Thursday, August 19, 2010

Fall Fashion Look 2 - Fifties Chic

In the late 1940's, designer, Christian Dior unveiled his "New Look".
"Christian Dior's nostalgic and elegant 1947 collection, which featured a soft, rounded shoulder line, thin waist, and wide skirt was quite contrary to the austere style of WWII"(1)
His line ushered in the hourglass silhouette which became the standard for the '50s. Givenchy, Balenciaga and Balmain quickly picked the style up and became the go-to designers of that decade. Here are photos of some of their work from the 1950s:

The first dress is a green brocade by Hubert de Givenchy made in the mid '50s.
The second dress is by Cristobal Balenciaga made in 1951.
And the third is a strapless ball gown by Pierre Balmain made in 1957.

"Featuring creative silhouettes, a unique extra space between the garment and body and exquisite colors, his (Balenciaga's) designs were so like artworks that Balenciaga became known as "The Master" of haute couture.... Balenciaga set about using modern shapes and materials that would later become part of the mainstream."(1) Here are a few examples of his work in the '50s:
This fall the runways have brought back the hourglass silhouette and '50s fashions in full vintage force. Prada, Marc Jacobs for Louis Vuitton, and even Christian Dior's fall collections have all revolved around the 1950s as evidenced by these photos from their shows:
Looks from Prada's Fall 2010 runway show.
Looks from Marc Jacobs for Louis Vuitton's Fall 2010 runway show.
The pink dress with orange details is from the Christian Dior Fall 2010 runway show and the black jacket and pencil skirt combo is from the Bibhu Mohaparta Fall 2010 runway show.
The most popular fifties come-backs from this season are:
  • Swing Dresses
  • Pencil Skirts
  • Bustiers
  • Swing Skirts
  • Cardigans
  • And Sweaters
"A little bit of modernism has been implemented through the collections, modernism given through the colors and accessories used to complete the look of the outfits."(2)
As this is a vintage look it is much harder to find in stores. The pencil skirt and cardigan can be found about anywhere, but to find the other pieces will take a little more digging. The four best places to look would, in my opinion, be, vintage stores, "new vintage" stores, online versions of both of these, and, last but not least, your Mom and Grandma's closets. I was able to find several affordable '50s looks on, which is an online store that sells some vintage and a lot of "new vintage" apparel.
Both dress can be found on for $54.99
Both the dress and skirt can be found at Dress $52.99, Skirt $94.99
And I also found several Fifties Chic outfits from my mom's closet which are entirely free. Yay!!!

(1). Fashion: From the 18th to the 20th Century by The Kyoto Costume Institute

Monday, August 16, 2010

Fall Fashion Look 1 - Minimalism

For some of us school has just started and for others it is about to start. Either way, or even if you aren't starting a new school year, fall is about new possibilities and fresh starts as a new season begins. Lately, we have seen a lot of frills, beads, sequins, ruffles, patterns, prints, fringes, buttons and basically any embellishment you can possibly think of plastered on clothes. Phoebe Philo, Creative Director for CĂ©line, has started afresh. She has brought back Minimalism and it has taken over the fall runways with spirit.

Calvin Klein, a master of minimalism, described it this way, "Minimalism is not about abandoning pattern or print. I see minimalism to be a philosophy that involves an overall sense of balance, knowing when to take away, subtract. It's an indulgence in superbly executed cut, quiet plays of color tones and clean strong shapes."

Amanda Brooks writes in her book, I Love Your Style, "From what what I have learned there are two versions of minimalism in fashion. There is the heady, more conceptual idea of inventing new shapes, proportions and silhouettes as a way to create interest in the absence of decoration. And then there is the idea of taking more classic shapes and proportions and stripping them down to their barest essentials."
Amanda also gives us a list of what she considers the essentials to a minimalist style:
  • Button-down Cotton Shirt
  • Perfect Black Pants - what makes them perfect is if they serve your purposes
  • Simple Black Dress
  • Simple Tailored Jacket
  • Heavy Winter Coat
  • Solid Color Cashmere Sweaters
  • One Chic Handbag - preferably black or another muted color, no hardware
  • Flats or possibly Pumps
  • Simple Watch - a good choice would be a men's watch
She adds that if you want to mix it up a little or add some spice to what can come off as an overly severe style then you have options:
  • Decorate - a bow on a blouse, a string of pearls, or a fresh flower but don't overdue it
  • Choose softer, more feminine pieces that drape and flow
  • Go vintage - Designer Pierre Cardin for instance
  • Wear a Cape to amp up the drama
  • Pick a Tuxedo
  • Add personality with something shiny like a patent leather clutch or metallic shoes
Teen Vogue intern, Media Brecher, says this about minimalism, "It's uncomplicated and classic, it actually forces you to be more creative, the focus is on fewer pieces, so you have to find a way to make those pieces shine."
Her fall must-haves are as follows:
  • Mod Minis - a throwback from the sixties
  • Tailored Pea Coats
  • and Skinny Black Pants
Because pictures are worth a thousand words, I have pulled pieces from all over the fashion industry to give you an idea of where to find minimal clothes and how to pull this look off.
I know that my budget is fairly tight and that most girls in the midwest don't care to spend thousands on a new fall wardrobe either but first I want to show some High Fashion looks.

A Burberry Blazer priced at $2,173.50

And that's enough for High Fashion. Here are two mid-range priced looks from Anthropologie:

Both looks are perfect because they need no extra pieces. They are special and classic and work on their own.

And last but not least, the affordable looks, what regular people can actually hope to afford:

I created this look on H&M's website and all the items can be found there.
Handbag - $14.95
Poncho - $19.95
Shirt - $9.95
Pants - $49.95

Shirt found at Forever 21, $9.50; Clutch found at Forever 21, $12.80

Pants found at Forever 21, $22.80; Blazer found at Forever 21, $32.80

Tunic found at Charlotte Russe, $24.00