Thursday, September 30, 2010

All Access Althea

"Project Runway" golden girl Althea Harper has just launched her third collection since landing the runner-up position on the show during Season 6. At New York Fashion Week, Harper presented her Spring collection with sponsorship by Swagg. She proved that she has remained a relevant, down-to-earth designer who focuses on a sophisticated color palette and excellent tailoring. She makes clothes that real girls want to wear in their real lives- to work, to parties, on weekends. It's all access Althea all the time!

Althea Harper Spring 2011 Collection

Simple and sophisticated asymmetrical ensembles.

Personally, I love how every piece in the Althea Harper collection seems that it could be effortlessly mixed and matched with each other or pieces already existing in my own wardrobe. She creates wardrobe staples with a modern and fresh twist. On top of all that accessible goodness, Harper keeps her prices "affordable. Her collections' price points range from around $80 to $400.

Althea Harper, left, being interviewed by Sarah Evans.

In her interview with Swagg correspondent Sarah Evans, Harper explained that perhaps her mid-Western roots made it so important for her to create garments that are more than conceptual and certainly wearable. Of course, Harper keeps her clothing away from borderline boring by integrating texture- sheer panels on the sides of leggings, asymmetrical hemlines and moody patterns are just a few elements that she seems to incorporate from season to season.

Take a look at some of her past work...

Sheer panels on an evening gown from Althea Harper Fall 2010

Boyfriend blazer, pattern and jodpur-style pants from Althea Harper Fall 2010

Lame and greige at the Project Runway Finale Show

Silky separates on the Althea Harper Project Runway finale

Tough girl chic for the Althea Harper Project Runway finale

The fashion world has lots more to look forward to from this evolving designer. For more on Althea Harper, check out her website.

We down-to-earth fans can't wait to see what she offers us next.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Rainy Day Women

Blake Lively shields herself from the New York rain on the set of "Gossip Girl."

If you live in Wilmington, or anywhere across the Southeast, you know
that it's been raining.

A lot.

And while we're very grateful to finally have some precipitation, protecting one's self and her clothing proves to be quite difficult! My usual fall wardrobe of long jeans and suede booties just won't hold up against puddles six-inches deep. In the spring and summer, it was easy to just throw on my Millard Fillmore rain jacket with a pair of shorts and topsiders and hit the road. But in the cooler months, a little more preparation is required to keep us dry and warm!

My Millard Fillmore anorak from Monkee's in Wilmington

At first glance, dressing for cool, wet weather seems daunting, but with the right styling tools and a bit of a sense of humor, dressing for yucky winter weather can actually be a great way to assert your best sense of style.

Tory Burch fur parka for Fall 2010.

Kate Moss in Hunter wellies on a yucky and mucky day.

In lieu of the four days straight of rain we are to expect in Wilmington, I've chosen some of my favorite necessities for rainy days- a blend of the two images above.

First, a proper topper. May I introduce to you the Ali Ro anoraks- original and ruffled styles. These jackets offer great protection from the weather but are cute enough to throw on even in sunny weather.

For those really cold months, nothing beats a functional parka with a touch of fur. Land's End makes the fabulous, functional and more affordable Luxe Down Coat.

And while I love my turquoise blue anorak for spring and summer, this fall calls for sophisticated colors, such as black, chocolate brown or olive.

Next, a great pair of rain boots:

I'd love to think that I could get everywhere I need to go by tucking these classic Hunter wellies into skinny jeans, but some offices or occasions might require a more sophisticated look, such as these sleek Vivienne Westwood Anglomania rain booties.

Finally, for those nastiest of days, every girl needs a trusty umbrella. While I used to love cutesy patterned umbrellas, I've come to realize that something sleeker and more basic tends to go with every coat, boot, glove, hat, etc. all year long. Obviously, the costumers on "Gossip Girl" got me thinking about these super cool, you gotta love that cane handle!

Totes clear umbrella

So bring on the downpour for two more days! The wind and rain are no match for functional fashion.

Fashion for a Cause

Wilmington's own Sonny B. boutique hosted its first ever Fun in the Fall event last Thursday. The red-carpet event attracted friends, family and fans of the cozy store where they enjoyed a dj, wine and stylish fashion show all to benefit the Dreams Center for Arts Education.

Owner Allison Abney, with her husband, organized the event to raise money for DREAMS in Wilmington.

Guests had the opportunity to peruse artwork created by students in the DREAMS program while also enjoying drum music by Sai Collins. We also enjoyed delicious hors d'oeuvres while browsing the latest fall fashions, including the A to Z trunk show on display.

Two savvy Sonny B. fans enjoy drinks while shopping!

After mixing and mingling, it was finally time for the main event...

One of my favorite looks- black asymmetrical A to Z dress

Another favorite of mine, since I'm a major sucker for a fur vest!

The fur vest above sold out within five minutes after the finale. These stylish booties and Toms were also incredibly popular...

I also saw a scrumptious Kensie sweater, right on trend with this fall's nubby knits as well as this adorable military-inspired dress.

In summary, it was a great night all for a great cause. And, if you ask me or Sonny B., it's always stylish to do good.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Beverly Thrills

Elie Tahari sent Spring sportswear looks down the runway that pleasantly reminded me of one of my all-time favorite movie characters...

That's right, ladies! It's Phyllis Neffler from "Troop Beverly Hills!" I love, love, LOVE this movie and certainly was mesmerized by all of Phyllis's couture wilderness girl uniforms as a child. But even as an adult, you have to appreciate her penache for fashion and wonder what the modern Neffler would don for the Annual Jamboree and Tuesday night troop meetings.

Tahari's spring fashion show presented glamorous yet functional sportswear that wasn't too trendy but still inherently modern.

Below are a few looks that I could definitely see Phyllis wearing now for meetings, cookie sales and cocktail parties.

I adore the mixture of khaki cotton with gold lame and bronze leather. It makes me want to find a chic khaki skirt or blazer to go with this Haltson Heritage lame top (that I don't own...yet!)

So, as Robin Leach would say, here's wishing you khaki wishes and cookie dreams!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Golden Delicious

Last week, while perusing my online universe, I came across this gorgeous picture.

I love the hair styles on these two models, especially the antique rhinestone hair clips, but the gold dress in this picture is so AMAZING.

Imagine my surprise when I just HAPPENED to be browsing the Rodarte Spring 2011 show on and saw this!

There it is in all of its full-length glory! Clearly it's a dramatic, over-the-top, mixed-media gown, but I just love it! Maybe I could love it even more if the hemline was shortened to the knee...maybe.

I've had a crush on Rodarte ever since Reese Witherspoon appeared at her "Monsters Vs. Aliens" premiere in this flawlessly cut space-age dress.

Rodarte's mixture of colors and textures is just so interesting season after season.

Here are a few more gorgeous looks from the Rodarte Spring fashion show...

Recognize this one?? It's the OTHER gown in that gorgeous photo that started this entire blog post!

Although all of these spring fashions are lovely and inspiring, we cannot ignore that the official start of fall is just days away! So as you're gathering your fall and winter wardrobe, take a cue from Rodarte and consider mixing textures. Then this spring, your base layers will stand perfectly on their own...and maybe you could add a small rhinestone hair pin just to kick the looks up a notch...

Friday, September 17, 2010

Vermillion Fall Fashion Show 2010

GORGEOUS Alexander Wang dress style with Subversive necklace and Loeffler Randall pumps

Vermillion, the one and only Southern mecca of glamour and style, hosted yet another jaw-dropping, envy-inducing fashion show at their North Hills boutique in Raleigh last night.

Owner Ashley Harris put on yet another wonderful event featuring looks from Lam to Lim styled with help of chic team member Julia Kerr. Their style concoctions did not disappoint as look after look paraded down the runway, each one better than the next. None of us wanted the show to end!

ALC leather jacket, Loeffler Randall bustier, pants and (my fav) brick-colored booties

One of my favorite looks- 3.1 Phillip Lim suit, AKA leopard print blouse, Loeffler Randall nude patent leather pumps and Gabrielle Frantzen necklace

Sonia Rykiel dress and mittens, Balenciaga boots

3.1 Phillip Lim fur scarf

Anya Hindmarch fur vest, 3.1 Phillip Lim blouse, Balenciaga bag, MiH jeans, Balenciaga leopard print flats

Lela Rose strapless dress and brocade jacket with Balenciaga black pumps

Another one of my favorite looks: Derek Lam dress, Gabrielle Frantzen necklace, Loeffler Randall pumps and Anya Hindmarch coat

Derek Lam brocade skirt and embellished sweater

Jason Wu gathered skirt, blouse and jacket with Loeffler Randall booties and Diana Broussard necklace

Matthew Williamson fur coat and Loeffler Randall over the knee boots

Derek Lam jacket, blouse and leather inset pants with Balenciaga pumps

Before the show, guests were greeted with champagne and apps as they had the chance to mingle with some of their best friends. And while it was great to see old pals like Tory Burch and Alexander Wang, the day was made even better by the presence of two of my oldest friends, my own sister and mother, and Vermillion staff and customers who I've come to know over the years through our shared love of fashion.

Some of my favorite girls!

My sis in a Tucker blouse (another favorite of mine!) and Loeffler Randall pants. TOO CUTE!

Other old friends! Halston Heritage, Lela Rose, and Derek Lam all present!

Of course, once the show was over, it was time to SHOP! Fall was in full force at Vermillion and fashionable treats filled the store, just waiting to be gobbled up! Customers always have the best time at this store. Certainly having such a wonderful selection of clothing and accessories at your fingertips is a draw but the fun, friendly atmosphere created by such a knowledgeable and passionate team makes Vermillion truly unique. Every single person at this store welcomes us with open arms and smiles on their faces. It makes you wonder why you'd ever step into a place offering anything less. I can stay at Vermillion all day...and I pretty much did!

Gorgeous Halston Heritage blouse that I tried on at the suggestion of Ashley.

Mom's feet stylishly adorned by Balenciaga animal print boots!

So while I can't stick the store in my pocket or watch the fashion show again today, I will take with me the memory of yet another fabulous day at Vermillion...and maybe these brick red Loeffler Randall booties, just in case I need yet another reminder...