Tag Archives | Grace Kelly

MET Madness

It’s that time again…

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Time for my favorite fashion event of the year. It’s my version of prom! Last year’s event was held in honor the (then) recently deceased Alexander McQueen and the red carpet was amazing.

5:36 p.m:  Dolce & Gabbana dress and Christian Louboutin shoes, all set for the gala.

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This year there were so many gorgeous women on the red carpet – fashion insiders, celebrities, models, actresses – that it was hard to narrow down my favorites.

Hollywood Dolls:

{Rooney stuck with what’s worked for her over the last few months of red carpet appearances. Dramatic. Bold. Givenchy! There was lots of white on the red carpet this year so her lacy black gown stood out all the more.}

{Bombshell alert! Amber Heard’s Zac Posen gown was striking and oozed with old school glamour. Love!}

{Elegant but eye-catching at the same time, that’s what Giambattista Valli does best!}

{Sleek & sexy. Gwyneth Paltrow put women half her age to shame in this fierce little Prada cocktail number. I love the embellishments here – the pocket on the dress, the low-cut back, and the jewel-encrusted stilettos.}

DiannaAgron

{This was a great choice for her. A beautifully cut dress in the perfect color, soft, sweet makeup, and loose curls framing her face. Just stunning.}

{Kirsten Dunst has long been a fan of Rodarte and they served her well again last night with this one-of-a-kind retro inspired dress. The look was definitely unique, but I think she looked phenomenal!}

{I’m always excited to see what Miss Cate will show up on the red carpet in, and she didn’t disappoint last night. Alexander McQueen with black feathers and a fishtail train? Only a few women in the world could pull this off.}

{Nina has been stepping up her game on the red carpet the last year or so, really making an impact, and this Donna Karen gown is another great choice.}

{Wow. Renée Zellweger usually wears Carolina Herrera but this Pucci gown is stunning! The low back and dramatic train are gorgeous.}

{Wow. Just. Wow. Love it all. Color, fit, fabric, accessories. Fierce!}

{Claire Danes’s sexy white wrap dress was perfectly complemented by her teal envelope clutch and sleek updo. Well done.}

 

{Bombshell! Camilla Belle was a vision in a sexy silver Ralph Lauren gown. Simple and elegant. I like that she went minimal on the accessorizing.}

Model Muses:

{When I think about the MET Gala this is what I picture. Daring fashion. Avant garde styles. Fashion with a capital F. Well done ladies, well done!}

ChanelImanTomFord

{Drama Drama Drama. Chanel Iman and her sexy plus one were all about black & white drama.}

{Coco’s brightly colored vintage Givenchy and matching pink curls were definitely eye-catching. Are you a fan?}

AmberValletta

{Veteran model Amber Valletta’s Prada gown was perfect, with both color blocking and pleats, it was right on trend for Spring!}

{I think Constance may have stolen Tilda’s dress, but that’s ok because she killed in it! Love the color and fabric combinations, the silky teal with the royal blue pleats are perfection!}

THE METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART'S Spring 2012 COSTUME INSTITUTE Benefit Gala

{Lace, asymmetrical silhouette, and brilliant pink – Jason Wu definitely wanted Miss Karlie Kloss to stand out this evening!}

{The face of Burberry Body rocked her long-sleeved, retro Burberry gown. Only Rosie could make sequined stripes look this good!}

candice-swanepoel-met-ball-2012-rag-bone-dress

{Victoria’s Secret stunner Candice Swanepoel positively glowed in her custom cobalt & black lace Rag & Bone gown. J’adore!}

And my favorite – Diane Kruger. I know she’s an actress but I always think of her a model. She’s got phenomenal taste and a flawless sense of style, something I usually associate with models who spend their time surrounded by fashion editors, photographers, and designers.

{DRAMA. Purple feathers, a train, and killer jewels? Miss Diane clearly wanted to make an entrance last night. I hate hate hate to find fault with her, but I think an updo would have been the perfect final touch to this.}

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And what would I have worn?

I narrowed it down to these choices over the weekend. And these choices clearly show my multiple personalities. Part of me wants to go for old-school, golden age glamour, and the other part of me thinks that an event like this one calls for no holds barred, serious drama.

{This gown in Valentino red would be a fabulous choice – Bold but classic and flattering.}

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Or something a little more dramatic and high-impact.

{I love the drama of Zac Posen gowns and this is a phenomenal color. If it had a keyhole or open back to offset the high neck and cap sleeves I’d be all over this!!!}

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What was your favorite dress this year? What would you have picked for yourself?

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Pre-Fall 2012 Collections: Part III

At long last, as promised, here is the third and final post covering the Pre-Fall 2011 Collections – Part I & Part II are available as well for your viewing pleasure.

The first word that popped into my mind when I surveyed the photographs of the BCBG Max Azaria Pre-Fall 2012 collection was clean. Clean color schemes, clean lines, clean accessorizing. The show was full of beautiful details, patterns, fabrics and accessories, but the pairings still managed to be clean. As only Max and Lubov Azria can do. I especially liked the inclusion of dramatic leather hippie-inspired fringed belts. (You can read what FabSugar has to say about the BCBG show here.)

Wide royal blue and black stripes - Check. Bright colored laced - Check. Pleats - Check. Sheer fabrics - Check. Hippie inspired fringe - Check. Kick @$$ heels - Check. And yet, this looks clean and polished, not busy and overwhelming. Perfection.

Chic black & white evening wear that manages to be simultaneously reminiscent of medieval fashion and utterly modern. Now that's a hard combination to manage!

 
As much as I adored watching stars like Emma Stone, Diane Kruger and Zoe Saldana on the red carpet in Francisco’s pastel, second-skin creations this past year, I gasped when I saw his Pre-Fall 2011 collection. While the minimalism he’s known for was still present, the thicker fabrics and darker colors paired with more structured looks took Calvin Klein to a whole new level this season. Blacks, greys and taupes with a splash of burnt orange, all done in heavy wools and leathers.
 

I predict that this dress will be VERY popular this season. It has a cut and a color that are both incredibly flattering and the ribbing and pleat details are perfect for the red carpet. Can't you just picture Eva Mendes looking stunning in this at a movie premiere?

A belted black two piece look in wool and leather with pleats and a braided belt paired with peeptoe platforms, this could almost be mistaken for Michael Kors if the exquisite details and tailoring didn't scream Francisco Costa.

 
I’ve been a fan of Temperley London since I saw her Fall 2008 Ready-To-Wear show, which I thought was really fun, edgy and well done, sort of biker chick meets supermodel. That show had a much harder edge to it than this latest Temperley London show – hot off her successes of the past year (heard of Pippa Middleton, have you?) she presented a show with a more demure, high society vibe. Pearls, sequins, Swiss-dot tights, headbands, silk blouses, pewter rose belt buckles, A-line skirts, satin evening gowns, leather leggings, opera-length gloves… It was quite a collection (Emma Roberts’s holiday look was inspired by this show).
 

It's hard to imagine making a cheetah print look proper and ladylike. I guess the key is a shift silhouette, stockings, white driving gloves and a multi-strand pearl necklace.

This dress is beautifully done, with the buttons and subtle panelling of the fabric it is anything but plain. And the styling is perfect with the tights, pumps and belt.

 
While a lot of the shows that I’ve reviewed thus far have showcased separates, outerwear and dresses that the “average woman” could see herself wearing, there were also a number of houses that focused on a very different, very specific purpose. The red carpet. With the award season almost upon on, Badgle Mischka proved that they’re ready to dress their A-list clients for all their events in the coming months. The collection was on the conservative side, but in a classic, old-school glamour kind of way.
 

I love, love, love long-sleeved evening gowns. They're the height of elegance in my mind, evoking Hollywood's Golden Age - Greta Garbo, Katharine Hepburn, Claudette Colbert, Bette Davis, Jean Harlow, Rita Hayworth, Marlene Dietrich...

This gown has Julianne Moore's name all over it. It's elegant and understated, but the color and the details at the shoulders & chest keep it interesting. I say hem it a little, add a slit up on side, throw on jeweled sandals and add a serious gold cuff.

 
Monique Lhuillier is another designer who has recently expanded her repertoire to include more separates and daywear, but who still specializes in red carpet statement gowns. This collection was mostly black, white and grey, with standout splashes of cobalt blue. Florals and lace were the primary patterns and there was very little styling or jewelry, the dresses were left to stand alone.
 

I don't love the peekaboo hemlines that were all over last season, but somehow the demure length and the gorgeous lace and neckline of this dress make it work.

Interesting necklines are a great way to distinguish yourself in a sea of beautiful women in beautiful dresses. I like the combination of the halter, the belted waist and the slit, it makes the gown formal, but still youthful. This would be a good one for choice for one of the younger stars this season.

How much does this look like one of the gowns that Grace Kelly wore when she was still gracing the red carpets of Hollywood?

 
Seriously, look!
 
 
 
Brazilian Carlos Miele’s Pre-Fall 2011 collection was entirely made up of red carpet worthy dresses, from movie premieres to the Oscars, he had something for everyone.
 

This is a beautiful gown that appears very simple but is anything but. I like that its one-shouldered but not a Goddess gown, I think the small skirt-like extra fabric at the waist helps. I also like the ribbon detailing at the hems.

I'm going to go ahead and guess that this print was inspired by Monet's Water Lilies series. What I love about this column gown is the unusual line along the bust, it's neither a traditional sweetheart neckline nor a strictly asymmetrical one.

 
Another Oscar-season regular is Naeem Khan, whose Pre-Fall 2012 collection included floor length gowns in black & white, florals, sequins and shimmering pastels. I was especially impressed by the printed dresses and the intricate beading. All of these dresses could be styled to be perfect for the red-carpet with some killer heels and tons of costume jewelry.
 

Paging Studio 54. Paging Studio 54. Everything about this gown, from the cut to the beading to the geometric belt, is calling for a dramatic, statuesque woman to make it hers. I hope Iman finds it!

Gorgeous beading adds a little something extra to this floral gown, which is really well done with its deep v-neck and skinny patent leather belted waist.

 
FabSugar has a final round-up of the looks 
 
Photos from Style.com unless otherwise cited.
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Real Girls Need Real Closets – Accessories Edition

While every girl needs to get her hands on the basics (Real Girls Need Real Closets), sometimes its the extras that really make an outfit pop.

Case in point – Eva has a stunning figure and looked sublime in this white Dior gown, but she would not have been the talk of the town without all of her gorgeous turquoise jewelry

 

And while, tragically, the Golden Globes isn’t on the docket for most of us, a girl can always use some standout accessories so she makes a splash on her own personal red carpet. Jewelry 

 As much as I love those little blue bags at Tiffany’s, I have to confess that I’m a huge devotee of vintage and vintage-inspired jewelry. Must be the romantic in me. I like that the pieces have history, that someone has loved them, that they’re unique and one of a kind. Gold, silver, real, costume… You name it, I love it! I have some gorgeous pieces handed down to me from my mom’s side of the family, mostly gold, and I’ve been scouring vintage shops in San Francisco for years. 

  Scarves/Pashminas 

 If you’ve spent any time in San Francisco you know that the weather is schizophrenic to say the least. In a city where it can go from foggy to sunny to pouring rain in the span of three hours, a pashmina is a girl’s best friend. I usually have one in my purse, one at my desk, and I never travel without one (perfect if you want to avoid scratchy airplane blankets when you fly!) 

 I picked up this habit living in Italy, and like French women, Italians adore their scarves. You can wear them draped over your shoulders, looped multiple times around your neck, across your neck and hanging down in back, even twisted around the handle of your purse. Gloves 

 My glove obsession is probably the result of my mother raising me on Hitchcock movies. I’ve loved Audrey Hepburn, Marilyn Monroe, Grace Kelly and the rest of their contemporaries as long as I can remember. In fact, for my fifth grade wax museum I dressed up as Grace Kelly. What can I say, why would I want to be Amelia Earhart when I can wear a tiara? Driving gloves, opera length, (faux) leather, cropped, mittens, animal prints… One of my favorite and oh-so-Hitchockian ways to wear long gloves is with a boxy jacket that has 3/4 length sleeves so you can see a good portion of the glove. Add a bracelet over the glove and ta-da! 

 Hats While I’m not personally much of a hat wearer, I do believe that a hat can add an extra kick to an outfit. Finding the perfect hat to suit your face shape and your outfit may be a bit of a challenge, but worth the effort if you can get it right. 

 Showing us just how to pull one off, even if you’re enjoying balmy Southern California weather, I present one of my best friends, Jacqueline Koob. Unique clutch In addition to the compulsory black clutch that can be paired with anything, it’s a good idea to have a stand-out clutch to spice up an all black ensemble. 

 This one is a no-name vintage clutch that my grandmother gave me. I carried it last year when I went to the San Francisco Symphony Gala and it was the perfect final touch for a sleek, classic look. 

My friend Nathaniel and I in grown-up prom mode. :) The look would have been very simplistic without the fun clutch and earrings, so keep that in mind when you’re putting together a monochromatic ensemble, accessories can take it from ho-hum to wow. 

 Happy hunting!

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Real Girls Need Real Closets

I don’t know about you, but I adore closets. Adore. I’ve been keeping scrapbooks filled with magazine clippings for years {Fashion Inspiration} - Clothing, home decor, art, handbags, accessories & jewelry, hairstyles, fabulous photography, hotels & vacation destinations… And closets. So many beautiful closets. I may be alone in this, but I genuinely get the chills when I look at a well-organized closet.

And on that note, today I want to discuss closet basics with you. The building blocks – if you will – to a creating your very own, chill-inducing closet.

I’ve read countless books, blog posts, newspaper pieces, and magazine articles on what the essentials of a woman’s wardrobe should be. And while I adore Harper’s Bazaar, Elle, Rachel Zoe’s Style A to Zoe and the like, their recommendations can seem like they’re geared towards a fantasy jet-setting lifestyle or an heiresses’ allowance.

Neither of which I have.

Below is the real girl’s guide to picking out the key elements to incorporate into your wardrobe, including suggestions for where to look for these items, hopefully everyone can find something that appeals to both their personal style and their pocketbook!

Button-down:

A white button down is quite versatile and a great piece to have in your closet. It can be worn tucked into slacks or a pencil skirt for work, or you can wear it with a pair of shorts or slim pants on weekends. This is an especially key piece given all of the menswear inspired collections the last few seasons.

{I love the pristine formality of this tuxedo-style button down, it makes me feel like Fred Astaire when I wear it!}

The key to the right button down is a combination of fabric and cut. You want to make sure that the fabric isn’t too thin or overly see-through – unless that’s your goal, you little minx - and that the buttons don’t gap when it’s done up. I would suggest trying a few on in stores to ensure the fit. Great places to find a good, basic button down? In the past I’ve had success finding good versions at Gap, Banana Republic, and Zara {the version above is Zara}.

Trench Coat:

No matter how frumpy I’m feeling all I need to do is throw on a trench and I feel like Audrey Hepburn.  Tan, black and navy are all good choices for your closet, or red if you’re feeling daring.

The trench above is one of my favorites, I especially adore the polka-dotted lining. I got it at H&M in London YEARS ago and am still wearing it to death. Trench coats can really run the gamut price wise. You can find a decent one for under $150 at Nordstrom or online at bluefly.com, while the Ferrari of trench coats, Burberry, will cost you closer to $1,500. I recommend keeping an eye out for sales at department stores like Bloomingdale, Neiman Marcus, Saks, and even Macys, since they’ll have a larger selection and you can find exactly what you’re looking for (double-breasted, wool, knit, flared, cropped, ankle-length etc).

Jeans:

If you’ve been following MCLV for a while you’ve probably picked up on the fact that I’m not much of a jeans girl by now. That being said, I do believe that everyone should have, at the very least, a pair or two of nice jeans in their repertoire.

Just in case.

My current favorites are these cropped black Juicy denim pants - They’re cute with pumps or flats, can be dressed up or down with ease, and fit like a dream. Jeans are another article of clothing that I believe must be tried on rather than ordered online. Fit, length, snugness… All these aspects are crucial to finding the right pair. Stores like Bloomingdale’s and Nordstrom are great because they have large denim departments so you can try on various pairs and have your very own Goldilocks moment. Too big. Too tight. Juuust right!

Pearls:

A pearl necklace is a must and instantly adds a touch of Breakfast At Tiffany’s to any ensemble. Don’t panic though, there’s plenty of costume jewelry on the market that will perfectly suit your needs and wont break the bank. Macy’s, Ann Taylor and J.Crew have great classic versions and Lord & Taylor, Kenneth Jay Lane and Max & Cleo have some funkier versions if you’re looking for something with a modern edge. And don’t worry if a single strand, a la grandma, isn’t your style. Try multiple twisted strands, versions with metal and stones intertwined with the pearls or even a drop pendant.

{Kenneth Jay Lane for Bergdorf Goodman}

LBD:

Originated by Coco Chanel in the 1920′s, the Little Black Dress became an overnight sensation and an instant classic. Whatever your personal style, there’s a LBD with your name on it out there. Strapless, long-sleeved, knee-length, mid-thigh, lace insets, sheer panels, cutouts, interesting fabrics and textures… So many choices, only 7 nights in a week! I love a little lace for nighttime, so I was thrilled when I found the Jill Stuart dress above, which fulfilled all of my current loves: flattering cut, eye-catching details and a design that is just a little bit naughty. The nude panels and lace make a relatively conservative cut younger and more fun. Paired with booties and a fitted blazer, parfait for a night out on the town! You can find a LBD at most stores, but my recommendation would be to keep an eye on websites like shopbop.com, theoutnet.com, bluefly.com and Zappos Couture for steals on designer frocks.

Blazer:

A well-made, fitted blazer in black or navy is crucial to a girl’s wardrobe. Paired with slacks or a skirt, or worn over a dress for work, over jeans or a cocktail dress during your off-hours. I love the juxtaposition of silhouettes when a cropped blazer tops off a short, flirty frock. As with trenches, a blazer come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. Boyfriend length, shrunken, ruffled, embellished, linen, knit, tuxedo-inspired. The options are unlimited.

If you get a quality piece and stick with a more classic cut, a blazer can truly last. The one above was purchased during my first mom-sponsored work shopping trip before I started the interview circuit my senior year of college and in the last six weeks I’ve worn it with black slacks and a sweater to work, and over cropped, slim black pants and a tunic on a weekend. This one is from Banana Republic, I would also check out Zara, Anne Taylor and J.Crew for other classic versions.

Handbag:

I should probably preface this section by confessing that I have a slight purse problem. Don’t worry though. I’m looking for a 12 step program.

Every girl needs a good, basic handbag. Something that will go with virtually any outfit, during any season. It’s fun to switch up your bag as seasons and trends come and go, but having a well-made bag that you can always count on is a must.

The first picture is the love of my life, found on super-sale at Barney’s New York. There are many shapes and sizes out there, so heading into a store to see how a new design looks on your arm is a good idea (you wouldn’t take your arm candy out for a night on the town without seeing how he looks in the mirror, would you?) I recommend keeping an eye on the handbag sales at Bloomingdale, Nordstrom and Saks Fifth Avenue for great deals.

Clutch:

The perfect way to accessorize your LBD is a clutch. There are many choices out there, crystal and stone embellished satin, jeweled, envelope, metal box clutches, classic black snake-skin… There’s something for everyone! The black beaded clutch above was handed down to me from my grandmother and I love the old-fashioned glamour it evokes.

And luckily for all the purse-lovers out there, clutches aren’t just for nighttime anymore. Day clutches have been making appearances over the last few seasons, especially in lighter colors and fun patterns. And as much as I love my giant carryalls, it’ll probably be good for my posture, shoulders and neck if I stop carrying around half of my apartment with me each day. The Asos Portfolio Clutch pictured above is currently en route to my apartment and I plan to love the lining out of it all Spring!

Black pumps:

The right shoe can change your life! {At this point my mother is reading this and shaking her head sadly, wondering where she went wrong with me}

But really. It can.

There was a time when I did not believe this and *gasp* wore cheap shoes. But I have seen the light! It is worth the time, effort and money to find shoes that genuinely fit your feet and are well made. Always try on shoes before buying them to make sure. My favorite brands for work heels are Franco Sarto, Cole Haan, BCBG, BCBGirl, Max Studio, Fendi and Calvin Klein.

My number one tip for picking the right shoe? Know your limits! Have you ever seen a woman shuffle-strutting down the street with tiny, delicate steps? Her heels are too high. Don’t be that woman! Stay in your comfort zone so that you can walk easily and naturally.

Boots:

I think that a woman should have a few different types of boots in her closet. Booties to wear with pants or a cocktail dress, knee-high black boots for dresses and skirts, a neutral colored boot that can be worn during non-boot seasons and, if necessary for your region, rainboots.

{As a semi-aquatic resident of the lake formerly known as San Francisco, rain boots are a must. I tested my new Hunters out a few weekends ago in Sonoma, splashing and wading through puddles and generally making a nuisance of myself. And I’m happy to report that they are, in fact, waterproof.}

{The booties below are my current favorites, I always feel a little rock n’ roll when I throw them on}

{This is a Spring look that I put together with the help of Shopstyle to show lighter colored boots worn in a non-Wintery way}

Flats

From Audrey Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe to Michelle Obama and Carla Buni-Sarkozy, everyone loves a good pair of flats. My personal favorites are Ruby & Bloom, J.Crew, H&M, and, yes, Jessica Simpson. For me, breaking in flats results in drastically more blisters and uncomfortable moments than heels, so the key for me is to find flats that are soft. Below are my not initially soft, but finally broken in sparkly Dorothy flats from the Vera Wang for Kohl’s collection.

And with these tips, I leave you. Go forth and conquer your closets!

Veni, vidi, vici!

{Photographs are mine unless otherwise cited – Click on the images from other sites and you will be taken to the original source}

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