looks to try right now: earth tones

On November 14, 2015 by theseventhsphinx

While I often find a makeup look interesting or beautiful, it’s relatively uncommon that I actually want to recreate it on myself. I’ll make a mental note of elements I like here and there, which notes presumably accumulate in my unconscious to manifest at some later time, but usually don’t want to just copy the exact look.

Unless it’s this gorgeous.


This is the work of Victoria’s Secret makeup artist Hugo Vanngo [as featured in intothegloss], who obviously does restrained elegance well. The article was about a fresh take on earth tones, and I really love the first two looks he created (full article here).

The contrast of the deep garnet lip with the minimally contoured eye is so chic. The eye makeup is almost undetectable, with most of the focus going to the enhanced brows and rosy cheeks. Key that he didn’t bring the blush too far toward the center of the face, which keeps the look grown up. Imagine a vertical line coming down from the outside corner of the eye, this blush only slightly crosses that line, and only at the hazy edge of the zone of color. Compare this with a youthful blush look centered on the apples of the cheeks – a distinctly different look (urge you to try this at home).


This second look is LIFE. I love everything about the colors on the eye here. A prune lid with a rusty brown, fairly graphic crease color. Defined lashes but still natural (not doll drama, which I personally don’t like on myself). The faintest presence of bronzer and a peachy nude lip to allow the eyes to dominate…perfect. Shades of violet look lovely with every eye color, and if a crayola purple is too much for you, this kind of muted jewel tone (amethyst tempered with taupe, violet tempered with brown) is a beautiful way to go.

Will have to remember to document trying these looks out.

images via intothegloss

reading: cookbooks

On February 9, 2015 by theseventhsphinx

IMG_9606I am a frequent reader of cookbooks, some for practicality, some for fantasy, some for inspiration. Being a better cook is important to me (is part of my aspirational identity, part of my style, is non-negotiable), as is trying new foods and learning about other cultures through food. Here’s the stack I’m browsing currently:

The New Persian Kitchen, Louisa Shafia — I often like, in the case of cookbooks that focus on a particular culture, the section of the book that outlines specialty ingredients, describing their peculiarities and uses, and where you might find them, what they might be substitutes for, or what you might substitute for them. Expanding the culinary glossary. Immediately I imagine my own uses for them, how they might add interest to my existing repertoire. Immediately I want to go find them, if I don’t already have them. Immediately I want to use them if I do already have them. So far this is a great cookbook in that I want to make many of the dishes and I’m interested to read the small details, which seem well done here, about preparation. Not only preparation of the dish itself, but lots of good information about preparation of the ingredients. Ex. After reading this, I will be soaking some grains before cooking.

Simple Thai Food, Leela Punyaratabandhu — Also quite good, more the kind of cookbook I graze, skimming for what I want to read in more detail and absorbing the broad concepts, basic formulas, for later application rather than intending to cook a specific recipe (partly because many of the dishes are so flexible). Lots of explanation again, useful and clear, a little bit of bio mixed in, anecdotal evidence, all to the point. I love Thai food.

momofuku milk bar, Christina Tosi — The book born of the famous bakery, this is a fantasy read. These dishes are over-the-top, beautiful, innovative…complicated. Time-intensive. Gadget-intensive, stuff-intensive. I don’t really want to make them, but they are cool. Well, I might try a few of the easier ones…

Plenty More, Yotam Ottolenghi — I’ve enjoyed all of Ottolenghi’s books, interesting and uncomplicated (that is, often not many ingredients, though certain ingredients are complicated in themselves) combinations. Again I mostly skim here for concepts. You don’t need the recipe, you just need to remember the concept of the combination that is the key to the interesting flavor profile, and store it away, let it join the mix of the other flavor profiles in your flavor bank. His combinations inspire your own, which inspire still more, and so on. The kind of book that makes me hungry.




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.




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


This is a sublime V-neck situation.



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


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


Again this color. I am smitten with this color.


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).



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

images via style.com

distraction: Retro Butterick

On September 7, 2014 by theseventhsphinx

I’ve been itching to sew lately. Getting great inspiration from these 50’s and 60’s Retro Butterick patterns, especially these bell or swing/rockabilly skirt styles.



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May need to take a stab at this last one.

images via pinterest

inspiration: ancient everywhere

On September 6, 2014 by theseventhsphinx

“…nowadays even men wear gold bracelets…women wear gold…covering their fingers and their necks, ears, and hair, gold chains run at random round their waists, and little bags of pearls hang invisible, suspended by gold chains from their owners’ necks…even their feet are shod with gold…”

                                       — Pliny, Natural History, about AD 77-79

The MFA currently has exhibitions devoted to ancient Mediterranean as well as ancient Nubian jewelry, this in addition to the already impressive jewelry/adornment collections they have anyway. Add to this the incredible style of various sculptures and paintings (especially ancient sculptures, for me), and the MFA is non-stop style inspiration. I kept finding just exactly the accessories I’ve been looking for, only some several thousand years too late to purchase at market.


In all seriousness, how did this ever go out of style?


Finger ring of Taharqa. In all seriousness this is exactly what I have been looking for.




Actually I have something a bit like this…




This is like the mama scarab to my little pendant.


Now that is a sandal.




This is an interesting hair situation. I need to think about this. 


Above: Lessons in drapery. Below: Further lessons in drapery.



Photo Credit: Chris Bennett


Photo Credit: Chris Bennett


Photo Credit: Chris Bennett


Where even to begin with these maenads? Mavens of floral garlands (I’m taking notes) and all manner of organic accessories.


Photo Credit: Chris Bennett

If you spot anything reminiscent of these things on polyvore, drop me a line. Seriously.


In the meantime I’ll just go back (becoming a member is pretty reasonable, and there are special events) and visit them. Sketch them. Design outfits around them…


Photo Credit: Chris Bennett


Photo Credit: Chris Bennett

Found several charming interpretations of my namesake as well.