Tuesday, June 17, 2008

A Slimane Dress

A while ago, I learned that an acquaintance of mine was getting married. My husband knew her fiancé well and told me that Hedi Slimane was creating her wedding dress.

Huh? How on earth did she pull that off?

Hedi Slimane has been rumored to be looking into designing a women’s line, but to my knowledge, he’s strictly men’s wear.

So I alternated between perplexed and perplexed, until my husband told me he was joking. He’d seen an open copy of W nearby and pounced upon the first designer’s name he saw, hoping that it would be significant enough to make an impact on my delicate style constitution.

Mission accomplished.

But I do wonder what a Hedi Slimane wedding dress would look like.

*Image from Morgane Le Fay, a Soho favorite of mine.

Monday, June 16, 2008

The Garish Embarish Post

One of my favorite New York Magazine sections is the approval matrix. Last week in the despicable/highbrow section was a photo of Carrie in the SATC film with a large Louis Vuitton gift box in her hands. In the background was a circled snippet of a Bluefly shopping bag, with this (from memory) comment: “Bluefly? Carrie would never.”

Point well taken, but I was surprised that nothing was said about the content of that LV gift box Carrie was about to give her assistant. For inside lay a truly garish handbag in various shades of orange and yellow patent and jacquard. Louise (the recipient of said gift) made the requisite fuss, but I wonder whether she wasn’t a tad disappointed.

I mean, if you’re going to buy someone an LV bag, at least buy her a beautiful one. (Linda Grant makes a similar point on her Thoughtful Dresser blog.)

But now it seems that I have experienced a garish comeuppance. For I have just received (in the mail, ordered by moi, not as a gift) an exquisitely garish pair of shoes.

First, please note that I do not like yellow gold for myself—I’m a white gold grrrl. These shoes, however, are cracked* yellow-gold four-ish-inch high-heeled spectators with a creamy patent perforated toe (and a little cream patent around the heel). The gold buckle has a large-ish gold crown on it and the shoes are made by that supremely garish label (and I shudder to type this) Juicy Couture.

I have not fallen under Juicy’s spell these many years as Gela and Pam have left their garish mark on yoga sets, dresses, bags, advertisements, etc, etc. In fact, I have said “Yuck,” and looked to something more funkily elegant.

But I like these garish shoes of mine and think that they will be strangely wearable as a neutral.

What do you think? Is there a time when you can wear garish without feeling embarish?

*And to think I was just ranting about cracked leather on K.Line’s blog. Umm--oops!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Into the Wild Green Yonder

It’s off I go tomorrow for summer work and travels.

I expect to be online Tuesday and Wednesday of next week, but after that I’ll be ensconced in a little beachy cottage on PEI for about ten days sans wi fi. I’ll be drafting posts in the sand about seashell chic . . .

I’ll be back squarely in the virtual world by July 1, just in time for Canada Day! A post on red-and-white dressing? Maple leafs as accessories? (I can't wait to eat a proper box of Smarties.)

Friday, June 13, 2008

Of Muttons, Lambs, and Wilderbeasts

Did you grow up reading Seventeen? (Of course you did.) My aunt gave me my first copy in 1975, when I was far from the target age; indeed, I had just turned ten!

Earlier this year I was feeling nostalgic (sorry, DV!) and tracked down a copy on eBay. It was pure muscle memory as I physically re-experienced all the ads and editorials—Bonne Belle, Farrah for Wella. Ship 'n Shore, intarsia sweaters, and my favorite: Long and Silky shampoo.

How I loved those Long and Silky pictures. Girls with hair down to their waists, always shining, always swinging, never looking scarily cult-y.

I remember when there was a contest to locate readers with the longest, silkiest hair. The winners were photographed going to see Hair in New York, and I wished I could have been there too.

But when, if ever, should those long-and-silky locks be shorn? I had a haircut this afternoon, and we snipped two inches off my length (still safely below shoulders, though). Right now, long and silky for me would code mutton-as-lamb, and that’s not my vibe.

However, what if one wants one’s hair to be mutton? Or lamb? Or how about lion or elk or wilderbeast--or Irish setter?

Well, then, feast your eyes on these hair hats made by Japanese artist/filmmaker Nagi Noda.

They were photographed by Kenneth Cappello and have an otherworldly quality to them. I’d like to see them against a different background than the white sheet, though.

I could see Galliano using these hats in one of his productions, or Sheila Metzner photographing them in a fog-enveloped forest.

The punster in me hopes there’s a hare hat in the mix, or perhaps plans for a hare shirt, at least.

Tory Burch in the NYT

Yesterday the NY Times’ Critical Shopper, Cintra Wilson, published a piece on Tory Burch’s boutique.

I must say, I’m not sure what the TRB fuss is all about. I find the medallion on the best-selling Reva flats to be too large (and often, too gold).

I did, however, order a shift dress earlier this spring to check it out, but found that the material was too thick (kind of scuba-like; heavy, stretchy cotton blend) and the dress was too large in the bodice.

I had ordered the dress in the first place because its print reminded me of a favorite piece of upholstery fabric. (Sometimes you get what you ask for.)

That heavy fabric also felt how those celebrated TRB tunics look to me: stiff and, well . . . stiff.

Wilson noted that TB’s clothes evoked a “type of relaxed hippie chic with all the hippies tweezed out.” Incisive comment, that.

I think that there’s also a lot of starch in the TRB line. If the designer ever loosens up, though, and lets in a couple of hippies, I’d give her clothes another whirl.

That said, I quite like the dress pictured above (sans the necklace medallion, bien sur).

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Is This A Word Yet?

Boot/sandals (boodals?) from Opening Ceremony.

Black embroidery on burlap, with open toe and heel.

Just the right mix: embellished eccentric.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Dreaming in Watercolor

I first saw this image on Miss White’s blog some time ago while I was waiting impatiently for my Vogue UK to be imported.

I love the watercolory pink-and-ceramic print, the snug belted waist, the chunky beads, the headdress, the socks, the shoes—it all looks just right. Of course it doesn’t hurt to have those strikingly wilted colors echoed in the surroundings—the open pink sack, the lavender sack the model’s sitting on, the jolt of pink running through her basket-weave.

I went straight to Marni’s online shop to locate this skirt and top and this is what I found:

I must say, I was underwhelmed. The shape of the dress is so boxy, with the sleeve cut at just what I’d call the universally least flattering length. (Top and skirt = sold out.)

(Sidenote: watch Tom Cruise in summer interviews. His peeps know exactly what cut of t-shirt sleeve to put on him and his bicep is usually flexed a la Rodin's "The Thinker" to show it off.)

There’s no showing off anything in this dress sleeve. I’d be rolling it up to stop my sartorial squirming from the unseemliness of it all.

I did find one wearable “top,” though, in my print of choice: this (very) low-backed tank:

There’s a minor issue of support, with such a plunging back, but if there weren’t, I could see this as wearable, with the right “this-old-thing” skirt, trouser, or even shorts.

So it’s back to the dreaming board, which is exactly where I feel like being right now.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The Birthday Blog Post

There are a couple of things this birthday girl would like for her 43rd.

How about a genial high/low mix?

Here’s the “high” (in more ways than one):

Here’s the "low" (from Anthropologie):

I like how this ensemble references a postmodern Hitchcock heroine; think of Kim Novak in that iconic gray suit. Indeed, I get Vertigo just from looking at the heels on these Manolos . . .

But although I’d like those things to materialize, I simply LOVE what did arrive on my birthday plate from my two daughters.

A detail from a birthday pig, made by my just-turned six-year-old lassie:

And the shocker—this hand-made embroidery that’s applied to some Anna Maria Horner Bohemian fabric, made by my almost-nine-year-old darling:

The most stylish birthday ever.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Brides and Genteel De-Cake

I’m not a fan of wedding clothes, or, well, elaborate weddings, as I’ve written here in the past.

(I got married quietly in a fitted black Willi Smith tuxedo jacket worn as a dress.) There was never any paging through bridal magazines, no imaginings of a white, frothy day.

Truth be told, wedding visuals are a tad too “perfect” for me, because I like a genteel-y decaying edge.

Perhaps I’m a postmodern Miss Havisham, but I’m drawn to tattered lace, peeling white paint on romantic shutters, and three-day-old cake, preferably with the frosting flowers starting to melt down the sides.

But don’t say “shabby chic,” because that’s too commercial; indeed, too designed.

Genteel decay is, to my mind, the savvier cousin to genteel poverty: there’s no implication of a ruptured cash flow, there’s instead the sense of preservation—of lovingly wearing or using something time and again. (And only the gâteau has an expiration date.)

So when I saw "Ryman's Brides" by Marlene Dumas, a South African painter, in W magazine, I was intrigued, then smitten. I like its moody lack of clarity, its haunting bridal features, and its splotchy icing-sugar dresses.

Anyone for day-after cake?

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Other Photos, Other Parfums

It’s no longer enough to have the wit and wisdom to write a book; one must also look gorgeous when the book is published.

One of my book store adventures is to check out the author’s photo on the new releases to see what manner of serious styling has occurred. In recent years, Marion Ettlinger has been the photographer of choice, because she, with natural light, creates a winning combination of sexy and smart.

But long before Ettlinger’s black-and-white portraits arrived on the scene, one authorial photo caused a revolution.

Truman Capote’s early novel Other Voices, Other Rooms (1948), published years before Breakfast at Tiffany's (1958) and his literary journalism In Cold Blood (1965), depicted perhaps the first openly seductive book-jacket author’s photo.

The photo of a young, boyish Capote, lying on a couch with his hand strategically placed, his eyes both inviting and yearning, shocked the literary set. It was taken by Harold Halma in 1947 and Capote always insisted that the photo captured him unaware, though others believe that he deliberately posed.

That same year he posed for Penn, bundled up in a long tweed coat (image above).

And now, I think that those photos are influencing fashion. While paging through W magazine, I was struck by the most recent campaign for Prada’s men’s parfum. The photo strikes me as an homage to the two Capote images, with its use of a tweedy, open jacket, the boyish model, his pose, and the look in his eyes.

It’s appropriate, n’est pas? Capote wrote Tiffany into his novella; why shouldn’t Prada evoke an author to sell fragrance?

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Summer Drinks

On steamy days like these, a refreshing summer drink is in order.

I like Lillet on ice with a citrus twist; it goes well with the French Open.

Next up: Pimm’s for Wimbledon. (I don’t even really watch tennis; I just follow the drinks.)

Ports of Call

I’m preparing for a conference in Canada, and so my mind has been drifting back to my northern home daily, remembering things I didn’t know I’d forgotten.

Lately I’ve been thinking about a fashion house that has special meaning for me. My stylish grandmother, who, as I’ve noted here before, would plan two shopping events a year in Montreal, (a significant journey from her Prince Edward Island home). She’d go to Ogilvy, and select her seasonal wardrobe.

More often than not, a significant part of that wardrobe was comprised of Ports International (now renamed Ports 1961). She’d buy some shirtdresses—always well tailored, in pretty colors, some handsome silk or cotton blouses, some smart jersey knits, and pencil cut tweed, wool, or cotton skirts. She’d never select a print, preferring to accent with scarves.

My generation missed out on the Ports experience, because by the time I could afford it (late teenager/early twenty-something) it coded too old for me.

But now vintage Ports is undeniably cool (check out K.Line, for instance) and I’m dying to get my hands on some new Ports 1961, which has had, in the previous seasons, some gorgeously ethereal dresses and mod coats that wouldn’t be out of place in London in the sixties. Fun fact: the Canadian Dsquared brothers used to design for Ports (so I’m told). Its current designer is Tia Cibani, who was born in North Africa and raised in Vancouver.

I hope to check out this line during the summer. It's not my gram's Ports any more.

Friday, June 6, 2008

A (Postal) Post for Miss Post

Here’s a closely guarded secret: during my grade 12 year in boarding school I won the dining room etiquette award. We had a formal dinner each evening, and were encouraged to follow the style of our veddy British headmaster: our forks were always in our left hand.

Anyway, this scandalous bit of info prefaces the fact that my manners have slipped with the advent of technology. I’m prompt with hand-written thank-you notes, but have been slow to post a proper list of blog links. Emily Post would be appalled.

So I’d like to “unveil” my new list of links—all style/fashion blogs I read regularly. If I haven’t included anyone, let me know; I’ll also do my best to update as I discover new-to-me savvy blogs.

So anyway,

Last night I went to see SATC with my stylish photographer girlfriend. The theatre had stadium seating and had a dizzying effect on me every time the camera panned vertically.

The fashion was dizzying too (in a good way).

Here are some of my favorites:

I really liked that Carrie wore her black studded belt with at least three looks during the film—from a dress to a black puffer coat.

In fact, I really liked the whole black puffer coat ensemble—fedora included—in the drugstore scene. Guess it’s because I’m a winter girl at heart (when I’m not a beach girl, that is).

Loved ALL the chunky, tough, high-heeled Glads.

Loved Carrie’s cream dress and textured short jacket in her “closet” reunion.

And here’s a query for New York readers: At one point, Carrie and Miranda are eating Prêt a Manger sandwiches in the park. To me, “Prêt” says “London,” where it is ubiquitous. I remember a New Yorker article from a number of years back talking about how Prêt hoped to make strides in New York, so I wonder whether it has succeeded.

Does Prêt now also say “New York” or is this product placement at its best?

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Poppies in Springtime

No cultural criticism, no commentary on trends, just a photo of springtime poppies against the brick.

The salmon poppies are my favorites.

Manish Arora at Anthropologie

I’ve written here before that I’m smitten with Manish Arora’s spring/summer 2007 collection. I love his unrestrained use of color and texture, how he takes traditional fabrics and creates an exuberant textile landscape.

So I was delighted when I saw that Anthropologie (large photo) is carrying a dress from his Fish Fry line. (If you click on the Fish Fry link, go through the entire summer 2007 collection until you reach the photo of Arora. I simply love the tunic he’s wearing—some of the most calming, beautiful colors . . . .)

Like most of Arora’s clothing, it calls out for a special occasion. A garden party among the flowers? Worn with strong strappy Manolos?

I don’t know that I’d buy it, but I like how this dress sparks my imagination.

Monday, June 2, 2008

It's Tyra's Idea

Did you read the profile of Tyra Banks in Sunday’s NYT magazine?

At one point, Tyra asked an America's Next Top Model candidate (who was an English/American literature major) to pose like her favorite literary heroine. The model faltered, but I think the idea’s a good one.

So: in terms of modeling and fashion, what literary heroine (without geographical boundaries) would you pose as? How would you present yourself (standing, sitting, throwing yourself under a train [Hi, Anna K!])? And most importantly, what would you wear?

How about a postmodern version of Isabel Archer wearing Vivienne Westwood on the London Eye with a collection of Osmond’s bibelots beside her?

**From Henry James, The Portrait of a Lady

**Illustration by Gladys Perint Palmer, Executive Director of Fashion at Academy of Art University, San Francisco

Au Revoir, Monsieur Saint Laurent

We will miss your style and graceful eye.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Pazzi? Or Pass?

I’ve been considering this Christiane Celle Pazzi dress for almost a year now (I’m usually pretty contemplative when the garment is a mainstay of a designer's line).

Although the length looks mini on this tall mannequin, it’s really just above the knee, which makes the dress more versatile.

This also isn’t necessarily the color I’d purchase (there’s a virtual rainbow of beautiful shades available).

Does anyone have this dress? Have a friend with this dress? I’d love to read your review.