Thursday, August 21, 2014

On Our Radar: The Frosted Lip

It was only a matter of time. After the comeback of Vamp and all colors in its bordeaux family (one could argue Vamp never really went away, but I digress), followed by the onslaught of raisin-brown lips (extra points for liner!), the next natural step in "what goes around comes around" lipstick trends consists of one key word: Frosted.

 RiRi puts her "style icon" to the test by challenging the power duo of acid-lime curls and a frosted mocha mouth. 

More notorious than applauded and more mocked than copied, the shimmer lip is not for everyone, to say the least. However, just glance to the upcoming release of Rihanna's latest collaboration with MAC: Viva Glam Rihanna 2, which follows a heady red, for an indication of its prowess. It's a shade of unapologetic "frosted metallic mauve," in lipstick ($16) and lip glass ($15) form.

The key is delivering your look with a healthy dose of camp (and probably after applying your latest round of teeth-whitening strips. Nothing brings out a less-than-pearly smile like some light shimmer).  You simply can't act all dead-serious when attempting this look. And that should be the fun of it.

Obviously, Rihanna's not the first to take it on. From bubble-gum pink to not-so nude, here's a look at some other ice queens who illustrate you can, indeed, inject some heat into any shade of frost:

Daria Werbowy rocks the frosty pink lip on the beach in the July 2013 issue of Vogue Spain

And shocker, she proves she can work a pale pink lip with a wet suit, embroidered blazer, and ultra-reflective lenses. 

Clearly, Pamela Anderson enjoyed employing sheer frosted gloss over liner (our bet it was the beloved MAC shade Spice) back in her '90s heyday. 

Model Hanna Wahmer looking glamorously retro - and incredibly dewy - for the July 2012 issue of Vogue Taiwan

Swinging London icon and '60s supermodel Jean Shrimpton was one of the first to unleash the frost on the masses

Models working light shimmer and hefty color backstage at Zac Posen's Spring 2010 ready-to-wear show

Makeup artist Stephanie Marais described the models as, "A mix of Degas ballerinas and Jean Shrimpton from the 1960s. Graceful and delicate like a watercolor painting, colors blended like hydrangeas."

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Trend-Spotting: Balenciaga Iconic Low-Rise Trousers

The Piece: Out of one of Nicholas Ghesquière's acclaimed collections for Balenciaga, these soft blue tonal-striped trousers are like flared jeans but better. They have just a few more discreet details, and therefore, lots more appeal. With an easy, low-slung fit and a front seam, they also possess a vaguely nautical feel that is spot-on for fall. Available now for $188. 

 Karlie Kloss making her lengthy stems look even longer in Paris 

The Trend: From the originals, like Jane Birkin, to the updaters, like Karlie Kloss, low-slung flares are a timeless staple for those who enjoy the path less traveled, as well as a little swing in their steps. There's no denying you walk a little differently when wearing bell-bottomed pants: it's a pop in the hip and swagger in the strut. So it's no surprise that flared, sea-faring jeans are being lauded as one of the number-one denim trends for Fall '14.

 Jane Birkin igniting denim envy in her favorite patchwork flares

 Meredith Melling-Burke modeling an ideal example of the Canadian tuxedo (left); Jane Birkin modeling an ideal example of DGAF chic with slouchy jeans and insane accessories (right)

How to Style It: You can go a number of ways with these (that's the beauty of this cut), as long as you stick to one essential mood: free and casual. The less fuss, the better, so feel liberated to accessorize with offbeat accessories, pump them up with platforms, and mix it up with a mismatched denim shirt or a cropped sweater. Just keep the attitude light and your hair perfectly imperfect. 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Viva la Schiaparelli: Fall 2014 Couture and What Came Before

Schiaparelli Fall 2014 Couture looks

The house of Elsa Schiaparelli made an at-long-last return for Fall 2013 Haute Couture Week, with fellow eccentric Christian Lacroix paying homage to the designer with an 18-outfit tribute, before he returned right back to his work in the theater. But it was the next season that marked a true milestone: Marco Zanini, formerly of Rochas, was appointed to officially resurrect the house and the results were hugely successful.

 Schiaparelli Fall 2014 Couture looks

Zanini understands Schiaparelli, from her passion for color to to her contradictory nature to her ever-present sense of humor. "She was a delicate paradox," he observed, "the epitome of elegance with a certain taste that wasn't very elegant. She was the first to mix high and low."

 Schiaparelli Fall 2014 Couture looks

It's his second couture collection, for Fall 2014, that firmly cements Zanini's place in Schiaparelli's tight-knit world. He embraced the surreal, via bleeding, arrow-shot hearts of Lesage embroidery; he gave a wink and a grin, with an ornate take on the classic paper party hat; he revised the notion of the animal print, replacing usual leopard spots (as seen in the first look) and zebra stripes with "Central Park" squirrels and rats (set in playful purple on an otherwise sophisticated evening gown) and flapping pigeons (some with sequin-accented eyes). Most vitally, Zanini was unafraid to go all-out and unapologetically so. The attitude gave way to a sense of "I don't care what you think" exuberance rarely seen these days.

  Schiaparelli Fall 2014 Couture looks

Eighty years prior, Time magazine featured Elsa Schiaparelli on their 1934 cover and wrote of her: "Madder and more original than most of her contemporaries, Mme Schiaparelli is the one to whom the word genius is applied most often." Born in 1890, by the age of 14, she had written a book of poems entitled Arethusa that scandalized her family (and got her sent to convent school). This merely marked the first of the many moments in which she would elicit shock, awe, and surprise from her audiences and onlookers, from introducing zippers to high fashion to inventing sheer, brightly colored stockings.

 Portrait of Elsa Schiaparelli (left); Schiaparelli posing next to a Vespa (right)

The Rivalry: It's no secret that Coco Chanel and Schiap (as she was known to friends) were bona fide rivals, as they both sought to be Paris' number-one designer. Chanel called her "that Italian artist who makes clothes," while Schiaparelli simply called her "that milliner." While many credited her as being bolder and far more innovative than Chanel, Schiaparelli was far less successful in the post-World War II years, with her house going bankrupt and closing its doors in 1954.

 Schiaparelli in 1931 (left); one of her elaborate evening gown designs (right)

The Surrealists: Schiaparelli is one of the few designers credited with inducting Surrealism into the realm of fashion. Influenced by artists like Man Ray and Jean Cocteau, her first foray was with her tromp l'oeil sweaters in 1927, including the "Faux Bow" sweater, which kicked off her revolution. In 1935, she unleashed chintz beach hats that resembled folded newspapers (inspired by the old women in the Copenhagen fish markets who wore actual newspapers on their heads).

The "Faux Bow" sweater (left); the "Lobster Dress" (right)

The following year, she synced up with Salvador Dalí and designed a "chest-of-drawers" suit, inspired by his painting Anthropomorphic Cabinet; they also collaborated on the "Lobster Dress" and the "Skull Dress," which was evocative of the dark time leading up to World War II. Other notable creations: a bracelet that resembled a goldfish, down to the coiled tail; a suit with lip-shaped pockets; a hat made to look like curled-up, upside-down shoe.

The "Skull Dress" (left); the "Shoe Hat" (right) 

Model Guinevere Van Seenus wearing Schiaparelli's shocking-pink dress (Fall 1937) in Vogue magazine, May 2012

Shocking Pink: April 1937 was the moment Schiaparelli truly shocked, at least in the literal sense of the word. Her shocking pink hue, for which she is still famed (just look to the NARS lipstick and nail polish colors, naturally named Schiap), and Shocking perfume were both introduced. The bottle was fashioned in the sensuous shape of an hourglass, based on the dressmaker's dummy she used when creating the costumes for Mae West in the film Every Day's a Holiday. (She would go on to create Sleeping blue and Stunning red.)

 Illustration of a Schiaparelli design, cover of Vogue, 1934 (left); advertisement for Shocking de Schiaparelli scent, 1953

Just keep in mind, it was Schiaparelli who said, "The moment people stop copying you, you have ceased to be news." Needless to say, Elsa Schiaparelli continues to be news. 

NARS Schiaparelli-inspired colors, out of their Iconic Collection