Sunday, July 29, 2012

Hair Apparent: Emeli Sande's Do

Like, well, all of us in the United States, I didn't hear Emeli Sande sing during the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games. 

But today, thanks to an advert in the NYT, I'm definitely seeing her hair.

With its shaved sides and high pouf, Emeli's do is a throwback to jazzy glamour as well as New Wave waves.

It reminds me of

Etta James:

Annabella from Bow Wow Wow:

Allanah from The Thompson Twins:

and not really but maybe, opera singer Ana Durlovski, whose energy in this image I love:

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Keeping up with the Krawleys: The "Weird Sisters" of Downton Abbey

 Do you know how popular TV shows often have a Shakespeare episode?  Take Gilligan's Island's performance of Hamlet as a musical, for instance.

As evidenced by these cover photos for Love magazine, the three Krawley sisters from Downton Abbey are taking the Bard one step further in what can only be a mash-up of Macbeth and Keeping Up with the Kardashians.

In the kurrent episode, Weird Sister Lady Edith dyes her hair the color of kotton kandy, mixing her own konkoktion in her kauldron, while chanting "double, double, toil and trouble . . . "

Weird Sister Lady Sybil, aka the "pretty one," ignores Edith, being preokkupied with removing a red lipstick stain from her gown: "Out, damned spot!" she hisses as she scrubs and wrings the left side of her bustier.

But Weird Sister Lady Mary, always kompeting with Edith, kauses a kerfuffle when Banquo suggests that Lady Edith's ethereal portrait trumps the Goth-y ones of Mary and Sybil. 

Mary kommissions the photoshoot for their upcoming kalender to take place in "thunder, lightning, or in rain," so that Edith's kotton kandy locks will lose their froth.  She also plans to give Edith the months of March and August, the least popular ones.

Will the Krawley matriarch Kora intervene?  Or will she turn over the kerfuffle to Karson?  Stay tuned for upkoming episodes.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

London in New York (a visit to Jo Malone)

I may have come to terms with the sad fact that I will probably not be going to London to style-blog the Olympic Games.

So I'll take London where I can get it, even if I "get" it in New York.

Today I took an impromptu jaunt into the city and landed in midtown just as the rain started to come down (London-y, no?).

I was hungry and decided to look for a little cafe en route from the car park (at the funky Hearst Building).  As I was approaching the Avenue of the Americas, the raindrops parted and Pret a Manger appeared under a rainbow.  (Not really, but please allow a little dramatic effect.)

I popped in, hoping against hope that *maybe* there might be a totally British section of the cooler that stocked a Coronation Chicken sandwich. Instead there was chicken, avocado, and balsamic vinagrette.  I made do.

Then I high-tailed it over to Saks, in the mood for a bit of old-world department-store luxury.  I used to visit Saks on my lunch hour when I worked in the city and have some fond memories of celebrity beauty encounters: Frederic Fekkai!  Bobbi Brown!

One of my stops was at the Jo Malone counter.  Ms. Malone, as readers will know, opened up her signature fragrance shop on Sloane Street, in (or off?) London's Sloane Square. (Does the street count as the square?)  Anyhooo, I remember wheeling my first-born in her pram into Ms. Malone's Sloane Street shop some 13 years ago. 

Today at Saks I tried a citrus, then a floral, and then layered them.  I'm *not* a fragrance person, but tonight am aromatically transported to a little green-and-white striped park chair every time my wrist wafts through the air.  I think I must return for a purchase (I'm notoriously non-impulsive when it comes to cosmetics and fragrance; they'll be there when I get back.)

And finally, I just opened my email to find a quote from one of my very favourite London designers for an article I'm writing. 

Rain, Pret, fragrance, lovely designer: some days London just calls out in the sweetest of tones:

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

A Done Deal


And if I change my mind about the lack of straps, I'll add some,

via grosgrain ribbon for the smooth silk floral,


via this twill tape (below, from Purl Soho) for the less formal Delft dress.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Almost Strapless

My go-to summer dress is sleeveless, with a deep V cross-over neckline. I have a good number of these, and am always drawn to this style.

But maybe, just maybe, after watching one-too-many episodes of Say Yes to the Dress with my daughters (and readers will note the irony, because I have always been a non-wedding dress person), after seeing women scream "Yes!" to 49 out of 50 strapless dresses, I was influenced not to ignore le robe bustier any longer.

Or maybe it was the sale rack at J Crew, positively pulsing with strapless dresses in pretty prints.

I have owned one strapless dress, one I saw in the vitrine of Eaton's in Charlottetown, some months before my Grade Six graduation.  (In Canada, Junior High goes from grades 7-9, so leaving Grade Six requires a proper ceremony.  Or at least it did in the 1970s.)

The dress was white cotton, with an bosom-covering eyelet ruffle, and another eyelet flounce at the hem.  It was the most gorgeous dress in the world to me, and I put it on layaway. And wore it, only once, to my graduation. 

I don't recall it being that spectacular on, because the dress was shapeless, aside from the elasticized parts that held it up.  So maybe that's why I moved on and beyond.

So: back to the J Crew dress I tried on.  Not bad.  Points in my favour: even tan, good posture.  Good fit, but I still passed.  And that evening thought about returning to get it and in the morning was glad I didn't.  It might have been the bare-ness, the seeming formality, I don't know.  Maybe I'll go back again for another try.

Do gentle readers wear strapless for casual?

Friday, July 13, 2012

Feeling Blue and White: Delft Dressing

Do you ever follow a colour pattern that you don't recognize till a few days later?

During my "call of the mall" expedition with my daughters, I ducked in to J Crew to take advantage of their educators; discount (hurrah!) and was immediately drawn to the fitted jacket to the right. 

Its blue and white filagree pattern reminds me of china that I love:

Delft, which uses the beautiful, inky blue:

or the lighter Burleighware:

or the stunning work of ceramicist Maria Kristofferson:

I'll feel like a real dish when I wear this jacket.

Then, yesterday, when I went to Purl Soho, in search of fabric for a particular project, I ended up changing routes entirely when I saw this new Nani Iro double gauze cotton in blue and white:

To the left, to the left . . .

I plan to make a quilt, bordered in a Liberty blue/white/lavender swirl and bound by a Kaffe Fassett shot dry-mauve. Perhaps a simple muslin for the back, or one of Liberty's new quilting weight fabrics that will be introduced next week.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Boot Browsing in Soho

I've been reading The Call of the Mall by Paco Underhill in anticipation of my fall fashion theory class, and yesterday my daughters and I answered its siren song at what is one of the biggest malls on the east coast, I'm sure.

Having survived following two tweens around to inappropriate shops such as Forever 21 (my daughter swears that the numerals are meant to be read backwards), Abercrombie & Fitch, and the MAC counter (they just window-shopped there), I was relieved to spend this afternoon in Soho with Mr. C.

I may have continued the inappropriate theme there, though it may simply be a perceived inappropriateness.  Although I gazed lovingly at the smart fall dresses in SportMax, I did not try on any.  Instead, I went into Dr. Martens, searching for the grad student of my youth, and I tried on the fantastic boots above and below. 

What would I wear them with?  Who knows, but I'd wear them. (Definitely during my unit on "punk.")

I also tested the new satchels made in a Liberty of London collaboration with Dr. Martens.  My verdict?  Try the Martens patent leather satchel instead. 

The Strawberry Thief satchel?  Too yellow.

The floral satchel?  Too white.

This patent satchel?  In acid yellow (available at the store)? Yes.

Then upon emerging into dimming daylight after an hour or so in Purl Soho, I learned that most of the boutiques had closed. At 7!  On a Thursday!

But the Frye boot shop was open, so I hoofed in, still carrying a glimmering torch for the campus boots that I so wanted in Grade 7 but was denied.  (I still don't know why.) There I tried on this embellished low cowgirl boot:

As I was wearing a pink sundress with a circle skirt (I had my flower sunglasses in my bag, but felt tht they might be *too* retro with my dress), I felt a little like my countrywoman, k.d. lang, when she dressed in her prairie cowgirl skirts of yore and sang "Turn Me Round (The Square-Dancing Song)":

I liked the boots, but not the hard sell (They're the last pair in the store!  They look beautiful on you!) or the price ($500!), for what the boots were. 

So neither English lad boots nor cowgirl boots came home with me, but gorgeous Japanese and English fabric did. 

And the mall?  It can call me again, maybe.

Diane Kruger in Chanel: Teacup Chic

Temptress in a teacup;

that's how I see Diane Kruger

in this beautifully shaped teacup-skirt.

Cuppa, anyone?

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Bottega Veneta Swimsuit

Am gazing at this swimsuit from Bottega Veneta.

It is, I believe, overly accessorized in each photo, but careful readers can see it unadorned in the early-ish pages of July's Vogue UK.

This swimsuit calls out for a deep blue ocean and pink sand, not necklaces and handbags. 

But on second thought, I could carry all the shells that I gather in the bag.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Miss C's Olympian Selvedge Story

My story "Power Lines: Stella McCartney's Winning Style" has just appeared in the new Selvedge sports-themed summer issue, timed just right for the Olympic Games.

McCartney has designed the kit/athletic uniforms for Great Britain's Olympic athletes, and I wrote about those designs as well as about her sportswear-inflected fashion.

Thanks to the smart Kate Battrick, who provided me with her assessment of McCartney's designs for the piece.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Drip Dries: Mrs. Prince Edward's Dress

When I was little (say, 6-7), I wanted to marry Prince Edward.

It's not because I thought he was cute (using the language of my youth); even then I knew that he wasn't my "type," but because I lived on Prince Edward Island. I was destined to to be royal.

Well, I am not secretly Sophie Wessex, so obviously I did not join that royal family.  But I am sharing a sisterly affection for a recent fashion choice that Mrs. Prince Edward made: the terrific Dries Van Noten jungly dress above and below.