Diva’s Choice: A Tote for All Seasons

Prada Spazzolato Tote, $2450

I’ll confess: I do not have an obsession with designer handbags. Handbags and belts are the two accessories that I could just never really get into. I’ve come a long way on the handbag front (thanks to Betsey Johnson and Ted Baker), but I still find most designer handbags unimpressive. They need to really stand out to impress me (as opposed to a blazer or a coat, whose mere existence makes me crave it with an unnatural and certainly unhealthy desire). But this? This is one stunning handbag.

Now, it first struck me as a winter bag; the print looks like the sky before a snowstorm, doesn’t it? And the bejeweled buckle just feels like icicles. And it’s rare to find a fabulous winter accessory that isn’t a boot or some sort of hat/scarf/glove. Not that I would ever dream of toting this Italian leather dream around in the snow, but she sure would look beautiful during snowpocalypse. (This bag is worthy of personification.)

But then I considered what she’d be worn with. And suddenly she was a fall handbag, clutched under the arm of a woman in a black top, skinny jeans and boots or a charcoal gray sweaterdress. But then, in my mind’s eye, I saw her in the arms of a woman wearing a crisp button down, a brightly colored cardigan, and a pencil skirt, heading to work on a lovely spring day. And then I envisioned a girl in a white sundress and tan sandals, and this became a summer bag. So there you have it – a bag for every season.

But in case you were thinking about ordering four of them immediately, keep in mind that the Saks website explicitly forbids you from ordering more than three of this bag in a one-month period, so high in demand is this particular item. Good night, my dear readers, and let us all dream of a day where our biggest problem is only being able to blow 7 grand on purses when we want to spend 10k.

Diva’s Choice: The Spring Coat

Oscar de la Renta coat, $6450

It’s been five whole days since I’ve shown a coat! I’m disappointed in myself, kittens.

This silk coat with threadwork embroidery is from Oscar’s Spring 2010 collection. Such unique colors – that blue and the yellow are both unexpected, and together, they’re unstoppable. There’s something very Egyptian about this look – the embroidery feels like hieroglyphics – and it’s the kind of coat where it doesn’t matter what the hell you wear with it, because the outfit is all about the coat.

I don’t know if she’s wearing a headband or a braid with a ribbon tied through it, but for the record, I’m obsessed with whatever is happening north of her forehead.

And on the Oscar de la Renta website, this coat is on sale for the totally affordable price of $3870! Thank goodness for that.

Diva’s Choice: The Cocktail Cruise Dress

Giambattista Valli Resort 2011

I often find myself aboard a cruise ship, wishing I had something funky yet nautical cocktail dress appropriate for the occasion, as I sip my Perrier with lime, no ice. [Note: This may or may not be complete bullshit.] Well, Giambattista Valli has anticipated that unique but dire need, and showed this fabulous little number in his Resort 2011 collection. I love everything about this, with the exception of that model’s terrifyingly small head. Seriously. I’m kind of concerned for her.

A sleek bodice – draped yet tailored, asymmetrical with an adorable little shoulder. The perfect cinched waist – most of my favorite bridal gowns have that little ribbon around the waist, and I think it’s darling. And then the black skirt, which could seem out of place in a resort collection, but instead it just adds a little grit to an otherwise angelic summer dress. It somehow makes the dress badass, more formal, and more unique all at the same time. Of course, it doesn’t hurt to have neverending legs like Ms. Tiny Head over here. But I digress.

Diva’s Choice: Modern Knitwear

Eva Ren Spring/Summer 2011

Never underestimate the importance of knitwear. I simply love when crocheted garments show up on the runway (this is from Hong Kong Fashion Week) because there’s nothing better than grandma chic, as far as I’m concerned. Elaborate knitwear like this feels so unique and handmade, like you’re really wearing a piece of art that someone crafted. And this crocheted tunic is just stunning. The color, the design, the shredded look – it’s amazing that something so delicate can look so badass. A bathing suit cover-up in the summer, or styled like this over a black top and leggings – it just screams creativity and originality, and feels so summery and so intriguing at the same time.

Diva’s Choice: The Fall Bootie

Christian Louboutin flannel lace-up bootie, $895

Dear Louboutins,

I know I only found you last week, but I can say with certainty that you are the only one for me. I never knew love could be like this, but how could I resist? That peep toe? The classically beautiful lace-up? The heels that bring me to new heights? (I’d be a whopping 5’6″ in these bad boys.) Those qualities alone would have been enough to make me fall for you, but then I discover that YOU’RE MADE OF FLANNEL. And I just want to cry, because I know that you are perfect for me, but that you will never be mine. At least, not until I’m a corporate sell-out.

Hopelessly devoted,

The Democracy Diva

Diva’s Choice: Color Blocking

Carolina Herrera Pre-Fall 2010

I’ve been gazing at this photo for months, as if staring at the dress will somehow magically transport it into my closet. I just love that Carolina Herrera combined that beautiful cranberry color with such a bold, saturated, practically fire-engine red. This dress looks so effortlessly beautiful, as if that dress just wrapped and draped itself around the model of its own accord. I love that the draping of the skirt is gathered together underneath the orange-red sash; I love the way the sleeve wraps across her chest – it sort of looks like her shoulder is in a sling, but in a charming way.

But the color blocking is just lovely. It looks so bold and fresh and modern. You also can’t tell by looking at it, but this dress is actually silk. But the colors are so bold and saturated that the fabric looks like jersey or cotton, not something so delicate as silk. For the woman stopping by a gallery opening on a hot August evening, this is the dress to wear.

Best and Worst of the Week in Fashion

The weekly fashion recap is back to actually being weekly! At least until law school starts.

Simply Chic

January Jones in Versace

A welcome reminder that you don’t need to be complex or over-the-top to be fashionable, January Jones wears the hell out of this assymetrical white Versace dress and Brian Atwood pumps. Cute hair – casual, but not messy. The shade of lipstick is perfect, and I can’t even believe how blue her eyes are. And the way that dress twists around her is just fascinating. It feels like a high fashion tennis dress. Country club meets red carpet. And I love it.

A Hot Mess… Minus the “Hot”

Eva Mendes in Azzaro

Dear Eva,

Chloe Sevigny called. She wants the uglier version of her dress from the Met Gala back. At least she has an excuse, being Chloe Sevigny and all. So when I blogged about that dress, I was much more forgiving than I’m going to be towards you. Because if anyone can pull off a butt load of crazy, it’s Nicholette Grant. But you’re Eva Mendes. You’re really boring, and not particularly good at anything, and that dress is fucking stupid. Oh, and it’s July. There’s really no need for long sleeves, high necks, and scarves when the temperature hasn’t dropped below 90 in a month.

Love,

The Democracy Diva

Disappointment of the Week

Claire Danes

Claire Danes will forever be one of my favorite women, because I have a huge gay crush on her. But unfortunately, my undying love is not enough to stop her from making some truly awful fashion choices. Like this dress. Which, at its core, is some mediocre draping in ugly colors. Then the green ribbon was haphazardly added, making the whole dress look cheap and home-sewn. And after that mess, I guess the designer figured they needed to distract from the look somehow, so he covered Claire’s arm in droopy fabric and called it a day.

Honey, you are too good for this. Hire some new people. And change your toenail polish. Those dark colors always look like fungi on the red carpet.

Best in Bridal: Project Runway Alum Edition

Chloe Dao Bridal 2010

Season 2 Project Runway winner Chloe Dao released her bridal collection this week. Remember, she was the tiny Asian one, with the red-headed model who was easily a foot taller than her? They were such an adorable pair, Chloe and Grace. Anyway, I’m glad to see she’s still designing, and particularly designing bridal wear. She’s no genius, but she’s got some interesting ideas and strong technical skills.

And this is such a sweet little bridal dress. Beautifully draped, so it feels like a flower instead of a dress. The volume on the bottom is just big enough to make a statement, but not so big that it’s unwearable. Super cute, very chic, and an overall adorable dress.

Sex on a Stick

Sofia Vergara in Lela Rose

Hello, gorgeous! The sexy mama from Modern Family is all tits and legs in this fabulous little blue number. I don’t love the way it cuts across her tummy – I think it could be cut in a more flattering way – but I like the subtle drape of the skirt. The color is by far the best thing about this dress – it just calls even more attention to the most beautiful woman in the room. It’s a bit too push-up for Vergara’s already busty frame – I think it just makes her tits look fake as opposed to naturally perky – but she just always looks like she’s having a great time, and I love how refreshingly normal she seems. Oh, and she’s hilarious, too.

Fixer-Upper

Kim Kardashian

You know, Kim Kardashian may be totally useless and famous for no reason, but I’ve seen photos of her without makeup, and she’s actually gorgeous. Kim, please listen to the wisdom that the Democracy Diva is about to impart upon you. I promise, I am only here to help.

  • That slicked-back hair needs to go. You shouldn’t aim for hair like a Ken doll – your hair should look like, well, hair. And while we’re on the subject, what’s with the extra-long ponytail? Just get a haircut.
  • I hate denim jackets in general. But an acid-washed denim jacket – that looks as if it is intentionally made to appear inside-out? Thumbs down, Kim. Also, shrunken jackets are not that flattering on your figure.
  • Skin-tight may be a style, but you’re just walking down the street. Does everything you wear need to be so binding all the time? Not that it’s necessarily bad, I would just get really uncomfortable – not to mention sweaty.
  • Beware of those eyebrows – they’re already in a very surprised shape, and if you over-tweeze them anymore, you’re going to look like you’ve had a bad Botox job.
  • Lay off the pancake makeup! You really don’t need it. You have amazing eyes, beautiful lips, and a cute nose. There’s no need to put on stage makeup for a walk down the street in the middle of July. Just let a little more of your natural beauty shine, and you might actually look like a human.

With Great Films Comes Great Fashion: Inception

Ellen Page in Helmut Lang

Obviously when you’re in a hugely anticipated movie with Leonardo DiCaprio, you’re basically required to have a fabulous new stylist make sure that you look amazing at every premiere. This is our dear Juno at the French premiere of Inception (which I just saw with Nate, and we highly recommend it). And she looks so casually terrific, as if to say, “Who me? Oh, I’ve always looked this fierce, you just weren’t paying attention.” Well, Ellen, I congratulate you and your new stylist on a job well done. Sexy dress, great fit, great print. Smoky and dark and interesting. The hair is cute, though I’d trim those side-bangs a bit, I think it would angle your face better. But keep it up, girl.

Marion Cotillard in Christian Dior

A beautiful woman in a beautiful dress, but I don’t know who told her to wear those sandals. They have nothing to do with the rest of the outfit. Just a simple black pump would’ve been fine. But let’s remember, ladies, you’re never fully dressed without some bling. No earrings OR bracelet OR necklace? Come on, Marion. Don’t be afraid to accessorize.

Diva’s Choice: The Perfect Pumps

The day doesn’t end till I go to sleep, so technically, this post isn’t late. But I’m exhausted, so let’s make this a quick one, shall we?

Christian Louboutin candy stud pumps, $965

Studded, because you’re a badass. A little bow, because you’re cute. A fishnetty material, because you’re sexy. And black leather, because you’re fabulous. I’d wear this till those 4.5 inch heels were worn into the ground.

On a related note, I passed by a popular gay club on the way back to my apartment (Apex – I live around the corner). A gay gentleman stopped me and said, “You have pretty legs.” And I was wearing sandals. (And my hot pink Theory short shorts. Loehmanns, $20, deal with it.) I can only imagine the comments I would have gotten had I been strutting down 22nd street WITH THOSE FUCKING SHOES ON MY FEET.

Diva’s Choice: The Return of the Waistcoat

Vivienne Westwood Red Label waistcoat jacket, £615

You guys can have your Italian and French designers all you like, but when it comes to what I want in my everyday wardrobe, I have complete anglophilia. I love British fashion designers – the menswear for women, the new-wave or punk or hipster influences, the amazing amount of plaid. It all calls out to me, and this jacket is the reason why.

What’s more British-sounding than a waistcoat? Besides a waistcoat designed by a Brit, for sale at a British department store? This would be gorgeous and enviable enough as a regular blazer. But add that little waistcoat, and you’ve elevated a solid wardrobe necessity into a truly original piece. The jacket is grey tweed with sort of hazy purple pinstripes, and the black trim brings a tuxedo-chic element to this piece. And the brassy buttons? So British. So perfect.

This is what I mean about fall fashion being my favorite, wearability-wise. Throw on a t-shirt and dark-wash skinny jeans and you could take on the world. Black equestrian boots, or your favorite pair of converse, or a pair of heels – when you’ve got on something this fabulous, nothing else matters.

Diva’s Choice: Something Bold, Something New

Oscar de la Renta Spring 2011 Bridal

The black wedding gown.

Well, sort of. The tulle overlay is definitely navy, according to my eyes and the Oscar de la Renta website. Perhaps the entire dress is navy, but I find that more difficult to see. Regardless, the shade is not as important as the revolution of the colored wedding gown.

To wear ivory or champagne instead of white is becoming more popular with modern brides, but to dare to even wear a blush pink or yellow or peach is stretching far outside the realm of normal, at least for first-time brides. More second-or-more time brides don’t wear white because they feel the jig is up; they’re clearly not virginal. But just because white represents purity, and that was the traditional reasoning for putting new brides in white, doesn’t mean an intact hymen is a requirement for wearing a white gown. I say, wear what you feel the best in – if you’ve always pictured yourself in a white gown on your wedding day, don’t pick champagne just to be modern, prove a point, go against tradition, or proclaim your non-virginity. But of course, don’t feel that you need to wear white just because it’s the tradition! Oscar de la Renta and countless other designers and real-life brides have proven that you can have your dream wedding in a dress of any color, regardless of what your Jewish grandmother tells you.

Anyway, let’s get back to the dress in question. As few women travel outside the world of white and ivory, it must be a minuscule amount who choose a dark color. And yet this feels unquestionably bridal. The veil helps, of course, but even without it, I think this would still be unmistakably bridal. The cascade of silver from the bodice down to the bottom of the skirt helps brighten the gown; it still shines the way a new bride should. And though I’m not crazy about veils in general (I only like them so the groom can make sure he’s marrying Rachel and not Leah), I find this one particularly beautiful. It feels like the little silvery butterfly-like designs are floating magically up throughout both the gown and the veil, and it brings such a heavenly feeling to the entire look.

So if ever there were an angel dressed in black, this is she. What a beautiful sight.

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