Featured for Fall

One of my favorite activities is to attend a fashion show featuring the new looks of the season.  It is so much more fun to see the styles on actual models than just look at them on hangers.

Recently, I have attended shows for Rena Lange and Escada.  These are both German designers who use incredible fabrics and each season present beautiful designs that will last many seasons to come.  Their designs are superb for the businesswoman or the woman who is not drawn to trends but wants traditional pieces that will endure.  I have some Escada pieces that are probably ten years old, still very much in style, and look as good as the day I bought them.

Both shows featured some wonderful daytime looks and some for evening.  I was especially drawn to a gray tweed jacket from Rena Lange.  The photo does not show the exquisite detailed inset of black at the waist but you will notice the convertible collar.  This jacket could top a black, gray or white skirt or pants with no problem.   Or, it would give a whole different look to a great sheath.  How about pairing it with plum?  There are almost an infinite number of options.  Both of these brands are fairly expensive, but if your budget allows, one key purchase could give you years of enjoying looking fabulous.

I also loved the combination of cream with gray that Rena Lange featured.   This cream sweater would be a great staple in your wardrobe as well.  The longer style is new and fresh and could also be paired with a wide range of neutrals as well as colors, adding great wardrobe mileage.

At Escada, classy suits were included,  but I especially liked the dresses.  Dresses continue to be an important fashion statement.  Escada said they “heard us” and have added sleeves to many of their fall designs.  Not only do the sleeves seem more appropriate for the fall/winter season (I am always jarred by women news commentators wearing sleeveless dresses in the dead of winter) but also not everyone is at their best with an exposed upper arm!

To see these beautiful lines in person, visit Neiman Marcus upper level.

Keep Stylishly Warm

 

With weather dipping down into the 30’s, it’s time to think sweaters!  I love it when the temperatures become cooler and one can slip into a warm, cozy sweater.  Happily, this fall brings many choices.

After several seasons of very lightweight sweaters, great for layering, bulky knits are again being added to the mix.     There is a way to wear each style effectively and therein lies the challenge.

This blue/black/white color blocked sweater is an excellent example.  There is a nice balance in the colors—and the blue draws your attention to the upper part of the body while having the black stripe blends with the jeans and your eye does not even notice the tummy area. The light colored cowl draws your attention right where you want it—to the face.

The next example has just too much going on.  When combining colors or patterns, there needs to be a dominant focus with other elements being subordinate.  Perhaps using a pattern and two colors might work, showing dominant, secondary and tertiary, but this sweater adds more and more.  The eye doesn’t know where to focus and the center of attention becomes the leopard print, not the model.  The sleeves alone have three points of focus – two colors, asymmetric line and different lengths in the asymmetry.   In my opinion, all black sleeves would have been better.  I also would have preferred a more earthy color to support the earthy leopard print instead of a sophisticated blue.  This is all about using harmony in creativity so I would love to hear your ideas at Beryl@StyleWithAplomb.com.

This bulky gray sweater really engulfs the model.  To wear something this full and heavy, one would need to be tall, large boned, and have a lot of “presence”.  The model’s hair pulled back further diminishes her presence so she almost looks like a little girl playing dress-up.  On the other hand, the striped, bulky, oversized sweater is adorable.  What makes it work is that it is a lighter knit and is much shorter.  These skinny jeans give the perfect proportional balance for the sweater.  The scarf is artfully looped to show more neck and serving as a frame for her face.

The biggest key is to keep proportion and scale in mind when choosing this season’s over-sized coats and sweaters.  Choose wisely and enjoy the style.

 

Versailles -73

 

It’s 1973.  The magnificent chateau of Louis IV is falling into disrepair.  Unlike Americans, the French are not known for digging deep into their pockets for worthy causes.  What to do??

Fashion publicist, Eleanor Lambert and Palace of Versailles curator, Gerald Van der Kemp had an epiphany.  They invited five top designers from France and five top designers from the United States to a runway competition at Versailles as a fund-raiser.  The inclusion of American designers also brought wealthy Americans and their checkbooks.

It was genius.  French designers dominated the fashion industry at the time and American designers were just starting to come into their own.  On the French side were Yves St. Laurent, Christian Dior, Hubert de Givenchy, Pierre Cardin, and Emanuel Ungaro.  On the American list were Halston, Anne Klein, Stephen Burrows, Bill Blass, and Oscar de la Renta.   The French designers considered the Americans “wannabes”.   Halson, having dressed Jackie Kennedy, was the only one with international name recognition.

Since this was a fundraiser, budgets were tight.  American designers had to share models, they traveled on a chartered plane and stayed in modest quarters close to Versailles, sharing rooms.

Amazingly, the Americans brought down the house with their presentation.  Runway shows were forever changed.  Black models took their place among the top models.  American designers took their place of importance among the elite designers and how new collections were presented were transformed.  And, yes, much needed money was raised to restore Versailles!

Versailles ’73 is a documentary directed and produced by Deborah Riley Draper.   It was greeted with rave reviews at the New York opening in conjunction with    fashion week.  Ms. Draper was awarded CNN Outstanding Documentary Award at the 2012 Martha’s Vineyard  African-American Film Festival a few weeks ago.

Versailles ’73 is filmed in New York, Paris and Versailles.  The many interviews Ms. Draper conducted truly capture the challenges and triumphs of the event.  I was delighted to be a part of the pre-launch screening party at the Mandarin Oriental last Tuesday.  Many of the original models, other celebrities as well as Cameron Silver who narrated were present.  Look for this film coming to Atlanta soon.  You won’t want to miss it!