Sunday, January 29, 2012

Home Sweet Home

If I may, I'm going to digress for a day or two.  You all know I'm getting married, and that my sisters wedding is only a few weeks away. All of this wedding stuff has been all consuming for the past few weeks so I'm going to take a moment to write about it. (This may be more like "vent about it" I should warn you).

I had made plans to go home this weekend to take care of a few routine errands: get the car inspected, do laundry, and as a plus tackle a few wedding plans. As the wedding approaches a mere 6 months away (!!!!) I figured it was time to actually get myself in gear and cross some things off my list. Well, there's nothing like a huge oversight on your part to light that fire to get get you going. 

For those of you who don't know, I'm from a pretty small town in upstate NY. When I say pretty small I mean every bit of it.  Surprisingly enough, we happen to have 10 hotels within a 5 mile radius for what seems like no tourists. Why on earth would a town have so many hotels then right? It would be because one time of year (and one time of year only) the population of my town nearly triples.  What epic event could possibly bring that many people in?? Well, I thought it would be my wedding but it is in fact NASCAR... yes you read that right. A Jumpsuit wearing, "I wanna go fast" NASCAR race that is held in the outskirts of my town has every hotel even 3 towns over completely booked more than a year and half in advance.

I some how managed to book my wedding the same weekend...Its ok, you should be laughing at me at this point.

After a few frantic phone calls, a few tears, and several hours of driving, I'm confident the crisis has been averted. With a little bit of logistical maneuvering It seems like everything will be ok.... fingers crossed.  I'm praying that this is the one big thing that will inevitably go wrong with the wedding planning process. If I got that out of the way now with this, I will be completely happy.  On top of figuring that out, I set myself up to cross several more things off my list over the next two weeks or so, so I'm feeling much much better about the whole situation. 

And since it's killing me not to be able to talk about what I'm wearing at the wedding, I'll take this opportunity to talk a little about where I'm getting married. 

The ceremony will be in the church I grew up in. I've always loved how beautifully ornate my church was. Even if it was just a small church in a small town, every time I walked in there it made me feel like I was in a fancy basilica.  It means a lot to me that I get to start my future somewhere that played such a big part in my past.

Our reception is almost on the complete opposite end of the spectrum.  It's an antique dairy  barn practically in the middle of no where. On the many drives Joe and I would make crossing Western NY to the Southern Tier barns like these are scattered left and right in between our two houses. Having the reception in this space almost feels like meeting in the middle. (Can you tell I'm a Cancer who attaches sentimental value to everything, haha)..

Now that wedding planning is a reality I've never been more simultaneously stressed and excited.... I'm sure this isn't the last you'll hear of it.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Gold Globes Red Carpet Recap

Its that time of year again, where I can get over my general detest for literal red carpets  after a grueling holiday season in the retail world, and actually thoroughly enjoy them.  Yes, of course I'm talking about awards season.

The Golden Globes kicked things off last night. If I'm going to be totally honest, I was a little underwhelmed. I didn't LOOOOOVE really anything, but there were few that I was pleasantly surprised by. Here are a few of my faves from Sunday's festivities (In no particular order):

I really liked Emma Stone in Lanvin. The plumy raspberry number just looks so cool and effortless on her. She always seems to get it right on the red carpet. I do have one gripe... I don't love the embellishment on the belt, but I'm willing to let it slide.

Salma Hayek looked like a bombshell (as usual) in Gucci. Her lose ombre locks were a perfect compliment to the dress. 

While I normally don't like dresses this busy, Diana Argon's cherry red laser cut swan Giles Deacon dress is something to marvel at. The sheer intricacy of the dress is incredible.

Zooey Daschanel couldn't have looked any more like a Prada girl than she did at the Golden Globes.... wearing custom Prada of course. (Yes, yes, I know, I still owe you a post). I would have liked her hair up... a cute little top knot would have been perfect, but overall I still like the look and I like that it is so distinctly true to the vendor, while still being true to her quirky personality. Also, those tuxedo nails of hers.... how adorable.

And, just like its the kick off to awards season, the first red carpet of the season also gives you the first looks at the trends for Spring... and this was no exception. One of the biggest trends coming up... The New Neutrals: Nude and Yellow?

Nude colored frocks will be everywhere this spring, and quite a few actresses jumped on that bandwagon (a few successfully, and a few not so much). The ones who got it right?

Kate Beckinsale in Cavalli

Charlize Theron in vintage Dior (not surprising)

Elle McPhereson in Zac Posen

I even like Sarah Hyland's look in vintage Docle & Gabbana.

And as for the yellow? You'll see shocking colors all over for the next few months, but the biggest of which will be yellow... often paired back with nude, taupe, and beige to make it one of springs "new neutrals" There were quite a few gals who brought that sunshine hue to the red carpet including Julia Kurbatova , Maria Menunos, and Paula Patton.

 What about you guys? Who'd you love, who'd you hate? I can't wait to see the rest of the fashion award season brings!

Friday, January 13, 2012

More Mohair Please

I think winter is finally here to stay.... unfortunately. Fortunately for me however, I get yet another season of my favorite cold-weather jacket. This Prada plaid mohair is one of my greatest vintage finds. ( you'll get to see others later) The built in scarf means I can just grab it and go, and stay super warm the whole day through. 

I thought this might be a good time to explain what mohair actually is. Its instantly recognizable with its long usually slightly curly and shaggy appearance, and most of us instantly see it shedding all over anything it touches.  In reality, mohair actually doesn't shed quite as badly as some of its woolly peers like angora (that gets over EVERYTHING but it's oh so soft). It actually has a lot of great qualities...its durable moisture and flame resistant and almost nearly impossible to crease.  Its insulating properties are some of the best in the world. All of those qualities combine to make mohair a luxury fiber.... fit for cold-weather Prada jackets. 

A few interesting facts to know about mohair:

1) It's one of the oldest used textile fibers in the world.
2) It comes from the angora goat.... Not to be confused with angora wool... which, actually comes from a rabbit.
3) The wool is obtained by sheering the angora goat twice a year. This is a non-harmful process (just like getting a hair cut) that yields anywhere from 11-17lbs of hair per goat per year.
4) The younger the goat is, the thinner the fibers are resulting in many different variations of wool all from the same goat.
5) While the angora goat originated in Tibet and migrated down to Turkey, it is now South Africa that accounts for 60% of the worlds mohair exports.

I'm sure you were all dying to know all of that.... don't worry, we'll get to the Prada lesson eventually. I think it's relevant to understand where the materials are coming from though when your forking over that kind of cash for a garment. 7 times out of 10 you're paying for the quality of the materials, so you should always know what you're wearing.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Year and a New Dress!

Happy New Year everyone!! Here's to wishing everyone a prosperous, healthy, and of course a very fashionably well-versed 2012!

2012 is going to be a big year for me... my darling older sister is getting married,  a few of my closest friends are getting married, I'M getting married, and a few personal and professional adventures are on the books (more on those as the year progresses). With the whirlwind 2012 has in store, I also think its time for big new years resolutions.  For me, this year will be all about setting up good habits and consistent schedules. I want to get better at keeping in touch with people, and for the life of me I'm going to try to kick my ever present procrastinating to the curb. This includes my blog. I've used the craziness of the past few months as an excuse for not posting regularly like I used to... I'd like to get back into the swing of it.  This new anti-procrastination movement will also help me with wedding planning... I hate make decisions, so I put them off and next thing you know its "OMG I haven't even picked out an idea for save the dates, let alone ordered them; they need to go out in a week according to the planner!"  (So apparently that's first on the to-do list).

I also have no more excuses not to focus on things like that because my all consuming hunt for finding a wedding dress is finally over!!

For months I've wanted to punch every girl who said "My wedding dress? I tried on maybe three, and ended up buying the first one!" Yes, this includes my very own sister. I tried on what seemed like 100 and absolutely nothing was working. I liked this, and hated that, this was too expensive, and that looked too casual. I now realize the drawback to being a stylist for a high-end luxury retailer... your bank account does not match your expectations of the "perfect" dress. It also makes you way, way, way too picky. Not to mention, I change my mind about what I feel like wearing from breakfast to dinner, how am I supposed to know what I will want to wear 7 months from now!

Then it happened, I finally had that "ah ha!" moment I was expecting when I put on THE dress. Now, I can't imagine wearing anything else. (I'm putting that in writing to remind myself 7 months from now that's how I felt). Keeping the details of probably the most exciting purchase of my life a secret for over half a year is going to be torture.

I'd love to hear from all of you. What are your resolutions for 2012?

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Dressing a Femme Fatale, She Must be in Versace

As promised onto a little lesson in Versace....

Elizabeth Hurley in Versace's "Safety Pin" dress 1994
I mentioned earlier that it was Elizabeth Hurley's daring choice of the Versace safety pin dress in 1994 that had the legendary designer brand a common household name but, of course there was quite a bit more to it.  In fact was Gianni Versace's incredible marketing and approach to the importance of fashion in the public eye that landed the designer house in fashion industry. 

Gianni Versace

What Andy Warhol did for the art world in the pop culture phenomenon, Gianni did for fashion.  In fact, it's him we can thank (or detest, whichever way you want to look at it) for our obsession with America's Next Top Model or Scouted. Of course famous and incredibly influential models had been around for decades, but it was when Gianni hired all of the worlds top print models to walk in his runway shows the idea of the "Super Model" was born.  In his fall/winter 1991 collection Versace sent Cindy Crawford, Naomi Cambpell, Christy Turlington, and Linda Evangelista sauntering down the runway in his wares... need I say more?

Linda Evangelista, Cindy Crawford, Naomi Campbell, and Christy Turlington
Versace Fall/Winter 1991 Runway
Ever since the designer has been known for his drop dead gorgeous red carpet looks.  The signature designs of Versace arent  necessarily avant garde or out to change the fashion game, they are intended to clothe a femme fatale or at least make you look like one.  Since Donatella has taken over the reigns as creative director after Gianni's untimely murder outside of his South Beach mansion few would dispute anyone does it better.  (Hence my choice of the leopard printed Versace number for my special date night).

Donatella Versace
In fact, that idea of the catering to that red hot vixen is actually embedded in the very logo of the company.  Rooted in mythology the company sports the head of Medusa designed by Gianni Versace himself as the emblem of choice.

Versace Logo
I myself was a little confused about this at first. Why on earth would you chose the depiction of your brand to be a woman who is so ugly she turns people to stone?!? This is where a little academics comes in handy.  In the SUPER condensed version of the myth Medusa was in fact a babe, one of the prettiest girls around in fact, pretty enough to attract the attention of the god Poseidon, and the jealousy of Athena. Athena decided to take that jealousy out on Medusa by cutting off her hair (said to be one of her prettiest traits) and replacing it with snakes. From then on Medusa would captivate every man who laid eyes upon her rendering them incapable of looking away, and unfortunately for them, turning them into stone.  Translating that into relevant terms for Versace, they create designs that when worn are intended to stop men in their tracks. When you think about it that way, it makes quite a bit more sense, and when you look at some of the great red carpet moments of the brand I would say the have the market cornered. 

January Jones in Versace at 2011 Golden Globes
Angelina Jolie in Versace at the 2011 Golden Globes

Jennifer Hudson in Versace at the 2011 Oscars
and how could I not include one of the most famous red (well, techinically blue) carpet dresses of all time... none other than Jennifer Lopez's plunging jungle inspired ensemble at the Grammy's in 2000.

Jennifer Lopez in Versace at the 2000 Grammy's

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas Everyone! I hope you all enjoy the holiday season!

I love this time of year, mostly because I know I'll get to be with my family. I've been blessed with a great one, doubly blessed because in 8 (rapidly approaching) months I'll get to officially be a part of another great family. I have been extraordinarily blessed this year, for a lot of different reasons. I don't know how I got to be so lucky... but I do know I'm incredibly grateful. 

Monday, November 28, 2011

Va Va Versace

There are a few times when a girl (me included) wants to be taken out for a night on the town, dinner and drinks at a swanky restaurant with a killer view... and I don't just mean the view of her general surroundings... she herself wants to be part of that killer view.  Where you look just as confident on the outside as you are feeling on the inside, like that night is yours to own.

While I know the saying goes, "clothes don't make the the man" they certainly HELP the woman achieve that feeling.  When you slip into a dress that fits like a glove, and accentuates all of your best features very little can stop you from feeling fabulous.  Whether it be an amazing  dinner on top of the Eiffel Tower ( even the little one in Vegas) and an exciting show on the strip, or a candlelit dinner in the middle of a basilica and cocktails on a roof deck 57 stories above Marina Bay, its the type of dress that makes you feel just as special as the place you are wearing it.

For me, "that" dress was this Versace number. (Now if I was only as confident finding "THE" dress for another big day in my life.... I digress though, that's a whole other post in itself). For me, this was a dress that I didn't think "Where am I going to wear this??" it was more "Now I need to figure out where I should be taken so I can wear it." I knew the perfect occasion would arise eventually or I would eventually make an occasion happen... either or.

It's the perfect just above the knee length, and made of silk that has just enough stretch to hug you in all the right places.  What looks to be leopard print is actually overlapping images of fabric swatches- a little detail that makes it not your average animal print dress. It still has that "look at me" quality that is let's face it- unavoidable in anything that looks remotely close to animal print, but in definitely a more sophisticated polished way. My favorite detail however, is in the straps.  The straps on the V neck actually wrap around the front, crossing in the back to mimic the subtle V shape and then meet again in the front with a simple architectural black bow. Perfection.

If you are familiar with the rest of Versace's collections, it's fitting that the "WOW!" dress of my wardrobe would be from the atelier.  If anyone gets that va va va voom factor, its Versace. It is what the design house has come to epitomize in the couture world, and is responsible for making it a household name.  While the label (formally Gianni Versace) has been around since 1978, it didn't become a common name on the lips of fashionistas until 1994, thanks to Elizabeth Hurley and this "I have absolutely nothing to hide" black dress by the label.

As early as last Saturday, the label launched its collaboration with H&M... the brand is all a buzz in the fashion world yet again.  Clearly, the active house has had a lot going on for it since 1978, enough so, that I think its history deserves its own post.... and I'm sure Donatella would agree.