New York Fashion Week: Favorites & Trends

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.

This is a very substantial post as New York Fashion Week is an enormous topic.  You can use the following links to jump ahead: Trends (90s70sCelebrityCollectionsCutoutsCulottesFringeGradientsKnitsLurexMarijuanaPatchesRuffles); Favorites (for aesthetic & for wearability).

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Berlin, Stockholm, Copenhagen, & Kiev

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.

Augustin Teboul

Augustin Teboul Fall 2016 Berlin

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.

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Paris Couture Week Favorites & Trends

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

spring 2016 couture faves
Top-to-bottom, let-to-right: Alexandre Vauthier École Polytechnique uniform coat; Elie Saab Neru collar top and punjab pant; Dolce & Gabbana Alta Moda black and gold cross dress; Maison Valentino sheer gown with gold detail.

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.

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L’Oreal Complexion Products Review

Magic Lumi Light Infusing Primer

Magic Lumi Light I
Magic Lumi Light Infusing Primer

Price & Size: $12.95 for 0.68 oz / 19 ml

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.

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H&M x Balmain Launch: What I Experienced

First off: I never intended to pick up the collection’s most coveted items — the beaded blazer and embroidered dress.  While they are both beautiful, I found them more reminiscent of Balmain in 2012 than 2016.  No shade to anyone who picked them up or admired them, but I think H&M and Balmain chose to re-create some pre-existing designs rather than push new ideas, given that people have already been watching celebrities wear nearly identical pieces for years.  Also the target audience of H&M is not as risk-taking as your average runway show attendees, and familiar silhouettes and design concepts are safer.

Doors opened at 8 a.m.  Around 7:30, having just returned from my morning trip to the gym, I headed down to the 86th Street H&M in Manhattan.  The line stretched down the block towards 3rd avenue, but did not reach the next street corner when I arrived at 7:45.  No doubt the people first in line had been there all night.

By 8:30, I had been given a wristband that would allow me to enter at 9:45.  The wristband guaranteed me a spot in line so I did not have to stand around any longer.  I headed up Lexington to Fika Cafe, enjoyed an almond milk latte and a croissant, and casually walked back around 9:30.

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Technology & Couture Meet at Paris Fashion Week

A week ago, Fashion Week was in full swing in Paris.  Fashion Week, whether in Paris, Milan, London, or New York, has always been known for a display of cutting edge notions of what beauty can look like.  Those who follow both Fashion Week and Apple’s releases might remember last year’s London Fashion Week, where the iPhone 5S’s slow motion video capability was debuted with an Instagram video of a Burberry runway show (video here).

Still from Burberry's iPhone 5S slow motion video of their Spring/Summer 2014 runway show at London Fashion Week.
Still from @burberry‘s iPhone 5S slow motion video of their Spring/Summer 2014 runway show at London Fashion Week.

Apple has been working to be seen as “fashionable tech” arguably since the clamshell iBook from fifteen years ago, which featured bright colors and rounded corners — a significant departure from the existing design of laptops.  As mobile phones became common place, so did phone cases and charms.  A fashionable person’s cell phone was not complete without a shiny cover or sparkly charm.  In the 90s, merely having a cell phone was a status symbol, but by the time Motorola introduced the RAZR, it was clear that the kind of cell phone you had was as important as simply owning one.  And this trend has skyrocketed since the invention of the Smart Phone.

As technology seeps deeper and deeper into our every day lives, it makes perfect sense that it becomes a part of our fashion aesthetic.  We carry our Smart Phones with us everywhere, and for many of us, they are constantly in our hand.  It functions in many ways like a clutch purse, but it is not limited to a feminine look and is far more likely to appear in a professional setting.

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