I would be lying if I said I wasn’t experiencing a bit of an identity crisis during this global pandemic. How does a style blogger and product junkie write about beauty and fashion when isolation is strongly encouraged and there’s nowhere to go? Where would I wear a yellow lace dress? Or a corset swimsuit? Why wear makeup if half of my face is covered and it’s just going to come off on the mask and create skin problems?
Until recently, I felt the idea of fashion shows was nothing short of sadistic; they were just a reminder of places I couldn’t go without the constant worry of catching COVID-19, or having my great mood stifled by the reality of temperature checks, discouraged socializing, or the lack of money to shop. I’m living in robes and sweats, so while I’m not an athleisure girl, I see the appeal now.
Apparently, my issues are poor peoples’ problems because fashion shows are still going on, albeit digitally, and Vogue is here to break down every show as they come in.
Let me start out by saying that I really enjoyed the Denver Fashion Weekend Spring ’16 festivities, a multi-day event that features local and national designers and boutiques, along with hair shows and awards ceremonies. Unfortunately, I missed the 303 Awards/Southwest Hairstyling Awards on Night One, but celebrity stylist Tabatha Coffey received a Lifetime Achievement Award.
In Focus host, Eden Lane was holding court, and without too much criticism (I can’t imagine what it takes to pull off a production like this on multiple nights), compared to my experience at the Fall ’15 shows, DFW Spring ’16 was a massive improvement. It was better organized, the press didn’t have to fight to get into place, and the overall mood was less manic. This production had their act together; they were much friendlier (even after I knocked a stack of cards off of a pole), the security staff was more personable, the press was given more respect, and the people attending this event were much more festive and much less bitchy than the last fashion event.
I should have had this blog out last week, but I wasted a lot of time trying to unsuccessfully edit fashion week videos while trying to learn a new job, so please excuse me in advance for the janky video and extreme lateness. Last year’s footage was so bad I barely bothered to post anything. This time was no different. The Fall ’15 runway was cool but complicated, and we were situated on the side next to a platform with a lone photographer on it. Thankfully, the person I brought for photography was taller than my 5′ 2″ frame, so he was more successful with photos. This year, I was told that we could have used that near-empty platform, but no one told us.
This year was no different as far as lousy positioning, but at least there was a reason for it. Night Three was PACKED and so was that platform. Apparently, there was a schedule change because when I RSVP’d the event, the night I attended was scheduled to be a hair show. I was a little bummed because I had to bail on Night Two at the last-minute and I was more interested in the fashion than the hair, although I had planned on going to both. To be honest, I was probably more bummed about the fact that I had finally applied false eyelashes without them coming off or getting adhesive all over the place, and I had nowhere to go. I can’t be the only person who hates to waste time and a good makeup job.
I should probably go back; the kick-off event for DFW Spring ’16 was Red Pearl, a fashion comedy movie by Stacy Barton and Jessica McGaugh. The comedy-drama movie with fashion overtones is based in Colorado, and is about Scarlet (Desira Pesta), a recent transplant from Ohio fresh out of fashion school. She’s having difficulty making friends professionally and personally, and she’s nursing a broken heart as well. Project Runway’s Mondo Guerra makes an appearance as her mentor and I thought he was in attendance, but it turned out that the gentleman I mistook as Guerra was not. One would have expected him to turn up for the premiere of a movie he is in, but…
My favorite performances were from Scarlet’s creepy apartment manager (William Leiren), and her married lover and neighbor (Matt Block), whom I met at the fashion show. He walked right past us and I said, “He’s cute,” and my daughter/photographer said, “That’s that guy from the movie, her neighbor.” Being who I am, I ran after him. He’s all kinds of cute. That movie does not do him justice. He was beyond charming and very funny. He was also taking part in the shows.
Back to the show…
I immediately ran into the Beauty For Real booth at the bazaar and the rep. went to work selling us on how innovative the makeup line is. Ok, the lip gloss has a mirror AND a light on the applicator. Hello, where have you been all of my life? She told me Leslie Munsell, the founder of Beauty For Real was walking in the show.
I thought I saw her walk for Marks-Lloyds, but I can’t be certain. [Doesn’t this look like her? I feel like a post about the brand is in order.
When I left Beauty For Real counter, I perused a couple of apparel vendors, and then ran into Sam LaBella, hairstylist and makeup artist at Family Affair representing the Balmain Hair Couture line. Remember when I said I had never heard of Balmain Hair? Ta-da!She was so much fun, and I had the best time with her. She even spritzed my dusty bun with a shining product. In the middle of entertaining me, she also provided me with a little more education about the line and where it is headed. Balmain Hair won’t stay hush-hush for long.
While I enjoyed every show, the standouts for me were Velvet Wolf, Kouture, and ILy Iley. I am not an outerwear fan per se, but as far as a physical reaction, I loved Royal Outerwear. The styling and makeup was inspiring and Torell Madsen, A.K.A. Tory, was especially breathtaking. I may have to relax my style a bit and embrace street wear more.
I recorded a few of the shows but I didn’t get them all. Unfortunately, I didn’t get photos or footage of Femme Fatale Intimates and Georgine NYC, which I truly regret. Poor battery life and difficulty holding the camera with so many bloggers and photographers jockeying for position dictated I sit out a few shows so again, please enjoy the sketchy camera work. The fact that there were so many people in attendance tells me that the popularity of the event is growing, as it should. A special shout-out to my photographer Raven Refuerzo, a.k.a., my kid. Denver Fashion Week Spring ’16 was a great production and a lot of fun. Can’t wait till the fall shows.
It was during Paris Fashion Week that the I discovered Balmain was into hair. Should I feel stupid for not knowing the French fashion brand extended to a hair care line? This revelation came just yesterday while reading an article on Business of Fashion about Balmain’s new custom wig venture – an extension of the already existing Balmain Hair Couture line. During Paris Fashion Week, Kendall Jenner and Gigi Hadi seemingly swapped hair colors at the Balmain Fall 2016 RTW show and of course, everybody went nuts because those two can’t cut their nails without it becoming breaking news. Sorry (not sorry), I’m just so sick of those two. Anyway…
According to the piece, that was an introduction of sorts to Balmain Hair, a custom-made wig and hair extensions service. The intended fuss about the hair color swap got tails wagging about the orientation of the wigs the chosen were wearing , expansion news, and the admittance that the hair care line is largely unknown. Now, I don’t feel so stupid.
Alessandra Ambrosio, a favorite Balmain runway model is shown with her natural hair color in the Pre-spring 2016 show, and again wearing a Balmain custom-made wig in the Fall 2016 show at PFW 2016. Joan Smalls, Rose Huntington-Whitely, and Lily Donaldson were among the models walking with one of those coveted pieces.
Balmain Hair Couture brand isn’t new if you are heavily immersed in the beauty scene or in Europe – it’s been around for 40-years slowly making its way into high-end salons and fancy-schmancy fashion sites. Currently, the Balmain Hair repertoire consists of extensions, styling products, styling tools, and now custom-made wigs. You’ll have to do some jet-setting if you want one of those custom-made, 100 percent human hair wigs. The Balmain Hair wigs are only made at their location in the Paris at 13, rue Royal which is headed by Nabil Harlow a “master hair designer.” Yeah, you’re going to need super model money in order to afford one.
However, if you want their Argan Moisturizing Elixir ($43), or instant extensions ($390), that’s available online, although the company encourages you to seek a professional for extension installation. For professionals, there are classes to teach you how to install their products. I’ve watched some of their tutorials, it looks very involved. There are 5,000 hair salons worldwide (300 in the US) that carry Balmain Hair, and “Prestige Salon” has been created to place their products in exclusive style focused salons.
Balmain joins the likes of Wendy Williams, Jessica Simpson, practically the entire cast of RHOA, and Beverly Johnson – who have been on the hair extension/wig train for quite some time. Balmain has stepped up as a response to the apparent explosion of couture wig and hair extensions. Well, when everybody is trying to be Beyoncé, that’s gonna happen, and Bey ain’t wearing Sally Beauty Supply hair.
What was Cover magazine’s publisher Malene Malling thinking when she featured a model so emaciated that she looks like a corpse in her magazine? When I saw the picture, I just stared at it for several minutes because I could not believe that photo got past the editor’s desk. I have never seen a model this anorexic before. Her hands are bony, her face is pale and gaunt, her eyes are sunken, and her hair looks dry and brittle. I don’t know how she has the energy to stand, and her appearance is so distracting that I’m not looking at her outfit. She looks so unhealthy that I fear she could literally drop dead at any moment. What makes this so scary is that the model, Lululeika Ravn Liep, is just 16-years old, and a very popular model.
As a result of the Danish magazine’s lack of responsibility, it is experiencing the wrong kind of attention via social media. Politicians, Twitter, and Reddit are expressing shock and outrage at Cover with the hashtag #covergate. Malling responded to the scandal saying, “I have not lived up to my responsibility as a publisher, woman and mother and am truly sorry.” During their apology tour, the magazine pointed out that it recently featured plus size model Diana Graham in the magazine, but I think featuring an anorexic model cancels out that bragging right. It amuses me what the fashion world considers plus size and it is obvious that the fashion industry still has a long way to go in projecting healthy images.
I didn’t get to follow Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week New York as closely as I would have liked, but when I did get the opportunity to catch up, Wow! I mean WOW! Surprisingly, a couple of the designers I was most impressed with were designers I am not normally drawn to. I am so glad I was in the mood to explore. Ralph Lauren, J. Mendel, and Marc Jacobs really got my attention and are my top three favorite collections from the NYFW Fall 2015 RTW shows.
I am not normally pulled towards Ralph Lauren and J. Mendel, but they finally got me. I am always impressed with Marc Jacobs, and this time he was, how they say, “money.” At least he was for me. What was a running theme at New York Fashion Week 2015 is fur, fringe, and the 70s. I was actually amazed at how much fur there was seeing how animal rights groups like to congregate outside the arenas, but it’s pretty clear that designers are either using fake or socially acceptable fur or they aren’t concerned about haters.
J. Mendel’s color choice for his show was primarily in one of my favorite color combinations; black and white, and red. Somehow, the black and red make the white seem bold, don’t you think? The silky, flowing paisley printed dresses, colorful fur jackets, plunging necklines, and high slits gave off a definite 70s vibe.
Scarves were rampant in this collection and the pop of embroidery here and there made this collection retro and exquisite at the same time.This collection was an unexpected and pleasant surprise, and I am sorry I haven’t paid closer attention to this designer. If J. Mendel is trying to bring the 70s back, he was successful.
Ralph Lauren tends to be a little All American conservative for me, but there were a lot of pieces in this collection that I would definitely wear. This collection was classic, elegant, and versatile, so versatile that there was something in this collection for most aesthetics at any time of day. another interesting dynamic was masculine looks such as a pinstripe suit being balanced out by a fur collar. Actually, anything made of fur is actually made of shearing, a good thing because I was feeling a little guilty for loving the furry hats and furry elbow length gloves.
All of the shearing, richly hued cashmere, and suede gave off a rich Western aura as if we were at a Southfork gathering on Dallas. The collection was in very earthy tones, olive-green, camel, winter white, and multiple tones of brown, but it screamed extravagance. I love earth tones and I think brown is a luxurious color and it certainly was here. After the floppy hats, ankle boots, fringed purses, and flowing skirts were a few glittering metallic dresses at the end just to throw you off.
Marc Jacobs collection was dark and elegant, just the way I like it. Pine green and midnight blue plaid. Yes, please. Wide bugle bead trimming on body-conscious dresses and patent leather boots. Perfection. Black gloves, thin leather belts, and animal prints. Absolutely. Can you tell that this was my favorite collectIon?
This collection is definitely me. It got a bit risqué for a minute with the sheer dresses and panties, but there was something morbidly romantic about it. There really wasn’t one thing in this collection that I do not want, and that includes the risqué outfits. Marc Jacobs is a freakin’ genius, not just in his clothing designs but in how he dresses his models from head to toe. The accessories, makeup, and hair are always the final, perfect touch to his show. Again, perfection.
The pre-fall shows have just ended and the haute couture shows are winding down. They are the appetizers before we sit down for fashion week. I don’t know why they call it fashion week when globally, it lasts for two and a half months. While I’m owning my confusion, when did pre-fall become so popular? I remember when there was no pre-fall which wasn’t that long ago. It seems that the frequency of pre-fall collections has increased dramatically in the last few years, a new reality brought on by the necessities of many entities. Pre-Fall collections are the most wearable of the runway shows and, therefore, earn the most money. Also, If you noticed, many of the fashions worn at recent award shows were pre-fall fresh off the runway. If the term “pre-fall” sneaked up on you like it did me, perhaps this article can clear things up.
Gaultier’s Couture Was Bridezilla Heavy And Full Of Surprises
John Paul Gaultier never ceases to amaze me. His wedding themed Haute Couture show was titled, “61 Façons de Se Dire Oui, or 61 Ways to Say Yes.” His runway show opened with a model stomping the runway with the ‘leaning tower of curlers’on her head as if she wasn’t quite ready for the show. Upon further inspection, she might be the wedding cake because she had a cake topper on top of the curlers. Many of his looks had split personalities and he highlighted several of his all time favorite models mid through. The show closed with supermodel Naomi Campbell looking toned and crafty as the bridal bouquet. Last year he closed the show with burlesque artist Dita Von Teese, who was a lovely butterfly.
Be Careful Not To Spill
Yet another French designer with a marvelous imagination. The encrusted masks worn at the On Aura Tout Vu show needs no explanation because seeing is believing. I just keep thinking that it would be a great accessory on those days that you just don’t want to shave your face.
Pleats and Thank You
Out of all the collections shown at Haute Couture Spring, I was most impressed Christian Dior, perhaps it’s because of the sleek hardware knotted hair:
Maybe it was the endless amount of pleats:
Or maybe it was this video that documents the 200-hour process it took to make the dress above:
What was your favorite moment from the Paris Haute Couture Spring 2015 shows?
Paris Couture Fashion Week has been well underway for a few days, and I went completely against my normal urge to post Chanel and went straight to what really played with my emotions, the Jean Paul Gaultier runway show featuring Dita Von Tesse. Why? Anyone that gorgeous that sees past the distraction that is Marilyn Manson and finds his soul is truly fascinating.
Have fun with this fun and flirty collection and tell me what you think of the theme.
If you aren’t familiar with FashionTV, this is a good time to check out the present and upcoming runway shows that us mere mortals don’t have access to. There is live streaming, interviews, and anything that is remotely attached to the fashion world. For me, couture is the most fun because it is so creative and over-the-top, and the challenge of dialing it back to reinvent the looks for the real world is like a roller coaster thrill. I really marvel at those who can execute creativity and talent so flawlessly. Sigh… I would wear many of these looks just the way they are with absolutely nowhere to go.
Is there a spell that compels tweed to magically mold into fantastic pieces for the Chanel brand? If you’re wondering like I am how something so seemingly conservative and male-oriented as tweed continually come to life so fresh and completely feminine year after year? I am still stunned at how Karl Lagerfeld has managed to keep the essence of Gabrielle Chanel’s revolutionary style while keeping each collection fashion forward and full of surprises.
Pearls, chain, and tweed still reign but as newborns. The sleeveless tweed jackets that were adorned with drops of pearl made me daydream. Speaking of pearls, did you check out the humongous pearl chokers and bracelets? I can’t decide if I like them or not but isn’t that the idea, to confuse and provoke thought?
I would encourage anyone to look at the video as well as the slide show. It’s worth it to really see the detail and artistry in this collection. I’m not usually as ga-ga over the clothes as much as I am over Chanel accessories, but this one had me from the start. The way the Tweed was treated, and the use of color struck me from an artistic perspective. It was simply fashionable art. I don’t think either can exist without the other.
Even the makeup looked like strokes of paint on canvas, and because the Grand Palais was plastered with paintings and sculptures to resemble an art gallery, the art of fashion message was clearly intentional. There are so many outfits I want I can’t stand it.
Sorry sweetie, that print looks better on the handbag, but you’re still pretty!
Ok, seeing an actual Chanel Show in Paris is going on my bucket list.
Mercedes Benz Fashion Week is alive and kicking and I couldn’t be more excited. I always find this time honored event an opportunity to discover new designers and catch up with my favorite designers. For the curious and committed, this is the entire schedule for Spring 2014 fashion week festivities.
I am looking forward to tomorrow which is the start of Mercedes Benz Fashion Week in New York. It’s the Spring 2014 shows this week, and many of my favorites, including a new favorite J. Mendel are showing. Here are a few looks from J. Mendel’s Fall 2013 runway show.