Friday, September 25, 2009

Women of Great Style: La Bella Giovanna!

I decided to start doing posts on my fashion inspirations.

Last year my friend (and roommate) AWC and I started a game where we'd figure out a look that we wanted to imitate and then make it happen by "shopping our closet" and coming up with the best replication of said outfit within a specified period of time (it was like a race). Yes, we're weird, but it was fun. A mental diversion I want to set about imitating the style of my favorite fashion inspirations. Autumn, with the opportunity for so many layers, is the perfect time to begin this game.

So, my first inspiration is Giovanna Battaglia, fashion editor at L'Uomo Vogue.

She's a favorite subject of The Sartorialist and for good reason. She's a former model and wears everything well, but she's not merely a human hanger. She has a keen eye for key pieces, a creative spin on assembling outfits, and a strong sense for special touches that *pop*. Here are some great shots of Giovanna:

Giovanna (at left) and friend:

What's RIGHT about this look:
  • HER SHOES. The slight heel elongates her legs without being aggressively sexy. The incorporation of the ankle strap adds the innocence of a mary-jane to her look, but the ankle strap's context within this particular shoe makes it very sexy.
  • HER RUFFLED SKIRT. One row of ruffles might make for a boring schoolgirl-cliche skirt, but this silhouette is sophisticated while still being flirty and fun.
  • THE EARTH-TONE COLOR PALETTE. Seeing the gray in a black and white world!
  • TEXTURE! Mixing fabrics is Giovanna's true art.
The Sartorialist's girlfriend, Garance Dore, an excellent fashion blogger in her own right, took THIS adorable photo of Giovanna in the same outfit:

I have mentioned several times before that I simply don't wear pants. That's not to say that I've NEVER worn them in my life. But honestly, they're just not the right thing for me until I lose a bit of extra weight and feel comfortable flaunting my figure in trousers.
Giovanna has a definite trouser-perfect body, and she wears them with elan:

What's RIGHT about this look:
  • THE CONTRAST. Simple gray turtleneck, no color save for a touch of forest green and lilac in her scarf, and then BAM! YELLOW!
  • HER SHOES. She keeps the yellow theme going down to her shoes. The pants are cropped, which adds to the whimsicality of the color choice. She could easily stunt her pretty, vertical look with a contrasting color of shoes (imagine: black or brown) but she wisely keeps it cool with yellow.
  • HER CONTROL. Knowing how much of a statement piece the yellow pants are, she keeps everything else simple and classic. You can easily imagine Grace Kelly donning the top part of Giovanna's outfit in 1960s Monaco.

What's RIGHT about this look:
  • BLACK with NAVY BLUE. End of story. So many people are afraid to mix these colors, but they look great together.
  • POLKA DOTS. In my opinion, if they're tiny (like the French petit-pois: tiny peas), you can never have enough of polka dots. In fact, I plan to purchase some polka dot tights this Autumn.

"When a girl feels that she's perfectly groomed and dressed she can forget that part of her.
The more parts of yourself you can afford to forget, the more charm you have."

(F. Scott Fitzgerald, "Bernice Bobs Her Hair" via Women's Wardrobe)

She's so comfortable in her own skin. Beautiful but refined, free but sophisticated, living her life on the go but always looking like a perfect princess. Isn't that SO charming?

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Food for Thought: Quality over Quantity.

I have about 11 blog post Drafts waiting to be edited and published. Unfortunately, my life and my week have gotten away from me. I want to say that I certainly never presume that my readers NEED me, or that I have to post everyday or someone will become disappointed.

I merely like for this blog to serve as a record of the things I see, do, and appreciate, and I want to keep adding to this treasure trove of information, quotes, pictures, feelings, etc. as they come to me.

I'll catch up this weekend.

In the meantime, I wanted to write this quick post to exalt two recent, excellent examples that remind us all to to think about placing Quality before Quantity, and to remember that conspicuous consumption isn't an attractive quality:

1) Barney's Babble post.
Simon Doonan weighs in and says "We find the whole concept of the IT bag to be very corny and very very last century. When we launch a new bag we would rather talk to you about what makes it great and gorgeous and wantable."

2) Sartorialist post from Milan.

In reference to this lovely Betty Draper/Grace Kelly-esque Milanese woman, Scott writes:
The Best of Milan- quality, elegance, maturity, and refinement.
On a street blinged-out on Cavalli and Dolce this
super subtle look
carried more
strength and dignity
than any other.

And, from my old standby, Women's Wardrobe:
"What care I how chic it be if it not be the best for me?"

Hear! Hear!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Things that Make Me Smile.

1) L'Shana Tovah!
My little Jewish Bunny and I will be ringing in the new year with his family today. As JGIWC has pointed out, I am a good little shiksa. And frankly, I'm always happy for the occasion of a fresh start and a clean slate. Let's party like it's 5770!

2) The Giraffe Manor.
Possibly the perfect vacation?

(Or possibly a little bit terrifying...)

3) The Look of Love.
The Sartorialist kisses his girlfriend, fellow blogger and general Parisian goddess, Garance Dore.

4) "The Duchess."
This is the nickname one of my coworkers gave me, because I always have high demands and high expectations. (And I always wear dresses.) I take it as a compliment!

5) The always creative window displays at Fish's Eddy.
I went to this wonderful glassware/dinnerware/flatware shop to purchase a birthday gift for the lovely CLB. And in the spirit of their consistently inventive window displays, this week they created a Manhattan skyline out of forks, knives and spoons.

6) Sex and the City '80's flashback = Charlotte in Lilly Pulitzer?
I'm really not an '80s fan, but I can appreciate a good tribute when I see one. SJP looks just like Madonna, and KD is dressed precisely as I would expect a 20-something Charlotte York to be.
Is that skirt Lilly? An impostor? I need a close up to be sure!

7) Snark in the backseat of a cab.
You never know what you'll find in NYC.
I was particularly impressed yesterday morning to see that a cabbie took charge of his TaxiTV and included a handwritten notice on the TV's frame:

8) San Gennaro Festival in Little Italy.
(This picture was taken at the festival's entrance at Mulberry and Houston, right by the Puck building. You can see a statue of Puck near the top right of this photo.)

Looking to do something out of the ordinary, the Bunny took me to dinner in Little Italy so we could wander through the streets of the San Gennaro Festival. I'd never been to this annual festival before and it was fun, if a bit noisy, and certainly very festive. The streets are blocked off to traffic, and cars are replaced with vendors selling zeppoles, gelato, and showcasing games like Dunk the Clown; it's like Coney Island in the middle of Manhattan (note: I've never been to Coney Island). The last day of the festival is this Sunday, so I encourage you to go!

Happy Weekend.
Better blogging next week, I promise!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

DKNY Dreams come true, with a Chinese twist.

I love following the DKNY feed on Twitter.
I often Tweet "at" them, and have often thought about how thrilling it would be if they ever Tweeted back.

Well, dreams come true. Just not always in the way we might hope for...

Last night I arrived home to a care package from my mother that included some DKNY pieces and another little Chinese-mother-specific gift. So I Tweeted:
"Received a great care package from my mom with @DKNY pieces, amazing tights and...Spanx. Subtlety never was her strong suit..."

And DKNY Tweeted back!
But instead of something cute or reassuring, they turned it into a PR opportunity and said:

"@MurphysNewLaw tell your mom 2 send u DK Body Perfect- laser cut & less $ & check out DKNY Smoothies we showed on runway- toners u can show"

Happy Hump Day!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Quote du Jour

From an article about the influence of fashion bloggers in last Friday's Wall Street Journal:

"'The idea of who has style is the most democratic it's ever been
and that's why the muse is more democratic,'

says Amanda Brooks, who worked with Tuleh, a label known for its feminine vintage-inspired pieces."

(Amanda was one of my sightings at Barney's during Fashion's Night Out)

Friday, September 11, 2009

Smiling Ear to Ear: Fashion's Night Out.

Fashion's Night Out was last night and, in a word, it was INCREDIBLE.

At the behest of Mme. Anna Wintour, the eve of September 11, one of the worst days in NYC's history, was turned into a magical night.

As DvF told Women's Wear Daily: "There’s so much partying I don’t know how much business we’ll do. But it’s about building excitement…and celebrating.”

The air was similar to that of Halloween in NYC. There's a certain buzz the day of. Everyone dresses up (to the nines, in this case, rather than costume...though there WAS a fair amount of pageantry), maps out the places they want to visit for trick-or-treating, and, as is the case in this wonderful city of ours where 8 million people try to share limited resources, you often end up waiting in line.

But BOY was it worth it.

My pictures don't do it justice, and I highly recommended attending in person next year (assuming there's a next year) to see just how wonderful it is when the incredibly powerful people of the fashion industry unite around a single cause; no one bands together like fashion people.

First Stop: Bergdorf Goodman.

We had to wait in line for 30 minutes to get inside the store, but fortunately Zac Posen had hand-painted a few dresses in one of the store's windows earlier in the evening and they made for lovely eye-candy to entertain us while we were waiting to be let in.

As soon as we got inside, supermodel Caroline Trentini walked by me and she was both adorable and stunning. She has a sprinkling of freckles across her nose that are a nice contrast to the obvious sexiness of being a 6' tall Brazilian model.

Next we saw a crowd flashing their cameras and decided to explore. We were met with Georgina Chapman and Keren Craig of Marchesa. Standing next to them was Rachel Zoe.

Keren (blond) and Georgina (brunette) were signing Fashion's Night Out t-shirts.

Rachel Zoe was very sweet. And also 100x smaller than I ever anticipated; she is impossibly skinny. (I guarantee she is skinnier than you're imagining.)
I asked her where Brad was and she just said "I know! He's not here!"
Haha. I have no shame.

The fashion husbands chat:
Next to Rachel, Rodger (RZ's hubby) and Harvey Weinstein (Georgina's hubby) enjoy the camaraderie of both having beautiful, successful wives.

Afterward we visited the other floors of the store to enjoy the clothing and to lust after the best floor which is, of course, the shoe floor.

When we came back down to the first floor to exit the building we saw a huge crowd in one room and heard a booming, unique voice that can only be that of Mr. Andre Leon Talley. He was playing a trivia game and his helpers were Donna Karan, Emmy Rossum and some of Barney's creative staff.

A very serious ALT reads trivia questions from his (no joke) fur-covered throne. Donna Karan stands to his right.

And, an un-serious shot of ALT and DK.

Donna Karan was literally a million times more cool/chic/hip than I ever could have imagined.
This was my absolute #1 sighting of the night. I have loved Donna since I was young, for her keen sense of drapings (seriously, who drapes better than DK?) and also her influence and clear voice throughout so many decades of volatile fashion. She is a powerhouse.

Emmy Rossum was wearing too much makeup but there's no doubt that she is a gorgeous girl with a beautiful smile. She could easily play a Disney princess in the future.
And do you spy that person just beyond her?
Yep, P. Diddy.

Second Stop: Barneys.
Barneys was also jam-packed with celebrities.

Ruben and Isabel Toledo signed copies of the new book "Isabel Toledo: Fashion from the Inside Out" and posed for pictures.

Socialite Amanda Brooks signed copies of her new book "I Love Your Style: How to Define and Refine Your Personal Style".

Simon Doonan raffled prizes.

I saw him again later in the evening, toting his signature "S.D." Goyard bag. I said "Simon, you're just so fun! I love you!" and he said "Thank you, Sweetie."
Again, I made an utter fool of myself.

The Mulleavey sisters of Rodarte were there, and had a fancy tranny perform some songs including "The Golden Age of Hustlers." VERY entertaining. S/he wore Rodarte, naturally.

Kate Mulleavy looks on during "The Golden Age of Hustlers."

Our musical entertainment.

Lipstick artist/expert Poppy King, who is promoting her new book "Lessons of a Lipstick Queen: Finding and Developing the Great Idea that Can Change Your Life" (get it? King v. Queen!) did "lip readings." These are just like palm readings, but she looks at the lines at the sides of your mouth to determine your past and your future.
I have to say, she did so with amazing accuracy.
Here's Poppy, reading the lovely SKW's lips.

Supermodel Hana Soukupova walked by. Some models may look "heroin chic" but Hana is an honest-to-God drop-dead gorgeous girl. I was in total amazement. And she is 8 months younger than me. *sigh*

While I was running around like a fool in Barneys trying to see the artists/celebs I wanted to see, I passed socialite Celerie Kemble. She met up with a friend, linked arms, and casually strutted in the opposite direction of where everyone else was walking (specifically, toward the Olsen twins). They seemed like women who "own" New York: Who know the layout of Barneys inside and out, who frequent celebrity-filled parties so often that this is just simply another day in their fabulous lives. New York City is a force to be reckoned with, and I hope that someday I will be one of those women who "owns" New York. In my own small way, I think that maybe I already do.

Third "Stop": Madison Avenue.
The home of arguably the best shopping in NYC. We saw a ton of celebrities on this street:
Lauren Santo Domingo looking GORGEOUS in a mini-dress in Tod's, Lucy Sykes and Euan Rellie, a lot of people I'm forgetting, and supermodel Coco Rocha in DKNY doing a bit of Irish dancing (this is how she was discovered as a model). Coco and a group of dancers performed, then they held a little workshop and taught members of the crowd how to dance. It was so fun. And Donna was there, too, once again cool as a cucumber.

Coco (with microphone) talks to the crowd.

Donna is the QUEEN of relaxed CHIC.

The crowd inside DKNY was enormous.

I'm pretty sure I spotted supermodel Karlie Kloss outside the store, but that's debatable.

And far enough north on Madison sat the beloved Lilly P. with a peacock drawing in the window:

It's a weird world. It's weird to be excited by seeing famous people. At several points during the night I turned to my friends and said "Why are we doing this?! What kind of world do we live in?!"
But honestly, the people I was truly thrilled about seeing have all done interesting and creative things in their lives. They've taken risks, worked hard, and achieved enviable success.
The fact that many of them are willing to meet and greet with their fans, sign every autograph request and pose for seemingly endless photographs when they probably just want to go home is a beautiful thing.

HERE's a GREAT montage put together by NYMag of photos from last night.

I felt empowered by this wonderful night out. Fashion is an amazing thing. So is camaraderie. Together, it's an unstoppable force.
Happy Spring 2010 Fashion Week!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Autumn Ambience and Attitude

Something about an East Coast Autumn is very special.
The season feels different here than it does in Kansas. I think for that reason, each time Fall creeps up on me I am instantly transported back in time to Princeton, New Jersey in 2003, when I experienced my first northeastern Autumn. At that time I was full of hope for what I anticipated would be a very bright future.

I was dating someone at the time and believed that I would either marry him or fall in love with a perfect WASP at Princeton. Neither of those expectations turned out to be true (par for the course with my expectations). Nevertheless, whenever the thermometer drops I can't help but feel that I'm on the brink of a wild, heart-shattering (in a good OR bad way), wonderful romance. Even though I'm, of course, in the middle of a lovely relationship I sometimes think I actually believe a prince will ride into Manhattan on a horse and carry me into the sunset.

In Autumn 2003 I was also coming off of a spectacular four years in high school where I was at the top of my game in every way: leads in all of the school plays, president of a great community service organization, blessed with wonderful friends, nominated for Homecoming Queen, a world-traveler, and feeling multi-talented. My first year at Princeton ultimately humbled me in ways I needed and also, unfortunately, in ways I didn't necessarily deserve and certainly didn't expect. Nevertheless, I always feel like something's about to begin when the leaves start to change.

And even though I'm finished with my undergraduate education, each Fall I feel like I'm a Freshman, but this time a Freshman in LIFE, standing on a precipice about to fall into a very different sort of future.

Moving into my dorm room Freshman year: tan, fresh-faced and full of possibility.


Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Weekend Recap: Practically Perfect in Every Way.

Brunch at Clinton Street Baking Company.

Fried Green Tomatoes with Horseradish Sauce.

Biscuits and Gravy.

CCC, one of my oldest and dearest friends who was in town for the weekend, eating the Spanish Scramble.
Quick Reunion with Southern Belles.

Dinner with AWC, in town for the day, and HC before they jetted off to West Side Story!
Picnic on Governor's Island.

Ferry ride on the way to the Island. CCC refused to look at the camera. At least A(K)K and MVG showed us their pearly whites!

Lounging and Laughing.

I kept my promise to wear white!

Some views from our stroll around the island:

Our little friend. We gave her a chocolate chip cookie because she was so sweet.

New Jersey.

We stumbled upon an NYC Swim 2 mile race happening in the water!
You can see the swimmers in yellow swim caps bobbing in front of the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges (left) and swimming past Lower Manhattan (right).

The sky turned gray, so after six lovely hours on the island we boarded the ferry and returned home.

Many other lovely things happened this weekend: browsing independent bookstores, a BBQ on Long Island, many special moments with my friends, the list goes on and on.
I cannot think of a better way to spend four days.

Things are about to get very busy as I plan to take some big leaps of faith. Wish me luck! And forgive me if I'm not posting as often as I might.
Lots of love,