Insomnia and the Fall Collections

April 5, 2013 § 2 Comments

OK, I am having a major stress-related sleepless night, so I thought now would be a great time to talk the Fall Collections that were shown in February. I know not everyone cares about these things, but I love the art of it when done well, and the trends you see here are things you are going to see everywhere come late summer, so assessing your about-to-be-put-away fall pieces from this season with an eye on next year isn’t entirely stupid. Also, please note that there are way too many shows, and I therefore tend to stick to the designers I personally adore and make sure to check out the ones that everyone is talking about. So, these comments aren’t coming from someone who has seen everything…just enough to have an opinion. 😉

So, we’ll start with New York:

I think I mentioned that I loved Narciso Rodriguez (http://nymag.com/thecut/fashion/shows/2013/fall/new-york/rtw/narciso-rodriguez.html), which was full of crisp jackets, spare-but-snuggly coats and trousers that you know you can wear to work and evening events that require a little more than jeans. Beautiful palette of inky blues, rust, classic black and cream and a fantastic pop of fushia here and there. Narciso isn’t really trendy, but his artful cutting that makes Minimalist interesting was on fire this season. These are Keeper Pieces that feel right now and will for a long time to come.

Marc Jacobs was actually my favorite New York show this season (http://nymag.com/thecut/fashion/shows/2013/fall/new-york/rtw/marc-jacobs.html). I am not usually a Marc girl, but for over twenty years, he has always been a force. This collection was a great mix of Cool Chick and Ladylike. The metallics had a comfortable and liquid-like effect, that when pared with more matte things (like cloth jackets and cozy, fitted sweaters) made them viable for day. The cloth coats and jackets were very desirable and perhaps a good way to get the look without it feeling too “Fall 2013″…more keepers, I think. The handbags were also kind of perfect, but I must ask: As much as I am enjoying the clutch these days, how practical is it, really? Also, Marc, WAY TOO MUCH FUR. No fur is best for me, but heavens, why would I want to wear a dead animal around my neck? I don’t even like it when my dogs jump on me and they are alive and wonderful creatures.

Proenza Schouler, in spite of their awful new logo (it is killing me) made me want to dress like a grown up again http://nymag.com/thecut/fashion/shows/2013/fall/new-york/rtw/proenza-schouler.html#slideshow=/services/fashion/get.fashion.slideshow.json:2013.fall.new-york.rtw.proenza-schouler.collection-full-length%7CcurrentSlide=00001). So much so that their Look 2 is on preorder for me. Hopefully it will fit and I won’t spill anything on it right away. Black and white was big again, as were relaxed but not slouchy jackets that you can totally wear with jeans and smart flats for a less dressed up look. I loved how tight they kept their palette and how so many shapes seemed to build on things they’ve been trying in prior seasons. I know the P.S.1 bag is the bread of butter of this business, but damn, these guys make great clothes.

The Row. There was nothing I did not want in this show. I even love the pants over the dresses — a trend to look for and consider provided that the pant leg is very slim and the dress feels more like a tunic. I especially loved looks 17 – 19, but would need to be about seven inches taller to pull them off. Still, I am certain I’ll find a thing or two, be horrified by the price, but wind up with anyway. The heart wants what it wants. And this stuff is also designed for the long-haul. http://nymag.com/thecut/fashion/shows/2013/fall/new-york/rtw/the-row.html#

OK, London…I’ve got to be honest with you: I didn’t like anything. And I usually love Jonathan Saunders, Preen, and Peter Pilatto. But the only thing I kind of dug was L’Wren Scott’s show, which was great for tall, pin-thin women who like a lot of gold and ruffles. This is not meant to be disparaging. I actually thought it was great..just not really for me.

Milan is where things start getting serious. For the palette alone, Jil Sander was a knockout: http://nymag.com/thecut/fashion/shows/2013/fall/milan/rtw/jil-sander.html#slideshow=/services/fashion/get.fashion.slideshow.json:2013.fall.milan.rtw.jil-sander.collection-full-length%7CcurrentSlide=00006 But I love the longer skirts, trim but not tight tops, and all of those delicious coats! I was surprised to see plaid here, but the nineties is back…so it is to be expected. The sweaters did look kind of great with the long, flowing skirts, but one needs to be careful to avoid looking like Elaine Bennis. Still, I loved this show.

There was way too much fur at Marni this season (http://nymag.com/thecut/fashion/shows/2013/fall/milan/rtw/marni.html#slideshow=/services/fashion/get.fashion.slideshow.json:2013.fall.milan.rtw.marni.collection-full-length%7CcurrentSlide=00019), but Marni Girls like me will always find something irresistible in the collection. More roomy coats and jackets were on offer…this is a trend that I suspect is here to stay for a while, but do be careful: we don’t want to revisit Working Girl again, do we?

Very interesting at Prada, but it almost always is. This is why I still wear pieces that are old enough to take their PSATs. I LOVED the coat sleeves when they weren’t done with fur. (Again…can’t we stop with the fur??) And the sharp, asymmetrical hemlines could be something that will trickle on down. Keep your eyes open.

And now on to the end of the road: Paris While an acquired taste, Ann Demeulemeester’s show had some interesting play with flowing fabric that still felt urban enough for an Indian Summer Situation in the city: http://nymag.com/thecut/fashion/shows/2013/fall/paris/rtw/ann-demeulemeester.html And I liked how some of it was paired with tougher and more substantial fabrics that would work well as the temperatures dive. No bowler hats, though. I beg you.

Like Jil Sander, Phoebe Philo at Céline (yes, yes, I love this line) was playing with longer skirts and high waists: http://nymag.com/thecut/fashion/shows/2013/fall/paris/rtw/celine.html#slideshow=/services/fashion/get.fashion.slideshow.json:2013.fall.paris.rtw.celine.collection-full-length%7CcurrentSlide=00001 And the softly boxy tops, jackets and coats were all in my face, strengthening my desire to be a Tall Person. That said, there were plenty of dresses and tops for a Wee Person like me to adore and wear without looking like a fool. So, Phoebe, thank you again!

Chanel is Chanel. Enough said. Oh, except I really dug look number 5: http://nymag.com/thecut/fashion/shows/2013/fall/paris/rtw/chanel.html#slideshow=/services/fashion/get.fashion.slideshow.json:2013.fall.paris.rtw.chanel.collection-full-length%7CcurrentSlide=00005

I love me some Chloe, but only look number 7 really melted my butter this time: http://nymag.com/thecut/fashion/shows/2013/fall/paris/rtw/chloe.html#slideshow=/services/fashion/get.fashion.slideshow.json:2013.fall.paris.rtw.chloe.collection-full-length%7CcurrentSlide=00007

Oh, God, DIOR!!!!. I just knew that Raf Simmons was going to be brilliant there, and he is, without making hay of the archives. Raf, I was in from look number 1: http://nymag.com/thecut/fashion/shows/2013/fall/paris/rtw/christian-dior.html#slideshow=/services/fashion/get.fashion.slideshow.json:2013.fall.paris.rtw.christian-dior.collection-full-length%7CcurrentSlide=00001 That said, there isn’t a ton here to really wear every day. And I do kind of need that more than anything else. Oh, and before you think I missed it: those bags were bad.

After years of resisting, Christian Wijnants got me into a jumpsuit this spring. He is new on the scene, but I think he has a great way with draping and the looks are youthful but still sophisticated: http://nymag.com/thecut/fashion/shows/2013/fall/paris/rtw/christian-wijnants.html#slideshow=/services/fashion/get.fashion.slideshow.json:2013.fall.paris.rtw.christian-wijnants.collection-full-length%7CcurrentSlide=00001 Look number 28, I love you.

No one, except maybe Galliano, does color like Dries Van Noten: http://nymag.com/thecut/fashion/shows/2013/fall/paris/rtw/dries-van-noten.html#slideshow=/services/fashion/get.fashion.slideshow.json:2013.fall.paris.rtw.dries-van-noten.collection-full-length%7CcurrentSlide=00008. And this wasn’t anywhere near his strongest in that regard. Still, there were things to love. I don’t feel like there are very trendy things in his collection…just things that call out to you and say “take me home and love me forever”. Look 11, deep crush. Less feathers and fur would have made this one more appealing to me, but I am still enjoying the pants under the dress trend. And the proportions here just look really fresh and wearable, even for a Wee Person.

I will always love Giambatista Valli: http://nymag.com/thecut/fashion/shows/2013/fall/paris/rtw/giambattista-valli.html#slideshow=/services/fashion/get.fashion.slideshow.json:2013.fall.paris.rtw.giambattista-valli.collection-full-length%7CcurrentSlide=00009 I do find it helpful to mix with more casual pieces, but look number nine is heaven, no?

And we must finish with the show that all eyes were on: Alexander Wang’s first collection for Balenciaga, which was perfection. There was so much talk of Wang being more of a street designer, but this collection was so respectful of the heritage, while being totally NOW, I was jumping in my seat (at the office, when I should have been working). I want to date looks eight though eleven, and once again wish that the fur wasn’t used in the later looks. Still, wonderful. http://nymag.com/thecut/fashion/shows/2013/fall/paris/rtw/balenciaga.html#slideshow=/services/fashion/get.fashion.slideshow.json:2013.fall.paris.rtw.balenciaga.collection-full-length%7CcurrentSlide=00008

So, what have I gleaned from these shows? Well, solids — especially black and cream — are big this year, as is the relaxed shoulder, pants under carefully chosen dresses and long jackets that look like dresses are all What’s Next or still going strong. I would also say that even when the tailoring is more fitted, things looked more comfortable overall. “Ladylike” here and there, “Modern” here and there, but this season seems to be saying “go ahead, finish the pasta and I swear you won’t have to unzip anything before you get home”. Enjoy!

xx

Chicken Soup to Get Over It, Already

April 3, 2013 § Leave a comment

OK, dear friends. Sorry for the rant last night. I am feeling better today and was reminded that good friends and family, along with a good night’s sleep, can make almost anything manageable. Also something that makes things more manageable is a good base for chicken soup: homemade stock. I know. Everyone says it and I am always like “I have a life to live”, but it is true, good stock makes for delicious everything.

photo

A couple of weeks ago, it felt like one of those days where you should be roasting a chicken. And so I did. It isn’t hard once you’ve browned the skin and turned the bird onto its back (that is a pain in the a**), and it certainly makes you feel like you have one of those very Domestic Goddess lives.

After a delicious dinner, I found myself with the remains of a chicken that was kind of begging to be used. So, I cleaned off as much meat as I could (and froze it for more Goop salads) and then put the carcass in a big stock pot with the usual suspects: water, an onion, some bay leaves, celery stalks, carrots, salt and pepper. And then added one ringer ingredient courtesy of Jean-Georges: a few whole cloves. I cannot tell you what a difference this makes, provided that you use it sparingly — we aren’t making a pie here. After a few hours of simmering, I ran it though my chinois* and was done. Eight cups of liquid bliss waiting to be used for days when you need a little extra something to manage it all. Like!!

xx

(Photo: Mr. H)

* You need one of these. Not only do they make you feel like a pro in the kitchen, they are essential in getting something clear without a lot of hoo-ha: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinoise

Disappointment

April 2, 2013 § Leave a comment

Add “incredibly angry and frustrated” to that, and you will pretty much my state of mind at the moment.

I am not writing about this to complain. OK, maybe I am a little. But really, I am just sitting here wondering how to get past it, as it is completely not my strong suit.

Remembering all the good things in my life is a help, but when I am in the grips of the Disappointment Monster, it is hard to see through the haze. It dissipates, but not as fast as I would like. And sometimes the haze gives way to an unpleasant clarity that results in questioning: What is wrong with this picture? Am I willing to invest more — time, money, heart — in something that only seems to be making me feel bad? Will it get better??

Truth be told, it almost always gets better, and maybe the questioning is good, even if you’d rather not go there. For now, I think I will just go to bed. Sometimes it really does all look better in the morning.

So, for all the days that you are feeling like I am this evening, just remember that you are not alone.

xx

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