Wednesday, January 30, 2013

I Want It Now: Renzo + Kai

I am willing to admit something embarrassing: I watched Gossip Girl until the bitter end. I have no idea why—the plots were ridiculous, clearly everyone gave up on pretending the characters were still in college, and I think by the second-to-last season, I was probably more invested in the show than the actors themselves. But much like Sex and the City—a show which also, sorry to say, really went downhill in its last season—Gossip Girl was great NYC eye candy: good landmark spotting, beautiful sets, fabulous clothes. Costume designer Eric Daman was genius at outfitting all the characters—Blair in her Upper East Side princess garb, Chuck in his cheeky suits—but the way he dressed Serena was my favorite; she was so out of touch with reality that she didn't think twice about wearing, say, a sequined top and a tube skirt to an internship. Was Serena going to a party or coming from one? You never knew.

I didn't realize what a void the finale of Gossip Girl had left in my life until I went to Renzo + Kai's showroom last week. Designed by Mrinalini Kumari, who's been embroidering clothes for designers like Armani, Etro, and Valentino since the '90s, Renzo + Kai is a relatively new contemporary line that showcases her love of embellishment. And the first thing that came to mind while checking out the spring 2013 collection was Serena van der Woodsen. The line features fun, flirty pieces like rompers and party dresses, all finished beautifully with intricate sequins, beading, chain trim, and various luxe details. Much of the work is subtle enough that it can be worn for day, lest, unlike Serena, you actually have a day job. Of course, the standout pieces are the ones better suited to evening, but don't let that stop you. Let's ooh and ahh, shall we?

Zoom in on this top and you'll see it's beaded all over, so it almost looks like chain mail. You could totally get away with wearing it to work under a blazer or sweater. Intermix has a very similar exclusive style here.




Speaking of work-friendly styles, I love the graphic black-and-white look of this top, but upon closer look, the stripes are sequined. Surprise! Here's a similar style at Saks.


I am a sucker for sequined skirts, but I was particularly taken with this aqua number—believe it or not, the sequins were actually soft and kind of matte, making it totally wearable for day. Shopbop has another great sequined skirt, however unless you actually are Serena van der Woodsen, I'd recommend it for after hours only.

Have you ever seen a more glamorous romper? I want to go on vacation somewhere exotic, like Antigua, just so I'd have somewhere fabulous enough to wear it. Shopbop has it in blue.


And since I was raving about the party dresses, check out the beading and chain detailing on this one. Bonus: You don't even need to wear a necklace! Here's a somewhat similar Art Deco-inspired style, also at Shopbop. 

Gossip Girl may be over, but I fully intend on carrying the Serena van der Woodsen flame with sequins and beading for day. She may have been dressed inappropriately, but she looked hot and, more importantly, looked like she was having fun. And I think we can all use a little more of that in our wardrobes. You know you love me, xoxo.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Object of Desire: RED Valentino Bow Bag

For the most part, I am very feminine. There are exceptions—I operate the power drill in my household, and I don't cook—but I could never be mistaken for a tomboy. So when it comes to clothing, I try not to dress too girly, because I feel like it would just be too overwhelming. Which is not to say that I don't like pink and ruffles lace—I do—but like all good things, I think they should be used sparingly in one's wardrobe. Valentino is a designer who disagrees with that notion, and I had always written him off because of it. However, two things made me start to rethink the label: One, the brilliant documentary Valentino: The Last Emperor, which made me bawl at the end due to its utter, sheer beauty. Two, the current designers, Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pier Paolo Piccioli, have given the label a more modern, more wearable aesthetic over the last few years. Yes, there are bows and ruffles, but they are balanced by the toughness of the excellent rockstud accessory line; there is a more wearable element throughout. In other words, the Valentino client probably has a job now. And while my job doesn't pay me quite well enough to afford, say, this $2,200 rockstud tote, there are many affordable options in Valentino's contemporary line, RED Valentino. I am particularly taken with the RED Valentino bow tote, still not a bargain per se, but comparatively a worthy investment at $595. The pink might be overkill, but the black version pictured here is just tough enough. Not to mention a practical size—like I said, today's Valentino girl is a working girl (not that kind of working girl!). I might not be ready for bows on my clothes, but when they add a chic flourish to an everyday tote such as this, I am totally ready to go girly with my accessories.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Under $30: Forever 21 has serious accessory game

A few weeks ago, I was wearing the gold ring pictured below and someone asked me if it was a family heirloom. "If you can buy family heirlooms at Forever 21, then yes," I said. She then brought over two more women, all of whom marveled at my $5.80 ring. I felt like a rockstar. I could take or leave most of the clothes, but when it comes to accessories, Forever 21 is killing it. Rhinestones! Studs! Neon! You can walk in there with $50 and leave with a bunch of awesomeness; in fact, you could walk away with everything pictured here for less than $75. One caveat: At these prices, just don't actually expect any of this stuff to make it to heirloom-hood.


Clockwise from top left:

Winged ring, $5.80

Studded bow bracelet, $6.80

Rhinestone necklace, $12.80

Studded belt, $4.80

Ombre scarf, $10.80

Neon-strap platform sandals, $26.80

Monday, January 21, 2013

In These Shoes: Studded Ballet Flats

So maybe I'm not immune to trying new things in the new year after all; last week, I bought a pair of flats. That's right, flats! I stopped by Topshop to check out the sale selection (with the ridiculous exchange rate they charge, I refuse to pay full price for anything there) and walked out with this pair of studded blush ballet flats for $20. Yep, I said $20. No, I will not shut up! Even better, they're from the Office in-store boutique, so they're real leather from Spain, unlike many of Topshop's house-label shoes, like the similar but inferior (read: synthetic) Mine flats. Unfortunately, the shoes aren't available online; this studded quilted pair from  Office is similar, but the wrong color and not at all on sale (plus—oof—£25 for shipping). The closest I could find are the Mantsopa flats from Aldo, a chic quilted style with round gold studs at the toe cap (they're also available in all black or camel with a black toe). They're synthetic (boo) but just $50, a bargain (yay!).  I might just buy another pair—who knows, maybe in 2013, flats are the new platforms!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Object of Desire: Saint Laurent Classic Duffel Bag

Let's talk about Yves Saint Laurent. Pardon me, Saint Laurent. The incredibly talented yet perhaps a bit rusty Hedi Slimane took over for Stefano Pilati last year and showed his first ready-to-wear collection, for spring/summer 2013, last October. The collection was pretty much panned by critics, who were perhaps a bit ruffled by the questionable actions of Yves Saint Laurent's publicists. Retailers, however, were reportedly salivating over the very '70s-influenced styles, and, well, after all my years in this business, I tend to side with them. So, apparently, does Gwyneth Paltrow, who was spotted all over L.A. carrying Slimane's duffel bag and igniting many a fashionista's lust for the next It Bag. Hey, we're only human.

So, the collection has finally hit stores, Barneys New York in particular, and while the clothes are admittedly great, I only have eyes for the Classic Duffel. Admit it: It's a gorgeous bag. It's a totally classic shape, and it's not plastered with Ys, like the bags of the Pilati era (which are still great bags nonetheless). It's streamlined and clean, with one outer slip pocket, a detachable shoulder strap, and a subtle, tasteful, small embossed Saint Laurent logo at the front. Clearly there's a new sheriff in town. But like his predecessor's reign, I have a feeling the bulk of the fashion house's revenues will come from accessories, and thus the duffel is priced to get the most bag for the buck: The small size is $2,150 (the medium is $2,650), which puts it higher than even YSL's previous moneymaker, the Muse. The (perhaps sad) fact is that lots of people will totally pay that amount, and, if I had that amount of disposable income, so would I. Like I said, it's classic, and it's a beauty. The clothes may be subject to the whims of fashion critics, but the luxury houses know it's the bags that butter the proverbial bread. Pass the basket.

Monday, January 14, 2013

MasstigeWatch: Prabal Gurung for Target

I haven't been writing about designer-mass collaborations lately because, to be honest, I am totally fatigued by them. (And, apparently, I'm not the only one.) Poor quality, too-high prices, crazy crowds, over-hyped...mass-market was starting to equal mass-headache. Masstige had jumped the shark.

But then today I got the Prabal Gurung for Target lookbook in my inbox, and call me fickle, but it's a game changer. Literally, it has reaffirmed my belief in masstige and inspired me to write this post. It is truly that good. Let's take a look, shall we?

I mean, I'll just take one of everything. But, for the record:
Sweatshirt in First Date print, $29.99   
Pencil skirt in Dresden Blue/Sulfur Spring, $29.99 
Tote in Nolita print, $39.99 
Bangle in Nolita print/Sulfur Spring, $16.99 
Bangle in First Date print/Dresden Blue, $16.99 
Bangle in Calypso Coral print/black, $16.99 
Wedge sandals in black/gray/white, $29.99

I don't know what to love more, the prints or the accessories, although the skirt is superhot too.
Sleeveless blouse in First Date print, $26.99 
Pleated skirt with lace in Sulfur Spring, $29.99 
Lace miniaudiere in black, $34.99 
Floral earrings in Dresden Blue, $14.99 
Bangle in Nolita print/Sulfur Spring, $16.99 
Bangle in First Date print/Dresden Blue, $16.99 
Bangle in Calypso Coral print/black, $16.99 
Wedge sandals in black/gray/white, $29.99

Let's take a minute to look at the shoes, shall we? These are amazeballs.
Lace-up pumps in black, Nolita print** and Apple Red*, $39.99 each

Ok, back to the clothes. The dresses may take the cake.
Short-sleeve dress in First Date print/black, $39.99 
Miniaudiere in Nolita print, $34.99 Floral necklace in multicolor, $39.99
Crystal teardrop pendant necklace in black, $19.99 
Crystal teardrop necklace in black, $39.99 
Wedge sandals in Apple Red, $29.99

And for the print-averse, there are a lot of cute solid and colorblocked styles, like this sweetly sexy dress.
Pintuck dress in black/white, $49.99 
Lace miniaudiere in black, $34.99 
Floral earrings in Calypso Coral, $14.99** 
Ankle-strap heels in Apple Red, $39.99

The collection hits Target stores and Target.com February 10. And, for once, I will be there opening day.

TheFind Guest Post: Trendy Transition Piece: The Twill Moto Jacket


From warm wool to tough-girl-chic leather versions, the moto jacket has undergone plenty of transformations throughout its trendy existence. Now, just in time for those awkward in-between months as we move from winter to spring, our favorite biker-inspired jackets are getting the twill treatment! Think of them as an edgier alternative to the classic trench; although they've got loads of attitude, they're also plenty versatile if you're looking for a goes-with-anything jacket that's more warm-weather friendly than all the coats you've stocked up this past season. Get the tonal-sleeve look without the lofty price tag of its usual leather counterparts, thanks to this colorblocked twill moto from Forever 21! Looking for something more luxe? This cozy M. Patmos moto is warm enough to take you through winter's lingering chilly days, but great for layering during those nippier early-spring afternoons to come. And of course, spikes and other sassy embellishments are here to stay, so opt for a sweet studded version courtesy of Rhyme Los Angeles! —Alexandra Gambardella

Content provided by TheFind in partnership with Cheryl Shops. 

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Treat Yourself: Brooklyn Fox Lingerie

Back in the very early 2000s, my dear friend HG moved to Williamsburg, into a huge loft apartment that she shared with several roommates, a mixture of artists, musicians, filmmakers, etc. It was like something out of a movie: The building had a manually-operated freight elevator, the apartment's one heater was a monstrous thing mounted in the kitchen, and if you climbed out of the skylight in HG's bedroom, you ended up on the roof, with the most magical view of Manhattan. The apartment was not without its drawbacks—the aforementioned heat situation (or lack thereof), neighborhood prostitutes conducting business in the building's stairwell, the fact that it was not technically zoned for residential use—but I'm glad I got to experience it. HG moved to the East Village, then to London, so I don't go to Williamsburg nearly as much as I used to; the funny thing is, every time I go there now, I'm astonished by how much the neighborhood has changed over the years. I remember when the only cool place to go was Sea Thai; Williamsburg definitely went through a period of trust-funded-hipsterdom but has now settled into a mix of young families, creative professionals, and, yes, twentysomethings who look like they belong on Girls. It's like a more stylish version of my own Brooklyn neighborhood, Boerum Hill.

Fabulous apartments and glamorous residents aside, Williamsburg is an excellent place to shop, from the pioneering housewares boutique The Future Perfect to one of my favorite jewelry boutiques in the city, Catbird, and the excellent Jumelle (where, okay, I can only afford to shop the sales). And since no cool neighborhood is complete without a fancy lingerie shop, it's also home to Brooklyn Fox, which, lucky for you, has recently launched e-commerce. The actual store, which is on the small side (but charmingly so) is stocked to the gills with everything from pretty bras from Chantelle and Aubade to sexier stuff from hard-to-find labels like Maison Close and Lascivious. In other words, it's not the place to go for molded-cup nude bras, which is just fine by me. What Brooklyn Fox is perfect for is "treat yourself" lingerie. And just in case you need help deciding what to treat yourself to, owner Alexis  Isadora picked out a few goodies for us, just in time for Valentine's Day. The Mimi Holiday Dacquoise Slip is a pretty alternative to the flannel pajamas you've been sleeping in; I love the futuristic look of this I.D. Sarrieri bra and matching garter brief; and I think I'd feel like Mrs. Robinson (in a good way!) in Gossard's leopard-print plunge bra and matching retro brief. Find it all in store at 132 N. 5th Street, or shop anytime at Brooklynfoxlingerie.com.

Monday, January 07, 2013

In These Shoes: Theyskens' Theory Evie Pumps

Let's be honest, January is a bottom-feeding time of year. Granted, if you are patient, it can be fabulous: Amidst all the pilling, dirty rejects, I've found everything from Prada pumps to 8-ply cashmere sweaters for 75% off. I'm now at the age where I still love a bargain, but I no longer have the stomach for sifting through sales racks. Thankfully, through the magic of the Internet, I get email alerts when my favorite brands go on sale (Shop It To Me is a favorite service for this, and if you have an iPad, Shopstyle has a fantastic app), and thus clearance season becomes awesomeness season. The best part is when an item you've been watching for months hits 50% off, but then it becomes kind of a game too—do you pounce immediately or wait until it goes to 70%? A wise woman once said you should never buy on sale what you wouldn't pay full price for, but an even wiser woman (me) says why pay full-price for one pair of shoes when you can get two pairs on sale?

Which brings me to these Theyskens' Theory Evie pumps, now on sale at Shopbop for 50% off. Word on the street is that platforms are on their way out ("single-sole pumps," aka non-platform pumps, are the buzz for spring), but as I've said many times before, you can ply my platforms from my cold, dead, atrophied feet. These are suede, and I have a hard time paying full price ($420!) for a pair of suede shoes. $210, however, I could handle, especially when they have a very comfortable 3.25" heel (that's a 5-inch heel minus the 1.75" platform), an interesting seamed toe, and a sexy gold metal detail along the heel that creates the illusion of a stiletto. There's one pair left in my size in gray, and while part of me wants to hold out for another markdown, I don't know if I can. After all, I'm a shopper, not a gambler.

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

I Want It Now: Aqua

Happy 2013, dear readers! I am generally not one to make resolutions—my attitude generally is, if you want to change something, why wait until January?—but there is something tempting about giving one's life a refresh. Or at least one's style. Like most New Yorkers, I rely a bit too heavily on black and gray, so this year, I vow to lighten up—in both my wardrobe and my disposition—with shimmery shades of aqua.


Clockwise from left: 

I'm tagging along on MW's work trip to Miami this weekend, which has me thinking about swimwear in a major way. This very Sienna-Miller-on-a-Mediterranean-yacht Milly pailette-trim tunic will look lovely over the peacock-print Paraty bandeau bikini top and bottom from Vix.

My friend JO lives above the Giuseppe Zanotti store on Madison, and if I were her, I'd be broke by now. I mean, with shoes like these iridescent suede buckled sandals, how could you not?

I've had my eye on a skirt from AllSaints Spitalfields for awhile, but their Ariel skirt may be the style to finally make me take the plunge. Who doesn't want to look like a mermaid?

Speaking of mermaids, I tend to stick with classic reds and beiges in the winter, so when I need a little pick-me-up, I'm going to paint my toes with Mermaid's Dream by Deborah Lippman.

One of the items on my fashion bucket list is an estate aquamarine cocktail ring; until I can afford a real one, I would be happy to rock this beautiful Siyabona woven ring from Alexis Bittar, which happens to be chalcedony with crystals.