Saturday, August 20, 2016

Blaze at the Ballet

The lights are flickering, violins tuning, skirts rustling and laughter tinkling. The year is 1873 and the city is Paris. It’s a night at the ballet, and everyone is ready for an unforgettable experience.
Outside, the Fall breeze is blowing, bringing with it an ominous outcome that theatre goers are far from expecting. 
Not only will the patrons of the ballet get to enjoy the talents of prima ballerinas like Marie Taglioni, they’ll also experience the blazing spectacle of a grand building going up in flames.
Such was the night of October 29th when the Theatre Imperial de L’Opera burned to the ground. As flames from the gas lighting began to lick the edges of the box seats and Victorian d├ęcor, I can imagine women gathering their bustles, men grabbing their top hats and canes as they all scramble to the entrance to escape the fire.
The events bring to mind imagery of tulle, ash and singed silk. The dress code for an evening at this burning ballet comes straight from the Moschino Fall 2016 collection.
Just as if they ran across the threshold of the burning theatre, models sashayed down the runway with smoke emanating from the folds of the fabric. 
The lace and tulle of their gowns played a game of peek-a-boo with burnt edges. Still wearing gloves and tiaras, it’s as if the glittering world of the Victorian aristocracy could not be diminished by the drama of destruction. Even in the midst of the soot and ash, beauty shines through.

Runway Photos: Vogue.com 

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Lovely in Athleisure

Adidas by Stella McCartney Fall 2016
Walking through the mall, grocery store or local Target, I can’t help but notice the number of girls and women dressed as if they’re ready for the next Pure Barre class. But as they walk the store aisles sipping their Starbucks, you know as well as I do they are not all about to workout.
No longer are sports bras, spandex or sweatpants limited to the confines of the gym. But rather they have become the new normal as a part of the athleisure trend. We see models sporting the look on the streets of LA and NYC, mixing leggings and running shoes with crop tops and leather jackets.




Unlike the uniform from high school gym class of a white t-shirt and blue cotton shorts, athletic wear from brands like Adidas by Stella McCartney and Kate Hudson’s Fabletics can stand on its own as fashion.

Though Lululemon has been credited with establishing the athleisure trend, blending athletic designs with luxury loungewear, I’d like to point out that the trend began long before Lululemon told us to “sweat once a day to regenerate our skin.” 
 As women in the late 1800s were finding new ways to express themselves through sports and clothing, corsets fell to the wayside and a new feminine ideal was embodied by the Gibson Girl.
She was beautiful, enjoyed a good game of golf and nice bicycle rides. She pursued her growing interest in athletics with a new freedom of clothing that extended well beyond the stringent dress code of the Victorian era. The Gibson Girl was no longer confined by her corset or bustle, but instead wore more relaxed silhouettes with fewer layers that allowed her to move and enjoy new activities.
 Polo Ralph Lauren Fall 2016
This is strikingly similar to the breakout athleisure trend. Women are seeking new levels of comfort as their lives begin to embrace a variety activities that range from a workout, to grocery shopping, to dropping the kids off at school to having dinner with friends. As more activities enter our daily regiment, it’s only natural that our clothes reflect all the activities we pursue, sports-related or not.
Lacoste Fall 2016 

A.L.C. Fall 2016
Sport-infused accessories and pieces are prevalent on the runways and collections, with sneakers being paired with dresses, leggings worn as pants and team uniform inspired stripes adorning tops.

The Aganovich designs are a blend of Victorian elegance and modern day athleisure street style.
I can imagine the 1890s Gibson Girl headed to the golf course in one of these designs…she surely would have turned some heads.
So next time you head to SoulCycle to battle the bulge and gain some endorphins, imagine a Gibson Girl on the bike next to you…and be thankful she helped break fashion boundaries so you can pedal in time with the music without tripping over a bustle.
Runway photos: Vogue.com 

Beauty in Bloom

Au Jour Le Jour Ressort 2017 
Flowers are one of my favorite parts of summer. The landscape becomes a cacophony of colors as plants of all types begin to bloom. With the talent of street artists, you don’t have to head to the country or even a garden to enjoy the beauty of summer’s flowers. 
City buildings and walls spring forth their own bouquet of buds in an array of colors and types as artists make their mark with spray paint.

From simply sweet flowers to more politically charged works like a flower bomb from Banksy, there is floral graffiti art of all types.
Cynthia Rowley Resort 2017 
What I find particularly interesting about flowers in graffiti art is the intersection between the natural and manmade. These works are rooted in some inspiration from the natural foliage of earth, but are produced in the manmade setting of a city. 
Giambattista Valli Resort 2017  
In a similar way, fashion designers find inspiration in the natural world around them and re-interpret the living 3-D flowers of the outdoors into a 2-D design that we can wear in any environment.
Alexander McQueen Resort 2017 
 Erdem Resort 2017
Both art forms, floral graffiti and the designs from the runway, bring this simple reminder, that no matter where life takes us, we can bloom where we’re planted. Soil or cement, trees or skyscrapers, there is beauty to be found and we can be a part of spreading that beauty one day at a time.

Alexis Mabille Resort 2017 

Runway Photos: Vogue.com 

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Life's A Picnic

Some like to say that life’s a picnic. Picnics call to mind sunshine, blue skies, sweet tea and laughter. Even though there are the unavoidable cloudy seasons of life, why not embrace this sunshine-filled mentality? 
"Luncheon on the Grass" by Monet, 1865-66
There are times when you need a moment to escape the day to day chaos, take a walk in the park, enjoy lunch with friends or just feel the breeze blowing across your face as you take in the scenery around you.
"Boating on the Seine" by Renoir, 1879-80
Impressionist artists welcomed similar notions as they introduced their new art movement to the world in the mid to late 1800s. Artists like Monet and Renoir headed outdoors to capture the beauty of nature. With smaller brush strokes and an approach that released them from the confines of only capturing reality as it appeared, the artists were able to capture movement, changes in light and other perceptions of what they observed.
Several of the works show people enjoying the outdoors, with a spirit of calm that is supported by using cool blue tones. This feeling and color palette seemed to find its way into some of the designs of Ralph Lauren’s spring 2016 collection. 
"By the Water" by Renoir, 1880
With seer sucker style stripes and flowing fabrics, the dresses are the perfect point of inspiration for a modern day picnic.
"Luncheon of the Boating Party" by Renoir, 1880-81

So even if life is giving you some lemons, take the opportunity to make some lemonade. 

Runway Photos: Vogue.com

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Peace, Love and Disco

 The lights were glowing, the music pumping, the laughter flowing and glitter shimmering all around…this is how we nostalgically imagine the disco era of New York City. A city of beautiful people with smiles, love and a carefree attitude.  In reality, crime rates were high and the city was a dangerous place to be. But from that reality, the beauty of art and fashion flourished in ways we continue to see over 40 years later. 
 Studio 54 is synonymous with the 1970s, attracting the likes of Andy Warhol, Mick Jagger, Liza Minnelli, Cher and Jerry Hall. With the bulbs of paparazzi cameras flashing, the artists, celebrities and characters of NYC flocked to the club to dance the night away to the music of Diana Ross, The Village People and Donna Summer. 
It was like a live runway featuring flowing dresses, sequins, bell bottoms, furs and jewels.


But the 70s weren’t all about the parties, it was also the time when women were entering the work force with a vengeance…the perfect stage for a girlboss to transform the way women treated their wardrobe. With her iconic wrap dress that changed the way women dressed, Diane von Furstenberg emerged as a major girlboss of the era. 
She continues to use her days on the streets of NYC and nights at Studio 54 as inspiration for her work. The spring 2016 collection features the wrap dress she debuted in the 1970s along with an off the shoulder maxi dress like that of Lauren Hutton and one-shoulder asymmetrical designs worthy of a disco goddess.
There is even a white suit that pays homage to Bianca Jagger’s YSL smoking suit worn for her wedding to Mick Jagger.

The models had shimmering eye shadow and blown out curls, reminiscent of Diane’s own coiffure on the disco floor. They even wore floral barrettes the mirror her very own worn from nights on the town.
So before it's the last dance of the summer, grab your favorite wrap dress, blow out your curls, add a floral barrette and start making new memories. 

Runway Photos: Vogue.com
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