Spring Fling

The iconic images of Marie Antoinette are often those of extreme beauty; dresses wider than doorways, hair that reaches the heavens, luxury beyond belief. But there was another side of the French Queen that I love to imagine, and that is her time spent at Le Petit Trianon. Marie Antoinette had a country home that included cottages and gardens. She could escape from court life and enter her pastoral environment where she could let her hair down and truly love. Away from the prying eyes of the courtiers at Versailles, Marie wore a scandalous white chemise dress, like in this 1781 painting, that was soft and simple. The scandal came from the lack of layers and coverage; not wearing her wide panniers and other normal undergarments made for a much more revealing garment.
The Chanel Spring 2010 collection seems to embody the softer side of Marie. Though not specifically pinpointing accurate details from her time period, there is a spirit and beauty that is easily related to life in the gardens at Le Petit Trianon.

Country life is embraced in a neutral, clean color palette with romantic details.
Simple pleasures abound like walks in the garden, roses blooming, butterflies fluttering and sunsets painting the night sky.

Away from court and the King, Marie could embrace her love for Axel.

More than just a fling, Axel stood by Marie until the very end. As the luxurious world of Versailles, balls, fabulous fashion and countryside retreats crumbled around Marie and her family with the dawn of the French Revolution, Axel worked to save his true love.

Photos: Style.com, Trouvais.com

Loss of a Legend

Fashion has lost a legend. Lee Alexander, the designer for the Alexander McQueen label, took his life yesterday. It is a tragedy to learn that this talented artist will no longer be sharing his creations with us each season.

In honor of McQueen, I'd like to share some of my favorite looks from the designer. His creations ranged from exotic, to outlandish, theatrical to romantic and lovely. But no matter the style, the designs have always been inspirational.

Spring 2010
Fall 2009
The garish and highly entertaining looks from last fall.

Pre-Fall 2009
Back to British roots with a Charles Dickens quality.

Spring 2008
Romance with a touch of techno...

Fall 2008
The French Empire of Napoleon and Josephine meet the far East.
Fall 2007

Spring 2007
The ultimate collection of Edwardian romance with florals and lace.

Fall 2006
Flights of fancy...
Spring 2005

The beauty and romance of Alexander McQueen will never be forgotten.

Fashion meets Art: Elsa Schiaparelli

The Italian designer Elsa Schiaparelli created wearable art with her cutting edge fashion. She entered the fashion scene with the encouragement of Paul Poiret and began by designing knitwear. She was the rival of Coco Chanel during the 1930s when they designed for women between the two world wars; but their styles allowed them to serve very different women--the risk taker versus the classicist.

Though an artist in her own right, Elsa Schiaparelli also collaborated with fine artists such as Salvador Dali. Through their collaborations, surrealist art qualities came alive as women wore shoe hats, skeleton dresses and much more.
Elsa Schiaparelli from LIFE magazine in 1937.

These two famous designs showcase the surrealist quality. Surrealist art included tricks of the eye and the unexpected. Never before had fashion seen prints that included a large lobster.

More of the unexpected: a three dimensional dress of a skeleton and shoe as a hat.

Dolce & Gabbana's Fall 2009 collection channelled the surrealist qualities of Elsa Schiaparelli. Elegant gloves suddenly become hats and and scarves. The key to it having the surrealist quality is the fact that the glove shape is completely obvious and unexpected.

The theme of time finds its way from the 1931 surrealist painting "The Persistence of Memory" by Dali, to the runway as worn by Karlie Kloss.

Elsa Schiaparelli introduced the concept of functional becoming beautiful. Rather than leave buttons plain, she began designing ornate buttons that resembled broaches.
Two designs of Elsa Schiaparelli with decorative buttons. Dolce & Gabbana took this idea to new levels for the Fall 2009 collections.
Think pink...
Barbie and Legally Blonde's Elle were not the first to strut in shades of neon pink. In addition to her advances in design, Elsa suprised everyone with her use of "shocking pink." The color was found with her clothing and was the name of her perfume.

Obviously inspired by the shocking Schiaparelli, Dolce & Gabbana had models step out on the runways in this amazing color.

A shocking pink striped Schiaparelli design.

A shockingly sweet beauty in pink with a glove hat, model Chanel Iman.

Sadly, after WWII Elsa Schiaparelli was unable to continue designing since the direction of the fashion world was changing so much. But her artistic spirit lives on with the help of modern designers like Dolce & Gabbana. So think pink when you get dressed tomorrow...

Runway photos: Style.com
Other: wikipedia