This Purse is “Calling” your Name

 

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Even though fashion editors are displaying the Apple watch left and right, including Anna Wintour, no one integrates fashion and tech with the same flare as Betsey Johnson.

While the presence of tech in fashion has become more avant-garde in 2015 with advancements such as a fashionable version of the Fitbit by Tory Burch and a tech dress by Chromat, which was debuted at NYFW, Betsey Johnson proved that simpler applications of tech can be more amusing. This time, instead of an outrageous tutu, the charismatic, cart-wheeling designer opened her infinite dress-up box to retailers with an old-fashioned phone purse.

The innovative use of a phone in place of a normal leather handle is more practical than you may think. The curly cord leads to a USB inside the handbag that plugs into your smart phone. With this, you can literally talk on the Betsey Johnson phone, with your smart phone incognito.

While talking on the phone may get you a few scrutinizing glances, if you don’t mind a little humorous speculation, give your go-to clutch a night off, and accessorize your LBD with a phone purse. After all, it is only one click, swipe or “rrring!” away.

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Loafers- Essential for Every Fashionable Woman

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This September, Gucci loafers were seen all over NYFW on the feet of Vogue’s accessories editor Virginia Smith and other fashion royalty. I mean, who wouldn’t want a pair of these on their feet. They are timeless, comfortable and fashionable. Whether you are a modern minimalist, chic Parisian or classic prep, they will fit right into anyone’s closet with ease. Simply stated, they are the Taylor Swift of the shoe department. They get along with everyone, and everyone either loves them instantly or grows to adore them.

However, if you are a college student like I am, the cost of these shoes probably makes you wince more than your sixth grade yearbook photo. But if you do some online-shopping research, you can probably find a high-quality pair that is comparable, but not as expensive as the Gucci pair. If you are willing to take my word for it, look no further than this pair of Vince Camuto Signature loafers.

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I happened to scroll their way during an online shopping session on SaksOff5th.com – a recent addiction of mine – and could not help but marvel at how much they resembled the Gucci pair with the metal bar across the top and leather construction.

They would look great with a cropped pair of trousers or denim, or a seasonal suede skirt. In Christian Dior’s  The Little Dictionary of Fashion, he made a point to say that all shoes should be made of leather or suede and come in classic colors, ranging in black, navy blue, brown and white. Though it may not be feasible to follow these guidelines strictly, now that Chuck Taylors are a huge staple in American fashion, Dior’s shoe rule could significantly decrease your chance of making another fashion faux pas. High quality shoes are like insurance: no matter what accident you fall into, (I’m talking to you, going-out top), you will always be able to depend on them to make the negative effects a little less painful.  In the case of loafers, whether you use them to class up a frumpy T-shirt and jeans or sharpen a tweed suit, they will polish any outfit.

In short, don’t splurge on the Uggs; invest in the loafers. Your stock in them will stay valuable for a long time.

Peter Copping carries Oscar de la Renta’s legacy at NYFW

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It is hard to believe that Oscar de la Renta passed away nearly a year ago. While there was variety in each collection he made, his feminine and elegant aesthetic never wavered. His gowns were easily distinguishable against the others on red carpets and probably the prettiest at the venue. When photographed, his dresses turned moments into iconic memories.

The Savanna College of Arts and Design honored his legacy with an Oscar de la Renta exhibit curated by André Leon Talley in its museum. From this, Talley created a book named after the presentation, “Oscar de la Renta: His Legendary World of Style,” with pictures of pieces from the display, accompanied by the photos of moments when the dresses  were worn. The forward, written by Anna Wintour, expressed how profound a mark he left on the fashion industry and the women whom he dressed.

The images from the exhibit were breathtaking, but to me, De la Renta’s spring 2015 ready-to-wear collection was not only one of his last but one of his best. The impression it left on me cemented my dreams to work in fashion even more. From the charming pastels to the meticulously placed botanical appliques, it  resembled  something straight out of a fairy tale. After he passed away last October, I was not only sad but almost certain that no one else would be able to match the ornate works of art that he had created for decades.

However, seeing Peter Copping’s spring 2016 collection for the Oscar de la Renta brand at New York Fashion Week in September, I felt reassured on the preservation of De la Renta’s vision. In an interview with VogueRunway.com, Copping said that he was inspired by Spain for the collection. This gave life to undulating hemlines, delicate textiles and ornate prints that seduced your attention. He incorporated a high black lace neckline with tea dresses and crafted grand ballgowns galore.

While no one will ever be able to replace De la Renta, Copping has shown that he will continue to grow the brand with keen attention to details and a proclivity toward femininity at its best. Even if you are more of an Alexander Wang guru, it would be impossible to deny how flattering the pieces were and how much care was given to each stitch and selection of fabrics.

If you haven’t seen the show, you need to watch the live stream ; and it may feel like you are falling in love with the brand all over again.

Fall Fashion 101: Back to Campus Look

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As the trees lose their leaves one by one, Florida loses its cheesy tourists, as they rush back to their hometown Target for school supplies. Finally, it is time for fashion to reassert authority where the “Smith Family Reunion” T-shirts took over. The fashion addict’s manicured hands grasp Vogue’s September Issue, her designer glasses ogle at the shows of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week as she eagerly anticipates mixing textures and trying out the chic trends that would have been unbearable in the summer heat.

I’m sure that the nostalgia of fallen leaves crunching under your leather boots lures you into dreams of your tweed blazers, cashmere and Starbucks pumpkin spice lattes. But unfortunately, in most parts of the U.S., the temperatures are not dwindling much, yet. So before you can kiss your gladiator sandals goodbye and sport your new pair of designer boots, here are a few ways to throw out your beach-bum and embrace your classy side for the fall semester.

Usually, I do not lead my outfit descriptions with the shoes, but considering the fact that you can’t make it through an hour outside without seeing loafers, I just had to start with this burgundy suede version of the trend. Also known as “smoking shoes,” these loafers offer the comfort of a slipper and the preppy charm of a Kennedy. Not to mention, they are a refreshing alternative to Keds for pairing with your paper bag shorts or A-line skirt. This stylish fashionista infused warm fall tones into her black- and white ensemble with this pair.

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And while every woman should have a white blouse, this playful peter-pan collared shirt is perfect for autumn classes and has endless styling potential. This little fashionista wore it with a flirty polka dot skirt, but it would look equally chic with denim or crepe shorts. Collar082415edited

If you learn anything from this fashion lesson, remember that it if you can’t keep up with the latest trends, wearing timeless, structured pieces will always be fashionable for fall. A crisp collar and A-line skirt will always be flattering. So instead of breaking out last summer’s palazzo pants and fringe crop top, save yourself a “Why did I wear that?” moment down the road, and start the school year with a few classic staples.

Gunnar Deatherage’s dreams come to life on the runway

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“I feel like if you want to make a basic, simple black dress, why do it? Why not make something that people are going to be really excited to wear- something that you’re going to be noticed for wearing,” said designer, Gunnar Deatherage before the University of Florida Pride Awareness Month Fashion Show.

In a sectioned-off corridor adjacent the Reitz Union grand ballroom, his collection’s vintage aesthetic stood out. Deep shades of purple and subtle hues of green hung closely together amidst a delicate mix of off-white blouses and black lace on a sliver clothing rack.

“I was very inspired by Lemony Snicket for this line, and I think it shows in everything that I made,” Deatherage said.

Precise tailoring rang through in the upturned ends of leather collars and the ruffled cuffs of soft blouses.

At the young age of 25, the self-taught designer has already had a collection walk the runway at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week.  The season nine Project Runway stage gave him a venue to showcase his creations. After returning for season 11 and “Project Runway Allstars,” Deatherage’s momentum has only continued to grow.

While Project Runway gave Deatherage’s work publicity, his persistence and commitment to details are what have driven him most to become successful in the fashion industry.

“You know, it wasn’t like money was rolling in, just to be me- no,” Deatherage said.

After leaving “PR Allstars,” Deatherage remained steadfast in his work ethic as he pushed himself to create new pieces that kept his followers interested in his brand.

From dealing with the complexities of maneuvering the sewing machine, to committing to a dream many are afraid to pursue, Deatherage has stuck to the mantra that any goal can be accomplished if you want it badly enough.

“That has always been my thought process,” Deatherage said. “And I wanted it, and I found a way to get it.”

After graduating high school, Deatherage attended community college for a few years, after which he became a hairstylist and devoted the rest of his time to fashion design.

“It was horrifying to not go to college,” Deatherage said. “But, I just knew that this is what I wanted to do, and I have managed to, very thankfully, find a way to make a living doing it in the realm I want.”

In the meantime, Deatherage is also working on his Fall 2015 collection, which literally began as a dream.

“I had this dream about a bird woman,” Deatherage said. “She was feeding birds in the park, eating a baguette and just picking off pieces and feeding them to the birds.”

The collection has a quirky, whimsical look, he said.

“It is not the same woman, [as this line], but it could be her friend that she gets into the same club with.” Deatherage said. “She had this great white bob. She reminded me of Linda Fargo, who runs Bergdorf Goodman.”

Aside from the avant-garde nuances and glamour that comes with fashion, it is an industry that can unify people for an important cause. While Deatherage graciously brought his art to Gainesville, (where a fashion drought has been plaguing its citizens since its existence), he said he appreciated the ability that the show gave him and other designers to bring light to pride awareness.

“I think that fashion is such a fun platform to bring together a lot of people that want to bring awareness to it and also stand together,” Deatherage said. “Whether it is their cup of tea or not, they are still standing to know that equality is fair.”

Deatherage has also helped members of his community in Kentucky,  as fashion editor of a Louisville-based magazine, NFocus. The magazine hosts fundraising events for nonprofits such as Horses and Hope.

In addition to helping helping local philanthropies, Deatherage said he appreciates the artistic responsibilities that come with working at the magazine. His creativity flourishes beyond the sewing machine to the production of photo shoots, fashion spreads and features.

Whether Deatherage works in fashion design, print media, or the film industry one day “to design for the movies that inspire people,” his history has shown that no dream is impossible.

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Prepping it with Ralph

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If you were to step into my closet, you would probably think that I had an addiction to navy blue and white, which is certainly no understatement. Whenever I set foot in my favorite boutique or retail scene, I can almost guarantee that I will go straight to the first navy blue or navy blue/white combo that I see. To me, these colors are timeless and almost always look polished.

When I think of these colors, the first thing that comes to my mind is the American dream. In fact, one of my favorite designers, Ralph Lauren, has become a symbol of the American dream. With this being said, I do not think it is a coincidence that most Ralph Lauren Polo advertisements have navy blue and white in them, whether it is in the lettering or the clothing itself. Take this classic ad as an example. In fact, the Ralph Lauren website is, not surprisingly, white with navy blue lettering.

While many of our high-end designers come from European roots, our American-born Ralph Lauren has a crisp, almost nostalgic aesthetic that America just cannot get enough of. While Lauren did not come from a wealthy background, he had a vision for a brand that he was determined to make successful. Although he only attended business school for a few years, the goal that he had in mind and preppy aesthetic of his brand, which started as a line of ties under the brand name, Polo, would cause him to succeed against other odds.

With this taken into account, I think that we should all embrace a bit of the Ralph Lauren brand and the American dream that it represents daily.

Project Runway, Season 13 Finalist, Sandhya Garg, Brings Fashion to Campus

In Gainesville, it is not too common that we get innovative designers coming to participate in a University of Florida fashion show. This is precisely why I was thrilled to interview “Project Runway” season 13 finalist, Sandhya Garg.

At only 29 years old, Sandhya has made her fashion dreams come true. While many young girls would simply play with their Barbie dolls, at 10 years old, Garg’s dolls set the stage for her life calling.

“I had a lot of creative energy, and I would watch movies and stuff, and then just make stuff for my dolls; I made these clothes for my dolls, and then I had boxes full of clothes for my Barbie doll, so I think it just developed from there,” Garg said.

In 2009, Garg started her fashion career at the London College of Fashion, (LCF), as a direct second-year entry to the three-year program that they have. Not long after finishing school, Garg went on to become a contestant-turned finalist on Project Runway, season 13, where she was happy to share her talent with the large “Project Runway” audience.

“You know, it is such a huge platform when you get on the show, and it reaches so many people. Everyone watches it all over the world,” Garg said.

Her unique ability to draw inspiration from other works of art has contributed to her original and enchanting aesthetic. For this particular fashion show, put on by the UF Pride Awareness Month, the theme was, “warriors”. Garg’s show consisted of 10 pieces, which were pulled from various collections.

“There are pieces that are really close to my heart. Some of them are from my LCF collection, the first collection that I ever did there,” The collection was inspired by a Russian ballet company, Garg said.

No matter where Garg’s future endeavors take her, there is no doubt that she will continue to work as a gifted designer.

“You want to do the whole process: You want to get your fabrics, or design your fabrics- be inspired by a story and then make clothes. The pure design process is what a designer does and enjoys, so I have always wanted to do that.”

Learn more about Sandhya Garg and her innovative designs at this link: http://www.sandhyagarg.com/

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What to Wear for the Festival Scene

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With plenty of musical festivals that are about to start this summer, one of the first things that comes to mind is what to wear to them. I think that so many people get excited over dressing for festivals or festival-themed events because it gives them the opportunity to dress like a boho hippie with no questions asked.

Interestingly enough, dressing like a hippie is not as economical as it used to be. Popular brands, such as Anthropology and Free People have marketed themselves as the creme de la creme of hippie fashion. I guess you could say that they create a more polished, intricate hippie that does not exactly tie dye his or her own t-shirts, which I have to say, is quite a relief. So the real question is a matter of where you are going to get your festival look from.

When the spring semester ends and you put away your textbooks, it will be time to break out the flower crowns, sandals and sunscreen for your “festival” endeavor. Whether you are like Vanessa Hudgens, and want to rock the retro, circle sunglasses with printed joggers and a delicate bralette, seen here, or your style is more similar to Gigi Hadid’s printed shorts and sneaker combo, shown here, there is always a way to alter festival-inspired trends to fit your personality.

While I admire both of these looks, I had a bit of fun creating my own festival look. To start off, I wore an off-shoulder, bell sleeve top with a daisy print. I loved the ’60s inspired sleeve and print. I combined it with a more structured pink short because I loved how the softness of this shade of pink contrasted with the dim, navy blue hue of the top. I added a small flower crown because, well, how can you be ready for a festival without one? I topped off my look with a pair of dusted blush gladiator sandals and a beaded fringe bag for a fun touch of glam.

Although my top is no longer available, I adore this bell-sleeve, off-shoulder top that comes in a similar shade of pink to my shorts. This navy blue, printed short would contrast beautifully with the pink top, and it reminds me a bit of the print that is on my top, from this post. Furthermore, these gladiators would be a perfect addition to this festival ensemble.

 

 

 

 

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Living Life, Barbie Style

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I have been obsessing over Jeremy Scott’s spring 2015, ready-to-wear collection that he designed for Moschino. If you have not seen it already, first of all, you are missing out. Secondly, you must check it out here

If you were anything like me, growing up, you probably idolized Barbie and wished that you could wear all of her too-cute-for-words outfits. Well, Jeremy Scott has quite literally pulled Barbie out of the box and onto the runway. The photos from the show remind me of a scene from the Disney original film, “Lifesize”, where Tyra Banks plays a doll like Barbie, named Eve, who comes to life.

Everything, from the bubblegum-pink outfits, to the candy colored pumps and the over-exaggerated accessories are reminiscent of Barbie. Although Barbie has been brought to life a few times in the past, by Bob Mackie specifically, as Cher’s go-to designer, his version of Barbie was a bit more exotic and abstract. Whereas Jeremy Scott’s collection pays tribute to the platinum-blonde doll that has made toy store shelves her home since 1959. I can’t help but muse over this collection by Jeremy Scott for Moschino. It just makes you feel like you are being transported to Barbie’s dream house in Malibu, and you really do not want to leave.

My favorite piece is this trench coat. The large, gold buttons, the black trim, the light, mocha-colored fabric and the black cuffs are the definition of adorable. I especially adore how it is styled on the model, with the foulard, gold cat-eye sunglasses and the metallic gold pumps.

In light of this collection, I felt inspired to adopt my own Barbie world with a few favs from my closet.

The dress that I am wearing is a white Betsey Johnson cocktail dress with gingham trim and crinoline lining. Not only did the silhouette and detailing remind me of Barbie, but gingham is very much on trend this season. If you look at the Diane von Furstenberg spring 2015, ready-to-wear collection, hereyou will see what I am talking about. I also wore a pink lip, which can be bought here, to brighten up my Barbie look.

All in all, if you ever want to play dress up, Barbie is a fabulous icon to follow!

Florals for Spring: Always Expected, but Never Outdated

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Every fashion-obsessed person has seen “The Devil Wears Prada”, and we all love to quote Miranda Priestly, the editor-in-chief of the magazine, Runway, from the book-turned film. Of course we can all remember the scene where a staff meeting is held, and someone pitches the idea to include florals in a spring issue of the magazine, only to hear Priestly say, “Florals? For spring? Ground breaking.”

There is no denying that this statement is completely relevant. Of course, everyone, and I mean everyone, breaks out florals for spring. Whether it is your four-year-old cousin, your grandmother, your soccer-mom neighbor or the oh-so-fashionable you, everyone has a something floral hanging in their closet. What makes all of us different, however, is how we wear the print.

Of course, when it comes to prints, there are stunning ones and heinous ones. While Carolina Herrera may come out with a beautifully ornate floral print, the one that your aunt pulled off of the sales rack at Kmart is probably meant to stay tucked away somewhere, where no one will see it- ever.

It is not only the layout of the print, but the type of clothing that has the print that needs to be considered. For instance, you probably would not want to wear a cocktail dress with a layered tulle skirt that had a print, as well. It is extremely easy for a print to become overwhelming, and even nauseating if it is splashed on a garment that is already flamboyant.

It is hard to describe an exact formula for finding the perfect floral. We wear prints because they are fun, so there shouldn’t be too many restrictions, right? While one may say, “Just go with your instincts,” our instincts are not always correct. In fact, especially when it comes to fashion, they can lead us into a place of embarrassment. For instance, when I was in sixth grade, I had the “instinct” that bright, knee-high socks were cute with my uniform;  boy, was I ever wrong! Not to mention. I wore my hair in pigtails at least three days a week. Granted, this was sixth grade, and if any of you are a fan of the ’90s movie, “Clueless”, you know that knee-high socks were not always a fashion faux pas. Now, as young women, however, it may not be as easy to laugh off those fashion missteps because, well, we are not exactly supposed to be in that awkward phase anymore. So, I guess the best advice that I can give, is to try on everything before you buy it.

This principle is especially useful when buying a print because, while it may look amazing on the rack, it may overwhelm the person wearing it. Another question that I ask myself when buying a floral is, “Does it look like it was designed by a person, or a computer?” If the print seems to be redundant or too “perfect”, it probably will not do anything to spice up your outfit, so I would probably put it back on the rack.

Also, before adding another piece to you wardrobe, think of how it will fit in with the other items in your closet. Are you a festival hippie or a New England prep? Are you an Audrey or a Marilyn? While you can experiment with different styles as much as you want, if you know that something is just not you, there is probably a better option out there.

If you are wondering how you can identify with a floral print this spring, I have links to a few different floral styles below that may represent the stylish young woman in you!

1. The Princess- Is anyone else as obsessed with this this skirt as I am? Not only is the simple print on this skirt exquisitely scattered across the fabric, but the pink satin material is polished and feminine. And, I mean, how can you resist the large bow in front? If you would describe yourself as being pink-obsessed, posh and elegant, this adorable skirt would be perfect for you.

2. The Eclectic Artist- If you are the type of girl who is always ready to take a fashion risk, this blazer/trouser combo is perfect for you. While it is certainly not a look that you would see every day, this is precisely why you are willing to try it. The delicate shade of blue that is prominent throughout the print is perfect for any complexion and nearly any occasion.

3. The Charmer- If the words that you use to describe yourself include, cute, bubbly and bright, this is the perfect romper for you. The off-shoulder neckline is flattering and slightly flirtatious, but it is anything but desperate. This floral print is one of my favorites because looks as if someone painted it onto the fabric. Like the authentic you, no one could mistake this print for being computer generated.

4. The Retro Diva- If you are this girl, you are probably already a fan of large florals and bell bottoms, or the next thing closest to bell bottoms, palazzo pants. If this is you, then these would make a perfect addition to your funky spring wardrobe.

5. The Bombshell- If this is you, then you are probably the Beyonce of your friend group. You are not afraid to take a risk, but when you do take one, it only serves to make you look even more stunning. I adore how the model has this skirt paired with a sweetheart-neckline crop top, which has the same print. Although this is definitely a more daring look, it works because the delicacy of the print forms a refreshing paradox with the streamlined silhouette.