Sunday, January 25, 2009

A True Celebrity

Absolutely stunning. Jason Wu was a perfect choice for the First Lady.

A Glamorous Hollywood Life

So I'm slightly behind on my awards shows, and I'm going to deconstruct the Golden Globes fashion as I watch the SAG awards but I must say, for those who bemoaned the lack of glamour at the Golden Globes, the SAG awards might just be the answer to your prayers. From what I see, there's quite a bit of diversity in terms of dress styles, so we won't be stuck with a sea of nude gowns (but gorgeous nude gowns, I will say). Everybody seems to be pulling out all the stops tonight, which is funny because this is considered a less "high profile" event than the Golden Globes.

Before I get into this, some quick notes...from what I've seen so far (which isn't much), America Ferrera is looking beautiful in neutrals, Tina Fey is wearing a plain classic black dress, Kate Winslet is wearing a stunning cobalt blue dress similar to the Project Runway finale dress of Chloe Dao (with the back cutouts, you know?), and Angelina Jolie is looking slightly drab...but of course her gorgeous looks always stun us all. Anyway, now onto the long overdue Globes fashion. Here are my picks for best dressed and of course, my logic behind the choices:

Best Bombshell

I won't lie to you guys, when Drew Barrymore's face popped up on my TV screen I could barely recognize her with that huge hairdo. Yes, I will concur that the whole beehive/teased look was a bit much. But in photographs, it actually looks quite lovely. And whether or not you liked her hair, I thought her dress was gorgeous. It was a beautiful classic look done right, and I thought her version of a mermaid hem looked so much more ethereal than, say, Eva Longoria's. Her blatant promotion on the red carpet, however, was not so much to my liking.

Best Black

Just a few days ago I was worried that Evan von Teese...I mean, Evan Rachel Wood, was going to disappear under a pile of makeup. But ever since her split from Marilyn Manson, whose creepy "genius" never really seemed to click to me, she's been losing the pounds of makeup and looking lovelier and lovelier every day. This dress looks absolutely stunning on her, and the shimmer and tiers make up for the basic black. I think the form-fitted shape, coupled with the tiers, really show off her best features. Stay on this track, Evan!

Best Nude

Perhaps I'm a bit biased, because I can relate to Isla Fisher's petite stature, but I think she looked absolutely phenomenal. There were many women wearing nude coloured dresses tonight, and I think the subtle band of brown on Isla Fisher's dress was simple enough to keep her dress classic, but also interesting enough to make her stand apart from the crowd. I thought she looked simple and classic.

Best Risk-Taker

Though E! Online's Fashion Police may have described Maggie Gyllenhaal's dress as some sort of old granny gone wrong creatin, I actually thought it was a rather fantastic way to take a risk on the red carpet. Before looking closely at the dress, I really had no idea that it was a purple and blue leopard print. That concept could have gone oh so wrong, but I really think that in this case she got it totally right. The makeup was a bit much on camera, but the structural sleeve and black band make this dress fabulous.

Best Overlooked Attendee

I really have no idea why Melissa George isn't getting more attention. I adore her outfit. The slit with the black strap looks so crisp, clean, and modern, and the black structural detailing is fantastic. She, to me, looks like Nicole Kidman from afar, with that same sort of cold yet statuesque appearance, and her ice blue gown with modern detailing. I really wish the various fashion rating agencies would pay more attention to her (perhaps it's because she isn't a part of a film/movie that's been getting a lot of attention recently), because I thought she looked stunning.

Best Dressed

I thought January Jones just knocked it out of the park. Maybe it's my bias towards pleated frocks ever since Leanne Marshall won Project Runway (doesn't this look like a Leanimal creation?), but I thought that she carried this dress off beautifully. My one tiny qualm is that the dress could have been a bit less wrinkly, but honestly...the pleating, the modern style, the colour, the hair, and the makeup were all incredible.

By the way, I just spotted January Jones on the red carpet at the SAG awards and she looks pretty incredible...who knows, she might just win Best Dressed two awards shows in a row!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Urban Living

Imagine Urban Outfitters crossed with Anthropologie...but vintage.

I present to you: The Urban Collection. The pieces are one of a kind, and the store boasts a layout and font setup similar to Urban Outfitters, while carrying pieces that have the unique quirk of Anthropologie. The pieces are actually significantly cheaper than Anthropologie, but only come in certain sizes so you may fall in love with a piece that isn't quite your size.

It was truly a challenge for me to narrow down my favourite pieces from this store to this many, and even this is a lot for a "featured" selection, so that just gives you a hint at the many glorious outfits there are for sale.

This jumpsuit grabbed my attention not because I personally believe I could pull it off, but because the girl in this picture just looks so effortlessly chic. This is someone who The Sartorialist would find it worthwhile to excellent compliment in my book. I have always looked upon jumpsuits dubiously, and this one might just have turned around my thoughts. $88

This dress has ruffles and a gorgeous, poppy colour. Poppy as pops...not as in the flower. Seriously though, is there more to say? Oh, and as proof that trends come and go, this supposedly channels an "80s" vibe but doesn't it look like something you'd find floating around modern racks? $43

This dress is like vintage Whitney Port, don't you think? The bright, punchy colours and mini length would perfectly compliment our favourite NYC trekker. $36

I could never, ever pull this off...but my goodness this dress is fierce. The poufy sleeves remind me a little too much of bad 80s fashion, but with the right accessories this could be a standout garment. $33

I got a kick out of this fake Chanel scarf...something about it seemed lovingly kitschy. Again, I'd never wear it but someone with the right outfit could completely pull this one off. Or hang it on your wall, for crying out's fake Chanel. $48

This blue sequined top is something I could see myself wearing with shorts, a skirt, skinny jeans...pretty much anything for a quick dose of glitz and glamour. Think of it as a tamer, more quirky take on the recent sequins/flapper trend. $66

A sweet light blue dress with gorgeous white lace appliques...I know it's not the most weather appropriate thing but isn't it just adorable? Maybe with a black cardigan and tights it would be a little bit less strange to wear in winter. This dress has a cutesy, little-girl vibe reminiscent of Zooey Deschanel. $77

I completely want this sailor dress...unfortunately it comes in S/M and while that would probably work okay for me my new year's resolution is to find clothes that actually fit and not just belt everything so I don't get lost in a sea of cloth. Those red zipper boots are pretty amazing as well...unfortunately those are sold out. $68

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Inauguration Fascination

I hope you all are watching today's inauguration festivities! I thought Obama's speech was absolutely fantastic, and even for those who aren't politically minded...

...that is one fabulously dressed first family. I'll tell you more about my thoughts on today's sartorially notable moments tomorrow, but just for those who are curious, the adorable Sasha and Malia are both clad in J. Crew outfits, while Michelle Obama is wearing a gorgeous ensemble by Isabel Toledo. I completely agree with the numerous fashionistas claiming her to be the next Jackie O. Michelle O, anybody?

Monday, January 19, 2009

Whitney von Furstenberg

Whitney Port's stint at Diane von Furstenberg clearly comes with benefits. For those of you out there that believe she was hired more as a company ambassador than a PR agent, some fuel for your fire might be the fact that Whitney seems to have access to some pretty exclusive designs by Madame Furstenberg. Personally, I think the whole "The City" stint, with Whitney and Olivia, was a perfect marketing decision by Diane von Furstenberg. First of all, a lot of people can't tell it's a stint, and if they can, they still watch The City (myself included). Second, Diane von Furstenberg may be a widely recognized and adored label, but the brand itself is falling into the "older women" category and it really needs a youthful lift. And third, having Whitney Port, the easy-breezy boho girl, and Olivia Palermo, the pristine socialite, both represent the label, Diane von Furstenberg can appeal to girls that associate themselves with either personality. This was a fabulous marketing decision on the part of DVF.

Whitney herself has been seen wearing a gorgeous white Diane dress, clearly made for the red carpet, and I think that was a good initial strategy. Now, however, I'd suggest leaving the high-power red carpet dresses to the bigger stars, because seeing them wear DVF will give the brand an even bigger boost. Personally, I would have had Whitney wear her long yellow dress, and save the white sequined one for another person, as the yellow one is harder to pull off. So if we're leaving the star power gowns for bigger names, what's Whitney's purpose? Well, besides her day job I'd suggest that Diane von Furstenberg dress Whitney in past season's styles that are in the sale-rack-at-Net-a-Porter stage. While it's a little dubious that Whitney would wear a $162.50 on-sale frock, I think it'd be a great way to market some of the more casual styles that have a lot of potential, like these:

This dress looks crisp and clean, and its mini length would complement Whitney's penchant for micro-miniskirts. The tunic style may not be exactly Whitney, but I think that if she accessorized it right it would look more vintage than ethnic-boho. $315

Whitney seems to really enjoy vividly printed minidresses, and I think she's just the person to pull them off. Back in the Hills world, she could just let her hair flow and be the best-looking girl for a while, but I think she's facing some serious competition in NYC. This dress, I think, would look absolutely wonderful on Whitney...she has just the right style to carry it off. But I'd hope she wouldn't go too boho on this one and pair it with that wintry headband thing she had on in the last episode. This Mondrian dress is reminiscent of the YSL Mondrian dresses, and I think a dress like this would give Whitney a little bit more fashion cred in terms of street style. $281.25

This dress, like the Mondrian one, is very Whitney in its printed-minidress-ness. I think this one suits her more for some reason...maybe it's the colour scheme or maybe it's because I associate her with short-sleeved short dresses after the first episode of The City, but she really comes to mind when I think of this dress. Her model-like figure and long blonde locks would be a wonderful complement to the modern print on this dress. And yes, this is the $162.50 dress I was talking about earlier. $162.50

This dress is an example of something I think Whitney could breathe new life into. Looking at it in this picture, it looks a little bit like a polo dress for overly wealthy people. It's got a strange cross between preppy and fancy, and it isn't quite working. It's also supposed to be somewhat of a loose fit, not so much in a slouchy way but in a relaxed sort of way.

I think that if Whitney were to wear this dress with the collar unbuttoned and popped out, like in this picture, it would appeal a lot more to the younger generation. Just typical Whitney style loose waves would complement this dress really well and almost breathe new life into it. That, I think, is something that Whitney could do really well for this company...breathe new life into old dresses. And I think that that's the right move for DVF, especially since the younger crowd Whitney/Olivia are supposed to appeal to don't need red carpet dresses every weekend, they need cute cocktail dresses or casual dresses for social events.

Whitney von Furstenburg

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

A First Class Recession Fighter

This past weekend, an article in the New York Times about our beloved new First Lady, Michelle Obama, caught my eye. It claimed that Michelle Obama was the key to getting out of our recession, at least on the fashionista side of the population. I do love what Michelle is doing for the world of political fashion; seeing Thakoon floral sheath dresses instead of stuffy Oscar de la Renta suits (nothing wrong with Oscar de la Renta, it's gets a little bit repetitive) on someone like Michelle was just so refreshing. The best part about it was, she wasn't labeled as a simple auxiliary to President Obama because of her attire. I know that sounds weird, but it's nice to know that women don't have to wear stuffy suits just to be taken seriously. That is in no way a dig to Hillary Clinton and her suits, by the way. I also don't think it's right for people to obsess over Hillary Clinton's attire in such a negative way; though I do not mind the positive attention that Michelle Obama has been getting.

Sorry, that introduction got a little out of hand. What I was getting at is the series of sketches for Michelle Obama's Inauguration Ball gown that are featured on We've seen numerous sketches from designers like Betsey Johnson to Zac Posen, and even past Project Runway contestants. Now Vogue is asking whether a CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund participant will be the one to dress Michelle for this grand event. Let's have a look at the sketches, shall we?

Alexander Wang

Love Alexander Wang. Hate this idea. I mean, it's nice for a up-and-coming starlet who's daring enough to venture into the trend-world of PVC and leather and other shiny black materials. Even without the gargantuan back cutout, it's still kind of...strange...for an Inaugural Ball. Alexander Wang claims that this dress is "business in the front, party in the back..." but it kind of scares me that he's likening his dress to a mullet. It does pain me to be this negative about an Alexander Wang design, and on a different person I might like it, but it really is not appropriate for an Inaugural Ball.

Albertus Swanepoel

The idea of pillbox hats seems cute, but perhaps a little too Jackie O for me. I realize that Michelle Obama is the "new Jackie O," but still, I was hoping that sheaths would be her trademark, instead of outfits suited more for the body type of the past First Lady.

Vena Cava

I like the idea that Vena Cava brings up of wearing a contemporary-priced designer to the inaugural ball, but I can't say I'm in love with the sketch. The description sounds wonderful, but I'm not quite sold on the print featured in the looks a bit too much like an M. C. Escher optical illusion. The silhouette looks promising though, and it's nice to see someone's sketch on a woman that has a little more meat and bones on her than your average toothpick.


I will say that this is quite lovely, even if it does seem a bit stereotypically Marchesa. It's a beautiful, red carpet-worthy gown that's modest enough for a political event. It would be perfect for a more girly, princess-like character but it seems to me like this isn't exactly Michelle's style. The few girly additions to Mrs. Obama's attire were Erickson Beamon brooches, and those were on the modern side. This is a gorgeous dress though, and again, the appropriately-sized model is promising.

Derek Lam

This is my favourite out of all the entries (of the CFDA group; there have been many more by larger designers). The dress is just as red carpet worthy as the one above, but the style is much more modern and sleek and less "Cinderella." The colour would look absolutely wonderful against Michelle's skin, and the black belt is reminiscent of many of the sheath dresses worn on the campaign. In real life, I'd be worried about two things. First, the creasing. Michelle's going to be doing a lot of moving around, and I think that she would not like the idea of a personal steamer following her around everywhere. Second, the high-fashion-ness of such a dress. This is sort of insulting, I know, but without the proper execution and following of details, this dress could look like something most women could get at Nordstrom off the rack. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with Michelle looking like a regular lady, I would just say that with a gown like this, the fit and cut have to be perfect, and the pleating details have to be there...otherwise it might look a bit bland.


I get what Doo-Ri Chung was going for here, but I'm not sure if that print is quite right. Michelle wore many flattering sheath dresses on the campaign, and I think that if this occasion were a pick-your-own-formality one, she might be better off opting for a sheath that's not floor-length. Unfortunately, it looks like Mrs. Obama might not have that choice. But even if she did, I think that there are a lot more sheath dresses that look a little bit more...special? I'm not sure that's the right word. I suppose that this dress just doesn't really say "Michelle Obama" to me.

Adieu to (E)luxury

As I mentioned in my previous post, those of us who look fondly upon eluxury as a way to access a luxurious Louis Vuitton collection, or high fashion that has been categorized into a flash-devoid, simple, catalogue-style website perfect for browsing. As a fond farewell, I picked four pieces that are painfully gorgeous and painfully reduced in eluxury's sale (3.1 Phillip Lim for $99? Preposterous!).

Dolce & Gabbana Runway Long Tuxedo Coat, $929 -was $3,690-

3.1 Phillip Lim Cropped Double-Zop Rain Coat, $99 -was 395-

Maison Martin Margiela White Suit Jacket, $369 -was $1,485-

Fendi Backless Petal Dress, $500 -was $2,000-

Zac's Meester

Remember Leighton Meester's beautiful body-skimming floral sheath done by one of her main men, Zac Posen?

Well, it seems that Zac is no longer as en vogue these days, as Marc Jacobs has taken his spot as goofy-young-quirky-American-male-designer. Though I have seen Zac Posen's name quite frequently, and his clothes continue to be beautiful, it seems as though he has passed through a glitter period that is sadly coming to a close. I'm quite disappointed, as I am sometimes disappointed with the things that Marc Jacobs does with the label power that he has. I know, it sounds crazy...but you know how lots of people say "well, if it's Marc Jacobs it's either really fantastic or absolutely awful..."? Imagine if "absolutely awful" wasn't quite as plentiful. See what I mean? In any case, I was able to locate Zac's (or should I say Leighton's?) lovely dress on Eluxury, which is (sadly) going out of business.

You can get it at Eluxury's sale section for a cool $779.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Makeup Musts, pt. 1

My three absolute makeup brands are NARS, Bobbi Brown, and that order. Once upon a time, MAC was my number one, but some of the more disappointing recent launches have demoted it to number three. I also have some specific favourites, which I'll elaborate on later, but I decided that I would give a little review of my favourite brands; what I love most, specific recommendations, and any other little tidbits I want to share. Keep in mind that my main love is neutrals and classic makeup looks, so my recommendations will be mainly centered around those.

Let's start off with Bobbi. Many people dismiss this brand as simply a boring and bland line, but I personally adore Bobbi Brown's offerings, especially those that have to do with sets or assortments.

The thing that I love most about Bobbi Brown is pretty much anything relating to palettes. Her ready-made palettes are brilliant; I especially love her Lip and Eye palette, which includes some of her beautiful metallic shadows. I would also suggest trying out her Mauve Face isn't exactly the newest of products any more, but all the products in it are lovely; the reason why I specifically suggest trying it out is that it could be a flop if the colours don't work with your skintone, but a total success if they do. A recent release which I definitely won't be getting but that some more colour-friendly people might enjoy is the "Brights" palette. While this is no Coastal Scents extravaganza, as the pans are incredibly tiny, if I wanted to try out bright colours this is definitely how I'd do it. The shadows are all matte, which might be boring to some, but I love the idea of miniature pans (for those who don't use super-bright shadows as an everyday staple). I will say that it was definitely a strange marketing strategy to say that people should use the shadows by themselves and not mixed together, as many women find hours of joy in preparing new eyeshadow colour combos. I'm guessing that what the BB team envisioned was not necessarily a whole lot of blending and combining, but more allover colours or even pops of colour as a liner.

I also love her palette system with shadows, glosses, and blushes. Though it is more expensive than MAC's system of shadow pans, I love Bobbi Brown's option of buying palettes and individual shadows/blushes/glosses and then popping them in at your will. That way, you can buy a 4-pan palette, a bunch of individual items, and then pop whatever you'll need for the day into a palette.

My personal palette recipe?

1 empty 4-pan palette

1 blush in Apricot Pink

1 gloss in Cherry Pink

2 metallic eyeshadows, 1 in Champagne Quartz (gorgeous gorgeous gorgeous) and 1 in Burnt Sugar

Another well-renowned product from Bobbi Brown is the Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner. I absolutely love this product; the staying power is great and the colours are beautiful. I wouldn't say that this is leaps and bounds better than most typical gel liners (MAC Fluidline, etc.) but I think that the colours in this line, specifically the Shimmer Ink ones, are particularly gorgeous. My personal favourites are the Granite Shimmer Ink, either for smokey eyes or for a pretty alternative to plain black, Bronze Shimmer Ink, which brings out blue eyes beautifully and is a nice naturally metallic liner for tan skin, and Black Mauve Shimmer Ink, which is a beautiful black-but-not-quite-black liner.

This may seem like a random product, but I happen to really enjoy Bobbi Brown's tinted lip balm. I wear it in Rose Petal, which looks scarily pigmented in both the online picture and in real life. It turns out to be a nice, refreshing lip balm that has a pretty good amount of pigmentation, making it great to slip in your purse for touch-ups during the day. I like it because my lips tend to look sort of pale and ghostly as the day wears on, so this is something I can apply even without a mirror to make sure that I still look nice and alive.

Some extra notes: I would definitely say that Pot Rouge deserves a nice mention in this blog post...while it isn't a revolutionarily long-wearing creme blush, I happen to love the colour selection and the large amount of product you get in one of these pots. Calypso Coral is a beautiful peachy-pink colour that works on pretty much any skintone, and Raspberry is a lovely change from typical blush colours. The reason I didn't mention this product earlier is that I don't think that it's something totally unique to Bobbi Brown; in fact, a lot of makeup lines carry creme blushes very similar to this one. However, Calypso Coral and Raspberry do merit a mention.

I also didn't really get to one of Bobbi Brown's signature products, her Shimmer Bricks. While I myself am a highlighter junkie, like I said above with the Pot Rouges, I don't think that Shimmer Bricks are monumentally different from most highlighters. They are quite pretty, but similar highlighters can be found at many other makeup brands. Plus, you can't use them on your eyes because of the extreme fallout, which is unfortunate for people on the go that can't carry tons of products around with them.

Stay tuned for the next episode of Makeup Musts! I'll be covering MAC next.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Getting Headdress Happy

I am a closet lover of The Hills, though I think that the amount of times that "drama" about "trust" is brought up is beyond ridiculous. However, I find that if I just tune out the unnecessary parts, and watch my guilty pleasure while doing something else, I can enjoy the antics and clothes without wanting to hurl something sharp at Heidi and Spencer.

That said, I couldn't have been more excited when I heard about Whitney's spinoff, The city. Whitney's always been my favourite character, and her fun and funky fashion always provides some eye candy in every episode she's in. I've seen a couple of previews and hear the whole "trust" issue coming up again, so maybe this will turn out to be just another Hills in a different city. But who knows? I'm thinking that the fashion will be to die for...after all, the show is set in NYC.

I love that Whitney takes risks with fashion. Recently, it seems like she's been really into various headpieces. It's refreshing to see something different from the usual, even the supposedly "edgy" flower headbands. Sometimes, they can turn out a little strange, like this headpiece from the Diane von Furstenburg collection she probably has to promote as part of her job:

But other times, they can be absolutely stunning, like this Erika Peña headband she wore at her goodbye party.

It can be found at the Erika Peña website...for a whopping $420.

I love the headband, but not that much. Of course, I had to go and scope out some possible alternatives. A commonly cited one is this one, from Anthropologie for $38, but for me I'd rather that the headband only have the beading on one side, rather than all the way around.

There's also this red one from Anthropologie, for $34. I like this one a little better, but somehow the red and the felt aren't quite what I'm looking for.

I could also buy an array of Etsy buttons and baubles and glue them onto a headband...these would probably cost me about $9 or so in total, so I'm now on the search for a pretty set of buttons I can use to make my own Whitney-esque headband. Maybe I'll take a peek at some thrift stores to see if they have some other things; that way I won't have to pay for shipping.