Weekend Style Inspiration

The Trench

With spring’s arrival I can’t help thinking of the trench coat. According to Women’s Wear Daily, it was Greta Garbo in the 1928 film, A Woman of Affairs who began the trend for women when she wore a tartan wool lined trench on set. Though I live in Los Angeles, where unfortunately it seldom rains, this doesn’t impede my ownership of several trench style coats. A quick scan of my closet reveals four: one in black cotton, another in tan heavy weight cotton, one in moss green wool, and a classic water resistant trench in beige. The ultimate age appropriate coat, the trench imparts a sophisticated tomboy air that is forever chic.

Greta Garbo on set in 1928

Greta Garbo on set in 1928

Lauren Bacall wearing Bogart's trench

Lauren Bacall wearing Bogart’s trench

Audrey Hepburn

Audrey Hepburn

Charlotte Rampling

Charlotte Rampling

Loulou de la Falaise; image Peter Lindbergh

Loulou de la Falaise; image Peter Lindbergh

Diletta Bonaiuti via Harper's Bazaar

Diletta Bonaiuti; image Tommy Ton

via Harper's Bazaar

via Harper’s Bazaar

 

Sofia Sanchez de Betak; Tommy Ton

Sofia Sanchez de Betak; image Tommy Ton

Costanza Pascolato

Costanza Pascolato

via Blueisinfashionthisyear

via Blue is in Fashion this Year

Tommy Ton

Tommy Ton

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Essays and Musings

There’s No Place Like Home

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Years ago, when my husband and I first bought our condominium in Los Angeles, I claimed one of the hall closets as my own. As a New Yorker, I couldn’t believe how many closets there were; my heart swelled at the idea of having one to myself. It was a practical decision more than a selfish one: the closet in question has shelves of various sizes perfectly suited for storing the odds and ends of a woman’s wardrobe. The knowledge that my shoe cupboard, as I came to call it, contains more than shoes may surprise some readers. In fact, it is really a scrapbook of sorts – an invigorating mix of past, present, and future – all rigorously assembled. It is a shoe shop, a glove shop, a fabric and ribbon shop, a millinery, a vintage boutique, a handbag shop, and a medical files storage unit, all confined into one cheerful space. My shoe cupboard enshrines the many things that I hold dear. In it you will find secured in boxes or fabric bags vintage fashion jewelry, silk scarves, Rodo clutches, vintage leather handbags, gloves, and feather scarves. Like a star atop a Christmas tree, my college diploma perches on an uppermost shelf.

Last night, in making arrangements for an upcoming trip, it occurred to me that most people collect postcards when they go traveling. This group breaks down into two categories: those who mail the postcards to friends and family from the place they are in and those who bring them home, storing them in a drawer for safekeeping. I fall into neither of these categories, preferring instead to return home with colorful shopping bags from small local shops or department stores. In my shoe cupboard you can find Barney’s and Saks Fifth Avenue’s special holiday shopping bags and Bergdorf Goodman’s classic lavender bag. A glance into my shoe cupboard and you can visit Christian Louboutin in Paris, Missoni in Rome, KaDeWe, the large German department store in Berlin, and Schostal, the Roman 19th century hosiery shop where the Italian writer Pirandello purchased his socks, as well as the Swiss shop, Friedlin in Basel.

When I’m feeling gloomy and need a reminder of the beauty of life, my shoe cupboard is the place I look. It floods my vision with memories of past adventures, while fueling the desire for prospective travels. Most of all, it reminds me of home.photo[3]photo[4]photo[8]photo[7]

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Essays and Musings

Oh, The Places You’ll Go

Stella McCartney Fall 2015 Ready-to-Wear

Stella McCartney Fall 2015 Ready-to-Wear

Stella McCartney Fall 2015 Ready-to-Wear

Stella McCartney Fall 2015 Ready-to-Wear

One of the advantages of rehabilitating after a minor surgery is that it gives a person time for reflection. Due to a recent trip to the podiatrist, I am not only temporarily unable to wear heels, I am left stranded in my living room. With the exception of leaving the house to teach in sensible shoes, here I sit, right leg elevated, my dog napping in a pool of sunshine by my feet. In addition to sitting, I am tasked with regularly soaking my foot in salt water. Longing instead to get dressed up and go to a party or out to dinner, I have decided to satisfy the craving for an outing by flipping through the stream of runway photos accumulated over the days of this past fashion week.

Two things strike me immediately: the stamina of the well turned out fashion editors and stylists attending the shows and the disheartening amount of fur on the runways. With a great number of designers showing fur for Fall 2015 Ready-to-Wear, it was all the more inspiring to see a talented designer like Stella McCartney circumvent the trend with fake fur. She sent wooly mammoth like coats made of woven fabric and fake fur down the runway, resulting in a chic and playful winter wonderland look. And as always in a McCartney collection, her well cut pants were prominent.

Stella McCartney Fall 2015 Ready-to-Wear

Stella McCartney Fall 2015 Ready-to-Wear

Stella McCartney Fall 2015 Ready-to-Wear

Stella McCartney Fall 2015 Ready-to-Wear

Lanvin Fall 2015 Ready-to-Wear

Lanvin Fall 2015 Ready-to-Wear

Lanvin Fall 2015 Ready-to-Wear

Lanvin Fall 2015 Ready-to-Wear

At Lanvin I fell in love with the many textures and raw hems, not to mention the YSL inspired tassels and general bohemian glamour of the show. Gazing at these catwalk photographs has given me some solace in my homebound state, as well as a newfound desire for pieces in velvet and brocade. But as far as I’m concerned, how people interpret the trends for themselves is always more interesting than even a well orchestrated runway show. Personal style boils down to individuality, and ultimately to wearability. As much as I appreciate the fantasy of the shows, drawing inspiration from them, it seems to me the clothes a woman wears need to be relevant to her individual lifestyle. Despite the lure of trends, a woman today can steer her fashion decisions in any direction she chooses.

Who knows the places I’ll go and the trouble I’m liable to get up to once I have my feet back in some beautiful shoes.

Vika Gazinskaya; Tommy Ton

Vika Gazinskaya; Tommy Ton

Jeanne Dumas; Harper's Bazaar

Jeanne Dumas; Harper’s Bazaar

Grace Mahari; Harper's Bazaar

Grace Mahari; Harper’s Bazaar

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Joanna Hillman; Harper's Bazaar

Joanna Hillman; Harper’s Bazaar

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Elissa Santisi; Harper's Bazaar

Elissa Santisi; Harper’s Bazaar

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Giovanna Battaglia; Tommy Ton

Giovanna Battaglia; Tommy Ton

via The Sartorialist

via The Sartorialist

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The Four Seasons of Vintage

A Report in March

Valerie Harper as Rhoda

Valerie Harper as Rhoda

Mary Tyler Moore as Mary Richards

Mary Tyler Moore as Mary Richards

A few years ago, for the October 2012 issue of Elle Magazine, I wrote a short piece about personal style in which I referenced “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” and the great influence Mary Richards, a single career woman living in Minneapolis, had exerted over my ideas of style. What I neglected to mention here in the Elle article is that in addition to watching reruns of Mary on TV, in my pre-teen years I also obsessively watched her friend, Rhoda Morgenstern. Hailing from a New York Jewish family, Rhoda was the more “ethnic” of the two women. Viewers saw in her and her occupation as a window dresser, the bold creative type alongside Mary’s midwestern professionalism.

The thing that made both these women special in my eyes was their independence and unique sense of style. While Mary, a television producer, favored neutral tones and sophisticated pants ensembles that erred on the side of minimalism, Rhoda consistently chose bright colors, prints and headscarves. She exuded a bohemian glamour that went against the grain of her traditional upbringing and overbearing mother. But both Rhoda and Mary displayed an admirable confidence in whatever they happened to have on for the day. In those years, my mind was captivated by the idea of stylish living, a lifestyle I knew nothing at all about but by which I was fascinated. And so, I gleaned from intensely studying these fashionable and funny women that great style is a reflection of one’s personality. Because of the ease with which they wore clothes, I came to believe that style had little to do with price or designer labels, and everything to do with attitude. In each episode it was comforting to know you could depend on Rhoda and Mary to put the best of 70s fashion on display for the cameras.

At this writing, it appears fashion is having a Rhoda and Mary moment. Judging from the myriad street style photos of the Fall 2015 Ready-to-Wear shows, regardless of what’s being shown on the catwalks, people in the street have returned to seventies fashion: brightly colored prints, flared pants, light blue denim, suede, and colors like cream and camel. As for myself, this spring, I will not be getting dressed each day without first taking stock of what it is Rhoda and Mary would wear.

Rhoda and Mary

Rhoda and Mary

via The New York Post

via The New York Post

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Fall 2015 Ready-to-Wear Street Style; Tommy Ton

Fall 2015 Ready-to-Wear Street Style; Tommy Ton

Fall 2015 Ready-to-Wear Street Style; Tommy Ton

Tommy Ton

Susie Lau and Julia Sarr-Jamois; Harper's Bazaar Fall 2015 Ready-to-Wear Street Style

Susie Lau and Julia Sarr-Jamois; Harper’s Bazaar Fall 2015 Ready-to-Wear Street Style

Fall 2015 Ready-to-Wear Street Style; Tommy Ton

Tommy Ton

Fall 2015 Ready-to-Wear Street Style; The Sartorialist

Fall 2015 Ready-to-Wear Street Style; The Sartorialist

Leigh Lezark; via Harper's Bazaar

Leigh Lezark; Harper’s Bazaar

Fall 2015 Ready-to-Wear 2015 Street Style; Tommy Ton

Tommy Ton

Ella Catliff; via Harper's Bazaar

Ella Catliff; Harper’s Bazaar

Fall 2015 Ready-to-Wear Street Style; Tommy Ton

Tommy Ton

 

 

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