Thursday, November 18, 2010

Style Crush

(photo © Citizen Couture)

(photo © Tommy Tom)

When I come across a photograph of Giovanna Battaglia on a fashion blog, I always say the exact same thing, I would wear that outfit in a second.

Now, being a Stylist and Fashion Director for Vogue Gioiello and Vogue Pelle, and sitting front row at Fashion week may give you a leg up when it comes to getting dressed in the morning, but Giovanna proves that looking stylish doesn't mean pulling looks directly from the runway. In fact, her style habits are more like a regular woman, than, say, some of the other fashion directors out there (no offense Anna Dello Russo, I love you, too!)
(photo © The Sartorialist)

Oftentimes you see Giovanna wearing the same piece over and over again in different combinations, like these gorgeous snakeskin boots . . .

(photo © The Sartorialist)

(photo © The Sartorialist)

. . . or this candy-colored Fendi bag.

(photo © The Sartorialist)

(photo © Hanneli Mustaparta)

She often mixes vintage with modern— like these vintage Emporio Armani sunglasses.

(photo © Tommy Tom)

And I LOVE how she pulls her hair back in a messy bun, just like any woman on the go.

(photo © The Sartorialist)

The feeling I get when I see photos of Giovanna is not one of envy, or even wistfulness. Her style is amazingly wearable and accessible — even though the pieces in her wardrobe are high-end labels, any of her outfits would be easy to recreate with more affordable pieces.

(photo © The Sartorialist)

I mean, I'm pretty sure I'm not the only woman out there who could go over to her closet right now, and pull together something pretty close to the above look.

(photo © The Sartorialist)

And, like all the stylish women I admire, she has incredible shoes . . .

(photo © Tommy Tom)

(photo © Tommy Tom)

(All the photos in this post are from various street style photographers— be sure to check them out!)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Heirloom-quality fashion?

A few weeks ago, I went to hear some of the Cooper-Hewitt's Annual Design Award Winners speak about their work. Although the Fashion Design Winners, Rodarte, were not on the panel, I couldn't help but apply many of the other winners' words to the fashion world.

At one point, Tom Dair of Smart Design, the Product Design Winner, mentioned his desire to create "heirloom-quality products," and gave the example of a wristwatch that one can pass along from generation to generation— a product that appreciates in value over time. This may seem like a strange thing for a Product Designer to strive for, because in today's world, New has somehow come to equal Better. Why else would millions of people upgrade to an iPhone 4, when they already have a phone that works perfectly well (if not better)?!

In fashion, it's the same. We dismiss pieces as "last season" and fill our shopping bags with the latest trends. But wouldn't it be better, and economically smarter, to stock our closets with "heirloom-quality" clothing?

What a brilliant idea! I'll just buy a bag that will look chic for the rest of my life, and my kids' lives, too. Now, if you would be so kind as to point me in the direction of that store that only sells beautifully-made pieces that are stylish for eternity. Hmm . . .

While it's not hard to identify a piece of clothing that's well-made, it's impossible to predict whether it's something future generations will love (a trench coat) or laugh at (bell bottoms). I guess all we can do as stewards of future fashion is seek out quality for our closets, and care for the items we love, as if we are planning to pass them on.

I'm a firm believer in mending my clothing and, especially, shoe repairs. When the heels start to wear, I get them replaced before they turn into tap shoes (we all know that painful sound heels make when they wear down to the metal!) I also have my shoe guy put rubber soles on my shoes to extend their life.

Last week, I got 4 pairs of shoes repaired. They got new heels, new soles, and I even had one blister-inducing pair of stilettos stretched to fit better.

The ultimate miracle was a pair of abused Miu Miu flats that I wish I'd taken a "before photo" of. The bottoms were stuck with pieces of gravel from walking down a rain-wet road after a wedding, and the leather on the heels looked like it was chewed by a particularly ferocious puppy.

When I picked them up, I couldn't believe my eyes.
For about $30 a pair, I now have 4 pairs of virtually new shoes.

Who knows if my newly repaired shoes will earn a place of honor in my future Granddaughter's closet, or will just be something she'll just crack up over. Grandma Catherine! Booties?!? But I plan on keeping my beloved shoes wearable as long as I can, if not for the next generation, then at least for myself.

(Shoe repair photos © Littlehouse of Style)