Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Just Jackie : Why Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis is the first lady of true class.

Jacqueline Lee Bouvier was born on July 28th 1929 into a wealthy catholic family; her father was a successful Wall Street broker. Jacqueline’s early life was spent in New York at the family estate. She was a lover of outdoors and horses and was a skilled equestrienne. She also loved reading and the arts.

She studied at private schools and spent a student exchange year in France; and in general she lived a privileged life. Her parents divorced when she was just ten and Jacqueline who was always a cool and private child, became even quieter and learnt to keep her thoughts to herself.

All this influenced her personality and she developed a stoic grace and a highly refined and individualistic sense of style very early. Not classically beautiful, Jackie understood what worked for her and became very skilled at highlighting her best features while disguising her flaws.

She was one of the most loved and followed media personalities of the 60s as wife of John F Kennedy the 35th president of the United Sates, whom she met through her first job at the Washington Times-Herald newspaper, and married in 1953.

Jackie was and still remains one of the most admired first ladies of the United States for her dignity and devotion to her country and family, and she is also undoubtedly one of the most influential fashion icons of all time.

Above everything else, it is her courage, dignity and enduring charisma that make her a true style aristocrat.

For more on Jackie look here- 

Monday, January 25, 2010

The Hermès Birkin : why the Birkin remains the ultimate arm candy.

What can one say about the Birkin, that hasn’t already been said in a thousand different ways? Suffice it to say that this is the bag that tops every list of iconic bags, ever.

Created by the legendary fashion house Hermès sometime in the 1980s (probably 1984); the Birkin was named after Jane Birkin a British-born actress and singer .The roomy size, the no frills styling and simple lines of the Birkin lend themselves beautifully to every season and occasion save (maybe) the “red carpet”, and can never ever look dated. The minimalist hand crafted design has yet another advantage- the bag looks different with every type of material  or color used, minimizing the chances of repeat fatigue. 

Is it any surprise that Victoria Beckham, one of the most ardently followed fashion icons of all time, owns around a hundred of these?

The myths about the origins of the bag, its pricey exclusivity and the fuss surrounding its means of procurement; further add to its cult status,  making the Birkin a perfect case study for understanding how luxury brands are created and kept alive. The little traditions, rituals and stories that lesser brands dismiss as a waste of time, play an all-important role in keeping the discerning customer interested.

I have promised myself that someday soon I shall own my favorite version- the back crocodile leather one, maybe the one with the diamond buckles(depending on how well my business is doing) . Now, if that can't keep me motivated, nothing can!

For more on the legend of the Birkin, and some related chick-literature look here

Friday, January 22, 2010

L'air Du Temps : the fragrance for the eternal romantic...

The name that can be translated as "In the air" or "Of the moment" , articulates the spirit of the perfume beautifully. Launched by Robert Ricci -Nina Ricci's son, in 1948 soon after the World War II, the perfume and it's name expressed a need for freedom and peace, capturing the essence of the times.

Francis Fabron, the designer of the perfume,created an ever enchanting,shimmering spicy-floral classic. The exact composition is still a mystery but the floral-spicy note of the carnation is at centre of its being. Bergamot and rosewood support the development of the carnation theme, refined with the notes of rose and jasmine. Violet and iris give a powdery nuance, and create a harmony with the woodsy notes of cedar and sandal, while sensual musk and amber add the final feminine accord to this fragrance.

The exquisite original bottle featured a single frosted dove and first made its appearance in 1951, it was created by Marc Lalique, the son of the legendary jeweler Rene Lalique.

The fragrance has inspired many flankers including L'Air du Printemps, L'Eau du Temps, L'Air du Temps Colombes Couleur, and Nina Ricci L'Air du Temps Love Fills.
All of them are variations of the original romantic-feminine theme and have different versions of the kissing doves bottle, making them a collector's delight.

Recently L'air du Temps celebrated it's 60th anniversary with a limited edition bottle made of black crystal, in cooperation with Lalique.
The fragrance has remained virtually unchanged and
so far it has enchanted generations women around the world ,I have no doubt that the fairy tale will endure.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Luxe safaris : the sophisticated new Khaki look will never go out of style.

In case you hadn't noticed, the khakis and Safari looks have been making quite a comeback in the past couple of spring/summer collections. The difference is, instead of the standard crinkled cottons and relaxed silhouettes (over-popularized by GAP) that are all about being laidback, the new safari/khaki look is much more sophisticated and even luxurious.

Khakis can go Safari and they can even go Military, but in this post i shall refer to Khaki more from the Safari point of view.
Well, according to me, the "Safari look" is pretty classic and while we may see ebbs and flows in it's popularity it will never really "Go away".

So what could add that twist of glam to an otherwise standard summer staple? 
 i think the key difference lies in the fabrics and silhouettes- the fabrics now being used are more glamorous, flowy chiffons, crepe silks and even satins with a soft sheen; and the shapes are far more sharply tailored and feminine than those plain bulky trousers, practical skirts and masculine shirts we associate khakis with. 

Basically it helps to remind yourself that you are not actually setting out on a safari, its all about portraying the spirit of summer, the luxury of free time and travels to exotic places .

Bringing in touches of Gold, Bronze, Amber or bright Orange, in the form of accessories could take  the outfit up a notch or two. And, don't worry about pairing high-heels with your safari look, remember you are not shooting for a re-make of "Out of Africa".

Not surprisingly, what also works well with the Khaki/Safari look is adding elements of vibrant animal and/or tribal prints and accessories (in neutrals or warm tones) .

So go ahead pull out those beautiful desert neutrals and see how you glam them up.

For some inspiration look here:

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Sailor on the shore: why nauticals are always the classic summer choice

The navy/sailor inspired styles or "nauticals" as they are called are undoubtedly a classic summer choice. What could be more refreshing for summer, than a style that reminds you of sailing on bright turquoise seas with a tangy breeze in your face, as you set off into the horizon for a sun and surf filled adventure?

It must be something to do with the striking color palette of White, Navy and Red or maybe its the the graphic simplicity of the horizontal stripes and well-recognized marine motifs that makes the mood distinctly holiday like and uncomplicated .The combinations are endless, if not clothes you could add some naval inspired accessories (shoes, belts, bags, jewelry or scarves etc) to a basic navy or white outfit and voila, Chic Ahoy!

The best part- if you look in your closet right now, you probably have everything you need to create a nautical inspired look. Just get hold of a couple of cool trendy pieces (again, i would suggest, go for accessories) and by the thundering typhoons, you are all set to sail !!

For more tips on how to put together this look, check out these cool links: 

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Pencilmania : why the pencil skirt is forever chic.

If I was told that I could keep just three bottom wear items in my wardrobe; guess what they would be? They would be- my favorite pair of straight-fit classic blue jeans, my well fitting black trousers and my well-fitting black pencil skirt. That’s how indispensable I think pencil skirts are.

Descended from the venerable “hobble skirt” that was designed by the legendary French designer Poiret in 1910s, the pencil skirts have become a staple in every office going woman’s wardrobe for their simple stylishness and ability to go from season to season without ever looking out of place. Of late women seem to have rediscovered how amazingly versatile this garment and they are everywhere.

Having said that, there is absolutely no need to stick to the black skirted secretarial look, in fact pencil skirts look great in just about every color and length; even printed versions can be refreshingly pretty. The trends keep fluctuating and right now, both short and below knee hemlines are in, though the mid-calf length does not flatter most people.

But it’s not about the skirt; it’s about you, so make sure you choose a shape and length suitable for your body type, get a few good quality skirts in a few solid neutrals and watch your wardrobe anxiety vanish. Mid to high waisted styles, with hemlines that hit the middle of your knee, or a couple of inches above, would suit almost everyone and never go out of style.

Once you identify the shape and length that works best for you, stick to those, where you can experiment safely is – fabrics, colors and styles. Think dull metallic brocades and
Jacquards or soft clingy jersey with a little draping detail, if that’s not your style you could consider crisp khakis or nautical looks with a large pockets or a double row of brass buttons and so on.
I personally love the taffeta silk skirts in jewel tones, with a few well placed pleats or the large tie-on bows at the waist - fabulous.

Apart from the office look, there are endless casual looks you can create by pairing the skirts with tops ranging from simple sleeveless vests, long sleeved T-shirts & lacy blouses to cardigans.
For the evenings opt for rich jewel colors and luxurious fabrics, add dark tights and sky high heels. You could throw on a plain satin boyfriend jacket or a sequined blazer for added glamour.

Equally open is the option of footwear, pencil skirts look best when paired with slim heels but I have seen amazing looks where they have been styled with shoes ranging from gladiators, derby shoes, ballerina flats to clogs and uggs. Belts work really well with these skirts  as  do most kinds of bags from over-sized to evening clutches.
Look here for some tips on choosing and wearing it right-

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Skinny Jeans Rock: why the skinny style refuses to go away.

Let’s accept it-whether you are a size zero or a size twelve, you have tried them and even felt good in them. There is something undeniably cool and sexy about skinny jeans, a rock-star attitude, which the classic straight legs and boot-cuts can only dream of matching.

It’s about time they be given their due as a modern classic. Ladies, just because they don’t look good on you don’t mean they aren’t classics!!

I know, with the classic pleated pants and billowing draped trousers doing the rounds, this might not seem like the best time to write about skinny bottoms, but that’s the whole point -I am saying the skinnies have moved beyond “trend” territory into “modern classic” territory

Want proof? Despite dire predictions that skinny jeans are “so over”, bad for health and anti curvy women and suchlike, and despite the imminent threat from boy-friend jeans, return of the flared 70s jeans, ripped and torn denim and what have you, they haven’t slowed in terms of sales figures and they still have the best shelves reserved in the closets of fashion icons.

Trust me, only a classic can surf the ups and downs with such grace.
And here’s the clincher- it’s become a bonafide menswear trend for the coming season. How can women traipse around in large, torn, elephantine jeans while the men run around looking all dressy in dark and tight, peel-off jeans? So here’s my conclusion- as long as “Rock Chic” is in, skinnies will always be in.

How did the skinnies burst on to the fashion scene, anyhow? Jeans were always relaxed and grungy casual wear right? Well, the “anti-fashion” tight Rock & Roll jeans of the 70s and 80s was always hot on the music scene and thus with rebellious youngsters, these tight jeans slowly mated with spandex and over time the modern skinnies were born.

By the early 2000s, they had gone mainstream, with the top designers showing them on the ramps and a lot of celebrities adopting them. By 2006 they had hit the top of every denim wearer’s wishlist and were the top selling style. Their popularity might be plateauing off right now, but like the story of every classic, the popularity waxes and wanes but never quite dies off.

Oh and nothing stops you from slapping a trend on to your classic plain skinnies right? Try torn, distressed, whatever- perfect Sunday afternoon DIY fashion project!

Personally, I am waiting for their next avatar, it’s just a matter of time before some young designer decides to reinvent them and they will be back with a vengeance. Btw, I find the picture with the steel plates sewn on to the knee area, quite striking.
I’m thinking of trying it with an older pair I have…maybe even studded leather patches, why not?

There are three grades of skinny- narrow straight cut/ drainpipes, and then, depending on the percentage of Lycra there is the skinny and the super-skinny (the super skinny jeans look painted on-definitely not for the plump).

Please choose the one that you can carry off with ease because if you look uncomfortable it will show and nervousness is not a rock start quality at all.

Just a couple of tips from me- if you aren’t blessed with endless, perfectly toned legs, stick to darker washes which are easier to carry. And if you are short, do not pair them with flats.

For more ideas on what to wear them with and so on, please check these links-

Sunday, January 3, 2010

White heat: the classic white shirt and why it’s always in.

Okay, so I won’t lie this post comes at this time because when I recently (finally) got to watch “The September issue” - which by the way , I loved- I was thrilled to see the scene where Thakoon ( a young upcoming designer) is asked to work with Gap and create a new line inspired by the classic white shirt. What an utterly exciting project. 

But aside from the timing, many friends of mine will vouch for me when I say this- I have always been a huge fan of the classic white men’s shirt. According to me the white shirt is not a garment; it is a philosophy, an attitude and a way of life. The white shirt is a symbol of “Pure classic style”. Easy, natural, chic and brilliantly versatile. 

Because, like black, white is not really a color in the technical sense-if black is nothing or the absence of color, white is everything or the merging of all the colors (we can perceive) into one non-color. And so, it goes with everything and suits everyone (well, almost). 

Apart from all that symbolism, the fact remains, that a good white shirt like the LBD is one of the hardest working items in your closet if you know how to use it. It never goes out of style, it looks classy, it works with every size, shape and skin tone and with everything else in your closet, it can be dressed up or down depending on your need... the list of plus points is endless.

But a little warning here, unlike black it isn’t easy to maintain …and there is nothing worse than a tacky white shirt. 

Here’s the trick- keep a couple of well cut and expensive (think classic designer labels and silk) button-downs as staples that you dry clean at the best cleaner you can afford, these will never let you down. And then, keep adding a couple of good quality but not-so-expensive white shirts, blouses or T-shirts in the season's trendiest shapes and fabrics, to your wardrobe every season. 

Every once in a while, make sure to get rid of the outdated styles and the stained or yellowing pieces (if it's really an expensive piece ask if your cleaner will dye them in a darker color, yet another advantage of white) because sometimes no amount of dry cleaning will bring the brilliance back. 

A small price to pay for looking immaculately stylish, I say!

More here-