For A-List Living on D-List Dimes......

Monday, February 28, 2011

Red Carpet Fashion or Faux-Pas??

Forget the casting couch, all it takes is a well-crafted red carpet look to propell a fledling starlet from relative obscurity to Hollywood's hottest commodity.  It is no coincidence that JLo's career went from strength to strength after she donned a super sexy how-low-can-that-neckline-go Versace number to the Grammys back in 2000.  Had you ever heard of Liz Hurley before she attended Hugh Grant's 1994  'Four Weddings & A Funeral' premier wearing THAT dress??  But with the fashion successes have come of course the inevitable faux pas.  Unfortunately for Hollywood, beauty is not in the eyes of the beholder but in the sharp-tongued quips of a certain Mz Joan Rivers (I'd be lying if I said that I wasn't looking forward to E!s Fashion Police tonight!).  Indeed, there are many stars whose fashion choices remained ingrained in our minds for all the wrong reasons.  Perhaps Lara Flynn Boyle and Bjork were anticipating the 2011 meteoric success of Natalie Portman's movie 'Black Swan' but unfortunately for them back in the early 2000s when they channelled a ballerina and a swan respectively their looks were deemed more duds than divine.
However, we can rejoice in the fact that no such atrocities graced the red carpet of the 83rd Academy Award Ceremony last night.  I'm guessing the A-Listers MUST have read my piece about loving lace as there was an abundance of the delicate fabric featured last night (yes, ScarJo - I'm talking to you).  I thought that I was going to find it difficult to choose just five of my favorite looks but when I woke up this morning I couldn't have been more certain of my choices.  Here it goes...........

Mila Kunis was undoubtedly my best dressed of the night.  This Elie Saab creation is simply divine.  Both feminine yet chic, understated yet making a statement I absolutely adore the soft chiffon fabric and draping detail.  Having not read the reviews today my only fear is that she may come under fire for the similarities between this silhouette and the red belted Alexander McQueen design she wore only a few weeks ago at the SAG awards (click here).  But I still love you Mila!!

Cate Blanchett is a woman who knows what looks good on her and this Givenchy Couture creation is no exception.  The simplicity of her hair and make-up juxtaposed with the intricacy of the beading and pleating on this dress is spot on.  She absolutely nailed this look from head to toe and I'm so glad we got to see this dress on her and not some other starlet.  She definitely wore it well and I love the fact that she took a chance with this dress.  I'll be interested to see what the other critics make of the flash of neon yellow beading but I give her two enthusiastic thumbs up.......!!

Gwyneth Paltrow definitely does not always get it right on the red carpet but this Calvin Klein choice was flawless.  She literally looked like she was shimmering down the red carpet.  I loved her straight hair and simple make-up.  This was a much more modern feel than a lot of the other girlier garments seen last night but she still managed to keep it feminine and sexy in an understated fashion.  And she's lucky - cos that performance an Oscar nomination did NOT make!!

Halle Berry in Marchesa - simply divine.  No.  Other. Words.  Necessary.

Being age appropriate on the red carpet is not something we always see.  Whether it be Miley Cyrus looking like a cigarette-smoking, martini-swirling divorcee or Sharon Stone shamelessly grasping at her former siren-like status, too often we see examples of mutton dressed as lamb or lambs draped in their mother's pearls and looking like mutton.  Fourteen year old Hailee Steinfield looked exquisite last night in this Marchesa gown.  The dress itself had layers of detail from the full-skirt to the delicate feather like beading and she looked every inch the Oscar nominee.  I love that she managed to look sophisticated yet true to her age and I can't wait to see what fashion choices she wows us with in the future.

And with that - award season has come to a close.  I've decided not to be a hater and to keep my thoughts on those who maybe should have considered staying at home to myself.  I do want to give a special 'good on ya girl' to the gorgeous Anne Hathaway and her meticulously styled looks that graced the screen throughout the evening.  I read today that on average, she changed every 23.75 minutes!  I thought she did a fantastic job as co-host and having Rachel Zoe as her stylist most definitely payed off.

Now, let's see how soon we can start getting some knock-off versions of these dresses!!!  Which was your favorite??


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Maybe 'Copy' Was A Clever Cat.......???

I’ve often been told that imitation is the best form of flattery. I think this pearl of wisdom was first bestowed to me when my arch nemesis school mate stole my first boyfriend. “She just wants to be like you”, my Mother insisted, “you should really be flattered”. The idea was further ingrained in me when my little sister’s best friend frequently tried to steal my favorite thigh-length peach crochet sweater before finally pleading with me “when you die, can I please have that”. The aforementioned wannabe shall remain nameless but A.D. – you know who you are. These miscellaneous copy cats are often the bane of our high school existence. You know the type – the girl who latches on to any kind of group scenario and pauses to see how the leader of the pack is going to respond to a situation before vehemently nodding her head in agreement; the girl who just happens to produce a rhinestone studded denim jacket less than a week after you bought yours and who swears her mother insisted she got a matching bowler hair cut and the idea was never hers. Now, if I’m honest - I’ve always been deluded with notions of grandeur about myself. Namely, I’ve always believed that I have a unique sense of style but at the end of the day when it comes to fashion – does originality really exist or are we all just trying to imitate somebody else??

Whether it be the playground or the pages of glossy magazines, most of our fashion sense has evolved through emulating others. I’ve come to realize that my Mother’s pearls do not a fabulous outfit make however, thanks to a tip from Rachel Bilson (via InStyle magazine) I’m learning to once again embrace lace and have been adding little accents of it to my wardrobe. Indeed, proof that the bankability of the Hollywood star is a major force in the fashion industry has been seen in the increase of ‘celebrity designers’. If you want to dress like Beyonce, you can do so at ‘House of Dereon’, if you fancy looking like Jennifer Lopez check out her JLo line or if you want to rock out like Gwen Stefani you can flex your credit card at L.A.M.B. Indeed, these stars have realized that not only is imitation the greatest form of flattery – it’s the very foundation that second homes were built on.

Needless to say, the cost of being a copycat can downgrade a fashionista to a mere mortal recessionista which is why I have become a huge fan of celebrity lines at, dare I say it, Target (if you pronounce it like tar-jay it will make you feel better). Worse again, I recently made purchases at Kohl’s. I kid you not. While browsing aimlessly on the World Wide Web I stumbled across Lauren Conrad’s ‘LC’ line of clothing for the aforementioned ‘boutique’. What can I say?? I fell in love. How was I supposed to resist her black sweater with the lace panel in the sleeve that was 20% off on President’s Day?? Rachel Bilson TOLD me lace was going to be a big thing this season and LC seduced me with her rock bottom prices. Furthermore, her ballet flats pictured below are featured in this month’s In Style magazine are so cute and a great addition to anybody’s wardrobe. I know I will wear these for work all the time and at a mere $36 – how could I refuse??!

Yes, I do have notions of grandeur about myself. I do like to think I can rub shoulders with the elite and fashionable and roll with the high rollers but truth be told, I just don’t have the spending power. Therefore, I am delighted that Tar-Jay is introducing their ‘Go International Designer Collective’. Over the past number of years, Target has seen its fair share of celebrity fashion lines with guest designers including Jean Paul Gaultier (although I have to say – I hated every piece in his collection, namely the lame swimsuit). They have decided to launch a new line with 34 of the best-selling dresses from previously featured designers including the likes of Zac Posen, Libertine and Alice Temperely. Better again – all of these dresses will be under the $50. Ah, how I love the sweet sense of satisfaction that comes with getting a deal. Now I know that this line will not be launched until March 13 but just knowing that I am going to buy this gorgeous Rodarte design below gives me the same butterflies-in-my-stomach sensation as if George Clooney were about to kiss me.

Judge as you see fit – I’m off to day dream about hemlines and handsome men and how I can continue to copy cat my way through this fashionable life…….

LC Conrad for Kohl's
Rodarte for Target


Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Price Of Popularity

The SAG awards have been and gone, we’ve finally got the Grammys behind us but the crème de la crème of award ceremonies is looming ever so near and the question on all of our lips is - what the hell are WE going to wear to the Oscars??! Now, don’t be foolish. My Sunday night expeditions to these star studded events have solely consisted of cup cake parties at my friends’ homes with the award show on somewhere in the background. There’s been no red carpet, no Ry Ry Seacrest chomping at the bit to get the latest scandal and I’ve already worn the same pair of shoes twice. Joan Rivers would eat me alive. Nonetheless, us girly girls (and even girlier boys) have been donning our favorite party frocks, pumped up the wigs and all in the name of bringing a little Hollywood glitz and glam to the Bay Area.

Whether it be award season, holiday party overload or wedding after wedding after wedding – we all go through periods of time where the ratio of fabulous frocks in our closet versus number of events to attend do not an even match make. Facebook is intent on completely ruining my best intentions to recycle my wardrobe as social events are now not just confined to actual attendees. Instead even my virtual friends know that the LBD I donned at my friends’ birthday party in LA last year was the same that I threw a belt on and wore just two weeks ago in New York. Haters. Of course the logical thing to do is go out and spend, spend, spend but my W2 just gave me the finger and that highly anticipated tax refund just ain’t looking so big and juicy anymore.

I think my favorite store in the world is my sister’s wardrobe. It’s the only place where I can find designer brands literally for free. Throughout the years, I have been the proud cat burglar recipient of Pied a Terre shoes, Chanel bags, copious amounts of cosmetics and endless quantities of random t-shirts and sweat pants. It’s quite the Aladdin’s cave for a modern-day-money’s-tight minx like myself. But since that harlot has high-tailed it off to live in another country I am without the resources I have previously relied so heavily on. Now I can’t borrow her cocktail dresses, her shoes are no longer mine to take and worse again, I’ve actually had to start purchasing People magazine myself.

But have no fear my little Recessionistas, as I have found the solution to this heinous predicament. Rent the Runway. Yes, Rent the Runway is beyond a shadow of doubt my new BFF. Finally, cocktail and evening dresses from the likes of Diane von Furstenberg, D&G and Vera Wang to name but a few are within our reach. For a mere fifty bucks, I can now rent one of Herve Leger’s famous bandage dresses and compete against the likes of JLo and Kim K above to truly see who wore it best (note to self: I will not win). Perfect. And for a more complete look, you can even rent from their jewellery collection. I’ve abstained from doing so however as I fear a case of the Lindsay Lohans “I didn’t realize I still had it” would come over me and I’d never be able to pull of that Kimberly Ovitz white knit dress she wore to court the other day. Child bearing hips are a true curse.

So go, rent and be merry my friends. Rent the Runway is a true God send for those busy party seasons we often find ourselves in. Thankfully, the price of popularity doesn’t need to wave an angry fist at your credit card anymore.