Tag Archives: fashion pioneers

Hello, navy. Hello, spring.

In 1911, an avid outdoorsman named Leon Leonwood (L.L.) Bean returned from a hunting trip with cold, damp feet and a revolutionary idea. He enlisted a local cobbler to stitch supple leather uppers to waterproof rubber boots, creating a comfortable, functional boot for exploring the Maine woods. This ingenious invention – the Maine Hunting Shoe – changed outdoor footwear forever and, a year later, began one of the most successful family-run businesses in the country. (excerpt from L.L.Bean history)

What L.L.Bean began in 1912, has defined New England style for nearly a century. Now, after almost 100 years, a new collection has been introduced: L.L.Bean Signature. The collection celebrates the same New England style, but with a new fit that is more tailored and contemporary.

The oft-reluctant-to-admit prepster in me is happy. I’m happy about the clean, classic designs. I’m happy about the return of navy. And, I’m happy about the prices. Below are a few of my spring wardrobe favorites.

The classic chambray shirt dress can be accented with a skinny leather belt and the stacked platform for a refined modern look (that’s also work appropriate). Or, it can be paired with the madras plaid scarf and strappy leather sandal for casual weekend comfort.

Hello, navy! Hello, spring!

posted by Ms. S&C

One day you’re in

We bring the fifth season of Project Runway to a close, as Leanimal is crowned champion.  Regretfully, we admit that we were underwhelmed by the finale.  Our first bone to pick – why do they insist on making us watch the model audition?  While certain models may give designers an advantage, the models do not speak.  We don’t get to know them, nor do we want to.  They are b-o-r-i-n-g.  And secondly, why was Tim Gunn the special guest judge?  J Lo bailed because of a mysterious foot injury.  Um, okay.  How exactly is sitting in a chair, looking at, and talking about clothes too strenuous on her foot?  So, Project Runway’s replacement was Tim Gunn.  Tim Gunn, really?  Yes, we love Tim Gunn.  Everyone loves Tim Gunn.  He is adorable and caring and sensitive – but, really?  PR couldn’t find anyone else?  (The conspiracy theorist in us thinks this is further evidence that Bravo is trying to sabotage the future of PR, since it is moving to Lifetime.) Whatevs. Let’s get to the shoe pairing.

Believe it or not, we’ve gone the whole season without pairing any Manolos with the winning designs.  Given that Mr. Blahnik is an extraordinary craftsman and he continues, with his own hands, to perfect every design and prototype of every shoe that bears his name, he is our footwear designer of choice this week.

Leanne’s collection – Everyone else seems to call those sculptural elements “petals,” but we call them “waves,” given her designs were inspired by water and movement and all.  Her collection is highly original and très elegant, but we wish it wasn’t so “controlled,” if that makes sense.  And, we would have liked a few more color variations.  Nevertheless, we adore these stunning “Preppi” ankle strap sandals with this outfit.  Check out the alternate view on Barney’s website to see the print on the back.  They rock.

Kenley’s collection – She surprised us.  And, we surprised ourselves because we liked her designs the best.  The “copycat” accusation reared its ugly head again, but we loved all of the whimsical designs and colors; we even like the rope trim!  We’ve paired these “Sedaraby” heels with the fun, full tulle skirt, but they would be an excellent match with a few other outfits as well.

Korto’s collection – We love Korto more than we loved her designs.  We so appreciate that she knows how to dress different body types, and we love that she infuses her heritage in her designs.  But overall, we thought her collection lacked the glamour present in the other designers’ collections.  We like glamour.  A lot of her dresses had a playful quality, and we like the strappy, metallic “Spart” with this one.

While we weren’t wowed by this season, we’re an optimistic bunch over here at S&C.  Season 6 is currently in production, rumored to split time between NYC and LA, and has promised some very A-list celebrities as guest judges.  We’ll stay tuned.

Conquering with style

I finally got around to watching the Coco Chanel movie that premiered on Lifetime recently. Yes, I said Lifetime (the soon to be channel of Project Runway). Yes, it did star Shirley MacLaine. And yes, I thought the movie was quite good.

The life of Gabrielle ‘Coco’ Chanel was a rags-to-riches story. From an orphan to a dressmaker’s assistant, to a hat maker to an entrepreneur, to a legendary fashion icon. And throughout it all, she was always a rebel. She was quoted as saying, “In order to be irreplaceable one must always be different.” In the early 20th century, she was not afraid to dress women, including herself, in trousers and comfortable fashions, using simple textiles such as jersey. And, no one could make black and white look so good. Her designs have tremendous staying power. They are classic, timeless – they are Chanel.

When the Chanel Two-Tone Shoe celebrated its 50th Anniversary, Elle.com issued a special report on the shoe with an incredible photo gallery. The Chanel label is full of iconic emblems, and the ballet flat is yet another reminder from Ms. Chanel that chic and comfortable are an option.

L’affaire femme

The Diane Von Furstenberg challenge on Project Runway was an opportunity of a lifetime for the designers. Design a look inspired by DVF’s fall “A Foreign Affair” collection, use her fabrics, and – if you win – your design will be produced and sold to Amex cardholders. No surprise, the ladies have it in the bag, again.

Kenley’s less-is-more strategy paid off. Rather than making several pieces, she vorociously defended her beautiful, Asian-inspired sillouitte. DVF liked the dress and her fiery attitude. I love the contrast of the black lace trim with the funky, floral print. For shoes, I would go with a more refined design like these from Prada, rather than the chunky floral ones shown in the PR gallery photo. Plus, I think the ruffle detail keeps with the Asian design.

Leanimal won with her gorgeous, 1940s-inspired gown. I love the color, I love the drapping. I think she gets better every week. I’m not crazy about the cropped trenchcoat (with this dress), which is likely why it isn’t for sale over at the DVF site. So, get rid of the coat, and pair it with these Le Silla heels. I think the silver color and lovely side bow complete the très glamorous look. C’est fabuleux, no?

Love story

Oh la la. More exotic prints. More colors. More fabrics. More textures. More, more, more.

These heels are Missoni, a company famous for its unique knitwear. Founded by Ottavio and Rosita Missoni in 1953, after a romance that began at the 1948 Olympics in London. Rosita was studying there and decided to take in some track and field events. Ottavio was a hurdles runner who also happened to design his team’s track uniforms. Fast forward to now – and a great selection of their patterned footwear over at Zappos. Keep a watchful eye because you can find these same multicolor pumps for less at one of my neighborhood boutiques, The Shoe Hive.

Another great thing about multicolor prints – they pretty much go with everything. Kind-of like champagne. I’m in love too.

Bitter pink insanity!

The Shoes: My Pink Ferragamos

Bitterly insane is exactly what I would be if I didn’t own these shoes. They are by far the most elegant (and expensive) shoes in my closet. Lucky for moi, I didn’t pay a dime for them (another shout-out to LC). They are classic and timeless. They are Ferragamos.

Italian designer, Salvatore Ferragamo, was a pioneer of fashion. Born in 1898, he had already made his first pair of shoes at that age of nine. From a family of poor farmers, who couldn’t afford to buy shoes for his sisters’ first communion, Ferragamo borrowed materials from the local cobbler and made their shoes, rather than facing the same of seeing them wear clogs to church.

Ferragamo’s talent and genius ascended him to Hollywood and he earned a reputation for being a “shoemaker to the stars.” Though my research is inconclusive, it appears he designed Dorothy’s ruby slippers in the Wizard of Oz, and he’s credited with inventing the wedge(!) in 1938, for Judy Garland. His most famous invention was the cork wedge, which paved the way for platforms. He was a visionary and an inspiration, and now, my obsession.

The Occasion:

The shoes are fitted for the red carpet and the streets of Paris. For me, they mean I have an absolute go-to item for any cocktail party, fancy dinner, or event where I want to stand out. If it is a party I’m hosting? Bring on the bruschetta, antipasto, caponata, and this unique pre-dinner cocktail.

The Drink: Negroni

I can’t get enough of the old-school cocktails. The Negroni is a perfect match because of its sublime color, because it is Italian, and because it is made with Campari. The Negroni was invented in Florence in 1919, at Caffe Casoni, because Count Camillo Negroni added gin to his favorite drink, the Americano. Campari, the notable ingredient, is definitely an acquired taste, and is probably better known for their vintage posters. It is a grand aperitif.

The Ingredients/Recipe:

I’ve altered the original recipe slightly by adding extra sweet vermouth and extra orange. I definitely recommend this version for first-timers. The bitterness is like nothing you’ve ever tasted.

  • Fill cocktail glass with ice
  • Combine 1 part gin, 1 part Campari, 1 part sweet vermouth (be generous), and fresh squeezed orange juice (to taste) in an ice filled shaker
  • Shake until well chilled and strain into glass
  • Garnish with orange slice

Cin cin!

posted by Ms. S&C