Thursday, April 29, 2010

If you don't look good, we don't look good.

Last Friday, my friend Sarah and I went to see the premier of Vidal Sassoon The Movie at the Tribeca Film Festival. Admittedly, I knew almost nothing about the man, aside from hair product commercials I saw as a kid with his famous slogan, "If you don't look good, we don't look good." I guess my basic logic about getting tickets to the movie was that, if he's big enough to warrant a documentary, there's got to be more to him than shampoo commercials.

Boy, was that an understatement. I learned that not only did Sassoon revolutionize the haircut, he was an incredible example of the "rags to riches" tale. Maybe it was because Sarah and I had seen Coco Avant Chanel together, too, but I couldn't help but think of that movie as I watched the Sassoon documentary. There were so many similarities; a childhood in an orphanage, a new way of looking at the world, and a desire to change the way women saw themselves.

Of course, many people are familiar with the Chanel suit, the iconic bags, and even the woman herself, but what about Sassoon? I have to admit the first thing that came to my mind was the logo on a shampoo bottle. But as the movie progressed, I was surprised by how many of Sassoon's creations were part of my visual memory.

Picture London in the 1960s. What do you see? What are the women wearing? What does their hair look like?

Something like this?

That's fashion designer Mary Quant, who is famous for the miniskirt. Guess who cut her hair?

Or maybe these famous photos come to mind?

It's Grace Coddington back in her modeling days sporting the famous Five Point Cut invented by . . .

hmmm . . . there's that guy again . . .

Or this image that appeared in the October 1963 issue of British Vogue. That's actress Nancy Kwon with a Sassoon bob.

Throughout the Tribeca documentary, icon after icon appeared on the screen. And behind each was Sassoon, cutting away. Remember that pixie cut Mia Farrow has in Rosemary's Baby? Well, she wasn't making it up in the film when she says "I've been to Vidal Sassoon" (her husband's response "You mean you actually paid for it?")

And even beyond famous photographs of models and actresses, an image from my family's photo album— my mother and her sisters with cute bobs smiling into the camera during their cross country trip in the Summer of 1966.

After the movie, in the restroom mirror, I noticed my own haircut, by my fantastic stylist Tom, and I couldn't help but smile.

(If you're in New York, there are two more screenings during Tribeca: Thursday 4/29 at 9pm, and Saturday 5/1 at 3pm. There aren't any more advanced tickets available, but it's definitely worth standing online for rush tickets).

(Vidal Sassoon images from Vidal Sassoon The Movie, IMDB,, and various internet sources; Campfire photo scanned by my mom; Haircut photos © Littlehouse of Style)

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Tuesday's Style

My friend Rebecca recently wrote to me, "Idea for your blog... what Catherine wears to work M-F... ?? Bad idea? I don't know, but I am curious!" Now, I've known Rebecca since we were 5-years-old, and she's seen many of my more *ahem* interesting outfits over the years. Rebecca, I really hope you didn't request this because you still picture me in a dress-sized t-shirt with a howling wolf on it and a Blossom hat . . .

Monday was a little crazy for me, and it rained, so I didn't get to take photos, so I figured I'd start with Tuesday's outfit. Let's see if I can achieve T– F or at least 3 out of 5.

As many of you know, I'm a graphic designer. So usually work wear means something professional and put-together, but with a little edge that says, "I work in the creative department." I love this dress because the purple zipper gives it a nice spin on a classic tailored look.

All the other parts of the outfit come from the colors that are in the dress– everything is in the blue/purple color family. I do this a lot— pick one piece to build the outfit around. For example, if I decide to wear black and gold heels, I pick out a black dress and gold jewelry and *poof* instant outfit. It's a pretty simple approach to getting dressed in the morning, because who wants to spend 20 minutes figuring out what goes with what, when you could be getting extra sleep?

(Dress: Edge NY NoHo, don't know the designers name . . . , Tights: Emilio Cavallini, Shoes: Prada, Bag: Marc by Marc Jacobs)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Ol' Switcheroo

I am crazy for Proenza Schouler's shoes and their most recent Spring/Summer collection had me drooling as usual. After seeing photos of the show online, I emailed the label directly to find out if the shoes would go into production— a lot of the time runway shoes are not mass produced for the stores.

A few days later, the label responded and told me, "These shoes are currently in production and are due to deliver to stores in March. Only the white version will be available and it will be at Barneys, or"

I knew it would take months and months for their price to be reduced enough that I could afford them, but I was excited nonetheless.

Today, they finally showed up on

And for some reason, I wasn't nearly as in love with them as I had been when they were on the runway. Something felt off.

Here are the shoes on Net-a-Porter.

And here are the shoes on Proenza Schouler's website. Hmm, wait a minute . . . what happened to the heel?

As a connoisseur of "out there" heels, I instantly fell in love with the runway version of the shoe. The way that the outlining takes on a slightly different shape than the heel, the wood grain, the elegantly sculpted platform— all of these make this a fascinating shoe. The heel demands to be looked at, and enhances the rest of the shoe immensely.

The plastic heel that they replaced it with is heavy and cold. It's as if the shoe went through a complete personality reversal. Your eye doesn't travel across the shoe the way it does when that complex heel is in place— you get sucked into a shiny black abyss.

I know that runway pieces are sometimes too expensive to mass produce, but in this case, I wish they had increased the price tag and kept the original heel. Proenza Schouler's runway shoes are always perfection. Why mess with that?

(Proenza Schouler runway shoes photos from,, and

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Sticking to my guns . . . sort of . . .

A few weeks ago, I was perusing my favorite online shopping sites while eating lunch at my desk. I know I'm on a Shoe Diet, but it can't hurt to look, right? It had been almost 4 months since I bought shoes, and I felt confident, almost cocky, that I would reach my 6 month goal. Well, this particular afternoon it probably wasn't the best idea to test my resolve. . .

I came across a pair of shoes that I couldn't ignore. They were part of the collaboration between Adidas and Japanese designer, Yohji Yamamoto. And they were awesome. And on sale.

I put them in my shopping cart. I deleted them from my shopping cart. I watched as other sizes got sold out and my size remained available. My cursor hovered over the "Add to Bag" button. I needed someone to talk me down.

I emailed my boyfriend the link. A few seconds later my phone rang. "Don't do it." "But . . . look how cool they are!" I whined. "Come on, don't be weak. You only have two more months to go." I got whinier. I listed all the reasons I had to have the shoes. My boyfriend didn't back down. "Under no circumstances should you buy those shoes." When we hung up, I pouted for a while. A half hour later, when I checked the site again, the shoes were sold out. I pouted some more.

The other night, my boyfriend came over after work. He had mentioned he had something for me. This means he had successfully hunted down some amazing out-of-print art book that I had my eye on. Much of my art and design library has come from him, and I was excited to see what its newest addition would be. However, as he handed me the Amazon-sized box, I said jokingly, "Shoes!?" "You're obsessed!" he responded. "What's wrong with you?! You're like an addict!" Sigh. It's true.

Guess what was inside?


I paired them with this H&M dress today. I love how the scoop back looks like the heels.

Definitely my new favorite pair.

(Yohji Yamamoto shoes © Littlehouse of Style)

Thursday, April 8, 2010

It's beautiful and I want it.

Good thing I didn't log onto Gilt Groupe's sale earlier in the day yesterday, because I would have seen this Alexander McQueen leather corset. I know it sounds insane, but I might have actually thought about buying it.

My desire to purchase that corset has absolutely nothing to do with the reality of my life. First of all, I don't have $899 laying around to spend on couture. Secondly, I don't anticipate EVER getting invited to an event that would warrant wearing couture. And I think my friends would die of laughter if I showed up for an afterwork beer sporting that get up.

But that's just what McQueen does to me. It's the same reaction I have when I see a Helmut Newton print or anything else that is beautiful enough to blind you from the price tag. Simply, put: It's beautiful and I want it.

I remember seeing this piece on the runway of McQueen's Spring 2009 show and was immediately drawn to it. The chestnut leather was such a nice foil to the soft flowing silk that populated the collection and the lines were so interesting and dynamic. There were a few versions of the corset, one resembled a finely decorated saddle, another was as sleek as a handbag.

If yesterday had gone differently, and I had logged on when the sale started—after having won the lottery—I would definitely have bought that corset. Even if only to put it on a dress form, and admire it endlessly.

Maybe that's the real definition of art: Something that's seemingly useless, except for its extreme beauty.

(McQueen Corset photos from Gilt Groupe and

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Hello, Toes.

It's 80 degrees here in New York City today. I haven't seen my open-toed shoes for months, so I was very excited to pull them out from deep under my bed. It was almost like going shopping.

I've had these Nine West sandals for so long I can't remember where I got them, but I'm guessing Marshall's or TJ Maxx. They're one of my favorite pairs of warm weather shoes, because they're so comfortable.

At lunch, I walked over to Bryant Park only to find the fresh, electric green grass roped off. Apparently, "The new sod is establishing its root system." It took all the restraint I had not to pull off my sandals and sprint across the lawn . . .

(All photos © Littlehouse of Style)