Sunday, November 27, 2016

Wooded Wonderland

As the leaves of the trees transition from summer to fall, the woods beckon us, inviting us to hike the trails of the changing landscape. There is a sense of the unknown as you enter the depths of the forest beneath the towering canopy of tree branches.
Designer Alberta Ferretti explored this wooded theme in her Fall 2016 collection. Dresses and coats feature textures, colors and prints that move through all aspects of the forest environment. 

They take us from the bark of the trees, to the furry creatures living on the forest floor, to the moss covered rocks, to the birds floating across the sky and to the blooming flower patches.

As a symbol, the woods have mixed meanings. Taylor Swift asked, “Are we out of the woods yet?” on her 1989 album as an expression of relational uncertainty and turmoil. People often desire to be out of the woods when they think of bad situations and wanting to leave the darkness of their circumstances. It's like a wish to leave the woods in order to enter the light of the clearing.

But not everything in the woods is bad or something to be escaped. As the Fairy Godmother said in Cinderella, “If Cinderella had not entered the woods, she would have never met her prince.”
Sometimes we have to enter the woods, though darker than the sunlit path and perhaps a bit ominous, for the chance to discover and grow in new ways.

The prettier the flower, the farther from the path.” –Little Red Riding Hood, Into the Woods


As we step past the shadows, the sun shines a bit a brighter. With the sun dappling through the leaves of the trees, the flowers are able to spring forth, adding life and color to the wooded wonderland we call life. 
It simply takes a few steps from the path to find the promise of the flowers. So take a breath and get ready to explore your very own wonderland.

Runway photos: Vogue.com 

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

A Pilgrim's Thanksgiving


With leaves falling, the smell of cinnamon in the air and the taste of pumpkin on your tongue, you know that Thanksgiving is here. With this holiday comes images of Pilgrims and the first Thanksgiving dinner in the new world.



 If you’re like me, I always imagined the Pilgrims in black and white with buckles on their hats and shoes. Turns out that black and white were only worn on Sundays and formal occasions. Women wore shades of red, green, brown, blue, violet and gray. And buckles were not actually in fashion until later in the 17th century. 




Nevertheless, I can’t help but continue to picture them across the landscape of New England in 1621 dressed in the classic black, white and buckles. This type of imagery has definitely persisted in the imaginations of designers as well. 

Pilgrim's Landing
Sarah Burton presented Pilgrim-esque designs in her Pre-Fall 2013 collection. Wide collars, belted waists and buckles are all reminiscent of the Pilgrim look. 
Her runway designs could just have easily been donned on the shores of the New World, though the heels and over-the-knee boots would have been a bit cumbersome. 
The pleats of Lady Hawkins ruff are mirrored by the neckline and hemline details on the McQueen dress, as are the delicate cut out designs. 

Other designers, including Chloe and Jean Paul Gaultier, have also found inspiration in America’s first settlers. The inspiration was reinterpreted on a scale of sexy to sweet. 
Gaultier’s hat and collared ruff are a feminized version of menswear from the period, ramped up with a touch of sex appeal thanks to the skirt's short hemline. 

The Chloe Spring 2007 collection featured classic Pilgrim elements like the collars, but with a dash of 1960s flair with mod baby doll dresses. The designs were a bit sweeter and more demure than the flash of Gaultier. 

Regardless of what the Pilgrims truly wore on that first Thanksgiving, we can embrace the true spirit of that first autumn harvest feast and say a prayer of thanks as we celebrate all that we have been given. 

Runway Photos: Vogue.com

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Edwardian Elegance

The early 1900 Edwardian culture was a world of high society ladies in corsets and lace. It was a time when the ladies were always proper and put together, whether calling on one another for afternoon tea or sharing secrets at the season’s ball. The rules of society were begging to be broken, and who better than an orphan girl turned singer, known on the night club circuit as Coco, to redefine high class chic.
Today, we recognize black and white as a classically chic color combination. We label the little black dress (LBD) as synonymous with effortless beauty. Pearls are the perfect accessory for just about any look and sometimes a hat is just the needed piece to finish an outfit. But it wasn’t always this way. It took the foresight and designing genius of Coco Chanel to add these classic elements to our fashion vocabulary.


"The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud." -Chanel

After her hat designs became all the rage for early 1900 starlets, Chanel was able to put her needle and thread to work on chic designs that evolved over time into the lifestyle brand we know it to be today.
More than a century since the start of the brand, Karl Lagerfeld continues the historic trajectory of Chanel with the reimagining of iconic details, accessories and designs. 

This fall’s collection included designs that paid homage to the Edwardian roots of Chanel’s history. 


"A girl should be two things, classy and fabulous." -Chanel

Cinched waists, full skirts, lace and ruffles are paired with more modern elements like sequins, biker boots and leather lacing for a 21st take on Edwardian elegance. With touches of old and new, the Chanel girl is sure to be both classy and fabulous. 

Runway Photos: Vogue.com 

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Surreal Dreamscape

It is a world where dreams become reality…where the imagination is given free reign to explore what is and what could be…such is the world of surrealism. Artists from the 1920s movement like Salvador Dali allowed the canvas to become the vehicle to help communicate imagery that would otherwise only exist in their subconscious.

Butterflies, clocks and landscapes dominate original surrealist works like Dali’s “The Persistence of Memory” from 1931 (pictured above), while also remaining prevalent in more modern works like Vladimir Kush’s “Departure of the Winged Ship” from 2000 (below).
Butterflies represent ideas like metamorphosis and growth, while simultaneously showcasing a delicate beauty. The symbol of the butterfly, combined with that of clocks and their representation of time, communicates a message of natural change that takes place across the landscape of time.


Fashion designer Elsa Schiaparelli joined the movement in the 1920s and 1930s with famous frocks that included the lobster dress collaboration with Dali. She also embraced the butterfly imagery with a design in 1937.
Like Schiaparelli, modern day designers continue to find inspiration in the surrealist imagery, as was evident on the Fall 2016 Alexander McQueen runway. Designer Sarah Burton used surreal symbols like clocks, lips and butterflies throughout the collection. She created modern day butterfly dresses like that of Schiaparelli's 1937 creation, using lace, sheer overlays and modern lines to update the early 20th century Schiaparelli concept.  
In addition to the fabric motif, Burton also designed the pieces to have the lines like those of a graceful butterfly, with sheer fabric draping over the arms and shoulders and strategic cutouts to help mimic the wings of a butterfly.
 The butterflies also became a bit more proper in suit form, with more subtle cut outs in the skirt.


Dashes of shocking pink also made an appearance as a small nod to Schiaparelli's signature color.

Dali, "Landscape with Butterflies," 1956
The delicacy of a bralette flutters across the skin like a butterfly’s wings, a continuation of the theme in form and not just fabric selection.




So as you bid farewell to the day and drift into your next dreamscape, open your eyes, because the dream may just be tomorrow's reality.

Runway Photos: Vogue.com 
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