Stylish quote

18/07/2012

Natalia Vodianova in Evening Standard April 2007 (photography: Robert Wyatt, stylilng: Nicky Yates)
"Simplicity is the key now of all true elegance."

Coco Chanel

Photo source: Natalia Vodianova in Evening Standard April 2007 (photography: Robert Wyatt, stylilng: Nicky Yates)

Bags: building a perfect collection

13/07/2012

Marie Claire Russia April 2011
Recently I have developed a liking for a shoulder bag and its tempting design – a slinky polished tan leather body with a touch of walnut and black, a sensual movement of a gold coloured chain and an overall fancy appearance. It’s medium, but roomy. I can carry it on my shoulder or turn into an envelope-shaped clutch. I am pretty positive I need this bag. It’s beautiful and different from the ones I have.

While marinating an idea of a possible purchase I got thinking about my other bags and the way the collection was acquired over the years. What was the driving force behind those buys? Love? Need? Practical thinking?

I have never been a bag lady – it’s the shoes, books and lingerie for me. I am pretty good with resisting the bags until the right one comes along and it doesn’t happen that often. However, whilst I believe that you can’t have enough shoes, I feel that there should be a set number for the bags because a good bag can compliment a few pairs of footwear.

But really, how many bags make a perfect collection? Have you ever thought of that yourself?

For starters, any girl needs a good roomy tote or shopper, best in classic brown/tan or black. Tote allows us to carry our life around, shop in style, house a laptop or anything equal or larger than A4. Incredibly useful. I got mine, a tan coloured Jet Set Michael Kors tote, a year or so ago and me and Peanut (named mine after its official shade) have been pretty much unseparatable since.

Of course, before Peanut, there were B and Ledbury. The hand-helders (but also from the Tote family). I could have done with one, but the girls were bought in different time periods when the soul desired and budget allowed.

The Fendi B was a dream bag. I saw it on a runway and felt a tight squeeze in my heart. It was a perfect summer city bag for me – the canvas and tan brown leather with a very distinctive look, both adorable and chic. I didn’t buy it straight away – the price was way too high for me and I didn’t want to join masses and masses of celebrities who carried it (really don’t do that whole celebrity thing…) A year later as the hype faded and seasons changed, the B was mine. Its fabric curves make it a bit of a high maintenance, but dreams are allowed to be.

And the Ledbury is my cuddly pet. I really can’t explain it, but touching that Mulberry leather is kind of therapeutic. Ledbury is my comfort blanket. She also made friends with a few pairs of shoes I had, they look really good together. Just like Peanut, Ledbury is a all year rounder with an anti-aging attitude.

I do think that having a hand-held bag is a good idea. Particularly if you fancy doing a bit of lady-like chic (think Louis Vuitton RTW Fall 2010). Again I’d go with tan or black, but for creative types anything colour-blocking is worth considering, particularly as they are very much in style right now and the choice is huge.

Having said that, if I could turn back time, I’d rather have a Bayswater instead of the above trio. If you are looking for the most practical solution and a bag that will last you for years and years to come without losing its classy appearance, Bayswater is brilliant – it still has the roominess of a tote, can be hand-held or worn on a shoulder and it’s just such a beautiful thing to have, especially in tan.

Another essential is a small clutch or shoulder bag that you can wear across the body during a day or take out at night. It took me a while to find something to fill the gap. Missoni did the trick. Chanel 2.55 or Le Boy 2.55, in particular, would be a dream come true (not happening any time soon, though).

For those loving a touch of minimalism, Celine (and who wouldn’t think Celine), Chloe (Louise or Jade) or Victoria Beckham are brilliant choices for any leather strap styles.

If your lifestyle require your presence at frequent fancy events, then I’d definitely suggest a separate box clutch (McQueen, Bottega Veneta or DvF) for those occasions.

And, of course, a raffia tote or basket for those summer walks through a sun-kissed town to the beach for years to come. Even if you think you don’t need one, there will be time when that very bag will seem like the most obvious and best choice to finish an outfit and carry your daily essentials around. In style. I often think that a good straw bag is not only great in its own rights, but can easily replace any white leather bag that we often see as a summer essential. I have the white leather, but now I wish I had the raffia instead.

Here we have it. Five essential bags (shopper, tote, clutch, shoulder bag, raffia/straw tote). Plus an indulgent item. Because no matter how practical we are trying to be, the fashion is about a little fan, too. And my recent find, the bag that inspired this entire post, is going to be that element of fan for me. Should I choose to buy it, I will certainly introduce you to each other. Promise.

As a P.S. I would like to add that buying a very expensive designer bag isn’t essential in order to be stylish. Use examples above, but look around. High street, especially Mango, Karen Millen (check their clutches and shoulder bags – AMAZING!), Reiss and Whistles produce amazing collections each season, while Monnier Freres offers a few stylish, but affordable designs by some of the “it” names including Phillip Lim, Sonia Rykiel, Furla, Vanessa Bruno, Marc by Marc Jacobs, DvF, Jil Sander, Michael by Michael Kors and more.
Photo source: Marie Claire Russia April 2011

Stylish quote

11/07/2012

Harper’s Bazaar March 1994 (photography: Peter Lindbergh)
"Fashion anticipates, and elegance is a state of mind... a mirror of the time in which we live, a translation of the future, and should never be static."

Oleg Cassini

Photo source: Harper’s Bazaar March 1994 (photography: Peter Lindbergh)

Elie Saab Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2012-13

10/07/2012

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What is the point of Haute Couture? Essentially, to have something unique, designed by a talented individual and meticulously made by les petites mains. Having a haute couture outfit was a privilege for a selected few simply because their social status wouldn’t allow anything other than couture. That’s what Haute Couture was in the past.

Things have changed quite a bit since the times of Schiaparelli, Poirot and Coco Chanel, though, and now Haute Couture is something seen as fashion art, not something to put on every morning.

This is why I really did struggle through the latest Haute Couture week and a certain collection in particular. I really wanted (desperately needed) something more than an archival cigarette pant suit or an ill-fitted dress…

You see, my expectations of a Haute Couture collection is seeing a fairy tale, a dream, something incredibly special that makes us forget those suits and skirts we see enough of on a daily basis, and instead, just for a moment, imagine what it would be like to be a princess.

Elie Saab gave me this opportunity. I doubt there would be a woman who wouldn’t want to be wrapped in clouds of silk organza encrusted with sequins that look like myriads of tiny falling stars, highlight the natural glow of her skin in blush pink gold leafed jacquards, feel a touch of delicate Chantilly lace or a cooling velvety soft stream of floating silk fabric against her bare skin. It was the most sensual, beautiful and magical show of the week for me. The one I would definitely remember, for all the good reasons.

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Photo source: elle.com, fashionising.com

Kate Moss in Harper’s Bazaar 1993

09/07/2012

Kate Moss in Body of evidence | Harper’s Bazaar US July 1993 (photography: Patrick Demarchelier)
Choosing a Monday editorial isn’t always easy. I browse my files searching for the one that will hit the right button and reflect my emotions. This one is so back to basics, timeless and pure. For some reason, it gives me that crystal-like, cool and fresh feeling of spring water… No idea why…

Kate Moss in Body of evidence | Harper’s Bazaar US July 1993 (photography: Patrick Demarchelier)
Kate Moss in Body of evidence | Harper’s Bazaar US July 1993 (photography: Patrick Demarchelier)
Kate Moss in Body of evidence | Harper’s Bazaar US July 1993 (photography: Patrick Demarchelier)
Kate Moss in Body of evidence | Harper’s Bazaar US July 1993 (photography: Patrick Demarchelier)
Photo source: Kate Moss in Body of evidence | Harper’s Bazaar US July 1993 (photography: Patrick Demarchelier)

Supermodels bare it all

07/07/2012

Cindy Crawford, Christy Turlington, Nadja Auermann, Naomi Campbell & Linda Evangelista in Nobody's perfect | Vogue US September 1994 (photography: Irving Penn, styling: Phyllis Posnick)
Cindy Crawford, Christy Turlington, Nadja Auermann, Naomi Campbell & Linda Evangelista in Nobody's perfect | Vogue US September 1994 (photography: Irving Penn, styling: Phyllis Posnick)
Cindy Crawford, Christy Turlington, Nadja Auermann, Naomi Campbell & Linda Evangelista in Nobody's perfect | Vogue US September 1994 (photography: Irving Penn, styling: Phyllis Posnick)
Cindy Crawford, Christy Turlington, Nadja Auermann, Naomi Campbell & Linda Evangelista in Nobody's perfect | Vogue US September 1994 (photography: Irving Penn, styling: Phyllis Posnick)
Cindy Crawford, Christy Turlington, Nadja Auermann, Naomi Campbell & Linda Evangelista in Nobody's perfect | Vogue US September 1994 (photography: Irving Penn, styling: Phyllis Posnick)
Amber Valletta & Kirsty Hume in The Body Myth | Vogue US September 1996 (photography: Irving Penn, styling: Phyllis Posnick)
Amber Valletta & Kirsty Hume in The Body Myth | Vogue US September 1996 (photography: Irving Penn, styling: Phyllis Posnick)
Amber Valletta & Kirsty Hume in The Body Myth | Vogue US September 1996 (photography: Irving Penn, styling: Phyllis Posnick)
Amber Valletta, Kirsty Hume, Shalom Harlow & Stella Tennant in Supermodels: the sequel | Vogue US March 1996 (photography: Irving Penn, styling: Phyllis Posnick)
Amber Valletta, Kirsty Hume, Shalom Harlow & Stella Tennant in Supermodels: the sequel | Vogue US March 1996 (photography: Irving Penn, styling: Phyllis Posnick)
Amber Valletta, Kirsty Hume, Shalom Harlow & Stella Tennant in Supermodels: the sequel | Vogue US March 1996 (photography: Irving Penn, styling: Phyllis Posnick)
Amber Valletta, Kirsty Hume, Shalom Harlow & Stella Tennant in Supermodels: the sequel | Vogue US March 1996 (photography: Irving Penn, styling: Phyllis Posnick)
Kristen McMenamy, Amber Valletta, Shalom Harlow, Cindy Crawford, Helena Christensen, Nadja Auermann in Harper's Bazaar US September 2009 (photography: Peter Lindbergh)
Kristen McMenamy, Amber Valletta, Shalom Harlow, Cindy Crawford, Helena Christensen, Nadja Auermann in Harper's Bazaar US September 2009 (photography: Peter Lindbergh)
Kristen McMenamy, Amber Valletta, Shalom Harlow, Cindy Crawford, Helena Christensen, Nadja Auermann in Harper's Bazaar US September 2009 (photography: Peter Lindbergh)
Kristen McMenamy, Amber Valletta, Shalom Harlow, Cindy Crawford, Helena Christensen, Nadja Auermann in Harper's Bazaar US September 2009 (photography: Peter Lindbergh)
Kristen McMenamy, Amber Valletta, Shalom Harlow, Cindy Crawford, Helena Christensen, Nadja Auermann in Harper's Bazaar US September 2009 (photography: Peter Lindbergh)
Kristen McMenamy, Amber Valletta, Shalom Harlow, Cindy Crawford, Helena Christensen, Nadja Auermann in Harper's Bazaar US September 2009 (photography: Peter Lindbergh)
Kristen McMenamy, Amber Valletta, Shalom Harlow, Cindy Crawford, Helena Christensen, Nadja Auermann in Harper's Bazaar US September 2009 (photography: Peter Lindbergh)
Kristen McMenamy, Amber Valletta, Shalom Harlow, Cindy Crawford, Helena Christensen, Nadja Auermann in Harper's Bazaar US September 2009 (photography: Peter Lindbergh)
Photo source: Cindy Crawford, Christy Turlington, Nadja Auermann, Naomi Campbell & Linda Evangelista in Nobody's perfect | Vogue US September 1994 (photography: Irving Penn, styling: Phyllis Posnick), Kate Moss, Amber Valletta & Kirsty Hume in The Body Myth | Vogue US September 1996 (photography: Irving Penn, styling: Phyllis Posnick), Amber Valletta, Kirsty Hume, Shalom Harlow & Stella Tennant in Supermodels: the sequel | Vogue US March 1996 (photography: Irving Penn, styling: Phyllis Posnick), Supermodels: Supernatural | Harper's Bazaar US 2009 (photography: Peter Lindbergh), Kristen McMenamy, Amber Valletta, Shalom Harlow, Cindy Crawford, Helena Christensen, Nadja Auermann & Tatjana Patitz in Harper's Bazaar US September 2009 (photography: Peter Lindbergh)

Natural beauty (wrinkles included)

06/07/2012

Lauren Hutton by Craig McDean, 2013
A few weeks ago I met a woman in her late 30s. Her face fascinated me. For the very first time I saw somebody who had things done to such an obvious degree. I was mesmerised. Her forehead, Botoxed to perfection, was so smooth and shiny that I could almost see my own reflection. The eyelashes “grew” in a way similar to teeth of a shark, in several layers. The lips were plumped – what I thought was a cold sore turned out to be collagen.

The face, struggling to produce any emotional outcome, was, in a way, perfect… I’d say, it was similar to something you could see in Tussauds Museum, only their works would have a better finish.

I took my time pretending to talk about nonsense, good enough to distract her, whilst secretly sampling the  surgically made “perfection”. Every element that is often seen as a part of “ideal beauty” was there and yet, the beauty was missing.

It made me think, once again, why so many women voluntarily do it to themselves…

To me, watching my face age is a spellbinding experience. I may not be super ecstatic about every change that happens to it, although I haven’t experienced that many yet, but I do somehow enjoy the process.

I think every woman is naturally very beautiful and do love to observe bare faces and emotions whenever I can. I like wrinkles, I like young peachy skin and I love how it changes with age to become thinner, like a delicate rice paper. I absolutely adore freckles. I think a face without make up is gorgeous. And I like faces that move.

I truly understand that sometimes cosmetic surgery may be required because nature is not always kind to its creations or life throws one in a nasty accident, but I really don’t get it when women happily inject poison (and that’s what Botox really is) or go under the knife in order to allow somebody slice their face or body when, in reality, it is totally unnecessary.

I don’t believe in eternal youth – I think the most glamorous thing is being able to age gracefully, love your wrinkles and don’t give a damn about what the rest of the world is doing to their faces.

Just like Lauren Hutton said in her interview: "Our wrinkles are our medals of the passage of life. They are what we have been through and who we want to be." Personally, I’d rather stick with that quote. Kinda makes you feel free, doesn’t it?

Photo source: Lauren Hutton by Craig McDean, 2013

Kristen Mcmenamy on body image

05/07/2012

Kristen McMenamy photographed by Peter Lindbergh for Vogue Italy September 2009
At first, I wanted to write something similar myself, but then came across this story from Love magazine and thought that hearing it from Kristen Mcmenamy, a supermodel and a true legend, would make the message more powerful and even more meaningful.

The body you're given, the mind you're given, the morality and hang ups you're given, they're yours. Deal with it. That's the way it is - that's what you realise when you get older. You think "one day I'll be this, one day I'll be a Buddha Zen and I'll weigh five pounds less..." and then it doesn't happen. One day never comes and you realise you're getting older and you think "God, OK, accept, accept!"

I have to say though, I like my body more than my face. I never liked my face, it was always not right. Sometimes it looks good in a picture.

We're all the same. I can have a fat month and I can feel totally horrible in my skinny jeans, then the next month I can be four pounds less and I'll feel great. I think all women have that, and it's just that your body fluctuates.

You see a picture of a model and you think it's static, you think that's the way that person always is, but it's not true. You have fat days too! I hate the fat days! No! It's not good. I know people will hate me saying that - I'm a model - but the way you feel in your mind is the same. In your head it's a fat day.

And I look at people who are curvy and I'm crazy with jealousy over them.

The truth is that even I'm fooled by magazines. I look at Heat or something like that and I think "they're all so gorgeous, they have perfect wardrobes and perfect bodies and blah, blah, blah!" And here I am a model! I still fall for it. I put down Heat and I hate my face. So if I can be fooled, every one can be fooled.

Photo source: Kristen McMenamy photographed by Peter Lindbergh for Vogue Italy September 2009

Stylish quote

04/07/2012

Candice Swanepoel in Must #30 Summer 2012 (photography: Mariano Vivanco, styling: Beth Fenton)
"It's not vanity to feel you have a right to be beautiful. Women are taught to feel we're not good enough, that we must live up to someone else's standards. The aim is to cherish yourself as you are."

Elle Macpherson

Photo source: Candice Swanepoel in Must #30 Summer 2012 (photography: Mariano Vivanco, styling: Beth Fenton)

Cindy Crawford in Vogue Italia 1991

02/07/2012

Cindy Crawford in Pure & healthy | Vogue Italia July 1991 (photography: Marco Glaviano)
For the last few months I have been lovingly collecting articles, quotes and photos that, in one way or another, were related to beauty.

Beauty that is influenced by fashion and through the eyes of people working in the fashion industry. 

Cindy Crawford in Pure & healthy | Vogue Italia July 1991 (photography: Marco Glaviano)
Beauty as a reflection of our ideas. 

Beauty that is healthy, beauty as unique as a person herself, beauty that has no rules apart from one – loving yourself the way you are and taking care of your body as the most precious thing in the world.

Cindy Crawford in Pure & healthy | Vogue Italia July 1991 (photography: Marco Glaviano)
If you read my blog regularly you would remember a few posts I’ve written about the link between beauty and health. Now, with the recent launch of the health initiative, the timing couldn’t have been more perfect to dedicate a part of my blog, an entire week, to the topic that means so much to me.

After marinating the idea and coming up with the final plan for the posts I decided to start with this editorial from the May issue of Italian Vogue featuring Cindy Crawford photographed by Marco Glaviano.

Cindy Crawford in Pure & healthy | Vogue Italia July 1991 (photography: Marco Glaviano)
Back in the 1990s Cindy was my ultimate girl crush and, as far as the fitness was concerned, the role model. Supermodel with the most perfect hair, velvet brown eyes and incredible body was my idea of beauty. She was stunning, sensual and smart. She favoured healthy diet and was the very first model who released a fitness video (which, of course, I had, used and treasured).

Cindy Crawford in Pure & healthy | Vogue Italia July 1991 (photography: Marco Glaviano)
Cindy was also the one who had a strong opinion about the health initiative programme speaking out days after the launch. Although I cannot fully support her opinion on such a complicated issue, I like the fact that she was one of the “supers” who actually had something to say bringing even more attention to the issue.

Cindy Crawford in Pure & healthy | Vogue Italia July 1991 (photography: Marco Glaviano)
And now, without making the post even more complicated and long (see, I can talk about it for hours?), lets enjoy the beautiful photos.

Cindy Crawford in Pure & healthy | Vogue Italia July 1991 (photography: Marco Glaviano)
Photo source: Cindy Crawford in Pure & healthy | Vogue Italia July 1991 (photography: Marco Glaviano)

Gianfranco Ferre: at Dior and beyond

01/07/2012

vanity fair may1996

“Great couturier who knew how to create absolute chic with details that will remain a part of the history of fashion."

Donatella Versace

After establishing his own label, Ferre continues working on elaborate beautiful collections and becomes one of Italy’s most treasured fashion designers alongside Valentino and Armani.

In 1983 he joins the Domus Academy as founding Professor of the Department of Fashion Design.

In 1984 the first fragrance, Gianfranco Ferre, a powdery combination of floral and woody notes, is launched, followed by five other perfumes that accompany new women’s and men’s wear collections. Being true to his philosophy and an absolute perfectionist, Ferre designs each flacon himself.

That very same year the designer receives an offer to become an artistic director for the house of Dior. Ferre declines thinking of the time and attention needed for his own label that he is successfully growing.

gianfranco ferre spring1991

On 22 July 1986 he shows his first Haute Couture collection in Rome. It includes 70 looks linked together by a harmony of classic colours: grey with white, red and black accents. Beautiful rich fabrics, embroidery, crystals, fur, crocodile skin – luxury without borders ruled by imagination and sculptural shapes. It was a triumph.

In spring 1989 LVMH Chairman Bernard Arnault approaches Ferre again and this time, in May 1989, after spending an enormous amount of time in Dior archives, Gianfranco Ferre finally agrees to design for Dior. In many ways, his move to the French fashion house was, in a way, a scandal. French people struggled to see an Italian, however talented he was, as a new Dior designer. Until that very moment no foreign designer was allowed such a thing. In his interview, Pierre Bergé, the chairman of Yves St Laurent, observed: "I don't think opening the doors to a foreigner - and an Italian - is respecting the spirit of creativity in France."

As it turned out, Arnault couldn’t have chosen  a better candidate to replace Mark Bohan. With his deep understanding of fashion history, the meaning of the Maison Dior as an integral part of national identity, caring attitude to details and love of all things luxurious and beautiful, Ferre was incredibly careful about his work for the house. 

His muse at Dior was Eva Perón, who had been one of Dior's original customers.

gianfranco ferre campaign 1993 ritts

Later Ferre himself wrote: “It was an adventure on which it was not very easy to embark, but that turned out to be extraordinary, for my professional and creative development no less than for my human and personal one.

The most prestigious maison de couture in France was a temple of rituals, traditions, codes of conduct and rules, perhaps unwritten but no less hard and fast, no less binding for all that.

For weeks I studied, analysed and “breathed” his style. And so I discovered affinities and analogies… that made it possible for me to meet the challenge – between my way of understanding and interpreting elegance and that of Monsieur Dior.

My adventure “chez Dior” proved to be an extraordinary opportunity for growth and fulfillment.”

gianfranco Ferre dior 1989 editorial

His first Haute Couture collection that was shown in July 1989, just two months after Ferre’s arrival to Dior, won him Dé d'Or award for the best Paris collection of the year. 

“The tailor of two cities” lived between Paris and Milan, on and off the plane, as the languages blended into a musical daydream and the cities became an endless source of inspiration – two mentalities, modern and sober Milanese pret-a-porter and deeply understood and appreciated luxury of Parisian fashion.

Weekend were often spent in Stresa, his home in lake Maggiore, near Milan. It was a house of an architect. Every single detail, every item, were placed in a special order to the point of absolute perfection: every item from his collection, every small box, every vase were placed in a strict symmetry.

Even the garden was immaculate designed according to the Lago Maggiore rules and looked after by a gardener. There was never a stray twig or grass. Just roses, dozens and dozens of them. The blooms were always cut off a few days before they would drop their petals on the ground, to avoid any mess.

Ferre remained at Dior until autumn 1996 when his contract ended by mutual agreement. His last Haute Couture collection for the house, Passion Indienne, was inspired by the most treasured memories of his life.

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He returns to Milan and, after renovating a palazzo on the Via Ponaccio to become the company headquarters, continues producing new collections under his own name.

 gianfranco ferre spring2001

He died suddenly. On Sunday, 17 June 2007, in San Raffaele Hospital in Milan, after suffering a massive brain haemorrhage.

Sources: Janie Samet, Chère Haute Couture, Gianfranco Ferre: Lessons in Fashion, Maria Vittoria Alfonsi Gianfranco Ferré. L'architetto stilista.

Photo source (top picture): Vanity Fair 1996