Thursday, 31 March 2011

Links A La Mode for 31 March 2011

I’ve just discovered that my Carmen Dell’Orefice post was chosen as one of the 20 Links A La Mode posts! I cannot describe how excited and happy I am. It totally made my day.

Fashion: Forever Evolving

Edited by Collette Osuna of Statements in Fashion

Hello everyone! I'm super excited to be making my debut as an IFB Links a la Mode Editor this week. As I visited each link, I was reminded that each had the exact thing in common with the next, that Fashion is Forever Evolving.

From your Mothers fashion advice, a beauty "how to" video, or a legendary icons passing, fashion is always changing and taking form in a new shape. I am constantly thriving to acquaint myself with the "fashion unfamiliar." This weeks links did just that for me. I'm thrilled to be a new member of the IFB family and cannot wait to see everyone's posts throughout the upcoming year!

Links à la Mode: March 31st

SPONSOR: Shopbop Sunglasses: DITA, Karen Walker, Retro sun, Tom Ford, Mosley Tribes, Ray-Ban, Phillip Lim, Marc Jacobs, Carrera, & Chloe

 

This month I have been…

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Learning to use Nikon, hence you can see a little bit of me. I promise more “me” posts in the near future.

Painting my nails this gorgeous shade of Fishnet Stocking red

Refreshing my skin with Nuxe hydrating mask – love Nuxe (and this particular mask)

Searching and (yay!) finding a pair of pretty ballerinas. Will tell you more about them in April.

Carrying around my new “lets-fit-my-whole-life-in” Michael Kors shopper that I absolutely adore.

Falling in love with this delicate ring and adding it to my Wish List.

Making my favourite caramel profiteroles for a sweet weekend treat and then planning to add this dessert to my next Sunday menu again a week after because they are so addictive. This time it’s caramel free, but drizzled with chocolate & honey sauce.

Having a girly moment in a bath with a few drops of fruity and powdery Artemisia bath oil (and the bottle is just so very beautiful…)

Getting to bed a bit earlier so I could read a book.

Stocking up on gorgeous scented candles because I can’t live without them, ever, and these ones look so beautiful on my bedside table.

Drinking cups and cups of refreshing organic green tea.

Smiling every morning as I step outside because spring is just so gorgeous and amazing and the weather has been a sunny sparkling delight.

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Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Confessions of a former style victim

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"I never look at labels when I buy clothes... What really grabs me is whether clothes are comfortable or not. I LIKE TO FEEL FREE"

Audrey Tautou, Vogue UK, August 2009

We often forget the last bit, don't you think? Even if we do not look at labels many of us still go for the look without any further consideration.

I can honestly say there were times in my life when I thought that I could walk in THOSE shoes or wear THAT dress simply because I liked the SHOES or the DRESS and didn't think much about the way I was going to feel in them. Yes, the final result would look attractive, otherwise I wouldn't put those things on to begin with, but often the clothes would be chosen for an ideal situation where the pavements are flat, there is no food to consume and, frankly, there is no need to move or breathe either. Sort of a stationary world of mannequins.

I don't think I was a fashion victim, though. It was more about being a style victim, wearing BEAUTIFUL things and seeing the result as a piece of art (and so often art is not about function, but more about an emotional impact).

As I got older I realised that no matter how much I like a certain item it will never going to work if a) it does not fit perfectly (in other words it restricts my ability to live my life) b) it requires a person to to change their lifestyle in order to wear it.

I still remember a horrible feeling of walking in very uncomfortable shoes simply because they added a special touch to the outfit I planned in my mind. Yes, I did look good, but what an excruciating pain I experienced a couple of hours later after we went for a walk! Almost as if something was drilling my brain, that's the only way to describe it (I am not even mentioning my poor feet here).

Another silly situation is to go out in a dress or top that's not perfect for you. All the glamour and sensuality you were after can be easily ruined if you keep adjusting it here and there and spend the evening fidgeting. Nobody would find this attractive.

That is why I always remind myself of how important it is to choose clothes that suit (and fit!) you and your personality and not the other way round. I still wear heels, but can spend ages shopping for my perfect pair of shoes. I know that once I found them I am going to think of looking beautiful and feeling free. Not about every single step I need to make in those shoes and whether or not I need to call a taxi now or a few steps later. I buy clothes that would help me express myself in every situation. I no longer pick up pieces that would require me to change my lifestyle in order to wear them, or go on a diet, so they fit me better. I just live and use my clothes to add more style and comfort to my life because this is the only way I can feel FREE.

Photo source: Vogue UK Oct 2010

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Stylish quote

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“It is always self-defeating to pretend to the style of a generation younger than your own; it simply erases your own experience in history.“

Renata Adler

Photo source: Vogue UK 2007

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Sweet Sunday: caramel profiteroles

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This is one of my favourite desserts. Profiteroles, gorgeous little treats, light as air, with a crunchy caramel shell, filled with vanilla flavoured Chantilly cream. The recipe comes from Michel Roux's Finest Desserts and you can certainly trust Chef Michel when it comes to French pastries. If you are into French cooking, this book is a great one to get because he explains the basics and gives plenty of tips.

I used Michel’s basic recipe for choux paste as well as parts of Black&White Saint-Honoré dessert, which you can also find in the book.

Saturday, 26 March 2011

Weekend sign off

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Marion Cotillard is one of those women whom I find absolutely fascinating and beautiful. She is natural and remains true to herself in every situation. Seeing her editorial in Vanity Fair, which went into print without any retouching, was a breath of fresh air and also a reminder that real beauty is all about perfect imperfections that make everyone of us so unique and very special.

Friday, 25 March 2011

Carmen Dell'Orefice: living haute couture

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I remember the first time I saw Carmen. She was featured in Vogue advertising Rolex. Gorgeous aristocratic looking woman with a quiet smile, amazing hazel eyes and a crown of silver hair. I read her name, Carmen Dell'Orefice, in a corner of the page, but my mind didn't register it.

It was just a name back then. A few months later I read a book called Model: The Ugly Business of Beautiful Women by Michael Gross and saw the name again. The problem is that my visual memory remembered the face, but couldn't put the two together, so I just finished the chapter and moved on.

I guess, my fashion fate had a different path for me and I was destined to learn more about Carmen because just a few days later I read about her again. This time I finally I realised that THIS woman and THIS name are the same person. I was stunned, then stared at the photos and, a few minutes later, run upstairs to get the book and re-read her story.

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Carmen Dell'Orefice may not have been as popular as some other iconic models including Suzy Parker or Lisa Fonssagrives, but she is definitely the one who stayed in the business the longest. She is even featured in the Guinness World Records. "I am the least important model of my time" she said in her interview in 2008.

One of the things I admire about her is that she still remains as beautiful as she was 40 years ago and turns heads wherever she goes. Horst P. Horst compared her to a painting by Botticelli. Salvador Dali was inspired by her.

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She worked with the greatest photographers of the golden age of fashion including Cecil Beaton, Irving Penn (who she had a crush on), Erwin Blumenfeld, Francesco Scavullo, Helmut Newton, Richard Avedon, Victor Skrebneski and Frances McLaughlin-Gill. She has modeled gowns for Mainbocher, hats for Mr. John and evening dresses for Galliano and the Emmanuels, who designed Princess Diana's wedding dress. She is still so busy and in demand that the Ford has to have a full-time agent to keep track of her bookings.

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"I don't call what I do a career. I am just working. I refer to myself as a body for hire", she said to Pamela Fiori, the Town & Country magazine's editor in chief.

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Carmen was born in 1931. A daughter of a Hungarian dancer and an Italian violinist, she grew up with relatives and in foster homes as her parents were continually breaking up and moving back together, but moved back with her mother when she was 7. In 1944 Carmen caught rheumatic fever and was in bed for a year. In 1945, healthy again, she was approached by the wife of photographer Herman Londshoff on her trip to a ballet class. Her mother agreed to let her pose for test pictures on Jones Beach.

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"I was a big flop," Carmen says. "The magazine sent my mother a letter saying I was charming and well brought up but totally unphotogenic". Later, her God father with connections introduced her to Vogue and a few weeks later the fourteen-year-old's image was spread across seven pages of the magazine and she signed up a contract with Condé Nast for $7.50 an hour. She was just a skinny kid in love with a neighbourhood grocer's son and now she was working for one of the biggest fashion magazines!

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Carmen didn't have an agent at first, but then she found out that Powers was trying to reach her. She visited the agency and saw her full-length photos on the wall in Power's office behind his desk. She joined up.

Dorian Leigh was one of her guardian angels or her Big Momma as Carmen calls her to this day. Carmen and her mother, both accomplished seamstresses, also made clothes for Dorian. Carmen rolled-skated everywhere she went. A bus fare was five cents and she didn't have it. Dorian gave her a taxi fare and Carmen took it to her mother to buy food with. In 1947, with Dorian's help, Carmen won a raise from Vogue to $10 an hour and the right to shoot ads for $25 an hour.

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She was so undernourished that Penn insisted she get medical treatment and plenty of sleep. After a regimen of iron and B vitamins for her anaemia and hormone shots to force her into puberty prescribed by a Condé Nast doctor, Carmen blossomed into a nymph. "I was 17 and looked 35", she says. Soon after that Mr. John, a milliner, gave a party to introduce her to eligible bachelors. She suddenly realised that she was attracting a number of café society names including DeCicco, the Long Island playboy and Gloria Vanderbult's first husband, Igor Cassini and Joseph P. Kennedy.

At twenty-one she married William Miles, ten years her senior, with whom she had a daughter. The marriage didn't last; neither did her second, to a photographer Richard Haimann, nor her third, to an architect Richard Kaplan who said she was too old for him.

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She returned to modeling because it "was only one thing I was qualified for, one thing I had experience at, one thing I loved doing" and succeeded.

Her life story is not a fairy tale, but more of a beautiful haute couture philosophy of living a stylish life and remaining true to yourself no matter what life throws at you. Perhaps, this is her secret of her amazing ageless beauty? Who knows...

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Sources: "Town & Country" travel magazine, 2008Model: The Ugly Business of Beautiful Women by Michael Gross, images via google images, tfs, fashion model directory, models.com, Madame Germany 2010.

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Natalia… Gorgeous as always…

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I am doing my happy dance now because I finally got a chance to see new photos of Natalia Vodianova from Russian Harper’s Bazaar. I’ve missed her a lot.

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Photo source: Harper’s Bazaar Russia April 2011

Finding your inner French girl

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I guess, you already know that I am slightly (well, maybe a bit more than that, but lets leave it as "slightly") obsessed with France and Paris, in particular. This cute book was an answer to my craving for everything French while I was going through yet another period of nostalgia for Paris. Written by Debra Ollivier who worked for Harpers, Salon, Le Mode and spent a decade of her life in France, Entre Nous: A Woman's Guide to Finding Her Inner French Girl was a truly self-help book, a pleasure to own and fun to read.

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Pretty ballerinas

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Flat shoes… You are my EVEREST. You are the most controversial piece of foot wear I’ve ever come across in my life. You tempt me with your beautiful feminine round toe line, bow details and other pretty girly decorative trinkets as well as a promised and obvious feeling of walking on a cloud comfort.

Stylish quote

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"Fashion is a tool … to compete in life outside the home. People like you better, without knowing why, because people always react well to a person they like the looks of."

Mary Quant

Photo source: Vogue UK 2004

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Scarlett

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It’s refreshing to see a fashion editorial where an actress actually has more than one facial expression and creates a story rather than just a pretty photograph. I am also a big fan of black and white photography as its back to basic simplicity doesn’t distract me from the emotional intensity and highlights the real beauty deeply and artfully.

Monday, 21 March 2011

Monday for Marie Antoinette

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Starting a week with an enchanting Marie Antoinette inspired editorial from Elle Sweden. It’s all about love, light, flowers and all things beautiful. Just the way I like it.

It also fascinating how talented some stylists are to be able to play with clothes created for a 21 century princess and create an atmosphere as gorgeous and era-appropriate as this.

Sunday, 20 March 2011

For every little fashionista out there

THE OUTNET.COM

Hurry… It’s going to be fabulous…

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Adorable illustration by Sujean Rim

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Weekend sign off

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Often, if I have some time to spare, I find myself browsing new shoes and bags collections on-line, wanting, craving and dreaming of some beautiful pieces and imagine what they would look like on me.

Friday, 18 March 2011

For Japan with love and hope

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“To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness.

What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. And if we do act, in however small a way, we don't have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvellous victory.”

Howard Zinn

Photo source: Vogue China 2011

It’s a nude, nude summer…

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Mango Spring 2011 Nude Collection proves that high street clothes can look insanely gorgeous and tempting and gives you a chance to indulge madly on a very sensible budget. Being a big fan of nudes myself I fell in love with the first look and the nude so-very-Chloe skirt from the second picture.

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Stylish quote

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“Style is primarily a matter of instinct.”

Bill Blass

Photo source: Marie Claire Oct 2009

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

The magic of scent: Serge Lutens and his creations

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“Perfume is a form of writing, an ink, a choice made in the first person, the dot on the i, a weapon, a courteous gesture, part of the instant, a consequence." Serge Lutens

Serge Lutens is a proof that a truly gifted person has a multitude of talents. Born in 1942, he began his magnificent journey at the age of fourteen as an apprentice in a prestigious hair saloon in Lille, his home town. Fashion photography and make up were his hobbies and friends - his models. Before he knew it the hobby became a job when Lutens moved to Paris and was soon hired by Vogue as a hair and makeup artist. He worked with Richard Avedon and Irving Penn.

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Inspiration: relaxed chic

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I must admit, creating a relaxed but chic and well put together outfit without making it shabby/unkempt can be a difficult task. It requires practice, well-cut clothes, a few accessories and some inspiration.

These looks from DSquared2 Spring/Summer 2011 collection are something I would certainly love to recreate and incorporate into my daily life. Classy comfort with a dash of je ne sais quoi.

Monday, 14 March 2011

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Sweet Sunday: almond & honey crêpes

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Isn’t it fantastic when you can have dessert as a meal? I make these crepes (or very thin pancakes) from time to time as a lunchtime treat, but they would make a gorgeous and very special breakfast, too. I savour every bite and let the flavours awake some very special memories and take me back to Paris…

It was a few years back when we first tried the crepes in one of the cosy little places scattered around Montmartre. After a long morning of walking and sightseen it was wonderful to finally relax and grab a bite to eat. And so we sat there, enjoying delicious coffee and pancakes filled with ground almonds and honey, and watched the crowds...

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Weekend sign off

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"Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee……” I open my eyes to see Oscar sitting beside my bed intensely hoping that he was able to wake me up. The day has just began…

I don’t even know what the time is. All I am aware of at the moment is that pupster is wide awake and the sun is shining filling our bedroom with excitement and happy bright and sparkling mist of an early morning (probably part of the reason why pupster is so very awake right now).

As soon as he senses that I am just about to get out of bed, he stomps off to the bathroom where he flops on the floor to perform his mandatory “happy dog” routine involving rolling on his back whilst digging the carpet (the carpet, by the way, is rubbish and will be gone soon, so it’s not a problem).

Friday, 11 March 2011

Vogue Paris April 2011

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I wish I could get my hand on this copy of French Vogue edited by Emmanuelle Alt and featuring Gisele Bundchen in Dolce&Gabbana as a gorgeous cover girl. Everything looks and feels so fresh… like a morning dew… or a delicate spring blossom…

Photo source: Vogue Paris April 2011

Tasha De Vasconcelos: French women's secrets

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Tasha De Vasconcelos is one of those women I really, really adore. I just think there is some special feminine softness about her, she sounds and looks so sensual and warm and has an amazing style.

As a model she worked for Calvin Klein, Escada, Van Cleef and Arpels, Dolce & Gabbana, Balenciaga, Banana Republic, Pantene, Organics, Harrods, Silhouette, BEIERSDORF, NIVEA and magazines including Vogue, ELLE, Tatler, InStyle and many more. She also appeared in several movies and documentaries as well as France's Next Top Model in 2005.

Many of you would probably recognise her from the latest Nivea DNage ad.

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Some time ago I watched a programme about shopping in Paris where Tasha shared some of the secrets she learned while living in Paris. And since I can never get enough of la parisienne topic, here is what I carefully noted down.

According to Tasha...

a) French women always dress for men, but choose their clothes and accessories that tease their imagination and rather than show everything off.

b) French woman always leaves her house looking pretty (just in case she happens to meet a man). Even if she goes to the boulangerie next door to get some fresh croissants. She will always make sure to wear a pretty cardigan, a scarf and slim trousers or even better - a skirt.

c) every woman must have a skirt in her wardrobe, ideally, one of the skirts should be la petite jupe (above the knee and feminine)

d) French women eat very little, not only because they want to stay slim, but mainly because any French woman wants to keep a man interested in her as someone he can discuss things with, not just a pretty woman with her mouth full.

e) for every French woman beauty begins with great skin and great hair cut for which she will visit a hair salon on a regular basis.

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Photo Source: www.tashadevasconcelos.com, google image search, www.reuters.com

Thursday, 10 March 2011

PFW Fall 2011: Nina Ricci

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Every time I browse looks shown during fashion weeks, I save the ones I would love to wear or use for inspiration. Once the fashion week is over, the folder clearly identifies the one and only collection that caused a fashion craving in me.

This time having obsessively saved virtually every single image from Dior and Galliano shows, I couldn’t stop my poor little heart from falling in love with Nina Ricci.

The clothes looked beautiful and… comfortable. A kind of comfort that, while not preventing movement and caressing every curve, looked incredibly sensual was, probably, the main reason why I found myself longing to touch, feel and wear these gorgeous clothes.

Delicious temptation.

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