Thursday, 7 February 2013

Love, a Prabal Gurung creation

It is that day today. The day when one of the two busiest periods in fashion begins. In expectation for the collections to be revealed later today and in an attempt to quiet my very excited inner voices, what better to do than scour the Internet for something to pass the time? And, thankfully, to find a surprisingly romantic and freshly out of the oven ad for Prabal Gurung's collaboration with Target, debuting in stores February 10th. An ad which I would like to share also with you guys, because I don't want to keep the goodies to myself :)

I thus give you... LOVE :)

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

The fashion weeks are coming

Yes, they are finally here - fashion weeks galore, starting tomorrow in New York.

Over the next month, we will be treated with the best the fashion world has to offer on a daily basis. We'll be waiting and watching, alternatively pining and dissing, we will love some things, we will hate others, we will be surprised and bored, excited and under-whelmed. Regardless of what our thoughts will be, though, we will be entertained and literally bombarded with photos, we will uncover the trends for this fall and winter in beauty and fashion and get a sneak peek into what we can expect to see in stores in just a few months.

It's going to be a busy, busy month, and I will be here to share with you my favourite looks and collections... Counting the minutes :)

Dolce & Gabbana Alta Moda, a very private affair

Haute couture shows used to be a private affair. A very private affair. Now, they are becoming increasingly democratized (as proved by the live transmissions of the Dior, Valentino and Elie Saab shows in Paris a few weeks back), just like so many other aspects of the fashion world. All the more reason for private affairs to excite our enthusiasm and tug at our curiosity. Much like the shows that Tom Ford has been staging for the past few seasons, which let no photographer or camera share a glimpse of the collections to the outside world until the designer himself is ready to unveil them. Following a similar suit, Dolce & Gabbana last week presented their second ever Alta Moda collection to a select audience and it took days for photos to leak out. Some photos, because for the rest, we just have to guess.

From what we've seen, as profane outsiders that we are, the collection was a reinterpretation of all things Italian in classic Dolce & Gabbana style with a bit more flair for the elegant and extravagant. Insiders report and the photos seem to confirm that the collection was a vision of virginal whites, a combination of chastity and sensuality that only the true Sicilian beauties can pull off with such aplomb.

The cherry on top of the cake was, undoubtedly, the final bridal look - a gown of delicately ornate golden lace, complete with a crown and a veil. For reasons beyond any rational explanations my mind has been able to conjure up, this style stuck with me - perhaps for its madonna quality, perhaps for its obvious references to the power of the Church and regality in older days, perhaps for the pose of tranquility the model evoked.

It's amazing how just three simple images can evoke such strong feelings in a simple human. But this is me, a mere human, humbled and awed by the quality of the details and the craftsmanship, as well as the creative talent of these two designers.

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Zara, my not-so-secret supplier of shoes

My name is Ena and I am a Zara-aholic. I have been addicted to the brand for the past 12 years, ever since I was 14 and preparing to go to high school and I discovered the shop in Paris in the summer before. I remember that, at the time, my budget was not particularly impressive and Zara was a little bit on the high-end of my possibilities, but it was one store which made the looks and trends I was pining for a little bit more available. 

Since then, I've entered many a Zara stores in many countries and bought many things, big or small, that have earned me compliments and brought many smiles to my face. But one thing I have always relied on Zara for have been shoes - yes, I know that shoes are an investment and I completely agree that you should have the major styles you need (an elegant pump, a good pair of winter boots, a delicate sandal) in the best quality you can afford. But what about diversity? Or those trends that you know will not make it to the next season? Is this really worth spending hundreds of euros when you can usually get something nice for under EUR 100? Of course not! 

So the answer is Zara, and even more so because they offer good quality for the price I pay. I've had flats from Zara that I've worn for seasons before they completely fell apart, I've had evening shoes that got me through many an important occasion over the years, I've had shoes that have taken me to some of the most important moments of my life (my prom night, my first job interview, my graduation from university and even my first date with my husband). I've even had shoes over which women with much more generous budget swooned over.

Forgive this long introduction, but you have to understand a little bit where I am coming from in order to get any kind of realistic appreciation for my excitement at Zara releasing the first photos of its new spring/ summer 2013 collection. Disclaimer - it does not make my top ten, but it doesn't mean that I haven't found a couple of models that will undoubtedly join their friends in the closet the moment they hit stores :)

Main trends? 

Not surprising, the hidden platform sneakers are still a hit. While I have, so far, been a little bit against this trend, for no other reason apart from the fact that I believe that a sneaker is a sneaker and a high-heel should be a high-heel (yes, call me a traditionalist), I have to say this blue version is kind of growing on me. I think it's the colour that could just turn me yet :)

The high heels are as diverse as the trends for the new season. From stiletto heels (interpreted very interestingly with a mix of materials) to ultra-high thick and curved heels, the new collection has something for everybody. 

A pleasant surprise are the several mid-heel options available. These make for a very classy look with a retro feel and will, I believe, be an interesting option for comfortable workwear. 

A nice addition are also the cage-sandals, available in a bold leopard print - if you're going for edgy and high fashion, why not go all the way?

'In a holiday mood'board

Planning for and dreaming of... 

  • long days with little to do
  • sun and fun and beach and laughter
  • freedom and a feeling of lightness
  • traveling to somewhere new to rediscover the beauty of life 
  • time to think, to dream, to love

Monday, 4 February 2013

Shoe vitamin LouBi

Since we are on the topic of shoes today, I would not have been able to forgive myself had I not shared these fun, colourful and, truthfully, very energizing window displays that Louboutin has debuted in store all across the world. In a true creative burst that I hate not seeing more often, the shoemaker extraordinaire designed the world's first shoe-pharmacy: giant pills of happiness with red soles :)

The giant packs of vitamins are, without a doubt, just what the doctor ordered for the under-the-weather feeling washing over me this winter month. Entitled Vitamin LouBi, the visitor to the store is advised that, for best results, the remedy should be taken daily, and always in pairs. Now, if only these vitamins would be covered by health insurance... :)

Shoe of the week - Manolo Blahnik

Sure, anyone who's ever watched 'Sex and the City', which would comprise more or less every woman of my acquaintance, knows about Manolo Blahnik. Some of them undoubtedly eat, sleep and dream Manolo Blahnik. 'Cus that's just the kind of guy he is, and his special gift is to make shoes over which you coo and woo and forget to eat and sleep. And while all his collections have at least one pair I imagine not living without (even if I do usually surprise myself by actually managing to live without, somehow), the model I'll be talking about today is even better - if that were even possible.

The shoe of the week is, this time, this beautiful strappy sandal by Manolo Blahnik for Antonio Berardi's Spring Summer 2013 collection. This is one of those shoes that, when I first saw them, I was speechless, and my mind murmured 'perfection' in a awed little voice. Yes, they are my definition of perfect. They combine it all - they have a creative twist of modernity, yet they are classic and low-key enough to be able to be worn with just about anything in my wardrobe; they are sexy and a little bit edgy, yet with clean lines enough to be worn during the day; they can switch easily from work to an evening out; the colours they were available in on the runway were the perfect neutrals; and, more important, they really don't look too uncomfortable... All in all, this seem like one investment that would pay off for itself in sheer pleasure over time :)

Sunday, 3 February 2013

Guilty fashion pleasure of the day - Lana for

If you're Romanian, you know about Săpânţa. If you have Romanian friends, you really need to ask them. If you are neither Romanian, nor have Romanian friends... well, first of all, it's a shame :) And second, you can find out more about it on the New York Times. Or from clothes :) 

Namely from Lana for, a capsule collection of dresses, jackets, tights and clutches with clean, minimal cuts, but prints that make a stunning statement. In fact, all the pieces feature key images from the crosses at Săpânţa, from a tractor to one woman working over her sewing machine or another being hit by a car. Don't worry if it sounds weird, or deranged, or plain awful. I assure it's none of these things, except a great sense of humor when it comes to clothes and a wonderful interpretation of traditional Romania. 

The entire collection is available on Moja, or, if you are interested in seeing more of Lana's talents in action, on her Facebook page.

Saturday, 2 February 2013

The clean colours of Stella McCartney's Spring Summer 2013 campaign

Don't you just love it when there is that wonderful chemistry between a brand and a person? When the image and the message just go together and it all clicks? And when they realize it too, so they keep on it, creating a meaningful relationship and a cast of other beautiful things? Because I know I do. 

Just as I love Natalia Vodianova (love, love, love, in fact) and Stella McCartney (maybe with the exception of the one-before-last collection of her, which I failed miserably to understand). And so, naturally, I love the new Stella McCartney spring summer 2013 campaign, featuring the above-mentioned Russian beauty in big-eyed girl poses shot by Mart&Mercus. 

Stella McCartney’s Spring Summer 13 collection was all freshness and lightness, thanks to modern fabrics, oversized shirts and T-shirt dresses and clean, curved lines. The colour palette encompassed clean whites, sharp citrus shades and vibrant apple green. It's no surprise, then, that the campaign ads are fresh and clean with a certain doll-liked quality and no artifices - it's the clothes that take center stage and they are as straightforward as their maker. A campaign that very much reminds me of an older time of ads, some 15 to 20 years ago, when I would admire these cool, distant women like the Barbies of my playhouse in the few foreign fashion magazines that made their way here. A beautiful walk down memory lane and a just as beautiful proposal for the future warm season.

Thursday, 31 January 2013

Red noses for a brighter day

I know it's winter, just as I know that it's likely to continue to be a winter for another month or two. It's just the way the world (and nature) work in these parts. But, even after all these years, I still get slightly depressed when I wake up to a grey and overcast day like today. The thing to make it all better today? And sure, a new pair of shoes from, say, Giuseppe Zanotti would be the best cure-it-all, but in the absence of a fairy godmother, the next best thing is... a little shopping, that benefits me and others, all at the same time.

Just like you can never have too many shoes, you can also never have too many T-shirts - part of the reason why I am so excited to be able to grow my collection with the new Stella McCartney capsule celebrating Red Nose day (on March 15th). The T-shirts themselves are playful and fun, with a series of popular culture icons from Marilyn Monroe to the Beatles and Kate Moss sporting fabulous red noses.

What I love most is that the collection is also available for kids, featuring the cutest giraffe :) The Ts are available in all TK Maxx stores, or online. I'm getting mine now. One of each, that is - I need many red noses to make me laugh with this weather :)

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Shoes of the week - Etro

When you think Etro, shoes are not the first thing to come to mind. In fact, perhaps, shoes are not at all or in any moment what come to mind. Etro is all about their prints, instantly recognizable, ethnic, traditional, with a bit of a different spin every season. This fall, the direction was a more daring and romantic feel, with velvet dresses and satin skirt suits in darker colours. Reminiscent, if you will, of what we've previously seen in the 30s and 40s. Which leads us back to the shoes, from which we had digressed. 

These 120 mm pumps are from Etro's fall line. The dark, rich colour, the laces around the ankle and the combination between the silky satin of the front and the warm suede of the back all point to this same old-school style that defined the runway collection. Still, the shape is modern and sleek. A contrast which makes them a great addition to any wardrobe, the perfect item to add a bit of a difference to a more contemporary or edgy look. Which is why they are my shoes of the week. Oh, and also because you can now get them, on sale, from luisaviaroma :)

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

SAG 2013 - only the worst

Yesterday, we documented the best and most beautiful looks from the SAG 2013 red carpet, and it was quite the line-up. The Sunday awards show certainly gave us plenty to behold. Unfortunately, it failed to stop only at the positive. As a result, today we have a line-up of a different kind. A reverse kind. 

Here are my 5 top worst dressed ladies of the evening:

1) Anne Hathaway - Oh, Anne, and you were doing so well! The gown she chose for the SAG is barely a couple of days old, as it was only unveiled last week as part of Giambattista Valli's Spring Couture line. It was a splendid dress on the runway and it pains me to put it on this here list, but, unfortunately, it failed to translate its beauty on the red carpet. On Miss Hathaway, the dress had nothing of its former appeal, looking drab, unfitted and somewhat deflated, after having lost all of the flare of the skirt which gave it a twist. The result is very similar to a girl who has yet to grow any breasts trying on her mother's clothes. Anne, do step it up next time, please!

2) Freida Pinto - Why, oh why? I complained that you were missing from the Golden Globes because I thought you would amaze us, but, had I known the kind of amazement you had in store, I would have spared on my enthusiasm. The Roland Mouret dress was a bold move of the kind we are accustomed to expect from this dark beauty, but this time, it flopped before taking flight. The bright colour makes a striking statement against miss Pinto's skintone, but with the fluid drape of the dress and its floor-length, it manages more to swallow her whole. Watch out for the pink human-eating dress monster!

3) January Jones - Maybe it's because I've grown so used to the elegant look of Betty Draper and I lack the imagination to see her beyond this persona, but I've always failed to understand her fashion sense. And this is just the latest example of it. JJ (*smirk*) used the SAG 2013 to don a fashion forward dress from Prabal Gurung's pre-fall 2013 collection - a laudable attempt. If only she'd let the dress as it was, namely short. Adding the extra material to make it floor-length managed only to transform an otherwise striking dress into a banal white and black combination, which swallows her up from the waist down and eats her up from the waist up. The look was also not helped by the bouffant do - was she going for a Jersey Shore vibe that I couldn't get?

4) Julie Bouwer - It's a leather gown. Leather. I understand risks, really I do, but it's a leather gown. Not on the red carpet. Not like this. No.

5) Jaimie Alexander - The Marc Bouwer dress is a sculptural beauty, so I understand her appeal for the dress. I understand where her passion came from. I understand the gamble. Talking about understanding, I don't think, however, that Jaimie Alexander understood the dress. She did not understand the attitude, the aplomb, the confidence you need to pull it off. The personality. Like this, it felt like the dress was wearing her. And she was the junior invited to prom and choosing a showy dress, only to have people raise an eyebrow.

Tuesday mystery

"The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious - the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art."
Albert Einstein 

Monday, 28 January 2013

SAG 2013 - only the best

Award season keeps rolling on, and thunderingly so, if the SAG is the case in point. With a backdrop of gloomy weather, the stars had no easy task of shining on the red carpet, yet there was, thankfully, quite a bit of shining and some bright colours to liven up the mood. The Screen Actors Guild Awards are generally considered a trial run for the Oscars. I hope that's true of fashion as well, because I've seen some nice outfits on this red carpet and, if taken just one step up, as is the norm for the Oscars, the Sunday of February 24th will be a mighty stylish one. 

Here are my favourite 10 looks from last night:

1) Marion Cotillard - She's back! Thankfully! After that red/orange neither-here-nor-there dress she chose for the Golden Globes, this time Marion stood out for all the right reasons. In a sea of column dresses (which, don't get me, look great on the right person), her impressive Christian Dior white bodice with deep blue asymmetrical skirt was a delight. Different, but elegant, very French, very Dior, simple and stunning. I also loved how clean she kept the look, with perfectly coiffed hair and minimal accessories (although, if she'd wanted to achieve perfection, black was not the colour of shoes she should have opted for).

2) Helen Hunt - Another beautiful (beautiful, beautiful, beautiful) look from the stunning 50-year old. I am always in awe of women aging gracefully and how some are able to retain their stunning persona by simply being confident in themselves and not worrying about age. Helen Hunt's look tonight was the perfect example of this - her platinum beaded mermaid dress by Romona Keveza (a designer best known for her stunning wedding dresses!) and all its sparkle was only surpassed by the happy glow of the actress. This is what I think a sexy woman needs to look like!

3) Nicole Kidman - This dress may not be all that I know Nicole Kidman could be capable of pulling off, but I loved it for two main reasons: first, because I don't know many stars brave enough to wear a Vivienne Westwood on the red carpet (which is a real shame) and two, because it showed that the blonde actress had not forgotten that she's beautiful and sexy. Mrs. Kidman is one classy lady and her outfits are always chosen to reflect her delicate and natural elegance, but this look was the clear example that just a bit of oomph will do no harm, quite the opposite.

4) Jessica Chastain - Jessica Chastain and Alexander McQueen make a heavenly match. After 'that' dress from last year's Oscar ceremony, this must be one of the fiery actress' best look in the British designer. Channeling her inner Jessica Rabbit, Chastain chose a very va-va-voom red dress which clung to her body drawing a beautiful hour-glass silhouette. It was classy and sexy and beautiful, all the best words to describe any dress.

5) Amanda Seyfried - The young actress joined a long line of actresses wearing different variations on blue (including Nicole Kidman, Jennifer Lawrence and Jessica Lange), but, leaving this uniformity detail aside, her Zac Posen choice was right in all respects. The navy colour strikingly complemented her enviable waves, the shape was simple, elegant and perfectly fitted, yet made instantly youthful with her choice of a long, art-deco pendant. I like a woman who is not afraid of bringing her own personal touch.

6) Kerry Washington - As I've said on numerous other occasions, white is not an easy colour to pull off on a gown anywhere but at a wedding, and God knows we've seen our fair share of white lately, enough to declare ourselves satisfied for one decade to come. Nevertheless, I love that Washington chose it! There is no other coloristic choice that would have had a greater, more striking effect against her skin tone. Furthermore, the cut of the Rodarte gown and the slightly antagonistic details, like the delicate studs on the carpet and the lace accented small train, were a lesson in how to make sweet look edgy with aplomb.

7) Nina Dobrev - A breath of fresh, spring air. This is what Nina Dobrev brought onto the red carpet with her bright pink Elie Saab gown. Fitted to perfection, with subtle side laced cuts, the dress looked flawless and elegant, even if it kept its slightly casual feel. Dobrev's monochromatic approach to accessories and her simple hairdo only added to the beauty of her look, undoubtedly one of the most remarkable of the evening.

8) Naomi Watts - Form-fitting and beautiful cut? Check. Intricate detailing for a subtly sophisticated look? Check. Flowing locks and a bright pink lip colour? Check. Naomi Watts was, once again, a complete and utter vision of style. I adored her Marchesa metallic silver embroidered gown and was once again convinced that if there is one actress out there capable of switching it up AND always managing to keep her own style, it is this Australian beauty.

9) Jessica Lange - Proof number two that beauty and sensuality have nothing to do with age. Jessica Lange looked amazing in her J.Mendel dark blue dress with draped subtle detailing over the upper part and a flowing, light skirt. I may have complained that the colour was featured on many, but I feel that, for a woman in her 60s, dark blue may be a more flattering alternative to the drastic feel of black, allowing for a look that is on the lighter style of classic elegance.

10) Sarah Hyland - Prints are another difficult thing to pull off on the red carpet, as is such a tricky colour like the bright violet number Miss Hyland chose for the SAG awards. But her bet paid off and the abstract print was subtle enough to be eye-catching, but not overwhelming, while the sexy simplicity of the Dolce & Gabbana dress made for a sophisticated overall look.

Honourable mentions:

Jennifer Lawrence - I love that I did not have to wait long to see a Christian Dior Spring 2013 Couture dress in full action. This being said, I had really hoped it would have been one of the more striking gowns in the collection. Sadly, with its dark navy blue nuance (the colour of choice of too many a stars) and the embarrassing wardrobe malfunction just as the beautiful star walked up to receive her award, I just cannot be convinced that it was the best choice out there.

Kiernan Shipka - Simply adorable. The cute 'Mad Men' young star chose an Oscar de la Renta pretty petal-pink dress with silver and white embellishments and silver Oscar de la Renta silver nappa peep-toes. A choice with which she could hardly go wrong. The overall effect was stylish, yet age-appropriate and she looked completely at ease with her couture choice. Can you only imagine what this young lady is capable of in the future, if she can already rock Oscar like she just did? :)