July 31, 2012

Color in the Face of Darkness: Katarina Gaj

Photographer Katarina Gaj is one of my latest discoveries since I saw her featured in the exhibition A Glimpse at Photo Vogue - 101 Photographers/101 Pictures at the Carla Sozzani gallery nestled within 10 Corso Como's collection of style-conscious endeavors, including a cafe and a boutique worthy of one's most elaborate fashion daydreams.

The past two years of my growth and maturation in creative escapades have found an unwavering admiration for artistic photography, most passionately the field of fashion photography. While the categorization will evoke for most the editorial pages of Vogue, I've learned that this form of photography can encompass a greater variety of imagery that falls under the fashion definition but speaks to something deeper than the garments on a model's back.

Enter Katarina, whose sole work in the show moved me instantly upon a fleeting glance.

To me, her photography, though included in the fashion photography realm, is not so much about the clothing. The clothing is an accessory to a deeper story about identity. We see obscure female figures lakeside and we do not know anything about them; it is the fashion that reveals and simultaneously masks.

Color in the following two photographs I have selected is integral to the role of fashion in each photograph. It is a depiction of color in the face of darkness, where backdrops are dismal and daunting yet the painted human forms become beacons of light on the murky shore. There is an innocence betrayed by expression and pose that is recovered in vivid coloring. Hue has an almost savior-like quality.

It is the title of the first selection that speaks to this most: feel pure. Color is the rescuer and it returns to us a purity that otherwise may have felt lost.

The Katarina Gaj photographs speak to a more everyday approach to color in its role to transform. The gloom of our surroundings must not deter from our inner strength. Color has the ability to ensure strength, to accentuate optimism in an atmosphere that is wholly discouraging.

Even in times of hardship, we can persevere by flaunting a confidence and personality that we may not yet have a grasp on, but by identifying with it, there is hope that it reaches every part of us.
These models use color as a mechanism, because they know the truth behind its ability to empower.

Here's to Gaj and hopes that we will see much more work from her talented eye in times to come.

Photographs via Flickr
Images belong to Katarina Gaj

July 30, 2012

Playing Matchmaker

One of the things I noticed in my people-watching escapades in Italian cities was a burgeoning antithesis to the mixed prints trend. Italians were going against the mold by matching their garments and accessories together for a look that radiated eclecticism with its striking similarities rather than focusing on the clash of differences.
Whether by combining related prints or pieces of the same hue, playing matchmaker takes a lot of confidence. This is a boldness in an exciting new form and it's certainly a risk - not so much for the effortlessly chic crowd as the avant-garde creative types.

The three model outfits I've created below are inspired by some outfits I saw walking the streets of Italy as well as my own brainstorming and ideas.

My rule of thumb is that when matching pieces, make sure to maintain one subtle difference. Perhaps ironic, but adhering to this principle ensures that your look's multidimensionality. As you'll see in my creations, each match uses slightly different hues or prints of different scales, injecting your look with more depth and personality.

Fashion cannot be for the faint of heart or there is no fun. Everyone needs excitement.

Preen top and skirt, Modcloth clutch, Warehouse ring, Vionnet slingback heels.
Steven Alan dress, Kenneth Jay Lane earrings, Marc by Marc Jacobs crossbody bag, Vince Camuto sandals.
Marni top, pants, and shoes; Astley Clarke ring; Michael Kors bag.
Are you willing to wear a matching outfit? How would you do it?

July 18, 2012

Lust List: Sweet Structure

At this point in my shopping expeditions, I consider the ability of my would-be purchase to survive the hefty transition period between summer and fall. Although I don't quite have my sights set on the upcoming season, I certainly don't want to obtain a new ware that can only last me until September or so, when I'll have to wait until summer rolls around again to revive said buy.

I have learned a lot about my clothing collection after my recent closet cleaning, including the fact that basically everything I own is flowing and feminine.
I have no problem with the latter - my style is admittedly ultra-femme with the occasional appearance of menswear-inspired oxfords.
Yet sometimes it's good to have some structure: garments that maintain a defined shape, which can always be depended on for a specific look that never falters in flattery.

Below is a colorful collage of my favorite structured frocks. They are bright and girly, but the timeless silhouettes can certainly last into the autumn with a great pair of tights.

LL structure
Clockwise (from left): Carven cut-out dress (on model), Topshop dress, Alice + Olivia peplum waist dress, Emilio Pucci dress with ruffled trim, Versus cut-out mini dress, Lanvin techno-satin cocktail dress, Mary Katrantzou fish print bustier dress.
Are you already thinking about the changeover into fall garb? What's on your current summer wishlist right now?
Let me know with a comment!

July 12, 2012

Walking On Sunshine (Color Spotlight: Yellow)

There are several colors that I never wear. It isn't for a particular reason rather I instinctively find myself drawn to specific hues and thus avoiding others. I like most colors yet some need time to grow on me.

One such example is yellow. For a long time I didn't like yellow, but recently I find myself drawn to it. There is something so appealing about its brightness, its organic optimism and radiance. Certainly it isn't a shade for everyone: yellow asks for a lot of attention and it can be tricky to style. But I feel that it's worthwhile to experiment with the unfamiliar. In this case, it's a new color to wear.

I tried on a sunshine yellow Tibi skort yesterday - to my avail it wasn't flattering on my shape - and it made me think about the colors devoid from my wardrobe. Now that I've attained closet harmony with a massive cleansing, I'm ready for more. Yellow is a color that will be going on my list.

Skin tone is extremely important when considering yellow garments and accessories. Very dark skin has the advantage with this hue: every shade of yellow looks stunning. For lighter skin tones, try a deeper yellow so as to not be washed out. (Canary yellow is a flattering pick.)

Yellow can be intimidating - I think it is! - but one can start small or go for maximum brightness. Take a look at my suggestions.

A Little Yellow
Clockwise, from top left: Equipment silk playsuit, Miguel Ases earrings, MaxMara skinny belt, Nonoo shorts, Swash scarf, Jean Paul Gaultier mini umbrella, Preen printed top, Jimmy Choo sandals, KENZO stretch-cotton skirt, Brahmin tablet clutch, Sam Edelman sandals.

A Lot of Yellow
Clockwise, from top left: Mulberry top and shorts, Armand Diradourian scarf, Alexander Wang silk tank, Ice-Watch watch, Current/Elliott jeans, Tara Matthews bikini, Mulberry bag, Alice + Olivia dress, Calypso St. Barth silk top, Madewell flats, ASOS bucket tote, Yummi glass earrings.

What are some colors you're experimenting with? Do you wear yellow; are you going to give it a try?
Leave a comment below with your thoughts.

July 03, 2012

Ruby Tuesday

Tomorrow is the 4th of July, known as Independence Day to American folks. The day of patriotism is characterized by the notoriously cliche red, white and blue color combination. Although many of us in these United States will attend barbecues or firework viewings dressed like a walking flag, I thought I'd put my own twist on the color scheme.
The July birthstone is the ruby, which is fitting for the holiday. This shade of red has the amazing capability to be dressed up or dressed down, making it a versatile favorite for women of all ages. I've compiled three looks featuring different ruby red pieces to demonstrate the many ways that the color can be styled.
Hopefully these suggestions can inspire your Independence Day get-up, if you're not one for a cheesy effect.

Alice + Olivia dress, Marc Jacobs crossbody bag, J Crew hat, Elie Saab necklace, Stella McCartney sandals.

Joie blouse, Citizens of Humanity jeans, Miu Miu shoulder bag and velvet loafers, Aurelie Bidermann earrings, J Crew bangles.

Joie tank top, Erdem pleated skirt, Mar y Sol straw tote, Oasis sandals, Kenneth Jay Lane earrings.

I would love to know what you're wearing for the 4th of July. Leave your outfit ideas in the comments section. Which of these three outfits do you like most?