Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Party Down

If there’s one word that makes me want to shop, it’s the word party. It can be preceded by any descriptor. There can be a paper invitation or an email or a “C U @ 8” text message. It can be on a roof deck. It can involve a beach bonfire. I could be crammed into a studio apartment. None of that matters. I sift through my closet beforehand and rarely find anything to satisfy me. Even if there is no dress code. Even if no one would blink if I showed up in a pair of ratty, skinny jeans, a striped, dolman-sleeved sweatshirt and a pair of beat up Bensimons.

When I was little, parties meant cupcake dresses. Green velvet, big skirts, and white sashes with a matching bow sitting atop my head. In college, I moved in the opposite direction. Halter tops and tube tops. Stretchy, suffocating fabrics. Bootcut jeans. Parties meant tighter and brighter. Can you find something that makes you look like a sequin that took a dip in a tub of glitter? Perfect! The discovery of the nearest Forever 21 was a revelation. It took far too long for me to realize a number of things. Firstly, a Forever 21 tube top lasts about three washes before it begins to disintegrate. Secondly, I rarely looked good in any of those things. And thirdly, having a wardrobe meant only for partying was a waste of space, money and time.

But the urge to hunt for something new when such occasions arise hasn't subsided, even though most of the parties that I go to now are of the "Everyone Bring Some Wine and Hang Out in My Apartment with Me" variety. On Monday, I wove my way up and down Newbury Street in search of something to wear to a party that I'm attending on Friday.

And just what was I hoping to find? Not cupcake dresses or halter tops. I'm far removed from both of those phases of my life. Feminine detailing. Ease. Pieces that can weave their way into my everyday wardrobe.

By Jason Wu

By Rag & Bone

By Tory Burch

And, for those occasions that call for it, something that I can dance in.

Images via, via, via 

Friday, November 25, 2011

The Leftovers: London Fashion Week SS12

London has a history of living a few seasons ahead of the other cities. Yet in recent years, I’ve noticed a shift. A falling in line. Or it could be a growing up. Though if one truly thinks about it, those two ideas are inextricably linked.

This season, I felt more carry over from New York than I have in past years.

The designers showing in London have always had a way with prints, so it was no surprise that the florals seen in New York continued to flourish there in a range of manifestations.

At Clements Ribeiro

At Erdem

At Caroline Charles

At Temperley London

At Matthew Williamson

At Christopher Kane

At Kinder Aggugini

And of course prints of other varieties could be found everywhere.

At Maria Grachvogel

At Paul Smith

At David Koma

At Jonathan Saunders

At Basso & Brooke

At Michael van der Ham

At Mary Katrantzou

Outside of the floral prints, there were small glimpses of the other trends that dominated the New York season.

The colorblocking

At Jasper Conran

At Jean-Pierre Braganza

At J.W. Anderson

At Jaeger London

At Margaret Howell

The peplums

At Paul Costelloe

At Peter Jensen

At Osman

At Corrie Nielsen

The shorts

At Daks

At Erdem

But those pieces comprised only a small fraction of the whole story. And the story in London was one of neons. But there were no stepping back from the edge here as there had been in New York. No toning down of the brilliance. Maybe it was in that way that London retained some of the feel of those seasons past. At times, the colors felt too strong, yet you couldn't help but stare in amazement.

At Maria Grachvogel

At Nicole Farhi

At Ann-Sofie Back Atelje

At Matthew Williamson

At Jaeger London

At J.W. Anderson

At Paul Smith

Especially at the brilliant blues.

At Pringle of Scotland

At Burberry Prorsum

At David Koma

At Emilio de la Morena

At Paul Smith

It's a color used as a backdrop so often that you can forget its power.

Photos via, via

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Leftovers: New York Fashion Week SS12

Fall has been composed of ups and downs. 70 degree temperatures followed by snow showers followed by cold, rainy downpours. When it was perfect out, those mid to high 50s days with the light streaming through the colorful leaves at just the right angle, you remembered why you lived here in New England. But on those other days, the time warp days when everything felt out of place, you tended to wish for something else.

It was in all of this tumult that I finally found the time and space, both literal and mental, to write about the Spring/Summer 2012 collections. Almost two months removed from the last of the Paris shows, I collected my bookmarks and my thoughts and tried to distill them into something coherent.

For New York, that task was simple. After only a handful of shows, the tone of the New York season was set. This would be a season of neons and sherberts. Of a sporting life. Of flowers, flowers, and more flowers. Of peplums. Of the shortest of shorts. Of the enduring power of colorblocking. As always, the creativity emerged when designers took note of those pervasive trends without being swept away by them.

I doubt that we’ll ever be done with colorblocking. The trend has been around for a fashion eternity. So long in fact that I feel uncomfortable continuing to call it a trend. It is simply a way of life.

At Jenni Kayne


At Mandy Coon

At Ruffian

At J. Mendel

But New York’s overarching color story was an eye searing one, full of blazing pinks and shocking blues. Some played with those electric shades in unexpected ways, rendering them in fabrics that draped and flowed and dampened the hard edge that can accompany such colors. Others toned the hues down the slightest bit, stepping back from the cliff and finding a home somewhere between pastel and neon.

At Cushie et Ochs

At Vena Cava

At Costello Tagliapietra

At Kevork Kiledjian

At Doo.Ri

At Wes Gordon

At Milly

Starting with such an audacious foundation can often give designers a chance to pull back in other areas. This season that pulling back often had a hint of le sportif to it and could be found in all types of ways from clean, strong silhouettes in non-traditional fabrics to more on the nose references.

At Kevork Kiledjian

At Reed Krakoff

At Victoria Beckham


At Alexander Wang

Florals and I have a long, torturous history that has already been documented here, so it was with some hesitancy that I approached the abundance of blooms making their way down various runways and standing nonchalantly in a multitude of presentations. But that breadth fostered a great amount of depth and flowers appeared in every form from the classic to the acid-fueled.

At Oscar de la Renta


At Richard Chai Love

At Altuzarra

At Tracy Reese

At Peter Som

At Julian Louie

At Cynthia Rowley

At Vera Wang

Alongside the florals lived the peplums. But unlike the flowers, the feeling of unease that welled up whenever I saw one did not subside as the week progressed. I find them to be unflattering on almost everyone. Silly and unnecessary. But even with those feelings, there were some that made me pause for a moment.

At Vera Wang

At Marchesa

At A Détacher

At Marc by Marc Jacobs

At Jason Wu

Shorts that barely warranted the name popped up in nearly every collection as well. Feminine and paired with bows and flowers. Laid back and complemented by the stripes that I love so much.  They revealed that I and this New England fall have a lot in common. Here again was an item that only complemented a rarefied few, yet I could not get enough.

At A.L.C.

At Steven Alan

At United Bamboo

At Proenza Schouler

At Jason Wu

And when the shows moved on from New York, I waited for them to appear in London, Milan, and Paris.

Photos via