Monday, February 25, 2013

Oscars 2013 - Best and Worst Dressed

Alright the biggest, most anticpated night of all-time-in-the-universe has come and gone, and what is the verdict?? Not impressed....for someone like me who dedicates 6 hours of my day to watching the pre-show to the pre-show to the pre-redcarpet before the actual show, I expect to be blown away by fashion and entertainment "moments". Last night was lacking in both departments; thank God for Charlize. Seth MacFarlane was good,  but he was no Ricky Gervais or TinaFey/AmyPhoeler.

Now I wish I would've spent that time finishing Season 3 of Downtown Abbey. (Obsessed with the Crawleys and their moments of crisis about missing silverware).

Anyway, the fashion was mostly safe, the days of major risk-taking are gone, the stars seem too closely handled and their image to carefully cultivated by a team of publicists, managers, agents who probably provide strict parameters to the stylists on what "look" they're going for. This lends itself to very minimal risk-taking when it comes to fashion choices. Where is the drama?? Can someone please bring the drama! The best part of red carpets are when stars create fashion "moments" - these go down in fashion history and remain in our collective memory for years! I still remember the days when Nicole Kidman was the queen of the red carpet, like her beautiful Chanel gown in 2004 or the gorgeous Balenciaga red from 2007 or the Gucci peacock she wore to the Golden Globes in 2005. Gwyneth Paltrow is another red carpet moment creator,as she showed us in her Tom Ford cape glory from last year. These are the types of fashion moments I look for. Last night, Charlize was the only one who brought her A-game but many say that she could wear a garbage bin and she'd look stunning, I may have to agree.

I actually contemplated naming the two lists "Charlize" and "Other". She has been a consistent favourite of mine, mostly because she can't be human. You can see my previous Charlize adulation here for example.

Alright so here we go; here are my favs and not-so-much picks from the 2013 Academy Awards.


5) Kerry Washington has been appearing on this side of the list for much of the awards season and her contract with fashion house Miu Miu is serving her well. This dress was equal parts glamour and unique, the colour made her stand out with just the right amount of bling on the bodice. Now I just hope she starts eating again!

4) Halle Berry wanted to look like a Bond girl last night and the team at Versace custom made this gown with those instructions in mind. At first on TV I didn't love this dress but seeing it in pictures, it quickly became a Best-dressed contender. Bravo Halle! 

3) Naomi Watts wins for second runner-up. She's in Armani Prive and this is a great example of how the right cut and structure done well can really be stunning. And she's a mom as well, Jenn Garner!

2) Michelle Obama surprised everyone by appearing in this gorgeous Naeem Khan gown, with her meticulously styled bangs (props!) to announce the most important award of the night; Best Picture. She Skyped in (or whatever) and really blew most of the fashion competition away! I love her classic yet glamorous style, definitely a fashion icon who we'll be talking about for years to come, what a treat. (take that Laura Bush!).

1) And the best-dressed award goes to....Charlize! (#obvi) What I love most about this look is her amazing hair, with the statement the hair made, she didn't need to do much with this Dior Couture gown and accessories. Too many competing elements is a sign of bad styling - so this really is a perfect example of restrain and edited styling. Absolutely flawless.


5) Many fashion people on my twitter feed (as I was insane enought to live-tweet the Oscars last night) loved this look on Zoe Saldana. I think it was because she chose a lesser known French designer Alexis Mabille. The fit, cut and colour are great but I personally didn't like the competing elements of the Dollar Store fake flowers with the belt...and then the 50 shades of grey below (see what I did there ;) ;) too many things going on.

4) Ok with Jennifer Garner (aka soccer mom extrordinaire), this dress was mostly boring. I feel like I've seen her in this colour and silhouette too many times, she just looks safe and boring. Nothing more to say. *yawnn*

3) Alright Kristen Stewart, we know you're over it, we know you don't care to brush your hair, we know you broke a leg jumping off a rooftop at a hipster house party at 5am (just guessing) - we get it. You're SO OVER IT. So let me ask then, why wear Reem Acra?? Why put on a lacey, beady pale-beigey dress by a mostly bridal designer? And then why add unwashed hair and smudged eye-liner? If you truly don't care, then whats with all the frills? Just go all badass in Tom Ford or something truly rebellious...oh kids these days, they don't really get the existential angst thing do they? 

2) Catherine Zeta Jones in Zuhair Murad. #nuffsaid

1) And the worst-dressed title goes to: Anne Hathaway. She actually gets the title for worst acceptance speech as well. Did you watch it? She mentioned something about how her role as Fantine in Les Mis and ending world poverty are connected....really Miss Teen USA 1998? She is an amazing actress but for one of the most highly anticpated celebrities on the red carpet, she let us down. I actually really liked the Prada dress, I like the colour, cut and I like the back, this dress at the SAG awards would've been perfect but not at the Oscars. And there are two very "distracting elements" that ruin it; making it a poorly fitted dress.

Honourable Mentions:

Jennifer Lawrence in Dior, almost made it to Best-Dressed if it wasn't so wedding like

It wasn't until she fell that I saw how truly magnificent the dress was (also cutest fall and speech)

Jessica Chastain in Armani Prive - played it safe I think but beautiful nonetheless

Friday, February 22, 2013

SaimaSays: The "Business" of Fashion Shows

Over the past few weeks, New York Paris, London and Milan have also showcased their design talent through fashion shows. Fashion shows generally display looks that will hit the markets in about 6-7 months time, apparently giving buyers, manufacturers, and stylists time to figure out what works and doesn't and then manufacture what does work for the mass and pseudo-mass markets. 

For the average consumer it can be quite perplexing - why am I looking at fashion shows all over my Internets that have nothing to do with my life right now? AND even if I could afford this designer gear, I can't actually access it for another 6 months? Pssshh. By the time the actual season hits, we most likely have forgotten what the shows were about anyways. Wait, was it stripes? Or Fur? Or leather? Happens all the time! Can you tell me what's in store for Spring 2013? No clue? Well I'll have the down low for you in an upcoming post, no need to get your panties in a bunch (what the hell does that even mean?? Do your panties ever bunch? Wtf?).

Anyways, this is a huge problemo that designers and the corporations who own them often contend with. In an era of instant gratification, can designers really afford to be so far removed from the actual consumer? Nowadays fashion shows are seen as a giant marketing ploy, where all kinds of media is invited (including bloggers) in hopes of creating a "buzz". Okay, so a buzz is created, but in our fickle memories does it translate into sales? And aren't there much more affordable ways to create a "buzz"?

I often wonder how designers turn a profit, well the answer is sadly that many don't. They are either employees of a corporation or rely on foreign financiers, which is a dangerous and unstable business model.  Don't the investors want a return? I think the fashion industry needs to re-evaluate its 'business model'. With new marketing platforms like social media taking over, and growing e-commerce trend, where do these designers fit in? When will actually start selling the looks they display so comprehensively from every show, instantly? When can I as a consumer get the look right away? Isn't that where we're headed? I think the industry is in a period of immense transition, perpetuated greatly by the 2008 recession. 

As someone who started out in this industry recently, it can be an exciting albeit scary prospect . Everything I knew and dreamt about the industry is rapidly changing, however maybe there are new opportunities to be had in this wild frontier.

I would love to hear what you think either as in industry insider or a potential consumer.  In the meantime, I decided to pick a few of my favorites from New York Fashion Week (clothes I can't afford and can't access until September or something). Here are my 3 favourite shows from NYFW:

1) MARC JACOBS: Usually Marc Jacobs has some element of ironic fantasy to his shows but this one was decidedly sobre. I personally loved it.

2) THE ROW: If I could have a closet full of The Row, I'd wear it everyday, 24/7..

 3) VICTORIA BECKHAM: Surprised by how much I loved this collection, Victoria Beckham has really come a long way from her Spice Girl days!

What do you think about the business of fashion shows?? Are they still relevant??

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Outfit Post: Turn Summer Gear into Winter Wear

First, let me just say that these seemingly gratuitous selfies seriously induce a major existential crises for me  every time I post one. However! The only saving grace is if they serve a purpose that is higher (and/or more divine) then just showing off a great hair day or non-bloated day (both equally important). The higher (and/or more divine) purpose of these outfit posts are to bless the lucky ones (you) with some spiritual guidance in the form of style tips, that include: what goes with what, what colour is good, what shoes are nice, and generally how you can look your best without re-financing your house. (buying it yet?) 

So, in the spirit of divine fashion guidance, here is my little outfit where I rendered what previously was considered STRICTLY SUMMER WEAR (a mint coloured denim) into winter night-out, sister's bday celebration wear. Rules are meant to be broken right? 

This pastel/sorbet/easterbunnyegg coloured denim was a massive trend this past summer; I bought these Urban Outfitter mint green jeans mostly because of the colour and I wore them many times last summer (you can see that here and here and here). But as the leaves turned and it got chilly, they were placed at the bottom of my denim pile and I didn't wear them for months, thinking they were only meant for summer- but that didn't have to be the case. 

I pulled them out last Saturday against all conventional fashion logic, but by pairing them with a black blazer, black boots and white&black graphic tank, I turned it into a winter look. I love getting the most out of an item and the thought of these jeans sitting at the back of my closet was annoying me. I know that many of you bought coloured denim last summer, (maybe a turquoise, a lilac, or a pale pink) and you might think twice before pulling them out this season, but hopefully I've shown you that you can! And also that fashion rules are meant to be broken (but check with me or someone you trust if you're breaking them in the right way!)
Outfit Breakdown: 
Jeans - Urban Outfitters $68
Graphic top - Hearty Larks $20 (Local Toronto designer)
Blazer - Zara $100
Booties - Spring $27 ( years ago on sale)


And that's how you can turn summer gear into winter wear ;)  Watcha think?


Monday, February 11, 2013

Grammys 2013: Best and Worst Dressed

What is going on with award season this year? We're a little low on the "fashion moments" quota thus far; I am sincerely hoping that the upcoming Oscars will open the "fashion moment" flood gates. The Grammy's normally is one of those shows where musicians break all conventions and try and outdo each other for the most outrageous outfits- making it an exciting red carpet to watch. But alas, not so in 2013. Creating a list of best and worst was really not that exciting - I almost wanted to create just one category of "Meh Dressed" but I decided to give some credit to those that did try a bit - (I'm looking at you JLo's Leg). 

Given the lack-lustre nature of the sartorial choices, I only managed to select 4 for the best dressed list (normally I do at least 5).

Best Dressed:
 4) I absolutely adore Florence Welch and her risk-taking fashion choices. She consistently presents herself as a walking piece of art. I love her for it and this green Givenchy fits her bill perfectly.

 3) Kelly Rowland definitely turned heads in this George Chakra cut-out number (almost a reinterpretation of the Toni Braxton dress at the 2001 Grammy's). She clearly defied the strict "instructions" by CBS not to show skin or something (really CBS?) but it abosolutely paid off!

2) I loved Rihanna's red Azzedine Alaia dress, her new Beyonce weave did make it less fashion forward but considering Rihanna is constantly taking fashion risks, it was nice to see this change and I think made it a risk in itself! Rihanna, playing it safe? Now thats risky. (also she should keep her risk-taking behaviours for fashion and not relationship choices).

I also loved her mid-riff baring perfomance outfit during the Bob Marley tribute, now this is the "usual" Rihanna we're used to!

1) Cue trumpets, marching band, thunderous applause, maybe even a parade of horses doing funny tricks....the Queen has arrived (leading with her leg). JLo went from the worst-dressed at the Golden Globes (click here) to the Best dressed at the Grammys a month later, either way she brings the drama. The true controversy from last night was JLo's leg vs. Angelina's leg - I think JLo's leg dropkicked Angelina to Timbuktu (where she may adopt from again). Did we expect any less? I''m just glad someone brought their A-game!

JLo in a Anthony Vacarello dress

Worst Dressed:

5) Disclaimer: I have great respect for what Janelle Monae is trying to do stylistically. Her androgynous style is unique and breaks all boundaries BUT must she wear variations of the SAME look repeatedly? I would love to see her re-interpet her style in a different way, maybe add colour or a pattern. We get it, you love tuxedos.
4) Nicole Kidman showed up to support her country musician turned American Idol judge of a husband.  Granted it was not her night, she is an Oscar-winning ACTOR, and so no need to outshine the wannabe actors that all musicians seem to be these days . And if you take a look at her red carpet history, she can annihilate any of these fashion wannabes IF she so chooses. Well, she does not choose to do so in this Vera Wang dress. How kind and humble of her...

3) Another boring and predictable choice- you can always count on Carrie Underwood to promify or bridify any dress- and she accomplished that last night. Her red carpet look was prommy and her performance dress/green screen was a wedding gown borrowed from a Real Housewife.

2) Ok, this was a real disappointment for me. Beyonce is usually the queen of over-the-top glamour and wearing UNcomfortable dresses, and we love her for it! This Osman jumpsuit, albeit very chic, looks too....comfortable! How can this be?! Call in the hounds! (I don't even care if that reference makes sense, it was a hound-calling moment for me). She didn't OWN the red carpet like I thought she would, and especially if you're sitting in the front row, please wear something interesting for us to look at, because they will keep cutting to you! I kept wanting them to pan to Solange! This outfit at a premiere or the after-party would be great, but on the most-important-red-carpet-of-her-LIFEtime, not so much.
 1) Katy Perry has trouble dressing her chest area. Understandably so, as she is naturally heavy-chested which can present quite an issue when finding the right cut to maximize flatteringness. This dress does not do that. The colour as well clashes with her rich, jet black hair. Mint green has to be styled very specifically, (take JLo's impeccable mint green styling at the 2003 Oscars) and this is not a good example of how to wear mint green. So the combination of poor styling and bad fit land her the title of worst-dressed. I rest my case.

What did you think? Did I miss anyone you would add?

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Outfit Post: Earrings Can Save Your Life

And by saving your life I mean allowing you to uplift your used and abused outfit immediately! This is what a fantastic pair of earrings can do. I for one have never been that keen on big earrings, not in recent years anyways. However, sometimes you come across a pair that you just can't walk away from, and this is the story of how that happened...

I had a night out with my girlfriends planned this past Saturday, and of course, say it with me: I had nothing to wear!! The amount of times I find myself or other women in my life (and men) saying these words/if I had a nickle for every time I heard this I'd get it; I've heard and said this a lot! But of course being my practical yet fashion conscious self I could not fathom buying an entirely new outfit for one night out but I wouldn't mind getting one item. Luckily enough I got an email from Toronto Fashion Incubator informing me of an annual sale called "Guilty Pleasures" where local Toronto clothing and jewellery designers would be showcasing their goods at the Drake Hotel, in Toronto's Queen West neighbourhood. Perfect timing.

What a great way to support local talent and pick up a lil' something for my night out. As I was perusing the sale, one of the few booths that caught my eye was for the jewellery line called Shop for Jayu. I fell in love with nearly every piece! And it was all SO affordable - total win win. The Jayu girls were super friendly and nice and if I followed them on Twitter and Facebook I got an additional discount! I ended up getting these amazing earrings for about $12.00 that completely uplifted my previously tired outfit, pictured below ;) Budget-friendly and served my purpose, SCORE.

Shop for Jayu booth at the Guilty Pleasures sale by TFI

The Shop for Jayu earrings I got!

Earrings on

Various angles

The outfit that I've worn many times before!

Outfit Breakdown:
Earrings - $12ish Shop for Jayu 
Blouse - $25ish Forever 21 (last summer)
Black Skinnies - $60 Aritizia (not denim, super warm!)
Booties - $37 Call it Spring (on sale!)

And that is how earrings can save your you have any life-altering accessory tales? Do share!