Stage Beauty

Operatic elegance combines with royal details in the Fall 2009 collection of D&G by Dolce and Gabbana.

Corseted bodices, rich brocades, ermine capes...these design choices all reference the wardrobe of Queen Elizabeth I of England (1533-1603).

The Elizabeth elements combined with the romance of the clothing makes Shakespeare a stageworthy reference point; Even moreso since Elizabeth was an avid supporter of theatre and Shakespeare's work.
The 1998 film starring Gwyneth Paltrow and Joseph Fiennes highlights the Elizabethan references in the D&G collection with neck ruffs, lush fabrics and sheer romance.

The fabric of these beautiful dresses mirror the curtain and color scheme of the Paris Opera.

Soft satins, textured velvets, lace, ribbons and tassels all make for romantic designs.

The tufting of the fabric creates a plush appearance that reminds me of a luxurious opera house seat.

Wearable art: The fabric of this design resembles the ceiling of the ornately beautiful foyer in the Paris Opera.

Can't you imagine floating down the grand staircase in this elegant gown? Prince Charming would of course be waiting for you at the base of the stairs, ready to escort you to the opera.

The 2004 film starring Gerard Butler and Emmy Rossum brought the 1909 story of the Phantom and his love to the silver screen. Interestingly, the story was inspired by the real-life falling of the chandelier that tragically killed one person in 1896.
"Turn your face away from the garish light of day, turn your thoughts away from the cold, unfeeling light-and listen to the music of the night!" -The Phantom

The Paris Opera was built for the Emperor and Empress Eugenie in the 1860s in the Beaux Art style. The marble friezes, statues and luminescent chandeliers provide the perfect setting for the classic story of the Phantom as well as the D&G collection.

"Say you'll share with me one love, one lifetime. Lead me, save me from my solitude. Say you'll want me with you, here beside you. Anywhere you go let me go too. Christine, that's all I ask of you..." -The Phantom

With the voice of Gerard Butler, the romantic setting of the Paris Opera and the beautiful clothes of D&G, it would surely be a happy ending...Phantom or not.

Runway photos:

A Match made on Madison

I love Anna Sui. She has a way of designing that balances beauty with an edge. There always seems to be a hint of attitude in her clothing that adds another level of interest to pretty prints, flowing fabrics and layers of accessories.
Her boho charm seems to be founded in the brand's connection to music, art and history. Though Anna Sui's fabrics and designs are quite recognizable, each season showcases a variety of influences.

I think Target's designer collaborations, with Alexander McQueen and now Anna Sui, are genius. Fashion we love from the runways has been made affordable and available to all fashionistas no matter their budget. And to top this collaboration off, Target has been doing an amazing ad campaign pairing Anna Sui designs with Gossip Girl. I love it!

So in honor of Anna Sui's line at Target, here's a look at her runway inspirations and some of my favorite Anna Sui looks.
Paul Poiret freed women from corsets and embraced a new style that used Orientalism, flowing fabrics and decadent prints.

Military-esque. Don't you just love the amazing boots?! Fall 2006.

More great boots, colors and textures from Fall 2006.

This is one of my favorite collections. It's frilly and edgy all at the same time. Can you imagine Marie Antoinette at a New York Dolls concert? Apparently Anna can. Love it!

Tons of texture in Fall 2007. This collection was inspired by interior decor fabrics.

Spring 2008 channeled musicals and Biba designs.

Medieval romance makes an appearance with the dark color palette and connections to Pre-Raphaelite art.

During the Belle Epoque, "Beautiful Era," (from the late 19th century until WWI) Expressionist art became the new avant-garde.

And now a look at the new collection inspired by the bad and the beautiful Gossip Girl.

I think Gossip Girl and Anna Sui are a match made on Madison Avenue. Perfect!
Until tonight's new episode...xoxo.

Runway photos:
Target photos:

Dior's Rococo Romance

The Rococo style came out of 18th century Europe. It began as a decorating movement that emphasized curving lines and ornamentation, but it soon crossed over into fashion and became a way of life. Embraced by fashionistas like Madame de Pompadour, Rococo affected architecture, decor, fashion and art.

The look was very feminine with soft lines, pastel colors and high levels of ornamentation. Romance was abundant with Cupid flying about (you'll see him in many paintings in this post). The rich embraced leisure and wore beautiful clothes in their daily masquerade of love and affection.
John Galliano's Fall 2007 Dior Couture collection brings to mind many of the ideals from the Rococo period. Though elements also reference the Victorian era and the 1947 New Look from Dior, the Rococo spirit is very clear.

Feminine. Decorative. Luxurious. Pastel. Romantic. Whimsical.

These interiors are examples of where the rich and beautiful lived their daily lives. I think it's interesting to see how the furniture and decor complement the gowns in the paintings. The elements work so wonderfully together.

I love seeing where history and modernity meet. The 1700s Madame Pompadour gown seems to have influenced John Galliano's design in color, texture and detail. Though not identical, they do share a resemblence. And then you can see the connection to Glenn Closes' gown in the picture below from the film Dangerous Liasons. Similar colors, use of trims and bows. If you want to see beautiful Rococo fashion and decor, definitely watch the movie.

You can see here how the women in their gowns interacted with their grande and beautiful surroundings.

The Queen's bedroom at Versailles.

The love of leisure and flirtations is picture perfect in Francois de Troy's Declaration of Love from 1731.

Romance could just as easily take place outdoors as architectural details entered the garden with staircases and statues (like in the painting above). Flowers and hedge designs provided a beautiful backdrop.

Cupid quietly lifts his finger to his lips because this little rendezvous is surely a secret.

Runway photos: