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Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Polish up for Spring

It’s that time of year again- the hope of summer’s rays loom on the horizon but there’s always the chance winter might threaten with one last freeze. This makes things difficult when it comes to spring shopping. My heart wants the bright blues, corals and pinks that light up the resort-esque store windows, but my body is pale pale pale (thanks to giving up tanning beds a couple of years ago) and trying on clothes in this state is more depressing than the thought of pulling out my parka one last time.  I went to get my nails done with a girlfriend a couple of days ago when I had an epiphany while looking for a nail polish color. Instead of seeing nail polish, I saw an alternative way to ease my reflective body into a spring wardrobe! Rows and rows of lavender, bubble gum pink, sandy beige… colors I would love to drape on my body in the form of clothes (maybe a tunic?) but since now is not yet the time, I will satiate my warm weather wardrobe cravings with nail polish until my body is summer wardrobe worthy. 

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Loving Wang, Leopard and Wedges

photo: Frederike Helwig

I just finished reading the recent article on Alexander Wang in the spring fashion issue of New York magazine and what's not to love? He embraces his young age of 27 but doesn’t feel age should define success, is known to dance wherever he is in the world all night long while spending his days building his multi-million dollar fashion empire and he calls DVF and Anna Wintour his “fairy godmother’s.” Most importantly, he is adamant about offering luxury fashion pieces at a broad price range that appeals to both the workingwoman and women of the socialite set. Last summer, I was dying to have the Alexander Wang
  “alla” peep-toe wedge mules in leopard but couldn’t bring myself to drop a little over half a grand on a pair of leopard shoes (even though I really wish I could).

When I really want something but can’t justify buying it I always tell myself that  I will wait a week before making a decision. If during that week I can't stop thinking about that particular item and start noticing gaps in my wardrobe without it (which of course didn't exist until the moment I realized I "had to have" that item I just saw), then I tell myself that I must buy it. I know this is borderline unhealthy but I promise it does work, at least sometimes. In the case of the Wang wedges, I have waited almost an entire year and I still really really want them- which means one thing, I need to own them.  While trying to find a pair of the last season wedges online, I found an almost identical pair by Steve Madden. With a price tag of  $149.95, I am definitely pre-ordering!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Monday- Mercedes Benz Fashion Week

It was a little more difficult for me to get out of bed Monday morning for two reasons: 1. It was Valentine's Day, which always causes way to much unnecessary drama and 2. It was my last day of fashion week before flying back to Dallas the following morning. After a coffee date at Pulino's, I rushed off to the Lincoln Center for the 11 am Carlos Miele show. Although I am not a very patient person, I started to realize that I was actually starting to like the process of waiting in line before a show. Standing behind the roped off entrance for up to 45 minutes only builds up the anticipation for what's inside and as an added bonus there is great people watching. For example, while waiting outside of the theater I saw crushed velvet burgundy hiking boots, a sequined hat with a tulle polka-dot bow that could easily compete in size with my Louis Vuitton Galliera GM, and about a dozen to die-for furs. When we were finally seated inside of Carlos Miele, I took in the room around me. It was smaller than a few of the shows I had attended previously but I liked the feel, it was more intimate. I wrote down a few of the signature looks and colors: fox fur, jumpsuits, duchesse hoods, braided details, velvet, colors of note: cream, green, blue, orange, gold. After Carlos Miele made his appearance and the show was over, the Vie team and I walked over to the Mabelline booth where I interviewed one of Mabelline's product ambassadors, a recent Harvard grad named Lauren Jackson. Lauren talked about how Mabelline did the make-up for the Carlos Miele show, focusing on nude accents with a little bit of bronze and natural looking brows. The make-up was a perfect complement to the collections bright colors and textures.

In between shows I stood outside the Lincoln Center with the slew of photographers who are always found just outside doors, snapping away at people coming and going from the shows. When someone with a really great outfit walks out they get their 5 seconds of fame, photographers gathered around them like paparazzi. I wanted to photograph one guy in particular who I noticed stood outside the center every day in different "buffalo bill" types of outfits. While taking his photograph, I talked to him for a while learned that he attends fashion week every year, decked out in the signature furs and southwestern jewelry he has spent years collecting. I asked him where he got his python spandex leggings and he casually pointed to the Lincoln Center and said, "one of those guys in there made them," before walking off. After my "buffalo bill" encounter I went back into the Lincoln Center to see Sachin + Babi. Instead of a typical runway style presentation, the show took place in the Box. The Box is basically a room where models stand against the wall on pedestal's to be photographed and "viewed"- (ironically similar to a museum where the models are basically the canvas and the "artwork" is the clothes). I loved the simplicity of the collection made up of nudes, blacks and greys with the exception of one red dress and a few other bright colors here and there. All in all it was a great last day at fashion week, I could've stayed around longer but I had to get back to the hotel to freshen up for a girls only anti-Valentine's day dinner at the rooftop of the Gramercy Park Hotel.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Sunday- Mercedes Benz Fashion Week

I'm not sure if it was overcoming my first day's naivety, the celebrity sightings or simply the fact that I was able to experience my first ever DVF show but I absolutely loved Sunday at fashion week. Before heading over to Lincoln Center that morning I stopped by Rockefeller Plaza, 30 Rock and H&M which meant I didn't arrive until around 11:00, about the time the Tory Burch crowd started filing into the show. I was at the Maybelline booth's charging station (my iPhone was only on 10%) and discovered it was a great spot to people watch as celebs and other attendees of Tory Burch's show walked right past the counter on the way to the entrance. I looked at all of the people around me who were shamelessly snapping photographs and I whispered to someone close by "I feel like i'm at an exclusive zoo and these are all animals, preening around on display without cages,"  (I apologize if this is offensive- but to be fair, some people were in leopard).  I decided to join in with the rest of the crowd and start snapping away, capturing Kirsten Dunst, Kanye West and his entourage, Kelly Rutherford (aka Lily Van Der Woodsen) and the neon heels, leopard clutches, head wraps, long dresses, floppy hats, fur coats, etc. of the fashion week crowd.

After the show was over I walked over to Circa, which sponsors a different designer each day. On Sunday the featured designer was Tory Burch, so after her show she went to Circa and mixed and mingled with friends and fans. While I was at Circa (trying to get shots of Tory) my mom was at the cafe in the adjoining room having lunch with a buyer for DVF in Hong Kong. As I walked back over to the cafe to tell my mom that Tory Burch (her idol) was in the next room, she handed me an invitation to DVF (my idol) a gift from the DVF buyer! As the show was about to start I quickly headed over to the line-up for DVF. After the doors were open we walked into the theater with two rows of chairs lined up back to back in the center of the runway. As the theater quickly filled in and people started settling into their assigned seats I noticed a lot of commotion surrounding a particular blond in the front row. Using my limited French vocabulary, I did my best to decipher what the French journalist next to me was saying while pointing to the blond and then the words Diane Sawyer came out of her mouth, two words I didn't need a translation for. After a delayed entrance by Fergie and a few other notables, the lights went down and the upbeat music started playing. I was entranced from the beginning by the black silk gaucho jumpsuit and cabellero hat. I also loved the ensembles that included pieces like a long teal fur vest over a matching teal blouse and pants. Her signature wrap dresses in red and blue sequins "wrapped" up the show. DVF and her creative director Yvan Mispelaere walked the runway to the applause of the audience with outfits adorned in heart pins in honor of Valentine's Day. After the show, I remember thinking that I needed to own every single item displayed on the runway, down to the round sequin sunglasses- that's how incredible it was. 
After DVF we decided to take a break and grab dinner down the street before heading back for the final show of the night, Zang Toi, which was to go on at 9 pm. When we arrived back for Zang Toi, the Lincoln Center was packed yet again with photographer's, celebs and people everywhere mingling around. We lined up for the show and stepped into a small theater illuminated by a bright white runway which reflected off of the lenses of the hundreds of photographers packed onto the stadium seating at the end of the runway. From beginning to end, there was no lag in drama, starting off with a cloaked camel ball-gown and ending with Real Housewive's of NYC Jill Zarin in Zang Toi's final look (a $30,000 black silk gazar strapless ball gown, with nude beads and lace encrusted with Swarovski crystals). Without a break in applause, model after model sauntered down the runway in looks that drew exclamations and standing ovations from the crowd. I felt as if I were witnessing a church service dedicated to fashion in which the details in the clothes were the object of worship. Reminiscing about Zang Toi after the show, I thought to myself that sometimes a little bit of drama isn't so bad.   

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Saturday- Mercedes Benz Fashion Week

I didn't know what to expect when I first arrived at Lincoln Center on Saturday. It was day 3 of fashion week and the energy surrounding the center when I arrived was contagious. We met up with Lisa Burwell, publisher and founder of Vie People + Places magazine and her husband who took us to the media trailer across the street from Lincoln Center to collect our press badges. Our press badges would allow us access to various shows throughout the week. Even better, if you didn't have a ticket to a show but you had a badge you could get on a list to attend the show in the standing section- which is definitely worth it! The scene when we walked into the Lincoln Center was one I had never experienced. Promotional booths from Kim Crawford wines to Pepsi Skinny to Tresemme were expected as was the plethora of photographers, video cameras and people. But it was the outfits of the attendees that truly made fashion week fashion week. Men with plastic nets over their faces or in mink with hot pink clutches, women in huge 70's style glasses with chunky socks under strappy sandals and the couture babies as I call them dressed in sequins or with bunny ears (who deserve their own post)... I could go on for a while.
Minutes before the show started
The first and only show I planned on attending Saturday was Vivienne Tam. After waiting outside the entrance to the theater for about 45 minutes we were ushered into a large room full of people searching for their assigned seats, camera's flashing, the quiet chatter of people in a dozen different languages. I settled into section C, taking in everything going on around me. I noticed the guy in front of me had his ipad out- a blogger with his twitter feed, facebook and blog all compartmentalized on one screen. The minute the lights went out he tweeted "@vivienneTam, here we go." His avid followers scattered across the US or maybe even the globe, hanging onto his every tweet to see what he thought of Vivienne Tam's Fall collection. I couldn't keep up with his tweets because the second the music started and the first model appeared on the runway all eyes were transfixed to the artful details spun together to make up Vivienne's collection. There was a balanced mix of tailored jackets and pants with flowy feminine dresses but my favorite look of all was her beaded flapper dresses. The hair, piled atop the models heads in rich buns with hairnets was an ode to Southern Chinese opera called kunqu. The models sauntered down the runway with faces made up like porcelain dolls with very little make-up apart from the thick black eye liner, as the central focus was the intricate details that were wrought into Vivienne's clothes. I tried taking photos with my iphone and camera while also watching the show through my own eyes and not the eyes of a lens, but this was a difficult task. Before I knew it all the models had paraded down the runway for everyone to have one last look, Vivienne Tam meekly stepped out from backstage to everyone's applause and in a blink of an eye the show was over, the lights were back on and everyone was shuffling out of the doors. I didn't realize until that moment that I had been holding my breath almost the entire time. 

Beaded flapper dress

Last look- Vivienne Tam

After the show was over we decided to walk around and see what was going on inside of Lincoln Center. Apart from some great people watching, we witnessed style expert and TV personality Robert Verdi asking individuals what their personal style was and then challenging them to a walk off, I was thankfully able to avoid the humiliation of doing a walk-off but it was a very entertaining way to end my first day of fashion week!
Robert Verdi interviewing before the walk-off challenge

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Whitney Williams Collection SS 2011

I spent yesterday afternoon shooting my spring/summer jewelry collection with the incredibly talented photographer, Dixie Dixon. Outside the studio the weather was in the 30's but through the lens of Dixie's camera we were transported to one of Maui's black sand beaches, complete with palm leaves, coral and shells.
The Whitney Williams SS '11 Collection will be available by the end of February on 

Dixie photographed me styling the shot with a palm leaf

Dixie photographing one of the Anchor and Chain pieces

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Christian Dior haute couture SS 11

John Galliano played up to every woman's ultra feminine fantasy at his haute couture SS 11 Dior show... now i'm ready to play dress-up!

Photos by Simon Proctor