Friday, February 27, 2009

Bottega Veneta: She's In the Bag!

Mr. C. has a leather duffel bag that he bought at Liberty of London a few years ago. I’ve coveted it daily—it’s a rich caramel in color, buttery soft yet sturdy.

But would I want to wear it?

With this new look above, it seems that Bottega Veneta is giving women the chance to wear a rich caramel bag.

While I’m more than happy to carry a bag in that color (and wear v. carry is an important distinction for me), I don’t find the color so flattering as a dress (I’d need to see it in person, naturally, before reaching a final verdict). And the leather just might be a bit too pouf-y. But again, an up-close inspection is necessary.

Still, the style, which is a bit space age (can’t you imagine some jet packs tucked in the back, a la the Jetsons?) appeals. Perhaps in a different color/fabric?

I like this yellow version, though (again a caveat!) the yellow is veering dangerously close to those 1970s rust/avocado/yellow kitchens. You know, the jolie laide look that Prada pioneered years ago, worn by Carolyn Murphy in her short blonde crop. (There was nothing laide about Carolyn though.)

But truly, the bulk in back (a space-age bustle?), which originally concerned me, is tamed by the belt, and does not obscure a woman’s waist.

I’ll be interested to see photos of other women wearing these dresses . . .

Thursday, February 26, 2009

To Market, To Market . . .

The images and stories from President Obama’s recent trip to Ottawa brought back many fond memories. When I was a speechwriter at an embassy there (for six months while waiting for my graduate school to begin) I used to have lunch on the lawn at Parliament Hill and the Byward Market was a usual destination for its cafes and boutiques.
The president visited the Market building, which houses numerous artisans’ creations: pottery, hand-stitched shoes, maple sugar candy, and, yes, beaver tails (in a little log cabin canteen at one end). I’d often stop for a beaver tail after skating the length of the Rideau Canal.

The Market in its larger sense (like, say, the Village) had a boho mix of European domestic goods (gorgeous laces for windows at Domus; fab pots and pans looong before Williams Sonoma became a major clearinghouse); cafes (Deluxe had bistro food above, a cool dance club below); record shops (great 12-inch British imports from New Order, for instance); and fashion (I once bought a silk-feather double-v-neck evening pullover that was, despite this description, quite chic; I also found my Canadian version of Alaia at the Market).

A favorite café was Clair de lune, where I had my farewell lunch with two girlfriends, as I prepared to leave for the United States. I don’t recall the main course, but I do remember the profiteroles for dessert.

After dancing till midnight or so below Deluxe, we’d trot over the bridge to Hull, Quebec, where the dance clubs stayed open till 3:00 a.m. And for breakfast, it was back to the Market where we’d find a bistro with long tables that served café au lait dans un bowl. Or if we were feeling elegant, brunch at the glass rotunda restaurant at the National Gallery overlooking the cliffs and river behind Parliament.

Then to prepare for the next evening, I’d take a 15-mile-or-so run on the canal, through the Glebe, through the experimental farm, through Carleton University, and down the other side of the canal to the trail on the river nestled in the side of those cliffs.

Dance. Eat. Run. Repeat.

That would be the title of my Ottawa memoir. And oh—there was an undergraduate degree in there somewhere, among the grooves of the Pet Shop Boys and Baltimora.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Michelle Obama's Alaia Belt

I have Alaia on the brain this weekend. These shoes remind me of the supes stalking about in the late 80s.

And this dress reminds me of those great little ballerinas Alaia turned out (I had a Canadian knockoff in goldenrod that was perfect for an Alaia lover on an undergrad budget):

And of course j'adore this belt:

As you know, Michelle Obama wears a fab Alaia belt that’s a narrower version of the one above:

So may I suggest a new viral video:
“Just want to wear O-baa-maaaa’s bellllt . . .”
And Celine Dion is *not* allowed to do a cover.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Prom Queenz

Is the High School Musical influence spilling over to grown-up style?

I’ve been noticing a trend that I’m calling the Prom Queen dress—full taffeta and/or net skirt, slender bodice. Preferably one-shouldered.

These dresses are highly embellished, utterly serious (no winking here), and would be perfect in a gymnasium filled with streamers.

But could you wear one to the Met without your graduation tassel?

Above: Marchessa

Below: two ways of styling a Tracy Reese dress.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Batgirl Belt by Alaia


Have I told you that my three-year-old son is obsessed with superheroes? That he painted his hands red today in order to look like Spiderman?

His favorite Christmas gift was a Batman costume, which he wears everywhere.

But he’s a little concerned, because he wants Spiderman to have a pal—namely Spidergirl.

Of course there isn’t a Spidergirl in comic book land, so do you think he’d settle for his mum in this Batgirl belt by Alaia?*

It brings new meaning to the concept of Supermum, doesn’t it?

*Of course Alaia does not call this lovely belt Batgirl-inspired, but can't you just see the bat ears?
P.S. I stand corrected: here's Spidergirl. And my son is *not* going to play with her any time soon!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Ohne the Lonely?

A little while ago I posted an entry called “Apocalypse Wow”; today I’m smitten by these post-apocalyptic splendours created by Ohne Titel.

Sure, the NYT says they’re derivative of Rick Owens and complains that there’s too much repetition.

But for those of us who don’t want to dress in Ohne Titel every single day--try a boot, a legging or a jacket--there’s much to be found.

I’m digging these trouser/leggings (above) with the knee slash. They're kind of a cool girl's take on Mad Max (instead of the ladylike Mad Men reference that's also current).

Ditto for everything below.

Perfect for a seminar on post-postmodern literature.

Friday, February 13, 2009

I'm Wooed: Jason Wu and Kara Walker

I’m intrigued that Jason Wu used a small Kara Walker-inspired print on some of his clothes for Fall 2009.

Walker is one of my favorite artists, and, if you’ve seen her work, you’ll know that she critiques the institution of slavery through the beautiful medium of silhouette cuts. I've posted about her before here.

There’s a tension, then, between the delicacy of the profiles she cuts and the horrors she depicts. I *really* wonder what Walker-inspired print Wu is using!

Reflections on Genius; or, Colorful Thoughts

For the last few days I’ve been thinking about ideas, from a philosophical point of view. (I wish I were wearing this dress by Etro while doing so.)

You see, I watched a video of author Elizabeth Gilbert at the TED conference, where she was speaking about creativity and genius. (I don’t think I’m her usual audience--I didn't read her big book, for instance, but I did appreciate some of her thoughts here on the creative process.)

Her point was that it’s too much of a burden to place creativity exclusively on the artist’s shoulders, for that can lead to doubt and insecurity and tortured thoughts. Rather, she looks to ancient Greece and Rome for their concepts of “daemons” and “geniuses”—beings who would visit the artist and collaborate with them by giving them a poem, a character, a vision. Instead of being a genius, an artist can have a genius, which would relieve pressure, said Gilbert.

Then she talked about the musician Tom Waits, who was driving on the freeway in California one day when a melody started coming to him. Without a paper, pencil, or recording device at hand, he could have grown frustrated, but instead called out to the sky and told his “genius” to return at a later time when he was able to receive its message. I think he told it to go bother Leonard Cohen.

I’ve been thinking about this conception of genius and it has completely impeded my ability to write, not because I have nothing to think about, but because this notion is all I can think about. (But don’t get me started on Virginia Woolf and that darn “angel in the house.”)

For sometimes, just when I lie down to sleep, a patterned fabric will flash in my mind. The colors are gorgeous, the pattern harmonious and elegant, and it quickly disappears. I’m not a fabric designer, but is my “genius” telling me to design fabric? I don’t jump up to sketch it, and am content for the moment to enjoy these flashes as, well, flashes.

But what a cruel genius I must have, to visit me just when I’m finally ending my day, taunting me with a vision. Or is she a benevolent genius, sending me a textile lover’s version of a lullaby?

Now that I’ve got down these thoughts, perhaps I’ll be free to think of something else.

Like how much I’m loving the lines of my Loeffler Randall cut-out shoe booties. And how I need to bring them to the cobbler immediately to get a thicker sole put on them.

They’re pure genius.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Linger Awhile with Wundervoll and Isabel Marant

Sometimes I sniff at the NYT Pulse section in the Sunday Styles; sometimes I linger.

Today was a linger(ie) morning, as I happily gazed upon this rather stern but sexy set by Wundervoll, of Berlin. It’s a bit Charlotte Rampling in that Night Porter flick, a bit Madonna in vintage Gaultier, and maybe even a little Barbara Bel Geddes (as the lingerie designer in Vertigo, not as Miss Ellie).

And then there were these boots by French designer Isabel Marant. As I’ve said before, I’m not really into a stacked heel, and would usually raise an eyebrow at chains, but the combination here really works for me.

So my only lingering (ahem) question is this: should one wear the boots with the set?

Friday, February 6, 2009

Shiny Happy Lipstick: Rouge G de Guerlain

WWD reports that Guerlain is debuting a new line of lipsticks, Rouge G de Guerlain.

My lips usually belong to Bobbi Brown, but I’d take a peek at Rouge G for what looks to be superb packaging—shiny silver compacts.

I like my sequins matte, but do love a hint of shine elsewhere, in a lipstick case or in this clutch by Kotur that I bought in December (from Vivre) for a New Year’s Eve soiree. (It makes a serious “click” shut, which I appreciate too.)

No doubt a shiny lipstick in a shiny clutch would give off too much of a “shiny happy people” vibe, but one or the other would bring a smile to my face on these long winter days.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Chanel Headpieces, encore une fois

A bit of Swan Lake,

A touch of Marianne Faithfull.

I can’t get enough of these magical headpieces from Chanel.

Swinging on a Star

I saw this photograph on WWD online.

It reminded me of an illustration accompanying “The Swing” by Robert Louis Stevenson in my own well-worn A Child’s Garden of Verses. (This is not it, but it has the same vibe):

It also reminded me of this Fragonard painting, called “The Swing” aussi:

Blythe for McQueen

I’ve learned that McQueen has been using Blythe—the 1970s doll and 2000-something fashion muse—as his Target advert model.

Somewhere in this blog I wrote about my temporary Blythe dolls. I was so inspired by creative styling and photos of these Keane-like girls with the changing eyes that I bought two from eBay—and then realized that I’d never have the patience to make clothes for their very small bodies.

So off they went to a better owner, but I still love to see what creative people do with Blythe. Here are the McQueen for Target adverts.

And the clothes.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

McQueen at Gilt Groupe and Target

Although I’m usually drawn to the ornate, the eccentric, in Alexander McQueen, I find that he also makes a strong statement with a very simple line.

Today Gilt Groupe began its McQ sale, and I was one of the first visitors, for a change, as there was a *sold* stamp on only one image. I was just window shopping, but I could see how these looks would be very happy in my closet.

Worn with an outrageous, yet ladylike shoe, of course.

The beauty of these looks is that they’re nothing new, but are so obviously well cut and designed that they look fresh. I’d be loathe to wear a simple turtleneck and trouser from another company, but McQ makes them sleek, edgy (literally: look how the trouser falls), and fresh:

Gorgeous for evening:

I hear that McQ is making a line for Target. That could be interesting if his aim is true. Indeed, I just might develop a new appreciation for Mc-prefix products . . .

Sunday, February 1, 2009

The Shape of Things

Doing some important spring research last night, I determined two trends: a cork wedge heel (which I will pass on) and the influence of super edgy, very expensive designers on moderately priced ones.

Take this unusual sandal bootie by Chie Mihara, for instance. Chie has always been experimental with shapes, but in this silhouette I see some Martin Margiela with a healthy dose of Japanese sandal.

I studied this bootie for a while, trying to decide whether I liked it, but really wanted to see it on a foot.

Then I discovered Tobi, an online boutique that offers a very useful service: it shows many of its shoes on real feet!

So here is the Chie Mihara as worn by a real person. (The Velcro closure is annoying me; wish the strap across the foot was a solid piece of leather. Also: wish the feet wouldn’t pose so much.)

In other news, super edgy designers are living up to their hype. I like this asymmetrical sandal by Martin Margiela.

And this criss-crossy sandal by Guiseppe Zanotti could be great with shorts, though the wooden heel gives me pause.

(There are lots of wooden heels this spring, too.) Here’s a silhouette I like from Belle by Sigerson Morrison, but, again, the wooden heel? (And the posing feet. Although these *are* more relaxed.)

But I’m intrigued by the shape of things to come.