vena cava for aqua | collection favorites

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The highly anticipated Vena Cava + Aqua collaboration made its debut today at Bloomingdales.com. From the looks of it, the 19 piece collection has some great items for fall, from basics like this tee to statement pieces such as this velvet dress. Above are a few of the pieces I’m loving from the line (information below). The dresses are especially fabulous (all of them!), with gorgeous draping and feminine details.
I do have one reservation, however: despite the heavy price tags (even for a “cheaper” designer & department store collaboration), I’m a bit skeptical of the quality and fit of the pieces — mainly due to this article here. Some of the pieces (like this military jacket) look a little questionable, so I will definitely be checking them out in the store before I decide to purchase anything (and at that, I’ll be waiting for a possible sale first). Although this dress, my favorite piece of the collection, looks fantastic!
  • Ponte Coat, $198 | I love the versatility of this jacket. It looks soft and pliable, like a cardigan, but is warm enough to wear by itself. You can wear it as an integral part of a look or simply throw it on over to keep cozy during the brisk fall weather.
  • Accordion-Pleated Silk Skirt, $138 | Pleated skirts are “in” for the first time in what I assume has been many, many years (as they are quite reminiscent of ugly kilts, aka middle school field hockey uniforms), but the small and numerous folds here and jeweled detailing is quite elegant.
  • Carrot Pants, $138 | Sleek and perfectly roomy for fall. Loving the silky material, zippered bottoms, and cropped silhouette.
  • Jersey-and-Mesh Combo Dress, $158 | This is the perfect fall dress, and the colors are all fantastic. It’s muted tones and simple design make it the perfect base for any layered look, but it also works on its own thanks to the beautiful draping of the skirt.
  • One-Shoulder Draped Mesh Dress, $178 | I love the dark and moody combination of the navy and black (although this dress does come in two other color combos). It’s fierce! And one-shoulder dresses are definitely on my mind right now.
  • Faux Fur Vest, $188 | The only thing keeping me from buying all the faux fur jackets, vests, and accessories I can get my hands on is the question of whether or not I could actually pull them off without attracting some strange glances. But I do love this vest — it’s not very fitted (almost low-key) and the bow is such a lovely feminine detail!

What are your favorites from the collection?

{ Source: Images used in collage from bloomingdales.com }

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alexa chung + madewell

When you hear the name “Alexa Chung,” what words immediately come to mind? Stylish, chic, iconic, and slightly androgynous perhaps? Indeed, she is making waves in the fashion world with her original look — even inspiring the incredibly successful (and completely gorgeous) Mulberry “Alexa.”

The British icon’s new line for Madewell looks as though it will have plenty of classic pieces in true Alexa style. I can’t wait for this line to come out — while Mulberry is definitely outside my price range, Madewell is quite reasonable. And while these looks are nothing incredibly groundbreaking, they are most certainly classic fall staples for every girl’s wardrobe. I’m especially looking forward to the shoe collection (!!) and lots of pretty blouses.

The collection will be available to shop online starting September 9th and in stores starting September 11th.

In the meantime, here are some snapshots from the Alexa Chung for Madewell fall 2010 presentation.

I adore the dotted blouse in the right hand photo. It’s simultaneously visually intriguing and versatile.


What are your thoughts on the line? Will you be queueing up to snag some of Alexa’s pieces as soon as they hit the stores?

{ Source: Photographs by Nick Wolf from refinery29.com. }

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fall 2010 series: beauty breakdown

Why do I love beauty trends? They’re the easiest to follow. Most looks can be re-created at home with supplies already on hand, or with a few inexpensive extras. (Of course, buying new makeup is always fun too!) But the point is: changing up your makeup is fun, easy, affordable, and if you mess it up or it doesn’t look good on you, you can wipe it off and try something new, consequence-free. The case is definitely not the same if you purchase that dress you’ve been lusting after on “Final Sale” only to find it doesn’t even fit when it arrives in the mail.

Here’s my quick list of some of Fall’s top beauty trends and how to achieve them.

Red Lips.

Red lips are HUGE for Fall this year, and I’m sure you’ve heard about this trend hundreds of times already. From Proenza Schouler to Givenchy to Chanel haute couture, bold lips graced the runways of my designers. I personally love this look — it’s classic and sexy, strong and feminine. But it has to be paired with a strong dose of confidence to pull it off correctly.

How-to: As with any bold makeup trend, it is essential that the rest of the face be neutral to avoid clashing (e.g., smokey eyes with nude lips and red lips with a fresh face). To get a matte red lip, first outline your lips with a nude lip pencil (some makeup artists also recommend applying concealer to your lips as well, to hold the color better) and then apply your chosen lipstick color, blot, and repeat until you achieve your desired shade. (To go glossy, simply apply a heavy gloss on top, starting at the center of your lower lip and then blending out with a lip brush.)

What to invest in: If you don’t have a great lipstick color or just want something new, a good lipstick is (obviously) the key to pulling off this trend (also a nude/clear lipliner to avoid the dreaded “ring” around the mouth). I’m not much of a lipstick guru, but I do like Benefit lipsticks — they go on very smooth when applied (try Benefit Full-Finish Lipstick in “Flirt Alert,” $18). Click here for a list of 11 lead-free lipsticks.

Grey Eyes.

Hazy soft grey eyes (seen at shows like Rodarte and Chanel) are a super chic twist on the neutral eye. As with red lips, be sure to pair them with a fairly neutral face — a bit of blush and nude or soft berry lipgloss/stain should do the trick.

How-to: Both makeup artists Kristin Gallegos and Sandra Ganzer emphasize that the key to making this look work is perfect blending. Start by blending a light grey shadow all over the lip and all the way up to the brow, as well as a little underneath the lower lash line. You can then add a darker or more metallic grey shadow closer to your lash line to define your eyes a little more. (Personally, I think a silver/pewter shadow makes eyes really pop!) You can then try winging the outer corners a bit with your shadow brush (or just use a liquid liner) and add mascara — whatever suits your look.

What to invest in: Good brushes are essential here for getting that perfectly blended look. Try the Sephora Collection Professionnel Angled Shadow Brush #20 ($16) and/or the All Over Shadow Brush #22 (#13). (See the full brush selection here.) Also, if you’re looking for a cool metallic liquid liner, nothing beats Urban Decay’s Liquid Liner in “Revolver,” $18.

Neutral.

The starting point for pulling off all of Fall’s beauty trends, a neutral face is key to pulling off red lips, grey eyes, and other bold trends. It’s also a great base for the classic smokey eye, so be sure to master this simple, fresh look. No one pulled off neutral better than Prada and Marc by Marc Jacobs (the most natural faces on the runway this season!), but the look was also spotted at Alexander Wang and Ann Demeulemeester.

How-to: To get flawless skin, start by applying a medium coverage foundation and then using a good concealer to hide any spots or redness. Set the look with a fine powder.  To get the grunge-y Alexander Wang look (a smudgy brown eye), use a medium to dark brown cream shadow and smudge with fingers or a brush. To get the sleeker Ann Demeulemeester look, use a black eyeliner pencil in the crease and smudge with a brush or q-tip (or just use a black eyeshadow in the crease). Or simply apply a fabulous, bright cheek stain or blush and leave it at that.

What to invest in: A good foundation and concealer is the most important part of this look. Clinique is a must-try for good, basic makeup and beauty needs. Lauria Mercier also offers a Flawless Face Kit, $65.

Bright Eyes.

Not the kind of look you would wear everyday, but still something fun to try for a more dressed-up event or a night out. Colorful eyes were found in abundance on the runways of Caroline Herrera, Oscar de la Renta (my personal favorite — tons of smoky metallics), and Dior haute couture.

How-to: Start by priming your lids with an eye shadow primer, which makes the colors appear brighter and helps your look last longer. Then simply apply whatever shade(s) you desire! Just remember to keep the rest of your look in check — a little blush and nude lips should do the trick. Topshop.com has several video tutorials on various bold eye color trends (as well as one on red lips), so definitely check those out for more specific tips on pulling off this trend. I especially love the “Sun Shower” look (à la Oscar de la Renta).

What to invest in: A good eyeshadow primer to hold the most color for the longest amount of time. Try Urban Decay’s Eyeshadow Primer Potion in “Original,” $18.

Dark & Shiny Nails.

Nail polish trends are always my favorites for Fall and there are usually way more than one “it” shade. One common thread I’ve been noticing in Fall nail polish hues is that they are almost unfailingly dark, moody, shimmery, and mysterious. (Like Chanel’s Paradoxal“, $23 — by far the hottest nail polish for Fall.) A couple similar (and cheaper) shades: Sephora by OPI’s “Just a Little Dangerous,” $9 and Rescue Beauty Lounge’s “Scrangie,” $18. But purple isn’t the only option! Also look for deep, glittering navies and greens.

How-to: Make sure nails are clean to start. Then clip, shape with a nail file, moisture, buff, apply, and dry. Or go to a nail salon. You know the drill.

What to invest in: Chanel’s “Paradoxal.” Obviously.

What’s your take on the Fall 2010 beauty trends? (Not just the ones I listed here!) Will you be trying any of them out?

 

 

 

 

View the full Fall 2010 Series here.

{ Source: All runway images used in collage from style.com. Chanel nail color image from sasareport.co.uk. Thanks to urbanoutfitters.com for trend and application information. }

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* P.S. If you’ve blogged about any of these trends or reviewed any of the products listed here, please let me know!

couture 2010: christian dior

Saving the best for last … say hello to my favorite Fall 2010 couture collection. Actually, I’m fairly certain it’s almost everyone‘s favorite. And how could it not be? Although the floral-inspired ball gowns seemed as though they would fit in better on a Spring couture runway, the show was inspired, original, and classic over-the-top Galliano. It at once embodied everything couture should be: outrageously fabulous and extravagant, with exaggerated feminine silhouettes. The bright colors, miles of ruffled organza and taffeta, were a fun and refreshing break from the muted hues and minimal silhouettes on practically every other runway.

Missed the other posts? See all the couture collections here.

{ Source: Images via Coutorture.com. See the full collection here. }

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couture 2010: valentino

The Valentino couture show was yet another example of the minimalist, recession-era approach to couture (as minimal as you can get with couture, at least). Designers Chiuri and Piccioli named their 2010 collection “The Dark Side of First Love” — a title that seems to me quite complex to articulate through clothing. But they seem to have pulled it off nonetheless. With classic couture silhouettes, a moody color palette, and details that included bows and cage-like contraptions alike, the show was full of simple, feminine pieces. I have to admit, this show was not one of my favorites this year — perhaps because it seemed a little basic and a little uninspired than what I would have expected from haute couture — but it was most definitely a subtle, classic collection.

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{ Source: Images via Coutorture.com. See the full collection here. }

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