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Friday, September 19, 2014

You, Your VSP Vision Plan & bebe style for Fall

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Hello Fabulous readers. This post is written on behalf of my sponsor, VSP.  This is a vision plan I have used as a near-sighted freelancer for many years.  If you work in the creative industries or work as a consultant, you probably already know about VSP.

I come from a family used to wearing thick glasses.  As a child, my dorky eyewear was a source of nerdy embarrassment.  In high school I graduated to contact lenses.  I never got out of my head that glasses were a geeky look, but they were still a necessity. (This is me at 13 years old in horrible frames and hair).

After going to college and entering the fashion industry, paying for health care in New York as a single worker in a creative industry was rough.  Trying to upgrade my eyeglasses for a professional, fashion forward look was even tougher.  “Designer” frames were exorbitant, you had to make sure your prescription was up to date and you still had to pay for contact lens fittings and the lenses themselves.

As a non-profit vision care company getting a VSP plan was definitely helpful to me.  Their plans started at about $17/month.  Their plans covered annual eye exams with low co-payments and a lot of convenient optometrists near wherever my latest office was.  They have allowances for glasses or contact lenses.  I wish I knew then, but happy to know now that my new plan provided by them gives me access to all sorts of designer frames like the stylish bebe collection above. 

Now, with all of the gorgeous options you have to frame your face, your glasses are as much a part of your fall wardrobe as much as anything else.   Go for a new accent color, a new silhouette or maybe a new finish. 

Once you have your smart new eyewear look, coordinate it with an entire outfit and then win it all! Yes, enter VSP’s Pin It to Win It and you could receive a year’s worth of VSP coverage and a new bebe ensemble for fall.  You don’t need glasses to see how sweet that is…

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf VSP Direct. 

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Dennis Basso Spring 2015 & A Farewell to Joan Rivers

dennis basso ss15
dennis basso ss15

Every season I am amazed at the sheer magnitude of the beautiful women in attendance for Dennis Basso's spring 2015 runway show. Famous celebrities, media sweethearts, and powerful NY socialites, flock to the tents to catch a glimpse of the designer’s latest creations for the coming season.

A moment for Joan...
In the moments before the house lights went up, and the first heel hit the catwalk, the designer requested a moment of silence in the theater, to honor the memory of his friend and Fashion Week staple, Joan Rivers recent passing. It was a lovely sentiment and one I will not forget.

Luxury resorts in the 1960's inspired the designer's Spring/Summer 2015 Collection. The women who traveled to these luxurious destinations needed to pack a variety of chic ensembles appropriate for daytime activities or evening events in the warmer temperatures.

In typical Basso fashion, the collection was chock full of embroidered cocktail dresses, exquisite ball gowns, and playful separates.  The colors of the collection ranged from bright white to soft muted shades in rose, mauve, grey, and taupe. Sheer floral prints looked modern with embellished details. The designer utilized a wide variety of fabrics from organza and linens along with leather and furs in the collection. Yup, that's right; Basso included his signature fur & leather pieces, even for spring.

designer bassoThe standout looks for me were the hand embroidered romper in silver with mink mosaic coat, the silver hand embroidered floral cloque ball gown and the floral mesh cocktail dress in tulle with beading

Whether you agree with Dennis Basso's fabric choices or not, there is no denying, that he stays true to his design aesthetic & vision. And something tells me one of the gowns may have a Red Carpet moment during awards season.

Elaine Fioravanti of Best Dressed Ginger

Guest Blogging for MsFabulous.com
photos by Mariana Leung

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

#NYFW: Herve Leger's Spring 2015 - Sexy Bound

herve leger ss15
herve leger spring 2015
Bravo to the Herve Leger design team.  The spring 2015 is one of the best collections I have seen from this label in many seasons.  I think they lost their way for a while.  I even accused them of sharing too many employees from BCBG and stretching them too thin and both collections looked quite similar a few seasons ago.

I’m happy to say that spring 2015 was thoroughly impressive.  It looks worthy of the Herve Leger, luxury Parisian label that it once was.  They were finally confident enough to not rehash the brand’s classic bandage dresses and re-interpret the concept for a new generation of clientele.  The body conscious, bound look was designed with intertwining stretch cords, metal hardware and curve tracing style lines.  Three dimensional embellishments were intricately worked into many of the styles.   The work that went into the pieces truly looked like couture again, and not outfits that just slapped a corset on for effect.

For slightly easier looks, the designers had a group of flattering dresses that used an elegant print that looked like a cross between a tribal and tapestry print, further embellished with contrast color embroidery.   There were a few ensembles using a blocked two-tone beige and black contrast pattern in a tailored, curvy silhouette.
herve leger purse

Handbags were also given an upgrade.  After several seasons of basic envelope clutch handbags, they had very structured pyramid shapes and fan shapes.

This is not a collection that is very forgiving to many body shapes.  Svelte socialites and Hollywood starlets will no doubt be flaunting their bodies on the red carpet in these looks. 
Damn, I need to get to the gym.
photos by Mariana Leung

Monday, September 15, 2014

#NYFW: Bibhu Mohapatra Spring 2015

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bibhu mohapatra spring 2015
Bibhu Mohapatra’s spring 2015 collection was a tribute to heiress and activist Nancy Cunard.  In addition to socializing with literary and artistic greats like Ezra Pound, Ernest Hemingway and Man Ray, she was an accomplished publisher on her own.  She led the fight against racism and fascism as the new purpose in her life after falling in love with jazz musician Henry Crowder.

While the rebellious spirit of the socialite was a muse for the designer, the aesthetics of the inspiration are a little more subtle.  There were some 1920’s and 1930’s silhouettes.  The turban styled hair, the bias pleat evening gowns had the glamour of madcap heiresses of old Hollywood movies.  The oversized beaded flower motifs paired with pale pink satin reminded me of Paul Poiret in the decade before that.

The color palette was stark, with black, ivory, pale blue and orange when it was mixed with a geometric pattern.  This wicker basket-like print was interpreted in different scales and distorted across luxury fabrics.   The softer rose and red colors were reserved for the embroidered styles.

I don’t know why we don’t see his gowns on the red carpet during awards season.  They are so beautiful and elegant.  Each collection has an artistic edge to them that many other collections just don’t achieve.

Bibhu Mohapatra’s star has risen quickly in recent seasons.  Unfortunately, he seems to have attracted unwanted attention too.  Many photographers were offended when they were thoroughly searched by security before being allowed to shoot this show.  We were told by guards that the designer felt threatened.  

Credentialed photographers have to send in their body of work and assignments in order to be approved.  They have to show official forms of identification in order to pick up their credentials, all of which have a photo and full name.  Most have been photographing fashion week for years.  However, all sorts of random guests who only need a barcode to gain entry to the show, with no identification checked or required, carrying large handbags were all let into the venue without a second glance. 

bibhu fashion
Now, unless someone received a specific tip that a credentialed photographer was the threat, why would you treat them like criminals yet let all the strangers and random “fans” into the fashion show?  Of course, the fashion show guests are generally better heeled (they don’t have to stand for 14 hours with 50 lbs. of equipment on their shoulder).  They also have designer labels on their bags as opposed to bags that carry professional gear.  This was clearly a case of class/style discrimination.  If you were a stalker who meant harm, which route would YOU take?  Easy, random, unchecked guest ticket that you could buy on Craigslist, or spend years building up credentials to be a photographer?  Also, will 99% of the world see your work from photographs or in person at the show?  Do you really want to offend those who take and distribute those photographs? 

Just a thought for the Bibhu Mohapatra PR team...
show photos by Mariana Leung

Ladie's Night with Chanel's LES 4 OMBRES

The weather is cooling, my eyes are sparkling.  I had a great time last Friday for the launch of Chanel’s LES 4 OMBRES Multi-Effect Quadra Eyeshadow.  The evening was hosted by InStyle beauty editor Kahlana Barfield who gave beauty fans a rundown on fall makeup trends at the Bloomingdale's counter.  

The LES 4 OMBRES collection is sets of four vibrant hues inspired by color combinations found in classic Chanel tweed fabric.  Celebrated artist Jackie Cooper Jr. chose the Tisse Cambon palette for me.  Aside from the pretty combination of bright pink, glittering egglplant, pale rose and taupe, Jackie chose this palette precisely because I shied away from the bold colors in day to day life.  He wanted to prove they were easy to incorporate.

He gave me great tips for applying eye makeup for a “reverse smoky eye”.  Using a primer to help the colors adhere, he advised using a brush in a stipple technique to apply the color to the lid.  It has the effect of a stronger, more even application than merely brushing it across the lid.  The placement of the pigment is also more precise.  He started with the darkest color on the lid, and then blended the bright pink into the crease.  This was definitely a different method from the traditional medium tone lid, highlight on the brow bone, that one was always taught.  I liked it because it was an easy way to incorporate a super bright shade in an accent for those who are gun-shy like me.    A finish all over the lid with some translucent sparkle (the taupe shade in the palette) added a pretty touch.

For my brown eyes, Chanel National makeup artist Sterling Williams recommended a deep purple mascara or eyeliner to make the hazel tones of my eyes pop.  I guess this goes back to basic color theory you learn in art school, about using the opposite ends of the color spectrum to create contrast. 
I had to admit I had to refrain from the champagne and multiples of sweets at the event (are style bloggers that predictable? Yes).   It doesn’t help your beauty appointment to arrive with bloodshot eyes and sugar crushed (from past experience). 

The LES 4 OMBRES palettes all had gorgeous selections of coordinating hues that paired perfectly with fall fashion trends.  The pigments in these colors were quite intense; makes it easy to create a look with huge impact without having to pile the product on.  Now what are your best tricks for a smoky eye?

Disclosure: Compensation was provided by Single Edition Media. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Chanel or Single Edition Media.  Photos by Mariana Leung

Sunday, September 14, 2014

#NYFW: Mark & Estel Spring 2015 GIVEAWAY!

 The Mark and Estel Spring 2015 show was highly anticipated by the fans of Mark Tango and Estel Day because they were going to release “Malibu Anthem”, their new single and perform it live in addition to their runway presentation. So when the show was about to start in the Salon of the Lincoln Center, the room was buzzing with twice the excitement than your typical fashion show.

I love the idea of mixing different genres. The show started with several black hats, something I love to wear. This style was influenced by the “rockstar” look, mainly in black and white, always showing some skin -either the legs or the belly! The bras appeared often to be part of the outfit and the hair was floating long and wild giving all the models a grunge look!  I experimented with this hairstyle myself after listening to "Smells like Teen Spirit” but it ended up in a tangled mess. Leather silhouettes appear broken by huge shoulders, reminiscence of the jackets of the 80’s, shorts skirts with inventively cut curved shapes. My favorite look was shown by two models walking like twins, one in black with a white bow and one wearing the opposite. Several looks included a bow, a bit excessive in my opinion. The show was dominated by black and white. As a matter of fact the only variation of color came in the form of a dark green hat.

As soon as the last model walked away the lights turned blue and the performance was on! Mark and Estel performed their new song live, Mark wearing a leopard print jacket, Estel wearing black and white. The sound was not perfect but the atmosphere was electric! The only other designer who could put on such a rocking show this week was Betsey Johnson!

photos by Mariana Leung
Mark and Estel are based on the West Coast and started making music and band t-shirts “to communicate our music not only with graphic but also the way they were cut”. According to the duo “Fashion is a religion” and it’s no wonder that Lady Gaga wears their clothes!

WIN Mark & Estel's new CD, Fashion First Aid kit & beauty new releases from NY Fashion Week! To win, follow @GeraldineTrip and @MarianaByDesign on Twitter.  Then leave a comment below with the name of your favorite rock song!

-Guest blogger, Geraldine Trippitelli, founder of Mazette Media, an marketing agency specialized in social media. 
 "I'm excited to have my fist posts as a guest blogger on Ms Fabulous! As a former Parisian I love following fashion trends and this blog is one of my favorite. I'm thankful to be given the opportunity to cover shows at NYFW."