26 July 2009

La La La La Lanvin

So I watched Charlotte Gray last night which was beautifully shot, brilliantly acted, and horridly heart-wrenching. But the costumes...WOW! Really had me thinking of how much of the '40's, my absolute favorite fashion era, were all over the fall runways this year...lucky me! Lucky us! And that got me thinking of my love for Alber Elbaz at Lanvin. His collection for Fall 2009 was exquisitely draped and although a bit somber (perhaps for the times), it still offered the undeniably Lanvin-esque Parisian stature, grace and elegance that one would expect. This is how, you would imagine, French women dress -- for their day, for a meeting. Reflective of the economical downturn yet defiant in its right to give up the sense of femininity and style no one wants to completely surrender...especially if you are lucky enough to live and work in Paris.

The shapes here, and the draping, again...genius. The thigh-high leather boots were literally EVERYWHERE and I'm interested to see how they will translate to the street. I, for one, would go out and buy a pair right now but I'm not sure how such a highly stylized element will work in the moderate/conservative atmosphere of downtown Raleigh, NC. The colors, yes, black, bone, slate grays, might seem overly expected when you think about how fashion parallels the low density of our wallets at present, but I will always be a sucker for these colors...they are are timelessly chic.

I love the accessories, as well, and they compliment each piece so effortlessly. No, I am not a fan of fur (that's just one fashion commodity I will never support) but you could easily replicate the effect here with a faux piece or (even better) a vintage piece that happens to be faux as well. Black leather gloves were also seen on more than one runway this season and I absolutely intend to buy them in a variety of lengths for the fall...what an easy way to give your ensemble a little extra something without breaking the bank.

Shoulders are another big focus this year and I like the way Elbaz kept them soft but still gave them shape. The length of the skirts are perfect, too. I was getting so tired of the short short minis I've seen way too much of over the summer (girls in these parts need to look up the the sex appeal of being a bit demure...it goes much further, trust me -- and seriously, the gladiator look was NOT mean to be taken so literally...I saw a handful of girls on the street last week that looked like extras from Troy). Proportions have seemed off for an entire season so I'm excited to see a return to lady-like attire that is not overly mature or dated. It's a nod to the past but still completely contemporary and completely modern.

This is fashion for the fashionable. And these are my favorite pieces from the collection...

xoxo, kvlm

16 July 2009

Style Francais

I don't have a shoe fetish (ok...maybe an addiction?) but this picture makes me understand why people do. Marion Cotillard's raspberry and black spectator inspired t-straps's, well, they turn me on! Maybe it's because I am so very over gladiator's and cuffed shoes and I'm ready for something more feminine. Or maybe it's because I'm just off watching all the couture shows and there were several '40's influences. But I adore these shoes! I love how she mixed the raspberry and black with the ballet pink which has such a simple, elegant French style to it. I want it all.

I found these black and pink t-straps's by Jeffrey Campbell at Nordstrom for $85.90: I love the vintage feel of them and the colors; I may have to purchase.

These Georgina Goodman's, too, are similar -- but unfortunately with a much higher price tag -- and a bit more red:

The next closest match actually has a purple accent but I still think it would work. Pour La Victoire Lourdes Ankle Strap at Endless:
Maybe with this Ralph Lauren Black Label Lucinda Organza Skirt:Ralph Lauren also has a great soft pleated skirt available in ballet pink on yoox.com but the images were not cooperating.

This flirty Dolce & Gabbana would also work:
Top it all off with this Adam Viscose Tissue Jersey Cardigan thrown over a cami, then belted or tied?
Voila! The look....well, except for the Johnny...I've yet to find a website that sells those, but I'll keep you posted!

xo, kvlm

12 July 2009

Couture Confection's 2009

Ah...couture. It's like a fantasty trip into another dimension where I can only look through a very thick plate glass window while cradling some hope that, beyond these brillant artistic creations trickling down into ready-to-wear, I can maybe pick up a piece or two of inspiration here and replicate it in some fashion, however small. Couture is the high-art of fashion and some pieces look as if they belong more in the Louvre than they do on the street; in fact, they do.

To some, couture may seem an unnecessary venture at present, given the economic state of, well, the entire world. But to me, to many, couture stands on a vital pivot of optimism, light, and determination. In many ways, it's the fashion world's battle cry that says, this too shall go on! It's crucial to the history book being written as each House takes a gasp or two of air, going back under until the whole downturn blows over and praying that it does.

I try really hard, after the shows are over, to do two things. 1) Don't read what other people write about them. I want my opinion to be as unbiased as possible, even though my opinion, in the grand scheme of the fashion universe, doesn't really amount to a hill of glass beads. 2) Choose a handfull of defining photographs that capture the spirit of each show. Both are virtually impossible to do. 1) Everyone writes on the shows, I get 15 emails a day with updates, highlights, etc. etc. I have just have to turn a blind eye...oh but it's so hard! 2) Yeah. No. That's like trying to "chose your favorite star."

Alexis Mabille is a newcomer to the couture scene, somewhat evident by his collection, but it still is a refreshing swirl of colors and fantastic fabrics. I don't know that is exactly what I'm looking for in a couture show, although you can see the potential all the while imagining where he'll be in 10 years, so I'm not including images. I like to save space for those ones that make me swoony.

Giorgio Armani's Armani Prive smacked of Katherine Hepburn shaped suits mixed with a bit of shimmer, a monochromatic palette, and lush velvet; 1940's reinvented. The suit was dominant, with tight pagoda shoulders and straight legs. I always love Armani's gowns; I particularly loved these two:

I am not really sure how I feel about Karl Lagerfeld right now other than the fact that I think he needs to put food in his mouth instead of constantly insulting people. In the past few months he has successfully insulted Heidi Klum and Audrey Tatou. I'm sure Klum let it role off her perfect backside that he said she's fat (in which case he would probably compare me to some sort of sea creature such as the manatee), what, two times? But Audrey Tatou is the new official spokesmodel of Chanel AND she's playing Coco in the soon-to-come biopic so I think that one is slightly more unforgiveable. As for his collection, well, Karl can do whatever the fuck Karl wants to do, and I only say it that particular way because that's what he would say, yeah? I wasn't a fan of most of it; his muted palette's reminded me of the Depression and I think that's exactly what couterer's don't want people thinking about. In my humble opinion, I think it lacked editing but what do I know? I did, however, adore all of these:

When I dream about fashion heaven, which is at least a few nights a week, my very first thought is always, always Christian Dior. Now, then, forever, Christian Dior. John Galliano, I adore you...you are in my top ten list of people who would probably make me completley stupid if ever I were lucky enough to have a peeptoe pump in your magical presence (and for that, he is the only designer I would ever include the final shot from a show of...well and I love the two ensembles flanking him...but look at him! the man is magnifique!) I love this show on so many many levels, and not just because I am a) completely bias here and b) a bit of a vintage whore, but also, think of it this way: he took a return to Dior basics...the structure, the colors, the New Look glam of it all, which, I think, in this repressed economy, was a fantastic idea. It says, hey, remember why you come to this House...well, in case you don't, let me remind you. And suddenly you are sucked into a colorful, sexy and classic Dior slice of heaven. (There we go with that heaven again...)

It was said that Lacroix was literally pulling fabrics and trims from every corner and from every friend he could think of to pull this show of as the House of Lacroix seems to be breathing it's last breath (let's all pray that's not true). I think the collection was beautifully edited, pulled together, had a few of the classic over-the-top touches Lacroix is known for, while erring on the almost practical. If this is his last collection (for now, anyway), it was well done and refined. I thoroughly believe the black and white graphic below will find it's way into many an "inspired" ready-to-wear garment by year's end.

It's easy to see why Lebanese designer Elie Saab is such an Oscar favorite...his work is the pinnacle of what every girl imagines herself walking down the red carpet in. It's almost Peaches-n-Cream Barbie Doll perfection and I don't mean that in a bad way. Of all of my flocks and flocks of Barbie clothes, that is the one dress I remember vividly (dork flag, flying high). It was a little odd that Saab chose to put on an all white show shortly after Lagerfeld did the same thing. And some of the detail is undeniably similar to Michelle Obama's Jason Wu she wore for her first dance as First Lady. I didn't see Saab here in a lot of ways...his structure was off, and no color? I mean really, no color? He's kind of known for his crayola box of monotone dresses. Some of these felt like they just simply belonged to someone else. These I liked, but never was there full on in love. Unfortunate.

I'm not sure about Riccardo Tisci's collection for Givenchy either...I am absolutely on the fence about it. It certainly had depth and intrigue. I was immediatley attracted to the mysterious vibe that floated around each girl, the Indian influnece, the henna, the sarouel-effect he used quite well without being over done, I adore the velvet (there are two kinds of girls: velvet girls and leather girls, I am DEFINITELY a velvet girl), and this piece below I just fell for. But the pants really threw me off. The jodphur inspired trousers ranged from slightly more ballooned than the classic to rivaling those of MC Hammer. I'm not sure that's a look I'm ready for. Those and harem pants...no thanks, man. But this...this color, this silhoette, this drama...this is the kind of thing a girl would take another girl out over. Seriously. Can you imagine? Literally makes me palpitate. This may have my award for best couture piece of the season (you know, because I give those out and people care. Yeah, not).

There's a reason Madonna goes to John Paul Gaultier. That mix of the Marlene Dietrich attempt at titillating androgyny blended with blatant sex appeal spun on an edge...HOT. Dear G-d, so HOT. I love the pieces below...so classic Hollywood masterfully stirred in 2009. If I could have a closet full of suits in this vain, I would probably sell all my furniture, vintage bags, and any piece of designer clothing I have (well, excluding my Marc) to do it. Perfection.

Pier Paolo Piccioli and Maria Grazia Chiuri over at Valentino were alive in black. And to be more specific, quite skilled in creating a swarm of night bird's. Every girl's dress seemed some sort of magical symbiosis that was at once both over done lace and tulle while being completely organic. I loved the shoes, but the shoes often caught my attention more than the dresses. It's not that I didn't love the collection, I mean come on, it's Valentino, but I think this may be one of those collections you have to see in person to fully appreciate. It just felt like there was something missing. Like it was couture "light." Now I wonder how long it will be before I'm struck down my lightening for criticizing thy name, Valentino.

xoxo, kvlm

10 July 2009

Potter Deux

Exhibit B, far left. He does the shine again. Better colors but really? The black piping is making me mad!! I'm going to start calling him Elton Liberace Hefner. Oy.

08 July 2009

Before Couture Mania...

...totally sets in with me (and the full impact of yesterday potentially being the last Lacroix show -- unless of course the LVMH rumors are true), I have to take a moment and release my inner witch. How excited is everyone that the next Harry Potter installment is next week? I am...completely tickled. And even more so that it's completely in line with my 30th (cough, cough) birthday. Happy Birthday to me!

But let's take a moment to look at this photo, shall we?

Exhibit A of why excessively rich people have to hire stylists, far right. Once you hit the 20 million pound mark, I suppose you lose the ability to find any tangible reality when staring at your successful self in the mirror because there is just nothing in Harry Potter's universe that could justify this ensemble for Daniel Radcliffe. Sorry, fella. Love ya, mean it but no. First off, I realize he got caught in the rain so the actual "shine" of the suit is quite down played in this photo op. But there is never really an occassion for a man to wear shiney clothes unless he is a drag queen or a mobster. Especially not with an equally as shiney shirt. Egad.

Now look closer if you will...my little 'arry has on a burgundy-esque paisley tie and what's that I see? Does his jacket actually have a frog closure and black piping on the lapels? Did Hugh Hefner lend him a dinner jacket because surely this was meant to be worn over some satin pj's. OR he's got one toe out of the closet, I'm not really sure. But I'm mesmerized by the tenacity of his stylist, best friend, lover...whoever told him this was a good look. Or maybe no one told him and that's the issue. But surely when he purchased that pink shirt some flamboyant sales person said, honey, no, pink is not not not your color. So very unfortunate.

Rupert Grint, who has always been my fav, is adorable. And Emma Watson's dress is smashing! I was hoping she might vamp it up a bit like she does in her Burberry ads but she looks fresh and the dress is delightfully pretty. Not sure what's going on with the red head band but she's young, she can get away with it. And perhaps the slit in the skirt of her dress that ran right up to her navel was created for the ease of broomstick mountage, but, unfortunately, it has led to the skeevies flash heard 'round the world. Oh well, she's got killer legs and she's not exactly a little girl anymore.

Wow...and do I suddenly feel really old.

Happy next-to-the-end of Harry Potter films, kids. Soak it up while you can.

xoxox, kvlm