Thursday, September 15, 2011

Fall Fashion 2011: Carolina Herrera | MaxMara

Yesterday I remained largely practical in that both Donna Karan and Michael Kors make clothes for a woman who, ostensibly, works. She owns her own advertising agency or is the editor of Vogue but still, she works. Today, I’m jumping into my favorite fantasy of all- the lady who lunches. I’ve never met one but I’d love to be one. To clarify, just because you grab at sandwich at the Hoagie Hut in Portland and eat it there- that doesn’t count. You must live in New York, London, Paris, or possibly Milan. Lunch is an event not a meal.

One of the designers who epitomizes this level of luxury and elegance is Carolina Herrera. I have adored her clothes since perusing my first Town & Country at the library when I was 13 (the latest Cosmopolitan was not available). This fall did not disappoint. I loved everything down to her use of velvet for belts and shoes and accessorizing so many outfits with gloves.

    Lightweight almost fluid charcoal grey wool flannel in both an A-line skirt and classic wide cuff trousers. The skirt is paired with a simple cashmere (OK, cashmere is never ‘simple') while the trousers are topped with a capelet jacket. Also, I'd never considered grey and brown together but it works beautifully.

These trousers in an amethyst wool (the color looks a bit more brown then it is) and updated herringbone are perfection! The bouclé and wool jackets with fox fur accents? Nirvana. Sporty elegance. You know, for when you’re skiing in Gstaad.

    Welcome back Grace Kelly. Both of these looks make elegance easy. The first is a cashmere sweater with amethyst embroidery and an abstract waterfall print silk skirt. The dress is double face wool with a sable collar- do I need to say more? Fabulous!

This outfit works on so many levels. As is, it’s dressy but take the skirt, add the cashmere turtleneck and boots and it’s casual. The metallic sequined sweater is demure in grey but unzipped with a mini and tights it’s young and fun. Its counterpart is strictly cocktails with a gorgeous paillette and sequin embroidered top, high form fitting waist and fuller skirt.

        After a long day of looking divine there are still events at night that cannot be ignored. The sequins and sheer overskirt on the left if you're feeling really sexy and the molten silk on the right if you're meeting the President.
While Herrera was all about old world elegance (as in, you’re appropriately dressed to see either the Pope or President) MaxMara was a bit edgier. The Italian fashion house gave us a line that was both sleek and chic, all rounded lines and curves. Despite the form fitting silhouettes the feeling was androgynous.

For the most part I liked the overall look and feel of this collection but can’t say the same for some of the styling. The models and the choice of hair style didn’t work for me. Yes, I’m actually going to say that I thought some of these models were a bit unattractive (as if they care what I think when they’re partying with Justin Timberlake). The slicked back hair felt clichéd as opposed to avant-garde.

Unlike Kors’s sweater dress, which had a more casual feel, this cashmere version is more body conscious and fitted as is the sweater skirt combo. The winter white is the ultimate wealthy woman’s way of saying “I never spill when I eat”.

    Here we get a bit dicier as while I think they look just fine on 85 lb models I have no interest in leggings or even skinny (as in skin tight) pants. The black pair is actually stirrup pants which is just wrong. On the other hand, the tops work. I especially like the boxy camel blazer with the kilt buckle.

The look is still all about the body but it comes off better in the skirts especially with a fitted bouclé jacket and soft leather skirt. The dress is a body conscious knit with nude colored sleeves and neck.

Finally, when you’re young and hip but need a long dress these looks say ‘I’m young and hip but the invite said formal’. You’re playing by the rules but not really. In the first, the leather shoulder patches and kilt buckles are casual but the fluidity of the metallic skirt is not. In fact, what I would do here is wear the grey sequined sweater from Herrera. Voila! The alpaca plaid fringed dress is my favorite piece from this collection. It’s New Years Eve in Aspen.

In case you're wondering, I've never been to any of the places I mentioned today. This is simply what goes on in my head. Scary, right? I'll be back again with my final two designers who take luxury to a level that boggles even my fevered brain. Ralph Rucci and Elie Saab Couture. Stay tuned!


Nicole said...

Hi! First of all, my eyes were filled with visions of AMAZING clothes! So glad I dropped by. Thank you so much for the wonderful responses on both my guest post and my blog. Very nice to "meet" you.

Abby said...

I'm not just saying this because I don't want you to write a nasty blog post about me, but I really enjoyed this one. Not only do I want to be a lady who lunches (not at my desk), but I want to be a lady who lunches with you wearing these clothes while writing a nasty blog post about everyone else.

I seriously loved this batch of fashion. Looking forward to the next one!

Catherine said...

A pleasure, Nicole! Come back tomorrow- even more pretty clothes to follow.

Game on, Abby! We could look elegant and trash everyone in the room at the Portland Subway.

tweedlibrarian said...

I've never quite figured out how to be a lady who lunches but I'm pretty sure I'd be really good at.I'd wear the Carolina Herrera charcoal A-line and the black sweater with amethyst trim. And gloves, of course.

It might be the year to have a dressy cocktail party - cocktail and flannel. (So the men don't freak out!)Hmmmm....

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