If you follow Fashioned by Love from the very beginning you may remember a couple of fitness-related posts I wrote in 2011. I know, it’s been a while… Not that I don’t like exercise – it’s quite the opposite. I get my endorphins topped up regularly and feel out of my comfort zone whenever something prevents me from sticking to my routine. I just don’t tend to blog about it unless I feel there’s a need for a muscle-strengthening-body-fat-reducing story of my life that might grab your attention.
Today was the day that felt right. I had my usual “happy hour” and decided to share a few post-workout thoughts. How knows, maybe some of you will find them interesting or even adopt a few new habits comes 2013… At least this resolution will be very easy to stick to.
Just in case you haven’t read my previous posts (which I totally understand), I would like to start by saying that when it comes to exercise I DIY, big time. I don’t do gyms or personal trainers. I met a few, it was a total disappointment, so I decided to go with what I know best and that’s good old home workouts.
I like exercising in a comfort of my room, using my own shower afterwards and not wasting time on packing my belongings and travelling back and forth. I do, however, spend plenty of time choosing my DVDs and that’s exactly what I am going to talk about today.
Two years ago I’ve discovered Tracy Anderson workouts, tried them and fell in love. Her routines made me feel good and re-shaped my body exactly how I wanted even though I chose not to follow her advice 100%.
Diet-wise, I just did what I preach since it would be unwise not to use the knowledge I’ve got.
When it came to the fitness part, I used her body shaping workouts three times a week rather than every day as she urged everyone to. The sensible schedule allowed my body to rest and recover in between, so instead of burning out (it will always happen if you aren’t careful) I kept on going. In addition, whenever I felt like it, I mixed in a bit of Tracy’s cardio, on alternative days, of course.
Which DVDs did I use? I have a few and rotate them every 6-8 weeks. If you’ve never tried Tracy’s workouts here are my suggestions to get you started.
As much as you may be tempted to go for the 30-day Method, pick the Post-Pregnancy Workout instead. Although it may sound like an odd choice, it is the best one for any beginner. I received it by mistake, but once used it became one of my favourite DVDs. Both abs and legs routines are mostly floor-based and target the areas that can be very difficult to deal with – the lower abs, muffin top, bottom and thighs. She also included some arm exercises, too, so the area won’t be left untouched. Frankly, once done you are going to feel like you just had a muscle strengthening massage that made you tired to the core. It’s a wonderful feeling (if you like to feel the burn like I do).
And just in case you are still reaching for 30-day boot camp – fair enough, but be prepared to concentrate more on your remote control on/off button rather than your routine in order to complete the exercises. This is the only DVD that does not play continuously.
Once you feel that you can easily complete the first DVD (or did it for 6-8 weeks), move on to Tracy Anderson Method. It’s a bit more challenging than the first workout, but it’s just as enjoyable and beautifully presented. This time most of the leg exercises are of a standing kind (you will need a chair for that) and so are some of the abs. Although both parts are good, my favourite one here is the arm section because it really is brilliant, made my arms ache (in a good way) and improved the muscle tone. Sometimes I just use the arm section after doing a cardio or even on its own if I am short of time but fancy a bit of exercise. I really do love it.
It’s also worth mentioning the cardio routine because there are a few of them and Dance Cardio Workout is the only one I like. Ironically this video received quite a bit of negative feedback on amazon – please do not be put off by reading those reviews. I understand that everyone is different, but the DVD really is fun and worth trying. As I mentioned above, I use it 1-2 times a week on days when I don’t do any other exercises.
There are eight routines, each lasting about 10 minutes or so. Some are definitely more complex than the others, so it’s a good idea to watch the whole video before starting your workout just to familiarise yourself with the moves and challenges you are about to face. I never used the break down part – I always find that most manuals take away my enthusiasm for life, so I only refer to them in case I get stuck, which, when it comes to dancing, never happens.
The only downside to the video is the missing cool-down part, so normally once I am done, I walk around the room for a few seconds and then move onto doing some simple stretches. If you have no idea how to stretch, there are some good routines and advice on Shape website.
I didn’t find the technical part (i.e. the moves) too complicated, but my cardio levels were rubbish, so I was out of breath and very beetroot-like after my very first attempt. Instead of being a hero and going through the entire workout (which would probably be a matter of life and death), I began by completing part one, then adding part two a week or so later and so on. In four weeks I was able to dance through 6 routines without feeling uncomfortable. I deliberately skipped two parts because I wasn’t too keen on the music, but the rest was absolutely brilliant and made me believe that I could actually dance.
If or when somebody mentions that this DVD is not for beginners, don’t count yourself as one (even if you are). Go for it, have fun, try and try again and you will notice the difference in a few weeks. Just make sure you have plenty of water, hard floors and very good sports shoes. The latter is crucial because you will be doing a lot of jumping and if you ignore the footwear you may have to deal with an injury at some point. As soon as I watched the DVD I went and got myself a pair of appropriate trainers at JD Sports to dance happily ever after. My calve muscles still ached after the first few sessions, but trainers provided the much needed cushioning for the joints and ligaments. Please bear this in mind.
In addition to these trio, I’ve also got Tracy’s Perfect Design Series, but I will tell you more about those next time.
Photo source: Natasha Poly in Vogue Italia October 2010 (photography: Craig McDean)
I’ve recently read somewhere that sample designs shown to the buyers are often better than the pieces that are later sold in the shops. Perhaps, it’s true for some labels, but when it comes to Bottega Veneta you just know everything, absolutely everything, every tiny stitch, button and zipper, is going to be absolutely painfully perfect.
After Chanel and before Bottega Pre-Fall 2013 shows I was slowly getting into fashion hibernation. There were beautiful clothes here and there, but nothing really moved me.
Then the miracle of Tomas Maier happened again and I felt the tears coming a bit too close to the surface. I loved this collection. I love every element of it – the structure, the muted colours, the simplicity of lines, the feeling of comfort and protection that would come from wearing one of those stunning coats. I loved the choices of fabric, pumps and dreamy bags. I couldn’t get enough of the dresses and jackets. I had an urge of hugging the clothes, giving them names and making them my best friends.
I am a woman, I love all things beautiful. And I really am in love with Bottega Veneta. Maybe even more than I’ve even imagined.
Photo source: Bottega Veneta Pre-Fall 2013 via style.com
It really is difficult to explain why we tend to wrap ourselves in black once the winter is here. I know it’s a matter of practicality – black lasts, doesn’t get dirty or highlights the abnormally red nose. I know all this and I understand the very idea behind this concept.
On the other hand we seem to deprive ourselves from way too many things – the sunlight, the vitamin D, the joy of colour, the joy... And black, whether you like it or not, is definitely not helping to cheer our inner little fashionista.
The more I think about it, the more I want to use winter as my inspiration canvas – the white frost that reminds me of sweetly ticklish mohair, the soft delicate texture of snow that resembles cashmere knits and lambswool, the emerald leaves and burgundy berries – so few of them, just like jewels we can add to our looks and, of course, the endless dusty grey or sparkling blue sky, amber drops of sunlight and crystal ice.
It’s impossible not to love all that.
While we’ve already fallen in love (and talked to death) with burgundy and before I move to the emerald, the colour of 2013, I really want to concentrate on those white ensembles that became one of the most beautiful trends of the Fall 2012 season.
How do you wear white? Unless you work in medical field the all-white outfit would most likely be out of your comfort zone. Although I don’t own the white coat (yet) I do have some experience of wearing white, so my tip would be to mix and match textures (think of soft fabrics and furs as the main blocks and add leather or metallics as accents) and never try to match the shades too closely – decide whether you prefer cool or warm tones by putting them against your face to suit the skin tone, and combine those instead.
White accessories can be the way forward, too. Think white pumps, bag or a huge chunky white scarf, for example.
Now the practical aspect. Not because I am boring, but for the sanity sake. A couple of weeks ago I added a white bag to my wish list and wasn’t at all surprised to hear that many of you would also like to have something white, but wouldn’t dare in fear of high maintenance that would be required.
Honestly, I think that caring for a white coat or trousers is more complicated than accessories - the coat would need to be dry-cleaned and the trousers will definitely require regular washes. Although, admittedly, the white bag is quite a statement and may require certain lifestyle adjustments, too. But lets me positive – if you love it, love conquers all.
When it comes to white accessories you just need to remember one word, “Collonil”. I first learnt about their products from the Mulberry shopping assistants – they suggested that I buy a waterstop waterproofing spray and so I did. Since then I used it on all of my bags and light coloured shoes a couple of times a year and I can honestly say that all my whites are as good as new. The white bag got a few wear&tear marks because I used it a lot (for almost five years), but the leather itself is still white. The shoes don’t have any marks at all.
You need to spray your newly acquired treasure as soon as you bring it home. Leave it to dry. Spray again. And once it’s dry you can use it for the entire season. If the weather is particularly bad, I’d spray the bags once every 2-3 months, but normally, I do it in spring and autumn.
Last summer I also bought the cleaning foam and soft rubber to deal with a nasty denim stain and managed to remove 90% of it (I had to wait a couple of days for the product to arrive, so I lost some precious time). The foam works really well, especially on fresh stains, but you have to be careful with the rubber block because it can damage the leather if it’s too thin and delicate.
So now you know my little practical secret of wearing white for more than a season whether it’s in fashion or not.
Photo source: Alexander Wang Fall/Winter 2012, Alberta Ferretti Fall/Winter 2012, Bottega Veneta Fall/Winter 2012, Cacharel Fall/Winter 2012, Derek Lam Fall/Winter 2012, Blumarine Fall/Winter 2012, Laura Biagiotti Fall/Winter 2012, Sportmax Fall/Winter 2012, Chanel Fall/Winter 2012, Max Mara Fall/Winter 2012, Byblos Fall/Winter 2012, Proenza Schouler Fall/Winter 2012 via style.com & stylebistro.com
The launch of a new perfume and particularly by a fashion house I adore always tops up my endorphin levels. When I heard that Chloe is launching See by Chloe fragrance in early February 2013 to accompany the ready-to-wear collection I had to write about it.
The birth of a perfume is an intimate affair that adds pages to the fashion history book. Will it stay and become iconic or will it evaporate in a couple of years? Will it be loved and cherished and given to daughters by their mothers as a special gift on their 18th birthday? Or maybe it will be a present for a special friend you’ve known since your childhood? Who knows… Perfumes do create stories of their own.
The See by Chloe produced by Coty Fragrances and designed by Michel Almairac, the nose behind Chloe by Chloe, will combine the notes of bergamot, apple blossom, jasmine, sandalwood, ylang-ylang and vanilla and have a youthful spirit with playful, arty, romantic and elegant attitude to appeal to the younger audience who may be just discovering the world of Chloe and looking for their first signature scent of a timeless quality.
The design concept behind the faceted bottle was to make it look like a bird cage, so the bird can be set free once the cage is opened.
Bette Franke, the gorgeous 23-year old Dutch model who is currently the face of See by Chloe line was chosen to star in the fragrance campaign photographed by Fabien Baron.
See by Chloe will be available in Harrods and Macy's in February. The collection will include 30, 50 and 75ml eau de parfum as well as See by Chloe shower gel and body lotion.
Photo source: Better Franke in See by Chloe perfume campaign photographed by Fabien Baron
What can I compare the level of my excitement about this exhibition to? Not sure. Put it this way – I bought tickets to the Valentino: Master of Couture 6 weeks before it opened in Somerset House. As Friday came I was up bright and early, got ready and an hour or so later found myself entering the glass doors of the South Wing.
A few flights of stars led to the basement where the exhibition was held. I entered the first room, carefully (and sadly) putting my camera back in my bag as photography wasn’t allowed (why, oh why?!), then suddenly stopped, amazed, as a photo of Tatiana Zavialova dressed in a red Valentino dress from the 1996 collection appeared before my eyes. It was heart warming to see a Russian top model from the 1990s opening this event – at first I couldn’t believe it, but then realised that it was her, squeaked with joy (in a quiet, lady-like manner, of course!) and moved to the second room.
The room was filled with memories – from personal notes sent by Donatella Versace, Miuccia Prada and Anna Wintour, photos of Jackie Kennedy, Diana Vreeland and the Royal family to the beautiful Valentino sketches.
The catwalk was next and became my most favourite part of the exhibition. For the very first time I saw couture dresses, all 137 of them, “up close and personal”. They were incredible, exquisite, stunning, magical and surreal. Every other dress was so near that I could touch the beading and embroidery and although I didn’t dare for obvious reasons, I did lean over the barrier a little to admire every single detail.
What can I say? The beauty of couture makes you feel quite emotional. It is hard to believe that each dress was made by human hands – the craftsmanship was so impeccable and dreamy that it seemed impossible to imagine how one would be able to create all the intricate details. It was pure art in one of its most beautiful forms.
There were daywear, coats, evening gowns and wedding dresses including Jacqueline Kennedy’s green satin evening gown and her 1968 wedding dress, cream organza evening ensemble worn by Audrey Hepburn, Diana Vreeland’s tunic and trousers, famous black velvet gown Julia Roberts chose for the Oscars in 2001. This was the moment when every dress told a story, made you stop and admire it in owe and dream, just for a few seconds, of what it would be like to wear Valentino Couture.
As I finally left the Catwalk room I could see a beautiful wedding dress downstairs. The pearl-encrusted ivory silk gown was designed by Valentino for Marie Chantal Miller in 1995 when she married Crown Prince Pavlos of Greece. The dress was made by 25 people and took four months and twelve different kinds of lace to complete. In addition Valentino designed 62 outfits for the wedding guests.
In the final room dedicated to the craftsmanship and les petite mains there were displays containing swatches and videos showing some of the techniques used by the Atelier. It was fascinating!
If you can get to London before March 2013, please go and see this beautiful exhibition. If not, you can browse Valentino’s on-line museum that contains over 5000 documents and images covering designers career from the very beginning.
Photo source: Valentino: Master of Couture exhibition poster, Tatjana Zavialova in Valentino by Gian Paolo Barbieri 1996, Valentino & his dresses, Valentino Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2007, Valentino Haute Couture Spring/Summer 2008, Valentino Couture Spring/Summer 2007, Valentino Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2005, Valentino Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2002, Valentino Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2001, Valentino Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2006, Valentino Haute Couture Spring/Summer 2002, Valentino Haute Couture Spring/Summer 2004 via stylebistro,com