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Archive for December, 2009

Fab Find: Heeltastic

I am always skeptical of products advertised in infomercials. Especially beauty products that promise results that seem almost unattainable, at least for me. That changed when I gave Heel-tastic a chance. My rough, scratchy, cracked heels disappeared after a few applications.

Heel-tastic uses a blend of coconut, avocado and olive oils (among other ingredients) and silicone-based dimethicone in its easy to apply balm. Slather your tootsies with the pliable solid moisturizer, slip into some socks and head to bed.

You’ll see an improvement by the next day. $10; online, CVS and other select national chain stores.

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Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen started this decade as fresh-faced teens and are heading into 2010 as full-fledged fashion icons.

A decade? Really? Already?  Seems like just yesterday I was on River Street in Savannah with a mess of fellow drunk hooligans, marking the passing of 1999 with a bottle of champagne in my hand, surrounded by friends.

Not only did the world not stop spinning (thanks for nothin Y2K panic!), but in the past decade, we’ve had a plethora of fashion moments, some good some bad. Here’s my take on the defining fashion moments of the 2000s:

Retro redone: The 2000s didn’t have a distinct fashion movement as much as a putting a modern spin on the style of previous eras. The 1970s were still big (bell bottom pants, jumpsuits) and the 1980s made a triumphant return, much to the delight of children of the 1980s like myself. Fingerless lace gloves and jelly bracelets? Yes and Yes! Marc Jacobs, who shattered convention with his grunge collection for Perry Ellis in the 1990s, channelled himself  with collections in the late 2000s that featured lots of layering and nods to the 1940s, 1950s and 1980s.

Questionable footwear: While designers were pushing the boundaries of physics and the pain tolerance of women (Gwyneth Paltrow walked a red carpet for “Iron Man” in 7-inch Giuseppe Zanottis, Christian Louboutin reportedly had plans for an 8-inch heel), more Americans went the other direction opted for glorified house shoes. Uggs and Crocs, while comfy, are just not cute or even cool. Fans of both lines are legion, and would willingly engage in rabid defense of the plastic or shearling-lined shoe/boot, but I’m not buying it. Flip-flops also enjoyed their decade in the spotlight, and should be relegated to the shower or beach once again.

Relaxed dressing: Maybe the widespread love of comfy shoes shouldn’t have been a surprise given the rise of lounge wear as day wear. Terry or velour track suits were ubiquitous in the 2000s, thanks to Juicy Couture. Charming. And so very wrong because so very many people don’t have the sense to not leave their house with “JUICY” stamped across their rear.

Celebrity fashion lines: At this point, it might just be easier to list the celebs that don’t have a line of shoes or handbags or apparel in their name. Musician Carlos Santana designs shoes. Jessica Simpson makes a cute handbag (or at least she signs off on designs that others do). Even Charlotte-based retailer Belk got in on the celeb-line action, enlisting SC-raised Kristin Davis to do a short-lived collection. Some fare better than others, like my beloved Gwen Stefani and her LAMB collection, which has received critical and popular praise.

Capsule Collections: Same goes for small, limited run collections by big name designers for a lower-priced store. Isaac Mizrahi kicked it all off with Target in 2002. Industry insiders thought he was committing fashion suicide by associating with a big-box chain. Instead, he kicked the lucrative door open. Now Vera Wang, Dana Buchman, Thakoon and Rodarte are just a few of those who show at fashion week and on aisle three.

Denim Explosion: Premium denim became the hot-ticket item in 2000. Seven for all Mankind, Citizens of Humanity and True Religion are just a few of the labels that had folks lining up to spend $150+ on a single pair of jeans. Rock and Republic elevated denim to spectacle levels with their dramatic runway shows that featured — you guessed it — denim.

Hip-Hop transformation: Buh-bye baggie, saggy pants. Hello more fitted, elegant style statements. Perhaps following the lead of Jay-Z (who had an incredible year, but that’s another post), hip-hop dropped oversized in favor of chic. Another vein saw the incorporation of skater culture played out in retro sneakers, tighter-fitting jeans (for men and women) and a look that channeled the 1980s.

Sex and the City: Few knew when Carrie and Co. started out in 1998 that they’d have such an impact on fashion. Not only did the show (and subsequent film ventures, the second of which is due in 2010) introduce the masses to Manolo Blahnik and Jimmy Choo, it ignited a slew of trends, such as big floral accessories and nameplate necklaces.

Project Runway: And other fashiony reality shows turned us all into armchair critics, gave us hope and showed that everyone can be a fashionista, including the self-taught dude from Minnesota to a little sprite who calls everyone “tranny” and wows with his collections at fashion week.

Olsen twins: Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen started off decade as fresh-faced 14-year-old media moguls. Enter 2010 as bonified fashion celebs, both in trend-setting apparel (their boho chic aesthetic kicked logo loving to the curb) and design (The Row and Elizabeth and James). And they published a book of interviews they conducted with their fashion friends.

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At a loss for what to get the aspirational fashion diva in your life?

Run to the book store and pick up a copy of “The Teen Vogue Hand Book: An Insider’s Guide to Careers in Fashion.”

There are interviews with designers (Marc Jacobs, Stella McCartney and Karl Lagerfeld, among others), stylists, models, editors, photographers and beauty mavens who offer honest, straightforward advice about cracking into the fashion biz.

While it’s not an absolute roadmap to guaranteed fashion success, it is an education-packed tome that would be a great read for those with a passing interest in fashion as well as those considering making a career out of the industry.

What’s most refreshing about the book, besides the plain speak from some of the biggest names in the game, is what they are saying: you can never go wrong with hard work, paying dues (lots of dues) is a requirement, and check that sense of entitlement at the door.

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I must have this dress. For real.

I swore that I would try to temper my expectations when it was announced Rodarte would be doing a collection for Target.

So much for trying — I am in a full-on, counting-the-days tizzy over the line which is scheduled to hit select stores Dec. 20.

Especially after catching a glimpse of look book images and the fantastic sequined rib cage dress ($49.99!) But, a little voice in my head reminds me that I’ve only ever bought three things from Target diffusion lines: an Erin Fetherston tunic and a Thakoon cardigan and a Loeffler Randall handbag.

What’s your take on diffusion lines? Is it a calculated brand-expanding move to work with stores such as Target (Zack Posen and Jean Paul Gaultier are scheduled to debut bullseye collections too)?

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When I ran into Charlotte’s Brooklyn Decker at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week in September, she was tight-lipped about a project on which she was working with Elle Magazine.

The former Matthews resident spilled the details of the super-secret work Monday on Twitter (@brooklynddecker): “It’s finally up and running!!!! ellemakebetter.com Please take a look! One of my best projects!”

She’s the lead in a three-DVD set that promises better fitness, fashion and beauty in 21 days.

Ah, reminds me of a certain Cindy Crawford workout tape I was so very, very fond of back in the day. Ok wait — I don’t know what’s dating me more: loving a fitness routine from 1992 or the fact I watched it on a VCR (or that I still have it. And love it).

In Decker’s much more current edition, fitness experts workout with Decker on discs targeting cardio, sculpting and yoga. Along the way, Elle Creative Director Joe Zee and Beauty/Fitness Director Emily Dougherty and a slew of experts offer beauty and fashion advice.

The DVDs are $19.95 each or $44.95 for the set.

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During a recent trunk show at Icon Interiors in Charlotte, designer Lindsey Carter (center) posed with models wearing pieces from her Spring 2010 collection.

If you love to be a fashionable step or two ahead of the rest, you need to check out Troubadour now. The line, which made its debut at Charleston Fashion Week in March, is picking up steam.

Designer Lindsey Carter, whose resume includes work at J. Crew, Madewell and a startup luxe golf line Carter Humphries, was featured as a designer to watch in Women’s Wear Daily in September.

Now, Troubadour’s Spring 2010 collection has been picked up by Fleur in Raleigh, Beanie & Cecil in Wilmington, Hampden in Charleston and Gwynn’s in Mount Pleasant (clothing should be in stores by February).

Carter was in Charlotte recently for a Troubadour trunk show at Icon Interiors. As While visitors sipped champagne and noshed cheese straws, Carter shared details of her inspiration. This collection, she said, was inspired by Neil Krug’s photography, specifically his plays on light and gradient color.

The result is a fun, modern mix of sophisticated, chic apparel that works at a Southern cocktail party or big city night on the town (pieces start at $300). There’s the Edie jumpsuit, named for Little Edie Beale of Grey Gardens fame, with its one-shouldered, belted ease and ruched cropped legs. Or the Sophia romper that looks anything but, with a full leg and exposed dolman/bat wing shoulders.

And what to make of Troubadour’s rocker/hunter logo? Carter says the skull represents New York City and her Fashion Institute of Technology training, the antlers are the South, and the anchor represents the sea (she now calls Charleston home).

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