Friday, February 29, 2008

Annick Goutal Les Orientalistes

The appreciation of Annick Goutal fragrances has been a long time in coming for me.  I'd often spritz a random bottle on a trip around the perfume counter at Nordie's and come away completely unimpressed.  Then I met Petite Cherie and fell in love.  Soon after, I bought a big bottle of Passion and a bottle of Eau d'Hadrien.  Grand Amour occasionally whispers, "buy me," but so far I have not succumbed to the siren song of Goutal again.  Until now.
In late 2007, Annick Goutal released a set of three fragrances called "Les Orientalistes" which are quite different from their familiar collection of floral- and citrus- based scents.  They are richer, darker, and warmer fragrances that are just the kind of thing that floats my boat, so I had to get my hands on some samples.  Oh, my pocketbook!  I fear I need to own all three of these beauties!

Ambre Fetiche: amber, frankincense, labdanum, benzoin, styrax, leather, vanilla, iris.
A rich dry amber underlined with a smoky frankincense that has a quality almost like burning rubber.  The rubbery impression fades after a few minutes and is replaced with a sweetish resinous note.  This scent comes on strong at first application and is borderline unpleasant, but this is one of those cases when the drydown is most certainly worth the wait.  Ambre Fetiche is stunning, and I couldn't stop sniffing my wrist all evening.

Myrrh Ardente: myrrh, benzoin, vanilla, tonka, gaiac wood, beeswax
Considering that there are so many potentially sweet notes in this fragrance, it is dry and warm. I do smell the vanilla and tonka far more than the myrrh itself, yet there is no sweetness. A faint burnt rubber note that may be the beeswax ties this composition to that of Ambre Fetiche, but it is a little more tenacious.  Myrrh Ardente is somehow both rich and light, grounding and ethereal.  A good fragrance for contemplative times.

Encens Flamboyant: incense, pepper, rose, cardamom, nutmeg, woods

Casting for Disney's Santa Claus 4

Looks like David Krumholtz will get promoted from Bernard to Santa this time around.

Project Runway - Finale, Part One

At the top of the show, we see the four remaining designers meet with Heidi one last time. She tells them they have $8000 to create twelve outfits for Fashion Week and reiterated for the umpty-thirteenth time that after the mini-show between Rami and Chris only three of them will be going to Bryant Park. Ok, Heids, we know there were five designers on the runway, so you can cut the crap.

Then they troop to the roof of the Gotham apartments to share a toast with Frau Seal and Tim Gunn. The designers then do some weird dancing.

The designers go home to work on their collections. After some time passes, Tim pays each a "surprise" visit.

New York rent is so high, Christian basically lives and works in a closet. How he coped with all of those feathers in such a tight space is beyond me. Speaking of feathers, he showed Tim a pair of feathered skinny pants that were just atrocious. Tim kindly called it "a lot of look" but also "costumey." He advised Ferocia to "bring an editing eye" to the process. In other words, leave the crap at home. Ferocia can't fit any other humans in his apartment, so he is forced to show Tim photos of his sister and mother.

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Tim then goes to see what Jillian has been up to. She researched 15th Century armor for her collection, causing Tim to rave over the detail work on one of her jackets. Then he disses her palette as being "a cloudy day." Despite that, she takes Tim home to meet her family on Long Island, where we get to see real humans rather than photographs.

Tim takes a break from the cold weather and flies to LA to see Rami. Instead of family, he introduces two friends to us. Like we care. But he also speaks warmly of his family, including his late mother (who looks a lot like Jillian with her chin chopped off) and his wonderful stepmother.

Rami has a large studio that Tim calls "phenomenal." C'mon Tim, ye of the $1.50 word can't find an adjective better than that currently overused one? You may as well have said, "awesome." His advice on the Joan of Arc-influenced collection: "pull it back a bit." How weird is it that Rami used a similar inspiration to Jillian's (Joan of Arc = 15th Century Armor)? Is it because he thought that her resemblance to his mother had a deeper meaning?

Thanks to TLo for the screen cap!

Finally, Tim flies back to wintry New York to see Chris, whose collection was about "beauty with a quirk," and was "95% fashion with 5% costume thrown in." Tim gags at the concept of the human hair that adorned several outfits. Why is it that the fur of dead animals is ok, but donated human hair from live specimens isn't? Hair extensions on a head is fine, but on a skirt it's not? If it were goat hair, it would only have raised half an eyebrow. At this point, Tim decides to go all didactic on Chris's ass and tells a little story about the monkey house at the zoo: When you walk in you think, "OMG this place stinks. After twenty minutes, it's not too bad. After an hour, it doesn't smell at all." Chris has apparently been living in the monkey house.

Then for no good reason, they visit a friend of Chris' who lives in an apartment filled floor-to-ceiling with tacky, gilded, rococo crap. He's the gay version of a crazy cat lady, but without the cats. The amount of dust in the place has to be...phenomenal.

Cut to Fashion Week. The four designers are once again forced to live together and immediately Jillian and Christian begin bickering like children. "Are you going to be nice to me?" "Are YOU going to be nice to ME?" Ok, kids, time for bed.

The next morning is Rami and Chris three-piece challenge and with the help of the squabbling children, they fit their models, send them through hair and makeup, and nervously bite their fingernails as they wait for the axe to fall.

During the judging, both designers got mixed comments. "Top Designer" Michael Kors liked that Chris "thought outside the box," but also deemed his velvet-and-black-safety-pin dress a "velvet condom." Nina appreciated Rami's tailored aspects, but thought his blue jacket was too much, as did Kors.

It almost seems that Rami got more negative feedback...yet he won.

What they didn't show us.

Chris' designs were just too costumey for the judges, and I guess they were for an American designer. But go look at the recent collections of Christian Lacroix (especially couture), Viktor & Rolf, any top European designer, and you'll see costume out the wazoo. Americans are just too conservative, fashion-wise.

And this season is still boring.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Milan Fall 2008 Fashion Week - Moschino Cheap and Chic

Moschino's Fall '08 Cheap and Chic collection encompasses everything from the fun and frivolous to business attire. One could only buy Moschino and have an outfit for every occasion.
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The bold plaid suit is very fun, but it looks like the model has a bad toothache. Her friend Pebbles Flintstone is ready for a night on the town in her animal print dress and gorgeous fuchsia suede boots.

For more formal, or work, occasions, the first two outfits are perfect. Serious, but with a lot of whimsy. The rose graphic on the cream coat reminds me of the Lancome symbol.

Add some color to the workplace, or be more serious in cream. And for evening wear - go Elvis!

Three coats that are serious, fun, and fashionista, respectively. I love them coupled with the hats - reminds me of Penelope Pitstop (anyone remember that?).

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Milan Fall 2008 Fashion Week - Jil Sander

German designer Jil Sander's Fall '08 collection is full of somber colors and wonderfully geometric shapes.
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From the simple yet elegant suit...

To coats that are works of sculpture. (The second one is my favorite.)

There are some simple dresses too... (the fabric looks scratchy to me)

...and even a couple of gowns. Although long, these have a casual air about them.

Monday, February 25, 2008

80th Annual Academy Awards

Last night was the occasion of the 80th Annual Academy Awards, an event that might not have happened had the writers' strike not ended. Lucky for us, we fashion bloggers have a lot to talk about today, not all of it good.
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The big color of the evening was red. Here we have Anne Hathaway in Marchesa, Ruby Dee in dark red satin by Kevan Hall, and the lovely Katherine Heigl in Escada.

Helen Mirren was stunning as ever in a custom made Georges Chakra gown. Teen sensation Miley Cyrus wore Valentino. And Heidi Klum looked fabulous in her John Galliano gown while her husband Seal sported a classically-styled Dior tux.

Black was also very popular this year, very safe compared to the bold reds that dotted the theater. Can't get safer than Laura Linney's very plain yet elegant Michael Kors gown. Kristin Chenoweth showed off her lovely shoulders in a less-than-lovely Armani Privé gown that had panels of sheer drapery that made her look hippy. And Hillary Swank wore a one-shouldered Versace. A shame about her face.

Jennifer Garner gave credit for her Oscar de la Renta gown to her stylist, Rachel Zoe. The dress is nice, but it did terrible things to Garner's boobs. Visibly pregnant, Nicole Kidman wore an unflattering Balanciaga draped with cascades of diamonds by L'Wren Scott that didn't work well with that too-wide neckline.

Doing their own color thang were Jennifer Hudson in a white Roberto Cavalli that squashed her breasts in an odd way and showed off her back fat. I thought she looked pretty, despite the dress. Faye Dunaway looked like she stepped out of a different decade with her long frosted hair and a Pamella Roland gown that appeared to have been constructed out of Godiva chocolate boxes. Kelly Preston looked lovely in that shade of egg yolk yellow, but her breasts looked a bit on the schlumpy side in the Roberto Cavalli gown.

Cameron Diaz rolled around in her bedsheets and headed out the door. But she still looked pretty darn good. (Actually she wore Dior by John Galliano.) Cate Blanchett wore Dries Van Noten. Something about it just seemed too casual for the Oscars, but it was better than the one she wore for the SAG awards. Keri Russell posed a lot in her Nina Ricci gown, but it didn't look like she particularly wanted to be there. She's far too skinny, her dress was boring on her and didn't seem to fit properly.

Tilda Swinton wore a gown from the much-lauded Alber Elbaz for Lanvin, but looked like hell with her carrot-top hair and absence of make-up. She claims never to have watched the Oscars. But surely she's watched other awards shows? Diablo Cody wore a Dior by John Galliano leopard-print silk chiffon gown that just didn't work with her quirky style. It looks as if she raided Phyllis Diller's closet for a muu-muu. And Ellen Page just turned 21, yet she dresses like an old lady in this Jean Louis Scherrer. And she still hasn't learned how to pose. Someone please introduce these ladies to a stylist.

I shouldn't pick on the kiddies, but something about Saoirse Ronan's Alberta Ferretti dress just wasn't right for her. It was too...nightgown-ish, and I hate the color. I don't know who Rosamund Pike is, or whose plain wrinkled dress she's wearing, but...hello nipples! And maybe it's because she can't possibly look even half as good as George Clooney, in or out of his classic tuxedo, Sarah Larson's Valentino Couture gown just isn't working. I swear I had a dress in that same fabric for my Skipper doll in the 70s.

Worst of all, however, was Daniel Day-Lewis' wife Rebecca Miller. WTF was she wearing? If you took the ornaments off the velvet and lace dress, it's not so bad, if a little dated. But why add the huge crystal flower stuff at the center of the bust AND the ugly red bows from the Christmas tree? And then there's the clown shoes.

Mr Day-Lewis himself looks completely idiotic in his piped-trim tux and BROWN SUEDE SHOES. Shoot me him now.

I love Stacey London, but her dress is rather a boring disappointment. Too much black!

French actress Marion Cotillard wore a Gaultier mermaid dress while Renee Zellweger was in Carolina Herrera. I'm on the fence about the mermaid, but I think Renee looks smashing.

Michael Moore's date (wife? girlfriend? sister?) looked wide and stumpy in her ugly lace dress that looked like a repurposed prom gown circa 1982.

Nice to know that the Oscars aren't considered an occasion worth washing one's hair for.

At first I thought this was Drew Barrymore in a suit. (ETA It's Steven Cojocaru.)

Sunday, February 24, 2008

London Fall 2008 Fashion Week - Aquascutum

The quintessentially British brand has a long tradition of fine tailoring. They provided the British military with coats during World War I (and you wondered why they were called "trench" coats) and have been supplying the world with stylish rainwear ever since. They still make great coats, but have also expanded to include stylish fashions for both men and women.
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These coats have real style, and I especially love the printed coat at center with its jaunty bow, and the black coat with its sweeping circular skirt.

The company's military past shows strongly in the second two coats.

Not all of their coats are fabulous, unfortunately. These look a bit like grade school craft projects made with felt.

I wasn't particularly excited about the non-coat items in the show, but these dresses are quite pretty.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Project Runway Sew Not Over

Twelve season four designers compete for a $10,000 prize - and you get to pick the winner! Go to to see all of the designs and vote for your favorite.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Project Runway Season Four Reunion

Although I do enjoy watching Project Runway every week, even during relatively unexciting seasons such as this one, I really look forward to the reunion episode because it signals that the season is about to end and we'll soon find out who is the big winner. After 5 or 6 episodes, everyone has ideas of who will be in the final five four three and there's an eagerness to finish cutting through the chaff--dump the hack designers--and get to the meat of the season: the runway shows. But before we get the dramatic runway denouement, we see the designers all in one room again, making faces at each other and watching cheesy montages of themselves while Heidi and Tim pretend to be amused by the discussion of farts.

The reunion episode is also the mad Photoshopper's dream, and this season it was no different. Here are some of my observations:

Every time they cut to a shot of Victorya, she looked like someone had just pooped in her mouth.

Kevin (who claimed that he tried very hard not to be gay...if you're not gay, why such a concerted effort?) thought Elisa was much like Mork from Mork & Mindy. Except female, of course. But Kevin, Jillian was the one who wore suspenders!

Ricky cries enough to deserve a montage of his very own. Perhaps he was at the height of his menstrual cycle during filming? I still maintain that there are other reasons for the tears.

The camera made a quick cut to Victorya when the topic came up of eating Chinese food and dealing with the attending gas. Hello Bravo - she's Korean, not Chinese. Unless the point of it was to insinuate that she was the main gas leak.

If Tim had to choose a wrestling name, it would be "Polly Syllabicus." I love how Tim can use $1.50 words without seeming the least bit pretentious. I wish they had done a montage of him flexing his vocabularic muscle, as they did last time round. But we really didn't see a lot of him this season, and the only big word I can remember him using is "obfuscate" (which I did not have to look up, btw).

Nina has been called "Meana Garzilla" by a fan on the street. Harsh, but inspirational! Click image to enlarge.

OMG, VictorYa, get a sense of humor. Buy one if you have to.

Heidi seriously needs to get her bangs cut.

Rami and Chris looked reeaallly cozy together.

In a surprising turn of events, Christian was named the fan favorite. I thought it would be Elisa, or Sweet P, or Chris March, or Rami, or Jillian or.... But nooo, they gave it to the cartoon character. Now he's going to think he's even fiercer than he already does.
(Take a look at the image on the lower right of the check. Is that a bowling pin kicking a bowling ball? What does it mean? What's the connection to Bravo and Bluefly?)

Yeah, so, not realllly exciting this year. And I thought the Season Three reunion was lackluster. What this post needs is yet more Photoshopping, so here's the second installment of the tradition I started last season, a look at the Class of Season Four. Click image to enlarge.


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