Sunday, February 28, 2010

Mod Squad

I got so excited looking at this collection.

This is Fall 2010 from Trussardi 1911. Oh, I just LOVE this -- this is exactly the kind of thing I want to be wearing right now.

I'm really thrilling to this sort of late-sixties/early-seventies just a bit mod thing. I want lots of straight sheaths made of heavy ponte knits and graphics and skinny trousers.

Everything slim and neat and smooth, with high-cut armholes and narrow sleeves. Just fantastic.

Yeah, they're leather walking shorts. So??? Nothing wrong with that.

Trussardi 1911, you might have guessed, was founded a century ago as, I believe, a glovemaker. Eventually they branched out into luggage and accessories, and started showing menswear in the 80's. Designer Milan Vukmirovic took over a few years ago and this is his second womens' collection for the label. He's hitting it out of the park, as far as I'm concerned.

Oh, this jacket makes me want to cry. That is SO good.

Suede coatdress with slithery zipper? Yes, please.

I haven't yet run into any of this stuff in person -- apparently it's pretty luxe. The vibe I get from this is European hipster with both money AND taste. (And we all know how infrequently you find those two things in one person, sadly.)

Coat for the ages. Or at least several good years.

I adore houndstooth. It's been having a minor moment the last few seasons, and that makes me really happy.

As does this dress. Oh, my goodness, could I rock that dress.

Inspired by the slightly mod vibe of this stuff, I went forth to the vintage stores to see what I might find to scratch this itch. And?


Truly fantastic little white Alain Manoukian minidress. Neat as a pin, fits me like it was cut for me, absolutely perfect. Worn here with some black leggings and my indefatigable Stuart Weitzman Goliath boots. And the leggings are a must; this thing is most definitely a minidress. If I want to do anything besides stand -- sit, for example, or go up steps, or get in & out of a car, or, um... sneeze -- I need the leggings.

Look at the great seaming on this. (Click the photos to make them bigger.) The scarf, by the way, is another great vintage find I've had for a while.

Isn't that fun? This scarf makes me happy.

The mini & leggings were also really cute with a pair of black patent flats, but by then I was sick of taking pictures of myself.

I have a feeling I'm going to go back to this Trussardi collection for inspiration quite a bit in the months to come. What do you think? Anything there you like?

Photos:, Style Spy

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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

For The Hard-Core Among Us

Absolutely worth forty minutes of your time: designer Narciso Rodriguez, J.Crew CEO Millard Drexler, Elle Editor-In-Chief Roberta Myers, and my absolute favorite fashion journalist Cathy Horyn discuss fashion and the business of it on Charlie Rose. Watch it here.

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Sunday, February 21, 2010

It's the Little Things

Last Sunday, some of you may remember, was Valentine's Day. I happened to be enjoying some early dinner at a nice-ish restaurant Sunday, and so got to witness a small parade of folks who were obviously out to celebrate with their significant other or longtime partner. This meant some people made an effort - it was a bit dressier than usual for a Sunday evening in Austin.

There was a commonality among most of the women who were dressed up, exemplified by one pretty 20-something. Overall, I'd give her look a "B." She had the right idea: she was wearing an LBD, she managed to find a coat that looked warm and was still pretty, she had on heels (although she was bare-legged and the heels were strappy sandals, which is just foolishness when the temperature is in the low 40's and dropping -- Style Spy will deal with this anon) and earrings and overall looked like she cared enough about her date to look nice for the occasion. (Which is really what we all want isn't it? To know that we inspired a bit of effort on someone else's part?) I'm going to take off points because her ensemble was ALL black (it's a Valentine's Day date, dear, not your great aunt's funeral), the aforementioned bare legs, and for the fact that when she turned, I could see hanging over her shoulder this monstrosity:

Only hers was worse because the leather accents were a garish bright red, and the monogram pattern was two-tone so that it was even more obvious.


I'm going to spare you my rant on not wearing someone else's logo, name or initials anywhere on your person unless you are a Nascar driver or dressed in your occupational wardrobe. (The UPS guy has to wear a UPS badge when he's delivering, that seems fair. But are you the Ed Hardy guy? The Louis Vuitton woman? I thought not.) That's not what this is about. This is about the fact that, while it may have been her favorite handbag, or her most expensive or newest or whatever, it is most decidedly NOT an evening bag. Dear ladies, if you are old enough to get dressed up and go nice places, you should have at least one evening bag tucked away in your closet. If you carry it to the office, or the grocery store, it is not an evening bag. And I don't care how much it cost, I don't care if it's a $2500 Bottega Campana -- it's not an evening bag.

I'm talking about something dressy, preferably made of satin or another special-occasion material, like a metallic or patent leather. Something small, that you can carry in one hand. It may or may not have a bit (or a lot) of sparkle on it, depending on your taste. Black is a safe choice for most people, although if you're going to have only one I would suggest you go with silver or gold, depending on what you wear more of, because black can be wrong with a light-colored or warm-weather dress.

I can hear the grumbling, and let's put a stop to it now, shall we?

No, you cannot carry much in this bag. May I remind you: you are going out to dinner, not on a trek through Nepal. You do not NEED much. Your house and maybe car key. (Get another house key cut if you need to, and put it on a separate ring -- just a ring, no big jangling cutesy key fobs! -- with a car key. I personally like the kind that comes apart, so that if I'm valet parking I can hand over my car key without surrendering my house key.) Your lippie of choice, and some blotting papers (if you have to re-apply your eye makeup during the course of a single evening, you're either wearing too much or you need better makeup). A mirror, your ID, a handkerchief, one credit card, your mobile telephonic communication device (which should stay INSIDE your bag for the entirety of the date, barring an emergency) and some cash. (PLEASE do not leave home without some cash, people!! You cannot tip the coat check girl, or the valet, or even the bartender who makes your martini while you wait for a table, with a credit card!! Be civilized, for god's sake!!) If by chance you know your dining companion well enough that it seems likely you will not be returning home that evening (ahem), put a few things into a small tote and leave them in the car. If you do not know your companion well enough to do this without embarrassment and you STILL think it's possible the evening might not end until tomorrow, whyever in the name of all that's holy would you go to HIS place? Are you nuts?? Take him to yours, for crying out loud!!

As for the I-can't-juggle-everything-and-still-hang-onto-a-purse argument, rest assured: most evening bags have a removable or tuck-in-able strap. This is not a new problem.

And don't give me the oh, that's an expense I can't justify BS, either. You can find a perfectly nice, inexpensive evening bag without throwing down for a Judith Leiber minaudiere. (See my choice here.) Here, take a look: (Click, as usual, on the photos for links.)

Jessica McClintock Sparkles Flap Clutch

Satin, with a bit of sparkle.

La Regale 24182 Clutch

If you'd like something a bit larger and more neutral.

La Regale 24426 Clutch

I love a box clutch.

La Regale Confetti Pattern Bead Clutch

Black AND sparkly!

La Regale Satin Pleated Clutch

A little bit larger, but still nice.

La Regale Mesh Slim Frame Clutch

Mesh is fun, and feels nice to the touch.

Every one of the above bags A) is under $30, B) has a shoulder strap, and C) comes in black and at least one other neutral, all-purpose color like gold or silver. And some of them come in a rainbow of wild, fun colors, as well.

If you want to go with more Advanced Fashion (and more advanced price) how about these?

Magid Crystal Stone Clutch

Bigger, sparklier!

Franchi Kay Clutch

Who needs a flapper dress when you can have a flapper bag? Love this.

Whiting & Davis 1-5721 Minaudiere
I have this minaudiere in the matte gold. Je l'adore. There's something so wonderfully 40's glam about carrying a box clutch -- make sure your nails are nice, though.

Whiting & Davis Heart Clutch


Of course, if you want, you can go entirely crazy:

Halston Heritage Sequin Folded Clutch

Serious sparkly action. Nice.

Herve Leger Crystal ClutchHerve Leger Crystal Clutch

Wonderful, aren't they?


So feminine and flirty.
Speaking of clutches -- this made me clutch at my heart. Click on the link to get a better look at this, it's really stupendous.




The devil, as they say, is in the details. You've taken it so far -- your dress, your shoes, your jewelry... Make this one final effort to polish everything off and then sail out of the house knowing you're... well, unassailable.

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Sunday, February 14, 2010

Bright Candle

It is a strange thing, to mourn someone you never actually knew.

It feels a bit presumptuous to me, like I'm taking a liberty I don't deserve. I certainly never met Alexander McQueen; he was not a friend or acquaintance or even someone who got his coffee at the same Starbucks I did. I did not "know" him. And yet...

Alexander McQueen is one of my favorite artists. He was epically talented and endlessly creative and he possessed the gift that separates an artist from a mere talent -- the ability to express his inner life in his work in a way that moved & excited others, even those who never "knew" him.

That is what art does and what artists accomplish: they show us some essential part of themselves in their work and through that we make a connection; and they become meaningful to us, as though we knew them.

I am not going to offer opinions on the circumstances surrounding McQueen's death. It is pointless to try to understand why someone takes his own life, and more importantly, it is none of our business. I hope everyone will refrain from speculating on his motives or reasons, including in any comments you may leave here.

I am deeply, deeply saddened by the death of Alexander McQueen. If you've read my blog before you know that he is one of my very favorite designers. I did not review his last few collections, mostly because I was so moved and amazed and excited by them that I could not gather my thoughts into a coherent statement in a timely fashion. So I kept my yap shut. Maybe that's what I should do now...

I am sorry that we will not get to see more of Lee McQueen's art. I am sorry he is no longer here to affect the future of his art, in the way he pushed his own limits and in the way he influenced others. I am deeply sorry for his family and friends -- losing a loved one to suicide is an indescribably and unimaginably painful experience. Most of all, I am heartbroken to imagine the pain he must have been in to make the choice he did.

But like anyone I have ever mourned, I am grateful to have known him, even for only as long as I did.

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