

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Composed and flirty, this was the boldest Michael Kors collection I’ve seen. It was eclectic but streamlined, and very captivating. I loved the use of primary colors in the plaids, the mixing of prints, that matching leopard print scarf and sweater was amazing and I think the choice of a gray tone over the normal brown/black combination was really standout. It might be menswear, but I’d wear it anyway. But you know what the best part of the show was? That it was set to The Sound of Music soundtrack! When I was little, we’d always watch that movie at my grandparents house. They had a really long winding driveway that my sisters and I would skip down singing I Have Confidence, then run back up towards the house like Julie Andrews when she arrived at the von Trapps. I even played These Are A Few Of My Favorite Things at a piano recital and sang the solo of Edelweiss at a school concert. Alright, I’ll wrap up the gushing, but I found the show inspiring and all the memories it jogged were priceless. This was what fashion is about. This is fashion that makes you feel good. That makes you want to get up in the morning, just to get dressed. And it won’t hurt a single soul that it looks good either.

 

Photos courtesy of Vogue and WWD

New York Fashion Week Fall/Winter 2018 Pt. 1

Just got home from a fashion centric week in New York City! One thing I noticed this season is that many brands are doing an exposé after their runways, having models all line up to showcase the collections, which I thought was a fun and interactive way for customers and fashion lovers to catch more than just a passing glimpse of the upcoming season. If people want to keep moving onto the next show, they can, but if you want to get up close and personal, that you may. The vehicle of New York Fashion Week seems to be tossing out some new ways to make fashion week fresh again and less of a never-ending parade of clothes. I do love that parade though, even if it might be a bit overwhelming at first glance.

 

First up was Narciso Rodriguez no nonsense, lack of excess collection. I loved the mix of neutrals, eye catching monochrome broken up by pattern and the occasional bright color.

 

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The Row had similar concepts to Narciso Rodriguez in it’s minimal composure. Classic looks with delicate textures and materials were a new spin on our favorite basics. The sleeveless cream dress with matching turtleneck and boots seemed like the coziest, trendiest way to dress for a cold winter day! I liked that the arm hole extends to the waist for a looser effect that’s roomy for thicker layers.

 

Noon by Noor’s Women’s wear was inspired by the designing duos home, Bahrain. The Arabic script on the sweater quotes “to the moon and back” and the collection had effortless shapes in vivid colors.  I liked the varied sleeve shapes. There were flouncy cuffed bishop and peasant sleeves to trendy off the shoulder cuts that were all tasteful and fun.

 

Pamella Roland always has a decadence about it that brings a smile to my face. In its highest moment of fashionability, wearability isn’t lost in the message and I think that brings a whole other level of ingenue to this runway.

 

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Loved the shimmery material prominent through Jill Stuart. She said the message of her collection is, “Individuality and women expressing themselves through art.” There was charm and luxury that looked as good as it (hopefully) felt.

 

Victoria Beckham’s nonchalant collection stayed true to its minimal roots though it carried a little extra flair with accent colors. The dark shades of tan, orange and olive will be so moody for the fall and the elongated shapes were perfectly proportioned to the  sleeve length, material choices and roomy jackets and sweaters. As multi layer attire continues to be a strong element of fashion today, and featured through this season, Victoria Beckham proves she’s one of the trendiest designers out there.

 

Alexander Wang held his show in the old Conde Nast offices. Full of classic shapes at fresh, although short, lengths and logo decorated athleisure, the elusive styles were powerful. They were workwear inspired, though I doubt anyone could wear most these ensembles in an office. They were still attractive pieces, the stilettos and tight shapes are perfect for a party. Mixing a couple pieces could create more appropriate daytime attire.

 

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Obviously always well constructed, Christian Soriano celebrated ten years in fashion. Attended by a diverse group of fans including Meg Ryan, Cardi B, Laverne Cox and Whoopi Goldberg, a dramatic show followed. Voluminous gowns, giant sleeves, red fur coats, and plenty of sparkle and shine glided down the runway. The embellishments were not overly harsh, though some gowns were obviously red carpet only. It was a celebration after all, so flamboyancy was to be expected.

 

The polished and bright styles from Claudia Li were so great to see. Largely a collection with warm tones, mostly in pinks and orange, the mature, assertive styles were boastful, especially in patterns against white canvas backgrounds. Li herself said, “the collections are growing with me, I see that now.”

 

Alejandra Alonso Rojas says she builds on past collections. Because they are inspired so much by her family there is an emotional quality and timelessness to the styles that draws you in. I like that this brand celebrates tradition and classical style inspired by people who came before us that too often seems lost entirely on the new generation.

 

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The dreamiest palette was from Brandon Maxwell. From lilac to hot pink and pale gold to white sequined tops, the vivacious collection had my attention from start to finish. While there was plenty of his signature evening attire, there was plenty of style for day. The best part was how different pieces would work well with other pieces in the collection. There were 38 looks, but it could have easily been doubled mixing, matching and layering.

 

Stayed tuned for full length videos and New York Fashion Week Part 2 coming soon!

Paris Haute Couture Spring 2018

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Alexis Mabille Spring Haute Couture 2018

Spring Haute Couture in Paris has already concluded with fashion month right around the corner. I definitely expected outrageous this season. However, I thought there were more hits than misses, with powerful presence and no nonsense, in a way only couture could approach. While couture is considered elite and maybe even old fashioned, often begging an answer to the question of ‘who would wear that?’ these collections threw away the notions that couture is stuffy and pretentious. It is indeed unique and as opposed to the past, couture is now more readily available to the public. The designers of today have embraced the traditional feel of the ateliers of days gone past while making today’s lines more modern, not just for wonderful evening wear but great daywear as well.

 

Zuhair Murad was inspired by Native American culture that many found controversial. I thought the collection was tasteful, intricate beadwork in almost every look was toned down by monochromatic shades carrying a reverence about them. The cactus print was an astute distinction and slouchy boots paired with elegant ball gowns was a refreshing runway look as teepee inspired silhouettes carried intriguing shape. Maybe the feathers in the model’s hair was a bit too far, but I thought the collection walked the delicate line of fashion and insensitive tactfully.

 

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A sugary sweet, glamorous dream world was at every turn at Ralph & Russo. Drawing on inspirations from a trip to Asia, chic embroidered silk gowns were nothing short of excellent. Creamy colored gowns had skirts with every kind of detail: fringed and feathered, tiered and peplum, slits of every length. There were a few more vibrantly colored designs that could have been omitted for overall aesthetic, but the quality and charm wasn’t lost because of their presence.

 

Chanel shared its classic tweed in majority of looks through the collection. I found it to largely be a snooze fest, largely playing with Victorian era concepts in pretty pastels, but it just didn’t get my blood pumping. The most interesting concept was the short black veil each model wore that fell from a small floral arrangement at the top of her head. I guess with couture being such a free concept, I expected something more inspired, less cliché Chanel.

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The title of Armani Prive was “The Sky and All It’s Nuances”. It was like you could follow the phases of the sun through a day. Early morning light inspired the shimmering lavender shades that glided across the canvas of material. Deeper pops of coral and that last dusty pink light swirled together to perfectly capture a sunset. Deep navy material presented the evening sky. As light color transitioned to dark then back to light, its was like a journey of the sun by fashion. This collection was masterfully constructed and artfully crafted in couture shapes and mesmerizing style.

 

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I wasn’t a huge fan of the cutout eyewear featured throughout the runway, but I was pleased that on many outfits from Christian Dior had more draping of sheer material over an opaque layer for volume and construction rather than the absence of material.

 

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An homage to 1920s Paris, beading and sparkles in the softest shade glittered through Elie Saab’s couture. Because most of the dresses carried the sheer trend torch with them, I wasn’t overly thrilled, but Saab’s designs always carry plenty of charisma and ooze high fashion. This season included glitzy art deco patterns in dreamy colors, glitzy and adorned with feathers, even wrapped up and tied with a bow.

 

Elegant, graceful and structured, Givenchy’s first couture show in eight years was not a disappointment. Sharp tailoring, long hemlines, tiered skirts and miniature capes glided down the runway, each saying “notice me!” in an extremely satisfying and sophisticated manner.

 

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The color combinations that started off Valentino were not only beautiful, but seemed plausible to wear (sans hats of course). The color faded into neutral shades still fresh and undeniably spring.

 

A bright palette with outlandish but pleasant accents dominated the runway of Viktor & Rolf. It was dramatic attractive couture, everything was made from technical duchesse satin, which is a strong, lustrous material. It’s small amount of elastane makes it bend and stretch well along the curves of the body while maintaining good shape. Its also wrinkle resistant, making it ideal for bridal and evening wear. The design duo, known for using recycled materials, took their interest in conscious design in a different direction this year by rethinking the possibilities of fabrics. I loved the playful mix of color and pattern.

Stay tuned for full length videos of the Haute Couture runways.

Photos courtesy of Vogue