Month: February 2011

Spring Fashion Week review

NY Spring Fashion Week brought us a glimpse into the future, with the Fall 2011 ready-to-wear collections. Here are some of my favourite looks from the runways. [Pictures from]
While I am not normally drawn to Rodarte’s aesthetic, I found this dress from its prairies-inspired collection very lovely. I think it’s because it reminds me of summer road-trips around the province. 
Marc Jacobs was one of many designers showing retro looks on the runway, but probably the only one who based his collection around polka dots. My favourite looks, however, did not fit that theme. For me, it was all about  the little details – especially contrasting collars and cuffs. For example:
And another one:
I loved almost everything that came down the runway at the Donna Karan show – a stunning parade of monochromatic looks in beautiful shades of grey, nude and brown. 
Diane von Furstenberg is one of my favourite designers, but her fall 2011 collection was somewhat puzzling to me – a little bit ‘80s, a little bit cowboy (gaucho hats!), but luckily lots of gorgeous colour. 
Love this look from head (and hair) to toe, but especially the obi-esque belt. And no hat!
Again, the monochromatic looks abounded, with varying shades of one colour piled on top of each other, and looked spectacular. There is a lesson to be learned here – don’t be afraid to mix shades, even if they don’t match exactly.
The clothes at Jason Wu ran the gamut from feminine to masculine, with lots of lace thrown in. I love this menswear-inspired look, and I only wish I could pull it off (and have a place to do it). So chic!
Loved the mix of textures and fabrics at Philip Lim 3.1, especially the pairing of wool and leather. Very fall-appropriate. I also liked the slouchier silhouettes, including the pants – although I have reservations about their transition from the runway to the real streets of Edmonton.

More lace at Prabal Gurung, along with strongly tailored looks in red and black. The most memorable for me, however, were these ‘30s-inspired dresses in gorgeous blush pink – so decadent and movie close-up ready!

Along with DvF, one of my go-to designers is usually Michael Kors, and he did not disappoint. His collection also featured a similar colour palette as some other designers – grey, black, camels, and brilliant flashes of red. I loved the sharp, minimalist tailoring of looks like this one (and wish that I could pull off those high-waisted pants so elegantly):

Again, monochromatic ensembles were popular on the Kors runway, especially mixed with a bit of ’70s glam.

Oscar de la Renta‘s collection was a little bit less over-the-top glamorous than what one might have expected, but it was a riot of beautiful prints and textures (lots of boucle). Still, my favourite look was this stunning eggplant-coloured dress – simple, classic, timeless.

Finally, it wouldn’t be Fashion Week without Carolina Herrera, who always makes some of the most beautiful clothes around. And who does “ladylike” like no one else.

Life would be fabulous if I got to wear something like this to the office.
 I could also settle for this, in a pinch.
And, of course, I should not forget the office Christmas party.
I love the “special effects” of the textiles used – the granite/stone texture of the dress above, and the liquid shine of the one below.  

The awards season style pool: BAFTAs

The British Academy of Film and Television Arts held its annual awards gala last Sunday, and quite the star-studded event it was, even though only one of our awards season style pool contenders made it over the pond. To everyone’s non-surprise, The King’s Speech ruled the award roost, taking home honours for best picture, best actor, best supporting actor and best supporting actress, among others. If the trend continues, it will roundly trump The Social Network at the Oscars. Natalie Portman, who was not present, continued her victory lap with a win for best actress (Black Swan).

But enough about the awards; let’s get to the red carpet, shall we? Given than five out of our six style pool nominees were not there, I won’t be counting this event towards the overall ranking. Instead, let’s take a look at what everyone else was wearing … and imagine how their picks might have worked out for our candidates.

First, though, a round of applause for Amy Adams, who not only showed up, but did so looking lovely. She finally went with a bold colour, and a risky one at that for a redhead. Still, I think her pinkish peach Elie Saab looked pretty and ethereal, and complemented (rather than battled) her complexion.

Next up, Jessica Alba. Now, I have no idea why she turned up at the BAFTAs, but I’m rather glad she did if only because it gave me the chance to say, “THIS! This is what Natalie Portman should be wearing!” I’m not sold on Jessica’s braided up-do, but I love the cut and detailing of this Versace gown – and the empire waist is bump-friendly whilst still figure flattering (no one would mistake this for a sack).

I also thought that BAFTA- and Oscar-nominee Annette Bening looked stunning in her ivory, one-shoulder gown. Some have described this dress as “bridal” but I disagree. I could easily see Nicole Kidman rocking this dress, as it is very much her style – white column dress, one shoulder, discreet bling – and it’s a much more memorable look than anything I’ve seen from Nicole this awards season.

[As an aside, here is what Nicole Kidman actually wore to the Grammy’s, also held last night. I can’t say I whole-heartedly approve of this Jean Paul Gaultier gown – I could have done without the crinkly, Christmassy fringes – but I love the silhouette  and ombre detail, and this is the most adventurous I’ve seen Nicole on the red carpet in a while.

Fellow BAFTA-nominee Hailee Steinfeld wore a whimsical Miu Miu dress that I would have loved to see on Michelle Williams. Hailee looked adorable, but the dress struck me as a little bit too “old” (she’s 14!) and too long for her. However, I think it would fit Michelle’s slightly off-beat style (and blonde pixie cut) very well. Love the violet clutch!

One of the most memorable looks of the night came courtesy of Thandie Newton, who wore a pink Monique Lhuillier show-stopper of a dress. [Wet spots aside; it must have been raining in London.] I wish Thandie had picked a more outstanding necklace, but she looks amazing nonetheless. This gown has all the glamour and drama that I was hoping Anne Hathaway would bring to the red carpet. So far, though, Anne has been sticking to slinkier, more avant-garde looks; I’m curious to see what will be in store come Oscar night.

One of my least favourite looks of the evening was Emma Watson‘s Valentino gown. It was a lovely dress (on a lovely girl) but it doesn’t really strike me as her style. Maybe it’s the ruffle; I’m not crazy about that ruffle. Or maybe it’s the somewhat jarring contrast between this very romantic gown and Emma’s super-modern pixie cut (which, on its own, is adorable). Emma doesn’t look too comfortable in this dress, either, but that could just be her posture in this picture. I do wonder what the dress – minus the ruffle – might have looked like on Mila Kunis (who rocked a similarly romantic look, plus goddess waves, on the SAG red carpet).

As for my bottom picks at the BAFTAs, the (dubious) honours go to Eva Green (in Tom Ford) and Jennifer Lawrence (in Stella McCartney). Both chose fairly iconic designers, but somehow ended up missing the style high mark for me. In both cases, I think the problem lies primarily with each gown’s bodice. Oh, and that choker! Paired with the  (very low) corset top, it just screams “Wild West madam” to me. What do you think?

Love ’em or leave ’em

Let me start today’s post by saying … I know what date it is. I’m not going to pander to the flowers-and-chocolates cartel by referring to it directly, and will thus continue my decades-long vendetta against all things, well, Valenshmgnscoughcough. I won’t, however, entertain a rant about all the reasons why this is the stupidest theme day of the year, which should in any event be familiar to my friends. Instead, I will compromise; in the spirit of things, this will be a “love it or loathe it” review of hot new trends for 2011 (courtesy of February’s People Stylewatch). Play along at home!

Last month there was advance warning that the ’70s are making a comeback. The proof was not a long time coming. As I feared, flares are back … paired with high waists. At the risk of being utterly unfashionable, I will say this: high waisted pants flatter about 1% of the adult female population, and should be avoided at all costs by the remainder. It’s not that I don’t understand the allure of high waisted pants – I love Katherine Hepburn’s style, after all – but I know my own limitations. 
Loathe it! [But cropped pants are still in too! Love!]
The ’70s theme continues with peasant blouses. As a preggo lady, I appreciate this. Today’s peasant blouses can be quite elegant; more boho-chic than patchouli-hippie. Look for pretty prints in silk, for a more haute vibe than plain cotton.  The key with this type of look is to pair it with its opposite – tailored vs. voluminous, sexy vs. romantic. Peasant blouses can be worn un-tucked with skinny jeans, or tucked in with a va-va-voom pencil skirt.
Love it!

The 70s thing extends down to the feet –  with wedges. Look for cork, rope, leather and (especially) wood heels. I find that wedges can let you get away with higher heels than normal (if you’re not a heel fan), but they can sometimes feel a little, well, clunkier (since the sole is not flexible). Always walk around a bit when trying them on to see if it’s something that would bother you. Personally, I find wood wedges the toughest to wear, so it figures that they would be the most popular this season; sigh!

Aaand, if wedges don’t tempt you, the other hot shoe trend is … chunky heels. Shudder! I’m sure that today’s runway-ready chunky heels are not the same as the mid-90s atrocities I remember, but these words will forever evoke certain memories best left forgotten.

So, to recap: wedges – love it! chunky heels – loathe it!
Happily, the ladylike trend of fall/winter 2010 has not  entirely disappeared just yet. Midi skirts are still going strong this season, and if you haven’t tried this look yet, here is your chance. What are we talking about? A mid-calf length paired with either a slim pencil-style line, or lots and lots of volume. Although I love head-to-toe retro, I’m crazy about the look of a midi skirt worn with simple, timeless pieces (a boat-neck top, a lightweight turtleneck, a crisp white shirt, etc.). If you’re the tall, willowy type, you can probably try a full skirt with some cute flats for a ballerina look. For everyone else, heels are pretty much a “must”, since the longer length  of the skirt tends to shorten the vertical line. Don’t let this scare you off, though! In the right proportions, the midi length can work for  everyone. Now that we’re two seasons into this trend, I’m hoping that we will start seeing more midi skirts in the local department stores. Try on a few and find the style that works best for you.

Love it!

With all the ’70s love going on, it should come as no surprise that pale denim is back. Even as I write this, I am sure that there is at least one starlet in Hollywood being photographed looking impossibly cool in some pale denim shirt/cut-off shorts/cowboy boots combo that would send a lesser mortal straight to the top of the What Not To Wear candidate pool. And therein lies my concern with pale denim – it sounds like a much better idea in the abstract (or on the pages of US Weekly) than in the reality of Edmonton suburbia.

Loathe it!

With all the new trends making their way to your nearest mall – and the ensuing dilemma of figuring out which one is the best long-term investment – there are still a few 2010 left-overs you can count on come spring. In no particular order, they include:

Tweed jackets
Kitten heels (yay!)
Neutral (colour) bags
Lacy tops
Dark denim
Skinny, bootcut and boyfriend jeans 

If these are things you’ve already added to your wardrobe line-up, you can rest easy – you’ll still be on-trend for 2011. If not, there is still plenty of time to grab a few of these pieces, some of which will only just now be starting to show up  locally. [I’m still waiting for a cute, affordable tweed jacket to find me.]

So, which new trends do you love … and loathe?