Monthly Archives: October 2009

Wedding dress redux

Last week’s Project Runway took an interesting spin on the wedding dress. Instead of creating a dress for a new bride, designers were challenged to transform an old wedding dress into a new fashionable post-divorce look.

Many of the designers spoke about this challenge being a “fresh start” for the divorcees — out with the old and in with the new, so to speak. Those moments were thoughtful and considerate. But, what I really enjoyed was Michael Kors. Miss Mojito recapped an episode last week, and she thanked the fashion gods for bringing him back on the show. I, too, want to thank the fashion gods. He is responsible for such fierce and fabulous quotes — but, the whole episode was chock-full of them. Here are some of my faves:

  • “Looks like tinfoil…a metallic garbage bag.” – Michael Kors on Christopher’s ultra shiny and baggy dress
  • “So, you specifically did not ask for Octoberfest?”– Heidi Klum on Epperson’s beer maid/pirate’s wench design
  • “Where are the beer signs?” – Michael Kors on Logan’s look, after Heidi said she was having another Octoberfest moment
  • “You don’t want her to look like a cougar.” – Tim Gunn on Christopher’s dress

Irina was still on the  top of her game. She was a close second with her “age appropriate, sleek and expensive-looking” dress. It was quite lovely and sophisticated, and something I could see Helen Mirren wearing. But, it was Gordana, a divorcee herself, who won. And, it was Epperson who was sent home.

pr6-ep8-gordanaGordana transformed an old wedding dress into
an edgy and chic design

dior-bootiesWhat shoes to wear with Gordana’s edgy and chic design? I thought the dress was pretty awesome, probably the best item she’s made all season. It was hip, wearable, flattering, and a great color. We need something equally edgy and chic for the shoe pairing. I know I pair booties with a lot of PR designs, but I just bought a pair myself, and I have to admit, I’m a fan. Those of you who are skeptical, trust me, they look much better on. So, I’m going with these Dior Cannage Bow Ankle Booties. They have edgy cross-stitching, but also a delicate bow above the peep-toe.

posted by Ms. S&C

Top Chef keywords

During last week’s Top Chef episode, the cheftestants played a slot machine to choose three keywords, which they used as inspiration for a dish. The keywords were words like –> Stressed, Hot N’ Spicy, Asian. Those happen to be the ones Kevin selected for his winning Quickfire dish. Here’s another keyword for you –> Unbearable. And, that happens to be Mike Isabella.

After the slot-machine-keyword challenge, the chefs partnered up for a family-style-dinner-party challenge. Their dinner party guests were members of Macy’s Culinary Council: Tyler Florence (also guest judge), Tom Douglas, Nancy Silverton, Govind Armstrong, and Takashi Yagihashi. –> Strategic Marketing

Here’s how it went down:

  • Mike Isabella was partnered with Robin.  –> Sweet retribution
  • Micheal Voltaggio was almost sent home because he overcooked halibut.  –> Whew
  • Ash compared Michael V to Picasso, and said he’d be willing to wash his brushes. –> Embarassing and Uncomfortable
  • Ashley undercooked precious prawns and had a role in oversalted gnocchi. –> Eliminated
  • Jennifer and Kevin served the best dish of the night: Korean style barbeque, and Jennifer was crowned the overall winner. –> Dream Team

TC-kobe-beefJennifer and Kevin’s BBQ Kobe Beef with Cardamom, Tomato
and Ginger Broth

When I’m dining on Asian food, I usually drink a lager style beer or hitachino-alewhite wine. I’m afraid to experiment, as I don’t want anything to conflict with the flavors in my often-spicy food. When considering the drink pairing for Jennifer and Kevin’s dish, I checked out Takashi Yagihashi’s drink menu at his Chicago restaurant, and ran across the Hitachino Nest White Ale. Hitachino, from a Japanese brewery (Shuzou), is a white ale, similar to many Belgian whites, with hints of coriander, nutmeg, and orange peel. Jennifer and Kevin’s dish includes flavors and ingredients such as: orange zest, ginger, fennel, and I think the Hitachino would compliment nicely. Not to mention –> Refreshing.

Ms. S&C wants to know: What keywords would you use to describe the Top Chef contestants and their dishes?

posted by Ms. S&C

In full disclosure

In case there are S&C readers out there, who are on the up-and-up in regards to social media, blogging, advertising, and the like, Shoes & Cocktails would like you to know that we are not paid to blog. The FTC recently released new guidelines related to bloggers and advertisers, so we wanted to let you know that no products, brands or stores mentioned in our content are advertisements or paid promotions. We are (unfortunately) not paid to drink cocktails. We are (sadly) not paid to buy shoes online. And, therefore, we are certainly not paid to write glowing reviews of crappy drinks and ugly shoes. Nor, will we ever (write things that are misleading).

In full disclosure, we have, however, received free booze. In further disclosure, we’ve received a lot more booze than we’ve ever written about (much of the stuff they send us isn’t that good, and we’ve got standards, people). There have been two occasions in which we highlighted a specific brand of liquor that we received for free. One of those instances we disclosed (more or less); one we did not (but, in that instance, the booze was vodka, so it hardly counts).

There may be one glorious day when our shoes and cocktails budgets will be financed by advertisers, but we can promise you that we’ll never be at their mercy. If we are, we’ll tell you. Until then, please know that Ms. S&C and Miss Mojito do what we do because we love shoes, we love cocktails, and we think blogging is fun. Thanks for reading!

posted by Ms. S&C and Miss Mojito

Blue Over PR

Praise the fashion gods, Michael Kors is back, and better than ever! His critiques made an otherwise yawn-worthy episode of Project Runway worth watching – namely, labeling Louise’s frock “a bridesmaid’s dress with a shower loofah ruched up the front of it,” and calling out Christopher for his monstrosity of a “teal charmeuse disco pumpkin.” Classic Kors.

Unfortunately, Michael’s critiques were the only highlights in an otherwise dismal episode. Read on for the low-lights.

  • The challenge is blue. Yes, blue. How does a color even qualify as a challenge?! Granted, the designers must also work in teams, and create two outfits that fit the INC brand at Macy’s. But still, this is a highly uninspiring challenge.
  • Louise’s aforementioned bridesmaid’s dress, as well as a blue ruffled sheath, were the losers of the day, and deservedly so. Besides the almost preposterous and costumey ruffles on both dresses, the styling was way off. Louise’s shoe pick for the bridesmaid gown, a mustard ankle strap sandal, was particularly offensive.
  • For everyone else, boredom was the name of the game. I actually visited Macy’s just this weekend and found myself drawn to the INC line, but the PR contestants’ interpretations were pretty dull.
  • Nina Garcia continues her disappearing act. Come back, Nina. We miss you!51rTfQEXg3L__SL500__SS140_

pr6-ep7-irina-fIrina wins, thanks in large part to this beachy, v-neck dress. But I must admit, finding the perfect shoe for this outfit was a tricky task. It’s a summery dress, and needs something fairly delicate and certainly open-toed, instead of a heavy shoe that might weigh down the dress. And, of course, there’s the blue requirement. These phenomenal open-toe slingbacks over at Endless.com might be a good fit – I like the idea of continuing the stripes theme, and the navy coloring is right on. But maybe they’re a bit too heavy for this particular dress.

Miss Mojito wants to know: What shoes would you pair with this tricky number?

Posted by Miss Mojito.

Dressing boldly (an update)

About a month ago, Ms. S&C declared that the goal of her fall wardrobe was to dress boldly. In her original blog post, she highlighted a few trends that were catching her eye. Did she follow-through on her own advice? Yes, sort-of.

Below are some of her recent purchases. Obviously, there’s not a lot of bold color and flashy prints in this selection – with the exception of the bright cobalt clutch. She likes this sweet, satin bow clutch because it can brighten up a lot of outfits. She’ll take it out when she’s in distressed denim (or her new black denim), and when wearing the all-occasion black dress.

Biker chic accessories are a popular fall trend. Ms. S&C picked up this studded belt, which she’ll wear high-waisted over her numerous black and gray cardigans, to make them much more exciting.

black-denimclutch_belt

As for shoes – Ms. S&C recently tossed a pair of black, peep-toe pumps from Nine West. She’d had them for at least five years, probably longer, and they showed their years. Replacing them was a necessity. She spotted these Nine West platforms when researching suede shoes for a reader, and she loves them. Her first day wearing them — a lady stopped her in Starbucks to comment.

Ms. S&C has been toying with buying a pair of booties for awhile now. She didn’t want anything too flashy, as she plans to wear them with shorter-length skirts/dresses and colorful tights. And, she didn’t want to spend a lot of money. She thinks she satisfied both requirements with these Report Dylan ankle boots.blk-platform

blk-bootie

While Ms. S&C likes trends, she prefers classic items with a long shelf-life. Not purposely, this mentality has transferred over to cocktail preferences of late. The drink in her hand on Friday’s, after work? It was a Tom Collins over the summer.  For the early fall, it’s been the classic martini — or more specifically, the original-pre-Prohibition martini, which is currently called the Fifty-Fifty Martini. Confused? It’s the martini with equal parts gin and equal parts vermouth. Why the extra vermouth? Read Jason Wilson’s, WaPo columnist, article “Stirrings of a Better Martini,” or this article from NYT’ Shaken and Stirred column. Vermouth is good in cocktails,people. Use it.

Since there are so many variations of the martini, I find it’s easiest just to tell the bartender what I want in it, and how I want it prepared. For example, tonight, I’ll simply say, “Martini with equal parts gin and vermouth, up, with a twist. And, a dash of orange bitters, if you got ’em.” Please. 

posted by Ms. S&C

Off to the movies

I’ve never been more disappointed with the outcome of a Project Runway episode than I was with last week’s film genre challenge. Maybe it’s because Nicolas drives me crazy. Maybe it’s because Christopher has been passed over two challenges in a row (he should have won the newspaper-fabric-design-challenge also). Maybe I wasn’t ready for Ra’mon to go home. Maybe if Michael Kors and Nina Garcia had been there, the outcome would have been different.

Despite these complaints, I did like the film genre theme. The challenge went something like this: after selecting one of five genres (Action/Adventure, Film Noir, Period, Science Fiction, and Western), designers had to create a costume for an invented “character” in their movie. Nicolas won with his Sci fi ice queen, even though Christopher killed with his Victorian vampire bride. Ra’mon was sent home because his reptilian woman was a “hot green mess,” (and it was). But, Louise, whose mixed-genre “snoozefest,” with no interesting concept, squeaked by.

christopher-periodlouboutin

louboutin-red

As far as pairing shoes with the winning design — I’m passing over Nicolas’ design for Christopher’s. Christopher’s dress — the gathering at the neckline, the cinched waist, the layers, the open back — it was Victorian, yet modern. I think Heidi said, “Christopher gave us something special.” And he did. It was gorgeous. And, he made for $150! When looking for shoes with the same kind-of wow factor, I like to turn to Christian Louboutin. Both options here are jaw-dropping for two reasons: the design and the price (both are over a grand). The Clic Clac‘s are au courant with the platform bootie, but the lace instep is certainly Victorian inspired. The blood red color and the strappy maryjane style platform of the Dillian speaks to the vampire character, while the ruffled  instep takes it back to another period.

posted by Ms. S&C