Wednesday, November 19, 2008

TRIPLE THREAT: Plaid Persistence

Built around a theme of recycled couture, last week's Jet Black Fashion Show features the work of Syracuse University fashion-design students, who utilized a range of materials from vintage furs to unconventional textiles such as straw upholstery. Glitz and glam rang as staple elements of the exaggerated designs, but the use of plaid and old men's shirts dominated the runway.

Designer Courtney Zapor paid homage to the Catholic school girl with a belted asymmetric dress design. Zapor's design featured navy plaid wool accented by a gathered white dress shirt across the bust. A pocket detail on a fairly exposed bum added an edge as model Annie Boardman held a dramatic stance evoking the crucifix. Zapor enjoys taking risks (besides the exposed bum, she styled the ensemble with rosary beads).

Designer Asli Whitham took her inspiration from Old Hollywood glamour with the perfect cocktail dress modeled by Karina Mariotti (and reminiscent of Ava Gardner in the 1930s), which featured a detachable fur stole juxtaposed on plaid taffeta. Perhaps a historical analysis of how the Great Depression limited fashion choices of the female sphere, Whitman makes the best out of her recycled fabrics, disguising the original functions of her materials.

In an over-the-top creation of men's shirts, designer Kaitlyn Carpenter reinterpreted Seattle grunge circa 1991. Layering a mass volume of multi-color plaids, Carpenter suggested boho femininity in her free-flowing design worn by Elizabeth Baker. A touch of black leather escalated the pretty-in-punk feel. Perhaps it's time to welcome the next generation of Riot Grrrl on to the scene.

HOW TO: Dress for Excess

Minus gifts, glitter, and a potential midnight kiss, Thanksgiving easily earns the award for frumpiest holiday. Plus all that food, few distractions, and the abundance of lounge opportunities make glamour a stretch (so to speak). But we encourage you to think ahead and avoid the classic T-Day fashion disaster — unbuttoning your jeans so that extra helping of mashed taters doesn’t contribute to the world’s worst muffin top. This Thanksgiving consider this styles that encourage lounging and accommodate second helpings.
1. Leggings with a flowing tunic over and flats like this Tory Burch outfit.

2. A wrap dress to cover up your little tummy like this Diane Von Furstenberg dress.

3. A simple chiffon ruffle empire waist dress that floats away from the body like this one from Forever 21.


Consider the first snowfall an invitation to accessorize with some bang. Few colors deliver a bigger punch than purple (cases in point: Prince, Jimi Hendrix, and a lot of royalty considered this Color Number One). Let these slurge accessories signal the regal in you.

1. Coach’s lambskin with cashmere lining in Aubergine for ($98)

2. Steve Madden’s Bonanza Tall Shafted flat boots ($89.95)

3. Kate Spade’s belmont n/s lella ostrich embossed calfskin clutch ($221)