I have been obsessed with capes for the past couple of years and already have a few. But I want to take my love to new lengths…
I have been obsessed with capes for the past couple of years and already have a few. But I want to take my love to new lengths…
That blue is back again.
You know the one – you wore it years ago, for that pop of colour – back when pop music was heard on the spirit of radio?
I opted for electric blue when fluorescent colours were all the rage back then. It was under the radar, over ultra-glow, neon yellows, pinks, oranges and greens. I had electric blue socks and an over-sized, handknit mohair cardi in the same hue. I always wore it with black.
Call it brilliant blue, electric blue, cerulean, azure or phthalo - it’s back with a vibrant vengeance.
I’ve been collecting these images for several seasons now. At first, there were random outbursts of colour…but collections for Spring and Fall 2011 are saturated in blue notes – from couture to common, everyday fashion.
These are not your mother’s blues, my dears. These are make-an-entrance, knock-em-dead outfits that will have reds blushing.
Look what the wind blue in – can you imagine these next two on a breezy day? (Note, I didn’t say windy – a subtle breeze is all we want.)
Or you can create your own movement and express yourself…
…the Expressionists certainly did.
Whether in a painting or at a dance, these rich shades and fabrics will have you panting for more.
The shades from season to season vary slightly, but there is a boldness in each blue.
I was obsessed with phthalo blue in my art school years – it had a depth and transparency all at once. Currently, I am obsessed with this gorgeous gown from Bibhu Mohapatra, which to me, exhibits the same qualities – it’s just frothy enough and yet solid in that impeccable neckline and romantic in that empire waistline. I would love to wear this to an art opening, to bring the phthalo full circle.
Even if it’s a darker blue like navy or midnight, it’s a change from the LBD for evening.
It’s also a great way to add a little flair to your day.
I love how the suit has returned, but in what I call Suit 2.0 – the more social, interactive suit – it allows a girl to move. This shade will also make you stand out in the corporate hierarchy.
And quite frankly, also at fashion fêtes the world over – because everyone else will be wearing buh-lack.
Imagine this on a dreary and rainy day.
In this Rachel Roy, you can slink just about anywhere…but might need your own soundtrack to accompany you.
You can toy with your multiple personalities.
The men can play this game, too.
Flirt with as much – or as little colour as you can handle. And be sure to coordinate it with your landscape du jour.
I loved this image by Garance Doré, taken on Ipanema Beach last summer – the play of sunlight, the Louboutin sole against the patent blue, against the straw and sand.
It perfectly captures the energy of Rio as I imagine it to be. “Tall and tan and young and lovely…the girl from Ipanema goes walking and when she passes, each one she passes goes Ahhhhh…”
You might have to change your tune and give a nod to Mod with these on.
And really, could a post like this be complete without a couple of pairs of Blue Suede Shoes?
My head is now exploding with musical references from punk days (mohawk heels, anyone?) to the glitz and groove of glam rock. Perfect boots to Do the Strand in?
These had me taking steps a few hundred years back.
If you can’t walk a mile in those shoes, perhaps you can add a not so subtle bauble to your otherwise neutral ensemble?
This Rado Blue Fascination Jubilé timekeeper has an 18K gold bracelet with 206 diamonds, a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal face and hi-tech ceramic bracelet. Did your heart just skip a beat or few? It will set you back a cool 40K at Birks.
Oh, and let me borrow it? My cost per wear would be sky-high, since I only dabble in colour on occasion.
So, really, this colour has you covered.
It may be a cool tone, but its intensity will have you energized.
It will leave you – electrified.
I’ll have the remaining blue-hued images for you in part deux (yes, there are more if you can believe it).
Image Sources: 1. Vogue.com; 2. Elle.com; 3. Harper’s Bazaar UK; 4. You Tube; 5. Stegosauro; 6. NY Post; 7. Shrimpton Couture; 8, 9. Style.com; 10. Courtesy of Bibhu Mohapatra; 11. Style.com; 12. Shrimpton Couture; 13. Vogue.com; 14. WWD; 15. Elle.com; 16. Courtesy of Costume National; 17. Getty Images; 18. Style.com; 19. Courtesy of Viktor and Rolf; 20. Style.com; 21. Vogue.com; 22. Garance Dore; 23. Pierre Cardin Shoes at the Bata photographed by Me; 24-26 Style.com; 27. Vogue.com; 28. Courtesy of Rado; 29. Style.com; 30. Vogue.com; 31. Luxury Emporium; 32. Vogue.com.
So, where were we? Oh yes, we were talking about the poetry and the balance of life.
While fashion’s minimalism in recent years has dominated, the past few seasons have also showcased a curious case of excess.
When it comes to accessories, ‘the bolder the better’ has been the bon mot of the bejewelled and bespectacled set.
Was everyone inspired by Devo? Guitar arm shades and funny hats?
Imagine if a blogger wore one of these to a fashion show and sat in front of you. You’d be a bobble-head, trying to get a good view.
Or you could be a bauble-head instead…
If the dangling jewels weren’t enough for you at Dior, there were the beyond-elbow-length gloves in cerise, contrasted with a sheen of olive green. Delicious.
But if daring is more your style vibe, there was plenty of that, too, courtesy of gothentic Gareth and Manish Arora.
It’s all a chain reaction, you see. The economy tanks. We minimize. We get bored. Fashion rocks and shocks us into the land of the living, once more. It shows us that our lives can shine on, again.
Fashion has always told us to toss our troubles aside…
…to let the fun flourish!
There is incredible beauty in appreciating each step in life.
So, don’t let your troubles creep up – take a stand and stomp out the drama.
Happiness is a precarious balance.
You’ve got to toughen up and believe in your power.
Wear armour, if necessary – to battle the brash.
What’s that old saying? Dress for the life you want.
Dress for excess, darlings.
Image sources: Siriano shades, Sabyasachi, Gareth Pugh and YSL images courtesy of Another Magazine, Nina Leen image, Valaya and Manish Malhotra images courtesy of Vogue India, Kirkwood and Valentino images courtesy of Obsessed with Shoes, Mabille, Siriano sandals. All others from Style.com.
Alexis Mabille is a rising star who has shown some lovely pieces over the past few seasons. Through them, he has sown (or in this case, sewn) seeds of ideas within each of his collections that will one day bloom into greatness.
Whether it’s with vines of silk flowers wrapping around your calf or a trail of bows slung softly across your back, his clothes can make a woman feel feminine.
He has also shown us he can cut tailored pieces – while he may not be a master as yet, there is definitely a respect for the craft of cutting in his clothes.
This duality of soft versus edge was highly evident in the designer’s Spring 2010 Couture collection, which in some cases was literally split down the middle.
It’s hard to refer to a suit as boring when it’s half hot pink, no? The vertical split could add a dramatic twist to drab day dressing. Perfect for us Geminis, who always have a personality to spare in our bag of tricks.
Mabille loves his red and it showed up in broad strokes, along with electric blue (a continuing story this season), vivid yellow, the hot pink and not-so-boring neutrals like this taupe-y silver. I could see Carla Bruni in this little number, although with a slightly longer skirt for the First Lady of France, svp!
He showed a variety of silhouettes and again, a smattering of ideas. I feel as if he’s thinking out loud, sketching with models and runway shows and his craft is still being honed. One day, his designs will be gasp-worthy. Some of them come close now…
Look at the bottle outline created by the shape of that dress – Mabille’s subtle about the sexiness of his clothes. There’s an allure, a curiosity he creates. I’ve always loved the intense sensuality of covered up clothing. Pop tarts of today – take note!
This evening ensemble echoes the grace of ladies of the Victorian era, yet there is something very Audrey Hepburn and June Cleaver about it at the same time. And those crystal accents? Very 1980s Lacroix, n’est-ce pas? The masti is in the mix!
While the clothes are beautiful and show promise, I do question whether they are worthy of being called couture. They cannot possibly touch the glory days of the old masters.
Mabille remembers them, too, I am sure – he ended his collection with the traditional bride – the finale in many couture shows past.
Let’s hope he can be one of the designers to keep the couture tradition alive for a long time to come.
Coles Notes: masti = fun/intoxication
Images courtesy of style.com and WWD.
This time of year can be taxing. You’ve got to deal with last year’s finances, for one. Plus, it’s that in between weather and if you are in Toronto, it changes hourly.
You most certainly want to be in the black when it comes to your taxes but you don’t want to be all-black-clad when the sun comes out. Yet, you aren’t quite ready for bursts of summer colour.
My wardrobe staple for Spring is always black and white, but seeing flashes of red added almost everywhere this season has me falling in love with the colour combination all over again.
I say I’ve fallen in love with it again for a very good reason. You can blame these gentleman for teaching me to love this trio of hues. My first time was with them.
The Durans taught me a lot about fashion. You could watch their videos a million times and see something new about an exotic place, about the cut of a jacket, the sling of a belt.
I distinctly remember John Taylor stating in an interview that his favourite colours were red, black and white and it raised my colour consciousness. I recall an early photo of him with dark brown hair, leather pants (it was the ’80s, ya?), white shirt and tailored burgundy suit jacket (surely a nod to his music/style idol – and mine – Mr. Ferry).
That raised consciousness was only cemented by this man…
Who could forget Mr. Smith’s all-black attire (with a white shirt every now and then), pale, pale skin and smeared red lips? It is a permanent image in my visual vault. There was no cure for what I had then – it was all around me.
One of the most striking examples was from Ms. Siouxsie Sioux – a woman I admired for her colourful character – not just her creativity with couture.
Authenticity was visible in black and white back in those days – no need to bare what your mama gave you – or airbrush it for that matter. But I digress…
…we were talking about crimson and claret amongst penguin classics.
It doesn’t get any more classic than a sari – but Asmita Marwah’s version gets a tartan twist. The future of fashion always respects the past. Project Runway’s Seth Aaron Anderson showed ’40s and ’50s pleats and tucks, paired with leather detailing and killer accessories.
My soul sister Anamika Khanna added light to our lives with her barely there wisps of ethereal beauty. Her use of red is soft and her pieces remind me of a favourite phrase from one of Norman Mailer’s books: “strong enough to be gentle all the time”.
Sometimes, a whisper of red is all that is needed…
It can be an unexpected accent on an everyday statement.
The black and white could stand on its own heels, no doubt, but oh, the emotion that a lilt of colour can divine.
Are these streaks of genius, or is it more of a dotted line?
Roll the dice and try your luck.
Fashion inspiration can come from many places. It can be your high school crush.
It can be your love of all things French.
It can emanate from a female mentor from the past.
Or, it can be epitomized in fashion’s futuristic femme.
It can resonate from a favourite photograph…or two.
But by all means, just this once, open your eyes…
…and kiss inspiration firmly on the lips, and let it alter you.
Image sources: Daria Werbowy by Mario Testino, courtesy of V Magazine, the three Durans, Robert Smith, Siouxsie images, Asmita Marwah courtesy of Vogue India, Project Runway image courtesy of Yahoo!, Anamika Khanna images from Life Magazine and mastione.com respectively, Jamie Bochert by Daniel Jackson courtesy of Another Magazine, alexismabille.com, Ungaro and Rykiel images from style.com, Johnson image from The Cut, John Taylor image from duranduranforever.com, Manish Arora image courtesy of WWD, Sundsbø image courtesy of art+commerce, Di Renzo source.
It’s party frock season. Thought you might need some inspiration for your New Year’s Eve attire tomorrow night. We can’t all afford these gorge gowns but they will give you some ideas about shapes, proportions and colour.
Let’s continue galavanting, shall we?
Adding some frou always works – whether it’s in the form of bows, feathers or a little lace.
You could take a simpler, white, strapless or sleeveless dress, add a feather boa and maybe a wide, black ribbon tied around your arm or wrist in a bow, borrowing from Monsieur Mabille?
And those T-strap sandals? I have a great pair from Nine West so you can get the look without spending a fortune.
The Chanel Haute Couture collection for FW09 was not up to its usual standards, but I liked the intricacy of these lace dresses. You can easily find elements like this in vintage pieces. I was in Kensington Market in Toronto just yesterday and saw lots of black lace and chiffon. I don’t do strapless, so I’d throw a crisp, white shirt under this one…
…or you could just take a regular LBD that’s in your closet and add a lace bag or gloves – easily found in vintage shops – wherever you live.
I love the petal effect on this David Dixon dress – plus, it won’t kill your budget like Chanel HC!
The next two examples are all about shape.
Have curves. Will travel.
I adore the idea of a jacket and long skirt and lu-uv this silhouette. (Sorry, what’s that? I couldn’t hear you from inside your closet as you look for the similar items you may already have!) I’ve been following David Dixon’s work since the mid-90s and this is a man who knows his clients (and us women!) very well.
This dress by Tarun Tahiliani needs its own soundtrack. Of course, you will want the actual dress, but in a pinch, you can take that slinky top you already have, put on the widest and flingiest pair of black pants OR the curviest skirt you own, throw in a statement necklace and voila! You will ring in the New Year with drama!
If shaped and fitted isn’t your thing, opt for a flowy vibe. This ’70s inspired paisley gown from Etro is one of my all-time favourites. I know fashion fate will lead me to it one of these days…
The colours from Bottega Veneta and Ranna Gill provide nice options if black is blasé where you are concerned.
This David Dixon frock combines leather and tie-died silk – adding structure and movement all in one shot.
And now you social butterflies can have it all – a shorter shift with a longer, chiffon overlay.
For me, the colour of choice would be a gorgeous green. Here are a couple of other favourites from my archives…first, a McQueen fit for a modern goddess…
…and this divine creation for Gucci by Mr. Ford – why saunter when you can slink your way into 2010?
No matter how you ring in the New Year, do it with style, grace and a dash of inspiration…
Sources: Mabille photo from Getty Images, Bottega, Chanel, Gucci, McQueen photos from Style.com. David Dixon photos courtesy of AYM Photography. Gill photo courtesy of Ranna Gill. Tahiliani and Gupta photos courtesy of WLIFW. Etro image courtesy of Neiman Marcus.
So many recent collections were painted red. You’d think it was one of the colours of the season.
However, on a recent soujourn to Paris, it was nowhere to be found. A Parisian shop-stress told me, “Women in Parees don’t wear zis. Zey prefer bleck, gris and porpol. Redd is too boldd for zem. It iz not Parizienne.”
Apart from a piece here and there, I haven’t seen much of it on this side of the Atlantic, either.
I am guessing it will arrive on mainstream shores/stores in time for next Fall.
But not in Parees, of couss…
Karen Elson wore the Mcqueen velvet number to the British Fashion Awards the other night.
Is there a recession? Someone tell the fashion jetset.
There was no shortage of glam, gorj, gala-worthy gowns at a multitude of recent fashion weeks.
This fiery hot neck piece adds a layer of drama to an otherwise cool and breezy gown. Perfect for a night of flamenco, no?
Cool it down with this leathery slick satin dress by Project Runway Canada alum, Evan Biddell. Love the neck adorment here, aussi.
The evening ease continues at Bottega Veneta Resort 2010 and Alexis Mabille FW09. Float or glitter away – the choice is yours.
But a woman is a complex creature, full of intricacies and layered details. Desi girl, Ranna Gill, created a perfect piece for her Spring Summer 09 collection. It’s colour blocked and beaded, without looking overdone.
Necks get covered again at Chanel Resort, 2010. Karl showed a ’20s inspired collection and in this case, it looks like the modern, Rock and Roll version of Fitzgerald’s Daisy B.
Modern girl, Stella McCartney made lacy – not racy – separates sing.
Speaking of elegance, there is nothing like rich colours, embroidery and textures to make a woman look regal. Sabyasachi Mukherjee likely dressed maharanis in another life. That sari border is from another era, entirely – where beauty reigned.
This is Indian couture, my dears. It may not be classified as such since les petites mains didn’t make it, but there were likely many chotay, chotay hath that touched just this one ensemble.
Feel like going out all of a sudden? I know I do.
Sources: Rucci, Bottega, Chanel, Stella photos from Style.com. Evan Biddell photo courtesy of AYM Photography. Mabille photo courtesy of Alexis Mabille. Gill photo courtesy of Ranna Gill. Sabyasachi photo source.
Alexis Mabille wrapped up a few gifts for us, this Autumn. While not a girly girl who like bows, there was something about unwrapping one of these…
No, it’s not the whole suit I love – it’s that tie with that collar and um, who is wearing it.
And I’m not sure why I like these at all. They are coral + suede + have bows – all things I normally do not agree with, but sometimes a girl wants a little pretty. I think that teeny bow at the bottom of the heel was what won me over.
It wasn’t just bows – the ties came in different shapes. Love the vertical split on the skinny ones. I like my ties, my pants and my men on the skinny side.
Bows weren’t the only detail Mabille showed. Fur added a feminine touch to tailored suits and coats, and even softened a rectangular shopper (but my, my, those scarlet nails have to go!).
But my favourite piece at Mabille? The gorg grey suit, with stocking detail skinnies – in a traditional men’s suiting fabric.
All photos courtesy of Alexis Mabille.
While all the flowy, a-line, drapy numbers are a must in our collective closets, sometimes a girl needs to show her waistline. And by that, I don’t mean baring your midriff à la Britney. I’ve been belt obsessed for the past year at least (still thinking about the Phillip Lim one btw).
There is nothing like a great belt to draw attention to your curves – in all the right places.
A loose white shirt goes ultra feminine with a nip at the waist, topped with a butterfly.
And Jean Paul Gaultier slings a suede number across a hip, for his Southwest collection for Hermès.
Karl Lagerfeld created a fantastic fetish-y one to complement his crazy hi-cuffs (still dreaming of those, too).
Yohji Yamamoto keeps it simple with a white double belt over all black with white sneaks. Japanese designers can make even the simplest elements (like white sneakers) looks new.
Of course, there is no such thing as simple at McQueen. This elaborate leather filigree corset is intricate enough on its own, but McQueen layers it over bias cut printed silk for that gasp effect!
Ports 1961 goes for the art factor with this sculptural copper adornment.
And while these may technically be from the Spring Summer 09 collections, we don’t live by seasonal clothes in this space. They are great inspirations for Fall, too.
Waist not, want not.
But who wouldn’t want these…
Photos from Style.com.
These are the 9 West sandals I bought for work a couple of summers ago. Remember when 9 West was made in Spain or Brazil and the quality was better? These are comfortable enough to wear all day…and can even stand in for a post-work outing.
I am looking for bows to put on the back of them as we speak. B, don’t faint. Mabille has done for bows what Viktor & Rolf did for hearts. And yes, I like bows. Sort of.
I remember eons ago, my friend Sarah told me about her head over heels love for t-straps. Back then, I didn’t appreciate them at all. But through Sarah’s eyes, I, too got attached to them and have acquired a few since that vintage shopping trip.
While I’m at it…my love of the dress + pants combination can be credited to Sarah also. It’s one of my fave things to wear. But she did it YEARS before anyone else.
Before it was anywhere in the mags, before the designers, there was Sarah. We met because I frequented a shop in Kensington Market that she ran. It was fashion fate…and since then, we are never far from one another, regardless of oceans, land masses, telephone lines or fashion trends.
“…Warm my heart. Stay with me. Let lovin’ start, let lovin’ start…”
Tom Bailey may have been singing about holding on to someone you love, but as long as there is love involved, does it matter what you clutch?
These are not your mother’s evening gowns.
The structures are certainly there, but they are always softened. This sexy pencil skirt is paired with a knotted black and white shirt and girly yellow sandals.
Mabille’s nod to the ’80s is subtle. I used to have a glenplaid jacket that I wore to death, but these pieces are not harsh, as they would have been then. He mixes the glenplaid with houndstooth – both very ’80s patterns – but it’s done in a new way, here. The lapels on the jacket are slimmer, rounder and shoulders not as pronounced. The pinned peacock feather butterfly is the perfect touch.
The ’80s also show up in his skinny ties for women. They were seen with tuxedo skinny pants and a-line skirts.
The satiny suit is toughened up with a metal belt. There’s always an element of the unexpected, in sweet, quirky accessories.
The skill behind these clothes is apparent. Mabille is no fly by night talent. A night out, in fact, is where his clothes may shine best.
All photos from http://www.alexismabille.com/.