Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Oscar Night: All dolled up in Toledo, Ohio

On Oscar night I attended a party hosted by the Norman and Louise Jones Foundation with my boyfriend and his parents.  As an admirer of movies, Hollywood and all things glamorous, I'm surprised to admit that this was my first Oscar Party.  I imagine myself as a hostess of an annual get together but I always find myself on the couch in my PJs.  One day...

But THIS year, I got all dolled up, thanks to Estée Lauder, and celebrated the night with champagne and hors d’ oeuvres.  Of the makeup that came in the massive Estée Lauder kit I received from the Camera-Ready Style contest presented by Vanity Fair I used the Double Wear Light Stay-in-Place Makeup foundation in 1 for above my cheekbone and 4 for below.  The lighter shade highlighted my cheekbones and evened out my skin, while the darker shade contoured my cheeks.  This tip, among others, was shared by Estée Lauder's Premier Makeup Artist Blair Patterson during our time together for the Vanity Fair photo shoot.  Then I used Ideal Light Brush-on Illuminator to further disguise under-eye circles.  On my lips I brushed Pure Color lipstick in "Enticing Fuschia," which I topped with Pure Color Shimmer gloss in "Garnet Desire."

Here we are on the red carpet.  Forgive me for the poor pictures.  My camera is taking a hiatus.

[caption id="attachment_745" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Betty, Carlton, myself & Jim"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_741" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Carlton & I"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_743" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Dress, Forever 21; shoes Gianni Binni; necklace & bracelet, vintage"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_746" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Clutch, MAC makeup case; bracelet & rings, vintage"][/caption]

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The 2012 Oscars: White is still the new black... And that leg!

It's that time of year again... Let's just cut right to it.  Below are the nominations for my "Best Dressed" and "Pretty Good" list.

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Emma Stone, in Giambattista Valli Haute Couture with a Louis Vuitton clutch and jewels.  Love the neck, love the color, love her, love to see what she wears next.  She made me laugh as a presenter with her cheeky yet charming personality...  "We should have some banter. Where you act cocky and I shut you down and you say I look pretty and I say ‘no chance funny boy’!” My only complaint is that it looks a little big.

[caption id="attachment_712" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Photo courtesy of Jason Merritt/Getty"][/caption]

Sandra Bullock, in Marchesa.  The white top and black bottom theme from previous award shows continues on Sandra.  The embellished waist and shoulders is another notable trend on the red carpet.  The black and white combination is sophisticated, the shape and low draped back is sexy and the embellishments are chic.  But I may be a little biased.

[caption id="attachment_692" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Photo courtesy of Jason Merritt/Getty"][/caption]

Glenn Close, in Zac Posen with Bulgari jewels.  This evergreen color is so intriguing and it looks beautiful on the blonde Close.  I adore the structured corset and tuxedo jacket.  But most of all, I like how she exudes assurance.

[caption id="attachment_685" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Photo courtesy of Gregg DeGuire/WireImage"][/caption]

And here's Angelina Jolie's right leg.  Oh, and Miss Jolie herself, in Atelier Versace with Salvatore Ferragamo shoes.  I'm feeling the high slit but her permanent stance did seem a little odd.  Her highlighted, loose curls beautifully contrast the black velvet, structured gown.  I have a thing for black velvet because the rich shade is at its darkest in velvet.  She looks gorgeous, as always.  I'd love to know the name of that lip color.  However, I will agree with a fellow Oscar party guest, "She needs to eat a bowl of rice and beans!"

[caption id="attachment_716" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Photo courtesy of Kevin Mazur/WireImage"][/caption]

Tina Fey, in Carolina Herrera with Bulgari jewels and a Roger Vivier clutch.  While Fey's navy dress is not exceptional, I think she looks fabulous.  I adore the trendy peplum, color and perfect fit.  Her hair is swept off her face in a chic bouffant bun and her face is gorgeous.  Her glowing confidence doesn't hurt either.

[caption id="attachment_707" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Photo courtesy of Kevin Mazur/WireImage"][/caption]

Michelle Williams continues to look sweet and adoring in Louis Vuitton with Forevermark jewels and a Bottega Veneta clutch.  I look forward to seeing her in something a little more daring. She further establishes the peplum trend, which I expect to be in high demand this spring.  To easily incorporate it into your wardrobe, choose a top with peplum and pair it with skinny jeans or a pencil skirt.

[caption id="attachment_711" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Photo courtesy of Getty"][/caption]

I'm supposed to like this look.  It's Givenchy Haute Couture on Rooney Mara.  It has topped the majority of the 'Best Dressed' lists.  But I can't help but think of my grandmother's vintage bras when I look at the bust detail.  She must be chicer than I.

[caption id="attachment_708" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Photo courtesy of Kevin Mazur/WireImage"][/caption]

Milla Jovovich continues the white is the new black trend, which is a welcome change of pace on the red carpet.  Add a little train, loads of shimmer and one sleeve and we get this stunning Elie Saab gown.  This is one of my favorites.

[caption id="attachment_714" align="aligncenter" width="400" caption="Photo courtesy of Getty"][/caption]

More white: Sofia Vergara, in Roberto Cavalli with Casadei heels, Judith Leiber bag and Lorraine Schwartz jewelry.  Do I really need to comment?  Miss Vergara seems to do no wrong.

[caption id="attachment_709" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Photo courtesy of Steve Granitz/WireImage"][/caption]

Octavia Spencer, in Tadashi Shoji with Lorraine Schwartz jewels, a Leiber clutch and only one pair of Spanx.  This is one of her best looks yet.

[caption id="attachment_693" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Photo courtesy of Kevin Mazur/WireImage"][/caption]

Gwyneth Paltrow, in Tom Ford.  She manages to make a long cape look chic and effortless.  Without the cape the dress is a little boring but then there's no distraction from her beauty.

[caption id="attachment_695" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Photo courtesy of Gregg DeGuire/WireImage"][/caption]

Jennifer Lopez looks oh so glam in a silver Zuhair Murad gown with a 70s vibe.

[caption id="attachment_703" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Photo courtesy of Kevork Djansezian/Getty"][/caption]

From white and silver to pastels, pale shades have stepped onto the main stage.  This is Louise Roe, in a blush Black Halo gown.  Some of you may be thinking, who is this girl?  Well, I'm not sure.  In my brief research to find her dress' label I saw varying claims, including actress (StyleBistro), ABC Oscar correspondent (Socialite Life) and Glamour magazine's new fashion editor (Yahoo!).  One thing's for sure, I adore this tailored gown with jacket-like top, structured layers and embellished belt.

[caption id="attachment_699" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Photo courtesy of Kevin Mazur/WireImage"][/caption]

Kate Mara, in Jack Guisso Couture.  The way she is standing - shoulders slightly slumped, chin down and a little smirk - reminds me of her creepy character, Hayden, in American Horror Story!  But looking past the vengeful ghost, this is such a pretty blush dress with floral appliques and lines of shimmer.

[caption id="attachment_705" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Photo courtesy of Jason Merritt/Getty"][/caption]

Continuing the pastel parade, Melissa McCarthy, in Marina Rinaldi.  While, I think Marina Rinaldi, the women's division of Max Mara, was a better choice, I wish she chose a more vibrant color and wasn't afraid to reveal more.

[caption id="attachment_731" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Photo courtesy of Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic"][/caption]

Meryl Streep, in Lanvin with a Lanvin clutch and Salvatore Ferragamo shoes.  Gold is big right now and I love this gold fabric!  It's fun and glamorous, without being too over the top.  The shape is sexy, yet sophisticated.

[caption id="attachment_696" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Photo courtesy of Jason Merritt/Getty"][/caption]

More gold: Jessica Chastain, in Alexander McQueen with Harry Winston jewels.

[caption id="attachment_710" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Photo courtesy of Getty"][/caption]

Olivia Wilde paired her Gucci with gold.  This simple look is oh so sexy with smoky eyes and hair in a bun.

[caption id="attachment_701" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Photo courtesy of Jeff Vespa/WireImage"][/caption]

Do me a favor.  Put your hand over Kelly Osbourne's face.  Isn't that an awesome Badgley Mischka dress?!  Her figure looks fantastic.  The sheer cutouts are super trendy and the emerald embellishments are so pretty.  I think Kelly is beautiful and so funny.  But I wish she would change her hair color!  Or take a cue from Katy Perry and at least color coordinate.

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Jon Hamm and Jennifer Westfeldt, in a custom made Imperial Violet silk velvet Johanna Johnson gown with.  Again, the color of this dress is so rich because of the velvet material.  I do wish she had pulled her hair up.

[caption id="attachment_700" align="aligncenter" width="466" caption="Photo courtesy of Billy Farrell/"][/caption]

Kathy Freston, in an unknown dress.  While this is a more casual style for the Vanity Fair Oscar party, I adore this color.  She must be ready for spring and so am I!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Carlos Luna Fall 2012: Simple and sexy meet the unexpected

Clean lines, unique shapes and flowing chiffon comprised Carlos Luna’s fall 2012 collection, presented at Nolcha Fashion Week in New York.  The Columbian born designer, who is an alumnus of Michael Kors and Donna Karan New York, just graduated from Parsons School of Design last year.  He said his third collection was “inspired by the Argentinian tango and really reflects the romance, sensuality and sophistication that the tango brought to Latin America.”

With this collection, entitled “Argot,” it seemed Luna seeked to expose the secret language of the tango. Its femininity was toughened by fur, zippers and leather belts.  Luna also explored unexpected turtlenecks and cutouts.

There were a handful of pieces that stood out and a few that I would really like to own.  As a fan of the combination of black and white I liked the simple white top with black trim.  It’s sophisticated, yet sexy.  The black trim provides enough detail so that minimum accessories are needed, making it easy to wear to the office.  If your office is in the fashion industry (or other creative work) or you’d like to wear it to dinner with friends, kick up the drama a notch with long dangling earrings or a black statement necklace.  Another notable B&W combo is a dress that reminds me of a Stella McCartney creation with its curving diagonal line and cutout shoulder.  The crew neck and skinny leather belt gives it a sporty feel.  I would shorten it and pair it with black strappy platforms for a sexy night on the town.

The jacket of black leather and grey wool also intrigued me.  Luna took the shape of a motorcycle jacket, kept some leather and zippers but softened it, making it sort of preppy cool.  What it has to do with the tango, I do not know, but I like this fresh take on a beloved item.

Another remarkable item is a short red dress with flowing skirt featuring leather harness-like detail.  The bondage accessory has gained popularity in recent years by appearing on stars like Sienna Miller, Rihanna, Katy Perry, Beyonce and Miley Cyrus.  This sexual statement piece looks rather demure on such a pretty dress.  The black straps and shoulder pads add just enough spice that I’d like to try it.  Another harness that I want to attempt is the corset belt from Fleet Ilya.

My favorite pieces are two striking gowns; one red, the other black and white.   The beautiful color of the red dress, high slit, unique turtleneck with side cutout and skinny belt made my heart beat quicken.  As did the final number.  I can imagine this sparkly black and white number with a deep v-cutout and turtleneck on the red carpet.  Seems like something in which Nicole Kidman would look spectacular.

With “Argot,” Carlos Luna reimagined separates and dresses with a minimalist approach, dramatic details and adventurous shapes.  Although there were a couple misses (teal long fur sleeves? no thank you), I look forward to see what he refashions next, especially in his gowns.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

My first big show at New York Fashion Week: Derek Lam's fall 2012 collection

As part of the Camera-Ready Style Contest presented by Estée Lauder and Vanity Fair, I won two tickets to a New York fashion week show.  This is my experience attending the Derek Lam fall 2012 show.  If you’re just interested in the clothes, then la ti da, skip the witty details and run along to “The collection.”

The preparation

I found out in mid-January that I would be attending the Derek Lam show.  For more information about his style visit this previous post here.  I had no idea what to wear to this extraordinary and extraordinarily fashionable event.  I scavenged my closet, combed street style and personal style blogs, went shopping, searched on Pinterest, shopped some more, Googled, shopped again…  I was freaking out about what to wear.  One of the tips I stumbled upon when preparing for fashion week is to step it up several notches.  Ask yourself, “Would Scott Schuman of The Sartorialist take your picture?”  Ugh too much pressure!  Eventually I got my nerves under control and remembered how casual the people appeared outside of the shows in so many street style blogs.  I packed multiple options because I usually dress depending on how I feel and who knows how I would feel that day.  (I’ve noticed that I’ll often wear the same color for days in row because that’s the hue that matches my current mood.  Hey, I’m a Cancer, ruled by the moon, my moods are always changing!)  Anywho, the day of the show I was feeling the contrast of pretty white lace paired with harder black.  Lately, I’m drawn to girly pieces paired with edgier ones.

I chose a lace dress that I just got at… dare I tell you?  I was shocked to find such an adorable dress at Wet Seal for $15.  I paired it with a black blazer I acquired at a consignment shop in Chicago.  Then I added a black skinny belt, my favorite black booties and my new gold earrings from TopShop.  It wasn’t perfect.  It wasn’t overly dramatic.  But it was flattering, chic and me, at the moment.

The scene

Of course my mother came with me to the fashion show as she was my partner in fashion for the entire trip.  The black sedan was waiting for us when I rushed down the escalator at 11 a.m. on Sunday, February 12.  Thank you to Ben from Vanity Fair for arranging the car and coordinating the whole fabulous trip.  He was such a pleasure.  Later I heard he was a valuable asset to Condé Nast and wise beyond his years.  Someone I’ve recorded to pick his brain if I ever decide to move to the city.

We arrived at St. John's Center on this particularly bitter and blustery day.  The event and studio space seemed to be off the beaten path as it faces the Hudson River.  But later we discovered we were in the West Village, just north of Soho, where we had wandered the day before.  The space was a large open room with benches on both sides and rectangular structures, some with mirrors, flanking a long straight path I assumed was the runway.  It was not elevated but on the same level as the first row of benches.  Our seats were at the very beginning of the runway, which began with a ramp.  I debated on sharing this, but I'm sure you'll see the humor in it... The first "model" to grace the runway was a rat!  He scampered down the ramp and under the benches to my left, soliciting squeals and raised feet from the guests.  Mom and I thought it was hilarious.  Welcome to New York!

The people

We sat next to a lady from Denmark who is in the fur business.  She travels to every major fashion week in the world each season.  She was sweet and I imagine just overflowing with interesting information only available to insiders.  As we were waiting for the show to begin, she pointed out John Wilder, a very important decision maker in the world of fashion buying, sitting two rows ahead of us.  We also spotted Anna Wintour walking up the runway, probably to greet Derek Lam backstage.  It’s hard to miss the trademark bob and large sunglasses of the iconic editor in chief of Vogue.

Also in attendance were Rachel Zoe, Miroslava Duma, Sofia Sanchez and Garance Doré.  Zoe is a celebrity stylist who has her own reality TV show called The Rachel Zoe Project, published a style book called style A to Zoe: The art of Fashion, Beauty and Everything Glamour and recently debuted her own line of apparel, shoes and handbags.  She is credited for creating the boho chic look with friend, Nicole Richie.  Duma is a former editor of Harper’s Bazaar Russia and currently a freelance writer.  She’s internationally renowned for her fashion sense and a fixture at fashion weeks all over the world.  Sanchez is a model turned art director turned entrepreneur known for her unique style influenced by her homeland of Argentina.  Doré publishes a blog of photos of street style fashion and other musings.  She is also the girlfriend of The Sartorialist's Scott Schuman.  I can only imagine how beautiful their family photo album will be...

The show was delayed reportedly because Susy Menkes, the respected International Herald Tribune fashion writer, was running late.  After she arrived the show began with violin music, followed by a thumping bass line and an unfamiliar melody.

Anna Wintour walking to the backstage
Anna Wintour - Photo courtesy of Getty
Rachel Zoe - Photo courtesy of Getty
Miroslava Duma - Photo courtesy of Getty
Sofia Sanchez - Photo courtesy of Getty

The collection

Placed at every seat was a bookmark that read “The Library,” suggesting the theme for Derek Lam’s fall 2012 collection.  The first look was a grey doubleface wool pullover, black lambskin skirt with Persian floral embroidery and grey leather ankle boots with a black tip and gold stripe.  Later I learned that the pretty floral print was inspired by the frontispiece of an old book Lam discovered.  But as puts it “you’d hardly call his Fall girl bookish.”

This hip collegian channeled the sixties with a bouffant hairstyle and smoky cat eye makeup.  Tom Pecheux of Estée Lauder created the look to emphasize heavy lashes with Sumptuous Two Tone Eye-Opening Mascara in Bold Black/Rich Brown.  Read more about backstage here.  The mod decade appeared in full skirts, oxford shoes and blouses, my favorite being the silk georgette necktie blouse.  The pretty yet sporty style also included floral silk outerwear, paisley jacquard layered over floral embroidered collared shirts, trousers and cozy sweaters.

To give a little modern edge, Lam kicked it up a notch with gold, leather and sequins, in particular gold shoes, a black lambskin pencil skirt, wine lambskin pants and sequined tweed that glittered shyly under the lights.  Here, I’d like to note that the leather turtlenecks peeking from tops and dresses were laser cut with delicate patterns and scalloped edges.  This beautiful detail was easily missed from my seat and I didn’t want you to miss it as well.  As for the accessories I fancied the silver ID necklaces, the “Alfie” platform pumps with an ankle strap and the white nubuck “Emmett” oxford.  I actually just picked up a clunky silver ID bracelet from an antique shop in Florida and I’ve been wearing it faithfully since I saw this show.

It has to be improper to not mention the outerwear when reviewing a Derek Lam show as it’s one of the things he does so well and he offers so many choices.  There were ladylike ivory satin floral coats.  I can imagine wearing the shorter jacket with skinny jeans and great pumps on a Saturday night.  There were also a white wool drill peacoat, black and white tweed jacquard coat and fur stoles that stood out in luxury.

Toward the end of the show were three long skirts of silk georgette that were light, flowy and oh so feminine.  The last two were unexpectedly paired with chunky handknit nylon tulle sweaters.  They created a lovely and cozy end to a comforting collection.

Noteworthy trends from Lam’s collection that are sure to be rampant this fall are leather: wine or black pants, pencil skirts, dresses and trim; fur; T-strap heels from the twenties; chunky sweaters; flowing long skirts; shades of white and ivory and menswear in coats and trousers.

As I analyzed the pieces of Lam’s collection, noticed the details and textures, I liked it more and more.  Most everyone is drawn to red carpet gowns and out on the town ensembles.  But now I have a deeper appreciation for Lam’s ability to interpret his current inspiration (a book and a coed from the sixties) into covetable pieces of luxurious fabrics and spectacular tailoring.

Photos courtesy of myself, Monica Feudi/ and Gianni Pucci/