The King is Gone

 

In a shocking upheaval in the state of fashionable affairs, Christian Dior fired its head designer of 14 years last week following a highly publicized antisemitic rant by the designer. If you Google John Galliano or Christian Dior you will find hundreds of blogs and news pieces discussing everything from JG’s intoxication during the video, to the state of the runway shows that were less than a week away, to who will replace him at the helm of Dior. It wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest if there was a Lifetime movie or mini series in the works and I am confident that more than one biography depicting the rise and oh so dramatic fall of John Galliano will hit the shelves this year.

And while it is tragic to me that an individual in such an influential position has chosen to use his power to cause such devastation, especially in a day and age when his words were disseminated around the world in a matter of hours, I would like to focus on the fallout rather than the event itself. While JG’s publicist picked him up, dusted him off and spirited him away to rehab, as we all know is the protocol for celebrities these days, there were various results in the City of Lights.

Christian Dior immediately and unceremoniously fired JG. No second chances. No demotion. The CEO of Christian Dior has issued several public statements, including the following one moments before the Christian Dior Fall 2011 runway show on 7 March: “Such statements are intolerable because of our collective duty to never forget the Holocaust and its victims, and because of the respect for human dignity that is owed to each person and to all peoples. These statements have deeply shocked and saddened all at Dior who give body and soul to their work, and it is particularly painful that they came from someone so admired for his remarkable creative talent.”

The new face of Christian Dior’s Miss Dior fragrance, recent Oscar winner Natalie Portman, issued the following statement mere hours after the video was made public: “I am deeply shocked and disgusted by the video of John Galliano’s comments that surfaced today. In light of this video, and as an individual who is proud to be Jewish, I will not be associated with Mr. Galliano in any way.”

In the end, both the Christian Dior and John Galliano Fall 2011 runway shows continued as scheduled, a decision which was reached at the last-minute if the concern and panicked debate swirling around the internet in preceding days is any indication. An intimate salon showing of the John Galliano collection held an interesting surprise, though whether it was planned or inadvertent I doubt we’ll ever know, one of the models displaying the 20 looks proudly sported a Star of David tattoo on her slim arm.

There are opinions galore available on this subject and while I am interested in hearing yours, I don’t want to turn this site into a soapbox, so I will not be lecturing you on my beliefs.

What I wish to say on this topic is that despite the appalling statements that were made and the tumultuous circumstances resulting from them, I found at least some solace in the reactions of the public figures involved. No, I’m not so naive as to believe that PR played no role in the aftermath, but despite that factor I thought that the public generally reacted with the appropriate dismay. The front row at the Christian Dior and John Galliano shows were notably sparse, the Paris police are pressing criminal charges for racist comments, Christian Dior & Natalie Portman immediately condemned the designer’s views and extricated themselves from business dealings with him and every media outlet I have had access to has covered the story with, at the very least, a neutral stance. In fact, the only person that I heard loudly defend JG was stylist Patricia Fields, who brushed his words off as merely being theatrical (Daily Mail link). 

That is not to say that there weren’t those who mourned this loss to the fashion world, like the young man in the first picture who carried a sign lamenting JG’s departure from the industry. But from what I read and heard, those who threw their support behind JG were very clear that they supported his creative genius, not his ideals or his actions.

In your opinion, did Christian Dior handle this situation well? What else could the house have done?

If you’re interested in a review and photographs of the two shows, please see the links below:

http://www.style.com/fashionshows/review/F2011RTW-JNGALLNO/

http://www.style.com/fashionshows/review/F2011RTW-CDIOR/

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Community Sponsored Agriculture – CSA

Today I would like to discuss a topic with you that is very close to my heart – And my refrigerator – Community Sponsored Agriculture (CSAs).

If you’re anything like me, you enjoy having a variety of fruits and vegetables in your fridge at any given time so that you can make quick and healthy meals. Trips to Whole Foods and other specialty shops can be hard on the pocketbook, especially if you need to restock your cupboards with multiple trips a week.

Enter the CSA…

CSAs are programs that provide you with direct access to food produced by local farmers. Fresh, seasonal, high quality food. Essentially it’s a mini farmer’s market delivered directly to your front door, or a nearby pick-up location, for a fraction of the price that you’d pay at a large chain grocery store.

Why did I choose to join a CSA?

First, I was intrigued by the idea of giving my money to local farmers directly without a big corporation acting as the middle man. Second, I live car-free in San Francisco and rely on my own two feet for most of my errands. Finding a CSA with a drop-off three blocks away saves me time, energy and effort, all good things when you don’t want to run to the grocery store after spending all day at the office. Third, I was interested in learning to eat a more seasonal diet. True, I virtually always crave spinach and sweet potatoes, but I began to wonder if I was missing out when I purchased the same things each week. I quickly learned that I’d been missing out on a lot.

What is the biggest benefit of joining a CSA?

You don’t get to pick and choose what you receive through these programs, you are given a box/basket/bag containing a variety of produce that was picked at the farm that week. The result is that you’ll frequently get the opportunity to try things you wouldn’t normally buy for yourself. You get to plan your meals around what’s in season and what the farmers in/near your city are harvesting, rather than what’s being flow in from out-of-state or South America. In addition to getting the chance to eat seasonal, local produce and support smaller farmers, you’re reducing the pollution created when foods are transported long distances.

How expensive are CSAs?

They’re not! Without packaging and the shipping costs to send the food around the country, all you’re paying for are the fruits and vegetables themselves. Each CSA is going to charge slightly different fees and the cost will depend on how often you receive deliveries and whether you request any special additions to your basket. That being said, most of the programs that I researched when I was making my choice were less than $30 per delivery. I don’t know about you, but I can do quite a bit more damage than that given half an hour at Whole Foods!

Did anything surprise you when you first signed up?

If you’re used to the beautiful displays and waxed fruit at grocery stores, your deliveries may initially come as a shock to you. When I say that everything is harvested that week, I’m not exaggerating. The food will be unwashed, with dirt and leaves still clinging to it. Recycled and reusable containers will be utilized whenever possible, so there wont be pristine packaging and sterile plastic wrappings. A good word to keep in mind when you prepare yourself for your first delivery is rustic. It is coming straight from the field to you, with no stops for beautification.

What’s an example of the contents of a shipment?

My most recent delivery contained the following: a bag full of small navel oranges, a large grapefruit, a big bag of spinach, a large bag of pre-mixed stir fry greens, a head of lettuce, onions & garlic, a head of green cabbage, collard greens (yum!), half a dozen small apples and a large bunch of carrots. The variety and types of produce you receive will vary depending on the region you’re in, the season and the CSA you choose.

There are a variety of CSAs currently available and with a little research you can determine the one that suits your needs best. You’ll find that there are some farms that offer you additional supplements to the standard fruit & vegetable boxes, like eggs, milk, cheeses and meats. There are both certified organic farms and traditional farms offering CSAs and you can get deliveries weekly, twice a month, monthly… Whatever will work best for you.

If you’re interested, Google CSAs in your area to try to find one that is perfect for you, or check out the LocalHarvet website to help you narrow down the choices available to you.

The Bay Area has some amazing options and I will admit that it was a hard decision to pick which CSA I wanted to support. I finally made my choice based on the following criteria that were important to me: (1) certified organic, (2) close-by to cut down on shipping cost and pollution from transportation, and (3) a pick-up location walking distance from my apartment. In the end, I went with Eatwell Farm. I had previously seen them at the Ferry Building’s Saturday morning farmer’s market and was impressed by their selection of beautiful produce. I’ve been a proud member since October 2009 and they’ve been very easy to deal with and consistently produce excellent fruits and vegetables.

I hope that you’ve enjoyed this post and that if you haven’t looked into signing up for a CSA prior to this that you’ll consider it now and keep in mind the benefits to the environment, local farmers and your refrigerator!

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J’adore Paris!

Bonjour MCLV readers

Paris fashion week was dark and elegantly gothic this season, and I don’t just mean the clothes. At Dries Van Noten the models slunk through a cavernous cathedral-like space that brought out the opulence of the collection. At Mugler the models (including Lady Gaga) were barely visible through a dim forest of columns erected for them to snake through. Even Chanel presented its dark hued collection against a gloomy and evocative postapocalyptic background. In Paris I felt that, even more than in New York, London or Milan, you were truly transported to another time or place for the duration of the show. There is really no question why Paris remains one of the reigning fashion capitals.

Mugler: Photo from http://www.garancedore.fr/en

 

As you know the line-up in Paris has increased dramatically over the years, especially with British heavy hitters like Stella McCartney, Alexander McQueen (RIP!) and Gareth Pugh moving their shows to Paris. As such, I will not be providing a review of each and every show, rather my goal will be to present to you some of the major trends and themes present throughout.

Gareth Pugh's futuristic black body armor inspired designs and strappy stiletto combat boots showcased beautiful stitching, especially through the upper body, and an overall flattering line.

The Dries Van Noten show was a whirlwind of colors, patterns and fabrics. Rich gold embellishments, billowing silks and a unique mixture of cuts really made this collection stand out.

Zac Posen was uncharacteristically restrained with his second Paris collection and the results were streamlined and beautiful clothes, most of which could easily have walked right off the runway and onto the streets of Paris.

The Nina Ricci show was unabashedly romantic. A predominately black palette was mixed with splashes of creamy pastels, floral headbands adorned the heads of the fresh-faced models and the skirts boasted nipped waists and slim cuts.

No one does rock n' roll chic quite like Balmain. Citing Ziggy Stardust as an inspiration - as did Dries Van Noten - you could see Mr. Bowie's glitz, glitter and glamour sprinkled throughout the collection.

The Givenchy show was a testament to the dualities inherent to both life & fashion: a traditional pencil skirt was presented in sheer black fabric, cheerleader-style mini skirts were done in black leather and pretty printed pieces were edged in bold black patent leather.

Phoebe Philo presented another very wearable collection for Celine, filled with slim fitting trousers and beautiful outerwear, including cropped bombers, swing coats and ankle-length driving coats.

In addition to the ubiquitous draping gowns in exquisite fabrics, I thought the Lanvin collection boasted some truly eye-catching accessories: wide-brimmed hats, saddle shoes, riding boots, structured handbags and ornate collar-style necklaces.

I thought that the Akris show was gracefully minimalist while simultaneously luxurious. This camel colored, drop-waisted, aviator inspired look was gorgeous, especially the buckle and collar details.

The YSL show was spectacular, the clothes prim and buttoned up, but oh so sexy. Traditionally conservative fabrics and patterns played against short skirts, knee-high boots and cheeky sheer blouses.

Valentino was similarly right on trend showing ladylike silhouettes deconstructed into something sexier and edgier with sheer panels, lace insets, high boots, leather trim, studs and feathers, among other adornments.

Against a backdrop of scorched rocks, steam and dramatic music, Chanel presented a collection that touched on the boy/girl trend, as well as showing beautiful cocktail frocks, gowns and pantsuits, all seemingly aimed at a younger demographic. I adored this look with the cropped, jewel-toned knit jacket over a button-down boyfriend cardigan with pockets.

Miu Miu showed great outerwear and dresses, but what really caught the eye were the prints. Dandelions, wildflowers and birds adorned the flattering dresses, worn with armored Mary Janes.

Louis Vuitton was all about military-inspired attire and showing off miles of leg in short shorts, minis, coat-dresses and sheer skirts. And don't forget the patent leather Mary Janes!

Things to look for in stores or drag out of the depths of your closet for fall? High-neck blouses, outerwear in bold hues, camel & white basics, cocktail dresses with interesting details (think lace, sheer fabrics & (faux) leather embellishments), structured handbags and Mary Janes.
 
If you make one purchase for this fall I would suggest a pair of Mary Janes, both Milan and Paris proved that this style will be pervasive. Basic black or navy, patent leather, stilettos, exotic skins, bright colors, chunky heels… They all made an appearance!

Valentino

As you may have noticed neither the Christian Dior nor the John Galliano show were reviewed/discussed above. Given the media frenzy surrounding both lines, as well as Mr. Galliano himself, I would like to devote an entire post to these shows. So please keep an eye out if that is of interest to you.
Au revoir!
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Ti Amo Milano

 

This photo is courtesy of the brilliant Garance Dore

Milan fashion week was truly a beautiful affaire. Dark, romantic, womanly and perfectly seductive, all of the trademarks we’ve come to expect from the big Italian design houses. Suiting, yummy menswear inspired designs, ladylike cuts and gorgeous outerwear were all present.

Marni showed a slightly more minimalist style this season, and although the clothes retained Marni's trademark quirk, it was full of very wearable pieces.

 

Dolce & Gabbana presented a new take on the boy-meets-girl look by showing models in masculine clothing with side burns added for the occasion. And while D&G's did use some of their signature animal prints, stars were the print de jour.

Armani's theme was "Boudoir" and this suit showcases that hint of bedroom in the satin and swing of the cropped pants.

Fendi showed the color-blocking trend to perfection, emphasized through accessories & outerwear: Mary Janes, colored tights, headbands, sumptuous coats and structured bags.

Prada showed models in clothes that were a little bit mod, a little bit doll-like, and a little bit dreamy. And don't forget the Mary Janes with thick socks!

Alberta Ferretti's daywear came in bright colors and covetable silhouettes, all paired with over-the-knee velvet boots and chic sideswept hairstyles.

Opaque tights, T-Strap heels, formal updos and 60s flairs evoked Hitchcock's cool blonds at the beginning of the Bottega Veneta collection.

While the darker & more deconstructed fabrics later at Bottega conjured a sartorial juxtaposition between Grace Kelly & Ms. Havisham.

Jill Sander's show continued to play upon the Hitchcockian theme with this sportswear inspired collection that called to mind Audrey Hepburn's ski resort look in the first scene of Charade.

Both the Moschino and the Moschino Cheap & Chic shows were fun, with a dose of funk. Bows, structured ladylike bags, loafers, opaque tights and socks, plaids & nautical stripes all made an appearance. This look was one of my favorites from the two shows, I like the combination of a silky, flirty skirt with a wintry, knobby knit.

But the runaway hit from Milan was the Ferragamo show, filled with curve hugging silhouettes, pin stripes, pencil skirts, suits & dresses that all said: “I am woman, hear me roar!”

Trends to keep an eye on for next fall: boudoir laces & silks for cocktail frocks, 60’s cuts, attention to accessories & outerwear, thick tights, stockings and socks worn with heels and suits, suits, suits!

Ciao for now!

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We love you Oscar

 

MCLV is here to bring you a quick overview of some of the great dresses on the red carpet this weekend, where many couture gowns made the cut and pale hues and bright jewel tones were both dominant.

Cate is someone who I always look forward to seeing and she didn't disappoint in this Givenchy Haute Couture gown. She kept the hair, makeup and jewelry simple and let the unique gown speak for itself.

Michelle Williams looked chic in Chanel Haute Couture, her oh so on trend pixie cut the perfect accessory for this shimmering gown

Newcomer Hailee Steinfeld looked picture perfect and age-appropriate in her custom Marchesa, which she helped design.

Mila Kunis was an ethereal dream in her lavender Eli Saab Couture gown. Mila frequently dons bright hues so this gown was a beautiful change of pace for her.

Amy Adams wore a formfitting deep blue gown straight off the Fall 2011 L'Wren Scott runway. I especially love the emerald Cartier jewels. The whole look was really a stunning departure from all of the pale gowns we saw on the red carpet.

Pregnant never looked so good! Natalie Portman was an absolute vision in Rodarte, who incidentally designed the costumes for her Oscar winning role in Black Swan.

 

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