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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
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Monday, September 15, 2014

#NYFW: Bibhu Mohapatra Spring 2015

bibhu mohapatra ss15
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
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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
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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."

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Thursday, September 11, 2014

#NYFW: Vivienne Tam Spring 2015 & the Forbidden City

Vivienne Tam is a master in merging traditional Chinese themes with contemporary techniques.  For spring 2015, the designer took her inspiration from China’s Forbidden City. 

Landscapes and nature patterns like waves and clouds were printed onto blouses or handbags.  Birds, flowers and trees were embroidered onto athletic fabrics like power mesh.  Printed neoprene was cut and appliqued onto other fabrics in a sports meets high fashion mix.  These motifs are found in historical artwork and handicrafts in China and treasures from inside the Forbidden City.  Her color palette was similar to her collections of the past. She used her signature red, black and ivory.  There was a pretty ceramic blue and bits of citrus yellow and purple in prints.

The big trend in many collections this season is wearable tech.  Vivienne Tam offered handbags that charged your phone when you put it inside.  Unlike many of the clunky pieces that many tech companies produced, the accessories on this runway were so stylish, I would be happy to buy them on design alone with the functionality being a big bonus.

The most popular jewelry was a variation on the knotted beaded friendship bracelet.  Unfortunately, my least favorite part of the catwalk was the footwear.  Normally, I would be enthusiastic about seeing a designer promote practical, comfortable footwear, but the socks and flat sandals the models wore looked like a bad tourist cliché.  Paired with the sleek, beautifully rendered pieces on the body above, it just did not make sense.  Was this a nod to the casual attire of Silicon Valley?  Sure, wearing comfy shoes should be a goal in real life, but on the New York Fashion Week runway, I realized I would prefer to see some nice heels on the models that are only spending 90 seconds in them.  Even the most professional of models, wearing socks and flat, duck-like sandals affects how they walk and the overall impression on the runway. 

With Vivienne Tam’s tongue-in-cheek design process, I think the models were lucky their feet were not bound instead.
photos by Mariana Leung

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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

#NYFW: Betsey Johnson Spring 2015 Pre-Nup!

pink wedding dress
betsey johnson fashion show
betsey johnson spring 2015
Spring, summer, it’s the season of the bride.  Designer Betsey Johnson’s Spring 2015 collection reminds you to be a cautious bride though, naming the collection “Pre-Nup”.  The fashion show started with two dolled-up same-sexy couples in white.

What came next was a parade of alternative bridal dresses, but also lingerie, burlesque and sexy frocks that were more appropriate for the bachelorette party (and wedding night!).  The models carried bouquets of flowers of all types, even faux blooms made from fabric or just a paper cut-out.  There were lots and lots of tulle fabric in the form of veils and petticoats. 

The make-up was very dramatic.  The models sported big, smoky eyes and bright red lipstick that gave a much darker edge to the eccentric girly looks on the runway.  It was as if they wanted to remind everyone that yes, they were having fun tonight playing this caricature of femininity, but don’t forget there is a real woman behind the dress who needs to be taken seriously.  Perhaps that is a message that Betsey Johnson as a brand stands for.  One always associates Betsey with hot pink, a female-driven brand that projects a good time.  Fans turn to the label for party dresses and looks that are perfect for a wild night out, but never the office.

While Betsey is cheered during her signature cartwheel, critics have often been catty about her and her daughter’s business skills.  Because they are women, are they being judged by the image versus the actual accomplishments?  It is a global brand that has been around for several decades, been through major challenges and involves multiple family members. 

With so many somber faces on the runway, it is so much fun to shoot this fashion show.  Photographers’ line up for hours before this presentation and it is the most crowded show at Lincoln Center by a longshot.  The burly male shooters who care little about designers or fashion or don’t even have women in their life are fans of this collection.  Who can blame them?

Well into her 7th decade on this planet, Betsey Johnson still performed her signature cartwheel and split, but accompanied by her grandchildren.  Her family joined her to take the bow.  Betsey Johnson’s exit was having the big drag queen bride carry her over the threshold (or backstage).   Bravo lady!
photos by Mariana Leung
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