Mood Board Inspiration: American Hustle

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I love fashion from the 1970s, actually I am a lover of period fashion and the history behind costume. Today’s inspiration is derived from the 2014 movie American Hustle, starring Amy Adams, Jennifer Lawrence, Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper and directed by David O. Russell.  Truth is, my excitement in viewing the movie was only because of the costume design.  Fashion from the 70s is flamboyant and seductive.  The movie reproduced all of the notable elements of the glamorous era with wavy big hair, bold makeup, and glitzy clothing, not to mention attitude.

If you’re thinking about adding some staple 70’s inspired pieces to your wardrobe, check out the pictures for inspiration!

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Inside of a Box

Conformity:

An act of conforming; to behave in a way that is accepted by most people; to do what other people do

Color inside of the lines.  Jump on the bandwagon.  Go by the book.  Play the game.  Obey the rules. Follow the crowd.  Toe the line.  Roll with the punches. Run with the pack.  Don’t make waves.  Don’t rock the boat.

We learn to conform at a young age.  We are taught to silence our unpopular thoughts and beliefs and adapt to the pack.  We are taught not to seek new ways of doing life.  What arises from learning to live in such a tiny oxygen deprived box is a shell of a person.  A walking zombie.  Someone who has learned to just go through the motions.  Live life on everyone else’s terms and expectations. Wave the white flag, surrender.

That was me.  Years and years of wearing a mask, hiding my true self, fearful of consequences, criticism and opinions.  Downplaying my passions, dreams, aspirations…afraid of disappointing “them” (can anyone tell me who these people are?)..withering away on the inside.  I had learned to restrict myself, restrain myself in hopes of pleasing the invisible judgmental group of people that resided in my head who-always-got-it-right (how I hated those people!).  I had learned to dismiss the few compliments and encouraging words I received about my creative skills when I allowed a small peek inside of my private world.  A pre-recorded repetitious record of negative thoughts would play in my subconscious anytime I felt a jolt of freedom, or joy, or smidgen of happiness.

Change, real-life-shifting-courage-needed-change, cannot occur without a catalyst.  Catalysts precipitate change and can be disguised in an array of costumes…a job loss, death of a loved one or pet, the end of a relationship, financial difficulty… which may lead you to do quite a bit of soul searching and look for some significance, some meaning in your life.  You will question everything…God (or whatever higher power you believe in) and everyone.  You will, at times, question your own sanity and rational thinking.  And all that you are made of will want to quit. Give up…die…remain a zombie because well, it’s just easier.  The thing is you can’t quit because change is occurring.  You have to keep going, keep fighting, and keep pushing.  You owe this to yourself, your authentic self.  Understand you are slowly being released from your prison.  It just doesn’t feel like it because you are in the process of change.  Yes, it is a process.  But it is manageable and purposeful.  And necessary.  Teach yourself to remove the periods placed in your life and instead insert commas.  A period signifies the finality of a thing while a comma suggests there is more to expect because it will get better.  Vow to continue living and allow yourself the room and self compassion to experience the fullness of change.

What makes me so qualified to speak on this? Because I, like you, was once a rider on the transition rollercoaster (I still am).  And like the Phoenix that rises from burnt ashes, I have been revived.  The fire didn’t consume me…it was never meant to…its purpose was to give birth to the powerfully free creature that is me.  Your Phoenix experience awaits you, what will you do with it?

The Chameleon: Kate Moss

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    Intriguing.  Alluring.  Beautiful.  These are just a few terms used to describe model Kate Moss.  One of the most sought models in the fashion industry, she is paparazzi gold as she attracts media attention everywhere.  In honor of her latest collaboration with London giant retailer, Top Shop, here are a few editorial fashion photographs of the chameleon.  The collection has a 70s flair to it (perfect match to the American Hustle mood board), is reasonably priced (some pieces sold out within minutes of the launch) and can add a cool chic London feel to any wardrobe.  Enjoy! Be sure to check out the collection at http://www.topshop.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Pieces of Me

Be You. Two simple little words with profound meaning. For me, those two words represent freedom. Up until the last year or so, I wasn’t basking in the glorious freedom of just being me that I am now. By all outside appearances, I was a woman pursuing my dream career whilst working a regular paying 9-5 gig. By outside appearances it would seem I led a well-balanced life, with meaningful relationships, spiritually growing in my relationship with God and group of supportive friends. The reality was on the inside, in my secret cave (my apartment) I was silently mourning. You see, I was trying to be the person I thought my family wanted me to be, whom my co-workers and friends sought me out to be. I wasn’t abused or depressed (well maybe I was depressed). I was just unhappy. And I did various activities (shopping online, watching endless TV, eating unhealthy junk food) that helped me “zone out”/mask my true feelings and I was doing nothing to further my budding writing career or improve my life. In other words, I had learned to keep the wound covered up, never allowing air to bring healing to the infection or ever addressing the cause of it.  I had lived this way for years and though I knew it wasn’t healthy, I continued in my dysfunction.

One night while sitting watching the movie Eat, Pray, Love starring Julia Roberts (yes, I’m guilty I had never seen it) combined with these life defining questions I could no longer cover up finally combusted as all of these thoughts started pouring out of me within the first 30 minutes. I realized, in that insignificant moment (but tremendously significant), I wasn’t whole. There were pieces of me floating everywhere. One piece my family knew and loved. Another piece went to a job every day. Yet another piece went out for sushi with friends. Who am I? And why am I in pieces? I was asking God and I was demanding answers! Soul searching, prayer, meditation, journaling for months and investigative research brought the realization that I was living out life as a carbon copy of who I was really created to be. Perfectly perfected on the outside but inside crumbling to pieces, giving those pieces away, never fully engaging in life and relationships. I couldn’t live that way any longer. I wouldn’t, I wanted,  no needed to be whole. I realized I would never be able to embrace what I am called to be in this life in broken pieces. Tear filled nights with intensive writing, early morning conversations with God gave birth to the woman I am today. Not perfect, no but whole. Learning every day I no longer need anyone’s permission to just BE. Me. Perfectly imperfect in my beautiful skin.  The more I embrace me, the more I reach my highest, most authentic self.  And there is no happier state to find yourself in.  I’ve chosen to just BE, will you join me?

 

Monday Inspiration

fashionartToday’s inspired fashionArt piece is the cover of a W magazine. A perfect picture except her mouth. Misaligned, askew, out of place.  Reminds me of how life can be, how we can feel sometimes in the world.  But I’m also reminded that this isn’t necessarily a bad thing… it’s a representation of shattering perceptions of trying to live a perfect life. And in that trying, you can miss out on just living. Take down the walls of perfection today and just live!

Happy Monday!

 

Designer Profile: Jean Louis Sabaji

jls4      I am in love. With fashion, the possibility of this occurring is often fleeting and not always notable. There are just a hand full of designers I keep close watch on and I have to thank my friend, Cherise, for introducing me to the incredible Jean Louis Sabaji.

Sabaji, a second generation Lebanese designer, debuted his collection at Dubai Fashion Week. this month to a well pleased and admirable audience.  The final outcome was clear, he is definitely one to watch, I wouldn’t be surprised if we see more of him in the upcoming fashion seasons.  The collection was well constructed, painstakingly so, with a grand flair of and mother nature.  The insect appliques reminded me of Zuhair Murad‘s fall 2014 RTW collection which showcased his love for dragonflies and butterflies.  Insects never looked so sexy!  Please check out the debut collection on his website.

You can follow the designer on Facebook or twitter to keep up with the latest.

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The Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

The evil doer often comes to harm through his own deceit.–Aesop fable

 

Woody Allen.  Robert Kelly.  Terrance “Terry” Richardson.  These three men are regarded as the crème de la crème in their respected industries and have all been accused, some tried in a court of law, and found guilty by the public of inappropriate sexual behavior.  All have gone to the greatest of lengths to cover and annihilate the “rumors” of accusations, even penning public proclamations of innocence.  The latest scandal of the three features famed fashion and portrait photographer, Terry Richardson.  Known for his explicit, often nude, images of models and celebrities, Richardson has photographed some of the best in the business and worked for top publications.  His resume is quite impressive; his work well received and is name is infamous.  But the allegations that appeared via Twitter three days ago published by Emma Appleton are not the first of its kind.  In 2010 and 2013, Richardson, who’s explicit often nude images tend to push the boundary of sexual and appropriate behaviors, stood accused of similar conduct by professionals in the industry.  Dirt was slung from both sides as Richardson and his supporters fought to discredit the voices that cried foul and defend his brand and name.  As with most sensationalized internet stories, the debacle settled into dust particles as the fire slowly burned into nothingness without a clear indication of the true details of the he said she said battle.  Richardson continued to work and play as, I’m certain, he felt he dodged the flaming arrows of injustice and the attempt to vilify his persona.  But on Sunday, US Vogue issued a clear and concise public statement, proclaiming,”The last assignment Terry Richardson had for US Vogue appeared in the July 2010 issue and we have no plans to work with him in the future.” Quickly distancing itself from the scandal and possible storm of criticism that will transpire in the future (Vogue has recently had its share, and more of public judgment handed to them by the Kim and Kanye cover mess). What’s different about the scandal of today versus yesterday is public support.  No one, not one person, has come to stand behind Richardson.  The photographer himself hasn’t spoken a word except one lousy standard declaration through his publicist.  The silence seeping through Richardson’s dark room isn’t good; it would appear there is some difficulty in finding influential voices that are willing to buck against the power of Anna Wintour and Vogue.

Where does this leave Richardson? Innocent, guilty or perhaps the conversation in question between himself and Appleton was blown out of proportion, it will take quite a miraculous turn of events for this situation to be favorable for him.  Richardson can kiss the power his name once yielded goodbye.  Yes, he will continue to work and play perhaps not as boldly, but his seat is no longer perched atop of the industry.  Remember John Galliano? I do, as many others; however we don’t often hear his name anymore, read about any recent work or accomplishments.  The same fate, I believe, awaits Terry Richardson.

Mood Board Inspiration: A man’s World

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The iconic movie, Annie Hall featured young Hollywood starlet Diane Keaton, epitomized the style of menswear for women.  Nothing excites me more than contrasting ideologies mashed perfectly together to create an effortless bold look.  A boyfriend blazer or jeans, a panama or fedora, a vest can be incorporated into any wardrobe to achieve this style.  One of my favorite old Hollywood actress and style icon, Marlene Dietrich, was known to wear men’s trousers and tuxedos in public.  And despite the type of clothing, a woman can still be feminine and sexy in menswear.  Designers  such as Stella McCartney, Marc Jacobs, Karl Lagerfeld and Phoebe Philo have all translated entire collections into a swirl of polished dainty menswear for women.  Get inspired today!

*My fav to go ensemble is a pair of great boyfriend jeans, a fitted tee/blazer and cute flats!

 

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6 Days

Sometimes a story comes to me through an image, a random thought, a song…I used to think I just had an over active imagination. I haven’t quite gotten used to calling myself a writer but I do understand better now that it’s not just imagination. It is a gift. A calling. Nothing helps me thrive more, lights up my world than writing (and fashion). The better I understand who I am created to be, the better I can love and accept myself. I’m learning just to BE. Here’s to finding out what lights up your world!

A small excerpt from a short story 6 Days. Enjoy!

The slow rhythm of a ceiling fan spinning nonchalantly amidst a quiet background. A young man, in his early thirties, stares blankly at it. He appears to be completely at peace amid the chaos that surrounds him. You see the stillness is only in his mind; for he is lone island in company of a tumultuous sea. Sirens, tortured screams and faint cries for help color the night outside of his bedroom window. A foul thick stench paints the air inside of the tiny room he has chosen to take cover in. Rodents, the size of domesticated animals, scurry across the floor and his lower extremities in a game of hide and seek. Yet the young man, clearly not alarmed at his living conditions, has found a peaceful solitude among the bleakness. The retreat of his will and soul has almost driven him to madness and he no longer gives a damn about consequences or outcomes. In fact, he prays to the gods for madness! Before it all ends, before he takes his final bow, exits stage left. Besides is there any more to the maddening insanity called life? For him, a wasted valley of year after year of utter nothingness with a few insignificant glances of familiar faces and feelings of love. Not real love, because to really be loved or love, one must possess some human quality…what is it? Ability? Ah yes, one must possess the ability and willingness to participate in the dance of love. The young man neither has ability, will or resemblance to humanity. He has known this and accepted his fate at a young age. He smiles at his deepest secret, although the emptiness of the present conditions would suggest this is no secret. And then he draws his eyes on the only decorative object hanging loosely on a pissy wall. A calendar. Gazing upon it makes him giddy, light headed and in comes a fresh release of endorphins. He must keep his composure, remain calm and steady and sure footed for he knows his fate, accepted it at a young age.
As a boy, his parents were told he had the IQ of a genius and they, being average people, dreamt of a wondrous life for him. A magnificent life, filled with accolades and accomplishments, making them proud to have birth such a gifted human being. But at eight, when he slit the throat of the neighbor’s cat from ear to ear, their dreams began to float into darkness until swallowed up, lost into a black hole. From there on, it was rough ride, all through middle school, junior high and high school. When he finally graduated from high school, the parents had hoped the military would bring a sense of balance and discipline into his life. Push him, where their guidance had failed, toward manhood. Make him responsible, a productive citizen of society. Sadly, his short lived stint in the military didn’t provide any of those; instead he was introduced to class three and four narcotics and episodes of gluttony and indulgence at the highest levels. This period, known as the Dark Ages, robbed him mercilessly of health and bled from him the wee bit of human likeness left in his wretched soul. What has remained isn’t a monster, per se, but a hollow gut of a young man who has lived a very insubordinate life. What’s remained is a young man whose life is abruptly ending and he, like a solider perched in a trench on a pre-war’s eve, is preparing to meet his maker. This young man, once labeled talented and thought to be going places in life, is facing the final finale of colossal proportions. Because for all of the days we live unnumbered, careless, drifting through life, unconcerned about the space in time where worlds conclude, chapters end, life ceases to exist…6 days is all that remains for him.

 

6 days.

Alexander Wang, H&M and the ghost of Nicolas Ghesquiere

The announcement came early Sunday morning evoking excitement everywhere: Alexander Wang for H&M, coming November 2014. And the masses rejoiced. The internet appeared titillated with the news of Swedish mega retailer, Hennes & Mauritz, a brand synonymous with affordable fashion for the masses with its latest collaboration. But just below the surface of the euphoria lies still, the unexamined story of the silent but deadly departure of Nicolas Ghesquière and the appointment of wonderkid Alexander Wang at the prestigious house of Balenciaga. It was indeed a strange selection, questioned by many of fashion’s elite. Wang, known for his ultra-modern designs overlaid with youthful freshness, wasn’t seen as the ideal candidate by outsiders. Would he be able to carry out the vision and produce marketable fashion without losing the Balenciaga touch? Ghesquière exceled at, was a genius at, creating what the public wasn’t even aware it wanted. He moved the brand into mainstream fashion, increased its visibility, and as sales skyrocketed, he brought a sense of stability and practicality to the label. For 15 years, Balenciaga blossomed under Ghesquière as his designs were critically acclaimed. But behind closed doors, a storm brewed. Constant clashes with management partners and battles to maintain his creative identity without comprising the label ultimately took its toll on the designer. And in November 2012, finally at the end of a journey he saw months in the making concluded and Ghesquière “abruptly” ended his union with Balenciaga.  His appointment at the house of Louis Vuitton in late 2013 conveyed the impression that the lengthy chapter of a horrid fairytale had ended. No such luck for the genius designer as a 2014 trial date has been set in the case of Balenciaga Vs Ghesquière. How does all of this tie into the collaboration of Alexander Wang and H&M? One could pounder. My speculation is Wang, quite aware of the enormous shoes he’s  stepped into and the tainted stench of the ugly divorce of his predecessor, may actually be in over his head at Balenciaga.  His acceptance of the contract with H&M is a creative outlet much needed in his world. Make no mistake, on his own, Wang is a dynamic designer. This current partnership will bring his label and name to places unreachable by the prestige of Balenciaga. And It will definitely create more financial freedom, stability and newer, richer ventures for Wang. I believe he needs this collaboration,  in order not to sacrifice his gift, his ability to create and career aspirations. The need to keep his identity separate from Balenciaga is a must if he is going to survive.  My sincerest hope is Wang doesn’t suffer the same fate as Ghesquière, because as any artist can attest to, there is no greater fear than being boxed in, closed up into a tiny space and being controlled by invisible strings of a larger than life puppet master. Being instructed on what, how, when and where to create. For a true artist, the freedom to dream, think, process, execute on our own terms is the very purest form of creation, the very breathe of life to our souls.  Good luck and Godspeed Alexander Wang, you will need it in the future.