Fashion Flashback – Styles of the Late Sixties and Early Seventies With Courrèges

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A brief window back in time, into the style of the late sixties and early seventies, via André Courrèges is an ultra-modern and sleek vision of fashion and style. At the time, his designs were unusually geometric and boxy giving an uncluttered look. No surprise there, given his education as a civil engineer.

Courrèges opened his fashion house in 1961, showcasing his unique style in his famous A-line miniskirt, little white dress and trouser suit. The iconic 1960′s French fashion house has “a predilection for futuristic designs, geometric shapes and angles, and eye-catching textiles.

A day ago on May 6, it was announced that the fashion house had tapped a pair of new artistic directors of womenswear Sébastien Meyer and Arnaud Vaillant of Coperni Femme​, “a young fashion line which, in its two years of existence, garnered ANDAM’s First Collections Prize, was shortlisted for the LVMH Prize, and attracted lots of attention from fashion editors for their “sleek silhouettes, decadent textiles, minimalist lines, and structured style.”

Courrèges relaunched in 2011 without an artistic director. They announced a new makeup line with Estée Lauder in March of 2014.

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Images from Harper’s Bazaar

Designer · Pop Culture

Asian Pop Star CL is Stunning in W Magazine Photoshoot

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She’s called CL, but her name is Lee Chaerin. Chearin is her first name. She’s Korean, she’s the leader of a girl group called 2NE1 who sing kpop, but are known worldwide. The 24 year old recently signed with Scooter Braun, Justin Beiber’s manager, and is hard at work on a crossover album to the United States. CL is both a rapper and singer.

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Throughout the photoshoot, CL is wear various traditional Korean clothing called the hanbok.

Ladies hanbok consists of only two primary pieces, a full, high skirt called the chima, and a large petticoat called the mujigi. Over these can go an additional piece, a long and wide-sleeved top called the jeogori.

The main fabric used in hanboks is silk. However, summer hanboks are made with ramie, a flowering plant in the nettle family or hemp. And, winter hanboks are made with brocade or satin.

This Hanbok is the same Hanbok we blogged about, back in 2013. It’s designed by Kim Young-seok, who has also designed hanboks for the president of South Korea, Park Guem-Hye. The current president of Korea is a lady, who’s also the daughter of a former president. His name is Park Chung-hee, and he is credited with the developments that planted the seeds for South Korea’s rapid industrialization.

Kim Young-seok prefers a more modern interpretation of hanboks for his designs.

Embroidery in hanboks was reserved for royal wear. As CL and her fans style her as a queen, the hanbok she’s draped in is embroidered.

Aside from how incredibly stunning are these photos, their is an underlying sentiment CL wants to share. As she crosses the bridge to the future, she wants to be remembered as Korean. So maybe this is goodbye, to Korea, goodbye to Kpop.

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Color is the most important element in hanbok design. And, the stunning red Hanbok CL is wearing, below, could not express that sentiment any more. Red, Yellow and blue are traditional Korean colors.

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CL’s Instagram is a stack contrast to this luxurious spread’s modern day take on Korean royalty. CL’s Instagram which has her posing with producers and their friends, is as granola-American as it gets.

We. @kevin_amato @annatrevelyan

A photo posted by Twitter:chaelinCL (@chaelincl) on Mar 27, 2015 at 3:38am PDT

Maybe that’s why she’s hiding behind the mask here.

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Boots · Jackets · Street Qt

Street Qt: Ivy League Besties in Matching Outfits

Wearing matching outfits from head to toe, the pair walked into the coffee shop and sat opposite one another, toe-to-toe. A fascinating and striking scene on the college campus.

Over their dark- brown chestnut-colored booties (they prefer calling them just “boots”), they wore a black-themed outfit with one of them wearing a rebellious zip-detailed leather-biker jacket. And, her bestie wore a perfectly contrasting Michael Kors cross-body purse, with brown strap and detail almost in perfect sync with her boots. “Was it planned?” “Of course!” “How?” “Snapchat!”

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Zip Detail Leather Biker Jacket from Burberry

Michael Kors Selma Mini Logo Messenger

Clutch · Designer · Handbag

Louis Vuitton’s “Brown and Beige Damier”, and Michael Kors “Checkerboard.” “Who wears it Better.”

I was standing on line at a convenience store, and in front of me stood a fair brunette with extensions. Hanging from her shoulder was the iconic Louis Vuitton Speed 30, with its golden zipper open. Genuine or not, she reached into it and pulled out a Michael Kors wallet in a checkerboard pattern.

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An interesting juxtaposition that actually works really well from a visual standpoint, may have a non-initiate in the world of fashion asking, “Who copied who?”

The beige and brown Damier canvas pattern on Louis Vuitton’s iconic monograms was conceived by Mr Vuitton himself in 1888 to deter imitations. Fast forward about 100 years, enter Mr Michael Kors, who has not hesitated to adopt and adapt the design for his purposes. By now, whatever trademark or copyright LVMH may have had on the design, would have long expired.

For Mr Kors, the adaptation works, because it makes the design accessible. Although, the preference is for Louis Vuitton, because of its high-luxury brand. Or, as Ivy-League student Rihanna said “it’s more upscale.”

Browsing Louis Vuitton’s website looking for the bags section is like a treasure hunt. Click “women”, but no “handbangs!” Is it under “accessories?!” No, “ready-to-wear!? No, No, can’t be. “Leather Goods,” then. And, then another menu pops up:
“Hand Bags;”
“Small Leather Goods;”
“Celebrating Monogram;”
Was that really all necessary?!
The damier canvas patterns are found under “Monogram Icons,” under “Hand Bags”

On Michael Kors’s website, bags are listed directly in the rather tacky looking primary menu. And, there are lots of them – a prodigious amount of them.

Designer · Dress · Dresses · Tops

DKNY’s Exciting and Urban Resort 2015 Collection Hits the Shelves

DKNY has long overshadowed its mother-label Donna Karan, and its latest arrival in stores from the Resort 2015 collection is really exciting and prolific. The poster child of the collection is Cara Delevinge, who’s wearing her go-to accessory… a leather jacket.

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The collection is urban, feathery and full of swag. Primarily monochromatic and pastel pink, the designer creatively put together pieces that are youthful and agile. The collection also has a casual and sporty feel, making the sneakers the models are wearing totally relevant.

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resort14look113_alt1resort14look113_main1. The Feather Drop Waist Dress is an adorable above-the-knee dress with a shiny feathery skirt. So the top, cut like a short-sleeved t-shirt is made of ponte, a combination of polyester, rayon and spandex.




resort14look143_mainresort14look143_alt12. The Fringe Tunic Dress comes straight out of Brooklyn in style and substance. The immaculate white dress has the long fringes emanating high above the waist. Also short-sleeved the dress maintains its sporty feel, and the style with white sneakers and long strap hand bag is totally on point.



resort14look501_main - moto leather jacketresort14look175_main3. Cashmere Drawstring Pants with exposed ankles and elastic ankle cuffs.




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5. Petal Hem Long Sleeve Dress is a reminder that urban isn’t always about being tough as nails. The petal embellishment on the already adorable pink gown elicits a fresh girly attitude.


Designer · Dress · Dresses

Alice and Olivia’s Shimmering Fall in Soho

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While everyone else is sucking out any semblance of color out of fall, including mother nature, Ms. Bendet of Alice and Olivia is using any means possible to inject it right back in.

From bright red-colored butterflies, to sun-scorched orange fall leaves, the warm aura is inviting at Alice and Olivia’s store in Soho at 96 Green Street.

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Her use of sequin in this sleeveless evening gown with an exquisite backless cut out, shows an attempt to take in any and all color that surrounds the wearer and reflect it back to the world in thousand shimmers. And, color is light reflected.

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Ms. Bendet paid a lot of attention (or paid someone who did) to the shape of the bareback in this seductive gown. The shape is almost regal, like the window to a palace…. or a temple.

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The patterns on this neutral-colored sleeveless dress with the fur collar, emotes luxury.

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Street Qt

Street Qt: Fall Fashion – Cowboys and Indians

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75 degrees in October is always welcome, summer’s little goodbye gift. For this October staple, affectionately called “Indian summer,” the ladies of New York City have decided upon western wear. This little game of “cowboys and indians” has filled the streets with brown boots and those floppy hats straight out of wardrobe on a John Wayne movie set.

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Wool hat from H&M
Camel wool ha t from H&M
Felt wool hat from H&M
Wide Brim Felt Hat from Zara
Leather Boots from H&M
Boots from H&M
Fringed Boots from H&M
Street Qt

Street Qt – Fall Trends: Grey, Plaid and Brown

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It’s fall in New York City, even if it’s a beautiful 71 degrees outside. A definite trend this calm October morning is grey, coupled with a leather-brown tote or bag. Plaid, in black and white is even more fashionable, and exciting to see in a hoodie.

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“Boyfriend” plaid shirt in linen and cotton blend from H&M
Flared calf-length imitation leather skirt from H&M, and jersey top
Flared calf-length imitation leather skirt from H&M
Plaid Flannel Shirt from H&M
Plaid Flannel Shirt from H&M
Voluminous plaid pullover sweatshirt from Urban Outfitters

Tory Burch S/S 2015: Ethnic Adventures, Origins and Influence

Tory Burch is a cultured woman. She said recently, “every collection that we do… is a lot about travel and different countries.” Her Spring/Summer 2015 collection is no different. Tory Burch showed off her newest designs in the hallways of Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall on Wednesday September 9, 2014 as part of New York Fashion Week. The collection was ethnically driven and inspired from two disparate regions of the globe. Tory Burch’s collection evokes the traditional textures and styles found among the Yoruba of West Africa as well as ancient Japan.


FFS_AS1_1024x1024Several pieces in the collection appear centered around a fabric called ashoke (pronounced ash-or-okay). Ashoke or aso-oke dates back several centuries to the early days of the Yoruba Kingdom. It comprises strands of textile woven into strips, which are then sewn together to make the fabric. It’s this technique that gives the fabric the vertically or horizontally aligned patterns. This would explain the strips and striped patterns running up and down, as well as left and right on the outfits in Tory Burch’s S/S 2015 collection. Another influence of this technique is frayed hemlines, which are also found in Tory’s collection.

Here’s a quote regarding how ashoke is made, from an African designer Adele Dejak:

Originally, the pieces were either deep indigo, a natural beige silk, or an imported magenta silk weave. Today, the strands of cotton, polyester, rayon, silk, lurex, and acrylic are all merged on narrow strip looms into long, thin pieces of fabric. The strips are sewn together to create a piece of fabric unique from all others ever created. At times, an artist doesn’t have quite enough of one strip, and will add a totally different one to even things up. In yet more artistic whimsy, pieces may come hemmed, partially hemmed, or totally unhemmed. The open work, embroidery, shine, design, textures, and color work together for a textile unlike any other that is impressive and artistic.

The Yoruba woman, and many women in Africa wear a top or blouse called the Buba. The Buba is usually a loose-fitted outfit that’s usually worn over a wrap-around midi-skirt.

The necklines of some of the outfits in the collection, particularly the needle point neck lines, can also be found in African men’s wear including the dashiki. It’s also a neckline found in tunics out of India. And, we know Tory loves her tunics.

Ashoke Yoruba Fashion
The Japanese influence in the S/S 2015 collection, although not as dominant as the ashoke, is even more evident. A couple of pieces use ancient Japanese vector patterns that are still widely used today. Specifically, Tory Burch used the Raimon or thunder pattern and a version of the Sayagata.

Japan Raimon Thunder Pattern

Tory Burch is a soft-spoken and charming lady. Her aura is one of mild manners and a gentle demeanor, and this collection like many before it, reflects that in its use of color. The colors are not loud and inane, but instead offer soft persuasion and seduction through warm earthy tones.

The best description suited for Tory Burch’s S/S 2015 collection, came not from a fashion critic but from WhoWhatWear’s sister site, DomaineHome. The site, which reviews stylish interior décor and home furnishing, published on the same day as the Tory Burch S/S 2015 runway showing, the following description:

We love the distinct look of Tory Burch’s boutiques where traditional elements and furnishings mix harmoniously with ethnic textiles, bold colors, glamorous accents… Like Burch’s clothes, the boutiques often feature a fearless mix of multiple patterns and prints. A unifying color scheme helps the diverse designs work well together without clashing. wasn’t far behind in its review of the collection:

Tory Burch’s global-inspired collection for S/S 15 is defined by minimalistic shapes in alternatively bold color or all-white. The shapes are chic and wearable, from shift dresses to pencil midi skirts, while subtle metallics and fringe detail add interest. Tory Burch clearly understands and delivers what stylish modern women want to wear.

However, many critics in their reviews were fixated on the south of France and Françoise Gilot.

As recounted by,

… Burch’s muse was Françoise Gilot. “Because she was a strong woman and a great artist,” she said a little testily when asked why. “And she was the only woman who left Picasso.”

This would explain Suzy Menkes seemingly random sojourn to the south of France in her review of the collection. Françoise Gilot and Pablo Picasso spent some time in the south of France.

The day before Tory Burch’s collection showing for NYFW S/S 2015, Ms. Menkes berated Donna Karan for allowing African influences to dominate her collection.

Donna Karan just seems to try too hard to take influences out of Africa, while her home city – New York – would surely offer more easy answers and easy pieces.

Having used “Africa” as a theme in her Vogue column just the day before, Ms. Menkes wouldn’t want to be told take her own advice, by using it again to describe Tory Burch’s collection… so she went to the South of France. But with having to review 7 collections each day for a whole week, she can hardly be blamed.

Another critic who couldn’t resist the French connection, was Women’s Wear Daily, who called the collection a “savvy interpretation of la parisienne bohème.”

Tory Burch has a pretty underwhelming personality that belies an overwhelming creativity, with the use of rich textures, outlines and compositions, in her collections.

Click here to see more pictures of ashoke used in African fashion.

Dress · Dresses · Street Qt

Street Qt: Dazzling Turquoise

Summer’s over in New York City. But a few short weeks ago, when the sun’s rays radiated beautifully on the city’s sidewalks, this lady walked by in a dazzling turquoise sleeveless-dress.

More on the pastel side, the midriff lace details and the above-the-knee hemline give it a little edge.

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Shop the Look:

Forever 21: Lady Lace Fit & Flare Dress Forever 21: Lady Lace Fit & Flare Dress

Forever 21: Garden Party Skater Dress

20710331_099_f Urban Outfitters: Sparkle & Fade Knit Skater Dress



61600295_largeDorothy Perkins: Closet Turquoise Flared Belted Dress

And a few matching items…

96-327.1AShiekh Shoes: Nature Breeze Women’s Cambridge-04

product photo shootNew Balance 501 Women’s Lifestyle & Retro


Street Qt: Girl in the Hat

There she was walking up Madison Avenue in downtown New York, in the perfect summer outfit. Dressed in a sky-blueish white sleeveless dress that had the feel of cotton, she had on a straw hat and a straw crossbody purse to match. As she casually took in the view, she may well have been on vacation in the Caribbean or the Maldives.

If looking for tips on a perfect oufit for a day on an island of the sea and sun… look no further than the “girl in the hat”.

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Dress · Street Qt

Street Qt: Black Sun Dresses with Large Flowers

It hasn’t exactly been a sun-kissed summer in New York City, but that hasn’t stopped the ladies on the street from wearing sun-dresses. Black may not be high on the list of summer colors, but these flowy full-length dresses accompanied by splashes of large red flowers activates every feeling of the season.

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Did Raf Simons Go Wrong: Is Dior Couture Undone

NY Mag’s The Cut called it “surprisingly wearable.” Leandra Medine of The Man Repeller called it “couture for the people.” But, the top comment on’s review did not mince words, and declared of Raf Simons Dior Fall 2014 Couture Collection,

“… Raf Simons continues to stab, maim and outright murder the House of Dior every six months…I’ve seen more inspiration and excitement in the Spiegel catalogs my grandmother used to collect in the 80s…. BOOOOOO!!!!!!!!”

In an ambiance of 150,000 orchids and a reflective white floor, Raf Simons attempted to bridge time, by taking inspiration from 18th-century France with voluminous skirts, from NASA with space-age shoulder patches and gloves, and with futuristic metallic belts that seem borrowed from a Star Wars movie set. Altogether, Raf’s concocted time machine failed to deliver “Marty and Doc” coherently to the runway, set to present day.

“For me it didn’t hold together like some of his previous collections.” Said Christina Binkley of the Walls Street Journal in an on air interview. She continued, “I thought there were some piecemeal pieces that were great; some wonderful coats that might sell to the ladies who can afford them. But as a whole I liked some of his previous collections more, actually.”

Some of the coats, stylishly fitted and embroidered, stood out for their exquisite craftsmanship and desirability.

Women’s Wear Daily’s may be the only review that offered a raison d’etre for the collection. “His goal is not only to turn out exquisite clothes enticing to Dior’s tony global clientele, but to do so within a framework that challenges and seeks to advance current notions of modernity — within the ethos of Dior.” According to WWD, Simons says backstage, “It felt like a challenge to look further back in history and see how I could modernize certain aesthetics. That is my constant drive, to make it younger and make it relevant to women in their lives today. Always, to be modern.”

The name “Marie Antoinette” was a recurring theme, mentioned almost gushingly in several reviews, including in Suzy Menkes of Vogue International. Interestingly, it’s a little fitting. Not just because of the ultimate fate the name conjures, but the name’s popular perception is as discordant as Raf Simons Dior 2014 Couture Collection.

The irony of the Madame Antoinette name-dropping was not lost on Veronique Hyland of NY Mag’s The Cut, who declared, “Is the bourgeois dressing the new rebellion?” If that’s not enough, referring to Ms Menkes title for her review “An Alleluia Moment For Dior”, a commenter retorted “its not an ‘Alleluia Moment’,its more a R.I.P.,Amen”

Boutique · Dress · Dresses

The Merengue Summer Dress at the New York Look

The New York Look boutiques are some of the most exciting places to shop for dresses in New York City. Their pieces are always relevant and fresh. Also, they never shy of appealing colors and alluring cuts.

As summer approached, in late spring, their Times Square store had this exciting statement piece on display. It’s called a merengue dress and is designed by Nanette Lepore. The color, described as punch is lightly toned, and adds to the airy feel given by the ruffles around the midriff and along the skirt.

It’s a perfect dress for a relaxed evening for the months of June and July, in New York City.

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You can shop the look here and here.

Designer · Dress · Dresses · How She Does It... · Jewelry

How She Does It… Arden Cho on Award’s Night

How she does it…” is a segment were we look at the style and character of celebrities and successful women who have that “Qt” look.

The actress, singer, YouTube sensation Arden Cho was recently in New York City to host the Dramafever 2013 Awards. With style, grace, and substance, her warm and genuine personality created a presence that said “I’m happy to be here with you”, both on and off the stage.

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A little about Arden Cho… an ardent cheerleader she grew up in Texas, went to school in Illinois, and moved to Los Angeles to pursue her dream. Through it all, the highs and the lows, she maintains a visage of smiles and southern charm. Arden is one of those rare people whose beauty shines forth from the inside out.

She started the night in a glistering sequin-cocktail dress from Ines Di Santo, an atelier based out of Toronto, Canada. The dress, composed in luxurious detail with Swarovski-like crystals, had a single strap with a brooch mounted over it. The strap itself was not made entirely of fabric, but of the same glitterati that covered the dress.

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Arden Cho later changed into an adorable and cutesy skater dress from Alice + Olivia. Aside from the elaborate flair of the skirt and the sleeveless bodice, the dress was embellished with a collar filled with sparkle. The back had a textured pattern, shaped like a diamond that added a little charisma from a behind-look. With hair perfectly coiffed behind the ears, she wore “a pretty-pink” earrings from Sorrelli Jewelry that matched her lipstick and made her outfit pop.

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To cap off the night, Ms. Cho wore a bare-shouldered Michael Costello evening gown. Michael Costello, who featured on Project Runway season 8, has styled the who-is-who of Hollywood including Beyonce. The dress was a deep blue, and had shimmering trimings at the hemline which regally swept the floor. The essence of the dress was further enhanced by the rear silvery-exposed zipper, and the fold-over bodice with ridges that added texture.

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Arden Cho’s style is both girly and “sexy”, encompassed by a refined sophistication.

First dress of the evening.

Second dress of the evening.

Third Dress of the evening.

Shoes · Street Qt

Street Qt: Happy Feet on Award Night

The quickest way to glam up any outfit, lays at a woman’s feet – her shoes.

It was award night in New york City for the Dramafever 2013 Awards. In the spring evening, happy feet came out of winter hibernation in peep-toe heels and platforms of all heights.

These blinged-out ankle-strap heels belonged to the host of the evening, the lovely actress Arden Cho.
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These exquisitely printed peep-toe platforms are hand-made from Thailand.
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Street Qt

Street Qt: Vivacious Scarves for a Flirtatious Spring

With spring weather in New York City teasing between mid-forties and mid-seventies, colorful and vivacious scarves are the perfect item to give that outfit a little pop.

Of recent in the Big Apple, on some days it’s wonderfully sunny and warm, and a few days later it’s damp and cool. In this state of affairs, New Yorkers are leery of putting away their drab and neutral colored cold-weather wear, and breaking out their vibrant spring wardrobe. As if to coax the coquettish spring weather to commit, the ladies of New York are using vestige-vestments of spring, like exciting and robust scarves, that add flourish and character to an otherwise dowdy outfit.

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Designer · Dress · Dresses

Part 2: It’s Spring! Breakout Your Fit and Flare, and Skater Dresses: The Designers

Designers are not to be left out of the spring 2014 trend for fit-and-fare and skater dresses.

For designer brands, the skirts tends to be shorter, leaning towards skaters than fit-and-flare. Also, the flares at the skirt are rather exquisite, with significant detailing of the pleats.

Already feminine and flattering to the figure, these designers have taken the fit-and-flare one step further.

Below, a cut-out back has been added to the dress. And, the fitted bodice borrows the overlap of the Japanese Kimono, presenting an austere visage complemented by a colorful motif.

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Most of these were taken at the Bergdof Goodman store-front on Fifth Avenue in New York City.

Here is a Caroline Herrera embroidered fit and flare dress.


Caroline Herrera has dressed first ladies from Jackie Kennedy to Michelle Obama, two icons of the fit-and-flare. Proving how timeless the style is.




Dress · Dresses

It’s Spring! Breakout Your “Fit and Flare”, and “Skater” Dresses: The Retailers

Spring 2014, for New York retailers, is all about dresses: Fit and flare and skater dresses. The fit and flare, a hold out from the fifties, never goes out of style. It’s become more ever so slightly edgier with time, with shorter hemlines, less flare at the skirt, and more visible shoulders. However, it will forever retain its girly and feminine aura.

The skater dress, an even shorter version of the fit and flare, delves into the cutesy end of girly. And, is particularly desirous of teenage crushes.

With the right accessory, the fit and flare is versatile for any occasion, all ages and styles. Perfect for the work place, underneath a blazer and pumps, flats or boots; or with a cardigan along with sneakers or sandals for a casual outing. And most definitely, great and comfortable for girls night out and dates.

The simplicity of the dress makes it perfect for elaborate and colorful prints, as well as elegant and ornate textures and patterns.

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Street Qt

Street Qt: Afropunk Menswear Swag

Wearing a blue polka-dot buttoned-down shirt, neatly tucked in at the waist, with bow tie and bowler hat, she was hard to miss. This was at the Afropunk Battle of the Bands in Brooklyn, NY, filled with the energy of teenagers just getting a taste parental freedom.

Aside from her confident demeanor, what really made her light the room was her feminine form in masculine attire. It was sexy. And she had the swag to match.

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I just wish I wasn’t in such a rush to take the pictures…. I had a band waiting.


Peter Piloto is Whimsical, But Fun in Autumn-Fall 2014 Collection

Ah, the whims of the Peter Pilotto duo. Continually teasing and pleasing with designs that are off the beaten path, but fun. Conceptually, their Autumn-Winter 2014 collection was no different from their previous collections. But each collection is always fresh, as they play with different colors, patterns, and textures.

The outfits were elaborate, to say the least, but some look a little stiff. The vibrance of the color compensated for any visible stiffness.

The most comfortable and very ready to wear item was the three-band-dress. You could tell the model was very comfortable wearing the dress. She was relaxed and poised.

Noticeably Peter Plotto do not do long pants. Their heroine is emphatically feminine.

Their London Fashion Week show moved at a brisk pace, and the models walked on a looped runway that criss-crossed. So models were constantly walking across each others paths. The rehearsal must have been thorough, because only once or twice did a model have to come to a complete stop to give the right of way.


Valentin Yudashkin Stunning & Spectacular Spring Look


The Russian designer designed his collection around three colors. Gold, green, and white. Colors that represent the renewal of spring very well.

Valentin Yudashkin got his start in fashion, designing for the wife of the former leader of the USSR, Raisa Gorbachev.

His spring-summer 2014 collection is a prolific creation that embodies sophistication. Although many pieces have a level of edge. Sometimes he does go over the top, which has been the singular criticism of post-soviet fashion. Having said that, the collection does show refinement, but the restraint is still lacking.



Designer · Event

Jean Paul Gaultier is “Frenchier Than French”

A conversation with Tim Gunn followed by “The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk” at the Brooklyn Museum

After an one hour of listening to the conversation between Tim Gunn of “Project Runway” and Valerie Steele, who is the director of the Museum of the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), it seemed that the two masters of fashion history were enjoying a pleasant conversation over a cup of coffee, like two friends who had not seen each other for some time.

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During their light banter, Tim shared with us that he is currently working on the “Project Runway” spin off – “Under The Gunn”. Initially they thought they were going to shoot another season for “Runway”, which they held auditions for. However when the prevailing circumstances changed, to Tim’s utter surprise the selected designers chose not drop out and agreed to work with him on the spin off project. Valerie Steele for her part, shared that she is at the moment working on putting together an exhibition for the FIT museum about the history of scenic costume design.

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Both agreed on the importance of the preservation and exhibition of fashion history, especially in modern times. They tied this to Tim Gunn’s enormous contributions during his tenure as a member of the faculty at Parsons New School of Design. He was given credit for his pivotal role in the revitalization of the curriculum that had not “suffered” any changes since 1953. At the time, the school lacked subjects like the history of fashion, which Tim considers of primary importance in the education of future designers.

The conversing pair then forayed into the present, and chimed in on how boring fashion shows have become nowadays. Every time Valerie sees one she finds herself thinking “Wait…did I see that last season already?” While Tim mentioned that the “presentation of fashion is poor”.

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What was definitely not poor was the Jean Paul Gaultier exhibition. But before getting to that, the Q&A session from the audience followed Tim and Valerie’s conversation. Tim expressed, while answering a question, “I am very budget minded. When I buy something I want to wear it for 3-4 years.” That day he confessed he was wearing a suite from Suit Supply (a brand from Netherland that opened in New York Soho 2 years ago). He also thinks that the customer is looking for deals and bargains, for cheaper than usual products. And, that this is highly detrimental for the fashion industry. Tim Gunn predicted that department stores, specifically calling out Macy’s, will disappear and instead will start renting space to innovative and talented new designers. His timeframe of this is unknown.

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But what is certain for him and his host is that at the present moment, Paris is the epicenter of fashion. Sadly however, by Tim’s observation this is not a result of French people presenting themselves fashionably dressed in the streets of Paris, but rather the multitude of designers whose work merge into a constant atmosphere of high-end fashion ideology.

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Afterwards, the audience made their way into the darkened room containing the Gaultier Exhibit, which starkly contrasted Tim and Valerie’s take on contemporary fashion. It is a visualization of originality in fashion ideology. As you approach, subconsciously you expect to hear music in the background or silence. But because Gaultier is surprising us yet again, you see faces projected unto mannequins that are winking, laughing and even crying. One of the mannequins is Gaultier himself, with a projected face-monogram speaking French.

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The exhibition is divided into seven sections, separated by theme rather than chronologically. The Odyssey Collection greets you first, where one of the designer’s greatest trademarks are situated.

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Then, follows The Boudoir where you discover Jean Paul’s obsession with lingerie. His first designed bra was as a child, for his teddy bear “Nana”. And, his most famous is the cone corset for Madonna, which she wore at the Blonde Ambition Tour in the 90’s.

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Skin and body were inexhaustible sources of inspiration for Gaultier, and were artfully used in his Skin Deep Collection. This is where clothing is used as an illusion of a second skin and nudity.

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A little further wandering among the exhibit brings the Punk Cancan section into view. This is where seemingly discordant items are paired, and the unfashionable is transformed into the magnificent. Motorcycle jackets are paired with ballet slippers, distressed denim find a partner in garbage bags or recycled objects, camouflage print fabrics transform into an evening gown. The camo-gown became the talk of the town, when Sarah Jessica Parker wore it to the MTV Video Music Awards in 2000. It was worn only once.

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For the Urban Jungle section of the exhibit, the designer was inspired by Paris and its neighborhoods where he sees ”a melting pot of people. This intermixing, this splendid vibrancy symbolized in his eyes the new Paris.” This is where pieces from his Samurai Collection, the controversial Chic Rabbis and his Tribute to Africa Collection can be found.

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When asked how he defines beauty during the opening of the exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum, Gaultier stated he is attracted to “people who are different”. He works with unconventional models, like women commonly referred to as “full-size”, and heavily tattooed models. He may as well be known for dressing a man in skirts, reviving the corset and inventing the cone bras. For me, his crowning merit is his brilliance in finding beauty everywhere, in every woman, regardless of shape and height, and opposed to the rule of thin. The designer chooses models with character. For his runway shows, he started to hold open casting calls, with the following added:

 “Non-conformist designer seeks unusual models-the conventionally pretty need not apply.”

Some of Gaultier craftsmanship is easily missed from the remoteness of the catwalk and pictures captured at a distance. Here are some inspiring details that beg to be touch.

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It’s interesting that as I meandered towards the end of the exhibition, I found a “seasoned” lady exclaiming to her friend

“Why did he make this hat? It is so big, nobody would ever wear this!”

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Gaultier himself said “It is hard to make something nice and interesting and beautiful that is also wearable. Of course, the purpose is to be worn and to sell the clothes. But that’s not what I was about in the beginning…It is best to do something that you feel, that makes you do something interesting. After that, you can make it more commercial.”

By Zina Codita

Designer · Retailer

Target’s Bullseye on Peter Pilotto Collection

The recent hacking issues at Target have not dimmed their appreciation of couture for the masses. The latest designer, after Philip Lim and Missoni, to have struck target’s bull’s-eye is the London based Peter Pilotto.

When it comes to Peter Pilotto somethings are a given – above the knee skirts, printed and structured patterns, a daze of pastel colors encapsulated in their signature kaleidoscope style. So, it’s only natural to expect their Target collection to be lively and playful, cutting a fine-line between girly and sophisticated.




Peter Pilotto describes their ideal heroine as  “… beyond pure classification of age or style, just like the clothes themselves.”

Given the scale and size of Target’s operations, these couture collaborations are not designed to make a significant dent on their bottom-line. These partnership are really meant to generate buzz for the brand, and energize customers by increasing in-store foot traffic or page views online. In addition, when Target began to do these partnerships and collaborations in 2000 starting with Mossimo, it was really about raising its cool factor and appealing to a younger, cooler and hip crowd.

A New York Times article once delved into the topic of collaborations between big retailers and designers,

…barely have an effect on the retailers’ overall sales volumes. In fact, their success is not measured in dollars, but in overall media impressions, the metric used to determine how many times consumers read or saw a mention of the collaboration in the news media.

For smaller designers like Peter Pilotto these collaborations, according to the New York Times piece,

“…selling clothes at Target has become a status symbol for up-and-coming designers….it is not just about the exposure. The income can finance a runway show, or help sustain a high-end collection.”

The media coverage of these partnerships usually border on the euphoric, and they at times belie the controversies that do crop up. Such as the low quality of the pieces. A commenter on a popular blog, on the news of the Peter Pilotto collaboration stated

Collaboration is fine if it comes with quality. Unfortunately, most of the pieces from any of the Target collabos have been dismal (Missoni’s shoes looked USED fresh from the box). The pieces are cute, but I’m not interested at all.

Also, a designer once accused Target of creating knock-offs of their handbag, after the collaboration period had expired.


Be-that-it-may, controversies or not, these couture collaborations are usually a runaway hit for both Target and their designer.

Peter Pilotto’s collection for Target will be availbale beginning February 9th at your local Target store, at, and for international shoppers at

For chance to win a Peter Pilotto Target Collection outfit, and be our muse and model of the collection, like us on Facebook, and share this post, hashtag #QtQouture.

Street Qt

Street Qt: Air Hostess Couture

It was a frigid New York evening, and she was sipping on a cup of coffee while balancing a cigarette between her fingers. She wore a long fitted over-coat with tapered hem lines and a large collar. Her radiant sky-blue uniform, with a comfy looking and cute travel bag to match, was unmistakably that of a KLM flight attendant. Underneath her cold weather overcoat, she wore long pants and was making small talk with her colleagues while waiting for ground transportation to the airport.

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KLM Mart Visser Uniform

She pointed out, cheerfully, that her uniform was designed by the Dutch fashion designer, Mart Visser. It’s remarkable that the designer commented at the release of the collection that “The great thing about my design is that it will contribute to the wearer’s sense of pride and pleasure.” Mission accomplished.

Mart Visser’s design philosophy while creating the uniform line was that aside from creating something that “reflected current trends in couture…the wearer should feel comfortable in my creation,” Form and function.

So guess what KLM did with the 90,000 lbs of old uniforms? They “upcycled” (not recycled) them to create these appealing travel bags and accessories.

Tassen van KLM uniformen

Here are some pieces from Mart Visser’s Autumn/Winter 2013 Collection. He clearly places high value on the feminine form and is definitely a little cavalier.




Designer · Street Qt

Designers Late to the “Orange” Party

There was a recent review on the venerable with the headline “Orange Emerges as the Color Trend of the Moment”. The review points out that the color orange in all its variations is a new and recurring theme in several 2014 Pre-Fall Collections.

Pastel outerwear was all the rage in 2013, but now Narciso Rodriguez, Joseph Altuzarra, and Gucci’s Frida Giannini have pumped things up with tailored coats in spicy shades.

This must be a case of the runway imitating the street, because on the contrary, in 2013 orange was all the rage on the streets of New York City. A quick look in our Street Qt blog posts, like this one titled  “Blue and Orange…Mixing it Up”, shows the streets littered with orange, tangerine, peach, salmon, cherry, and all hues of this citrus color. It seems some of our favorite designers are a little late to the party.

Orange is an energetic color, so it helps to tone it down with black or blue. Blue and orange are well suited for one another, think of water and fire. Blue exudes stability and trust, balancing out the passionate and volatile orange. Like Yin and Yang they compliment each others attributes. Gucci pulls this off with the clean and fiery overcoat on the navy blue long pants.
But is the demure and grey fall/winter season the best time to be bedecked in the sunshine evoking orange?

Wren’s Precocious 2014 Pre-Fall Collection

Wren seems to be telling a story with her 2014 pre-fall collection. A story of youthful exuberance tempered by the responsibilities of the real world, maybe. The collection is youthful, elegant, and cohesive. The youthfulness of the collection is an endearing imagery of post-teenage precociousness embodied by bared legs and arms.

Wren White DressThe cohesiveness stems from using blue prints and patterns, which anchors the collection. But it all takes root from the lace-covered white dress, like a blank pallet. And, No matter how cliché, white still best captures and symbolizes innocence. Blue and white, one symbolizing stability, and the other innocence.

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Wren, founded by LA transplant from New York Melissa Coker, has a style that’s borderline high school cutie, with a proclivity for prints, above the knee skirts, bare arms and pants with bare ankles. Melissa’s also into white or crème lace dresses.

Images from:

Street Qt

Street Qt: Girl in Park – Vulnerable Innocence

A heat wave hit the east of coast of the U.S. this weekend in the heart of winter, and brought back memories of summer.

This past summer while walking past The Leo of The New York Public Library on 42nd Street in Manhattan, I came across this “Street Qt” gazing into the distance with a forlorn look.

Feet together, her pose was self-protective. She seemed to be trying to hold on to something slipping away, like cherished values or a vulnerable innocence.


Wearing a long maxi dress and an ethnically inspired necklace, her look was conservative. But in trying to hide her gleaming shoulders in the little black jacket, she portrayed her vulnerableness and betrayed the sentiments she was trying so hard to protect.

As a gentleman, who looked… well…, approached and took the seat next to her, it suddenly all seemed to fall into place.



I hope our “street Qt” remembers that love conquers all, and just take it a day at a time.


Jason Wu’s 21st Century Heroine for Pre-Fall 2014


Jason Wu chose his heroine with an eye for the industrial, carefree and modern. She remains alluring and seductive, even though she displays ambitious prowess with lengthy neutral pants that add illusions of height.

She may be modern, career focused, and capable of holding her own, but she doesn’t hide her feminine hold on humanity. She’s capable of donning an elegant evening dress that enhance rather than betray her innate abilities.

Leather jackets, zippers and sweaters over frocky-skirts make her a little rebellious, a little playful, aloof and above petty details. She’s a 21st century heroine.