Friday, September 28, 2012

Who Are You Wearing?

There was a time when we (women) were defined by our supposed feminine expressions; cooking, dress-making, knowing that we should be seen and not heard. While things have changed immensely, we find ourselves being defined by a new set of criteria as we work our way up the ladder to 'equality' (I'm not a feminist, I'm a human equality activist). Here's the big question though:

Are female role models being defined solely by their talent/s these days? If not, what are the other crucial criteria that makes a woman, a true 'WOMAN' in the modern sense of the word?

The answer is her fashion sense. Yes, not any particular fashion sense, and not any specific allegiance to trends, but the truth of the matter is that some of the most powerful women in the world are able to extend their influence under the umbrella of fashion. And the fashion houses are more than willing to comply.

Who are you wearing? Narciso Rodriguez

Michelle Obama in Narciso Rodriguez

Who are you wearing? Jimmy Choo (her own victory by the way)

Tamara Mellon ;  founder of Jimmy Choo

Who are you wearing?

Fatima Bhutto for Vogue Italia

 Who am I wearing? Erm...no one...yet.

images courtesy of grazia uk, vogue italia.

Spring 2013 Trend: Textures

Spring is generally a time where soft fabrics rule, with the exception of eyelets and delicate laser cut-outs. If Fashion Week (or Fashion Month as it should be called) has proven anything, it's that Spring can be far from fragile.

The start of FW/M in NY saw textures in the form of coarse fabrics, and then  it all went a little wild...

Tassles; Scales and Minute Frills

Altuzarra glammed up their collection with scales, a nod to this season's Asian influences

Fashion Fringe put an edge on the neutral trend by adding texture with scales

Nina Ricci channels some of this year's Jazz Age flavour with a tassle/fringed dress

Altuzarra on the other hand kept tassles to a minimum with gold tassle accents

Textured Knits

Guy Laroche Spring 2013


Fashion Fringe saluted the peplum craze with embellished peplum add-ons

Lanvin went dominatrix-chic with a fully embellished one-shoulder jumpsuit

Give your ensembles some edge this season and contrast those billowing blouses with statement skirts and above all, ACCESORISE, ACCESORISE, ACCESORISE.

All images courtesy of style.com

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Spring 2013 Trend: Contemporary Prints

Yes, yes, prints are back. Just like every warmer season, we're lusting after prints but this time round, they're slightly less dainty and just a little more arty. Pretty has become edgy, in possibly the weirdest take on Spring fever, with optical illusions and contemporary prints stalking the runway.


Fashion Fringe 2013; Chinese Print Body-Con

A Detacher Spring 2013; Afrocentric Print Draped Dress

Fashion Fringe paraded their version of Chinese Warrior women, with models looking super edgy in neutral prints thrown off with splashes of red and blue. This delve into historical prints was echoed by many designers who took inspiration from India, China and Africa.


No. 21 Spring 2013; Checkered Skirt

Alexandre Herchovitch Spring 2013, Over sized Checkered Print Tee (worlds apart from Fall's Mad Men crazed collection)

No. 21 chose to accentuate their looks with a deconstructed tartan coloured print, while Alexandre Herchovitch took to enlarging the checkered print and playing around with the colours in their over sized prints.


Betsey Johnson Spring 2013; Illustrated Fruit Print Dress

Christopher Kane Spring 2013; Frankenstein Tee

The fruit-print trend of previous seasons was twisted by Betsey Johnson and her punk illustrative prints, focused on bold outlines and even bolder colour schemes. Punk and street art appeared to be very influential in collections other than the expected (Madame Westwood) as we saw in Christopher Kane's pretty collection underlined with a sense of disturbia.

So if you'd like, modify the Chinese evening dress you haven't worn since the Millennium, cut up a tablecloth, or doodle on your favourite tea-dress, call it a translation of the runway and I assure you, the title of showstopper will be yours.

Unless you end up looking like a Skid Row resident who had a rummage in Tim Burton's mood-bin, in which case, you didn't get any fashion advice from me. :)

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Piece of The Day; Earrings

Faux Ivory drop earrings from Big Blue make these desert boots from Mr. Price work-friendly.

Teamed with a high ponytail and pastel blue formal shirt, this outfit is a comfy winner for Spring, talk about being ready to go from the office to the mosh-pit.

The One Piece Wonder

This post goes out to all the fashion lovers who are learning the ways of showstopping (also known as "stealing the shine"; "grabbing all the attention" or pulling an "Anna Dello Russo"). I haven't been fashionisting for all that long, but I am a good enough observer to know what gets tongues wagging.

Here are a few tips for the poor readers who take notes when I blog:

                                           Moustache ring ordered from zando.co.za

1. It really isn't about labels, honestly, most of the world doesn't have the time or energy (read: sheer obsessiveness) to prowl style.com, Moda Operandi, Net-A-Porta or ASOS all day, and with the rise of the hipster, more and more fashionistas are finding inspiration in unnamed pieces.

2. Statement pieces are about catching attention, but in a good way. Wearing fully ripped jeans might get you all the attention, but it will command very little fashion admiration, and even less respect.

3. The secret weapon to being a showstopper is to stick to one statement piece at a time. Let the item have the chance to be admired and complimented, don't dilute its beauty with a million other contesting pieces, you're a lady, not a gallery.

                                                         Desert boots from Rage

4. Wear it with the right attitude. An elegant pair of earrings will grab all the wrong attention if you're popping gum like a hoodrat. A street style statement will be lost and cheapened if worn with an outfit too formal. REMEMBER: Every look has a corresponding attitude, and without the relevant attitude, the ensemble will not reach the height of its potential awesomeness.

So the next time you feel the urge to throw on 10 rings, a neck piece, full prints and statement heels, let Mademoiselle Chanel's words guide you and take one (or in this case about 10) item/s off.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Money: Always Too Tight To Mention

I pride myself in the fact that I have been blessed with the ability to source out clothing items that are always on point, fashionable, stylish and above all, a hell of a lot less than any similar designer pieces. Wearing an ensemble which works out to less than R500 in total isn’t too much of a hassle for me, and I revel in the joy it brings to others, because fashion should be accessible to everyone. Sadly though, the luxury market in Africa is somewhat heartbreaking, with department stores having comparatively microscopic ranges to their foreign counterparts, forcing the fashionistas to go vintage, or go broke.

The truth of the matter is that South Africa is only just entering the big leagues with regards to luxury goods, and with this sudden accessibility to exclusive designer pieces (and please note, that the issue at hand is a matter of brand worship rather than style purchases), we’ve got women spending absurd amounts on items which have no relevance as they are either basics, easily translatable elsewhere and/or unworthy of their price tag.

So what does one do to find that elusive middle ground between being Stylish and Affordable (also known as being Unbroke)?

You dig DEEP. And not in your pockets either. Over the next series of posts, I will be hunting down the best looks, and then searching for the best bargains to translate the inspirations.

I’d love to take a bow, but I don’t like to count my cents before payday.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Fashion Week Becomes Relevant

Everyone in the Southern Hemisphere has suffered the indignity of having to either:

1. Swoon over a runway trend and translate it for the wrong season.
2. Interpret a trend one season too late.

Nothing is more disappointing than being a mere observer in the goings on of fashion week and the excitement the new trends bring, until now. Spring 2013 Fashion Week is here, giving us the opportunity to jump onto trends and translate them for the streets long before our Northern counterparts can. The truth is that very few trends require exclusive shopping, and quite often, it's a trend that has been repeated and thus quite easy to achieve with just a few key purchases. For those of us who are incurable fashion hoarders (yes, you with the fetish boots which you could never wear again), Northern fashion weeks that coincide with our seasons a good year before mean the chance to be fashion forward, even if that means delving into our hard-earned repertoire of one-season-wonders.

The globalisation of fashion is something I’ve always been passionate about, and being an active part of the online fashion industry is something I feel utterly blessed for. Sites like Moda Operandi which offer runway collections and ASOS which ships anywhere have made us citizens of a global fashion community.

I've only taken a look at a few runway collections and I already know what my key purchases will be. This season, we're gunning for coarse textures, boat neck dresses, small prints, neutral colours and simple cuts; I reckon I’ll also be throwing the minimalist feel of the season off with some statement accessories.

Considering that South Africa has just landed its own Grazia, I think it is only fitting for the nation's fashion community to catch onto international trends and spin it out in a way only South Africans can.

Besides, who doesn't want to feel like NYFW is on their very doorstep? I guess I’ll just play pretend until Sandton is big enough.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

The Unworn Skirt and other neglected purchases

Last Spring I downloaded an app called Style Directory, somewhat of a good concept, albeit flawed in its execution. The idea was to be able to save all the runway looks I wanted to tap into for the upcoming season, but I didn't anticipate that my momentary adoration would result in a new level of impulse shopping, and not the good kind either.

I'd found a pleated, high waisted skirt by Christian Siriano, saved the image and started the cycle of obsession. It turned out that Forever New had a pleated skirt exactly like the one I wanted, in the most breathtaking shimmering peach. I bought it.

That skirt is still in my cupboard, with the tag still attached to it, a whole year later.

And so the real danger of fashion induced lapses of judgement is revealed. I find that I have a rather serious case of Trend Based Impulse Shopping Syndrome, the sort that made me buy moccasin platform ankle boots and a number of accesories, formal shirts, flared pants, sheer blouses. All still in their original packaging, all unworn, and all too exquisite for me to discard.

I'll admit, I'm not proud of it. But yesterday I bought a pair of 5.5" peeptoe wedges in tribal tapestry 'upholstery'. We'll see whether I ever actually wear them. God willing.