woensdag 31 maart 2010

Boy meets Girl

This picture of model Liu Wen is just instant cool.
After a hint of spring, it's been raining constantly, so this would be a perfect outfit to wear and face this horrid weather. Liu looks perfect, but not too 'done' and exudes a little bit of a boyish vibe, which in my opinion always lifts a look to a higher level. While I am not a total fan of the cut and fit of her coat, it all works very well together and I especially like those Chloé-ish boots she's wearing. If she would have put on high heels, it would have been an entirely different look.
Most importantly, she looks so comfortable in her outfit. She is wearing the look, not the other way around. Without a doubt she likes what she put on that morning and even if some people dont, everyone can acknowledge she's confident in what she is wearing. And that, my darlings, is exactly what makes or breaks a look.

*credit for the picture goes to www.altamiranyc.blogspot.com *

woensdag 24 maart 2010

INSPIRED BY ... Frances Kwon

"Wear what you love and don't make any apologies for it."

I would like to introduce a series of interviews, starting with the lovely Frances Kwon, creator of the blog http://www.pinkhorrorshow.blogspot.com/, the first interview of (hopefully) more to come.

Frances is the 22 year old creator of http://www.pinkhorrorshow.blogspot.com/, where she delights us with frequent posts about her life in New York. Her flair for fashion shines through in her photographs, which could easily come from an issue of ELLE or Marie Claire magazine.

This New York native has developed quite a sense of style, which is to be admired especially because of her young age. Her blog is very pleasant to read and I haven't been able to let it go since the first time I read it. The overall styling is so clean and modern. She keeps it very consistent, her main focus is her daily style, although we frequently get a glimpse of what Frances is like as a person.

She obviously likes fashion, but she likes to bake as well and seems to adore cupcakes (who doesn't!).

She likes to go out, eat and enjoy New York City at its best. In fact it is one of her favorite things to do in NYC since ""there are too many good places to go to and not enough time to enjoy them all". For those who have a trip to NY planned, head on over to Gramercy Tavern, Frances' favorite restaurant, which is located at 42 East 20th Street, between Park Avenue South and Broadway. According to her, the friendly staff serves the most amazing new-American food.

Last but not least, she loves her two loyal companions : Cake (her red cat) and Crumb (the black one). Let's not forget, ever since Grace Coddington wrote a book about her precious cats (Catwalk Cats), they will never go out of style and are therefore permitted to be featured on fashion blogs everywhere.

Frances' love affair with fashion started in her teenage years and she inherited most of it from her mother, who "was a very stylish woman". She has since learned the importance of fashion, saying it is "significant because it represents who you are and how the world will perceive you".

When you look at her pictures, she can not be perceived as anything other than stylish.

Her style could be described as classic, romantic, with a bit of edge.

She will wear a very elegant, soft, white blouse and pair it with leather (very short) shorts and the highest of heels. She will effortlessly combine elegant Prada heels with a rock and roll shirt and a vintage looking necklace. Most importantly, she will always make it her own. Some people throw on whatever is in and combine so many trends together, but if you fail to make it your own, you'll look anything but stylish. That's not the case with Frances.

New York seems like a great place to live. It combines culture, food and fashion. Is there anywhere else you'd like to live? "Right now I can't picture myself living anywhere else, but from time to time I'll watch a movie that takes place in California and everything looks so beautiful, the weather is perfect and sunny, no subway system with crazy people riding next to you haha. I look at that kind of life and sometimes think it would be amazing to take a break from NY and live somewhere in California.". She says she is lucky enough to have traveled quite a bit and pick up things here and there (like her favorite item in her closet : a collarless leather jacket she saw in a boutique in Korea a few years ago and instantly fell in love with) but will always love New York "because it's a giant melting pot of different styles", before adding that "French women always do have impeccable style".

So how has living in New York influenced your style? "I think almost everyone is aware of the "New York style" that includes a lot of black, refined and tailored clothing, but of course there's more to it than just that. When I moved here, I had more courage to wear things that I didn't before, more fashion forward items", she says, "I've learned more about the classic pieces that will serve both utility and style purposes because I'm walking around and carrying several things everyday.". You won't find any over the top pieces. Instead, you'll find lots of basics with a twist, which she glams up with thoughtful accessories, like this beautiful YSL ring.

Proving that simple doesn't mean boring (at all!) : Frances thoughens up a vintage dress with Zara thigh high boots and a Hermes belt.

It is obvious Frances loves accessories. She favours bold, timeless pieces that you can't ignore. Is there anyone in particular that inspires her? "Anna Dello Russo because that woman is FEARLESS! She epitomizes fashion-forward and I love that she lives in such over the top extravagance. She won't settle for one Chanel brooch, she needs 10. I clearly don't emulate her style exactly, but she inspires me to be indulgent and playful with my clothes/jewelery."

It's hard not to envy the upscale accessories in her closet. Would you rather save money for one piece you've wanted for ages instead of buying a trunk full of jewellery that cost much less? "I've made mistakes when shopping and now I know that trend items are not usually worth it because all this little money adds up and you're only collecting bargain quality items when you could have one really beautiful piece." Good advice, since you'll get a lot more wear out of something that's made out of quality material and not to mention is made with better craftmanship. Now that we're on the subject of jewellery, what's your favorite item that you cherish the most? "My Cartier love bracelet. It's classic, simple, and streamlined in design. Also the concept behind the Love collection is interesting. By "locking" the bracelet onto a loved one like a chastity belt, it's a little creepy!"

What I've noticed throughout her blog, is that she'll wear investment buys with items from Zara, J.Crew as well as vintage items (which she is trying to incorporate more into her wardrobe). This, in my opinion, is a great shopping mantra, as you only need to buy a few investment pieces that will last you forever and you can pair them up with less expensive things that can be more trendy and fashion forward.

What are the best investment buys a girl in her twenties should buy? "I'll admit, I'm a very fickle girl when it comes to clothes/accessories and I've made several mistakes in terms of what I've splurged on. Even now I fawn over impractical things but I've collected several staple items over the years. Booties have become my best friend. My simple black leather Pradas get the most use out of any shoe in my closet because like a good pair of jeans, they can go with almost everything. Platform shoes are also recommended because they provide more comfort, so if you like fancy footwear but can't handle heels, opt for a platform."

"For bags I really think two sizes are necessary for the average girl: one medium to large size bag that's easy to carry everyday items for school/work and a smaller more elegant purse for the evening. My favorite bag to go out with is a small Chanel 2.55 bag. A good watch is also a great staple item to have, I wear my Cartier tank Francaise watch for night and day because it works for both. Jackets/coats are important too, because they are the first thing people see in the winter! A well tailored jacket made of good material, not necessarily expensive, will last you a long time."

To finish up, a couple of final questions.

You won't leave your house without? "A bra. I think girls, even ones with a small chest, should not leave the house without one! Unless heavily layered with clothes."

Is there a certain trend you dislike and why? "Clogs...I just don't understand! I hated them when I was a kid too."

How would you define luxury? "Luxury can be frivolous, it can be meaningful, it can be extraordinary, or simple and understated. Luxury to me is definitely a form of extravagance but it can be anything from a first class trip to St. Tropez or a box of chocolate truffles from the grocery store."

And finally, what's your style mantra? "Wear what you love and don't make any apologies for it." I couldn't agree more.

*Frances is currently studying photography at Parsons (the New School for Design) in NY, something she has wanted to do for a very long time. When I ask her about her post-Parson plans, she is still unsure but has decided she no longer wants to pursue a career in photography. She does however want to remain in the fashion world and develop a career in the fashion and/or art industry in which she, withouth a doubt, will succeed. I wish her the best of luck! *

maandag 22 maart 2010

Spring has arrived ... in our wardrobes

For those who don't know her, the stylish lady in the picture above is Hanneli Mustaparta. She used to be a model and currently works for MTV Norway. But the reason most of us know her, is because of her blog www.hanneli.com, where she delights us with her amazing eye.
Her photographs are spot-on. She seeks out the most amazing images in the fashion world.
It's great to see the world through her eyes. I applaud her creativity and her personal style, which is always daring, edgy and stylish at the same time.
I particularly enjoy this ensemble.
It totally embodies the modern Chloé woman and is the perfect spring outfit.
It's practical, light, comfortable, feminine, elegant.
It's perfect to wear to a job interview, to go shopping with your girlfriends. You can add some heels and enjoy a great dinner with your boyfriend in style or have a drink at your favorite bar in the sun, now the weather is finally "heating up" (A bit. I know. Wishful thinking.).
It's got a slight tomboyish vibe to it, which always makes me feel great. I like outfits that are feminine, but aren't too much.
Proving that you don't need to break the bank to look great ànd get some investment pieces, Hanneli is mixing Zara (the blazer, which I will be looking for), Mulberry (the bag, the Alexa to be more specific), American Apparel (the shirt) and Acne (the pants).
Killer style ànd budget minded, how can you not love her!

*credit for the picture goes to Hanneli herself, www.hanneli.com*

donderdag 18 maart 2010

Chanel Rouge Coco

"A girl can't read that sort of thing without her lipstick."

Audrey Hepburn's character Holly Golightly sweetly asks Paul to hand over her purse, because a girl like her simply can't bear to read the bad news the note from her Brazilian lover has to bring without putting on some lipstick.

I found that particular scene so endearing. It's like the lipstick is going to hold her hand and stand by her side. Her loyal protector who is always there for her to rely on. During the good and the bad. It is always there for her to lift her spirits and put her in a good news, for even is she'll get bad news, at least she'll look good while she hears it.

Lipstick has always done that for women.
It's no wonder why lipstick is so recession-proof.
It won't break the bank and it will make you feel better, even without a closet full of clothes.

But the past decade or so, it seems my generation of women have lost their touch with this small companion. We have been the lipgloss-generation , a label Peter Philips has given us.

To me, Peter Philips is a genius. If I could interview one person about beauty-related subjects, it would be him. Why? Because he gets women. He understands what they want in terms of looks. He creates make-up women want to wear. He disregards trends and searches for items that will last, that women will want to keep in their purses and reach for in times of doubt, just like Holly Golightly did.
Philips is the global creative director at Chanel since 2008. Since then, he's released, among others, Le Vernis in Jade, which has been a global phenomenon, ranking in the most ridiculous amount of money anyone has ever paid for nailpolish : one hundred dollars.
This Belgian is also responsible for the development of the newest lipstick to hit the make-up counters : Rouge Coco.

Rouge Coco is meant to update the Hydrabase line and to "seduce women back into using lipstick". His main goal was to make lipstick accessible again for this generation of young women, who have never worn lipstick before and haven't dared to take the leap from lipgloss to a proper lipstick. Because even when we didn't wear lipstick, he still got the same questions over and over : how do you wear lipstick, how do you know when it's the right colour for you, etc. So Peter developed this new line, which fronts Vanessa Paradis as the spokeswoman.

Clearly, Vanessa is an obvious choice. For Chanel and for the lipstick itself.
To me, she is the ultimate Parisienne as well as the ultimate Chanel girl / woman.
With her pale skin, small and delicate features and beautiful lips, she makes for an excellent spokesperson.

Peter succeeded in his mission. I have never worn lipstick in my life and at 22 (almost 23), I thought it was a good time to try it out. And I'm so glad I did!
I didn't feel uncomfortable at all! In fact, it really did make me feel womanly and elegant. The fact that the packaging is so nice and luxurious is only a plus.
From what I understand, all the different shades differ in texture, if only a tiny bit.
They are all long lasting and very pigmented, so you only need one swipe.
There are 30 different shades, so there is plenty to choose from. I've seen all the colours and they are all showstoppers, each one is very different from the other and they are all quite wearable as well. The lipstick doesn't feel uncomfortable, even though my lips are generally pretty dry. It also lasts really long, so you don't need to reapply all the time. I put mine to the ultimate test: I kissed my boyfriend, sat through dinner and a movie with friends and even after all that, the Rouge Coco was still visible on my lips and hadn't run or disappeared into a small line.

So on to the shades!
It's not very practical for me to review them all, so I'm only going to include my favorites.

Rouge Coco in number 5 : Mademoiselle

Mademoiselle is the shade worn by Vanessa Paradis in the campaign. From what I've read this shade looks different on everyone. My friend, convinced by seeing Orchidée on me during our dinner, had to have one too and she bought this one. It really is a stunner! I tried it out too and it will be my next purchase. It's perfect for during the day, it makes your lips look fuller, it's just a nice colour all around. The texture is quite creamy so your lips won't feel dry at all. I would label it as a nude-pinkish colour. It makes your lips stand out in a subtle way. I would say this really is appropriate all the time. This is also a personal favorite of Peter Philips himself (although he confesses he loves all his "babies", as he calls them).

Rouge Coco in number 17 Orchidée

This is the shade I bought. It's quite bright, but not overpowering. It was too much on my friend, Mademoiselle suited her much better. It's a nice in-between shade, perfect for someone who has enough nudes, but isn't ready for a true red.

Rouge Coco in number 19 Gabrielle

Now this is a true red! Jen Brill (right, in the picture above), who is one of the beauty ambassadors of Chanel, is a loyal fan and wears nothing but this shade. I love this one, it's such a vibrant, lively colour. It's almost an accessory by itself! Just keep the rest of your make-up quite bare.

Last but not least ... Rouge Coco in number 29 Ballet Russe

This is such a beautiful, deep shade. It's the most purple one out of all the shades and I wouldn't say this is suitable for daytime, but it's certainly a great choice for a party. Again, it's probably better to keep your face quite bare for this one and let it stand out on its own.

*All swatches belong to www.temptalia.com*

Don't be afraid to mix it up and try a colour you haven't worn before. There are no strict rules when it comes to make-up, you should be able to have some fun with it.
Don't worry about the colour of your complexion, the colour of your hair and eyes, etc.
The main thing you should consider when buying lipstick is that when you put it on, it should make your features stand out, it should make you look fresh and awake.
If it wears you down, it is the wrong colour for you. It's that simple.

I also wanted to include this video. I figured it's nice for you to put a face to a name and when you hear Peter talk with so much passion about his work, you can't help but like him!
This video belongs to www.graziadaily.co.uk so all credit goes to them.

Chanel Rouge Coco is available for 26,05 € or 30 $. Yes, I know, it's not cheap, but it'll last you a long time. It's worth it. In the words of the Master himself : "Try it. It will make you feel beautiful.".

dinsdag 16 maart 2010

Fall-Winter 2010 - What to Wear

My overall assessment concerning the fall collections for 2010 would be that most of them had a very feminine undertone to them.
After a few season with nothing but too obvious references to the (in my opinion hideous) Eighties, a lot of prominent designers made the very distinct decision to find their inspiration either a couple of decades earlier (the Fifties), a few decades later (the Noughties) or very much in the present (Dries Van Noten).

I've never really been a big Balmain fan. I can certainly understand their appeal, but I tend to find their designs a bit harsh, attention-drawing and not very ladylike. Thus it should not come as a surprise that I was pleasantly surprised to see designers like Dries Van Noten, Marc Jacobs for Louis Vuitton, Miuccia Prada and Stella McCartney showcase clothes that make women feel beautiful. Their clothes had such an ease and freshness to them, they were soft without loosing that special something. They caught your attention, without looking like a Christmas tree with too many bells and whistles, which I find is the case with the recent collections by Balmain and the fall 2010 ready-to-wear collection by Pucci (I doubt anyone can pull off dresses THAT short...great legs or not).

So let us take a closer look at ....

Dries Van Noten

Fellow Belgian Dries Van Noten showed a collection in Paris that was very now, very modern, very wearable and extremely fresh. There really wasn't one piece I wouldn't like to get my hands on. His silhouettes were full of colour and a mix of lots of different prints, which seem to blend in together with such ease. The different hints of leopard especially caught my eye, as I thought they were a great way to add some detail and personality to an otherwise understated outfit. I also loved the impeccably made greenish coat (second picture), it looks like a great investment piece that you could wear for many, many years to come. Perfect to throw over any outfit, you can mix it with lots of different colours, it's a great alternative to the camel coat that we'll also be seeing next winter. To me, Dries must have envisioned this collection with a very busy woman in mind, who is always on the go and needs some really great basic pieces, as well as some eyecatchers to jazz up her outfit without it becoming too flashy, so she could still look professional and put together.
This is for a woman of all ages, who's main concern when it comes to fashion is to feel comfortable and be able to look great in any occasion whatsoever, be it at a private gathering or something work-related.
I can already see her running through the busy streets of New York, Paris or London, in a hurry to catch her subway train. In these outfits, I doubt any woman would mind...

Louis Vuitton


Marc Jacobs continued the Fifties throwback we've first seen at the Prada show.
There's been a lot of attention from the press to these two shows, mainly due to the fact that both Marc Jacobs and Miuccia Prada used somewhat healthier looking models. Some of the Victoria's Secret Angels walked the Prada show (Miranda Kerr, Doutzen Kroes, Alessandra Ambrosio and Catherine McNeil), while Laetitia Casta, Elle Mcpherson, Bianca Balti and again Alessandra graced the Vuitton show.
I loved how the clothes at Prada contained such Prada specific qualities and elements, like that very recognizable print. The whole collection was beautifully done, but I prefer the Vuitton one to the Prada show. I found all the Prada silhouettes to be a little square shaped, while the Vuitton collection somehow elongated the models' bodies even more.
The shoes with the little bows at Vuitton were to die for! It was obvious Marc thought about a woman's comfort, as he included some kitten heels in his shoe collection. Sky high shoes make everyone gasp, yes, but this isn't necessarily always a good thing. Especially for the woman walking in them.
In an interview about his collection and his choice for a more ladylike silhouette, Mr. Jacobs said he was feeling tired with all the over the top trends we've witnessed the past collections and that he wanted to make something real women of all ages, shapes and sizes would want to wear and would look good wearing them.
Though this obviously isn't made for the office, there were certainly a lot of great seperate pieces in the collection that everyone could wear with some basic elements. This way, you give a small wink to the Fifties, without looking like you've just stepped of the Mad Men set. Think Gwyneth Paltrow in The Talented Mr. Ripley. And although you can't wear this every day, I guarantee you, you will feel like you are the most beautiful woman in the room when you do.

Stella McCartney

Stella kept to her usual clean style. The key word here is 'minimalism'.
It was almost too basic for Fashion Week, the models wearing very little makeup, wearing basic coloured clothes. But it was done with such craftmanship, it was like a breath of fresh air in the midst of this hectic, stressy week. Stella used an extremely neutral palette, but it was the detail that went into the clothes that set her designs apart. A great example would be the cut of the grey coat in the last picture. THAT is a perfect coat for fall.
This whole collection brings to mind Audrey Hepburn. Her wardrobe choices back then would certainly stand the test of time and still be relevant today. Ms. Hepburn's iconic outfits are all about timeless chic, which Stella captured amazingly well in her collection.
Not unlike the Dries Van Noten collection, this is a great choice of wardrobe for the career-minded woman, I would say not younger than thirty.

The recurring theme throughout these three shows, for me, is that these clothes really are made for women. These are clothes that, however different they may be, make a woman look good and (most importantly) feel great in an effortless manner. And isn't that what fashion should really be about?

* All pictures are courtesy of Style.com *

Les Fidèles - Part Deux

"I sold my soul to Karl Lagerfeld"

Wouldn't you?

I blogged about Les Fidèles de Chanel in a previous post.
In the video below, Style.com's Derek Blasberg talks to the fashionable Chanel ambassadors on the launch of the new Rouge Coco lipstick.

maandag 15 maart 2010


The fur vest by Isabel Marant.

Worn here by supermodel Alessandra Ambrosio while running around in Paris doing numerous prestigious shows and thus coming back to her high fashion roots.

The Brazilian beauty threw hers over a brown leather jacket, which I suspect is Balenciaga, whereas fellow VS Angel Rosie paired her with a simple vest.

The vest, which was featured on the Spring / Summer 2010 Ready to Wear fashion show, is now in stores.

I wish it was faux fur, but it appears it is made of real raccoon. I can't help it, I love animals and wish she had decided against using real fur but alas.

Personal fur-related opinions aside, this is a beauty.
Perfect alone, perfect over a dress for a more bohemian vibe, it makes for such an interesting and original investment piece.
It instantly adds such a splash of colour, you can't help but love it! It's so over the top, yet paired like Alessandra with simple pieces, it makes your outfit (and I imagine your mood as well) POP and stand out!
Boys will probably find it pretty odd (I know my boyfriend would) but at least it's soft and they wouldn't mind cuddling up to you, so don't let them hold you back.
This piece just exudes fun and happiness, without leaping over to the "crazy" side.

Nurture your inner (absolutely adorable) animal and let loose with this item of the month, now in stores at Isabel Marant stores.
* credit for the Alessandra picture goes to http://www.shoothebreeze.blogspot.com/ *