building blocks

On September 17, 2014 by theseventhsphinx

If you are attacked as regards your style, never reply; it is for your work alone to make answer.

                                            — Voltaire, Voltaire’s Philosophical Dictionary. 1802

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Here’s the shirt I picked up from the Altuzarra for Target collection (available on Net-a-Porter). Really nice cut, just an OK fabric, polyester crêpe de chine, which just means a plain lightweight weave with a crisp appearance. Some pieces are especially fruitful starting places for a look, and I get so many images and ideas when I see this cornflower pinstripe buttoned number. Things just start falling into place, snowballing as if of their own accord into a fully formed ensemble. For instance…

First: pencil skirt. Not black, though, not dark at all, I think. Something pale, gray possible, or flax. I want a heathered texture, for whatever reason. Something in a warm fabric for early autumn, literally and figuratively. This thin woolen blend No. 2 pencil skirt from J. Crew suits. This is a critical fork in the road, and determines all the colors to come.

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Then shoes, I think (though any element may be the starting place, and any may yield the next). And I still have those heeled huaraches from the Altuzarra show on my mind, so something along those lines, but in a richer shade now.

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Then lipstick, surely. I could go in a few directions here, anything on the red or plum spectrums, even a rusty orange, but a medium to dark fuchsia wins the day. Cannot recommend the Estée Lauder Pure Color Envy line enough.

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Then I see browns, golds, ivories for the other accents. Pearls, of course pearls. This is the Bobbi Brown Surf & Sand palette, an excellent option for a basic mix of easy shimmery and matte neutrals. I like this strong blue anchor (not that it is a bold blue, but that it is a definite, conspicuous piece of color), gently shadowed and warmed by pale neutrals. I know I’ve hit upon a a good color vein, or combination of color threads, when it pleases me to see them together. There is a certain almost visceral satisfaction to these happy combinations, as if sating your (ravenous, always) eyes with a nourishing meal.

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It doesn’t matter what the colors are, really. Which categories they satisfy. Just as it is beneficial to begin thinking of makeup as one massive collection of pigments with various textures (not lipstick, but creamy pigment, not eyeshadow but powder pigment – so the potential applications begin to multiply), so you begin to think of your entire wardrobe (and more and more of life begins to fall into the category of wardrobe, of style) as a collection of colors in varying shapes and sizes, textures. Building blocks.

Then I toss in a watch. Gold-toned, surely. Love the sleek, clean designs of Danish brand Skagen’s watches.

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Just one example.

Altuzarra is killin’ it

On September 12, 2014 by theseventhsphinx

Joseph Altuzarra has turned out a stunning collection for SS 2015, where by stunning I mean just what I want. He’s such a wonderful young designer, and a prime example of what the Vogue Fashion Fund (he won their award/grant in 2011) can do for a designer and so for the world of fashion. He’s been turning out solid collections for years but this is the first one to actively catch my attention.

Great use of asymmetry in diagonally placed stripes and angled vents and cut-outs. Soft, suede-like material here, leather there, lovely draping. A clean black and white palette with touches of cognac and a saturated cornflower, gold.  Wonderful use of layers (love the sheer tops) and simple ribbon belts.

He shows—at least, for the most part— that often rare yet, when honorably implemented, irresistible element in the circus of fashion week: realistically ready to wear designs. Transposed onto the street most of these women would stand out, sure, but for the best reasons. Reasons like, because you appreciate their style, because you, too, aspire to wear designs that trumpet confidence and character, because the colors and lines please your eye.

Highlights:

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Actually I’ve always had a soft spot for gingham.

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This is a sublime V-neck situation.

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I want something very much exactly like this. I should be able to make something like this, it seems. Ish.

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This deep toffee color is everything I want it to be. This ties in to my taste for rust and sepia shades at the moment, to be sure. This sudden injection of texture in the narrative of the show is a wonderful, softening surprise.

I keep trying to remember to wear a button down like this as well, that careless unbuttoned look I find so appealing. I think I could manage it.KIM_0276

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Again this color. I am smitten with this color.

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The draping on this top is a thing of beauty. I like this black bralette peeking through as well. I want to copy elements of this collection outright. These little woven sandals, heeled huaraches, are appealing, too. I like a narrow ankle strap like this these days, there’s a delicacy to it (visually and probably literally).

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Bravo. High marks for color, texture, silhouette…I can’t wait to see what is next from this kid.

images via style.com