Monday, November 10, 2008

OBSESSION: Constructivist Couture

The term “exoticism” stung my mind. It was the assigned inspiration for my senior fashion collection. While the bright colors of a Bengali sari or the intricate bead work of a matador’s cape seem like great muses, I wanted to push the idea. As a fashion designer, I play the role of both stylist and sociologist, and with the current economic state, the mysteries of exotics seemed elusive fuel as catalyst material for a cohesive spring collection. I envisioned severe and serious pieces that demonstrated power through strict lines.
I found the perfect manifesto in Russian Constructivism. This 1920 art and architectural movement pushed design out of the realm of ‘art for art’s sake’ and transformed it into an exercise of social purpose. Bold graphics posters that utilized primary colors and simple shapes characterize the movement. The complex architecture moved me to draft couture pieces with geometric substance. Vladimer Tatlin’s spiraling Monument to the Third International became my guide to denote modernity and a sense of constraint. While the construction of the collection signals high fashion, the mood it suggests seeks to transfer the power of design to the individual. By adopting the style and ideals of constructivism, I hope to create a collection that communicates more than just fashion. You be the judge.


Junior Communications Design major Justine Signore stuck with basics to build her look and to ensure her hand embroidered scarf makes a statement. By pairing grey stretch pants with a v-neck black wool sweater, she created an effortless ensemble for class on a cool fall day.

What shes’s wearing:
- Grey HardTails, $80 available at
- Frye Campus 14L Boots, $278 available at
- Men’s V-Neck Wool Sweater, $20 available at
- Hand Embroidered Scarf from Rome

Who’s your fashion icon?
- “Kate Moss, she can wear anything and look amazing. I also love her clothing line for TopShop.”

What your fashion faux pas?
- “When people wear pants that are too short. It’s important that pants hit right at the bottom of your sneakers or sandals.”

STREET STYLE: Classic Twist

While walking through campus I bumped into Nancy who caught my eye with her refreshingly bright take on classic Fall fashion. It was a nice pop of color among the typical blacks and grays that riddle the campus.

The three questions:

1. What is your favorite part of your outfit?
2. Who is your current style icon?
3. Which current trend could you do without?

Nancy's responses:

1. Her tall black suede boots from TJ Maxx. For under $50.00 she didn't even bother remembering the brand.
2. Carrie Bradshaw- vibrant and fun, how appropriate!
3. Wide leg pants- she's never seen them look right on anybody and can't wait to see them go.

OBSESSION: Multitasking Must-Have Jeans

Fashionable young women long ago abandoned The Gap when searching for stylish and modern jeans. After endless seasons of high-cut and “classic” styles (a.k.a. “mom” jeans), Gap finally answered the jean dream of 20-somethings with the brand new Low Rise Boot Cut jean. Available in a variety of washes — from midnight blue to white and all the colors in between — this multitasking style is versatile enough to wear hanging out during the day and to dress up for a night outing at a modest $59.50-69.50. The jeans look fantastic with everything from sneakers to boots to pumps. Their fit flatters, sitting lower on the hips and coming straight down in a line that is visually perpendicular to the floor. They also offer enough stretch to earn comfort points, and they avoid an unflattering “muffin top” pop at the waistband. They work hard to earn their designation as the perfect pair of jeans (I already own three pairs!). And just like that nerdish boy you ignored in freshman writing class who now possesses more swagger and head-turning looks than David Beckham, I suggest you give The Gap a second look too.

Check them out:

LOOK FOR LESS: Luxury Like Lauren

Ralph Lauren is the icon of American fashion. This look from his Fall 2008 Collection costs $8,546. Achieving the iconic image without spending the equivalent of a used Honda sedan.
Here’s how in five easy steps and only $256.79:
1. Start with Forever 21’s gingham flannel shirt in black and red for $19.80.

2. Splurge on Express’s Luxury stretch 1-button jacket in black for $138.

3. Throw on a pair of Express’s Cassidy velvet downtown flare pants in black for $69.50.

4. Top if off with Wet Seal’s Feather Fedora Hat in black for $14.50.

5. Lastly add a black Merona wide patent belt with metal buckle from Target for $14.99.

REVIEW: Virtual Sample Sales

I’m sitting in my finance class playing brickbreaker on my Blackberry when I get an e-mail from my sister that refers me to a new website called Hautelook. This online club organizes exclusive 12- to 48-hour private sales of designer clothes. Each day members receive emails announcing the brands on sale and the duration of the virtual sample sale. Membership is free (but I say priceless), and each time you refer some to the website, you earn $10 credit toward your next purchase. Consider these designer names from a recent sale: Elizabeth and James, Fig, Organic Kids Fashion, Danielle Stevens Jewelry, Decades Two Men, and Ella Moss. Arriving soon: Energie, Splendid, David Aubrey, Acrobat, Minnie Rose, LaRok, Vincent Longo, and Luna Luna. Quantities are limited, but the discounts reach up to 75 percent off labels. Each sale page features a clock that counts every second until the sale ends. My recent acquisitions: A pair of Scoop NYC leopard flats that retail for $165, but I nabbed for $58; My Belle de Jour dress from Elizabeth and James is still in the mail ($445 mere mortals, but I landed it for $195).