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Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Aritzia Fall 2016

No one feels fall/winter more than the Canadians. Aritzia is one of my sister'site favorite stores to shop in Toronto. If she can't make it to the store, I will actually FaceTime her with my phone from the boutique IN New York so she can virtually shop with me. That's sibling love. That is also the loyalty of the Aritzia customer. I like to think if her as the cool girl with a job. She isn't into the stuffy corporate look but is still appropriate with a twist.  She has style and is shopping for herself from her own money. 

I love their abstract prints that they update season to season (I keep buying them). They include complimentary colors that work with pieces that you add from Aritzia in future seasons. Fall 2016 had a lot of deep navy, mustard, oatmeal, gray and black. There were some eggplant colors. There were cozy boiled wool long coats and vests. I am looking forward to some of the swishy washed silk dresses around the holiday. The skirt and dress lengths were long for the cooler weather. rib knit, lace and pleated textures make sure you are warm.

Aritzia's Babaton handbag label have pieces I am constantly drawn to. They aren't particularly fashion forward but have great shapes and great leather. They are rather timeless, so they work the day to day Aritzia wardrobe. 

The awesome team at Artizia always treat me to something nice when I visit. This season, my 'IT' piece is a sleeveless trench that I already love. Look for me and the garment on Instagram soon!

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

NY Bridal Week: Mira Zwillinger Nature Spring Bridal 2017

zwillinger bridal 2017

It is cherry blossom week here in New York. The Mira Zwillinger show at NY Bridal Fashion week was blooming all over the catwalk. The mother and daughter design team worked with a theme of nature for spring 2017.

The collection had the most exquisite embroideries. Scores of three-dimensional flowers in shades of cream and blush embellished bodices and capes, hiding naughty bits on sexy "naked" dresses. I loved the sculpted blossom branches that made up the headpieces of the models.

Mira Zwillinger launched her fashion label in the early 1990s in Tel Aviv. Her daughter Lihi Zwillinger eventually grew to join her after learning the design ropes from Mom. They have now expanded their collection to sell from Australia to America.

The Sakura Matsuri festival is celebrated at the Brooklyn Botanical Garden this weekend. We at Ms. Fabulous just hosted our spring cherry blossom brunch here in Manhattan on Saturday. The trees of the city are in full bloom. Mira Zwillinger's brides? They were the crowning flower of them all.

zwillinger couture
photos by Mariana Leung


Wednesday, April 20, 2016

NY Bridal Week: Austin Scarlett Spring Bridal 2017

What's new with Project Runway alum Austin Scarlett? The refined competitor held an intimate presentation on Sunday to show his newest bridal dresses. His elegant design sense landed him an assignment with JLM bridal in the past and since 2012 he has launched his own wedding collection.

He has create costume designs for the Metropolitan Opera and other dance, opera and theatrical companies.. That work clearly influenced his current collection. The bridal dress styles are named after musical terms like "Allegra", "Sonata" and "Serenade". 

His mastery of drape is clear. The soft silk gowns look like they are carved from marble. The silhouettes are so defined in their sculptural beauty. He also plays with the sheerness of fabric with trimmed edges to highlight the shapes even more. The Serenade gown featured an abundance of silk, handmade flowers. He was happy to credit M&S Schmalberg as one of the New York Garment Center's few remaining companies who still make things in the old tradition. They are one of my favorite places to frequent for flowers I use in my own design work. They handform and stitch handcut petals into European millinery irons that date back to the 1800's. 

Scarlett was a gracious host throughout the presentation. He created pins and barettes with more of the exquisite flowers for his guests. He was constantly hands-on in fixing the dresses on his models and happy to elaborate on any of the gowns.

Austin Scarlett will go down in Project Runway as one of the most refined designers of its history. While there were many divas on the show, he is more the maestro. He doesn't play theatrics, he conducts all of the players with ease. After seeing his spring 2017 collection, I can't wait for the encore.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

NY Bridal Week: Reem Acra Bridal Spring 2017 Bond Girls

reem acra spring bridal 2017
bridal week reem acra
There were a lot of "naked" dresses on the NY Bridal Fashion week runways this season. Reem Acra did the opposite. She designed a collection that had a traditionally romantic look and modest coverage for her Spring 2017 collection.

That's not to say her gowns weren't sexy. There was a lot of lace with layers of sheerness as opposed to overt skin exposure. There was an attractive corset detail in the back of several gowns with a wide ribbon lattice that implied more skin exposure instead of a completely bare back. 

This classically beautiful bridal collection was a contrast to her last two NYFW collections which were the most provocative I have seen from Acra. Her spring 2016 had a Sheherazade harem theme; her fall 2016 runway was full of Femme Fatale lingerie looks.  

Perhaps Reem Acra's sultry sirens wanted to play blushing bride for a day. The soundtrack for this runway was a medley of James Bond tunes. While the dramatic theme usually goes over well for a fashion show, it was odd for a classic wedding catwalk. The image of James Bond and women don't exactly bring to mind commitment and eternal love. Most of the (many) women in his life don't live long after being romanced by him. The one installment of the series where he gets married was the least popular of the franchise. So what exactly is the message here?

I might be over thinking this. Luckily, the beauty of the dresses transcends the music. My favorite looks were the gowns with tightly beaded bodice and huge stacked organza ruffles. Based on social media reactions to my photos, I wasn't alone in my choice.

If you want to feel like a princess on your special day, I can't imagine a more regal designer than Reem Acra to dress you for the aisle.


NY Bridal Week: Ivy & Aster Spring Bridal 2017

lace moto jacket
ivy and aster 2017

With all of the talk of festival style and street style, it's not surprising that the younger, laid back bride wants to see those elements on her wedding day too. Ivy & Aster had an intimate presentation at a gallery in Chelsea.

There were pretty little dresses with thread embroidery and tulle. Designer Jessica Brown also took trendy street style items and interpreted them for a bride of the Instagram age. The ubiquitous moto jacket that was THE must-have fashion item of every fashionista was executed in lace here. Long fringe that made its way up from the 1970's inspired Boho crowd to couture was given a relaxed hipster wedding chic interpetation here as well.

I am finding more and more younger bridal labels are doing the mix and match wedding separates thing. This makes sense for a fashion shopper to be able to put together a whole collection for herself for different activities. Corset and big tulle ballgown skirt for the aisle, crop top and short skirt for dancing, jacket for running outdoors into your getaway car...
heather wells design

A great find for me at this presentation was to discover Heather Wells who collaborated with Jessica Brown this season. She makes incredible headpieces that are one-of-a-kind from salvaged vintage items. Each piece is a work of art that she packages in vintage cigar boxes for her clients. The name of her studio is Heart of Gold Designs and I am a new fan.

Bravo ladies! I look forward to your collections to come.

Check out The Best Street Style–Inspired Trends of NY Bridal Week

by Ms. Fabulous at Mode


Monday, April 18, 2016

NY Bridal Week: Isabelle Armstrong Spring Bridal 2017

There is something really satisfying in seeing a gigantic ballgown at NY Bridal Fashion Week. Isabelle Armstrong won day 3 of NYBW with dresses with the most volume. Maybe it's the excessive yardage of tulle or watching a size 0 model try to navigate a giant satin structure around a narrow runway turns.

Trumpet gowns and artful shirring and draping made many of Armstrong's styles a great choice for many body types. There were clean, satin silhouettes or intricate all embroidered lace styles. The fashion show took place in the beautiful Lotte Palace hotel. You would recognize it as the entrance to the Van Der Woodsen's apartment in Gossip Girl. The interiors were recognizable in many other scenes. It served as a glamorous backdrop to the gorgeous gowns.

The silhouettes may be traditional, but the execution was updated. Instead of heavy sequin embroidery of yesteryear, laser-cut petals were used. Instead of traditional ruffles to create volume, sweeping angles of draped organza looked like they defied gravity. Sweetheart necklines were cut into extra-deep plunged V shapes for unexpected sexiness.

I love seeing Isabelle Armstrong's bridal collection develop and strengthen season after season. The most elegant young brides of the world must be noticing too.

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