The Harem's Closet

Fashion was revolutionized in the early 1900s by the French designer Paul Poiret. Women were freed from the confines of the corset with his draped garmets as they embraced a new style to match their changing role in society.
The draping and innovative shapes by Poiret possessed an eastern feel. Wearing Poiret, or channeling his style as Balenciaga did for Fall 2009, makes you feel as if you're stepping into a harem. Feathers, soft silks, turbans, lampshade tunics, rich furs and harem pants, it's all in the Poiret style book.
Peggy Guggenheim

Balenciaga Fall 2009

I love the peek-a-boo lace bra. Quite fitting in a harem I'm sure.

Denise Poiret, seen here at the NY Plaza Hotel in 1913, was the muse behind Poiret's designs.

Like Balenciaga, John Galliano found his inner Poiret for this Fall's Dior collection. Turbans, fur trims, hobble skirts that narrow at the knee, as well as many more elements sing to the tune of Poiret.

You can see the eastern influence in the styling of the lampshade tunic. It's a bit like a shortened kimono.

This pink dress is so sweet. The tassels at the waist make me think she grabbed the tie-backs from the harem's curtains to add this darling detail. Who knew pink and red could look this good together?

Paul Poiret design from the Met Museum.

Starlett Style: Marilyn Monroe

Marilyn Monroe's life consisted of many roles, memorable ones onscreen in classics like Some Like it Hot, How to Marry a Millionaire and Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, as well as many roles offscreen like blonde bombshell, sex symbol and style icon.

Dolce & Gabbana recognized the power of Marilyn's beauty and style and put her lovely face on several designs in their Fall 2009 collection.
So how about a stylish walk down memory lane with Marilyn, Dolce & Gabbana?

Diamonds really are a girl's best friend...

Runway photos:

Girl in Hyacinth Blue

I just finished reading the novel Girl in Hyacinth Blue by Susan Vreeland. The ideas of art, beauty, relationships and history all come together in this story. The Dutch artist Vermeer, known for paintings such as Girl with the Pearl Earring, is at the center of the narrative with a fictional painting known as "Girl in Hyacinth Blue." We follow the lineage of the painting's owners back through history, learning how the painting has been passed along and end at the point of its inspiration.

A Cup of English Tea

Cozy plaids, warm wools, soft silks and romantic details.
All this and more can be found in Ralph Lauren's Fall 2009 collection.

The collection is a bit Oliver Twist meets English sophisticate ready for tea.

Patchwork coats, plaid scarves and masculine inspired layers all underscore the spirit of Charles Dickens' Oliver Twist.

I love how the masculine fabrics and design of the vest and coat are softened by the petal-like scarf.

Muted lavenders, shades of champagne and luxurious details inspire dreams of retreating to a romantic cottage with a garden and tea for two.

The scarf is as delicate as a late blossom in an English garden. I love it paired with the sweater vest. Can't you just imagine a cozy retreat in a countryside cottage sipping tea and admiring the landscape?

Runway photos: