Archive | February, 2012

The Official 2012 Oscar Fashion Recap

27 Feb

This is again one of the moments when I appreciate being a woman. It may take a few extra hours of hard work, a couple wiggles into some Spanx, and mounds of makeup, but the women definitely have the upperhand when it comes to Oscar fashion. To me, every man looks alike in their penguin suit. It’s usually made by Armani, and there may be a few small differences, but it took them all of 5 minutes to get ready and walk out the door. So please, sit back in awe and appreciate all the hard work that goes into getting Oscar ready as Kalen and I give our thumbs up and thumbs down to this years Oscar red carpet looks!

First and foremost I have to say that I loved the way Octavia Spencer looked in her Tadashi Shoji gown. She has been such a great character actress over the years and for her to be nominated for an Oscar this year and pull it off looking as classy as she did, I just loved it. There was definitely a lot of white and nude on the runway. This is definitely a trend that emerged slowly last year but is coming out full force in 2012. Be careful with these neutrals though ladies, not everyone has the right skin type for it. And if all else fails, as Maya Rudolph said, Shapewear.

While I would normally have nothing but great things to say about Rooney Mara, I do have to say I didn’t like the look she wore at the Oscars. She is so different and unique looking that for her to go with such a simple, just kind of hung there, dress by Givenchy, I expected, or at least hoped for more. While Nina Garcia drooled over her look, I was unimpressed.

Sequins and beading were a definite staple, as well as the large cocktail ring, and side-swept hair. I have to say I love the “effortless” look direction that hairstyles are taking these days. If you’ve ever tried to do any of these styles at home, you know they are far from effortless. I think they fair on the side of stress free, while also looking purposeful.

We also saw many diamond chokers, including one that Michelle Williams wore that complimented her coral Louis Vuitton dress. She is such a style icon for me. Her pixie hair cut, her ivory skin, and her unique fashion choices that make her stand out from everyone else. She is an Oscar winner in my book. And just about everyone commented on her bow brooch. I’ve seen this done the right way and the wrong way. This was definitely done the right way, and once again she wowed us all. Kalen’s favorite was of course the hot pink alligator clutch. You know crazy we can get about the skins!

Now while I almost never agree with anything Cameron Diaz decides to put on her body, her Oscar dress by Gucci was a win for both me and Kalen. She definitely has the body to pull off a lot of things, but sometimes her age doesn’t quite approve. The gown fit her beautifully though, and the ruffled hem with ombre beading was a nice contrast to the sleek fitted bodice. Kalen would’ve loved to see a pop of color in her bag, but otherwise, we agree, a flawless look.

Gwenyth Paltrow in Tom Ford, always a red-headed stepchild in the fashion world. You either love her or hate her, and most people hate her. She caught a lot of flack for wearing what most people called a cape. One tweeter said ‘What is she a super hero’? I have to say ‘What are you blind?’ Where did that so-called cape tie around her neck and flow in the wind??? It was more of a long formal wrap, or shoulder cover thing (insert smart word here, because I obviously have no idea what to call it!) I thought it was elegant. It reminded me of something you might see in early 20th century fashion, when women covered there shoulders out of respect and class. It was simple and understated. We all know Gwenyth has a reputation for being rather snobby, but I think the risks she taken in her fashion, as well as singing at the last Oscars, makes her a little more likeable. She has a style, and she stays true to it. Who knows, maybe after this cape incident you like her even less. I happen to like her a little more.

It makes us giddy inside when celebrities choose to go vintage on the red carpet, especially the Oscar red carpet. Natalie Portman has that petite Audrey Hepburn look about her and while we think she looks amazing in anything, she rocked this 1954 Christian Dior Couture gown. 1954 was the start of the Golden Age of fashion in Paris: Dior, Givenchy, Balmain, and Balenciaga were creating bold new looks and it’s so amazing to see this look fit in so well in 2012.

While we may not all agree with who the Academy chose to give Best Actress, Best Picture, or Best Costume (HA!), we can all appreciate the most important part of award season…the fashion.

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A Tribute to Mrs. O

13 Feb

Ending my month long run of vintage fashion favs, I could no longer hold in the urge to dish about the one and only, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. Before she was Jackie O, or even Jackie K, she was Jackie Bouvier of Southampton, New York. After a world class education at Vasser and studying abroad in France, she returned to Washington D.C., to graduate from The George Washington University with a Bachelor of Arts in French Literature. Following graduation she landed the job of “Inquiring Photographer” for the Washington Times-Herald. Being a New York born gal, she had a witty and fun personality that made it easy for her to do the job and pose those inquisitive questions that a pretty lady with a smile can only get away with asking. While her family ran in the same social circle as the Kennedys, it was this position that got her face to face with the future President of the United States. In one of her biographies, of which I own several, it was this interview where she and Jack had their first intimate encounter. Afterwards she told a friend that while she found him quite charming, she couldn’t see herself with a man like him. The representative, about to be senator, was undoubtedly being groomed to become President, and she didn’t know if she wanted to be that kind of wife. A wife that would stand behind a powerful man in his shadows always putting his needs above hers. Such a modern thought for a woman of her time. She did however decide to begin dating him, and their history began.

And so did the fashion legend that is Jackie. She was now the wife of the most notable man in the world. She had to dress the part. And always dressing the part of what most consider “a true lady”, she quickly set the precedent for how other women dressed, spoke, and carried themselves. Although pregnant during the voting year, she still made an effort to help him on his trail by answering letters, taping commercials for television, giving interviews, and writing a weekly column entitled, appropriately, “Campaign Wife”. People wanted to not only see him, they wanted to see and know her as well. It could be said that she was the extra push he needed to win him the election. I’d like to think so at least. Her style, posed and lady-like, but never stiff. She was not just likeable, she was loveable. You didn’t want to be her, but you wanted to be just like her. And many women tried their hardest.

With her Chanel suits and her pearls, her style couldn’t be mistaken. Some of her favorite designers included Giorgio Armani, Carolina Herrera, Lacoste, Pucci, Lilly Pulitzer, Valentino, of course, Chanel, and Kennedy family friend, Oleg Cassini,. While she frequented Bergdorf Goodman and Saks Fifth Ave, she also loved The Gap in her later years, and made wearing a T-Shirt and a pair of designer pants cool before anyone else did! (thank you savvy-women-magazine.com for that little tid-bit 😉

And while some think it was Nicole Richie or the Olsen twins who made the oversized sunglasses a fad, just take a look at some old
Jackie pics from the 60’s. Sorry Nic and Ash, you weren’t even born yet! Wearing pearls should’ve been invented by Jackie herself, because she wore them best. Some compare the current first lady’s style to that of Jackie O’s. You know a woman has become a style setter when simply using her name conjures up a specific look.

The list of why I love Jackie could go on forever. For me she not only represented the way a lady should look, but also taught us the way a lady should act. Always carrying herself with style and grace, even through the downfall of Camelot, and becoming a widow twice to two very powerful men. It’s said that after the assassination of her iconic husband John F. Kennedy, she refused to change out of her pink Chanel, blood-stained suit, because she wanted “…the world to see what they’ve done to Jack.” She held her husband’s blood soaked head in her lap as the motorcade sped away, and she stood beside his VP as he was sworn in on Air Force one. She was a woman to be reckoned with. Her courage and strength gives me chills to this day.

A woman of such stature and integrity could’ve done so many things, none of which would be of importance after she was gone. She chose the less traveled path, and devoted her life to charity and humanitarian work. LIFE magazine called the “America’s unofficial roving ambassador” for her many visits to war-torn countries and impoverished countries. But her work was completely devoted to overseas. She worked diligently to preserve history around the US, including Grand Central Terminal, Lafayette Square in D.C., and helped preserve many of the historic homes we still enjoy today in New York City.

Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis died in her sleep on May 19, 1994, just after ten at night. She had been diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in January, and lost her battle after the cancer had spread. She is buried in Arlington Cemetery alongside Jack, their son Patrick, and their stillborn daughter Arabella, beside an eternal flame. Her soul, her style, and essence are remembered in every vintage Chanel, every strand of pearls, and every low-heel pump we find today. Jackie O lives on in every woman who savors integrity over notoriety. Thank you for teaching us what it means to live classy.

An amazing recount of her funeral and that unforgettable day can be read in full at:

http://www.nytimes.com/1994/05/24/news/24iht-subjackie.html

Breakfast with Audrey

7 Feb

There is a distinct possibility that I love Audrey Hepburn more than you. There, I said it. It’s the truth. I have had a still from Breakfast at Tiffany’s in my room since I started decorating my own room. She had to go away for a few medieval years, also known as a previous marriage, but she is back and there to stay. I don’t know what it is about her. Wait, yes I do: the haircut, the tiny waist, the elf-like, adorably shaped face, the big eyes, and of course, every woman’s envy, the eyebrows. She is the only one I know who can pull off the short bangs too. Well, her and Rooney Mara.

Her petite frame inspired fashion designers including Givenchy to model their collections after her. Salvatore Ferragamo created a shoe for designed his 1999 collection after her namesake. Her “little black dress” from Breakfast at Tiffany’s was sold for just under one million dollars at Christies in 2006. Famed, fashion photographer Richard Avedon attributes some of his success to being able to capture her face in his portrait of the star, saying ‘I am, and forever will be, devastated by the gift of Audrey Hepburn before my camera. I cannot lift her to greater heights. She is already there. I can only record…’. These are just a few examples the reverence the fashion world has for the amazing star.

Born in Brussels in 1929 to a British born father, thought to be a descendant of James Hepburn, third husband of Mary, Queen of Scots, and a Dutch aristocrat, Baroness Ella van Heemstra. She was NOT the daughter of famed American actress Katharine Hepburn, although some still speculate that they were distantly related as 19th cousins, once removed. Audrey traveled between England, Belgium, and the Netherlands most of her childhood, and spoke fluently in each country’s native language. During her adolescence she moved to the Netherlands after her parents divorce, hoping to avoid the impending World War II invasions. If you ever paid attention in History class, but just in case you didn’t, Germany did invade and occupy the Netherlands. Hepburn’s family was forced to be split up, one of her brothers sent to a labor camp, while she suffered many difficulties during wartime. She struggled with malnutrition, respiratory problems, and anemia. Her health issues from the war would later affect her dreams of becoming a prima ballerina.

Having irreparable damage done to her body through wartime struggles, she decided to pursue modeling as a career choice, while also taking jobs in musical theatre as a chorus girl. A Paramount Pictures scout discovered her one day while performing on stage and offered her some small roles in a handful of pictures. Her first major role came in 1952 in Thorold Dickinson’s “The Secret People” , in which she ironically played a ballerina, and because of her previous experience, she performed all her own dance numbers.

It wasn’t until meeting Gregory Peck and filming Roman Holiday that she gained recognition, even winning an Oscar for the role. She became a Hollywood favorite, and quickly rose to stardom. Her role as a bookstore clerk turned model in Funny Face still makes me laugh to this day. And who could forget her Cockney accent in the musical My Fair Lady, still my favorite musical of all time. Her curious and trusting personality as Regina Lampert in Charade, and the entitled attitude she gave to Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, a role originally intended for Marilyn Monroe. No offense to Marilyn, but I couldn’t see the role played ANY other way than the way Audrey brought the emotion to the screen. You definitely didn’t want to be her, but you knew her all too well.

Through her fame she began work with UNICEF and The Red Cross, dedicating her life to helping and supporting those in need, as inspired by the struggles she faced during WWII. After a trip to Somalia in 1992, Hepburn began to complain of stomach pains. After medical care in Switzerland proved to be inconclusive, she traveled back to Los Angeles where they found her to have a rare form of abdomen cancer, having spread from her appendix. Hepburn underwent several surgeries to try to remove the cancer, as well as chemotherapy but to no avail. Her family decided to have her travel back to Switzerland to spend her last Christmas with family and friends. Unable to travel on a commercial flight because of her condition, Hubert de Givenchy arranged for Rachel Lambert “Bunny” Mellon to send her private jet to accompany Ms. Hepburn. The plane was filled with flowers that carried her home to Geneva. She died on January 20, 1993, in her sleep in her home in Tolochenaz, Vaud, Switzerland. Gregory Peck tearfully recited a poem on camera titled “ Unending Love” after her death was announced to the world. I was 12 years old when Audrey Hepburn left this world. I still remember the day and how sad it made me feel, even at a young age.

Audrey’s legacy definitely lives on, almost 20 years after her passing. She was inducted into the American Film Institute as the third Greatest Female Stars of All Time. Her famous, “funny” face still appears in television commercials, including a Gap ad in 2006. “Shirley Maclaine, wrote in her 1996 memoir My Lucky Stars, ‘[Hepburn] had very rare qualities and I envied her style and taste. I felt clumsy and old fashioned when I was with her,’ “. Funnier still is the fact that she prefered comfier clothes, as opposed to the image most people had of her as a fashionista. I have a feeling that even in her “comfy clothes” she looked ready for a runway. Oh Audrey, how I adore you still! You still inspire us daily, Ms. Hepburn.