Designer Spotlight: Lorena Sarbu

       sarbu“Imagine if Zuhair Murad and Marchesa had a baby with a Versace flair? You would get Lorena Sarbu!”—The Provocative Eye

Meet the modern Elizabeth Taylor of fashion, Lorena Sarbu. Watching (and tweeting/IG) the live coverage of the Emmy’s red carpet last week, I caught a glimpse of Lauren Parsekian (Breaking Bad’s Aaron Paul’s wife) and immediately l-o-v-e-d her dress. A quick web search led me to the fashion designer’s personal site. The Romanian born beauty studied design at the Intermational Academy of Design & Technology and at FIDM in Los Angeles. A childhood filled with rich influential European culture, architect and art, Sarbu presented her first collection in 2009 and recently relocated from New York to Los Angeles in 2013. A dressmaker at heart, she began creating designs for her dolls from her mother’s clothing and although we know a doll’s size proportion is not to be compared to women, Sarbu is a master at tailoring and intricate detailing.  With exquisite craftsmanship, vibrant colors and beautiful fabrics that pay tribute to old world glamour and elegance, she transforms the ordinary into extraordinary with each design. It’s no surprise Hollywood and musical starlets in the likes of Emma Stone, Hayden Panettiere, Carrie Underwood, Ariel Winter, Britney Spears have all been spotted donning an original couture design of Sarbu. For more of her stunning evening wear, please visit http://www.lorenasarbu.com.

 

Lorena Sarbu is one to watch!

lorena8

lorena6_resizedlorena7_resizedlorena5_resized

lorena4_resized lorena3_resized lorena2_resized

lorena1_resized

lorena_resized

Mood Board: The Golden Girls: the Original SATC

Thank you for being a friend….

   The Golden Girls, a television sitcom, aired from the mid 1980s to early 1990s.  The wildly successful, feel good comedy gave us a peak inside the lives of four senior women living vibrantly and without apology.  But what I love the most of the beloved sitcom is the costume (FASHION)!  Strictly 80s, done with flair and style that ruled the decade.  As I watched a vintage episode one night with scene stealing vixen Blanche (Rue McClanahan), I wondered if the sitcom had inspired women of the 80s to live fearlessly and fashionably the way Sex and The City had done for my generation.  After all, the Girls are the original SATC. Yes, I know it sounds strange but let’s take an investigative look.

Dorothy Zbornak (Bea Arthur): Miranda Hobbs, Esq.

Dorothy was known for her serious no nonsense practical personality, quick dry wit, and an over all brainiac.  And like her personality, her clothing reflected power: shoulder pads and pantsuits, scarves and layers, menswear feminized was the staple wardrobe of Dorothy.  Definitely a vintage Miranda Hobbs.

 dz1 mh1 mh2

Blanche Devereaux (Rue McClanahan): Samantha Jones

Blanche was a widower liberated in her golden years.  Unabashedly in her sexual prowess, Blanche dated and disposed of men as she pleased.  All while looking fabulous: vibrant colors, seductively clinging dresses, on trend attire, costumes for any and every occasion are what composed her closet.  Samantha Jones is Blanche reincarnated.

bd bd1 Gregg DeGuire bd7

Rose Nylund (Betty White): Charlotte York

Rose Nylund was the classic romantic of the group, she was feminine, lady like and always dreaming of goodness. Pure with a untainted soul, Rose’s fashions reflected her farm upbringing with an Elizabeth Taylor twist.  Monochromatic suits, classic cuts and hues with defined a waistline, perfectly coiffed hair and manicured, Rose is the Charlotte York of the group.

bw bw2 bw4 rn

Now I know what should come next, where’s the Carrie Bradshaw of the group? She was the main character, the fashion muse, the focus of SATC.  Certainly it could not be the last remaining character Sophia Petrillo, portrayed by Estelle Getty?? No. I would like to propose each character from the Golden Girls had Carrie like characteristics. Dorothy’s dry wit, Blanche’s risk taking behavior, Rose’s dreamy goodness and Sophia’s adaptation for survival were all possessed by our main heroine Carrie Bradshaw.  I’d like to think the gorgeous ladies of the 80s found strength, courage and a zest for life in the Golden Girls like we found in the gals of SATC.  And the fashion, of course.  Don’t forget the fashion!

gg satc

 

 

 

 

 

Monday Inspiration: Diana Vreeland

dv3

 

 

“Vogue always did stand for people’s lives. I mean, a new dress doesn’t get you anywhere; it’s the life you’re living in the dress, and the sort of life you had lived before, and what you will do in it later.”—Diana Vreeland

 

Anna Wintour’s predecessor knew a thing or two about life, fashion and living.  Responsible for taking Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue into mainstream publication and popularizing the circulation of the fashion magazine across the globe, Vreeland was known for fearlessly speaking her unedited thoughts aloud.  What I really admire about her, though, is her zest for living.  Instead of complaining about the wrongs in life, she set out to create the life she wanted to live.  Vreeland spent every moment of the day living, not over analyzing or allowing fear to keep her from taking in each moment with a fresh perspective.  She saw the challenges of life and business as opportunities to express her best and most highest self.  At times, her solutions were received well and highly praised and at other times she fell flat on her face.  But she wasn’t afraid of the fall nor did she allow the possibility of falling keep her from trying.  This is true inspiration to me.  To live life in such a way that you are fully present and grateful in each moment.  Allowing these to open the door to your passions and creativity.  Then maybe we won’t despise Mondays so much but instead see the day as a new possibility for a new beginning to a new creative moment.  Mondays? Yes, I’m starting to look forward to it just a wee bit more…

 

Happy Monday Everyone!

P.S. If you are a fan of fashion and Vreeland, check out the documentary, The Eye has to Travel!

The Prison of Perfection

Looking into the mirror has challenged many a women throughout history.  Even the strongest of feminists will admit, they too, sometimes cringe at the reflection staring back at them.  Women are programmed, from a very young age, to sacrifice all for beauty, that it is everything. The standard of beauty in our country creates an illusion of perfection.  Perfect hair.  Perfect Makeup.  Perfect Life.  The constant influx of perfection is plastered on magazines, billboards, and social media every single day creating an unconscious desire to be perfect.  There are thousands of step-by-step instructional tutorials across the world wide web illustrating, in real time, the hows, the whys, and ways to achieve such a staggering faux persona.  Women spend billions each year on cosmetic surgery and expensive clothing with the hope of reaching that unreachable end of the rainbow called perfection.  Celebrities are idolized and reality “stars” given an audience and platform that impacts and influences the ideal of perfection. We look at ourselves in the mirror and instead of just loving and accepting what is seen, we judge. Harshly.  Pick apart each detail that doesn’t quite measure up to the standard of beauty smeared across phone and computer screens every second of every day.  We nip, tuck, pull, push, stuff, slither our way into uncomfortable clothing.  We purchase shoes with red bottoms and brag about it on social media.  We beat our faces “for the gawds” and insert Rapunzel length hair onto our heads. Thus creating the perception of perfection.  And we are never satisfied.  If we get a compliment tossed in our direction, instead of graciously accepting it,  we secretly want more because our desire is for great.  If great becomes the word, we still want more, we want fabulous.  If we get fabulous, we want fierce.  Attempting to pacify a longing, a hunger within, we dress the outside package up and tie a pretty ribbon around it.  Ignoring the constant barrage of inaquadecy and self -hatred that burns through the tissue of the soul.  Leading to a slow and painful annulation of that which is precious and pure.  This is what happens when another’s perception or definition of yourself is allowed to trump what you know to be true.  Flawless on the outside but broken on the inside.  I have a natural inclination towards French culture, particularly Parisian women.  J’adore the rhythm of life in the “City of Light”, the innovative fashion and style, the ancient architecture.  But my real obsession is with Parisian women.  Why? Because they’ve managed, in the times we live in, to remain unmoved by the idea of perfectionism, the standard of beauty.  Parisian women have mastered the art of acceptance.  A crooked nose, bad skin, a mouth slightly askew, all of it is beautiful! Acceptance is the standard of beauty. Effortlessly chic is the wardrobe of choice because Parisian women understand it matters not who you are wearing or even what you choose to adorn yourself in.  There is no external standard of beauty to a Parisian woman because she is the standard of beauty.  Herself.  Her life.  Not some 5’10 ultra slim photo enhanced beauty on the latest cover of a magazine.  Her perception is based on what she knows to be true about herself and how she’s grown to love herself.  She has that extra unspoken something, the illusive je ne sais quoi that is non threatening to other women and is a radiant life force.  She isn’t self centered or approval seeking.  She is simply herself, imperfectly perfect in her own skin.

Are you ready? To be no longer a prisoner of perfection but a free being? Yes? The key isn’t tucked away, hidden from you, it is right where its been the entire time…in your hand.

 

Mood Board Inspiration: the Baroque Era

Grandeur. Lush. Exquisite. Go big or go home. Fashion and style in this period was represented by these sentiments and more. It was the idea that grandiose was the way to live, eat and breathe. Splendor and excessive was the norm. Influence from the later part of the era (1660-1775) can be seen across the runway today, my absolute favorite is Dolce & Gabbana RTW Fall 2013 at Milan Fashion Week (read about the creative directors recent conviction of tax evasion). Check it out here at style.com!

baroque30baroque2baroque

 

To incorporate this style into your wardrobe, look for heavily ornate pieces, dramatic circular or curving patterns and elaborate embellishments.

Here are a few pictures for inspiration! Happy findings!

 

baroque17baroque26baroque27

 

baroque9 baroque8 baroque7

 

baroque6 baroque13 baroque15

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Age of Microwave Fashion?

I recently read an interesting article on the web from the Boston Consulting Group and Business of Fashion. It focused on the plight of fashion houses recruiting viable talent to develop current brands. Nearly 70 percent of luxury brands find it difficult to place creative directors, many citing inadequate talent pipelines. One of the biggest challenges facing luxury and fashion companies today is finding, developing, and retaining great creative and business, as stated by Jean-Marc Bellaiche and Sarah Willersdorf, a partner and principal at BCG.

All across the board, in design and product development, technology and general management in fashion are gaping holes needed to be filled by talent.  But the greater problem beneath this current one faced by larger retail companies and fashion houses alike isn’t easily visible to the naked eye. Companies are searching for artists that have the ability to become, stepping into a role and growing.  The key word in the article is develop. Because of the lightening speed at which we absorb, post, infiltrate the internet today, many of these people lying the talent pool have no desire to be students, i.e., get developed.  Because the internet makes everyone a star…plumps up a faux resume, produces incredible geniuses…and at the tip of a finger one can quickly and unanimously become larger than life. We are inundated with rockstar status IG profiles where living a fashionable lifestyle is envied and admired leading to the notion that being famous is more important than developing (being a student).  No longer are there eager students, hungry for knowledge, humble in approach, those that understand the process of starting from the bottom to learn the business of fashion as a way of life.  No, no.  Studying has been replaced by delusions of grandeur, with the aim of cult like celebrity followers as the ultimate goal.  These faux “fashionistas” (btw I loathe that word) are armed with Google, a MAC illustrator (because no real sketching required nowadays) and the latest Vogue magazine for fast imitation inspiration.  To each his own.  But what happens when the famously internet stars began to outnumber school education or ones who’ve taken the time to develop, i.e. paid their dues?  What type of predicament will the business of fashion be left in?  A quiet but massive chaotic storm is brewing in the fashion community.  The gaping hole between the creative side and business of fashion exists, and not acknowledging it will not make it disappear.  And until both sides in the fashion community can put aside egos and learn to work together co-existing, the future of fashion is at risk.

 

You can read the full article here: The Race for Talent and Luxury in Fashion.  Share your thoughts with me!

Designer Spotlight: Norman Ambrose

We live in a time where everything is instantaneous. Quick. The internet serves as grand wizard with social media reporting the latest greatest at the impossible speed as soon as it materializes. We’ve gotten so used to fast that more and more living, doing, creating is taking on this approach, becoming the norm.  Artists, at times, can find themselves in the middle of this exact predicament. Creating quickly in order to produce forsaking the very reason for the creation. It is absolutely beautiful when an artist takes the time and opportunity to allow his creations to develop, from seed (thought, inspiration) to full bloom (collection).  I knew this was a way of life the first time I laid eyes on Norman Ambrose at Fashion Houston in 2011. Exquisite craftsmanship, luxurious fabrics, handmade embellishments all color a haute couture piece by Ambrose. His designs are dreams of old world aristocrat, assembled, cut and impeccably tailored to gracefully mold the body inside of its masterpiece. Glamour is his specialty, and whether designing for a Baroness, a New York socialite or the modern woman of style and grace, Norman Ambrose is a true atelier and artist. His background education has served him well in the creative arena, he is a graduate of the Academy of Art University of San Francisco, and was bestowed the opportunity to study at the Instituto Europeo di Design in Italy. Ambrose’s resume is impressive, he was afforded the dream chance to train under a pattern cutter from the prestigious House of Balenciaga and a tailor under the iconic Bill Blass.

 

na4

 

I love collections that construct an intriguing narrative, that have the capability to hold a person captive while one stares lustfully at a runway while each piece weaves the completed fairytale.  I love collections that mesmerizes; leaves you desiring more.  It is beautiful to witness a designer takes such pride in his craftsmanship, allowing an inside peek into the vivid inner workings of his mind, blessing you with the opportunity to explore his thoughts or providing a source of inspiration.  I was blessed with the opportunity to meet and interview Mr. Ambrose not once but twice (with Fashionably Houston)!  What a grand break that was in my fashion life at the time.  Soft spoken, gracious and humble, I was impressed even the more by Mr. Ambrose after interviewing him. I simply adore and admire him.

You can follow Norman Ambrose on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram for current details from the designer!

 

 

Here is an excerpt of my recap after witnessing his runway show in 2011:

 

The sun.  Brilliant, radiant, magnificent, the perpetual light that ignites the world and prevents eternal darkness from swallowing us whole.  Life would be impossible without it…now imagine sitting in a spacious room with a runway at the center and experiencing the sun…in its entire splendor…from the slow rise out of the east, to the intense luminosity of day, ending with its glorious subdued descent.  On Wednesday night at Fashion Houston 2011, Norman Ambrose delivered the sun.  He  fashioned his S/S 2012 collection to represent the cycles of the sun; carefully choose a color palette to interpret his vision and set ablaze the souls of fashion lovers everywhere.   Vibrant noir…shimmering metallic gold… iridescent silver… pale apricot…lustrous tangelo… to an exuberant then soften coral.  It was sensory overload but in the most marvelous way!  And that was just the color palette.

 

na9 na10 na11na8

 

na na1 na2  na5