While New York Fashion Week was just over two weeks ago, it feels like I’m already far behind the times posting this review now. But such is the world of fashion, especially during fashion month. It’s an understatement to say things move quickly.
My lateness aside, I wanted to post this to review some pieces and collections that stood out to me, both to highlight clothes I might wear and those few designers that took interesting risks. I have to agree with the top fashion editors that not enough collections felt risky or new this season. I can respect that the world of fashion is undergoing significant changes at the moment — in the social media driven world, everyone wants to have the most Instagramable collection and consumers want what they’re seeing photos of now, which is why many designers are choosing to offer see-now buy-now collections.
A collection that is too risky, that introduces a too-new silhouette, that pushes consumers ideas about what beauty can look like too much is likely to sell less than something that meets existing expectations and comfort zones. And financial risk aside, we’ve seen so much fast change in fashion in the last half-century — from A-lines to miniskirts, from dramatic flares to tight cigarette pants — it can feel like we’ve seen it all already, and that everything new is simply a rehash. Strictly speaking, that is and isn’t true. All art is a reference to previous art; it has to be. In that view, nothing is new and yet, everything is.
During fashion month, many of the cities with smaller fashion weeks get overlooked. While excitement about the rapidly approaching New York Fashion week rises, the collections from Berlin, Stockholm, Copenhagen, and Kiev have already finished showing.
Below are some of my favorites from each of these four fashion weeks. I would have to say Stockholm and Kiev tie for overall favorite weeks. But the collection from Baum and Pferdgarten (Copenhagen) takes first place for my favorite collection.
Berlin Fashion Week
Fall fashion week in Berlin featured lots of black, which is both the chicest of colors and also an archetype of German fashion. This season in particular designers drew inspiration from the punk styles of the 90s, the new Star Wars film, and fetishwear.
The combination of a blazer, bandeau top, and skinny jeans is a fit we have seen on runways and celebrities for seasons. Even the pairing of socks with pumps, while rare, is not novel. Despite the popularity of this proportion, Teboul has given us a new way to wear it.
Teboul’s collections are influenced by fetishwear, and this fall features a unique way to style fishnets that I personally cannot get enough of. Worn under a skirt or skinny pant and yet over socks and with a high enough waist to show under a crop top, the fishnets give a textural element to a look we’ve now seen a thousand times.
While I love the look of the black fishnets over red socks, I would like to see this done with beige-nude fishnets over black socks, still with black pants and shoes.
As anyone with an internet connection knows, Couture Week in Paris was a little over a week ago. For many years I have followed fashion week after fashion week, experiencing it vicariously through Vogue editors and bloggers reports, occasionally posting exciting looks on twitter and more recently spamming my favorite looks from nearly every collection on tumblr. I’ve decided to start compiling my favorite looks and writing up trends I am excited to be seeing on this blog, and my first attempt is here.
Some Favorite Looks
Why these four looks? To start, I am a sucker for École Polytechnique coats, and Vauthier created three spectacular versions in varying sleeve lengths with subtle tailoring differences. The long sleeved show-opener was my personal favorite, both of the coats and his entire collection.
It was truly challenging to pick only one look from Elie Saab’s collection — the entire thing was nothing short of perfect. Starting with the concept of a young woman traveling on holiday to India, connecting modern silhouettes and themes with timeless Indian ones. Perhaps the best thing about Saab’s collection is that the Neru collars and sari sashes do not cross into costume territories. One of my favorite details are the beige boots and the pants tucked into them, which come as unexpected in such a loose and feminine collection, yet do not feel out of place.
Dolce & Gabbana’s Alta Moda collection received a standing ovation when it debuted in Milan. One of my longtime favorite themes in D&G’s collections is their use of catholic imagery. Crosses feature heavily in many of their lines, couture and ready-to-wear alike. The comparative simplicity of the above look is what I like so much. The bright contrast of black and gold, the unusual but familiar silhouette, and the dark red lipstick. It is a vampy look that personally calls to mind what the most fashionable parallel universe version of Buffy the Vampire Slayer‘s Drusilla might wear.
As Dolce & Gabbana’s piece reminds me of a vampire princess, Maison Valentino’s is more directly referencing an elvish princess. Barefoot with a floor length gown and decorated with bold jewelry, from literally head to toe.
As the name suggests, this is a brightening primer. On a good skin day, I will put this on over my sunscreen, throw on some mascara and lip tint and call it a day.
Packaging: The primer comes with a pump dispenser, which is a hygienic distribution but will lose some product in the bottom of the container. One or two pumps is sufficient to cover my face. Pro tip: shake the container for a few seconds before using the pump. Sometimes if I haven’t used it for a while the product will separate.
Formula: I tend to wear BB creams and light coverage foundation so I still see the “lumi” quality coming through. Under a medium to full coverage foundation, it loses most of its brightening quality. While the brightening quality does offer some light diffusion which smoothes skin, it offers little pore filling or long wear properties. I will tend to wear it over my NYX pore filler silicone based primer and under my BB cream or foundation.
My favorite thing about it is how it looks in your hand. Living up to the word “magic” in its name, the product looks like liquid mercury or something out of Harry Potter. I’ve included a true swatch of this product at the bottom next to the swatches from the contour palette.
Full list with links and prices at bottom of page.
Pencils are arguably the oldest and most common form of eyeliner. It’s possible to find cream and gel formulas in pencil form, and are usually in a twist up container or a traditional pencil that needs sharpening. Pencils provide a familiar tool and if the formula is smooth, the liner should glide on easily. Pencil liner can be applied to the top and bottom lids, the lashline, and the waterline. Because pencils are a familiar tool and can be applied anywhere, they tend to be best for beginners. The only con I can think to mention is when it comes to precision. Even a twist up pencil needs to be sharpened to stay precise, and sharpening pencils means you lose some of the product. Even when sharpened, their precision does have a limit. Some products are so creamy they can slide on oily skin, but I find that gel pencils don’t have this same problem for me.
I recently made an order from Drugstore.com to get birthday gifts for my good friend Lizzie Lee, and to tip my order into the free shipping zone I bought two small things for myself. Lizzie has been recommending Neutrogena’s Healthy Volume Black/Brown Mascara to me for a while so I picked up the waterproof version (my eyes run like a faucet when I get tired). I had read many good things about L’oreal’s Infallible 24 Hour Eyeshadow and I am always interested to try new textures so I couldn’t resist buying one for myself as well as one as a gift. This post is a quick look and review from using the mascara and eyeshadow a few times.
Wet n Wild is a brand I have walked by in drug stores for years, but in my current area the selection is limitted so I had only picked up a couple products. After spending some time on their website and acquainting myself with their awesome moto (All Access Beauty – a concept I love for a brand that sells such affordable and quality makeup) I decided I needed to give the products a try and placed an order.
For a $5 primer, this stuff is amazing. I prefer it to the $7 Milani Eyeshadow Primer, which is both more runny and more yellow. Wet n Wild’s Fergie Colleciton primer is a lighter neutral color. As compared to the infamous Urban Decay Primer Potion, I think it is less tacky. On days where I am lazy about my skin care routine, and thus have oilier lids, I find the Wet n Wild Primer doesn’t do as well, so for those with very oily lids it may not be a good choice.
Baked eyeshadow are traditionally mineral eyeshadows, though many contain plenty of non-mineral ingredients. Baked eyeshadows are made in a wet mixture, shaped into domes, and as the name suggests, baked. They can be applied dry for a sheer glittery shadow or wet for a more metallic sheen.
Almay is a company that I don’t see getting much love on the internet. I can somewhat understand this, as they do not have the reputation or inventory of other drug store brands. But I do think there are some undervalued products, and it has a special place in my heart. My friend Lizzie Lee introduced me to the liquid lip balms, and for Christmas this year she gave me an Almay single eyeshadow in a beautiful mossy green! She also has a couple posts on her blog using the Shadow Softies in Seafoam (1,2).
Maybelline Color Tattoos are frequently compared to the infamous Mac Paint Pots. I don’t own any Paint Pots (yet), but I do have a Color Tattoo Obsession Collection. So while I can’t comment on the wear of the different products, I can do some fact listing.
The Color Tattoos are $7 for 4g of product, while the Paint Pots are $20 for 5g. So while the Color Tattoos are $1.75/g, the Paint Pots are $4/g; more than twice as much.
The ingredients in the Color Tattoos and the Paint Pots are fairly similar. The largest difference I noted is that the Color Tattoos list a cyclopentasiloxane (a silicone emollient) as the first ingredient, and isododecane (a hydrocarbon emollient) as the second. The Paint Pots list isododecane first and dimethicone (another silicone emollient) second. The cost of cosmetics grade cyclopentasiloxane and dimethicone seem to fall within similar ranges (cyclopentasiloxane is $3-5/kg, dimethicone is $1-6/kg), so it’s likely Mac’s higher price tag is mostly for brand name reasons.
Someday I’ll be able to pick up some Paint Pots and do a real comparison review. Until then, let’s focus on the Color Tattoos.