Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Yamamoto Spring 2008

The Japanese avant garde designer Yohji Yamamoto's Spring '08 collection seems to have been influenced by fashions of the mid- to late-1800s, as seen in paintings such as Caillebotte's Paris Street Rainy Weather. Just about everything was in black, looking like antique funeral dress. Apart from a jacket or other piece here and there, the collection seems largely unwearable by the common woman (or perhaps only by a common woman?)

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Hundreds of theater curtains died to make these skirts.

1) The best of the bunch; 2) Ma'am, are you pregnant, or hiding a baby carriage under there? 3) What's with the aluminum foil sidecar?

1) Passable; 2) Completely and utterly hideous; 3) I'm torn on this one. The pieces may work fine as separates, and they would certainly make a terrific "Tattooed Lady" costume for Halloween.

Speaking of which...Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Chanel Spring 2008

Ah...Karl Lagerfeld, current Chanel designer, was feeling patriotic this season. What? Chanel is a French house? And Lagerfeld is German? "But zee Americans, dey will buy anythink with a designer label!"

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Oops, I seem to have forgotten my pants and my shoelaces. BUT, I did remember to wear my alcohol-monitoring ankle bracelet.

Three of few pieces that could actually pass for Chanel. Except, perhaps, for the baggy Old Man jeans.

"This short skirt is really convenient when I need to pick my panties out of my buttcrack!"

"So much better than wearing a skort and all of my grandmother's jewelry - at the same time. And I really my dog hadn't chewed the toes off my new boots."

1) The result of designing while on drugs. And not even the good ones.
2) Coldwater Creek has nothing on this outfit! And please pardon the ankle shackles - I have to get back to the halfway house after this runway show is over.
3) And I thought the one in the pink jacket was wearing too much jewelry! But I don't even know what to say about the rest of the outfit, except, those lace pants look itchy.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Bond No. 9 Saks Fifth Avenue for Him and for Her

Saks Fifth Avenue for Her
Notes: jasmine, tuberose, gardenia, vetiver, vanilla

This is not your grandmother’s gardenia perfume! The first of two fragrances commissioned by venerable New York fashion institution Saks Fifth Avenue, Bond No. 9 Saks Fifth Avenue for Her opens with notes of jasmine and tuberose. The gardenia, supreme queen of white flowers, becomes evident within a minute or so of this largely linear fragrance. The effect of this triple whammy of all white is intense. Elegantly so. White floral fragrances, particularly a powerhouse combination like this, can be overwhelming, and for some more sensitive people, headache-inducing. Bond’s genius of adding a dash of earthy vetiver and sweet vanilla keep this luxurious new scent grounded. The result is a gorgeously creamy and warm floral with an underlying tropical quality reminiscent of coconut cream. The drydown retains all of the gorgeous heady quality, but speaks more in a whisper.

Saks Fifth Avenue for Him
Notes: chili, black pepper, cardamom, bergamot, incense, guaiac wood, amber

Initially, Saks Fifth Avenue for Him is all about a bright bergamot note dancing among spices. There’s a bit of pepperiness, more black pepper than chili, and combined with the sharp yet warm sweetness of cardamom, it lends depth to the opening notes of this scent. The pepper/cardamom gives way, quite seamlessly, to incense and the delicious resinous quality of guaiac wood. There’s a bit of bitter sweetness in here too, almost licorice-like in quality. Several minutes into the drydown, a soft amber note is detectable.

Merely reading the notes would give the impression that this scent is a spicy woodsy fragrance, however, it is actually strongly aquatic. All of the pepper and incense seem to be submerged in a cool blue-green quality that floats somewhere just above the skin. It’s only when one takes a deeper sniff that the other elements make themselves known.

I'm being nice here, but I really hate it. Aquatic notes are vile and should be banned, and they completely ruin what could have been a nice scent. Bah!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


I found these colorful pieces by designer Rina Limor and just had to share. These are from the Calypso collection by JR Gold.

The first piece is a necklace of 18k gold and silver, pavéed with colored sapphires. I've never gotten excited about the look of beaded beads, but if the "beads" are actually precious gems, heck, I can dig it!

These enameled bracelets are also covered in multi-colored sapphires.

Aren't they stunning? It makes me wish I had places to go that would befit jewelry like this. Also, a budget that would allow me to spend an outrageous amount on said jewelry.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

He Gets Around, Doesn't He?

Love this spoof on the Vanity Fair cover featuring Tom Ford with a nude Keira Knightly and Scarlet Johansson.

More nude Obama!

I'm Disappointed...

I thought Tom Ford would have a nicer ass. that Barack Obama in there with him?

Great Earrings...

...shame about her face.

Is this Debra Messing, or a drag queen impersonator?

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Roberto Cavalli Spring 2008

I love trying to figure out the theme for designers' shows. I think Italian designer Cavalli is going for a "Late Victorian Bedtime" theme with his Milan Spring '08 collection.
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Three Gibson Girls, hair deflated and yesterday's makeup raccooned around their eyes, stride purposefully, the fact they are still in their nightgowns cleverly disguised by wearing huge platform sandals.

I could swear I had Barbie dolls in the early 70s that looked just like these gals. After I ratted and restyled their hair, of course. But seriously folks, these three were my favorite of the bunch because they seemed the most wearable.

Etro Spring 2008

Italian design firm Etro opted for an ethnic feel to their Spring '08 collection. It reminds me of the uniquely mismatched pairings seen on recently-emigrated middle-aged women. You know what I'm talking about - those ensembles made up of green plaid polyester pants worn with a pink and orange paisley shirt topped with a black and white polka-dotted jacket. Add an oversized flower pin and you get an outfit Carrie Bradshaw would kill to own. (Actually, an LPN at the hospital across the street wears very similar combinations, usually topped off with a jauntily-mismatched hat and some incredibly ugly and uncomfortable-looking down-in-the-heel shoes. Truly a professional look.)

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Can you see the Russian/Chinese/Estonian/Greek/Polish influences in these outfits? It's so ballsy of the third gal, so proud of her recent WWE victory, to wear her championship belt with an ethnic-inspired skirt to her job at McDonald's.

And then we have these beauties, in the same collection. They are like a drawerful of fancy silk scarves, billowy and colorful. The color combination in the fourth dress is stunning, and the model is fierce. Work it!

Balmain Spring 2008

It's clear to see that for Balmain's designer Christophe Decarnin, inspiration came from both native America and the 70s. His Spring 2008 designs were festooned with fringes or tie-dyed, or both, for a casual, hippie vibe.

Wouldn't it be cheaper to go to the local hippie clothing emporium for this sort of thing? Or to tie-dye some oversized t-shirts and then cut the edges into fringe?

Formal wear for a Grateful Dead concert at Lincoln Center, perhaps.

Valentino Spring 2008

Fashion legend Valentino has retired after 45 years of exquisite design. Even I have trouble finding any fault with his final collection. Let's hope his successors can fit in his shoes well enough to uphold the high quality of the Valentino name.
Click images to enlarge.

Hello Red Carpet! Can't you just see JLo in the first one (well, after she gives birth to the twins she hasn't yet admitted she's carrying), Nicole Kidman in one of the two at center, and Sharon Stone in the sexy white number?

Hello cute! There are lots of polka dots in the collection, but for the most part, Valentino did not use prints. This particular shade of warm pink was big, and it was flattering on all of the models. And I don't ordinarily like yellow, but I loved this simple sheath and coat outfit.

The dotted version of the suit reminds me of a Carolina Herrera perfume box. So elegant and sophisticated, with a playful bow to give it a youthful touch.

LOVE the swirly Klimt-ian lace sections, although only a toothpick could wear this shape. Or maybe a pregnant Heidi Klum.

Did the model forget her blouse? Ooopsie!

It seems that George Lucas may have had a strong influence on this collection, as there were several items sporting ruffles oddly reminiscent of Princess Leia's "cinnamon bun" hairstyle from the original Star Wars movie, or perhaps the horns of the beasts called Tauntauns, featured in The Empire Strikes Back.

I think if this were a shrug, I'd be ok with it, but I think it's sleeve decoration (the pink suit above also has this ornamentation).

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Stella McCartney Spring 2008

Stella McCartney's Spring 2008 collection is a curious combination of classically elegant tailored sportswear and baggy pajama-type outfits, some of which I think are actually meant to be worn in public.
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Three really lovely and simple outfits in neutral colors. The material looks to be silk, so the drape and flow of the pieces, particularly the wide-leg trousers, should be fluid.

Here are two of the pajama-type styles. One model even brought her overnight bag. My feeling is that these are too baggy, like they belong to a much larger person. Not particularly flattering.

There were several pieces in this fabric in the line, and it reminds me of a long gown-length dress I had in the 70s. I really rather like it and think it would be smashing for an outdoor, daytime, party or wedding in the Spring or Summer.

Versace Spring 2008

The Versace Spring 2008 collection, as shown on the Milan runway, is really quite understated and tasteful. I especially like the classic lines of the white dress in the center of the image below. Of course, the whole collection isn't fabulous....
Click on images to enlarge.

Donatella's Angels?

Not really feeling the color of this coat in a patent leather. The shape itself is great, however, and would look stupendous in red or basic black.

I'm sure one could re-create these looks with scissors and a couple of heavyweight contractor bags.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Native American Jewelry

I seem to have inherited an appreciation for Native American jewelry from my mother. She was a big fan of turquoise and used to wear a costume jewelry version of a squash blossom necklace, in plastic "turquoise" and silver-plated metal, because she couldn't afford the real thing. I regret not buying one for her when she was still alive and I made enough money to spend on such a worthwhile extravagance. Every one I see brings a little pang of "coulda shoulda woulda" guilt to my heart.

When I worked for the buffoons guys at the jewelry store in the early 90s, I was lucky enough to have done a "for sale" appraisal (what we'd pay for the stuff, basically a low wholesale value) on a lot of jewelry that included some nice turquoise pieces. The store did not sell silver jewelry and after the purchase was made, the turquoise was relegated to the scrap pile (mostly miscellaneous gold mountings that had the stones removed). I jumped on the two sterling bracelets and one non-sterling sandcast cuff and offered to buy them for the same amount my employers paid. Sold! A nice start to my personal collection for about $9.

I perhaps should have invested in more jewelry the first time my husband and I visited New Mexico on our honeymoon. I did come away with a remarkably heavy cuff fashioned from a solid bar of silver and adorned with symbols representing a rainbow legend. And I wish I had bought the giant inlaid bear fetish pendant at the Taos Pueblo. On our most recent trip to that lovely state, in September, I made a point to look at as much jewelry as I could. Overload ensued, as so much of the jewelry being produced now looks the same to me, most especially when laid out in row after row on blankets at the feet of Native Americans in front of Santa Fe's Palace of the Governors.

I got a tip from my friend Chris that I should check out the jewelry in Old Town Albuquerque before heading to Santa Fe, as I would certainly find better bargains there. And she was right. Neal and I ventured into Skip Maisel's and were dazzled by the vast collection of native-made jewelry, all at 50% off retail. This sterling and opal inlay ring cost me a whopping $12.

This large turquoise and sterling ring was $36. (Obviously not shown actual size.)

I wistfully eyed the squash blossom pieces with their elegantly-curved naja pendants and the modern needlepoint turquoise and coral necklace and earring combos, but kept my purchases to the two rings. No need to overdo it, after all.

For those of you out there who share my interest, I recommend eBay as a good place to find old Native American jewelry. Modern pieces as well. Be aware, however, of the elaborate inlaid sterling pieces that have prices that seem too good to be true: they are not old, nor are they native-made. In most cases, the stones are man-made as well. If you read through the descriptions, these facts will be noted by those dealers who are honest and scrupulous in their transactions. I have bought several of these items because, hey, the real stuff is really expensive! And these replicas are so pretty; although not native-made, the inlay work is extremely intricate and well-done.

If you have a particularly nice piece of Native American jewelry you'd like to share pictures of, I'd be very happy to look!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

I'm Confused...

...I thought a bride was supposed to look beautiful on her wedding day?

In case you haven't realized, this is a big spoiler for the upcoming Sex and the City movie, in which Carrie Bradshaw ends up in the laundry chute of a fancy hotel after having a deadly run-in with her neighbor's pet parrot.

That's all kinds of hideous. The bodice is ill-fitting and SJP could probably fit another pair of breasts in there with her own (which appear rather saggy). No word on the designer as of yet, but my guess is that this gown was a reject from the upcoming season of Project Runway's "make a wedding dress from old laundry" challenge.

Edited to add: word on the street is that Zac Posen is responsible for the hideousness.

And...Click for an even more unflattering photo.

How Tacky!

I decided to subscribe to Jewelers Circular Keystone magazine, aka JCK, recently. Back in my retail jewelery store days, I enjoyed reading the trade rags and especially checking out the ads. It was a good way to see what manufacturers offered, since the store's credit was less than stellar and the real movers and shakers in the industry didn't even send salesmen our way. (I say "our" but I mean "their." I was merely an underappreciated and underpaid employee.) Twelve years later, I don't see much difference in the types of jewelry that are commercially available. But maybe the tacky factor has been upped a little. Or a lot.

Take a look at this beauty by GMI Jewelry. The ad states they carry a "full line of 10K gold" and depicts a collection of tacky, semi-ghetto pawn store type stuff. Jesus here, with his Barbie-like face, and not only diamond-set eyes but also diamonds in his crown of thorns, takes the cake. I'm actually offended by this piece. Jesus, who lived a humble life, should not be depicted as a blinged-out accessory. And, if you're going to diamond-set something, why not up the ante and use a higher karat of gold? 10K is only 41.7% gold, after all. Oh, because the diamonds are actually of such poor quality, they're what we refer to as "frozen spit?"

Praise the Lord. And...pass the ammunition.

This ad is almost like a joke commercial on SNL or Mad TV.

Click image to enlarge.

Rings designed to look like bullets. What a nice way to say, "I love you," eh? Ok, maybe if you're Tony Soprano....

What's the tackiest, most tasteless jewelry you've seen recently? Let me know in a comment!


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