weekend distraction: Carolina Herrera

Periodically there is a certain look or silhouette I have seen, perhaps only briefly, that stays with me for weeks or months, or longer. Haunting me, tugging at some as yet incoherent desire, shaping outfits to come.  To determine their appeal is a retroactive exercise.

There are two such looks at the moment (well, a great many more than two, but two dominate), and I wonder if it can be a coincidence that they are both from Carolina Herrera?


This first is from Herrera’s Fall 2013 RTW collection, and a number of the pieces feature this fantastic belt in some form or another. Black and white of course we love, but also the severe structure of the neck and shoulders, the close tailoring from neck to waist, contrasting with the fluidity of the skirt. This was, somehow, the piece that convinced me that it is worthwhile to invest in a truly excellent belt. A belt that can, solely by its own virtues, cocoon the bearer in a halo of sophistication. [Must find an opportunity to show you the one I found.]


This look is reminiscent of Herrera’s own uniform; she is invariably chic and nearly always in a white blouse and black skirt, which she changes occasionally for a black blouse and white skirt (this is a slight exaggeration, I think there is a gray skirt, and sometimes she is in all black…but the exaggeration is only slight, I promise you). I have mentioned before and will surely mention again my devotion to the white buttoned shirt, and I think I’ve covered my current preoccupation with long, full skirts, too. Here they are together! Living in harmony! In two of my favorite colors!

While quite different, the looks share clean lines, simplicity of design, an element of severity, and that maximal contrast.

Herrera is a Venezuelan designer whose brand was built on her own reputation for impeccable style. Her designs are often described as ‘classy’ in a vintage sense of the word that is increasingly rare in usage; the one giving the sense of elegance and grace without any irony or mobster w/ cigar imitation voice.  The designs are feminine in the sense of accentuating the waist and incorporating the soft lines of light, fluid fabrics, but they are often (certainly I think in these examples, it varies) stately, too. This is a reserved (and thereby fortified) elegance, which makes it all the more striking, poignant, to my eye.

images via pinterest

smell this: Chanel Coco Mademoiselle

IMG_6115Well, it doesn’t smell as good on me as it did on the guy who made me want to buy it, though I was drunk at the time I decided I would buy, and he must have bathed in it. Lesson learned in testing on self [Always test on self!]. And inebriated scent assessment.

Pleasant vanilla, citruses and rose florals anchored with patchouli –  not too sweet, esp in the drydown, so it smells good (definitely good…not quite inspiring but solidly good, I can see why it sells so well) but rather boring to my nose. Would be a fitting scent for a particularly charming baby or nursery was my initial thought [though you aren’t meant to put perfume on babies, I know]. Can layer to sweeten or temper a masculine, is how I’ve been consoling myself about it. I find that it plays very well with others, after a couple of years of experimenting with it now and then. Especially like it over something musky, like the C.O. Bigelow musk oil. This also keeps it from being so recognizable, and helps with that ideal of having a unique scent for oneself.

Though it is not my favorite I often reach for it (alone or somehow layered) when I don’t want to think too hard about smelling nice–not only nice, but ‘pretty’, nice in a sense with feminine mass appeal–and I want to speak, inconspicuously, effortlessly, to a broad range of tastes. Perhaps if I know I will be meeting new people, for example, and I’m in a rush. I almost always get positive comments.