Resort 2014: Alice + Olivia

I just want to start by saying I think Stacey Bendet (founder and creative-mind behind Alice + Olivia) is adorable. In fact, I think I’ll do an entire post dedicated to her. So I’ll leave my, “What a badass, girly girl!” thoughts until later.

This line was full of trendy basics and there was one really one piece that made me crinkle my nose. But we’ll get to that.

Basics

Like I said, trendy basics. The trendiness increases as we go along, but the first outfit is a great example: a very neutral, navy blue outfit. The cut of the top is very modern (and also very 80s-esque, but that’s why we love it) but pretty much anyone could throw it on and make it work with anything.

The dress is also neutral, but the pattern is like a modern-day von Trapp children curtain outfit and the length is very “now.” I think there’s something psychologically that happens with an outfit like these: for people not yet comfortable with the real-world application of high fashion, this is safe while giving you a feeling of taking a risk. Perhaps that’s why I consider it a good neutral.

I love the strappy heels. Rock the red shoes, ladies.

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Bags

If we can call that dress a curtain dress, it’s fair to call this bag a carpet bag. And I love it. I’m totally on a big bag kick, and the runway gods are totally supporting me.

These shoe/bag pairings should be the covet of all womenkind.

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Porcelain Doll

These dresses are incredible because you could wear them for seasons to come. The first is my favorite and the second looks like a porcelain doll. Seriously though, more people need to embrace the monochromatic outfits.

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Here’s where it gets fun!

This outfit is good for me. One, it shows how to appropriately pair two sheer, flow-y pieces Most pairings are frumpy, but this one still leaves the model looking delicate and feminine. I couldn’t pull off the hat with it, but I could do my own variation with it.

Heels, ladies. We all need to be more comfortable wearing them. (Can you tell this is a good takeaway from this line?)

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Nose Crinkle

This fell flat for me, (Like, really flat.) but the second outfit I liked. How does that make any sense? First, personal style and second perspective. I really think it’s just the pairing. Let’s take a second look:

Outfit one from the waist up I love. Pair it with jeans, white cut-offs or even a mini skirt and it’d be great. Pair the pants with the white, lace top from above and it’d be adorable (hat included). But how it is? No thanks.

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Outfit number two I like better because there’s something about the funky pairing that fits my personal style better. Maybe it’s the skirt (I’m a sucker for blue), but I really think it’s the sweater. I have held onto the oversized, print sweater trend like it’s going out of style. (Hint, good style is always going out. Kind of like how man-kind is always dying. Yeah, no fear at going deep here.)

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Trendy

Here’s where the trendy hits hard. I, personally, could not get away with the red lips dress, but if I saw someone wearing it, especially to a Valentine’s party or bridal shower, I would be completely obsessed.

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Once again, here’s a fabulous lesson on turning basics into fashion-forwards. Take a second to really look at the crop top; see how the sleeves fit? I love it, and I’m not sure exactly why.

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Here’s my favorite outfit. Even if you aren’t comfortable with a bustier top and harlem pants, you can try a striped tank top and high-waisted dress pants.

And I’m going to start wearing more flowers in my hair. ¡Olé!

Alice_Oliva_resort-2014My take-aways: heels, hair flowers and eyelet tops.

What did you take away from this line?

Swimwear 2014 in Miami

I flipped through all the shows from Miami’s 2014 Swimwear shows and I was underwhelmed. There were only two shows I felt like were worth spotlighting, other than that, here are my favorite pieces.

Caitlin Kelly

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Agua di Lara

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aguaclara swimwear 2014Caitlin Kelly (again)

caitlin kelly swimwear 2014 1L*Space by Monica Wise

l*space by monica wise swimwear 2014I feel like high fashion swimwear is tough, because there’s a limitation on what you can do with the outfit, beyond a few unique cuts and the pattern. Am I wrong on that opinion?

Fall 2013 Couture: Jean Paul Gaultier

Two things came to mind the instant I saw the collection: First, my girlfriend, Kinsi, who could (and would) rock this collection. Second, the famous Elsa Schiaparelli leopard hat.

This line falls into two distinct categories for me. The first is wildly sensual and would be my go-to outfit for any event requiring seduction or power-through-feminine-darkness. The second half was, WTF?

Every outfit based in black I loved. I also think the animal print tights are incredible and I want every single pair.

jean-paul-gaultier-c13-black1 jean-paul-gaultier-c13-black2 I’m pretty sure this was my favorite outfit, though the one above is killer.

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Sadly, the start was my favorite by far. The show then moved into some fun, but less awe-inspiring pieces, lots of leather.

These man repeller pants are great. And this top is the only “puffy” piece from the group that I liked.

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It took me a while to pick up on the animal print that was painted onto the models’ hair. I’d never see something like that before and I thought it was clever nod to the animal stockings.

jean-paul-gaultier-c13-blueThen came the “What the fffff” moment for me.

jean-paul-gaultier-c13-wtfI am all about taking fashion a step beyond in a runway show, but this completely lost me. The headpiece was distracting from the outfit (which I hated, due to the headpiece, but once I got over the initial shock I realized that I do like) incongruent with the rest of the show and just weird. I don’t get where this was supposed to be going and I think it was a major flop.

I recommend going back up and re-looking at the first outfits but to give you some more fun, here are two outfits that are almost fairy-tale worthy in their detailing. It’s winter-queen and elven maid*, in my mind.

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Thank heavens for those tights. They keep me happy.

*Buddy the Elf not Arwen.

My Husband v. High Fashion

Fact one: I am married.

Fact two: I love man repeller clothing. (Definition here.)

Fact three: My husband is very patient with my fashion choices.

Fact four: My fashion choices are incredibly muted, in gratitude to his patience.

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When the person you love, and work to make happy, watches in horror as you try on something fashionably up-there and asks if you really intend to wear it in public, how often do you shrug your shoulders and say “Too bad” and when do you say “Alright, I won’t get it.”?

It’s a balance my husband and I have been trying to find since we started dating. I have a quirky sense of style, and enough self confidence to wear the ultimate man repellers, but he hates it. I’m still working on maintaining that fine line of self-expression and selflessness.

Anyone have any suggestions?

High Fashion: Alexandre Vauthier Fall 2013 Couture

This show was a hit and miss for me. I loved some of the aspects while others left me flat, but I was pleasantly surprised by some unexpected details. This is one show that would have benefited from multiple pictures of each outfit: front, back, sans-jacket, details.

Some of my loves

I love the harem-cut pant (probably mostly because my body-type prevents me from wearing it) and this show pulled that gathered look into both pant and skirt and I loved it.

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I love fur, so points for starting out with some fur.

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These pants are perfection, mostly because I could actually wear this kind of harem-like pant but also because they are so chic. These could, and should, be worn everywhere. I want them.

I started to type that this collection was mostly achromatic, but that is a gross generalization that offends the delicacy of this collection’s color palette. (If that sounds dramatic, it’s because I know better than to discount the depth and variations provided by Blue, my favorite color.) Let me get to my point: The collection has a mellow hue, except for the soles of the shoes: Bright red. Love.

Remember how I said I wished each piece had more than one picture? The sheer backing, and bold geometric patterns at the hipline (my love of art deco continues) were covered by the jacket, which is how the image shows the model.

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Here again: I wasn’t expecting the back on this one and I love it. Especially the gold diagonal.

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Things I didn’t like

I don’t like the full-sheer here I think it loses its couture feel. If this were a swimming suit with cover-up, I’d love it, but it was a miss for me because it felt out of place in this line.

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I don’t like the ruching, I feel like it takes away from the form and makes the fabric look clingy. Also, I wasn’t a huge fan of the cups throughout the show, and these are a good example. Are they supposed to be asymmetrical? Probably not, but either way I’ll pass.

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So in summary, I think it was a good collection. Not my favorite, but definitely had some solid pieces (Seriously, can I have those pants?).

Full collection here.

High Fashion: Zuhair Murad Fall 2013 Couture

I absolutely loved this collection. I think it’s probably fair to say Zuhair Murad’s ability to produce high-end dresses is epic; he’s dressed some of the most well-known people for monumental events (Princess Ameera al-Taweel of Saudi Arabia wore his dress to the Royal Wedding and multiple women have worn his work to awards shows and talent competitions.)

He began and ended his show with two neutral gowns that were conservatively cut but strategically sheered and sparkled. They are gorgeous, and add a new dimension to sexual/sensual wear. I think more women, especially my fellow 20-somethings who are struggling with the transition from college-party-youth to professional-womanhood, can benefit from realizing skanky ≠ sexy.

zuhair-murad-f13-nudezuhair-murad-f13-nude-2The collection included a variation of the conservative-shaped gown that I found creative. He grounded the look with the fitted form, then added layers of opaque fabric that created an ethereal quality, creating something worthy of a fairytale but  very real-life, meaning I don’t have to be playing dress-up with my kid cousins to put it on.

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This branch-like design was throughout the collection. I think it’s edgy without taking away from the classiness of the pieces. I really liked it on the jumpsuit. It reminded me of the Balmain jumpsuit Miley Cyrus wore to the 2013 music awards: funky but just right.

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The reason the Balmain jumpsuit was a hit was thanks to its nod to art deco, which this Zuhair Murad collection also nailed. If I were a Jordan Baker or Daisy Buchanan, I would have multiple of these gowns. They’re full of pizazz and subtle designs which are intriguing to watch as a seemingly contradictory pair.

zuhair-murad-f13-deco Check out the back on this one. My mouth literally dropped open when I spotted it in the background of a different piece. I’m a sucker for open-backed dresses.zuhair-murad-f13-deco-back

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Lastly, the Fall 2013 Couture Zuhair Murad collection rounded out with some knee-length pieces. All were splendidly done. I’m sorry, I’m just obsessed with this line. I’ll leave it at that.

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As soon as he opens a shop in America (or next time I’m in France, fingers crossed) I’ll be there. Watch-out shop girls, I’m in love.

Check out the entire collection at Style.com.

Thanks to them for fueling this passion.

High Fashion: Hilary

I like flipping through images of fashion shows because I find I have definite opinions about the clothing, the story they tell and whether or not I think it was a success. This probably isn’t too uncommon, but I love it because I was raised in a not-high-fashion house. My parents are modern, but not couture by any means and I’ll admit I shied away from my interest in popular culture and fashion because of a taught feeling it was ridiculous.

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As I’ve gotten older I’ve realized how much my personality falls in line with the fashion world. I prefer shopping at thrift stores because they offer more variety; allowing me to mix and experiment and wear ridiculous clothes. Also, I can get more bang for my buck. It leaves me feeling unique, creative and guiltless.

This winter I won a competition with Diet Coke so they flew me to New York for their Red Dress Fashion show. While waiting in the airport to fly out I stopped to get a water and decided it was appropriate to buy a fashion magazine. I settled on Elle, then realized it was the first fashion magazine I had ever dared to buy. It’s actually a little sad; I’ve spent my entire life looking for inspiration and here were articles and images from driven, successful women who seemed to fall in line with some of my passions and interests. Why had I denied myself for so loassess my career path. Why had I denied myself for so long? 

No more. Whatever is inspirational, go for it, right?