25 March 2010

Three for Thursday

I had to give my hand muscles a break after blogging like some manic fashionista for well over a month straight. I'm not sure but I don't think the muscle pads under my thumbs are supposed to look like Arnold's biceps. I think some might term that "a problem" as in "addiction" as in "Kara might need a fashion 12 step." Sadly, I probably do. Unemployment lends itself to so very much gratuitous indulgence. (Ok, not really...it just lends itself to so very much free time...ahem.)

So on this Thursday, this is what's on my mind: designer lines for Target, skincare that must have been made from angels tears, and why on earth did she wear that? (see below for more specifics).

Designer Lines for Target

I remember when I read the news that McQueen was doing a line for Target. I was positively giddy. Until I saw it and (G-d rest McQueen, I loved him so) I was really disappointed. I'm not entirely sure what people expect out of these designer collaborations for Target but when you are really familiar with a designer's work, I think your expectations might be just a smidge higher. Ok, maybe more than a smidge. Maybe it's my want to buy high end when I don't have a high end budget? Maybe.

But I will say I am always willing to give things a chance -- I like to be an equal opportunity shopper (you'd be amazed at what you can find if you are just open to looking beyond the one or two stores you think define you...but that is another soapbox for another day).

I will admit I had really high expectations for the Liberty of London for Target line because, wow, the marketing was really, really well done! The commercials were colorful and somewhat floral-ly arresting, but still, they caught my attention.

I went on a Sunday afternoon. The line launched that morning.

My first visual: a Liberty of London rack with two shirts left hanging. My first thought: well awesome....you can rest assured you will look like everyone else in town now for sure (not my goal).

My second visual: tons of dresses in really bad fabrics. My second thought: unimpressed. Already. If there is one thing I cannot stand it is bad/cheap fabric against my skin. Couple that with the one shouldered-ruffled maxi disaster hanging from the white hanger and I was about ready to turn and run.

But I soldiered on to sleepwear. It wasn't quite as bad as I'd expected given what I'd just seen but still...nothing was making it into my cart so far.

And then I found what this line was good for...little girl dresses and dinnerware (yes, that means all else...menswear, home decor, the pillows -- oh, the horror of the pillows -- had been annihilated from my list of acceptable). These are blogworthy cute:

I would like to add one more crumb of criticism though, dear Target, bringer of fashion G-ds to the masses: why no boy's line? You covered men, women, girls, home decor, you even brought us floral bicycles, but no boys clothes? I have to say I'm a little disappointed. A floral tie on my 6 year old with a pair of clean flat front khakis and a soft colored shirt would have been perfect with his mess of black hair. What were you thinking?

Anyway, back to the clothes. I also perused the Jean Paul Gaultier line, again with said expectations. Oh, Jean Paul, how I love you so, your namesake line and, of course, Hermes. You are brilliant and I have to say...you may have won the best "for Target" award out there. It's not just that the line is good but it's sort of what you would expect a watered down/priced right version of classic, quintessential Gaultier to look like. There were sexy dresses, great colors, stripes, and even leather. I was impressed. Out of the whole line, these two pieces were my favorite (though not necessarily together, as Target has them here):

I'll be interested to see Zac Posen's line in person, which is set to launch on April 15. Let's cross our pretty black lacquered nails that it's as cute in real-time as it is on the rack.

The Skincare of Angels

I've been a long time customer of Origins. It embraces my inner hippie, the one who likes to think she is doing things for herself that are somewhat healthy and/or beneficial for long-term maintenance. Lately, I'd been hooked on Dr. Weil's for Origins line but in case you missed it, I'm unemployed. So, sadly, I'd become victim to drugstore line jumping -- looking for something affordable that didn't completely devastate my ridiculously sensitive skin.

I found myself staring at the Oil of Olay Regenerist line because I'd convinced myself that all the stress of job hunting was causing wrinkles. And it dawned on me...the amount of money I was spending brand jumping at the pharmacy was adding up and adding up quickly! Why would I do this when I already know what works for my skin? (I love a good epiphany!)

So, I rolled my quickly-drying-up-to-the-likeness-of-an-alligator-skin over to the Origins counter and reinvested in my skin. No, I did not go for Dr. Weil's (I have not struck oil that I'm aware of) as much as I wanted to. But what I did get, I am actually far more pleased with. Behold...

Starting Over combines mimosa, green algae and argan leaf to visibly reduce the appearance of wrinkles and moisturize your skin to the likeness of a baby's bottom. It's as if angel tears were collected in a bottle and packaged in a pretty pink cream; as if the fountain of youth were discovered and shelved for your picking; as if G-d himself came down while I was sleeping with an eraser.

Together with Pure Cream cleanser (all paraben free), I finally feel like I got my skin back from my 20's. Thank you, Origins, I love you! I will never stray again.

Why on Earth Did She Wear That?

This should probably be entitled, where in the hell are her parents? I mean really, Miley? Really???

I know she is trying to be "sexy" since she's apparently now considered a "diva" (isn't that a bit of a dangerous word to use on someone so young?), but really sexy and madam are not synonymous. And I'm not entirely sure what the back is like but I'm guessing from that flash of skin under her right arm that this dish is backless. Oy. Dear child, you need a stylist. You are friends with Max Azria, afterall, could you not consult him for advice?? And those shoes....the horror.

This would work on Madonna. It would work on Dita. But it does not work on a 17 year old. Period. At all. Nyet. Non. No.

Maybe something more age appropriate? Why don't you try one of these...

from left: L'Wren Scott, Monique Lhuillier, and Elie Saab

If you were going for badass rocker chic, the L'Wren Scott would have gotten you that with an added dose of sophistication and sex appeal (remind me later to devote an entire blog to L'Wren Scott's work; she is amazing!). The Monique Lhuillier is much more ethereal and romance-y but the black tulle still gives it that bit of edge if edge, is in fact, what you are going for. And then the two Elie Saab's -- Saab, the go-to for red carpet success -- cover it up without taking away that sexiness you are so desperately trying to show. (Covering it up, I'll say it again, is often times ten times sexier!)

What it boils down to is this: honey, you have a lot of money. There is no excuse to a) dress like a tramp or b) dress like there was a brown out caused by the over indulgence of Hannah Montana mania in Nashville. Refine it a little bit, dear. It will go so much further.

And when all else fails, in the infallible words of Stanley Tucci in The Devil Wears Prada, you are in desperate need of Chanel.


15 March 2010

The Year of the Yeti, or Paris Part Deux

In the hopes of just tying this up, I am about to upload a small village of images. If you recall, fashion shows have been in full swing since the last week of January and I'm kind of ready to move onto something else (specifically my other two sadly neglected blogs and the final revisions of the Wordpress blog). So let's do this, shall we?

The Year of the Yeti

I'm not entirely sure why this has occurred. Do you think maybe it's Karl's middle finger on the rumor that's going around that maybe he's retiring, Chanel did not renew his contract and that maybe he is being replaced by Albert Elbaz? I'm not sure; I like the non-Yeti part of the designs in the second image but otherwise...I'm just not sure, Karl. I'm just not sure.

Ungaro sans Lohan

You will never hear me say this again but I'm not sure Lindsey is what screwed up Ungaro. I dare say it was never meant to go right at all because this collection, sans Lohan, was not a whole lot better than last, minus the pasties. I am just not a fan. It looks like anything you could buy at H&M. Maybe I missed something. I kind of like the draping in the second look and I like the color of the third look but I was already so unimpressed by the time of their arrival that it was like good words falling on deaf ears. I'm not getting the abundance of those belt-tastic things in image one either; she had them in every color and they were kind of like rubberbands of non-greatness.

Bambi Lives

I really loved this dress from Jean-Charles de Castelbajac until my eyes focused and I realized what it was. And then I started having flashbacks. Not a fan of Bambi. Kara does not like.

I did, however, like these from the same designer.

So those were my "not so much" picks. Let's move on to the...

Um, maybe

Vivienne Westwood
(I love Vivienne, did I mention that?)


Junya Watanabe


Barbara Bui


Veronique Leroy

Tsumori Chisato

Talbot Runhof


The more I look at most of these (above and below), the more I really like them; maybe even love. I don't really ever dislike anything from a runway simply because, hey, someone's putting it out there. What a risk, whether we like it or want to wear it or not; it takes a lot to put a collection out.

These fell into another folder, simply entitled...


Isabel Marant


Haider Ackermann

Giambattista Valli


Miu Miu


Jean Paul Gaultier

John Galliano

Issey Miyake

Vanessa Bruno

Thierry Mugler

Sonia Rykiel

Rue du Mail




Dear Lord. Until September...

14 March 2010

The Great Blog of Aught10

I'm finally getting around to categorizing my feelings about Paris. Yes, as can be expected, they are vast and many (as any good Jewish, southern woman's oughta be). I don't think people understand how OCD I really am. I go through every show for every city twice, sometimes three times! I exhaust myself but it's frustrating knowing that even though I spend so much time on something I love so very much, there is still much I'm missing not actually being there (I am accepting job offers still, Anna, just in case you were wondering...or Nina...I'm flexible).

I started thinking if I feel this way, like there is some great mystery I am missing out on say at the Chanel show (which I am still speechless over), how do other people feel? Specifically those who tend to make fun of or mock the enormous amount of time and energy that goes into this not only for the designers but also for the PR folks, the seamstresses, the photographers, the writers, the backers, all the way to the lighting techs. This could not sum it up more completely. I give you all a standing ovation for a season well done.

But let's get on to the shows and those feelings. I have 8 gabillion photos I've edited (all from nymag.com) saved in the most un-dynamic of ways: "love," "like," "um, maybe," and "not so much." As always, Paris offers a tidal wave of diversity in its collections. There is rarely, if ever, a dull moment (and even if there is, it's Paris so who cares?).


I think something happened. I think there might have been a cataclysmic shift in the race for my heart between John Galliano and Marc Jacobs. It's always been Galliano first, Jacobs second. But I think Marc's collection for Louis Vuitton might have been the ultimate undoing of my monotonous relationship with all things Galliano and therefore Dior. I know, I can't believe it either; it hurts more than just a little and I feel like such a traitor so I've come up with this hierarchy system that makes me feel a little less like I'm cheating:

John Galliano, G-d of all things couture

Marc Jacobs, G-d of all else

(I drew that lovely little crown myself, isn't it pretty? There was a shot of Galliano as King already out there...of course.)

As I said before, there's is always a little something lost in translation watching the shows from your computer via slideshow as opposed to being there live, but Marc's show for LV just about brought a tear to my eye. I can't imagine having been there, I probably would have wept.

And, yes, that is Elle McPherson on the right. To see the complete show (a frockpaper first), click here.

But then there is Dior, my absolute all time favorite fashion house. The Galliano brilliance is astonishing and consuming. The influence? Equestrian (remember Dior Couture) but I think I see a dash of Alice in Wonderland here (maybe because it's on the brain).

My third favorite came as a shock, not that I don't normally love the collections from this designer but never has their collection been in my top favorites. Elie Saab's show was just breathtakingly different from his show's of past. Always somewhat ethereal, this show took on an edgier seduction.

I think next we have to talk about Gareth Pugh who, rumor has it, may or may not be in line for succession to the McQueen throne. I can see why. I will take one of each, please.

In the spirit of education, I'm going to have to give the next spotlight to two designers whose names have not made it into my little blog here yet. I obviously missed a memo (or was entirely too in love with John and Marc, you know it could be a bit of both). Martin Grant and Andrew Gn. I love the sharp but still romantic and sexy sculptural separates of Martin Grant and the all over strength of Andrew Gn.

Martin Grant

Andrew Gn

Yohji Yamamoto went to the sea for his inspiration. I am such a sucker for navy lately and, as always, for volume.

Chloe and Stella McCartney both showed sophisticated, clean lines. I love the simplicity of both of these collections, they are so elegant.


Stella McCartney

Finally, a collection from the "new" designers at Valentino that actually resembles the work of the Maestro himself. What a relief! I was beginning to worry that we had really seen the last of true Valentino influence. (Maybe all that bad press scared them into submission. Let's hope it lasts!)

And speaking of legends, the YSL collection did not disappoint either. (Ask me how jealous I am of those attending the YSL Retrospective at the Petit Palais in Paris? Very.) This collection was so well done (although I was not the biggest fan of the color pieces) and the modern twist on "le smoking suit" (middle image) is divine! I'm feeling a little bit Catholic now though.

I can't really use the word divine when speaking about anything Parisian without talking about Lanvin. Lanvin makes me salivate, to put it bluntly. I would probably take out a small army if it meant getting to the House of Lanvin. Or, in the very least, a Jeanne Lanvin doll in that deliciously yummy Lanvin blue box with black ribbon?? Anyone?? Please? It would match my bedroom oh so perfectly. No?

Moving on from the Lanvin obsession, and while we are on the subject of love, it was pure romance at Nina Ricci (which is quite the norm there). I will take one of each of these as well and could we please include the hair. Thank you. That is all.

And Kenzo, too, felt wildly romantic. I know this dress on the left would make me look somewhat like Mrs. Roper, but I'd still wear it. It's simply beautiful!

We all know I am a huge sucker for draping. I love to drape; it was the one time in fashion school when my evil sewing teacher actually didn't have anything negative to say to me (boy, was she a picnic). Draping is no easy feat but the impact is so worth the time. Roland Mouret has it down to art form, obviously.

I also love these two from Guy Laroche, draped beautifully with such strength of character but also with extreme femininity, a hard chord to hit.

Dries Van Noten also plays the femininity card quite well, mixing it with just enough of the masculine that what you get in the end is this very casual chic that rivals only that of an old Hollywood film star.

Oh, Paris, je t'aime.

More from Paris later in the day.