Thursday, December 31, 2009

Accessories what?

Okay. I have a confession to make. There's one big empty spot in my wardrobe: accessories. Now, I'm not counting shoes or bags in that category. I'm referring to jewelry, belts, hats, etc. Almost all the awesome jewelry I have has been gifts from friends and family.

Owl necklace from Kelly (I collect owls!)

Glass bead necklace from Rebecca

Glass pendant necklace from Lindsey

Everyone always wants to know what's in my locket...

It's a gorgeous tiny book with calligraphy, made by my talented Godmother.

"Chandeliearrings" from my mom

Earrings from Kelly (she's gotten me so much cool jewelry!)

Two gold bracelets from Grandma Angelina

The little purse charm was bought in Italy by my great-grandmother!

A few months ago, my friend Sarah introduced me to Alexis Bittar's jewelry. She invited me to a special sale at the West Village shop to benefit breast cancer. Although I didn't buy anything at the time, when I saw there was a sale on Gilt Group last week, I perked up. Maybe it was time to buy some jewelry for myself...

I couldn't resist this black and gold necklace. I love pieces that are geometric, bold, and modern and thought this would look great with just about anything.

On the same day, I bought a beaded belt from Dear Golden Vintage. Perhaps I'm breaking out of my accessories rut...


(All photos: © Littlehouse of Style)

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Dazzle Dress

When my boyfriend first saw this dress, he said it reminded him of a WWI battleship. Not exactly the compliment I was hoping for when I picked it out... His further explanation of "razzle dazzle" was met with a blank stare as well. Maybe he was trying to tell me he didn't like the dress?

With the help of Google, I began to understand. Dazzle camouflage or "Razzle Dazzle" was a paint scheme used on WWI battleships. Unlike most camouflage, its purpose was not to conceal the object by making it blend into its background— impossible to do on an ever-changing ocean— but to make it difficult to determine the true size, shape, direction, and speed of the vessel. The geometric patterns work like an optical illusion.

Dazzle painting is no longer effective camouflage because of advanced military technology, but there is still great interest in the designs because of their striking aesthetic quality. The Rhode Island School of Design showed a collection of the dazzle paintings of Maurice L. Freedman in 2009, and was quickly sold out of all posters from the exhibition. The images below should give you an idea of why they were so popular. Part blueprint, part modern art— I would hang these on my wall in a second.

Maybe dazzle dresses will be the next step in paying homage to this innovative and beautiful technology...

(Dazzle dress photos: © Littlehouse of Style, Dazzle photos and Maurice L. Freedman designs from, Alice & Olivia dress, Givenchy patent leather heels, H&M long sleeved t-shirt)

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Look but don't touch?

When I first moved to New York, I thought I had no business walking into stores like Prada, where the only thing I could afford was a keychain. I'd meander down Fifth Avenue and stare respectfully at the windows, but would never go inside.

I know that a lot of people feel the same way when they pass Chanel or Gucci. But why put designer shoes or purses on a pedestal so high that we can't even touch them? Aren't they meant to be carried, worn, and enjoyed the same as ones that we would buy at Target or Filene's Basement? Why should I feel awkward walking into Dior just because they sell $3000 purses? I walk into plenty of stores without buying anything.

Last season, I was seeing Yves Saint Laurent's cage heels in every magazine I picked up. They were so architectural, striking, and modern. I was dying to get a closer look. Feeling particularly bold one afternoon, I marched myself over to the YSL store on 57th street to satisfy my curiosity. When I was asked if I needed any help, I heard myself say,"Can I see these in a size 39, please?" pointing to the cage heels. I tried on several versions of the shoe and cat-walked back and forth for a good 15 minutes, stopping to inspect them at each pass in the gigantic mirror. They were on sale at the time, but still so expensive that I almost blanched when the model-handsome salesman told me the price. (Originally $1390).

Despite the fact that I couldn't afford the shoes, it was really a fun experience, one that I highly recommend. Now, when I see the cage heels in a magazine, they are no longer some fantasy. They are actual shoes that have been on my feet. I know that the metal heel is fairly heavy and that the sandals have a slightly higher heel than the booties. I know what it feels like to tie the velvet ribbon around my ankle. And if, years from now, I come across them on eBay, I know what size will fit me...
(YSL pedestal illustration: © Littlehouse of Style; YSL boots from Surface Magazine, issue 77, photo by Isabelle Bonjean; YSL cage heels product shots from

Monday, December 14, 2009

I Can't Put My Arms Down!

Anyone who has ever gone through winter in New York City knows that warmth comes first— hence the puffy down coats that infest the city like giant caterpillars. But what about looking stylish? It's a little difficult to look cute when you're wearing a sleeping bag and a boa constrictor-esque scarf...

Back in September, my friend and I passed a shop on Spring Street with the cutest coat in the window. Because one of my favorite places to eat is on that block, I'd walked by that window several times since they put out their Fall/Winter line. Each time, whomever I was with had to listen to me go on about the coat. As it called to me yet again, I decided it couldn't hurt to try it on. (Even though the purpose of the shopping trip was to get shoes for my friend!)

It was perfect. I felt ready to lace up my skates and start stockpiling snowballs. It was warm, well-made, and most importantly, it actually made me excited for New York's impending arctic chill. As the man and woman who were running the store helped me with the fit, I couldn't contain my gushing. I babbled on as if I had just run into my favorite rocker. 

And I'm so glad I didn't contain my excitement, because, as I signed my credit card slip, the man mentioned that he was the designer.

(Photos: © Littlehouse of Style; Coat: JaeYoon Jeong Collection, Bag: Zac Posen, Shoes: Stuart Weitzman, Dress: Diane Von Furstenberg, Fingerless gloves: knit for me by my friend Paige!)

Monday, December 7, 2009

It's not shoe, it's me...

As my wardrobe gets larger and my apartment continues to stay the same size; donating, selling, and giving away clothing and accessories has become essential. After successfully selling 2 pairs of heels on eBay recently, I decided to take a long hard look at my shoe collection. I dragged shoebox after shoebox out from under my bed. Not surprisingly, but quite embarrassingly, there were several pairs that I had forgotten about...

Last weekend, I photographed a few pairs of "forgotten shoes" with the intent of posting them on eBay. They all looked so nice through the lens of my camera... As I took shot after shot, I started to wondering what went wrong. Maybe I should give them another chance... They really are gorgeous shoes. Do they deserve to be auctioned off?

But the truth is, when putting together an outfit every morning, these shoes never made the cut. It's not that I don't like them— I mean, I was in love with them at one point— I just have other, similar pairs I like more. We had a beautiful time together, but it was only one day, and I'm a different person now. You know, maybe we were never meant for each other in the first place...

It's really hard letting things go, but I'd rather have these shoes get the love and wear they deserve from a new owner, than sit under my bed until they go out of style. I wish them all the happiness in the world, as they step into the next phase of their lives.

(Forgotten shoe photos: © Littlehouse of Style; From top, Stuart Weitzman patent pumps, Cole Haan platform sandals, Cole Haan pumps, and Stuart Weitzman patent pumps again)

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Hedi Slimane: Never-ending Possibility

Yesterday, my friend told me he read online that Hedi Slimane MIGHT be in talks with Louis Vuitton. With that seed planted, we excitedly facebook commented back and forth about what that would mean for fashion. Would he do a women's line? Would he be working on Louis Vuitton? What about his photography career? Will I be able to get a piece from the collection before it sells out?! Suddenly, that little seed was a fashion forest.

For those who aren't familiar with Slimane, he's the creator of Dior Homme where he worked from 2000-2007. He's probably also a genius. After leaving the house of Dior, Slimane was approached by LVMH (the French luxury goods conglomerate) about starting his own signature line, but Slimane eventually called off the negotiations. Then he turned around and became one of the most amazing photographers working today.

In all honesty, I knew Slimane as a photographer first. I came across his iconic portraits of British rocker Pete Doherty a few years ago and started regularly visiting his online photo diary. I'm in love with all things rock-n-roll— I actually have a concert journal to keep track of all the shows I've seen since moving to New York. Slimane's pictures— whether a studio portrait, a candid of a blissful fan, or a still-life of an ant hill of cigarette butts— all capture that raw beauty of rock-n-roll.

Whatever Slimane does in the coming years— whether it's more photography or more fashion or some incredible thing that hasn't even been invented yet— I'm sure my friend and I will be excitedly facebook commenting about that too.

(All photos © Hedi Slimane)