New York Fashion week is definitely about wearable clothes. Of course we can’t all afford high end designer clothes but you can take your lead from these designers and match the look to your individual style.
New York Fashion week is definitely about wearable clothes. Of course we can’t all afford high end designer clothes but you can take your lead from these designers and match the look to your individual style.
So much to view so little time to digest it all. I find myself in fashion overload as the collections of so many talented hard working designers spin around in my head. This makes me wonder how the designers and their support teams manage to make it through such a frenetic week? I liken it to Christmas with its costly and lengthy build up only to be over in a flash. Herve Leger dress right one of my favourite pieces of Spring 2014!
The shows however must go on and on and on each collection to be quickly followed by the next in the race to keep the fashion machine wheels turning. The lines are blurred, fashion is an art form and fashion is a commercial product that we just can’t get enough of, or can we?
Who is really driving this hamster wheel? It can’t be just the designers as the creative process is not machine like or $ driven. there is no doubt that there is a driving force behind the creative force and it is all about big business.
It is my business to try to keep up with it all and I confess it is an impossible task.
Diane Von Furstenberg one of my favourite designers took a break after taking the world by storm with her wrap dress in 1974 with which she helped to shape women’s fashion (pun intended). After following other creative and successful paths in the industry DVF relaunched her career in 1997 with none other than her wrap dress. The wrap dress like all good design had stood the test of time and was embraced by an entirely new generation.This veteran of the industry is no doubt wiser and the better for having stepped off the treadmill for a time.
DVF knows how to dress women to flatter. These beautiful column dresses are simple ageless and infinitely wearable! Her theme a journey through the desert obviously finding an oasis. Quote from DVF ”The DVF woman is an island unto herself” goes to the heart of what fashion is all about. It is so much more than just designing clothing!
Each collection from every designer is a time capsule which represents their interpretation of a slice of time. Fashion as a whole is a reliable record of human progress always in tune with the economy, social change, technological advance and major world events.
Retro that is firmly aimed at the future, Stripes that suit all of us and pieces that go from day to night and beyond. There is a new feminine strength which is based on being true to oneself. We don’t need the shoulder pads of the eighties or dominatrix looks to prove our equality. Tracy Reese mixes sporty and feminine for todays woman with perfection! We celebrate being female and that may mean wearing cargo pants and functional T’s or lace and sheer feminine fabrics with or without leather and studs at any time of the day or night accessorising with whatever takes our fancy!
There is no doubting the hype surrounding the Mercedes-Benz NY Fashion Week Fall 2014. I Google the net worth of the fashion industry and am not surprised to learn that as of April 2013 globally this industry was valued at $1.5 trillion dollars. In my Google search for info I also come across BoF The Business of Fashion news site, which has been nominated for the Webby’s “Peoples Voice Awards.” www.businessoffashion.com I register with them and after seeing what they are all about and reading a few of their interesting well written articles I decide to vote for them also.
No matter who you are or where you live the fashion industry is a part of your daily life. That uncomfortable moment in ‘The Devil Wears Prada’ where Meryl Streep delivers her lecture on the importance of the fashion industry even to her most un fashionable assistant said it all. We are all in it whether we are conscious devotees or not. Which begs the question why is this industry that we are all a part of so hell bent on such exclusivity and snobbery? It is no accident that Mercedes Benz is fashion weeks number one supporter.
The wealthy, famous and beautiful people of the world support and add to the hype and exclusivity of this desire driven 1.5 trillion $ fantasy world. Shopping is the worlds number one leisure activity and even though we are still technically amidst a global financial crisis we still can’t seem to stay out of the shops. Even my own husband a previously devoted non-shopper needed to be dragged from Macy’s last weekend. The worlds largest department store cast a serious shopping spell on him.
So what’s my point you may be thinking? My point is this. The fashion industry is a 1.5 trillion$ industry because we all make it so. The average person may not be wearing Prada or Channel but that is not where the real profits are. The High St not Haute Couture is this industry’s boiler room. Ready to wear drives the industry and the time gap between the designer runway shows and the availability of fast fashion copies is now almost non existent. Luxury goods designer knock offs are big business that is sure to have contributed to Bangkok now being the worlds number one tourist destination, it recently pipped London at the post. While it must seriously annoy high end fashion designers there is no real loss to their custom as the people who buy copies would usually not be able to afford the real thing. The website The Real Real which sells preloved high end fashion to the financially challenged and other similar websites fills a gap offering mere mortals the chance to own a slice of the fantasy. Although rumour has it that all you see on these sites may not be really real!
Back to my point. No matter how exclusive the fashion industry likes to think it is it is all smoke and mirrors. The industry needs the every day consumer who trudges the High St often in less than well heeled shoes in search of that certain piece of clothing or that perfect accessory that will complete that desired image and offer a portal into an attainable fashion fantasy world.
I am not for one minute advocating that we do not need our designers they should be admired as much as any talented artist. They have the vision and help to set the trends which drives the industry that we all benefit from down the line. What I am advocating is that we are conscious of the role we play in this global industry. Gok the British stylist made his name showing how easily he was able to compete with High Fashion Designer looks with fashion from the High St. Most of us don’t have an unlimited budget when it comes to stocking our wardrobe. Being discerning and cherry picking new pieces each season with a view to building your collection rather than throwing yourself headlong onto the fashion treadmill will pay dividends in the long run. Know your style, always buy the best quality you can afford and put the fashion industry to work knowing that it exists only to serve you!
The BIG APPLE who would have believed I would be living here? Certainly no me! For a fashion stylist it doesn’t get much better than this!
I head out into Midtown Manhattan with my DK over my shoulder and excitement in my heart. Audrey Hepburn is this city’s number one style icon. Posters everywhere of the screen goddess in her Breakfast at Tiffany’s black dress and pearls pay homage to her perfect sense of style, her Perfect Packaging!
My first mission is food for the larder as no matter where you live the basic needs of life cannot be ignored. To my delight I find a grocery store two blocks away with organic fruit and veg. I begin to work through my list reaching the hair products isle just as jet lag kicks in making It even more difficult to chose from the myriad of brands on offer. Perfect Packaging catches my eye in the form of Moroccan Argan oil Shampoo & Conditioner by Organix. The word Organix and the blurb which reads, Why you want it… This exotic precious blend of Moroccan argan oil penetrates moisturises renews and creates softness and strength etc… definitely ticks boxes. However it is the Perfect Packaging that makes me interested enough to put on my reading glasses to find out more about the product and ultimately it is the Perfect Packaging that makes me want to take it home because it will look great sitting on the shower room shelf.
We are visual creatures and whether we realise it or not we are being influenced at every turn by perfect packaging. We may think we are making conscious choices but quite often we are not.
Every time we dress or package our body for protection from the elements and for social modesty reasons, we are also conveying information about our personality and lifestyle and quite often disguising information about our body that we don’t want to advertise. In specific circumstances like a job interview or a romantic liaison your packaging may or may not help you to achieve the desired result.
Colour is used as an effective packaging tool and extensive studies have been done to define exactly what colours attract people of varying age groups what emotions they represent and the responses they invoke. According to market research as we age we are more attracted to gold, silver, black and orange!
Silver represents: intuition and insightfulness. All metallic colours create the illusion of weight although the cooler the tone the less the colour advances which is why silver looks less weighty than gold or bronze.
Orange represents: positivity, friendliness, enthusiasm ,success, warmth, informality & courage. Its the positivity of orange that is most interesting here as research has also shown that as we age we generally become more positive! Bright warm colours also advance and create an illusion of being heavy. This colour was born to be used sparingly in my opinion and is perfect for accessories or for one statement item of clothing. Head to toe orange is a look few women can pull off.
Of course this doesn’t mean that as we age we are attracted to all of these colours. I prefer silver to gold and have always loved black. I have definitely become increasingly attracted to orange even though it doesn’t suit my skin tone and must be content with wearing it well away from my face. Orange shoes or bag can add a real zing to an otherwise neutral ensemble. As with all bright or heavy colours the key to making them work is in the proportions.
As a general rule we want to accentuate our best features and disguise the ones we are not so comfortable with. Colour is a great tool for achieving that goal. Wear eye catching colours or prints on the areas of your body that you like. Balance out your body by wearing heavy colours on the smallest parts and cool receding colours on the biggest. Our eye naturally likes to see balance so experiment with your wardrobe and work out how you can best achieve this using colour and shape.
Grocery shopping done now for mission number two Saks fifth avenue! a fashion stylist’s work is never done!!
Desire is the rocket fuel for life and nothing will give your story more truth or better direction than following what your heart desires. In my previous post “DESIRED IMAGE” I discussed using this concept to help you to understand and define your personal style. Danielle La Porte’s concept of Desire Mapping http://www.daniellelaporte.com/thedesiremap/ Shows us how we can best understand what it is we want in our lives.
Story and mood boards are important tools used by the film, fashion and advertising industries. They are vital for keeping the story on track and making sure the all important content is congruent and gets the message across.
Dreams are great to have but they will remain as dreams unless we take some kind of action to turn them into reality. Planning your story will help to give you clarity and bring you closer to making your dreams come true.
Mood boards are the perfect visual tool for planning your story’s wardrobe. A pin-up board is all you need or if you want a more permanent record a scrap book is the best way to go. I have it on good account that Karl Lagerfeld designer for Chanel & Fendi uses scrap booking to help to create his ideas and collections.
Having visuals to refer to also helps enormously when you are out shopping for your perfect wardrobe. As costume designer for your story you need to know exactly what look you are after and how to best achieve it within your budget.
Dr Phil’s new book ‘Life Code’ introduces the concept of being the STAR of your own life story! I watched on YOUTTUBE as he and Oprah discussed this idea with a live audience. When the audience of mostly women were asked to indicate whether they thought they were the star of their own life story the majority thought they were not. I found the concept quite confronting as it suddenly made me very accountable for my life. Of course this is what Dr Phil had intended I am sure. I mulled it all over in my head for a week or so mainly because it wouldn’t leave me alone. Then it dawned on me! We are the star of our own life story whether we realise it or not. No-one else features more in our lives than we do! We are the central character 24/7.
Not only are we the STAR we are the script writer, the casting agent, director, producer and very importantly COSTUME DESIGNER!!. It’s a big job!! and it’s no wonder we are sometimes overwhelmed by our own LIFE STORY. There are a lot of decisions to make and we can’t always control the cast, crew and location as much as we would like.
As the STAR or LEADING LADY of our own show we must be prepared to lead the way. Fortunately we are not alone in our story and there is always a supporting cast to help bring our script to life and expert guidance is never far away if we need it. Like any good writer, casting agent, director, costume designer and producer we need to take responsibility for our work making the most of what we have and what is within our control to pull our story together while hopefully staying on budget. The supporting cast may struggle to learn their lines and some will just not be up for the role needing to either be replaced or simply written out of the script.
Costume Design is a crucial part in any story it sets the mood for the star and conveys so much to the audience before a single word is spoken. It must also be perfectly aligned with the script and forward planning and precision timing are a must especially where quick changes are required. Not only is costume crucial to set the scene and mood it can be used to send a host of subliminal messages to enhance the story, the stars role and the audiences experience.
As writer, casting agent, costume designer, director,producer and STAR it is up to us as to whether our story is a BOX OFFICE HIT or MUCH TO DO ABOUT NOTHING. All good epics involve love, comedy, tragedy, suspense, heroism, and sometimes great leaps of faith.
Whether your story is about a WORKING GIRL Like Melanie Griffith’s or a CABARET a la Liza Minnelli’s it is sure to involve RUTHLESS PEOPLE like Bette Midler’s and BAD TIMING is inevitable somewhere along the way as it was for Theresa Russell. Some stories are fraught with DANGEROUS LIAISONS as Glenn Close discovered but this shouldn’t stop you from having GREAT EXPECTATIONS, it didn’t stop Gwyneth Paltrow.
Not all stories are about a PRETTY WOMAN like Julia Roberts, some feature an UNMARRIED WOMAN and are full of mystery and intrigue, as Jill Clayburgh discovered. Stories about LITTLE WOMEN should definitely not be underestimated and can have a lasting effect on generation after generation. Keeping a diary can help to keep your story on track, it worked well for BRIDGET JONES and Rennee Zelleweger, even though unlike Elisabeth Taylor she was no CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF.
Faye Dunaway used the NETWORK to get her story out while Audrey Hepburn simply had BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY’S. Sally Fields story was about the all important PLACES IN THE HEART ,while Lee Rimik focused on life’s DELICATE BALANCE. Sometimes, like Jennifer Anniston you have to JUST GO WITH IT.
We all make choices as to how our story goes. SOPHIES CHOICE was also one of Meryl Streep’s best and while it was a great story none of us really want to end up like Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis in THELMA AND LOUISE.
Our story can sometimes find us in A LONELY PLACE as did Gloria Grahams so be prepared to be courageous and rewrite your script or change your FLIGHT PLAN! it worked for Jodi Foster and the best time to do that is BEFORE SUNSET according to Julie Depley. If you can’t manage that definitely do it BEFORE MIDNIGHT.
Most importantly before your story is GONE WITH THE WIND like Vivien Leigh’s You owe it to yourself to step out onto your stage each day and be the STAR in perfect costume surrounded by a well chosen supporting cast and like Judy Garland show the world A STAR IS BORN!!
I have always wanted to travel to Ireland but for some reason it has never been on the top of my list until now. The only thing better than travelling to a new destination is travelling to a new destination to meet up with old friends that you haven’t seen for too many years! Our Ireland Fling weekend was to be that perfect combination.
I did my research of course not on the places to see in Ireland but on the fashion designers hailing from the Green Isle!
The list was longer than I had expected and the accolades won by such designers as Philip Treacy the eccentric hatter, Paul Costello one of Irelands most successful exports to Brittan and more recently the designer of the latest Royal Bridal gown Don O’neil spoke for themselves.
Lesser known but none the less talented is Lainey Keogh .http://www.laineykeogh.com who’s textural creative knitwear has adorned the backs of Elizabeth Taylor, Demi Moore and Jodi Foster and Merle O’Grady http://www.merleo’grady.com who’s modern take on jewellery is well worth a look. If feminine desses with a vintage influence made from beautiful unique fabrics fits your style go no further than Aideen Bodkin’s http://www.aideenbodkin.com exquisite collections.
After spending quite a bit of time investigating these Irish designers I am still no closer to packing my bag for my Ireland Fling weekend. I found it is impossible to not think about the colour green when packing for a holiday in Ireland and having Lainey Keogh’s beautiful knitwear collection which features the colour still in my head wasn’t helping. After much deliberation and taking variables like weather and occasion into account I decided to opt for a more subtle approach. Linen is as synonymous to Ireland as the colour green and the weather was going to be warm so I begin with a simple Irish Linen dress a new purchase at the summer Monsoon sale. Still unable to ignore the green factor I add a cardigan in moss green which goes great with the royal blue linen dress. Strappy wedges in blue and black ankle boots will assure I am covered for all weather situations. I have learned to never trust the forecast in this part of the world. A navy stripe T gives me daytime options and can be worn under or over the dress. A staple in the northern hemisphere for practical and decorative purposes this silk scarf purchased in Dubai fits both bills.
Now I wouldn’t be me if I stopped there although I know this tiny capsule collection would get me through the weekend. Because I can I add a few more pieces to the mix. You never know!! I add a floral dress which is so travel friendly as it doesn’t crease and takes up no more room than a scarf. It can be dressed up for evening or down for day. The addition of my favourite cotton Jacket a pair of grey jeans and floral top gives me more wardrobe options than even I can wear in one weekend. Come rain hail or shine I am ready for my Ireland Fling!!
Style: Self expression through what you wear is what style is all about. When deciding what to wear or not to wear your best style is the one that suits your body shape, personality and life. Examining what you like and why and knowing what makes you feel confident and look your best is an effective way to define your personal style. Answering these following questions should help you to know whether you are on the right track.
Does what you wear enhance you body shape and highlight your best features ?
Do you know what colours and tones suit you the best?
Does what you are wearing suit your personality and fit with your lifestyle?
Do you feel like you are expressing or supressing who you are with what you are wearing?
Weather: When deciding what to wear or not to wear the weather is always a major consideration and to be prepared for all weather situations your wardrobe needs to be well organised into seasons punctuated with versatile trans seasonal pieces.
Breathability of fabrics is a big consideration for the Summer months so steer clear of polyester garments. Viscose is the best of the man made fibres as it breaths. If possible go for fabrics made from natural fibres they are a better long term investment and will generally keep you cooler in summer and warmer in winter.
Layering is key to being comfortable in changeable climates and can also be a great way to enhance your body shape. Look at the lengths and shape of each garment you are layering your aim is to create pleasing balanced proportions without adding to much bulk to your frame, unless you are built like Twiggy!
Don’t be afraid to experiment and if you are not sure what is most flattering for you take full length photos of yourself or ask a friend to take them it is much easier to asses how you look in this way!
A great coat is a must when it comes to winter dressing. Go for a classic style that suits your frame and will stand the test of time. This should be an investment item so buy the best quality you can afford it will save you money in the long run and will have you looking fabulous year after year throughout the winter months.
Occasion: We tend to think of occasions as special events when in fact we are always dressing for an occasion whether it be a black tie event, going to work or working in the garden. All too often though our wardrobe contents are ill equipped to meet the needs of all the occasions we have in our day to day lives. Make a list of all your requirements then asses and organise your wardrobe accordingly. Having specific clothes for work, weekends and special activities will make it easier when deciding what to wear and you will never be stuck no matter what the occasion.
Age: When I comes to age appropriate dressing there are a few guidelines to consider when deciding what to wear or not to wear. Your best dress length depends on your height, whether your legs are one of your best features and your age. Generally women over 50 look their best in lengths just above, on or just below the knee. The aim here is to show the most flattering part of the leg. Wearing tights is a great way to wear a shorter length in a flattering way. Midi & Maxi lengths are great for the madam diva’s just make sure these lengths suit your frame as maxi’s can swamp petite frames depending on the style of the garment. Arms may be another area of consideration as we age. Remember your aim is to highlight your best features and play down your least favourite. Shrugs & wraps are great for covering not so attractive sections of the arm. Fabrics like chiffon & lace are fabulous for flattering partial exposure of arms and décolletage. Apart from these few considerations there really are no hard and fast rules for age appropriate dressing and women of all ages should feel free to express themselves without the fear of getting it wrong. Advanced style blog spot is full of stylish mature women looking fabulous at every age!
I just love how opening up one link can lead to discovering something that can truly change how you think and live your life. DESIRE a word that conjures up powerful images and can take us on a journey of self discovery. I recently followed links and blog sites via Pinterest which led me to such a site.
www.daniellelaporte.com/thedesiremap/ The concept of DESIRE MAPPING is very interesting and it got me thinking about how I could use it as an aid for personal styling. Most of us do have a desired image that we want to project to the world. It is how we construct our desired image that I am interested in discussing here. Danielle La Porte talks about beginning with our desires and working from there to set goals which will enable us to realise these desires.
In following this process myself I discovered that I desire to project an image of a confident, creative, healthy, well travelled, broad minded individual, who is compassionate about global issues and an intelligent interesting person.
To attain this image my goal setting might look something like this:
To use my own creative resources in my personal style.
To adopt a healthy daily regime which includes healthy eating and regular exercise
To make opportunities to travel, collect pieces adopt ideas from other places around the world and incorporate into my style.
To keep an open mind when it comes to new trends and develop a style which evolves by incorporating trends which suit me and my style.
To individualise my style by adding my own take on a look or creating a unique look which suits me and my lifestyle.
To keep in mind global issues when shopping, travelling, recycling and do the best I can to contribute to a better world.
To maintain an active interest in the world around me and how others navigate and project themselves to the world.
To continue learning new and better ways of being, doing and understanding.
Your Desires & desired image may be very different from mine. You may desire to focus on areas in your life which calls for a utilitarian style with a minimal focus on wardrobe and minimal effort in your outward appearance. The beautiful actress and past face of Lancome Issabella Rosellini developed her personal style with just such a desire in mind reportedly raiding her man’s wardrobe and embracing a simple paired down masculine style so she didn’t have to spent time thinking about what to wear each day.
There is no doubt that our desired image is a reflection of our desired lifestyle. Advertising has used this concept to offer us what we want although most of the time what we buy into does not give us what we actually desire and we are left wanting and disappointed.
If your desire is for a sporty style it is perhaps an indication that you desire to be more sporty. Maybe it is time to join a gym or add a sporting activity to your life. We all remember the impact Olivia Newton Johns “Lets Get Physical” had on the way we looked while exercising and the impact it had on the fashion industry. In fact fashion has used our desire to feel like we are doing more exercise by giving us athletic looking leisure wear so that whether we are doing the hard yards or not we look like we are on the outside. A very clever move by the fashion industry although if our desired image follows our true desires we are left with only the empty image unless we do the activity.
Perhaps your desire is for a more feminine seductive style which may indicate that romance is a very important part of your life or that you would like to have more romance in your life.
Maybe you desire to be taken more seriously in a male dominated corporate world hence a classic power suit style may be a desirable image.
You may find that your style has not changed much since you were in your 20′s perhaps your desire being to not grow older? This may indicate you need to do some inside work which will help you to accept that aging is a process which we cannot avoid forever and one which can bring great depth and joy to your life. I have to admit I am constantly checking my style to gage whether it is age appropriate simply because I forget I am now in my mid fifty’s. That doesn’t mean that I consciously dress older I think there are many styles which can be adopted regardless of age provided it is flattering and works for you.
I have always loved oriental style which may be due to a desire to spend time in that part of the world or a desire to study the cultures of the orient. It may be due to my desire to appear well travelled or broad minded. I like to think its because I was an oriental princess in a former life. I know, very funny and highly unlikely but its a lovely fantasy.
The key here is so simple, decide what it is you desire and act accordingly when planning your goals and your desired image should follow. Desire is our fuel for life and as we age we can lose track of what is truly important to us as we struggle to stay in step with our fast moving world. Sometimes we can feel like we have lost our oars in a sea of unrewarding experiences and unattainable goals.
Most Madam D’s have multi faceted lifestyles which comes from having been on the planet for a reasonable amount of time. We are mothers, wives, grandmothers, sisters, doctors, nurses, lawyers, carers, teachers, home-makers, artists, etc. We may desire to project an efficient corporate image at work and prefer a more feminine style after hours or a relaxed sporty carefree look to balance out a busy and demanding work life. We may have a job with a uniform by day and desire to project a glamorous image after hours. We DO know better than anyone what we desire in our lives. We all have limitations and we don’t all look sexy in a man’s suit and the chic sporty look can be more difficult to achieve as we age but that shouldn’t stop us from continuing to set goals based on our desires. Taking the time to work out what it is that you truly desire will help you to live the life you want and in turn you will automatically project an AUTHENTIC IMAGE of yourself to the world.
Once every year on the 26th of January our national pride spikes as we celebrate how lucky we are to be Australian. Aussie divas’s are intrepid travellers and trend setters. Our Surfy brands and sheep skin boots have taken the world by cyclone changing the face of fashion despite the deliberate lack of support from the industry mags. Divas like Toni, Rachael, Cate, Nichole, Megan, Elle & our aussie Rose frequent red carpet events and can be found on the best dressed list year round.
The Aussie Diva has earned her southern cross she is confident, stylish, worldly and proud to be Australian. I think what sets us apart from the rest of the world is our great ability to adapt our adventurous nature and our openness to embracing the new. We do fusion food better than anywhere else in the world and our style aesthetic is as eclectic as our culturally diverse nation. Most Madam D’s will remember Jenny Kee one of Australias fashion pioneers with her exotic printed silks and knits featuring aussie flora & fauna and her famous opal design fabric which featured in Italian Vogue and on the catwalk in Paris with Chanel. Jenny Kee helped to put Australia on the world fashion map and her culturally diverse parentage a Chinese Father and Australian/ Italian mother in my opinion makes her the epitome of a a true blue Aussie Diva www.jennykee.com
Whatever your cultural heritage and whatever your personal style it is time to celebrate being an aussie and lead the way to a more compassionate, tolerant and beautiful world.
Happy Australia Day!!