Tombstone Cherry Red: A cat-eye watch on 50s & 60s Fashion

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Ignore the desert powder you’ve kicked onto your vintage mary janes and focus on placing perfect dabs of rich cherry red on those lips of yours.  This post is all about marrying tomboy faded jeans and tees with girly high fashion accessories imported all the way from  Milan.

{Mixing pastels with brilliant Spanish reds: (from left to right) Tom Ford Lipstick | a photo of my dad and his 1963 XKE Jaguar taken in 1965 | Prada 2012 shoes | Veneto Clutch & Crossbody}

I couldn’t help but squeal with delight when I came across these photos of my dad taken in the early 60s in Tombstone, Arizona …did I mention he lived on Toughnut street?  This picture below of him and a 1950 Buick was taken in 1960; a time and place where it was all about James Dean, cowboys, polished chrome, pegged pants, tees and white socks.

With so many carousel spins in fashion I open my arms willingly and lovingly to this amazing effortless vintage style.  After all, there’s a reason these are considered American classics:

{Tombstone Cherry Red: (from left to right) Adriano Goldschmied jeans | Little Red Riding Hood bag | Alessandra Ambrosio wearing MAC Ruby Woo lipstick from Posh Couture | Tom Ford eyewear | Stuart Weitzman nude pumps | my Uncle John sporting a white tee, pegged jeans and black frames, Dad in an awesome checkered shirt and always gorgeous, Aunt Pauline hanging out in southern Arizona taken in July of 64}

While European cars were known for their tight box styles; starting in the late 50s to the end of the 60s, huge cars with exaggerated fins and curves were uniquely American and I admire how Prada took these esthetics and redesigned them 50+ years later to retell the story in their own words.

Prada 2012

I continue to have a love-hate relationship with fashion.  Constantly chasing trends, seeing new ones emerge and others fade away; all the while knowing it’s just a matter of time before they are recycled and resurfaced in their newly-shined splendor.  But today will never happen again and tomorrow’s developments and avant-garde ideas are just as necessary as the past’s.  What I love about art the most is the storytelling; the stage, its characters, their lines, costumes and how the story’s meaning depends on when you experience it and who you are at the time.  Art constantly changes and grows along with its audience.   

Football Champions 1963

 

We’ve all heard that fashion is an expression of who we are. Even the act of not caring about fashion is an expression in and of itself.  Keeping this in mind, trends are very much an expression of who we are in society and a reflection of what’s happening in current affairs.  Back then women were expected to fulfill certain limited roles and their ‘feminine’ clothes expressed that. With all these ladylike pleasantries pushed to the side since then it’s lovely to know that it’s a delicious liberty to pull off head to toe traditional girliness without expecting to do so.  

{Thornbill Dress by Karen Walker}

For those women who roll their eyes when they see these feminine outfits; I’m afraid they have most certainly missed that point. I can’t help but think about a stylish friend of mine who recently moved in an adorable polka dot dress. Her hair tossed up in a pony tail, cheeks flushed, eyes matching her light prussian blue dress, she’d occasionally stop to take a swig from her Red Stripe beer while she was unloading the truck. She’s a walking oxymoron right? Isn’t that the whole point? We want to put people in boxes. It makes us feel safe that we can describe them in 100 words or less; however, I’ve rarely met someone I can describe in 100 words or less and if I have I probably didn’t do a very good job getting to know them. In Prada’s case, they reinvented this stereotype with a mischievous tongue-in-cheek undertone that I love!

{Prada 2012 Shoes | 1950s Cadillac | Miu Miu sunglasses | Prada 2012 handbag}

{Urban Oufitters

 

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Champagne & Grey Days: Paris 2012 Fashion Trends

Paris before spring is a time of the year when the chilly overcast accentuates the city’s grey hues, softens its pastels, dulls its rich charcoal blacks, but brings a promising glimpse of glitter to the faded gold facades.  

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I had missed the famous season and I’d  be lying if I said I wasn’t sad to have missed that time which has inspired so many to say with a sigh, “I love Paris in the springtime.”  I was, however, lucky enough to witness Paris’ fashion enthusiasts daringly test the season’s trends, well before the rest of us safely follow suit.

I regret to say that as a fashion blogger I still haven’t mustered the courage to ask complete strangers for a photograph or be forward enough to just snap a shot without permission; however… I’ve attempted to somewhat artistically (refrain from commenting otherwise) capture the colors that I repeatedly saw on the streets and its people.  These color palettes are inspired by the city’s stone walls, fashion accessories, street-style silhouettes that teeter between feminine and masculine and of course –  delicious pastries.


{Teal lace dress by Lover | Arabian Nights – Hand crafted ceramic earrings by Ware Clay}

{Elie Tahari S/S 2012}

These warm neutrals, pastels and brilliant hues create a perfect balance to the cool neutrals and teals…..

{1. Tan in Soho bag | 2. Little Red Riding Hood bag | 3. Veneto Clutch & Crossbody | 4. Ladurée macarons | 5. Silk gown by Elie Tahari | 6. Photo by  Stockholm Street Style | 7. the Sartorialist }

…..while silhouettes and playing match up perform similar balancing acts.  Soft feminine hair, draped silk and sweet pastel colors are off set with rock and roll pieces (think worn faded boyfriend jeans), clean, masculine blazers and leather embossed patterns and studs.  

{Carousel delights by Louis Vuitton | Veneto Clutch leather details | Lace-up stilettos by Tommy Ton at Style.com | Valentino Red | Balmain blazer}

Adding versatile pieces to your wardrobe that work well together and offer some contrast will offer you several different outfits you didn’t even know existed in your closet. Enjoy and have fun playing dress up!

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Beautiful & Functional: How to Make a Samovar Lamp

We got this amazing antique samovar from Morocco and even though I’d like to think of us as the type to lounge around sipping tea from a samovar I decided to put it to realistic use for our living room’s much needed lighting project.  It turned out more amazing then I expected.  The warm detailed brass combined with the sheer size of the lamp makes it both exotic and luxurious.  Each unique trait including every nick and dent you find in antique samovars make it that much more special.

{Below: A gorgeous samovar from Pure Style}

These step-by-step instructions can also be applied to other things you may love around the house that you’d like to convert to an everyday functional lamp.  For those of you who are not yet ready to venture on this exciting project; here’s a little thank you for stopping by.

Materials Needed:

  1. “Make – A – Lamp Kit” (found in any hardware store)
  2. Lamp Pipe Kit (the pipe is also called a nipple – the long tube cavity that holds the wire and supports the bulb set)
  3. Latex gloves (optional but these can protect you from getting painful metal splinters)
  4. Drill
  5. 5/16 drill bit (slightly smaller then the pipe)
  6. Hammer
  7. Measuring tape
  8. Heavy duty shears* (only necessary if you have to cut out something extra to create a solid base)
  9. Aluminum sheet* (found in any hardware store)
  10. Adjustable wrench (not absolutely necessary but very handy)
  11. Wire strippers
  12. Light bulb
  13. Long metal nail
  14. Screwdriver with different heads

*If the harp’s bottom is smaller then the samovar’s top lip than it’s probably a good idea to add an aluminum strip for extra support.  I didn’t necessarily need one but added it anyways.

Step 1: Identify the base

Normally this would be the very bottom of the piece you’re converting into a lamp.  In this case, there was a metal flap that was used for letting heat come in and out.  The flap wouldn’t be secure enough or provide a clean drill so I removed the entire thing.  Start by trimming with shears and then finish off by grabbing the entire piece and pulling it out with the wrench.

Step 2:  Determine pipe length

Measure the distance between the very top of the samovar’s lip to the samovar’s base that you just decided on.

Step 3:  Unassemble samovar

Step 4: Create a pilot hole

Before drilling, you’ll need to create a tiny hole that will keep the drill from slipping.  Secure the nail on the screwdriver (to get extra length) and tap a hole with the hammer in the very center of the base.  **Do this sitting down with the samovar between your legs.  Otherwise, hammering on a hard surface can dent a weak or narrow part of the samovar.

 Step 5: Drill

  • Drill with the 5/16 drill bit in the very center of your base where the pilot hole was created.
  • Once the hole has been drilled, re-drill and make the hole slightly larger by putting pressure evenly on the sides of the hole so that the pipe fits securely.  **Do this gradually and check frequently with the pipe to avoid making the hole too large.

Step 6: Thread the lamp cord, insert and secure pipe through the base

Once you’ve thread the cord inside the pipe, insert pipe (wires up) from the base.  Secure with the washer and nut provided in the pipe kit

Step 7:  Assemble without going past the socket cap

Step 8: Wire

  • Strip 4/5th of an inch of insulation off the wire
  • Tie an underwriter’s knot
  • Match the hot wire to the hot terminal and the neutral wire to the neutral terminal by tucking the wire behind the terminals’ screws the way you’d tuck your hair behind your ear and tighten screws with the screwdriver.  **Usually the ribbed wire is the neutral wire and terminals are differentiated by one being brass and the other silver.

Step 9: Secure socket interior and finish assembling

  • Insert socket interior into the socket cap while pulling cord downwards from the bottom end
  • Assemble remaining pieces

Voilá!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Tropical Punch: George Barbier & Dr. Seuss skip town!

Out of all the trends mentioned in diaNoche Living, Tropical Punch is the one you’ll probably see less of, however, what it lacks in quantity it makes up in quality (or character[s]).

Think:  Hawaiian/tropical flavor with really bold surfer colors and silhouettes.  Tiki inspired, bold prints with touches of neon.  Key colors are orange, watermelon, tangerine, and grass green with black as the base color.

Accessories:  Flat sandals, strappy  sandals, embellished details, rafia soled wedges (see below), enamel accessories, layered necklaces, shiny crystals, plastic bracelets, colored eyewear, neon rope belts, patterned scarves and last but not least turbans.

Giuseppe Zanotti rafia wedge sandal

Issa

Pantone colors from left to right: Vermillion Orange, Mock Orange, Aurora, Fandango Pink & Online Lime.

The key designers who each had a different take on “Tropical Punch” (a conversation singled out by trend forecast firm, Fashion Snoops) were Dior, Prada and Stella McCartney.  Stella’s collection left you feeling happy and satiated as if you just gulped down a cold glass of fresh lemonade, ready to lay back down on a bed of warm grass:

Dior’s pinup muses strut down the runway wearing bold colors such as vibrant (almost neon) tangerines, turquoise and fuchsia, tropical inspired prints, crochet knits with sailor caps and exotic colored feather accessories.

Throw in a drunken mad sailor and you have Galliano’s last show.

While Prada took on a whole new direction.

I know fashion gurus all over the world read this blog as scripture (that was a joke) but I don’t want this to be read as fact; it is merely my interpretation of the collection.  For all I know Miuccia Prada could have been inspired by a basket of bananas and that Chiquita’s* irresistible figure.   Believe it or not I’m inspired by random things like that all the time.

*Dik Browne,  who created Chiquita Banana, is the same artist who created Hagar the Horrible comic strip.

However, the closer I looked at Prada’s SS11 collection the more I saw George Barbier’s paintings come to life (watch this).

The hand drawn style scrolls…

…the stripes and shoes…

… the short, modern hair cuts..

all with a dash of Dr. Seuss inspired accessories that scream, “I don’t care, I just came to play.”

Even though these trends are unique from the rest (well, some more so than others) the message is consistent throughout: have fun, play and explore.

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose. You’re on your own.
And you know what you know. You are the guy who’ll decide where to go.”

-Dr. Seuss

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Spring ’11 & ’12 Trend Forecasting: Simple Picnic vs. Tropical Punch

“Simple Picnic” and “Tropical Punch” were some of the last forecast looks Fashion Snoops singled out from the runways (the other was preppy “School Spirit” which is pretty self explanatory).  As much as I like these two, I’m slightly biased towards the Bohemian jet set and 70s chic looks.  Regardless, they’re still beautiful and easy to translate from the runway to your wardrobe.  I was looking through some photos of Fall’s fashion week and kept seeing pieces of Prada’s tropical look on several attendees and then remembered seeing tons of “Simple Picnic” inspired looks all over Topshop in London.  For both these looks, a sense of humor and youthful optimism is a must, especially if you have the overwhelming urge to wear a small apron such as this one:

D&G Spring '11

Think:  Peasant, bleached denim, patchwork patterns, eyelet dresses, overalls, large cabbage rose prints, railroad stripes, polka dots, single color checks, bold colors such as fire engine red, bright pink (e.g. fucia), and grass green.  Use navy to blend with these bold colors since the contrast would be too sharp with black.

What I love about this look is that it really does an amazing job telling a story.  The colors, fabrics and silhouettes capture the warmth of the sun and new beginnings.  Looking through D&G‘s S/S ’11 collection you can almost smell the fresh strawberries and fertile grass.  Man, those Italians are good.

These are great because they can be easily worn with a jean or leather jacket and you’re good to go.

D&G (left), Isabel Marant (right)

However, I wouldn’t suggest doing the same with this Antonio Marras number.

{Cherry Pantone forecast colors from left to right: Turtledove (12-5202), Poinsettia (17-1654), Fandango Pink (17-2033), Cradle Pink (12-2905), Summer Green (14-0156), Patriot Blue (19-3925)}

To be continued with Tropical Punch…

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70s Chic: The Girl Across the Room

What is it about 70s style that feels daring, beautiful and comforting all at the same time?  It must be all those faded yellow-tinted photos of seeing our parents looking great at parties, smoking cigarettes, dancing, laughing all in high waist bell-bottoms.   The glamour was permanently sealed in our memories with Penelope.  The girl across the room … back then nobody apologized for partying, period.

With this stagnant, rough economy it’s no surprise we turn to purchasing fashion pieces we intuitively understand.  Nothing’s more comforting than the familiar and many high fashion designers seem to agree.

Think: Flowing fabrics, soft and feminine silhouettes, plunging necklines, high waist bell-bottoms, chunky bracelets, floppy hats, ankle strap platforms, cinched waists all in warm honey neutrals as a base color with citrus and blue hues as your accent colors.   Let the good times roll….

{Paul & Joe}

{Valentino, Costume National}

{YSL and Fendi Spring ’11 ad campaigns}

*These Pantone colors (shown with Marc Jacobs‘ Spring ’11) were chosen by Fashion Snoops, a trend forecasting and consulting firm based out of New York.

{Orange Popsicle (#17-1350), Lemon Chrome (#13-0859), Honey Gold (#15-1142), Poinsettia (#17-1654), Deep Blue (#19-3847), Blue Curacao (#15-4825)}

Stay tuned for the last but not least trend forecasting looks to complete your shopping list.

Gianfranco Ferre Spring '11


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Spring 2011/2012 Trend Forecast: Romantic & Adventurous Bohemian

I’ve got all the goods on trend forecasting from my recent trip to Magic (an extremely important fashion trade show in Las Vegas) that will take the guess work out of your spring and summer shopping so you can focus your energy on just looking incredible.  Yay!  Since there’s so much information I’ll have to break up the top looks of this and next year into a few posts.  I’m starting out with these two since they are my favorite and relatively close in style.

*This information was taken from a seminar hosted by Fashion Snoops, a trend forecasting and consulting firm based out of New York.  dN Living has revised the content for its site’s readers.  The colors used are all Pantone.

{From left to right:  Alberta Ferretti, Emilio Pucci. Colors used in moodboard:  Lemon Chrome, Azalea, Jojoba, Nile Blue, Blue Curacao, Black}

Think:  70s folklore, mix patterns, layering, long length skirts, sheer fabrics, bold colors, cotton eyelet, crochet, off the shoulder silhouettes, art nouveau inspired.

Colors: periwinkle blue, jade/emerald green, neutral tan, mustard yellow, and pink/reds.

Boho colors for men: sienna, grass green, mustard yellow.

Fabrics for men: linen, textured, washed out plaids

_________

{From left to right:  Roberto Cavalli, Oracle Fox.  Colors:  Egret, Moonbeam, Warm Sand, Pale Blush, Nile Blue, Dusky Green}

Think: Skin, suede, all about detail with a little bit of shine, animal print, safari animal, military detail with a pop of color, soft sand pink, peachy nudes, aqua sanded blues, beaded crochet, long, layered, dramatic, ethnic patterns, with wood, bone and metallic details.

*Everything with a “sanded” worn feel and fringes!

{John Varvatos.  Photo credit: Shei Magazine}

Sahara Expedition for men:  Simple, neutral/warm gold base colors with blue and red as the popup colors.

Sahara desert fabrics for men:  water repellent, burnout jerseys, meshes, heathers.  Silhouettes:  Safari silhouettes, roll up sleeves, tank tops, functional.

The moment I saw this look I immediately thought about one of my favorite bloggers, Oracle Fox, an Australian artist that is a constant inspiration.  Her talent and eye for design and beauty never cease to amaze me.

Off the Runway to Your Closet:

{Dress: Free People ($68), white tank: James Perse ($50), lace-up boots: Jeffrey Campbell ($328), fringed scarf: Emilio Pucci ($760), suede shorts: Michael Kors ($250), dip dye scarf: Banana Republic ($59.50)}

{Roberto Cavalli: Mother-of-pearl gold-plated earrings ($415),  gold-plated tusk necklace (($1,445)}

Sorry, I had to throw those in in case you had a couple thousand laying around.  Although it’s tempting to tan especially for these looks; never underestimate the power of soft blush and chocolate eyeshadow.  Stay tuned for the next top looks!

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Sahara Sunset

If I write a post about an event I usually do so soon after the experience or at least jot down a couple of notes and ideas.  Unfortunately, this is isn’t the case for this post.  All I have left is the warm hazy memory of the Sahara and the photos of that unforgettable trip.  I had dinner at a Moroccan restaurant a couple of days ago with a few friends and almost everyone had been to the Sahara in Morocco at some point in their travels.  We started to reminisce about the sand that is unlike any sand we’ve ever touched.  Because there is zero humidity it skims off  your skin and gives way to any form of weight or pressure.  It is simultaneously heavy and light and moody during sunset.  At first you find yourself in a sea of  Aperol that intensifies by the minute and then before you know it, it cools down to a soft pink that gives the scarce shrubs a silver hue.  Once the sun has dipped below the horizon, the grey sky turns the sand a gentle neutral amber color.  I hope these photographs do a better job describing this indescribable place:
[Black & White]
[Behind the Scenes]
(By the way, two feet behind us is a 20 foot drop)

I almost fell off this sand dune changing my shoes. Thankfully, I had my wonderful husband helping me. Although, looking at this picture makes me think otherwise....

Looking back, this probably wasn’t a good idea with that drop behind us.

Let's take a second to look at the space I covered compared to Hedeer's.. it's like he's a secret undercover volleyball player. Either that or I'm pathetic at jumping. Both scenarios are equally possible.

I love the guy's expression captured in this photo

Thank you for stopping by.  I recently attended fashion’s major trade show in Las Vegas, Magic, and next week I’ll give you my undercover scoop on color and trend forecasting to make your spring and summer shopping trip a little less painful.

Posted in Fashion, Travel | 2 Comments

A postcard from the Garden of Yves

Fascination St.

[Shoe by Yves Saint Laurent / Gaultier S/S 2011]

I was reminded of Majorelle Blue a few months ago when I was watching a documentary of Yves Saint Laurent’s life.   Majorelle Blue was trademarked by the French artist Jacques Majorelle and was the main color used in the artist’s largest art work, Majorelle Garden.  Purchased by Saint Laurent and Pierre Berge in 1980, the garden and it’s villa became a sanction for Saint Laurent and eventually his resting place where his ashes were scattered 28 years later.  The garden’s hypnotizing blue was not the only thing that inspired Saint Laurent.  Here’s an excerpt from Times of Malta describing this unique love affair…

The designer was born and raised in the then French colony of Algeria and found something familiar in Marrakesh when he and Berge arrived there in the late 1960s.

Morocco inspired some of the daring colour combinations in Saint Laurent’s creations – orange with purple, pink with red – that earned him a reputation as the designer with the best colour sense of the 20th century.

“I remember we used to drive up to the mountains near Marrakesh,” said long-time Marrakesh resident Bill Willis, a close friend of Saint Laurent who designed his villa.

“We would see Berber peasant women carrying their bundles of firewood who wore the most wonderful colour combinations – he inspired himself a lot from that.”

A painting of Jacques Majorelle. Although the unique shade of cobalt blue was named after Jacques Majorelle; the color is commonly seen in Moroccan tile, Berber clothes and homes.

I can’t help but think of him when I see the bright color in Morocco or on the runway…

Our friends' beautiful villa in Marrakech.

Dior SS11 & Majorelle Garden

It was no surprise when after playing with endless color possibilities, my eyes and heart kept wandering back to that mesmerizing blue and eccentric yellow.  Here’s an inspiration board and mockup design I put on Russian model, Irina Shayk because well… she’s gorgeous and exotic; much like the colors themselves.  This paparazzi photograph captures her jet set look while sporting a white tee flawlessly.

On this diaNoche postcard: Emilio Pucci, Jardin Majorelle, Majorelle bamboo walkway, Tom Ford's Bois Marocain perfume

Photo credits: Emilio Pucci, Jardin Majorelle, Majorelle bamboo walkway,  Tom Ford’s Bois Marocain perfume

diaNoche shirt

Anthropologie's Sun Shades Dress

Posted in Art, Fashion, Travel | 2 Comments

Stylish Blogger Award

Last week I received The Stylish Blogger Award from APPLESandRUBIES and semiweeklyeats!  I’m both extremely honored and slightly anxious about the list of 7 things you may or may not know about me that I have to include in my acceptance speech.  I’ll make this quick and painless for the both of us… Here goes:

1.  I sleep with my eyes open.  Scary,  I know.  I also found out a couple of years ago I’m incapable of blinking (fully that is – otherwise that’d be really scary).  I like to think this is my only flaw…. or at least this is what I tell my husband.  This imperfection is easier to bare knowing my favorite villain, Wilhelmina Slater has the same problem.

2.  My dream is to have a shared warehouse full of my friends and their incredible talents.  Kind of like Duff from Ace of Cakes – I couldn’t think of a better executed career.  What’s the point of having success if you don’t enjoy creating and sustaining it?

3.  Last week I went to go see a narration of Brian Greene’s children’s book, “Icarus at the Edge of Time” with music by Philip Glass.  It’s a story about a boy who runs away from home to explore a black hole.  I’m ashamed to say I fell asleep halfway through the show, probably with my eyes open.

4.  I love vinegar.  I could talk about this for hours but I’ll spare you the torture.  Aside from being delicious, it’s also an amazing way to clean your home.  I love the fact that it does an awesome job without using harsh chemicals that are bad for your family and the environment.

5.  I’ve worn glasses since I was 5 years old.  My first pair were extra large and hot pink.

6.  I was carried into our wedding reception  in a domed chair encrusted with crystals and pearls.  By then I had already lost my voice and couldn’t yell at the two arguing men who almost dropped me because they couldn’t agree which direction to go.

Here’s a close up:

7.  This past Friday I sipped hot spiked cider overlooking the White House from the rooftop of the W Hotel.  Sometimes I forget how amazing this city really is.

Thanks again to Loretta and Jesse; you two add so much to my morning ritual.  Here are the blogs I’d like to pass on this award to who also add style, humor and inspiration to my mornings and evenings:

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