Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Mid-Century Modernism in Fashion Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Dovima Photographed by Richard Avedon, 1955
The model Dovima seems an appropriate muse of the moment considering the latest catwalk craze for 50's fashion.


Friday, September 16, 2011

Queen of the Nile

Cleopatra VII of Egypt is a perfect choice of inspiration as seen left on the first Giambattista Valli haute couture runway, Paris, Fall 2011.

There has been much talk lately about unearthing Cleopatra's grave [National Geographic, Searching for the Real Cleopatra, July 2011], though it is still yet to be found.  It is believed that her tomb is hidden as a spiritual manifestation of the great goddess of motherhood, fertility, and magic. Because their is little material generated about her by archaeologists, once they unearth the tomb, it could have a cultural effect more massive than that of King Tut. 

Cleopatra represented herself as the reincarnation of the Egyptian goddess Isis where some may suspect she's been buried.  She marketed herself as the most desirable woman in history and has long been a mythical fashion icon.  Stacy Schiff published the book Cleopatra: A Life which won the 2011 PEN/Jacqueline Weld Bogrand Award for Distinguished biogrophy, and 2013 is the proposed date for the upcoming film Cleopatra, with Angelina Jolie slated to fittingly portray her allure.

Talk about girl power.


Thursday, April 21, 2011

Rock and Fashion

Image courtesy of Vogue
Emanuelle Alt has taken the reigns as the editor in chief of French Vogue.  As usual, the most talked about decisions she makes is who graces the glossy cover each month.  Her first issue donned Giselle and the second, Kate Moss.  Clearly, she is playing it safe, even stylistically, and searching to revive the supermodel era of the 80's and 90's.  And though I believe models go hand-in-hand with magazines, time marches on, as do stylistic references in modern day culture.  

Lately, fashion has moved beyond the supermodels and celebrities (a.k.a. actresses) to its latest fascination with rock stars.  Albeit rockers have always had their place in fashion, influencing the public and designers from grunge to punk, now they have never seemed more glamorous.  The press is fascinated with Lady Gaga and Rihanna (left), both of whom have been the recent cover girls of US Vogue.  Elle Magazine released the Music Issue in April, featuring Gwen Stefani, Willow Smith, Robyn and Nicki Minaj, among many others.

Although actresses and supermodels are beautiful, they don't express the creative individuality like that of musicians.   These artists give us direction and inspiration in our daily lives, allowing us the freedom to express ourselves.  

Though, if I were at the head of French Vogue my first model choice would be someone new to covers, original, and an up-and-comer:  Andrej Pejic


Monday, April 11, 2011

The Whispered Directory of Craftsmanship

What does Made In Italy mean today?  For those with a taste for luxury, understanding the exceptional and rigorous culture of Italian craftsmanship is essential.  The House of Fendi explains the a-b-c's of modern luxury in:

The Whispered Directory of Craftsmanship; A Contemporary Guide to the Italian Hand Making Ability


Monday, April 4, 2011

Haider Ackermann, Designer of the Moment

Image Courtesy of
Everybody has Columbian Fashion Designer Haider Ackermann on the tip of their tongues lately.  Here is a little more information about the confirmed designer:

Born in Santa Fé Bogotá, Columbia
French Heritage
Graduated from Antwerp Fashion Academy of Fine Arts
03/2001 - Presented first collection in Paris
2001 - Launched Eponymous Label Haider Ackermann
2003 - Awarded prestigious "Swiss Textiles Award"
Resides in Antwerp, Belgium
Was offered the position of creative director for Martin Margiela, but turned it down
Sells online at and

"Ackermann, 37, who is based in Antwerp, has been variously tipped as a front-runner to take up the 'golden scissors' at a number of major French 'maisons' including Christian Dior, Yves Saint Laurent, and Givenchy." [Hilary Alexander for, 04/05/2011]

Looking forward to his next episode.....


Sunday, March 27, 2011

Luxe Loves By Lex: Paris Fashion Week, Fall 2011 Chanel

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Karl Lagerfeld for the House of Chanel resonates with me like no other..... every season.  The setting for the Fall 2011 runway collection is a forest in a post-apocalyptic fairytale, where beautiful girls dressed as boys look tough but feminine, if not somewhat disheveled, while listening to The Cure.  Mr. Lagerfeld says the inspiration is Winter, in the north of Europe, where the forest has been destroyed.  The looks are young, easy to wear yet luxurious, all without giving the impression of being seemingly over-thought.  This certainly is not a collection for the socialite, but perfect for the existentialist.

The baggy silhouette and distressed fabrics are a wonderful contrast to the common tailored menswear looks seen this Fall 2011 runway season.  Combat boots with girly frocks, chunky knits, long fingerless gloves, ankle warmers, and the creative layering of skirts over jeans all seem reminisent of the nineties Seattle grunge movement.  Could Karl be hinting that a gothic immortal may to be lurking in the midst, making a connection with pop culture?

In Chanel's dark fairytale, the feeling is more romantic than aggressive, thanks to the strong presence of gray, giving a softness to the collection.  These ladies are ready for tough times, and plan on doing it in style.


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Monday, March 21, 2011

The Business of Being ANNA; A Profile of Anna Wintour

Image Courtesy of WSJ. Magazine
Anna Wintour; editor-in-chief of American Vogue Magazine since 1988, believed muse for the book/film The Devil Wears Prada, central focus of the documentary The September Issue, fashion icon and visionary extraordinaire. She knows what she wants and does not accept no, making her amongst the most powerful women in America.

Although noted and criticized for her elitist fashion stance regarding the content that graces the pages of Vogue, Anna Wintour also plays a pivotal role in pop culture as well, comparable to the likes of Oprah Winfrey and Martha Stewart.

A prime example of Wintour's reach is the popular global event Fashion's Night Out, which takes place during New York Fashion Week in September. Wintour created this yearly extravaganza in 2009 as a means to promote commerce during the worst of the United States' great economic recession. She teamed up with Mayor Bloomberg and officiated an evening where designers, celebrities, models and fashion editors would participate in one-of-a-kind events in stores open to the public after hours. During its first year, 800 stores participated in New York City alone with 12 more cities around the world following suit. Of course, Anna would not have it any other way, failure is never an option.

Photographed by famed Mario Testino for the April 2011 cover of WSJ. Magazine (above), Anna Wintour is the subject of The Business of Being Anna, an in-depth profile captured by editor-in-chief Deborah Needleman. The issue is to be distributed to newsstands on March 26,2011.

I have yet to meet her, but based on what I know.... j'adore la Wintour.


Friday, March 18, 2011

Fall 2011 Runway Trends

color blocking, patchwork, 60's & 70's, wool coats, mademoiselle chic, Florence Welch, oversized fur sleeves, low-heel pumps, black, see-through skirts, tights, patent leather corsets, wide-leg pants, demure, lace-up boots, capes, sporty and sleek, miles and miles of fur, bright colors, glossy fabrics, winter nudes, masculine/feminin, velvet, YSL, persian lamb, western romance, the jumpsuit, heavy metal, relaxed glamour, gold, Hitchcock ladies, mixed plaids, dark and erie, monochromatic dressing, surface interest, layering, Lady Gaga

- the beginning to the end of the recessionista -


Friday, March 11, 2011

The Luxe List: Top 10 Films for Fashion

Some time ago and old friend asked me the prosaic question of, "What is your favorite movie?" Being cheeky, I answered the mundane question with an equally mundane answer, "I do not know." Of course, that is not true, the fact is I have loved film since a very young age. My first obsession was for the genre of horror, and today admittedly, I still enjoy a gory Dario Argento flick. But because of my higher passion for fashion, my top ten flicks are going to have fabulous frocks and finery.

For style direction to take you to your own iconic status, below is a list of must see films:
With special mention for the film Zoolander as best fashion comedy ever.


Thursday, March 3, 2011

Luxe Loves By Lex : Milan Fashion Week, Fall 2011 Prada

Image Courtesy of
Yves Saint Laurent has been a very popular source of fashion inspiration since his passing in 2009. From his outstanding estate auction at Christie's [2009], numerous museum exhibitions in his honor, to a new book, "La Revolution de la Mode" just released by Pierre Bergé, clearly the fashion world is craving his genius.

We have been seeing his color blocking influence in stores this spring while Miuccia Prada picked up the reigns again and referenced YSL's famous Mondrian Dress of 1965 in her Fall 2011 runway collection. Although Yves' inspiration was the famous Mondrian painting, Composition II in Red, Blue, and Yellow, from 1930, the dress is the quintessence of modern 1960's fashion.

Prada played on the sixties silhouette and mixed it with twenties-style coats with fur collars and snakeskin shoes that were more cute than sexy. The collection looked fresh and unusual, with a nod to YSL but still maintaining an entirely Prada aesthetic.

"Dressing is a way of life" - Yves Saint Laurent

Sincerely, Lex

Monday, February 28, 2011

John Galliano Controversial Suspension from Christian Dior

Nicole Kidman and Sharon Stone were both wearing gowns by John Galliano for Christian Dior last night at the 83rd Annual Academy Awards in Los Angeles despite his being suspended from Christian Dior for being arrested last week on accusations of anti-Semitic comments and racial slurs while drinking at a Paris café. These ladies are either standing up for what they believe to be untrue, or else had too little time to change attire. Unfortunately, today there was another complaint filed against Galliano, again for anti-Semitic comments at the same location six months prior, along with supposed evidence including a video that was submitted to a local newspaper.

On a positive note for the eccentric designer, Kate Moss has commissioned John Galliano to design her wedding dress. Though admittedly, this bad press could change even the most fashionable minds.


Thursday, February 24, 2011

Excellence in Fantasy Film: Alice in Wonderland, Colleen Atwood

The Costume Designers Guild Award Tuesday night was a nice prelude to the impending Academy Awards to be aired on February 27, 2011. Below is the list of the CDG awards:
  • Excellence in Contemporary Film: "Black Swan," Amy Westcott
  • Excellence in Period Film: "The King's Speech," Jenny Beavan
  • Excellence in Fantasy Film: "Alice in Wonderland," Colleen Atwood
  • Outstanding Contemporary Television Series: "Glee," Lou Eyrich
  • Outstanding Period/Fantasy Television Series: "Boardwalk Empire," John Dunn & Lisa Padovani
  • Outstanding Made for Television Movie or Miniseries: "Temple Grandin," Cindy Evans
  • Excellence in Commercial Costume Design: "Chanel -- Bleu de Chanel," Aude Bronson‐Howard
  • Distinguished Collaborator Award: Joel Schumacher
Black Swan, though not nominated for an Oscar this year, was honored an award of Excellence in Contemporary Film. The nominees for Best Costume at the Academy Awards this year will be Alice in Wonderland [Coleen Atwood], I Am Love [Antonella Cannarozzi], The King's Speach [Jenny Beavan], The Tempest [Sandy Powell], and True Grit [Mary Zophres].

Personally, I am a huge Colleen Atwood fan. She has costumed movies such as Chicago, Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events, and Memoirs of a Geisha just to name some of my favorites. Regardless that it is always the same designers being nominated for Best Costume at the Academy Awards, I believe that Alice in Wonderland has the most outstanding costumes for color, character, and charisma.

This film has also had an impact on fashion as well if you recall the Spring 2010 collection from Versace, Donatella markedly pointed out that Alice in Wonderland was her inspiration.


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

1001 Nights Diamond Purse

While most of the fashion peeps are out bustling from show to show and city to city for New York, London, Milan and Paris fashion weeks, the serious luxury consumer was spying the magnificent evening bag created by House of Mouawad. Covered in over 381 carats of diamonds, it is officially the most expensive purse available at $3.8 million. It took 10 artisans and 1100 hours to complete this bejeweled bag that was displayed last weekend at the Doha Jewellery and Watches Exhibition, Qatar.

If diamonds are truly a girl's best friend, then this bag will never leave you lonely.


Monday, February 21, 2011

Spring 2011 Key Trends

Image Courtesy of

| looks | flared trousers, luxe loafers, ruffles & ribbons, clean & crisp, lace, tough chic, nautical stripes, classic trench, metallic, floppy hats, gold chains, cork heals, one shoulder, denim, long hems | prints | floral, tribal, animal, abstract | color | plum, magenta, emerald, chartreuse, gold, camel, ravishing reds, new neon


Monday, February 14, 2011

Find Your Perfect Pout for Spring 2011

A powerful pout is a Spring 2011 trend as well as a necessary element to becoming your own style icon. How to pick the perfect hue? Simon Doonan's advice in Eccentric Glamour is to have a cosmo or two before setting out for the cosmetic counters. Personally, I skipped the booze and went straight to Chanel at Saks Fifth Avenue where my friend Janae pointed out a few creamy rouges to try. I took my time making up my mind to say the least, trying one per day to fully experience each pigmentation. Finally, I settled on Chanel #19, and here I will stay.... for this season at least. It is bright on my light skin and certainly makes the statement I was hoping for! What better way to celebrate this holiday?

Happy Valentine's Day, Lex

Friday, February 11, 2011

LiLo Innocent When in White

Lindsay Lohan has always been a fashionista. She was donning this Kimberly Ovitz ($575) white dress when she showed up to her court appearance on February 9, 2011. Within 24 hours the dress was sold out on-line. This puts her in the running with Lady Gaga, Kate Middleton, and Michelle Obama as our style leader.


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Andrej Pejic - The Talk of The Town

Andrej Pejic [right] from Sydney, Australia is the most talked about model-of-the-moment, he is truly taking the fashion world by storm.

New York Fashion Week begins tomorrow [February 10 - 17, 2011], and we have certain questions that only this upcoming week can answer. One being, will Andrej Pejic be doing his turns on the catwalk for women's wear? Ranked number 16 of the top 50 male models, the Croatian/Serbian model showed up for the first time at the Paris men's shows in June 2010. A unique androgynous look has always been coveted by certain brands. Lanvin, for example, used gender questionable models in their Women's Spring 2011 look book. Marc Jacobs just recently picked up Andrej Pejic for his Spring 2011 campaign. We are all very excited to see what's next for this gorgeous man. Personally, I would like to see him pose for Calvin Klein who's always been a fan of the ambiguity of transgender models.


Sunday, February 6, 2011

Chanel Jeggings Spring 2011

Image Courtesy of
In the last year jeggings have made long strides, even Karl Lagerfeld has now whipped some up for the Chanel Haute Couture Spring 2011 show in Paris. He masterly styled them under Chanel suits, skirts, or with a scarf around the waist as pictured here.

My first encounter with jeggings happened just over a year ago. They were fresh on the market and I thought it would be an excellent accompaniment to the wardrobe I was prepping for a scheduled fashion shoot in New York. Of course, I was slightly hesitant to risk my reputation on them because they weren't actually denim. I fell in love, though others may have found it gauche to fake skinny jeans. In fact, once I worked up the courage to present them to the editor-in-chief her reaction was,

"what do I think of them? I think they were inevitable."

You can only imagine my shame. Luckily, that didn't stop me from wearing them all year to the point that the stitching is now worn in places and I'm on the market for a new pair. Thankfully, Karl is looking out for me!

Sincerely, Lex

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Contemporary is the New Luxury

As Renzo Rosso, creator of Diesel, stated last week, "Contemporary is the new luxury." Making this statement true, today Theory's capsule collection created by couture designer Olivier Theyskens hit Bergdorf Goodman and Barney's New York, next week it will be available at Net-a-Porter. This shows that the contemporary fashion market is moving successfully into new territory as far as design is concerned and with the price of cotton lately, the cost will surely follow.

What makes Theyskens' Theory exciting and different is that we get a high-end designer teaming up with a contemporary brand for a long term relationship.

The clothes, under the label Theyskens' Thoery, are remarkable because they reflect Mr. Theyskens' signature drainpipe style, but also look like Theory's urban wardrobe. [NYT]

Unlike the high-low collaborations in the past commissioned by companies such as H&M and Target, this one has quality and longevity. Olivier Theyskens is a pure creative talent. In the past his desire to keep his work an artistic medium at Rochas and Nina Ricci instead of ceding to market demands makes his creative direction for Theory all the more interesting.

To make matters even more exciting, Brian Blake has just been appointed by Andrew Rosen as the new President and CEO for Theory and Helmut Lang. Mr. Blake is the former chief President and CEO of Gucci. His promise is to take on a global strategy, making the contemporary market so much more interesting and so much more luxury!


Monday, January 31, 2011

50's Haute Couture and Black Swan References

Image Courtesy of
Last week the couture collections could be summed up into two categories: Black Swan and White Swan. Jean Paul Gaultier taking on the dark, brooding, theatrical side and Chanel reigning in the airy innocence of the other.

In general a much more formal look is taking hold on the catwalks showing long skirts, long sleeves, and bateau necklines everywhere. Elegance is clearly back on the table for the fashion crowd. So much for the influence of all those reality stars of late. Ladies that lunch want a grown up look that is demure, yet at the same time seductive, if not artistic. For all of this, look no further than the creations from Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pier Paolo Piccioli at Valentino.

Riccardo Tisci at Givenchy created an outstanding museum worthy collection channeling Japanese robot toys and the dancer Kazuo Ohno. He may not have had the usual 35 pieces required of a haute couture show, but just one outfit necessitated 2,000 hours of cutting and 4,000 hours of sewing.

As fewer and fewer fashion houses are creating haute couture collections it was a pleasure to see John Galliano reference Christian Dior's illustrator René Gruau from the 40's and 50's. Those were the days when rules of dress were strictly followed and sartorial superiority was something to aspire to. When I get dressed up I want to look like this (photo insert), oh-so-haute!


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Haute Couture Fashion Week Paris 2011

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Haute Couture Week in Paris is happening this week (Jan 24th - Jan 27th). Pictured left is a stunning detail of Riccardo Tisci's collection for Givenchy, Spring 2011.

Since the late 80's the term haute couture has been misused so often that its true meaning has become mistaken with that of prêt-à-porter in the public perception. In reality, the label haute couture is a legally protected appellation which can be used only by couture houses chosen by the Chambre de commerce et d'industrie de Paris based in Paris, France (created in 1868 by Englishman Charles Worth). The fashion houses have to meet certain criteria including designing a made to order for private clients comprising of one or more fittings, have an atelier in Paris that employs at least fifteen people full-time, and each season the house must present a collection to the Paris press comprising of at least thirty-five runs/exits with outfits for both daytime wear and evening wear.

Today only 2,000 women in the world buy couture clothes, of which 60% are American. Though only 200 women in the world are regular customers. In general, haute couture is not a highly profitable business, but is able to continue its operations even in downturns in the economy.

Today's major haute couture shows during Paris Fashion Week:
Alexis Mabille
Armani Privé
Bouchra Jarrar
Christian Dior
Elie Saab
Jean Paul Gaultier

Monday, January 17, 2011

The Modern Tux

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All those finely dressed men last night at the Golden Globes made quite an impression. Especially Justin Bieber in his three-piece D&G tuxedo..... nicely done, a dressed up look that stayed true to age. Of course the tieless Johnny Depp in Ralph Lauren Black Label and Ryan Gosling, who wore a Ferragamo black velvet suit, also deserve to be credited for keeping it fresh.

I would like to make a suggestion though for next year. As everyone in Hollywood was gearing up for the night of the GG's, Men's Fashion Week in Milan was heating up Italy. I couldn't help but pick out my favorite tux from the Carlo Pignatelli Outside Fall 2011 collection (pictured here). Inspired by any one of your favorite vampires of late, the look is made modern with zippers and a plaid bow tie. Can't you just picture a certain English gentleman wearing it to awards season? - Sincerely, Lex