Thursday, 29 November 2012

Change in our lives

The last post that appeared on this blog was published exactly two weeks today and spoke of the three Ms we'd all been anticipating (and secretly craving) for months - the Maison Martin Margiela collection for H&M. Why the sudden silence after? Yes, it could be argued that seeing the clothes (but mostly the accessories) in person may have had such an impact on me that it left me speechless. Or else, that in the battle that was the opening day, I got stumped on by fashionistas from all over the country and needed to recover. Yet none of them is quite the right version of the truth.

The reason for my absence was brought about by, coincidentally, another M I had been waiting for months. Nine, to be precise :) Matthew is now two weeks old, but growing up fast and amazing us every single day. Coming home with him required a bit of an adjustment, but we're now getting the hang of it and loving and every minute. And just in time for the month of Christmas cheer and warm, holiday spirit. Here's to a magic December and many magic moments to come - plus a blog updated on a more regular basis :)

Thursday, 15 November 2012

MMM, it's finally here!

Today is the day! Marked with red in many a fashionistas' calendars, today is the day when the Maison Martin Margiela collection for H&M finally hits stores the world over and there are bound to be quite a few lines around the block for this one, not the mention the odd battle over the desired item. And desired items they are - for almost a month now, since the entire collection photos were made available to the public, we've been coveting them, dreaming about them and thinking of all the ways in which they will fit into our wardrobes (ok, so I'm just assuming we've all been doing and it wasn't just me :P).

I confess I am a little bit biased, as these collaboration is, to my mind, one of the best H&M has done so far. Not that I'm any kind of Martin Margiela fan to begin with - while I like his designs as a concept, there's usually no inner calling to make them my own. Still, his work for H&M is not only creative, but more wearable. I like the way in which the masculine shapes have been adapted to suit feminine shapes, and I like the oversized volumes which impress without swallowing you up whole. The optical illusion of a luxury couture has never looked better in a retail collection. One or two items are certainly going to bring a breath of fresh air to any wardrobe, by decomposing and reconstructing clothes. I admit to being very excited to see how the collection will find its way into different wardrobes and the combinations available to us.

In preparation for today, I've had the MMM for H&M TV commercial on repeat - it's got such amazing visuals, they set off the clothes beautifully.

I guess all that's left to do now is to go shop. My aims for the day? Below are my top 5 looks, but, really, the plexiglass heeled shoes are THE one item I will NOT go home without.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Guilty pleasure of the day - the golden tattoo

I've always liked tattoos. Not the ones covering every inch of skin on an oversize, wife-beater wearing moustached hombre, but the delicate ones you get to catch a glimpse of every once in a while, sticking discreetly out from underneath a shirt cuff or when the hair is blown from the back of a beautiful girl's neck. For me, these can be such nice complements to your fashion style - a subtle way of expressing your personality, your beliefs and your outlook on life. This is why, whenever I peek a tattoo, I always wonder about the story behind it and usually lose myself in the possibilities :)

If until now I've never been quite brave or decided enough to get one myself, now I've finally made up my mind - I'm getting one this Christmas. But not just any tattoo, but a fabulous gold one - Dior's limited edition golden temporary tattoos :) 

Available in limited quantity, the jewel-like creations, designed by the ever amazing Camille Miceli, the house's Jewelry Desginer, are made using 24-carat gold leafing and feature such incredible details as fancy cuffs, exquisite chain bracelets, playful charms and delicate rings. The perfect complement for a glamorous, extravagant and different version of Christmas Eve.

Backstage with the masters

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to backstage at a major fashion show? Or, even more to the point, what it must be like to be backstage at an Alexander McQueen show? You know, up close and personal with the masters. Well, unless you've got Sarah Burton on speed dial and can make it happen for the next London Fashion Week, one of the ways of making your dream come true is by means of a this beautiful, intimate and awe-inspiring short film created by Sean Frank before the house's spring summer 2013 collection unveiling.

I already knew of the dramatic intricacies and detailing of the gowns and the tailored suits from the collection photos, I must have poured over them at least a dozen times trying to see if I can imagine something more beautiful. Still, it was mind blowing to see them closer, to understand the texture and the painstaking craftsmanship that goes into the making of a dress, for example, that has a skirt made with over 9000 flower petals - each applied by hand. It's the stuff of wonder, I tell you. Don't you agree?

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Shoe of the week

First, there was Cinderella. Then there was Carrie Bradshaw. More recently, we should not forget the fashion icons of Gossip Girl, Queen Bee and S, the glam queens of New York City. All the perfect example that it's sometimes not about what you put on your body, but what you slip on your feet. And at no time do I experience this better than at the beginning of a new season, when, at every turn, there's a new shoe to be admired, fallen in love with and possibly taken home.

This week's obsession? Alexander McQueen's shearling and leather ankle boots.

Sassy, classy, a little bit sporty, a little bit out there, a little bit Bigfoot :) Just perfect. Ok, maybe just except the price tag. But a girl can dream, can't she? :)

Between inspiration and dream

Simplicity is, simply, as simple as you make it. Just as life is as beautiful as you live it.

Monday, 12 November 2012

Louis Vuitton discovers the magic world of TV commercials

Who could ever forget the magic and out-of-this-worldliness beauty of the Chanel no.5 commercial which saw Nicole Kidman run through Paris in search love? Or the soft images of Natalie Portman shot my Sofia Coppola for Dior? Now, Louis Vuitton seems ready to follow suit with the debut of its first-ever multimedia campaign, entitled "The Art of Travel". And art it most certainly is, from what I've seen so far. But you can judge for yourselves. 

The brand orchestrated another spectacle in the Cour CarrĂ© of the Louvre, the site of its big-budget fashion shows for the past few seasons. A red-and-white-striped hot air balloon carrying model Arizona Muse in its basket recently lifted off for the cameras of Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin, who filmed the French brand’s latest push into television and cinema advertising. As original music by British film composer John Murphy swells to a dramatic crescendo, Muse is seen admiring Italian masterpieces at the vast museum, including the Mona Lisa, before using a key on her necklace to unlock a Vuitton trunk she encounters. From the inside lid she plucks a letter, tucks it into her purse and makes her escape into the sunset-streaked Paris sky as a handsome man trails her.

The mesmerizing add is the latest example of Vuitton’s move to bring its travel heritage and artisanal roots forward, as a complement to its fashion advertising. This new film is an invitation on a journey, with the key a symbol that — like travel — opens “the pathways of knowledge, initiation, mystery and curiosity.” Vuitton also announced its intention to let the story unfold further, with the next episode slated to be unveiled in 2013 - and I, for one, cannot wait to see it.

Christmas is here!

Or is it? To my taste, it's a little bit early to start talking about Christmas. Making wishlists for Santa, yes, by all means. In fact, I started mine sometime back in August :) But to actually get to see Christmas decorations and lights, it's seems too much (my neighbour most obviously does not agree with me, since he just spent half the day putting up lights on the trees in his garden. The Xmas tree inside has been set up for one week now)

Still, it seems I'm in the minority here not only in my neighbourhood and Christmas has arrived - for retailers, at the very least. The past week has been one of fairy-tale and holiday unveilings.

First, Santa made an early stop at London department store Harrods to help launch its new fantastical festive window. The display plays with different themes of Disney fairytales, featuring much-loved traditional characters like Rapunzel or Cinderella alongside newer cartoon characters like Mulan or Tiana from The Princess and the Frog. Each of the 10 windows, which will remain in place until the end of the Christmas period, was created by a different fashion designer and some of the biggest names as that, including Oscar de la Renta, Versace, Escada and Roberto Cavalli.

Also tied with the unveiling of the new displays was the launch of a new collection of Haute Joaillerie by Chopard - a stunning and magical suite of necklaces, bracelets, earrings and hairpieces inspired by Disney's iconic princesses. Featuring the Chopard unmistakable craftsmanship, the pieces are the stuff of dreams. Fairytale dreams, that is.

Crossing the English channel, Christmas made a stop in the City of Lights, on what else if not an elephant? A Louis Vuitton-clad elephant. The animal took center stage for the unveiling of the new displays, having had the honour to push the button that lit up the famous French department store. As for the Louis Vuitton he was proudly sporting, it is because this year, LV has been responsible for decorating the Christmas window display to match the theme "The Ball of the Century", inspired by the 100 year anniversary of the Art Nouveau glass dome of the Galeries (an architectural gem for the ages).

Saturday, 10 November 2012

It's what's inside that counts

We've all heard the saying, but this time around, take it with a pinch of salt. Because what I am talking about is the importance of beautiful, crazy, naughty or nice underwear, and not your soul (this time, at least). How else to explain the craze surrounding this week's Victoria's Secret fashion show and the massive coverage it's been generating? In fact, if there hadn't been an election, I would have said that this was THE event of the week. After all, it's a little bit self-explanatory: don't people prefer to watch sexy women parading around with large wings and little else than listen to serious men in suits discuss which state is red or blue? Yes, I agree with you that it's not as important as deciding the leader of the free world, but it might just be about deciding on the items that go into your boudoir and, on a personal level, I am sure that fares much higher on a list of priorities.

This year again, the Victoria's Secret fashion show was the extravaganza we've grown to expect and enjoy, featuring impossibly perfect women in skimpy outfits of the suavest silk, satin and lace, eye-catching and gravity defying accessories, big hair, sultry make-up and A-list music. All sprinkled with juicy tidbits and advice from the models backstage. The perfect recipe for the event that people will not forget, even if they will probably not remember any of the actual pieces shown.

This is the VS show in words. The rest is for the eye alone.

PS: An honourable mention goes to Nicholas Kirkwood who designed the shoes for the show - crazy sexy, aren't they?

Guilty pleasure of the day

Aviator jacket from Mango

When I was a kid, Antoine de Saint-Exupery's Little Prince was one of my favourite books. Hell, who I am kidding? It still is. Only a few months ago I was walking around all proud of my Moleskine Little Prince special edition (I was so excited when I got it, it felt like Christmas morning). But I'm getting off topic. I just would like you to imagine my huge love for the author, who was also a pilot. Couple it with the awe I felt when I first read about Amelia Earhart and the unforgettable picture of Katharine Hepburn in the signature pilot jacket. What do you get? Aviator jacket mania.

Two years ago, when the runways were full with reinterpretations of the classic jacket, from Burberry to Phillip Lim, I thought I'd died and gone to heaven - everywhere I looked, I saw these jackets. And I wanted them all and... none at the same time. Because none was just quite perfect. So I missed out on the moment and lived regretting it ever since. Until I saw this jacket from this year's Mango collection. And fell in love. I love the colour, love the build, the asymmetric zipper, the details on the arms. I need to have it! Now, Santa, if you'd just be a dear... :)

Friday, 9 November 2012

First lady style

In the wake of Obama's win of a second term in office, the fashion world's eyes are focused, yet again, on Mrs. Obama. Let it be said - I love this woman, her energy, the passion that shines through, the way in which she dedicates herself to her favourite causes, but still manages to give off the impression that, at the end of the day, she's just a regular mom and wife. Hats' down to you, Michelle.

Still, let's put things into perspective a little bit - she is not a Barbie doll, not a Hollywood starlet and not a model. There should be some limits for the small talk about her clothes. Yes, on ocasion, her clothes have been used to highlight some important underlying message about economics or about how women  are being perceived, as well as being used as a silent support of one or another minority or as an instrument of diplomacy (something which had not really been done since the days of Jacqueline Kennedy). More often than not, however, I think clothes are simply doing what they are meant to do: highlight her beautiful frame in the best possible way and simply make her look nice. At the end of the day, not every item of clothing is fraught with meaning. And, somewhere along the way, the conversation went from being about whether the outfits were event-appropriate (a legitimate point, given her position) to the gossipy "What was she wearing when she was planting veggies in the backyard of the White House?"

It is clear that the relationship between fashion and politics has and will continue to be very strong. Indeed, the style industry played a major role in Barrack Obama's campaign this year, who counted Anna Wintour as one of his most fervent supporters. I, however, rapidly lost my appetite for it when I read how Diane von Furstenberg (the brand, not the woman) was quick to rebuke Ann Romney for wearing one of their designs because their commitment was to Obama. People, fashion should be indiscriminate, not take sides - this is losing sight of what fashion is all about and should make us all rethink things a little bit more.

I don't imagine, however, that the fascination for Michelle Obama's style choices will fade down anytime soon, more so because it undoubtedly helps boost her husband's popular appeal. And, as Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis proved so well, fashion can carry you with your chin up through the toughest of times. So here's to looking forward of another 4 years of Mrs. O style adoration. I sure hope she keeps it interesting.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Best fashion on November covers

Just because this is a blog or just because it is true that I use the Internet to get informed about practically everything, it does not mean I have forgotten about those beautiful, printed, glossy things called "magazines". In fact, every month I look forward to sitting down in a cozy corner with my favourite ones and relish like no other the moment I first flip through their pages, ready to be immersed into a different "fashion" world and be inspired. I have this game I like to play - whenever I see a cover, I try to guess what the editorial might look like, what outfits and atmosphere the stylist chose for the shoot based solely on that first page impression. "Cover watching" is, for me, an important monthly occupation and so, it's only natural that I have a list in my mind with the best covers of November and the amazing fashion they feature, isn't it?

  • Aline Weber on the cover of Vogue Mexico wearing Lanvin (I cannot even begin to talk about the beauty of that dress or the way in which the colour complements her, I would just never stop. And this would be without even mentioning the accessories!).

  • In the most ironic twist of all, given the news we received earlier this week, Kristen Stewart wears Balenciaga on the cover of Glamour Poland. I have to say, however, that this one made the cut solely because of my long-lasting love for Nicolas Ghesquiere; apart from that, let's face it, the styling is appalling for this level of the game.

  • Sarah Jessica Parker in a classic, yet edgy cut-out number of Calvin Klein Collection and a beautiful mother-of-pearl collar necklace from House of Lavande on the cover of US Elle (kudos for the magazine for going patriotic with only local designers in election months).

  • An almost unrecognizable Arizona Muse in menswear inspired tailoring and a sleek back do for Vogue Russia.

  • Naomie Harris rides the Skyfall wave of fame right onto the cover of InStyle UK and sizzles in a fierce number by Amanda Bellan (a designer who really deserves a little bit more exposure and credit).

  • Dolce & Gabbana and their baroque trend strike again! After Victoria's Secret angel Miranda Kerr hot cover for Marie Claire Australia last month, this November it's Jessie J's turn for Elle UK. To me this one is a non-compete: Jessie J totally nailed the Sicilian attitude!

  • Rihanna looking very un-Rihanna-like in a Valentino class act on the cover of US Vogue. One example that the girl cleans up nice, if she wants to.

  • Stepping far away from the Anna Karenina persona she portrayed in last month's Vogue cover, Keira Knightley shows her edgier side, in Chanel, on the front of W magazine.

  • Last, but not least, in a style lesson we'd be fools to forget, Eva Mendes shows us on the cover of Glamour France that you can still sizzle in this season's printed T-shirt trend (courtesy of Givenchy).

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Happy Anniversary, Harper's Bazaar Romania!

Four days after it hit the newsstands, I finally got my eager little hands on the new Harper's Bazaar Romania and boy, was it pretty. For this November-December edition, the magazine made sure it put its best cover forward, featuring the ever stylish Diana Dondoe, to celebrate five years of existence. During this time, Harper's successfully went from an exciting new publication that had trouble finding its place on the market to a household name for a more classic, sophisticated reader and I could not be more thrilled about it.

To celebrate the 5 year anniversary, the magazine boasts a beautiful anniversary shooting signed by Alex Galmeanu (a photographer you simply cannot not adore) featuring 15 personalities from all walks of life, from local designers to models, actresses and businesswomen - all strong characters who have helped mold the industry they work in and are an inspiration on a day to day basis. Also inside the pages, I found the most adorable, fabulous, extravagant and classy anniversary wishes illustrations ever, from Christian Louboutin to Alber Elbaz (whom I just adore). I would so frame these and put them on my wall! 

Happy Anniversary, Harper's Bazaar Romania, and hope to see many more editions showcasing the most extravagant and inspiring fashion out there. And talking about inspiring, this moment brought to mind another important anniversary, that of Harper's 15 years in Russia celebrated late last year. In true haute couture style, the magazine enlisted the help of 15 legendary designers, each of whom designed their own version of the cover for the special anniversary edition. Moreover, each designer's issue included custom content on the designer in question, including special photo collages and written articles. Below you can find my favourite ones - magic and style at its best!

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Saying our goodbyes

It’s the end of (another) fashion era. In a blow that literally came out of thin air, luxury giant PPR has just announced that its brand Balenciaga and designer Nicolas Ghesquiere are parting ways. A moment of silence for the genius who created these beauties (*sigh). 

The decision was described as joint, but no word yet whether it was not more one-sided than that. Rumours about town do say that Ghesquiere may have been unhappy with the discrepancy between how his grievances were being answered and the unusual freedom enjoyed by Hedi Slimane over at sister-brand YSL (I guess jealousy can happen even in the highest circles), but we should not always trust everything we hear. Two things are clear, the first being that Ghesquiere had hinted as early as last year to his ideas to move on. At his fall 2011 show, he told that he is “very happy at Balenciaga. But I also want to work on my own line. The ideal would be to do both things simultaneously”. The second clear thing is that this will not happen.

Ghesquiere has been one of fashion’s darlings, with collection after collection gathering acclaim and plenty of fans from the list of the industry’s who’s who. Since taking on the role of designer for Balenciaga in 1997, his resolute modernity has pushed him to not only revive the brand, but to literally reinvent it. Balenciaga’s key foundation was based on haute couture rigor and sculptural shapes. Ghesquiere, on the other hand, brought about a geometric and edgy sophistication that always left us longing for more. For the past 15 years, his name was so closely tied to the label that it was easy to assume that the relationship could turn into the same kind of Lagerfeld-Chanel love affair. Sadly, it was not meant to be. 

Regardless of whose decision it was, leaving a brand that you’ve reshaped with your own bare/ creative hands is hard. I remember Tom Ford describing his leaving Gucci after 10 years as a divorce, not dissimilar to losing a real lover. We now have to wait and see what is in the cards next for Ghesquiere (I am very much rooting for his own line, which, given the massive extent of creative freedom he’d enjoy, I am sure would blow our minds) and, of course, who, if any, will be able to fill the master’s shoes at Balenciaga. 

Tuesday is the real Monday

Mondays are, well, not all that difficult. You know they will be nasty and you have two days of complete relaxation to prepare for them. So when that alarm clock goes off way too early on Monday, you put on a brave face and scurry off to get things done. You've got a burst of energy pushing you forwards the entire day.

Tuesdays, on the other hand,  are a very different story. Every Tuesday morning is confusing for me - my first thought when I hear the alarm is if it's broken. After all, I did the whole waking up early thing the day before, so why is it still ringing now? Tuesdays need a whoooole different approach, a stealth way to trick the mind into thinking that it's possible to be in a good mood and that the weekend is really not THAT far away. Tuesday are, therefore, built for small indulgences, treats & inspirational moments. Here are the few that have made this morning sunnier.

Monday, 5 November 2012

Autor 8 - all the pretty, pretty things

On Sunday, after waking up bright and early (my sleep cycle is completely off, there’s no more hope), I decided to pay a visit to Autor 8. It’s an event I always try not to miss, not only because it’s a chance to get amazing pieces, but because I love to get to know new designers, young and innovative, bursting with new ideas and enthusiasm and see what they create. The event has been constantly evolving since its first edition four years ago and every time I visit it, I have this feeling that we are surrounded by beauty, even though we don’t always see it.

Philosophical thoughts aside, I found myself visiting the fair at an hour when there were few other visitors walking around. So, while I missed out on the excitement of the crowded exhibit with girls swooning left and right over the beauties on display (I learned from a reliable source that Saturday afternoon the feeling was just this one), I did enjoy being able to walk around leisurely, absorb the designs and chat with the designers about their inspiration or technique.

There were few things I saw and did not like, which is always amazing for someone as picky as myself, but it is nevertheless true that you never pick a jewelry item, it picks you. And just like that, here are a few of the designers that have made a lasting impression and who I will be closely following from now on, if I was not before.

Raluca Buzura – Far from being an unknown name, Raluca Buzura’s designs at this edition of Autor were impossible to miss and, once seen, impossible to forget. What always appeals to me is not only the extent of her talent and imagination in shaping the most extravagant, yet easy to wear statement pieces, but the artistic maturity they reflect. One necklace from her and I can already feel myself starting to hum  Beyonce’s “Run the world”.

Ioana Matei – The young designer and her new jewelry collection “Serial Project No 9″ was this edition’s main attraction and she certainly did not disappoint. From the visually striking display, which made use of little more than the actual floor of the location, to the eclectic selection of pieces and the effervescent nature of their design, Ioana Matei is definitely one designer to pay attention to in the future. After all, she made me fall head over heels over the beautiful necklace below even though I would never actually be able to wear it.

ADC Bijuterii Arhitecturale – Always playful and whimsical, the ADC brand is the ideal companion for those moments when you don’t want to take yourself too seriously. Using an interesting technique of basically stratifying layer upon layer of paper and subsequently shaping it, to which she has recently also added wood for a more “natural” look, designer Delia Matache appeals to the kid in us with an entire collection of geometric forms (including cufflinks, which my husband got a kick out of).

Andra Lupu – One of the most pleasant surprises of Autor 8, Andra Lupu’s designs were modern, versatile and so well crafted that you could easily have been fooled into thinking that they came from a designer with infinitely more experience. She also gets a great round of applause for the display, which, through its simplicity, beautifully complemented the pieces and helped showcase them in just the right way. I just love when people pay attention to these details – to me, that’s the truest sign of passion right there.

Surrounded by all these beautiful things I would have been at a loss about what to choose, but thankfully, finding the right jewelry for you is like love at first sight. Quite an appropriate comparison, when I think about it, since the necklace that stole my heart and settled neatly around my neck came with a note of the most beautiful love story ever... a story not unlike my own :) As the brand name says, it is truly a piece of a dream (fyi, the name of the designer brand is Pezzi di Sogni).