Designer Spotlight: Katie Ermilio

Katie Ermilio is my new favorite up-and-coming designer. Her clothes are incredibly simple, but beautifully made and insanely chic. I love the feminine but still conservative cuts and little details, like unexpected pleating and cut-out backs. The bright bursts of colors don’t hurt much, either, and she works almost exclusively with black, whites, navy, hot pink, red, and bright blue. Indeed a very bold but chic color palette.

Katie Ermilio

My favorite thing about Katie’s designs is that you can see the care and craftsmanship that went into every single piece. They are as simple and bare as can be, yet they still manage to be totally original and fashion-forward. Her clothing is like modern art. It also really speaks to my style — I love sequins and pretty add-ons as much as the next girl, but my favorite pieces are all super simple and versatile. But they still stand out.

I think there’s a quote floating around somewhere about how clothes don’t wear the woman, the woman must wear the clothes. (I might be making this up, but it still works nonetheless…I think.) I feel like this rings especially true for Katie Ermilio’s clothing. The styles are minimal and the attitude of the wearer really shines through. Confidence makes these clothes (or rather, the wearer) beautiful.

Some looks from her fall 2011 ready-to-wear collection:

I have heard some fantastic things and some not-so-fantastic things about Katie’s work, but I suppose beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I, for one, am very attracted to her clothing and find it very chic and beautiful. As I briefly mentioned in this post, I rarely wear prints or patterns — much of my wardrobe is full of solid basics that I layer and combine in different ways. So I find her take on ready-to-wear very appealing: a simple color palette (with some fun colors to add a playful touch…can you imagine how boring these clothes would be if they were all black, white, and gray?) and plenty of chic but flirty silhouettes.

Katie Ermilio, only 25 years old and already on the fast track to becoming the next big designer, was originally hoping for a position editing a fashion magazine, with internships at both Teen Vogue and Vogue under her belt. But she began sewing dresses to wear to work and soon was accepting custom orders from colleagues who wanted chic frocks of their own. She also sold many of her dresses in her father’s storefront for extra money. Before she knew it, she had become a self-professed “accidental designer.” You can read the rest of her interview with fashionista.com here!

Who are some of your favorite fashion up-and-comers?

{Sources: Images via katieermilio.com, fashionista.com, and style.com}

The New Rachel Zoe Collection

I suppose I owe you a fashion post. Piperlime is one of my favorite places to buy shoes online (good selection, good sales, always free shipping!) and so, naturally, they feel inclined to flood my inbox with random fashion news and updates. (Piperlime, which is an online-only retailer owned by Gap, sells a selection of designer clothing, shoes, and accessories. They also send your order in really cool boxes.)

Today’s email focused on the new Rachel Zoe Collection, which can be purchased/pre-ordered at Piperlime.com. The collection by the renowned stylist features chic denim, great fall coats, basic blouses, dresses, shoes, and handbags. However, in the interest of full disclosure: it was not my favorite collection. While the clothes and accessories were all cute and stylish, I didn’t find them all particularly interesting, even if they would serve as good wardrobe basics. Also, it’s a little overpriced, with some dresses running around $400.

There were some pieces I enjoyed. The denim is cute and stylish, and comes in classic skinny and bootcut styles. Some of the shoes are gorgeous (with killer 6″ heels). The “Melissa” bag is a fantastic piece, and a couple of the dresses are beautiful as well as original.

In all, it’s a solid collection of basics with a few surprises thrown in. I suppose I just didn’t think the pieces all went together well — it’s not that they had to match, but there is definitely a mix of styles present in such a small collection. Just my opinion — take a look for yourself, and let me know what you think! Do you love it, or is it all hype?

{Sources: all images via piperlime.com; collages by me!}

Spring 2011 Series | Runway Review, Part II

I started this series a while ago (in January, to be precise) to showcase looks from the Spring/Summer 2011 ready-to-wear shows. And spring is coming up fast now! The goal from these posts is to draw inspiration from these looks, not necessarily try to replicate them exactly. Ashley from 2 Eyes In The Mirror mentioned in a comment on the first runway post that Hermès was her favorite show “hands-down,” so I’ve made sure to include it here! I’ve paired it with Ralph Lauren and Emilio Pucci to keep up the Western theme for spring.

Ralph Lauren

The Ralph Lauren show made very good use of the color white. It was similar to that at Dolce & Gabbana but with a Western twist. Swap out the floaty blouses and shorts for more structured shirts and high-collared dresses and throw in some leather belts and you’re good to go.

I found a lot of the clothes at Ralph Lauren to be pretty wearable, or at least easy to translate into everyday wear. I really liked the light floral prints for dresses, classic button-downs, and wide belts, although, granted, a lot of the basic silhouettes were exaggerated on the runway (read: pouffy sleeves).

Emilio Pucci

I loved the really rich and vibrant colors on the Emilio Pucci runway, as well as the many gorgeous and flowing dress shapes. The hair and makeup was beautiful and perfect for spring, with hair a little messy and undone, but still shiny and healthy, and a natural, bronzed face. (More beauty shots can be found in the details here.)

My favorite look from the entire show was the orange dress on the left. I’m usually not a big fan of orange, but it looked fantastic with the leather boots turquoise bracelets. The soft pleats on the fabric were also a big plus! I can’t see myself ever wearing something like this in real life, but I do love the color combination of leather/warm brown and turquoise, as well as the slightly sheer fabric for blouses.

I thought the look above left most easily translated into everyday — the leather jacket over the floaty spring dress is a classic combination for transitioning into the hotter weather if toned down a bit from the runway version.

Hermès

This show was incredible and I can see why it was Ashley’s favorite. I loved the sharp tailoring, color scheme, leather details, and the entire runway set. While some of the looks are not something I could ever see myself wearing, the riding pants are Hermès were perfect. We’ve seen riding pants a lot this year in fashion, and it’s great to see that Hermès is continuing the trend in the spring.

I also thought that Hermès was able to pull off the monochromatic trend quite subtly in some of its looks. Top left, Abbey Lee Kershaw looks very ladylike in high-waisted paper bag trousers and a tucked in tee. The black-on-black ensembles that popped up every so often on the runway made great use of different textures (sheer, leather, silk…) to differentiate between individual pieces (we also see this concept bottom right with the light cream outfit worn by Jac).

What do you think of the Western-style ready-to-wear looks at Ralph Lauren, Emilio Pucci, and Hermès?

{Sources: Ralph Lauren and Emilio Pucci runway photos photographed by Monica Feudi/GoRunway.com, accessed via Style.com. Hermès runway photos by Yannis Vlamos/GoRunway.com, accessed via Style.com.}

 

fall 2010 series: the essentials + where to shop them for less

For the next post in the Fall 2010 Series, I figured it was time to move onto clothes and do a post about the essentials for a fall wardrobe. The majority (or all) of these basics will be no-brainers for many, but it never hurts to review your options, now does it?

The clothes and accessories I’ve listed here are commonly referred to as “investment pieces” — wardrobe standards that you should invest a little extra money in to get the best quality, as you’ll be wearing them often. However, I believe that you still don’t need to break the bank to purchase good fall essentials — there are plenty of affordable options out there! (Especially at outlet shops, sample sale websites, and places like Neiman Marcus Last Call … the home of my new black Vera Wang dress!) Which is why, at the end of this post, I’ll do a quick list of ways to get designer pieces for a lot less. So without further preface …

Click collage to enlarge.

Part I: The Essentials

A good jacket | A fabulous jacket is the basis for every fashionista’s wardrobe. This is one area where quality definitely reigns, as a solid jacket will keep you warm and looking chic. Plus, you wear it every day (for multiple seasons!), so the cost per wear should be next to nothing. Maybe you already have a fantastic jacket, but if you’re looking for a new piece to rejuvenate your wardrobe (I certainly am), go for a camel color or basic black. Military style trenches are in for this fall (as are leather jackets, bombers, capes, and anoraks), but be sure what you’re buying is not too trendy, especially if you’re putting a lot of money into it.

A pair of perfectly fitted jeans | There is nothing better than a good pair of jeans, a pair you can always trust to fit you perfectly. We all have a ton of jeans, but if you’re anything like me, you tend to gravitate towards the same one or two pairs every time. If you’ve already found your perfect brand, that’s great! (Personally, I love J Brands … the fit is incredible, they are insanely comfortable, and the inseams are long enough for my legs.) If not, keep looking (try on several brands at an upscale department store … I promise you’ll find something that works if you look hard enough!) to find the jeans for you, and than try and snag them at a lower price (see the bottom of this post).

Tall leather boots | Buttery leather boots are a staple of any fall shoe collection and this year, they’re back in a big way with over the knee boots (which look fabulous with tights a cute dress). For those of us who don’t want to take the trend to the extreme, tall leather boots are the perfect alternative. You can wear them multiple seasons without them falling apart (if they’re good quality, that is) and they go with practically everything. I am guilty of wearing one pair of leather boots practically every day during the fall and winter for two years straight. (But again, in terms of cost per wear, they cost only a few pennies!)

An oversized silk blouse | I love this trend for fall. It’s simple, understated, and sophisticated at the same time. Plus, an oversized blouse (whether it be silk, chiffon, or some other material) is a great investment piece for your wardrobe. It can go from day (with a pair of jeweled flats and slim-fitted black pants, like the J. Crew Minnie Pant which I am currently obsessing over) to night (loosely tucked into a body con skirt with chunky jewelry and sleek pumps) quite easily. It’s a versatile piece that I’m looking to add to my wardrobe this season.

A utilitarian tote | I never liked the utilitarian trend — until J. Crew came along with their August catalogue (starring Maryna Linchuk), that is. Among the loads of cargo, silk, and sequins was this tote bag (also shown above). Simple, yet perfect for fall. It’s black color, durable fabric, and leather handles match with just about everything and are a great alternative to the increasingly trendy Longchamp “Le Pliage” bag.

The one-shoulder dress | A chic, updated version of the LBD, draped, one-shoulder dresses sprang up on the f/w 2010 runways in abundance. Despite its recent elevation to “fall trend” status, the one-shoulder dress is a standout wardrobe basic: it’s a flattering style for any special event and sets one apart from a sea of strapless cocktail dresses. Go for it in classic black, or a mauve or nude shade.

Voluminous trousers | A luxe pair of trousers are a great way to dress up any look without being, well, “dressed up.” Once you find a pair that fits nicely and flatters your figure, they’ll last forever and be a go-to piece when you simply can’t decide what to wear to work. As long as they’re not overly baggy, the extra volume helps offset a more fitted combo (like a dress shirt and blazer) up top.

A go-to pair of heels | Pumps are quite an obvious basic for any girl — a good pair will go with anything and be perfect for slipping on with any combination of dresses, trousers, and blouses. Patent is especially chic in black or nude if done correctly (too shiny, colorful, or with an overly pointed toe and you risk looking tacky). Look for a pair with a solid stacked heel that’s not too high (somewhere between 2.5 and 4 inches, depending on what you’re used too), so they’ll be comfortable for walking around.

Part II: Where to Shop

Everyone’s heard this advice before: If you’re just buying a trendy piece to supplement your seasonal wardrobe, get it for less at a store like Forever 21 or H&M. But if you’re shopping for a basic, it’s better to spend a little extra money for quality that will last you through the years.

Still, it’s always a bonus if you can get quality, designer pieces without splurging, and I’m going to quickly share a few of my favorite options here. Be sure to let me know in the comments of other ways you’ve found useful!

  • TopButton.com | A website where you can sign up for sample sale emails for new sales coming up in your city.
  • ShopItToMe.com | Sign up for emails featuring your favorite brands and styles on sale!
  • Ebay | Seriously, if you’re lusting after a specific piece, check for it on Ebay (look for NWT, or “New With Tags” items with photos from a seller with a good rating). It’s a great way to find denim — I bought a pair of brand new Hudson jeans there from this seller for $50. (Still not a total steal, but at least they were real … beware of super-cheap finds!)
  • Clothingline.com | A weekly sample sale in New York City — they stock a lot of J. Crew, Theory, Free People, and Tory Burch, among other finds.
  • TheOutNet.com | Net-A-Porter.com’s sister site, stocking tons of designer duds for less. They also have flash/pop-up sales and fabulous giveaways (which are impossible to win, but still).
  • Neiman Marcus Last Call | A cool outlet for Neiman Marcus clothes and shoes (including Louboutins, if you’re lucky). You really have to dig through the stuff in the store, but they have some incredible finds, especially on the extra-discounted clearance racks. Recently, I purchased a new Vera Wang Lavender Label dress (retail $525) for $70.
  • Outlet Shopping | Outlet malls are a great resource. Just be sure you’re buying something that you’ll wear this season and the next, and don’t get sucked into purchasing something ugly/trendy just because it’s cheap. I’ve found that Ralph Lauren, J. Crew, and Calvin Klein have especially good outlets. (With big discounts — some brands barely give you anything off!)
  • RueLaLa.com | I love sample sale websites like Gilt, Ideeli, and HauteLook, but RueLaLa is my favorite. Their site is clean and easy to use, with a great selection of high end and low end designers at heavily discounted prices (they even have special treats, like vacations and wine tastings). Note: clicking the links for RueLaLa.com, HauteLook.com, Ideeli.com, and Gilt.com will take you to my personal invite link, as these sites are invite-only.

View the full Fall 2010 Series here.

{Source: Images used in first collage via net-a-porter.com, vanmildert.com, and jcrew.com. Images used in second collage via ruelala.com, theoutnet.com, ideeli.com, gilt.com, hautelook.com, and neimanmarcus.com. Collage background image from computer-wallpaper-backgrounds.com.}

bloglovin