Monday, October 31, 2011

Project Runway Season 9 Finale Part 2

I have to admit, this was a very disappointing finale episode for me. Not as disappointing as last season when Gretchen won, but pretty close. While Anya was a strong contender throughout the entire season, I always felt that Viktor was the superior designer and he was a more skilled technician. Anya's final collection didn't thrill me, but to be honest, neither did Viktor's. I believe Viktor's downfall was that he finished too early. When Tim Gunn announced they would be given an additional $500 and freedom to do whatever they liked with it, I believe that Viktor should have passed. He edited so much of his original pieces out and filled in with the weird sheer, S&M-esque looks. It was too dark, and not nearly inventive enough. It was his competition to lose and he certainly did.

If I were one of the judges, I would have fought for Kimberly to be the winner. She was the only designer who created a cohesive collection that was well-constructed and told a story. Her ivory pants look took my breath away:

I would LOVE to wear this outfit (minus the sheer part of the shirt- I'd have to layer a cami underneath or something). The cut and fit of the pants is amazing and I love the bow on the blouse. So gorgeous! The other two pieces that I would love to wear were both Viktor's and I'm sure neither will come as a surprise to you:

Both of these dresses are silhouettes I'm very accustomed to wearing, but I also love the prints of his fabrics. I love that he created prints and that they were meaningful to him as well as beautiful. I honestly wish that he had won- I just can't support the decision to crown Anya as the winner. 

What are your thoughts on the finale outcome? Please leave a comment- I'd love to know! And also leave a comment if you watched the new "Project Accessory" or if you are planning to watch "Project Runway All Stars." I'm looking forward to the All Stars show, but I'm also looking forward to seeing all the decoy runway shows this week. Have a great day, everyone! 

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Bridal Market

A couple of weeks ago was bridal market in New York, Chicago, etc. and of course Madeleine's Daughter was well represented at those shows. It's such an exciting time- seeing all the new trends and deciding which lines and dresses to carry in the store for the next year. For the most part, we continued with all the designers that we already carry- Monique Lhullier, Lazaro, Christos, Amsale, Alvina Valenta, Maggie Sottero- the list goes on and on and on. But, we are also going to be adding a line- the Nicole Miller bridal collection. And we are all very excited about it. It's perfect for the bride who wants something simple, but still very fashion-forward. Here are a few of our favorites from her collection:

I love this look for an informal wedding, or for a second look at the reception. The asymmetry is so trendy right now. 

I absolutely adore the neckline on this dress- so striking, but subtle at the same time. I would absolutely wear this dress.

Again, her simple silhouette with stunning detail is what makes her designs so appealing. There is no gimmick, just beautiful lines. I'm really excited to see these dresses in person once they're in the store.

Leave a comment and tell me what you think of these dresses!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Wonderful Wednesday

I love Wednesdays. They are usually my day off from work and I often spend them with friends. Today I spent the day with my friend Melanie. She was down visiting me mainly to pick up the dress I had made for her. She's wearing it to a wedding this weekend and I'm so excited to see photos of her in it! After fitting the dress and making sure it was perfect, we spent the afternoon shopping. She found an amazing pair of heels- actually they are a black version of these. I found a fabulous pair of nude heels that I plan to wear for a big date I've got next weekend. But that's all I'm willing to share about that right now.

Melanie also found an amazing cross-body satchel bag at TJ Maxx. At first, she was jealous of my new bag, but then she snatched up this one and it was my turn to be jealous!

Is that fabulous or what? At only $29.99, I think it was a major steal as well. I love the richness of the color- it's perfect for fall. She actually tossed the contents of her other bag into her new one almost immediately and wore it for the rest of the day. She also scored an amazing pair of boots, but I neglected to get a picture of them. In all, it was a very successful day for both of us. What was your Wednesday like? 

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Shoesday Tuesday- CL Heaven

A few years ago, I stumbled upon a blog called "Purse Addict," but I have to say that I think this is not an appropriate title, as the author is clearly more addicted to shoes. Louboutins, to be exact. Her taste is impeccable, her collection absolutely awe-inspiring and her much-anticipated posts are so unbelievably satisfying. Click here to view her latest haul- my favorites are the Cranberry Escandria (although that should come as no surprise to any of you.

Some other Louboutins that I adore lately:

Roudounia Houndstooth Mary Janes, Saks Fifth Avenue, $895

Pampas Laser-Cut Leather Ankle Boots, Saks Fifth Avenue, $1,595

Lady Fox Heel Platform Slingback, Neiman Marcus, $1,395

Sequined Platform Pump, Neiman Marcus, $1,695

Laser-Cut Slingback Bootie, Neiman Marcus, $1,495

Sometimes I feel as though browsing through shoes like these is as decadent as a rich, chocolate cake. And when I'm finished devouring them, I'm just as satisfied. 

Monday, October 24, 2011

Cigarette Pants and Sassy Heels

Meet McKenzie:

I love everything about this outfit- the skinny cigarette pants, the cool pattern of her sweater, the awesome grey heels- it's all fabulous. And what I wouldn't give for hair like hers. McKenzie has a bit of a pet peeve when it comes to jewelry, though. She can't tolerate anything that's noisy. That pretty much eliminates multiple bangles, or anything with baubles or charms that clink together. I guess I'm not the only one with irrational wardrobe habits

Don't you agree that this outfit is super chic? Leave a comment if you like and tell McKenzie yourself! 

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Project Runway Season 9 Episode 13 (Finale Part 1)

Torture. That's what this episode was to me. Torture. Why put the designers through the charade of a final challenge only to put all four of them through to fashion week? Why? I think that Anya choked, but since she's been the clear favorite from the beginning, the producers didn't allow her to be eliminated. In my (not-so-humble) opinion, this is Viktor's competition to lose. He is head and shoulders above the other contestants in terms of design and construction. Josh and Kimberly can sew, but not at the speed and level that Viktor can. He has hardly broken a sweat throughout the entire competition. He deserves the win and I think he'll get it.

Let's have a look at his mini-collection, the best of the four, by far:

I agree with the judges that this jacket would be more show-cased with a simple tee and a basic pant, but I also love the dress. What's up with the sheerness of it, though? I like my granny panties to be obscured from public view most of the time. 

This skirt/dress combination is awesome. I love the Rorschach quality of the manipulation of the print. The one and only change I would have made would have been to have the zippers zipped at a different lengths, maybe getting longer from one side to the other. A bit of asymmetry to counter the symmetrical print of the dress, that's all. 

I love the top and the jacket, and I can appreciate the pant.The print is cool, but I could never pull it off. The tailoring is perfect as always with Viktor. Based on these looks, I'm excited to see what remains in his collection. 

And now for what I consider to be the worst mini-collection, Anya's: 

This dress is vanilla at best. I think that Uli (season 3) did a far better job of creating an "island" look than Anya. I think this dress is certainly the best of the three that Anya chose to show, but it pales in comparison to all three of Viktor's looks. There is no contest. And I agree with the judges that the styling was bad. Not breezy enough. 

Boring! An ill-fitting bathing suit with a beige cover-up? Anya, you can do better! I have nothing else to say about this look. 

NOOOOOO!!!! This look is tortured. I believe Michael Kors said the same thing. It's so poorly constructed, and just not very good. I honestly can't figure out why the judges let Anya stay. She's pretty, even when she's crying, so maybe that's why. And she seems like such a nice person. Wouldn't it be nice for a nice person to win this time? Sort of like the anti-Gretchen, right? 

Ok, on to the two middle-of-the-road contestants- Josh and Kimberly. Neither one of these designers can or will win. They don't have the ideas, the skills or the sophistication. But it's been fun watching them try. 

First, Kimberly: 
Too much blue. Too much weird hair. Too much. Also, those are my least favorite pants that Kimberly has ever made. I feel as though I've seen the bag before and the jewelry is nothing special. 

Bubble butt and ski-jump front? Too weird. This skirt is asking for elimination. Again, too much blue. I agree with the judges- she should have brought in the ivory jacket. 

Meh. There is nothing special about this. Again, I feel like I've seen it before. It's completely forgettable. 

And finally, Mr. Tacky (Josh): 

The jacket is cool. The pants are nicely made and a fun pop of color. The belt ruins the outfit and the top and shoes should both go. Neither the best nor the worst thing we've seen from Josh, but definitely not Project Runway winner material. 

If you're going to make an LBD on Project Runway, it needs to be flawless. This dress is far from it. The weird tab in the front is just bizarre. The too-tight fit, deep neckline and short skirt combine to be too much. Boobs OR legs, Josh. Pick one. 

Ew. This is heinous. And the back is terrifying. I can't wait for him to be eliminated. Ugh. What was he thinking? 

So, what do YOU think of the mini collections? Leave a comment- I'd love to hear! 

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Things that bother me. Somewhat illogically...

Whenever I'm out shopping with someone and they are looking for something specific, it sometimes annoys me when they have an illogical reason for rejecting an item. And then I realized, I'm exactly the same. So I thought I'd share some of the things that will cause me to veto an item:

1.) A one-piece that looks like a 2-piece:

Tiered Combo Dress, Ann Taylor Loft, $89.50

It's not so much the difference in color that bothers me, it's more the different textiles in addition to different colors. When it looks like a skirt and a blouse, but it's actually a dress, I just hate it. It's completely illogical- there's no good reason for hating such a concept and yet I do. I can't explain it. 

2.) Front-only embellishments:

Lace Ruffle Front Top, Forever 21, $17.80

You may not think there's anything wrong with this top- it's got cute tiers of lace and jersey ruffles, and it probably looks great with a pair of jeans. My issue with it is that the ruffles are ONLY on the front:

I know that there are plenty of circumstances when the embellishment should only be in the front, but when it literally stops at the side seam, I find it irritating. Again, it's not entirely logical, I just hate how it looks. If I saw a top that had ruffles on the front, but not on the back, that would be reason enough for me to veto it. 

I feel kind of the same way about this type of sequin top: 
Sexy Cardi Sweater, Victoria's Secret, $69.50

See the way the sequins just abruptly stop at the side seam? Hate it. Now, here's where it gets really illogical- I probably would not want a cardigan like this where the sequins go all the way around, either! So crazy, but it's just the way I feel. 

What kind of things make you want to veto a piece of clothing? A friend of mine won't wear sling-back heels. They're not uncomfortable to her, but she just won't wear them- she wants a full or completely open heel, nothing in between. Another friend completely avoids long necklaces for no apparent reason. Leave a comment to tell me your wardrobe quirks. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Boots n' Blue

My co-workers are stunning women. Stunning. Just look at Sadie: 

Sadie ALWAYS looks amazing, but something about this outfit I really love. I love the details on the dress, the super cool boots, the flower pin- all of it! 

Sadie's such a babe! And she's super fun to work with, too. I'm very lucky to have such amazing, fashionable co-workers in my life. It makes going to work something I look forward to. 

Polyvore- It's more than you think....

The other day, I posted about adding pops of poppy to your fall wardrobe. In that post, I included a set I made using polyvore, which I have done many times in the past. This time, however, I received this email from my BFF Beth after I wrote that post:

"Oh my god. I just figured out that you can click on the polyvore image on your blog and get information on each individual item. I LOVE IT SO MUCH! Have you told people this in your blog? Maybe you should point it out (unless you did and I missed it), because it's changing my life. I think I have to reread every blog in which you used polyvore to get the specs on the items. The outfits you put together are so spectacular-- the poppy outfits are delicious-- that picking some elements here and there to invest it is exactly what I want to do.
I'd leave a comment, but for some reason, my pc isn't letting me. You are rocking my world." 

I guess I never told you guys that when I post a polyvore set, you can click on it and you will be brought to a page which includes all the information on the items included in that set- price, where to buy it, etc.

It's a pretty awesome website and I use it all the time for this blog. I'm sorry for never fully explaining the awesomeness that is polyvore! Once you're on the website, you'll be able to kill hours and hours just browsing through the many items and sets that other people have made. You may even want to create your own sets. It can be useful when putting together an inspiration board for just about anything- a marketing project for work, ideas for wedding color schemes and themes- it's really useful. Also, if you are like Beth and you would like to explore the many other posts I've written featuring a polyvore set, just click on the label "polyvore" below and you'll see all the posts that include polyvore sets.

Also, just for fun, I made this set specifically for Beth, since she's such a purse addict. Here are a bunch of fabulous fall handbags in beautiful shades of brown and tan:

Fall Handbags

Enjoy the rest of this gloomy, rainy day!

Nostalgic Necklace

I grew up in the 80's and 90's, so things like Super Mario Brothers, L.A. Gear, and You Can't Do That on Television will always feel nostalgic, no matter how ridiculous they may seem in retrospect. That's why I kind of love this necklace:

Brass Pac Man Necklace, Monserat De Lucca, $60

I prefer Ms. PacMan, but this necklace is still pretty awesome. While I may not be a huge fan of the return of 80's fashion, I can definitely get behind a cheeky accessory like this.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Shoesday Tuesday: Bonus:

Yesterday, my co-worker Kristin wore these awesome new boots:

Shannon Slouch Ankle Boot, Payless, $29.99

The ruching on the instep brings these booties into the present day, and they are incredibly versatile shoes. From jeans to a sundress to tights and a skirt, these boots will work for just about any look. If I hadn't asked where she got them, I would probably have spent the evening looking through all the shoes at Nordstrom, when all along, they were at Payless. That place has really stepped up the game in recent years. What used to simply be a bargain basement for comfortable, "sensible" shoes now features shoes by American Eagle and Christian Siriano. It wasn't until recently that Payless started to up the ante on fashionable shoes. Fortunately, we get to reap the benefits of their newly discovered good taste. Good fashion sense doesn't have to cost a fortune, I suppose. 

Shoesday Tuesday: Embellished Flats

Lately I'm completely obsessed with embellished shoes. I especially love anything with a little bow or flower right on the toe. Since I need to wear flats for work, I find myself drawn to ones that I at least find pretty interesting. Like these:

Daniblack Rose, Zappos, $180

Blowfish Nazz, Zappos, $39

Juicy Couture Chantal, Zappos, $250

Add a little jazz to your toes next time you're out shoe shopping. I did and I'm loving it. Happy Shoesday Tuesday!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Color Inspiration: Pops of Poppy

I know they're not in season right now, but the color of poppies is perfect for fall. Deep, rich, vibrant red is a perfect accent to brighten up an otherwise drab fall outfit. It works with pretty much any neutral- from light camel to dark chocolate to any shade of grey out there. I've put together a few outfits using poppy as a fun accent color:

Pops of Poppy

I love to add a single bright color to an outfit to be the one "wildcard" item in my outfit. It makes for more visual interest and it's an easy way to stand out from the crowd.

What do you think of pops of poppy for fall? Leave a comment- tell me what you think!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Accessories Anonymous: Buccaneer Bag

My weekly Shop It To Me email had a bag that made my heart stop. And it wasn't just because of the price:

If you have words for this amazing bag, please comment below. I have none. Only drool. 

Project Runway Season 9 Episode 12

What's up with picking four finalists? We all know that one of them will be eliminated before the Fashion Week showing, right? Isn't that always the way? Anyway, this episode was mildly interesting in terms of the drama and fashion, but what I really enjoyed was seeing what the designers themselves wore. That was far more interesting than the actual runway show. First, their outfits on Governor's Island

Ok, Laura and Viktor are reasonably dressed for a jaunt in the park and Kimberly looks amazing, even if those heels are a tad dressy for their outing. Of course, they dress prior to finding out where they're headed, so she's hardly to blame. Josh and Anya, though? What? Seriously? Anya, I know that mixed prints are all the rage, but that is not what I would call a sophisticated combination. And Josh's shorts should be illegal. Give that man a fashion citation. Ugh. And both of them chose horrific boots to wear. I can't even discuss them.

As for the runway, I think that each designer kind of dressed for their particular collection. 

Laura's obsession with that novelty circle fabric was what I thought would be her ultimate downfall. (And I couldn't be happier to see her go.) But in the end, it was that dowdy, nightgown-esque, ill-fitting monstrosity on the left that did her in. Her own dress is a poor choice as well. Perhaps if she had Kimberly's height, the length might be do-able, but she's so petite, it really doesn't do anything for her. And the color is so drab. Ugh. 

Kimberly's outfit looks like it could be a part of her collection- the mustard yellow is so fun and youthful. I'm sure she must have made them, knowing how great she is at pants. Honestly, one of her models would have benefited from a pair exactly like them. As for the rest of her collection, I like the asymmetry of it all, as well as the bright orange. I don't love the pewter brocade, but it works for the structural aspect of her designs. I love the coat, but I wish it was a bit sleeker, more fitted. 

Much like his vomit-worthy double-breasted salmon sport jacket, Josh's collection completely lacks any kind of appropriate taste level. The white dress is chic, but forgettable. The Statue-of-Liberty lurex dress is Tacky. Yes, with a capital "T." And the separates outfit is as unflattering as can be. That poor model looks terrible! I can't believe they put him through. Again, it must be for the ratings because it certainly isn't for the fashion. 

Viktor's "marketable" collection was criticized for being so, but I loved it. In fact, he once again wins my Would-I-Wear-It-Award, specifically for the skirt and top outfit. I love the cowl-drape of the skirt. The jacket is also pretty spectacular, and the LBD is fine- not his best work, or his worst. And I absolutely LOVE his outfit. I love a man who can rock a bow tie and Viktor has done it over and over again with panache. I'm definitely rooting for him as we head into the finale. 

Without Bert, I'm not sure Anya would have been the winner of this episode. The looks are beautifully designed and constructed. I think she will have an amazing collection to show at Fashion Week, as long as she can figure out how to sew it all. And her dress? SO sexy and cool. 

I'm not really expecting to be "wow-ed" at the runway shows for any of these designers except Viktor, but I hope to be pleasantly surprised. Ever the optimist, right? 

Leave a comment and tell me what you think of the designers looks- the ones on the models and the ones they're wearing. 

Friday, October 14, 2011

Tip Top Taupe

On Wednesday, several of my co-workers and I took a trip to a local mall. We had some serious shopping to do and we were very successful. We all seem to have trips coming up in the next few weeks and it was the perfect excuse for some fresh, new pieces to add to our wardrobes. Some of us were shopping for accessories, others for clothes, but we all had "must have" items. For Sadie, it was jewelry to match her bridesmaid dress for her sister's wedding in Antigua. For McKenzie, it was a fabulous blazer for a trip to NYC. For me, I wanted a great neutral cross-body satchel- not only for a quick trip I'm taking next month, but also for life. I realized that I don't have many options when it comes to hands-free bags. In the end, I found a gorgeous taupe faux-leather bag at New York and Company, so I snatched it up:

Turnlock Bag with Front Buckles, New York & Company, 44.95 

The one in the front of the photo is the color I chose. The light pink was also appealing, but I figured the soft tan would be more versatile and classic. I also love how the faux- leather is sort of weathered and worn- the bag looks broken in already. The shoulder strap is the perfect length, plus there's a handle in case I decide not to wear it. This may very well become my new favorite bag.

Have you made any spectacular purchases lately? Maybe you re-discovered an item in your closet. Tell me about it- just leave a comment! 

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Shoesday Tuesday- T-strap Heels

There is something so refined and feminine about a t-strap heel. It's more sophisticated than a mary jane, but still youthful. I'm a fan of these ones from Modcloth:

Enchanted Dream Heel, $119.99

I love that each of these shoes are nude, but with interesting details and flattering shapes. To successfully wear a t-strap shoe, be careful with where the top of the "T" falls across your ankle. It needs to cut across the smallest part or it will be very unflattering. Also, choose a nude color to keep the leg line long. (Say that five times fast!) 

Happy Shoesday Tuesday, everyone! 

Monday, October 10, 2011

Project Runway Season 9 Episode 11

Oh, Project Runway producers, you are getting so tricky! First, a fake-out: the designers think they're getting teamed up to work with a partner, but NO! They're getting paired as head-to-head competitors! Twist! And not only that, they have a bird as their inspiration! Not exactly a twist, but it's a little odd. Forced inspiration can really make a designer implode as Kimberly nearly did this week. An artist needs to feel inspired at his or her own pace, and I can't say that I would have done very well if I'd drawn a neon green parakeet to serve as my inspiration.

But wait- there's more! Tim announces they need to create a second look also inspired by the bird. Twist! And as if they hadn't already been through enough, when they get down to the end, Tim announces, "Just kidding- choose only one of your two looks to go down the runway." Twist of twists! And just plain mean if you ask me. That must have been torture for some of these designers, especially Viktor.

Let's explore the looks of the remaining six designers:

Viktor's Look
In the head-to-head competition between Viktor and Kimberly, I feel as though Viktor was robbed. This look is beautiful and the frayed organza actually looks like feathers. The color combination is perfect and it keeps this white gown from looking too bridal. 

Josh's Look
Josh is one of the lucky ones- if it weren't for the twist of creating a second look, he would have definitely gone home instead of Bert. That first look of his was atrocious! He really does need to learn to edit, though. I really hate the little fabric corsage he added to this otherwise stunningly chic dress. 

Laura's Look
I can't wait for Laura to go home. She is so clearly not in the same league as some of the other designers. Her work is immature, unrefined and often such a cliche. Maybe next week will be the end for her. We can hope, anyway. 

Bert's Look
Oh, Bert. It was time. I enjoyed watching him, but he hasn't really made anything that truly "wow-ed" me after the first episode. He was out of his league a bit, but he made a good effort throughout. I'll miss him fighting with the other contestants the most, I think. 

Kimberly's Look
Here's the thing: I feel like I've seen this look a million times before on a million red carpets. It's dated. It's not remarkable in any way. It only took three hours to sew. Sometimes, sewing quickly is impressive, but in this case, it was clear to me that Viktor's dress had so much more that went into it. They are the same silhouette, but I think Viktor did it better. I'm sure he knows that he wasn't truly in the "bottom," but it must have been rough to lose to Kimberly. 

Anya's Look

Anya, Anya, Anya. Why are we only now hearing about her lack of closures on her garments? The designers would not care at all about a detail like that if she wasn't a major contender. I do believe she could win it all this season. If you ask me, I think she's smart. It's easier and faster to sew a model into the dress than to install a zipper and risk it being ill-fitting or sloppy. In the end, her garments LOOK finished and polished on the runway. Isn't that what matters? Yes, they have to sew well, but it isn't Project Seamstress. It's about the design and she can design with the best of them. 

What did you think of this "For the Birds" episode? Leave a comment! 
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