Going from girlhood to womanhood and asserting independence is a prominent theme in the fashion world. Fashion designers can pair bows with trousers, frilly skirts with leather jackets or blazers, a pale pink dress with a heavy blazer, or heavy ornamental and mature brooches on light and airy summer dresses.
This entire fashion week was a pretty awesome one - shows covered all sorts of styles, from oriental (Proenza Schouler) to Dickensian/Eliza Doolittle-esque (Marc Jacobs) to NYC-inspired (Donna Karan) to lots, and I mean lots, of throwbacks to the beginning of the 20th century, which was most notably done by designers L'Wren Scott and Ralph Lauren.
It's no secret that I lovelovelove Oscar de la Renta. His show was the only one I was able to see live (via livestream) and I couldn't be happier or more giddy about it - I saw it right before dinner with my family, and they were getting annoyed at how many times I was sighing over the gorgeousness of it! According to Oscar de la Renta, one of the main themes of this show was "a young girl dressing up", and I think that theme was excellently conveyed. From frilly mini dresses with full skirts and bows to black shifts with bright jewels sewn on, the clothes portrayed in the show definitely remind me of what I instinctly went for when going through my aunts', mother's and grandmother's closets. If they'd also featured large Hermes-like silk scarves wrapped around like a skirt with strands of pearls that reached my 5-year-old knees, I'd be worried Oscar de la Renta was a mind reader.
I also loved the bob-like hairdo with the black silk ribbons or jeweled headbands. They almost remind me of the girl version of the 1920's-esque bob, and the hair accessories are really fun!
This dress almost reminds me of the first thing I would always look for when going through more elegant closets - the item of clothing that was the easiest to imagine myself wearing, which was usually the most youthful item.
And look at those shoes! There were those shoes in different colours, such as black, and champagne, throughout the entire show. How pretty!
I actually had a skirt like this when I was little, just a lot pinker, almost entirely pink, actually, and then, ironically, when I was a teenager, maybe thirteen years old, I had the same thing but shorter, and with almost no pink and a lot of red to go with my rebellious teenage status.
In my opinion, this is the perfect little-girl-dreams-of-poufy-dresses ball gown. I mean, really - it's pale pink, has pretty poufy off the shoulder sleeves (kind of reminds me of Jasmine from Aladdin, the Disney movie!), has multiple layers of pink tulle, and it kind of reminds me of a cupcake! What more can a girly little girl want?
However, it's at this point that the fashion starts to "mature" a little bit - you could almost say that the girl is tired of the frilly cupcake-and-jewel looks after 10 minutes and wants something a little more interesting.
Yes, this dress has a youthful look, mostly because of the pale colour and frills, but it also a mature edge to it. First off, you could say that the way the frills are arranged could almost look like the frills on a men's tuxedo shirt. There's also a kind of deconstructed look about it, almost as if the ruffles were in perfect order and then purposely messed up - the kind of looks teenagers love after years of perfect bows and pale pink princess dresses.
And, finally: this dress. I've tried to follow a kind of little-girl-to-woman order in these placing pictures, but couldn't resist posting this one, which should've been towards the beginning or middle, at the end. Best for last! Because, seriously guys, I gasped when this dress came onto the runway, and I highly doubt I was the only one. This dress is the epitome of "the little girl", but not at all in an immature way - it's magical. I can imagine Eloise wearing it! The tiara certainly complements it, and the heels remind me of Cinderella slippers! This dress would've occupied my dreams for a few weeks when I was young had it existed. (It might now either way. Maybe). (Even if Cinderalla is kind of a wimp. I like to think of the Ever After version of Cinderella, where the slippers are still insanely beautiful and Danielle, aka Cinderella, is kick-ass.)
That's all for now! What did you think of this fashion season - what did you think of Oscar de la Renta's collection in particular?
The next installment in the coming-of-age-in-the-fashion-world series: Tory Burch's fall/winter 2012-2013 collection! (It was so adorable, oh my gosh.)
(Photos courtesy of Style.com ).
Thanks for reading! :)
Monday, March 26, 2012
Wednesday, March 7, 2012
Lately, I seem to be reading a lot about fashion, makeup, and style, and how to apply it to your life in the best way. This can be either from books, such as Maria Menounos' The Everygirl's Guide To Life, (which was actually pretty good, maybe I'll review that, too...), or from magazines, such as this month's Vogue, which I don't read very often, but, c'mon, Adele was on it.
I must say, though, that the most fun and interesting "guide" I've read so far is The Fashion File, by Mad Men's costume designer (and award-winning costume designer) Janie Bryant, and fashion expert, writer, and reporter, Monica Corcoran Harel. For those of you who live under a rock (kidding), Mad Men is a television show about people working in ad agencies on Madison Avenue in the 1960's, and their families and lives. The Fashion File revolves a lot around the show, but even someone who hasn't seen the show but likes its fashion can immerse themselves in the book - whenever Janie uses the book as a point of reference, she generally provides a picture or illustration to help out.
What I liked about The Fashion File:
I'm a very visual person and I love fashion illustration and coffee table books, so this book was a dream. The illustrations are nothing short of gorgeous. They were drawn by Robert Best, who was on season 3 of Project Runway and worked on an Isaac Mizrahi movie.
The book is divided into chapters with names such as "You as a Leading Lady", "Defining Your Silhouette and Secrets for Dressing Your Shape", and "The Dressing Room". One of the things I liked most, however, is that no matter what advice Janie gives, she always says that what makes you feel beautiful and confident is the best thing to wear, and says a few times that, although she believes the advice she gives is good and has been tried and tested, they're just guidelines, not hard "rules", which I appreciated. She also says that loving yourself and being able to gracefully accept compliments without acting too modestly is just as important - they help with the confidence, and I'm completely behind that!
I also loved that she didn't endorse buying new clothes all the time to keep up with trends, or with any kind of designer buying - she definitely encourages shopping your closet and keeping an open mind in order to put together new outfits all the time with the help of a few quintessential closet items and a few fun accessories. I especially loved the section "Seven variations on the little black dress" for showing different ways to accessorize a black dress to make it look completely different.
Janie also has some really good advice, seriously. She recommends mood boards, but not only one for inspiration, but one for each persona you want to communicate through your style. Want to dress up rocker style in all black, a leather jacket, and crazy hair? Make a mood board! Want to channel old Hollywood glamour? Make a mood board!
She also gives the advice of keeping a kind of style bible or fashion journal - kind of like a food journal, but you write down what you wore and what made you feel best so that you can remember that outfit should you ever be in a rush to figure out an outfit that looks good on you! You can even add in pictures, if you want. I know I've started mine, and it's helped!
Overall, Janie gives advice to determine, at the beginning of the book, the basics about yourself style-wise: what colours would be best on you, what shapes, the role of colour in your wardrobe, skincare, undergarment-fitting, makeup, and refining your look. I found this extremely helpful - the basics she presented weren't too complicated that I wasn't sure which one I was, and she gave really great advice for every body shape, colour combination, and more.
I also love that she included "Checklists" at the end of every chapter. They're essentially summaries of the chapter put down into a few (pretty and well-written) bullet points. As much as The Fashion File is extremely well-written, it can be hard to remember all the advice, points, and ideas Janie puts out there amidst all the pretty illustrations, so the checklists are helpful.
One of my favourite parts, however? The vintage chapter! Seriously, it's amazing. She covers every decade from the 20's until the 80's, has interesting facts about each decade, but also has ways to incorporate those looks into your own wardrobe.
A few of my favourite illustrations from the vintage chapter (they're so detailed!):
The 1920's section
The 50's section
The 60's section
And the 80's section
I loved that a lot about Mad Men, as a show, was included, but I love even more that a lot of information about the costume designing process and fitting process was also included. I'm interested in it, so it was a real treat to read about a day in the costume designer's life - it's inspiring to see how much work Janie's put into making the show more believable through tiny outfit details!
The last, albeit unexpected, part that I liked? The last section, which focused on men! I have to admit I wasn't expecting it at all, but I found it really interesting considering I know very little about men's fashions. She even includes guides on different ways to knot ties and bow ties and how to shop for suits, which is extremely useful for you and your guy. I loved the emphasis on a man dressing up, since I love a man in a suit ;).
The (very few) things I didn't like were more on a personal level:
Janie mentions that, unlike Coco Chanel, who advised woman to glance at herself one more time in the mirror before leaving and taking off an accessory, you should glance in the mirror before leaving, but then add on one more accessory. Throughout the entire book, she really advocates on wearing lots of accessories, which is nice, for sure - a lot of emphasis is placed on accessories with sentimental value, and experimenting is great - but a mention that wearing huge earrings, on top of lots of necklaces, and a belt, and an arm of bangles and cuffs can be a bit much, especially for petite women like myself. It's not a rule or anything, but although accessories are fun, a mention that sometimes even no accessory is needed if you're, for example, really trying to make a statement with the outfit you're wearing.
One more thing I didn't like which is really a personal matter is that she didn't include Audrey Hepburn in her "old Hollywood glamour list of inspiration". I just would've included her because she's inspired me so much, though I can understand that she may not influence everyone as much as, say, Rita Hayworth has. I was also surprised Marilyn Monroe wasn't on there since she was mentioned several times throughout the book.
So, as you can see, there's not much wrong with the book, at least in my opinion.
Have you read The Fashion File? If you have, what did you think of it? Have you read other style and fashion books based on a movie or television show that you can recommend?
Disclaimer: I wasn't paid or compensated to mention anything here, it is my own content and my own ideas. The book links are Amazon affiliated, and by clicking on the links/buying the linked product I will profit, but I still choose which products I want to talk about and believe in.
All photos in this post belong to Janie Bryant, Monica Corcoran Harel, and Robert Best. No infringement intended, they were used simply for demonstrative and admiration purposes.