29 October 2010

Liu Wen Looks Nothing Like Herself in the New Estée Lauder Ads

Liu Wen recently became the first Asian to sign with cosmetics giant Estée Lauder, so the fashion world has eagerly awaited a glimpse of the new ad campaign. I really love Liu Wen. She is absolutely stunning on the runway and has a classically beautiful face. It's also fantastic to see the fashion world becoming more racially diverse. I think Estée Lauder was truly lucky to land her as a representative of their brand. However, I was a little disappointed with the ad campaign upon first glimpse in The Cut. She just looks nothing like herself! Maybe it's that fuchsia lipstick or the commercial styling, but she doesn't have that radiant, natural look that she typically exudes.

What do you think of the ad?

There's no doubt that she is beautiful, classy, and worthy of the campaign. But, in comparison to a recent look from the runway (below), you might see why I was ever so slightly disappointed.

Here she is at Stella McCartney, beaming with a natural glow. Maybe the ad campaign is just a little too "glamazon" for my taste. When you're this beautiful naturally, do you really require all of that makeup?

What do you think about the ad campaign?

Stella McCartney image courtesy of style.com**)

25 October 2010

Fakes are Never in Fashion this Election Season

Midterm elections are right around the corner here in the U.S. There are a lot of vital issues that are on the ballot for consideration, but there is one important campaign that will not be on the ballot. This is an issue that is close to not only my heart, but to the fashion community's as well. It is a campaign that has been spearheaded by Harper's Bazaar: Fakes are Never in Fashion.

This issue is always on my mind, but it entered my radar this weekend while my boyfriend and I were at a fall festival. I was expecting pumpkin pastries and authentic arts and crafts. Instead we were met with counterfeit Prada and Coach bags and bootlegged CDs and DVDs. Not exactly what I was expecting... One woman who was selling the counterfeit goods actually had a printed business card on her table. While pretending to peruse the illegal merchandise, I politely asked if I could take one of her business cards with me. Of course, she said. I've never had the opportunity to turn in someone selling counterfeit goods before, but this might be my first chance. Usually, those who panhandle illegal goods do so secretly or in an evasive way to hide from police and law enforcement officials. The truth is, fakes are NEVER in fashion. It is NEVER OK to sell or buy illegal, counterfeit merchandise. It may seem like a victim-less crime, but it is far from that.

Harper's Bazaar has been devoted to cracking down on the counterfeit goods industry for the past five years. Every January they provide an update on what is happening to prevent the sale of counterfeit goods. The magazine has also launched a website to accompany the campaign. Here are a few vital facts from their website that will hopefully make people think twice before they buy that fake Prada bag.

* $600 Billion- Estimated annual sales in counterfeit goods worldwide

* $512 Billion- Global sales lost to counterfeit goods

* $250 Billion- Annual loss to American companies from intellectual property theft

* $20 Billion- Estimated loss to American companies from counterfeit products

* $1 Billion- Estimated annual loss in NYC tax revenue due to counterfeiting

* 750,000- Number of jobs lost due to intellectual property theft in the U.S.

*10%- Estimated percentage of fakes among all goods produced worldwide every year

Consider those facts from Fakes are Never in Fashion (http://fakesareneverinfashion.com/fakes_numbers.asp) for a moment. In a time when the U.S. is reeling from catastrophic job loss, the last thing we need to be doing is supporting an industry that contributes to the loss of jobs. And these are only the economic and financial statistics associated with counterfeit goods. Dana Thomas, author of Deluxe: How Luxury Lost its Luster, is a well-respected fashion journalist who also reports on this issue for Harper's Bazaar. In a recent report she shared gruesome details from a trip to Guangzhou, China. She visited a factory where fake Louis Vuitton bags were made and discovered that some of the children had suffered broken bones at the hands of their employers. The employer had broken the leg bones and tied them together, so that they would never heal. Why was this done? Because the children had asked for a break. This horrifying story was revealed in the January 2009 issue of Harper's Bazaar. View the story here: http://fakesareneverinfashion.com/fakes_luxury.asp

If that won't make one think twice before buying that fake Kate Spade bag, I don't know what will. It's not just that the industry is deceptive and illegal, but it has also been linked to terrorism, abusive child labor practices (above), and the loss of revenue and jobs. It's not technically a crime to own a counterfeit bag (at least not in the U.S.), but in Europe, particularly in France, you can be jailed and severely fined just for being spotted carrying one. Lawmakers in the U.S. are working on that issue, though. The Design Piracy Prohibition Act was introduced in Congress to protect the rights of the designers who came up with, say, the double cross of the Tory Burch ballet flat or the craftsmanship of an Alexander McQueen shoe. When you buy a fake product, you're also robbing someone of the hard work and effort that went into creating that product.

So, when you head to the polls this election, consider this issue for a moment (even though it's not on the ballot). It's something that needs to be on the minds of concerned citizens everywhere, everyday. When you cast your vote, remember that FAKES ARE NEVER IN FASHION.

For more information on Harper's Bazaar's campaign, Fakes are Never in Fashion, check out their website at http://fakesareneverinfashion.com/default.asp. They have information on protecting yourself from unknowingly buying a fake good, on reporting the crime (anonymously), and on contributing to the prevention of the counterfeit industry. I hope you'll support this truly worthwhile cause.

18 October 2010

Our First Lady, the Style Star

One of my favorite style stars was in my neck of the woods yesterday with her husband, the man we all know as our President. I was so excited that the President and First Lady would be in town yesterday, but so disappointed that I wasn't able to take part in the celebratory excitement. Like any other Michelle Obama fashion-enthusiast, I had to turn to the website, Mrs. O, for photos of her from the weekend's events. Here she is in Cleveland wearing different gradations of navy and a fabulous print top. While there's no doubt that other First Ladies have had a certain style about them (Jackie O, anyone?), what I love most about Mrs. Obama is that she always looks professional, original, and youthful. She's also a friend to the fashion industry, choosing to support newer, unknown designers in lieu of the more traditional presidential favorites like Oscar de la Renta and Carolina Herrera.

I just love her.

12 October 2010

I can officially remove W from my reading list...

I started reading W right around my senior year in high school. I loved that the magazine offered more artistic and avant garde cover photos than any other American fashion magazine. I also loved the sheer size of it, even if my subscription completely overwhelmed our mail box. I subscribed all through college and kind of lost interest in W after graduation, switching my gears toward travel magazines like National Geographic Traveler and Conde Nast Traveler.

Well, any remnant of interest I had left in the magazine has been obliterated under the re-design of Stefano Tonchi. I haven't liked anything about the magazine since it was supposedly revamped. I didn't even touch the issue with Michelle Williams and Ryan Gosling, and I almost always give the magazine the obligatory peruse when I'm in a Barnes & Noble. The same will happen with the so-called "art issue" for November. Kim Kardashian?! Naked?! How is this in any way artistic? Shouldn't she be relegated to the covers of magazines like In Style and People? W used to be about high fashion, society, and culture. Under Mr. Tonchi's brief reign, the focus seems to have completely moved to pop culture, something that I have absolutely no interest in.

I wish W could return to its original focus. Actually, I wish the entire fashion industry would dial the clock back a bit. I have become completely disenchanted with the entire mainstream fashion industry, making me that much more pleased that I decided not to pursue a career in fashion journalism.

Maybe W will come around. For now, it has been removed from my magazine reading list.

11 October 2010

Charlotte Casiraghi's Dazzling Purple and Red Chanel

Vogue.com's Ten Best Dressed list is always my favorite part of Monday. I check this list religiously, and don't really consider the day to have begun until I have seen Alexandra Kotur's latest style stars.

My favorite look from this week's compilation is definitely Charlotte Casiraghi's stunning Chanel ensemble for the 90th anniversary of French Vogue. I love everything about this look: the double belt, the cuffs, the lace hat, the red nails and lips. It's just perfect. I only wish we could have seen the young Casiraghi crack a smile. Why does everyone in the fashion world (or in Ms. Casiraghi's case, high society) always look so glum? I've never seen Tonne Goodman with the hint of a smile. Caroline Seiber always looks depressed. Anna is, of course, never seen smiling.

SMILE, people!!!

To see the complete Best Dressed List for the week of October 11th, head on over to the newly-revamped Vogue.com.

(** photo of Charlotte Casiraghi is also courtesy of vogue.com**)

05 October 2010

Valentino Spring 2011: Feminine, Romantic Bliss

The October 5th Paris collections have been, without a doubt, my favorite day of shows this entire season. Not only did Pier Paolo Piccioli and Maria Grazia Chiuri put forth what was, in my estimation, their best collection for Valentino to date, but they also presented my favorite collection this season. I haven't seen Sarah Burton's collection for Alexander McQueen yet, but I know that I will still be reflecting upon this beautiful collection for Valentino even when I do view it.

I love feminine and romantic pieces, and this was an entire collection of looks that evoked delicate and ladylike moods. Each dress was more beautiful than the one before it, rendering it nearly impossible for me to select just a few favorite looks.

I am in love with this delicate, ladylike blouse. It is so sweet and demure, yet so versatile and powerful.

This beautiful dress reminded me of an earlier Valentino lace gown that both Gwyneth Paltrow and Jennifer Lopez wore variations of. I liked both of those dresses by Mr. Valentino very much, but I might like this one just a little bit more.

This dress is far too special for it merely to be referred to as a Little Black Dress.

Sasha Pivarova wears this carnation pink dress so beautifully. There is not a single thing that I would change about this look.

And, here we have my absolute favorite look from the entire show. How many trips to England would I have to sacrifice in order to add this gorgeous dress to my closet? Sigh. Waaaay too many...

I also adore this look from head to toe. The delicately placed ruffles on this dress remind me of ta scene in "Valentino: The Last Emperor" in which Valentino is seen quarreling with Giancarlo over the placement of the ruffle bands on a strapless white dress. Valentino wants there to be spaces between the ruffles; Giancarlo thinks it looks like there is a giant abyss in the dress. Surely you remember that scene?

Freja looks stunning in this elegant ecru dress. I also love the oh-so-delicate pop of color with the yellow shoes. This is exactly how I would want to look on my wedding day.

The closing look was another beautiful dress with diaphanous layers and a precious spark of color in the pink shoes. Pure perfection.

To see the collection in its entirety (which you definitely should!), head on over to style.com, the furnisher of these photos.

04 October 2010

Now That's What I Call Fashion: Haider Ackermann Spring 2011

Every so often, there will emerge one of those rare, life-affirming collections. If you are a writer, it is the kind of collection that you dream of writing about. If you are a model, it is the kind of clothing that you always hoped you would have the chance to present. And, if you work at a magazine, it is the kind of compelling, provocative collection that you know will bring even more interest and enthusiasm to the industry. Haider Ackermann's Spring 2011 collection was just that sort of collection.

The clothing was sophisticated to a tee, as well as sexy, erogenous, fashionable (of course!), and entirely wearable. I loved the rich, saturated hues of the yellows, reds, and teals set against the sexy black layered vests, silk pants, and rope-like belts. As Nicole Phelps said in her review of the collection for Style.com, "the clothes somehow managed to be utterly soigné and fabulously louche all at the same time."

Here are a few of my favorite looks from Señor Ackermann's outstanding collection.

From runway to reality, a layered tee would obviously be needed, but I still love the fantasy presentation of this look, especially since this model wears it so well.

Is this not the most gorgeous color you have ever seen? I would love to wear this dress, even though I am probably a foot too short for it.

So sleek, so sophisticated with just a pop of color. I could definitely see myself strolling through Paris in this one...

At first glance, this pattern closely resembles chic pajamas. Upon further inspection, it is a sartorial delight.

Another stylish interpretation on the previous look, this time with a sleek leather jacket.

Sigrid Agren wears this ensemble perfectly, but I think it would also look fantastic if the beautiful blouse was paired with skinny jeans for off-the-runway.

I'm not sure how well this look could translate off the runway, but it certainly is strikingly eye-catching. Of course, the leather vest could be a must-have item. I love the buttercup yellow color of the skirt and heels, but see it having little real-life wear-ability...unless you are Kate Moss.

(**Check out the complete collection over at style.com, from whence these lovely photos came.**)