Tuesday, May 31st 2011

Timeless Tortoiseshell: Top Accessories for a Chic Summer

A material once made from actual turtle shells, the tortoiseshell we know today (the variety made from plastic rather than an endangered species) hit its apex in the ’60s and ’70s, when jet-set ladies paired tortoiseshell accessories with gold chains and airy resort wear. This season, the caramel hue is seeing a renaissance, with Marc Jacobs and Yves Saint Laurent sunglasses, Michael Kors watches, and Kenneth Jay Lane jewelry.

I picked up the KJL necklace pictured to wear with a breezy white sundress and flat K. Jacques sandals. How will you wear tortoiseshell this summer?


Tuesday, May 31st 2011

Modern Mod: Raoul Designer Odile Benjamin on the A/W 2011 Collection

Three looks fromm the Raoul autumn/winter 2011 runway.

Launched in Singapore in 2002 by husband-and-wife duo Odile and Douglas Benjamin, Raoul has since earned international acclaim, landing stateside this past spring. We talked to womenswear designer Odile about the inspiration behind the autumn/winter 2011 collection, which showed May 18 at the Singapore Fashion Festival.

Shopbop: Tell us about the collection. What was the inspiration?
Odile: We drew inspiration from the glamorous uniforms of the Pan Am and Braniff girls from the late ’60s and early ’70s, and gave them a modern-day interpretation. We looked at clean silhouettes that are linear and graphic, with precise tailoring to achieve a sense of purity and minimalism, coupled with a utilitarian feel.

SB: What was the color palette you used, and what made you choose those colors?
Odile: We worked with a neutral palette for our base, such as oatmeal, cognac, ink, jet, maroon, blush, porcelain white, and putty grey. Shades of those colors were combined in a tonal way to achieve a monochromatic, clean look, but then we interjected an element of surprise with bright colors such as fluorescent red, ultraviolet, and terracotta.

Raoul founders Odile and Douglas Benjamin.

SB: Where was the runway show staged, and what was on the soundtrack?
Odile: The show took place in Singapore, at the Tent at Orchard. We had 25 models and sent 51 looks down the runway. For the soundtrack, we curated music from the ’60s and ’70s, and then blended the tracks with contemporary indie bands that are making music with that ’60s melodic sound. We became especially obsessed with finding music with the drumbeat that was so particular to the time.

SB: The Raoul line has a very classic feel to it. How would you describe the Raoul woman?
Odile: The Raoul woman exudes femininity, yet she is assertive, modern, multi-tasking, and multi-faceted.

Tuesday, May 31st 2011

First Fashion: The Latest From Alexander Wang

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The Alexander Wang pre-fall collection has arrived at Shopbop, and after a spring collection full of lights and whites, the designer has come back to his signature black (with a little nude added in for good measure). A few of my favorites:

(1) Alexander Wang puts his stamp on a slinky cocktail dress with asymmetry and an on-trend midi hem. Alexander Wang – Asymmetrical Sash Dress

(2) Though draped and feminine, zipper trim gives this top an unexpected edge. Alexander Wang – Sleeveless Draped Top

(3) This deconstructed version of the silk blouse is perfect with your skinniest skinny pants and Alexander Wang booties. Alexander Wang – Tiered Sleeveless Tunic


Friday, May 27th 2011

Well-Suited: Woman + Suit

The pantsuit isn’t what it used to be. Formerly a misguided power statement based on masculine lines and linebacker-inspired shoulder pads, the suiting of today is self-assured yet distinctly feminine. No longer about blending into a man’s world, modern trousers and blazers let you be who you are: a woman who happens to be wearing a perfectly cut suit.

Spring’s best looks are set apart by glamorous finishes, draped fabrics, and figure-conscious cuts. Shimmering silks and luxe jacquards define the 3.1 Phillip Lim, Rag & Bone, and Helmut Lang collections, while Ellery and Alexander Wang opted for oversized, borrowed-from-the-boys styles updated with a suitably sexy slouch.


Friday, May 27th 2011

First Fashion: Western Accents

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A wanderer at heart, I’ve always been susceptible to the allure of drifting cowboys and wide-open plains. These three picks embody the siren song of the American West.

(1) Silver and turquoise are the quintessential Southwest couple. These earrings are just one example from a summer Elizabeth and James jewelry line that brims with the combination. Elizabeth and James – Turquoise Howlite Earrings

(2) Pointless, really, to discuss the West without discussing boots. These Jeffrey Campbell booties are a compelling mixture of motorcycle and cowboy styles. Jeffrey Campbell – France Suede Boots

(3) This on-trend Bing Bang ring has all the charm of an Arizonan flea-market find. Bing Bang – Hopi Sun Face Ring


Thursday, May 26th 2011

Weekend Wear: Outfits for 3 Saturday/Sunday Events

The best thing about the weekend? Well, it’s the weekend. And in the summer, when the air is warm and the pace is slightly slower, there’s nothing quite like two days of freedom to explore markets, mosey around the city, and meet up with friends for morning coffee or evening cocktails. These days call for effortless attire that doesn’t sacrifice style. So, without further ado, what to wear for three favorite weekend activities:

Flea Market
Casual practicality is key when dressing for flea market treasure hunting. A cross-body bag (we love everything from newcomer Laura Vela, and they’re on sale to boot) makes for easy hands-free browsing. City shorts and a tank by Kova & T will keep you cool, and a straw fedora will shade your face from the sun.

Beach Day
Whether it’s a trip to Montauk, a few hours cruising the boardwalk in Venice, or splitting time between the shores and the cafés in the South of France, a beach look needs to be versatile, comfortable, and chic. Let an oversized Marc by Marc Jacobs shirt be your cover-up (paired with Kain Label hot pants, perhaps), and pick a sexy-chic bikini to match—Vix Swimwear and Zimmermann are faves.

Sunday Brunch
Counter the day of leisure with a sharp approach to dressing. Wide-leg ankle pants by Phillip Lim feel classic yet avant-garde. Paired with a Technicolor Nanette Lepore tank, a gauzy cardigan, and Calvin Klein shoes, you’ve got a modern take on ladies-who-brunch style.


Thursday, May 26th 2011

First Fashion: A ’70s Summer

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Though I love all the ’70s-inspired silk blouses and tailored flare pants that have been ubiquitous this spring, now that we’re heading into summer, I’m looking forward to taking on the decade in a breezier way.

(1) Roy Halston practically defined ’70s style, and this midi dress by Halston Heritage perfectly captures the era’s sensibility. Halston Heritage – Spaghetti Strap Dress

(2) Diane von Furstenberg also got her start in the Me Decade, and these platform sandals are a natural match for her iconic wrap dress. Diane von Furstenberg – Omni Wedge Sandals

(3) I’ll swap out my dark-wash flares for a lighter version by James Jeans, and pair it with an airy Joie blouse and a pendant necklace. James Jeans – Play Girl Jeans


Wednesday, May 25th 2011

Bright Little Things

Colorful accessories are one of the biggest stories of the season. Tomato-hued bags, tribal jewelry, fluorescent watches, floral scarves—the list runs the gamut from sweet to statement-making. The only rule: it must be bright.

Personally, I like Diane von Furstenberg scarves and La Mer watches for an instant pop of easy color. As far as purveyors of eye-catching leathers go, I’m partial to Marc Jacobs bags and Pour la Victoire shoes. For bling, I covet the entirety of Vanessa Mooney’s ethic-inspired collection, though Kenneth Jay Lane’s heavy-hitting classicism will always have a place in my heart.


Wednesday, May 25th 2011

First Fashion: A Sheer Thing

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Summer is the perfect time to play with sheer fabrics and peek-a-boo accents.

(1) Pair this open-knit Rag & Bone top with polished, pleated shorts and boat shoes for a just-off-the-sailboat feel. Rag & Bone – Exeter Crew Neck Sweater

(2) With a diaphanous chiffon skirt, this goddess-like gown by Thread Social strikes the right note between demure and revealing. Thread Social – Halter Evening Dress

(3) A softer yet equally edgy alternative to a leather jacket, layer this open-knit sweater by Helmut Lang over anything from a jersey maxi dress to a tank and skinny jeans. Helmut Lang – Chainette V Neck Sweater


Tuesday, May 24th 2011

Parisian Style

Pictured: SUNO dress, Sergio Rossi pumps, and Matthew Williamson bag.

Volumes have been written on the essence of Parisian chic, an effortless pulled-together state that is as much lifestyle as look. Volumes aside, the heart of French beauty can be expressed in two words: femininity and confidence. Know what you have, embrace your quirks, and revel in being a woman.

How to get the look? First, observe the simple maxim of wearing only what you really look and feel good in. Choose a basic outfit that plays up your best traits: a DVF wrap dress or Marc Jacobs shirtdress to emphasize a slim waist, or sleek Theory trousers or cropped Rag & Bone jeans to highlight hips and legs. Once these foundations are laid, personal style is free to reign: march to the beat of your own drummer, and style will be sure to follow.


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