Tuesday, July 29, 2014

A Fresh Pitcher of Summer Fashion Kool-Aid


Ballerina Ultima & Rouge Louboutin

Christian Louboutin Nails it: Oh, Mr. Louboutin... I've read that you are a delight in person. I've clearly never had the pleasure of meeting you but if I did I'd ask you these two questions. 1) Why do you make your shoes so beautiful yet so narrow and spiteful? 2) Whatever happened to that legendary assistant who was polishing her nails at work? In most places, tending to one's own manicure would probably result in being fired but in this case, she (I'm assuming it was a woman) became your muse; your inspiration to literally and liberally paint the soles red. We've all heard about that fateful day in 1993 when you turned to the bottle (not of alcohol but of red nail lacquer) and created the iconic sole which became the "soul" of your footwear. Therefore, I can't help wondering if she was fairly compensated for her fortuitous workplace faux pas? At the very least, she should get a new bottle of your nail polish.


Christian Louboutin gets the point

"The red sole was born from red nail polish. I am giving back to beauty what the shoes took from the nails many years ago" says Mr. Louboutin.  And what a nail polish it is! It's an objet d'art in an architectural molded cut glass bottle inspired by "classical balustrades found in European buildings." The cap is a towering seven inch calligraphy inspired cap with a flash of red on the underside and modeled after the heel of the Ballerina ULTIMA, at 7 inches tall the highest shoes the company ever made. The accompanying David Lynch directed video includes a pink Antonio "Gaudi-esque" tower as well as many images calling to mind a trip to Barcelona and the Picasso/Miro art that is abundant there. This is not the polish that you slop onto your nails as you run out the door; it must be applied languidly and in a sexy and decorous manner, preferably while lounging in a silk robe and fishnets. Mr. Louboutin's background designing for the Folies Bergere and in burlesque is also evident throughout the video. View it here at  http://us.christianlouboutin.com/us_en/


The Pops

The line debuts with Rouge Louboutin at Saks, Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus and Sephora.com, however more colors including Pops (bright colors), Noirs (dark colors) and Nudes (self-explanatory colors) will be launched in August. Mr. Louboutin apparently gives suggestions for which colors pair pedicure and shoe well and which shape toes deserve which colors (short toenails should be kept in neutrals). The formula of the polish promises to be "chip-proof" but unless it comes with a manicurist I'm going to assume that its $50 price tag is for the" packaging "(Mr. Louboutin doesn't like that word so make that its "presentation"). To further the tie-in I've read that the polish is to be sold in the shoe department. I spied a display on the ground beauty floor of Saks last week one day after the launch with just the mini model of the black stiletto, leading me to believe that the polish had flown out already, whether to the upper echelons of the shoe floor or into/onto customer's greedy little fingers (and onto their toes).


Who "Nails it" on Project Runway? PR is back (Thursdays at 9 p.m. on Lifetime) and I've certainly missed the "gang" of Heidi Klum, Nina Garcia, Tim Gunn and Zac Posen (although I really miss Michael Kors who's gotten too big, since he went public and is worth billions to do this little reality show). I guess the remaining judges were told to up the ante and the result was one of my favorite show comments of all time: Nina's "WTF" moment. Spoiler Alert: Upon seeing loser Jefferson's unflattering and poorly made "bib" crop top and "diaper" short, Nina almost cried like a baby and was reduced to a monosyllabic yet well put "W. T. F?"

On the winning side, the judges seem to be "drinking the Kool-Aid" which is supplied by Sandhya Garg. Her "unusual silhouettes" as well as a "I have not seen anything like this. You surprise me" from Heidi, has the other contestants (and myself) collectively SOH (shaking our heads). Sandhya admits that her creations "Look very different from what everyone else has done. I have my own voice." That voice apparently told her to send a long sleeved sheath dress in a ditsy printed floral which she partially over-dyed at the bust line in what looks to be a vat of red Kool-Aid, then intentionally frayed the hem line and sleeve, piped the zippers in green and purple and cut open flange/flaps at the shoulder line exposing part of the upper arm; down the runway to the judges accolades. Yeah, I don't get it either but it's only week one. I will reserve further comment until I see how this plays out because on Project Runway, one never knows.

Western fringe Kimono for the young set

It's Not Easy Being Boho Chic: What's one of the hottest looks on the music festival scene this summer? If you said "kimono" you'd be right. If you said "fringed kimono" you get extra points.  Often what looks cute/ fresh/edgy on a Millennial at Bonnaroo should almost certainly not be worn by a Baby Boomer on the streets of NYC, either because it will show way too much skin/be entirely inappropriate or even worse, it will look frumpy. The kimono can easily skew "frumpish" on an "adult" if not done right. The PYT's my daughter's age will pair it with a crop top and a pair of cut-off Daisy Duke's and lace up ankle boots or gladiator sandals. I recently wore my colorful slightly Southwestern-vibe kimono with cropped pants, a printed silk tank and wedge sandals and it felt neither junior nor granny but kind of current.


Grandma's couch?
(click image for full size view)

I recommend staying away from a floral pattern which could go "mumsy" on anyone over the age of 22. I thought I was rocking it until I was ordering lunch and found myself literally unable to move -- the looped fringe at the bottom of the garment had become entangled on a display rack of potato chips as I passed by. As the day wore on I had several other "close encounters" including a few with the grommets on my purse as well as an entanglement from my keychain as I reached into my bag. My suggestion: If you do try a kimono, beware of the "lunatic fringe" (especially important if you are a festival goer)!


Mary Alice Stephenson Glams4Good

Beauty is as Beauty Does: A great case in point is Mary Alice Stephenson, fashion and beauty expert for over 20 years and founder of Glam4Good. The former assistant editor to Anna Wintour who became Fashion Editor at Harper's Bazzaar has made a career out of styling stars for magazine covers and for the red carpet who decided to put that experience to use for a greater philanthropic purpose. She works with non-profits, women's organizations, veterans, cancer survivors, homeless shelters and the Make-A-Wish foundation "using fashion to help heal and empower." Ms. Stephenson's goal through her makeovers; using high-fashion donations of clothing, shoes, accessories, cosmetics and the help of expert makeup artists and hair stylists; are to show the "everyday hero" that they are as beautiful outside as inside. "Fashion is this glamorous armor that we have and it doesn't deal with serious, serious things in life but when you feel good and you look good you're far more able to deal with difficult things" she has said.

In the past year she's worked with over 3,500 women and 18 non-profit organizations including veterans and wounded warriors from Afghanistan, yet she claims that no one has ever said 'no' to her and the glam squad. She was also involved in donations for Hurricane Sandy victims and this past May gave 70 women prom makeovers. It's so thrilling to see how Ms. Stephenson is every bit as excited to give these girls the experience as they are to receive it. Watch the very inspiring clip: play video.





-Laurel Marcus

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