Christian Lacroix and Givenchy Perform the Not-So Same Old Song and Dance

It of course cant be that every single show that has currently held lineup at Paris' Couture Week could be something short of spectacular, as was the case at Dior and Chanel. There of course will be a few misfires each season, and unfortunately, two misfires from this round of shows just so happen to be two of my favorite designers.

Starting with Christian Lacroix, a label that is as much known for its impeccable detail and style ingenuity as it is its quality and "never let ya down" looks. This season, Lacroix published a collection of clothes that were about as cohesive as the bandage-bondage dresses being showed at Givenchy (but I'll get to that shortly). The theme of the show was "The Designs of Her Nature", which is an attempt at some form of ode to what my guess would be Mother Nature. The collection itself, just like Mother Nature,was scattered everywhere. It showcased a full scale lineup of patterns and assortments of color, including polka dots, stripes, birds, bows, and flowers. The problem however, was that the patterns were so under and sparsely used that they quickly became forgetable, leaving the audience in a whirl wind of pattern overload. What was even more unfortunate was the non unity of the clothing themselves, from the silhouettes to the color and style alone. It was as though the designer had tried to dip his toe into every possible lake of concept, and came out drowning in a sea of un-impressive ideas that left the audience feeling cold and wet with let down. Even though there were a hint of Marc Jacobs-Esq layering here, and a nice satin polka dotted trench there, that was in fact the problem; it featured too many ideas. From form flattering skirts to military jackets and overly masculine pant suits complete with vests, it was a hodge-podge of ideas all fighting for the spotlight. The evening wear portion was a mere parade of ruffled silk taffeta and chiffon, and the final piece was a wedding gown complete with sculptured embroidered Edwardian blazer and bustier. It would have been more appropriate to design a final gown that was made for that of a funeral.

Givenchy also had its share of mistakes, though not as brash as Christian Lacroix, I might thankfully say, seeing how this is my personal favorite between the two houses. The collection, which was inspired by painter Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema and dance costume makers Pina Bausch, featured an overall saturated hue of colors, from mid whites, to light pinks, to pastel yellows. Some of the things shown were the now always popular exaggerated shoulder and form flattering skirts. The beginning of the show, which was noticeably stronger and more impressive than the middle, featured what appeared to be very Lanvin-inspired evening and cocktail dresses, which were by far the highlights of the collection. These unarguably delectable yet now-growing-stale pieces were beautifully sculptured, tailored off the shoulder dresses that could make any woman look like a million bucks. After the disappointing mid-part of the show, came the evening portion which was quite a bit better, and seemed to get the collection back on track to where it never should have veered from in the first place. However, the evening portion did begin to showcase the bondage themed detail that the house is so now used to, season after season. It wouldn't hurt to try to bandage up the wound of the bondage dress, and appropriately move on.

It would be all too easy, not to mention merely a fantasy, if every house of fashion put out an extremely ingenious and progressive collection of apparel season after season. That's why we face the reality, and understand that sometimes a designer slides off of their path, and may make a mistake or two. We can only hope however, and never lose faith, that by the next collection the designer will once again re-claim their position as a force to be reckoned with. And hopefully Lacroix in particular will learn that Mother Nature is not a force to be reckoned with, at least when your trying to do so using only some fabric, thread, a needle and an idea.

Couture Report '09:Positively No Grey Areas

As Couture week began this week in Paris, it was nothing short of intriguing to see what would be shown on the runway, given the current economic woes throughout the world. Would we be be seeing a new, simple silhouette with bare color and detail, or would we continue down the path of fashion ingenuity and modernism, using structured ensembles and bold color choices as our sincerest and most modern for of expression? The answer was clear: we would see both. Starting at Chanel, Karl Lagerfeld went back and wiped off the metaphorical slate for his last collection, December's highly Russian inspired extravaganza of bold colors, exuberant silhouettes and overly embellished ensembles. This time around he went for a much cleaner, simple and sleek line of clothes, keeping the economic crisis in mind, and the idea of fashion progression at heart. What we seen were clean lines that were stark to the eye, using an all white canvas as his tool to display the use of simple detail and structure. Elevated and structured shoulders and cropped jackets were once again a must-have, although this time with a newer (not to mention shorter) hemline, that was drawn around the naval. The incredibly structured and architectural coats were paired with A skirts with noticeable open slits done by exaggerated pleating at the waist, and a slew of pencil pants in both black and white. Light weight fabrics were another essential item from the collection. Lagerfeld used an array of lace, brocade, sheer and other light fabrics to fully demonstrate his vision of clean, un-complicated style. The addition of the paper headdresses by artist Katsuya Komo were another great addition that added to the point of simplicity, and the beauty within. The collection was a black and white vision, and was clearly a Victorian-Paris meets a 60's American woman. It was truly, and quite literally a work of art.

In stark comparison to Chanel's simplistic endeavour, Dior found itself toying with the idea of exuberance and elegance. The house's newest collection featured excitingly bold color choices, extravagant fabrics such as silk and satin, and silhouettes that rivaled the balloons at Macy's Day Parade. The collection was all about excess, with taste in mind of course. The 80's inspired show showcased overly exaggerated skirts that looked liked budding roses mixed with sculptured jackets with raised shoulders and overdone sleeves. It was the collection that truly seemed to say "Here I am! I'm making a statement!". It was everything Dior is known for. Galliano's newest creation was what I considered to be "little Bo Peep goes to Sak's Fifth Avenue", if that gives any idea. There were pieces that were starkly black and white, which mirrored what Lagerfeld was doing at Chanel, only in a much more over the top kind of way. The shows evening wear was something that could have come straight out of a Jane Austen novel, and was truly a masterpiece unto itself.

It comes as no surprise that the two biggest houses in not only Parisian fashion, but world-wide fashion, debuted 2009 Couture Collections that were nothing short of spectacular. Two different perspectives, and two different ways of reflecting the times in which we live; in either case, when looking at these clothes we do in fact get a little hope, that things much better are yet to come.


Change for America, Change for Fashion

All eyes were on America this time yesterday. All eyes were witnessing a historic event, and all eyes were witnessing what is hoped to be the new direction that this Nation will begin to take. There was something else that maybe not all, but almost all eyes were on- what First lady Michelle Obama was wearing. It has been great speculation ever since Barack Obama won the election to Presidency last November, of what Michelle Obama would wear to the inauguration. Over the past year, the now-First Lady has become a Style Icon herself- embodying what most women want to be able to accomplish-having a career, being independent and intelligent, all while looking great. She is considered the Jackie O of the new Millennium, and rightfully so. The slim, youthful 5'11" First Lady has the perfect body for carrying fashionable clothes, and will hopefully continue to do so over the next four (and hopefully eight) years. Yesterday Michelle revealed to the world her choice for her inauguration attire. It was a light yellow shift dress with matching overcoat by little-known-designer Isabel Toledo. The Cuban born Toledo has been in fashion for over 25 years, and worked as Design Director for Anne Klein from 2006 thru 2007. The dress itself, in my opinion, was a perfect choice for both the event, and the times we live in. Its cheerful color brought a sign of hope and enlightenment- basically taking her husbands campaign values and placing them, quite literally, on her back. The simple, under-embellished dress was not fussy, but simple instead. After all, to wear a gown dripping in diamonds or gold lame' in the worst economic times in our countries history would just be, well, in bad taste. It was a dress of simple cut, color and detail, but spoke volumes to fashion enthusiasts.

For the evening Inaugural Ball gown, Obama once again opted for a simple cut, simply detailed gown by, once again, a relatively unknown designer. Jason Wu, who is in his mid-20's, designed the white ensemble for the evening. All of the detail was literally in the execution. Once again, the look was about a simplistic, classic style that was meant to reflect the times our country is in.

The thing that is most exciting to fashion insiders about Lady Obama, is her obvious love of new, up-and-coming designers. Unlike previous first ladies who always opted for legendary American designers like Oscar de le Renta, Carolina Hererra or Michael Kors, or high-end designers such as Yves Saint Laurent and Dior, Obama tends to feature new American designers who are at the forefront of their design careers. What this says about Lady Obama, is that she takes her style seriously enough to invest a little time and thought into what she wears. She does her research on current trends and new, lesser known designers, and it shows. For at least the next four years, Michelle Obama will unarguably be the greatest platform for young American designers, and be a beacon of style throughout the world. That is in fact, Change I am glad to believe in.


Dress, and See by Chloe

I can't help but to get excited when I'm browsing online and find something that I personally to believe an incredible bargain. Whether it be an item for me or not, just doesn't matter. I was browsing some of the new offerings from See By Chloe- the branch of Chloe that first began in 2001 as the more casual and urban side of the legendary fashion house. The brand is known for creating simple, youthfully urban and aesthetically intriguing designs that make even the most conscience of fashion lovers seem as though they quickly threw their outfit together. Of the label's more popular items include canvas totes, well layed-out logo tees, and cute, playful, childhood inspired hoes-sandals to be exact. That's when I stumbled upon these neon yellow plastic sandals. They will be absolutely perfect for spring, and will look wonderful with everything from a light sundress, to a body-baring bikini. They instill the current trend of mixing bright eccentric colors with day wear, and will be equally as comfortable as attractive. The price is $125, which may seem steep at first. But for the brand that the shoe comes from-this is an incredible deal. With the shoe also comes the classic Italian luxury and quality that Chloe has brought to the world since 1951. I would buy these little ray-of-sunshine delectables myself, but as one knows, a man cannot not rightfully pull off a neon plastic 2-strapped sandal. So this sweet little confection for the feet is all for you-enjoy.


Get Ready! It's Going Into Print!

Literally speaking of course. One of the absolute most repeated trends on the runway this Spring season is that of Patterns! Prints! and Polka Dots! Oh My! It's absolutely no joke- if there has ever been a time to invest in wacky, off the wall prints for your wardrobe, it is now. Fashion of course represents and symbolizes on the runway, what is going on in the rest of the world, North, South, East and West of the catwalk. In the current era of Not-So-Good-Feelings, and the upcoming inauguration of President Elect Barack Obama, it is only natural that designers would create collections that depicted bright, optimistic and whimsical patterns to inject into the closets of women throughout the world. This season, Louis Vuitton, Prada, Marc Jacobs, Marni, and Dior are just a small hand full of the slew of designers that have adorned their dresses, pantsuits, jackets, blouses, frocks, and even tights in an array of patterns. And it's not just polka dots and straight lines either. Patterns as imaginary, creative and inventive as possible all come together on many of the designer's collections. In bright neons, all the way to toned down natural hues of tan, black and ivory- patterns of dots, spots, lines, splats, geometric Hodge-podges and more adorn the most sought-after pieces for Spring. These lighthearted and inspiring patterns on Spring's Ready to Wear reflect our new hope that Change will soon arrive-both in our closets, and in our world.


Golden Globes 2009: The Good, the Bad, and the Just Plain Awful.

The 2009 Golden Globe Awards were just like any other awards show in any given season- full of great speeches, memorable moments, and of course, Fashion. With each awards show however, comes a new batch of good and bad; of glamour and God-awful, and this year my friends, was no exception. To start with the basics, the 2 main trends were the Mermaid dress (that flows away from the body at the knee area or below), and off the shoulder gowns. My choice for overall best dressed, which I'll reveal a little latter, embodies both of these trends. To start with with the good, first off was Eva Longoria, who looked absolutely stunning in her bright red Reem Acra mermaid dress. The thing appeared to be made solely for her body alone; it fit like a well-perfected glove. Drew Barrymore also looked stunning; from the neck down that is. Drew's hair has, since the awards, become an item of great controversy. It appeared as though she was going for the classic Marilyn Monroe look, although unfortunately for her it turned out as though Marilyn survived a brutal hurricane. What was on top of her head was in fact a travesty, not to mention looking like something that could bare the habitat for small creatures. She did however look fantastic in her light periwinkle Dior mermaid gown. Others to shine on the golden night? Kate Beckinsale in J. Mendel, Anne Hathaway, who is now well known style icon (thanks to The Devil Wears Prada of course), in Armani Prive, and Kate Winslet, the nights literal BIG winner, who was showered in sculptural yet simple Yves Saint Laurent in black.

Now for the fun part. Or, if you were the gals wearing these ensembles, the not-so fun part. As Tina Fey comically said in her acceptance speech for Best TV Actress Sunday night: "If you ever feel too good about yourself, there's this thing called the internet. And you can find alot of people there who don't like you." And indeed, the group of people that I am about to list, are catching alot of criticism on the internet over their choice of clothing. To start off, Christina Applegate looked as though she was drowning in a sea of unflattering, stuffy pile of gold, made by Roberto Cavali. Jennifer Lopez also unfortunately fell victim to the sea of gold; she wore a somewhat confusing number by Marchesa which was overly tight on some parts of her body, giving look of a huge gold body suit over her rather "large assets", and overly loose in others. It was a bipolar dress if I have ever seen one. The second-to-last worst dressed person is Rene Zellwegger. She wore a 2 piece ensemble by Carolina Herrera that was nothing short of awful. Over sized mermaid skirt? Check. Transparent black blouse with an awkward "bust cover" underneath? Check. Exposed zipper down her back side? Check. It was a train wreck on a red carpet.

Ok. Now for my choice of best, and worst dressed for the evening. For worst, goes to MARISA TOMEI. The outfit she wore was in fact, God-Awful. Completely inappropriate for an event as formal as the Globes. Her shirt appeared to be an ode to Seinfeld, and her overall outfit could qualify her as the newest cast member addition of Pirates of the Caribbean. Gangly and gawdy, unflattering and distasteful; this outfit by Oscar de la Renta (who won big plus-points that night with other stars such as Kyra Sedgwick) surely took the cake. And rotten cake at that. As for the best? It's rather simple. As soon as I seen her, without even seeing most of the other ladies yet, I knew that EVA MENDES was indeed the night's best dressed. She was simply stunning in a snow white mermaid gown by Christian Dior. The hair was perfect, the skin was perfect, and the turquoise necklace she wore was the icing on a very sweet cake. The dress itself was gorgous; fashion-forward, right on trend, and done high justice to the person adorning it. It done every job a well made gown should. She was, to simply state it-Spectacular.
Now that the Globes have passed, that leaves room for just a few more glamorous nights of awards shows in Hollywood, all of course leading up to Mr. Oscar himself. It will surely be a ride to remember.