Fashion · Lifestyle

Ebony Fashion Fair

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Lacroix, dahling
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Alexander McQueen for Givenchy

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I just had to share some of my favorite fashions from the 50 Years of Ebony Fashion Fair exhibit at the Milwaukee Art Museum. The show runs until May 3, so if you love fashion, make sure you check it out!

Fashion

Fashion on Ice

Fashionable skaters
Fashionable skaters
Timothy skates during the show
Timothy skates during the show
Opening looks
Opening looks
Closing looks
Closing looks

Last Wednesday night I ran out of my doctor’s appointment, threw on a dress and hurried downtown to the Pfister Hotel. I couldn’t miss another one of Timothy Westbrook‘s creative fashion presentations. I still remember the first time I saw his work at the Pfister. It was a small outdoor show with a couple dozen curious onlookers during his time as the hotel’s artist in residence. Now, after appearing on Project Runway and gaining publicity, he easily fills a ballroom with Milwaukee’s most fashionable crowd.

Even if you aren’t into clothes, you would have enjoyed this terrific spectacle. Here’s how Timothy explained the event, called Legacy: “Experience a visual journey that questions how one simultaneously blazes a trail while following the footsteps who inspire us to move forward.”

I learned that before he started sewing, he was an ice skater. And he skated for the audience live, in a choreographed routine along with local students. You’re not going to see that every day! Of course, there is a history of connections between skating and fashion — Vera Wang immediately comes to mind. Timothy literally tied his two interests together in some of the more whimsical looks, with clothing accented by skate blades and boots. Some of my favorites pieces were the painted dresses that appeared to be inspired by abstract art.

Legacy makes you think about the kind of impact that you want to leave behind. Timothy’s career is just beginning, but he’s already making a strong impact on Milwaukee and beyond.

 

 

Fashion

Peter Pilotto for Target picks

I actually considered completely sitting out this collaboration. Not because I don’t like the designer or the collection, but because I’m (big announcement!) nearly four months pregnant. Fortunately I’m still fitting in all of my clothes for now. But I know by the time warm weather arrives (if it ever freaking does – worst winter ever), those cute tops and little dresses won’t even remotely fit. And I don’t want to wait a whole freaking year to wear them.

So I decided on a strategy and stuck to it. I bought theĀ swimsuit coverup – really just a pretty floral printed maxidress, and the colorblock blazer. The dress is billowy and stretchy, which will flatter my growing figure nicely, plus it will be cool and comfy when I’m dying of heat this summer. And the blazer should still work; I’ll just wear it open as my bump grows. I ordered the items online using the mobile site around 2:30 am. For some reason Target loaded the items on there first. Glad I did because my local store (New Berlin) had a really weak selection of items. I went to another store and found the maxidress, but my size was already sold out. I have yet to see the blazer in person, but I’m hoping it will compare in quality to my floral Prabal/Target jacket.

I’d also like to share an exciting Milwaukee retail update. Our first Nordstrom Rack and Saks Off Fifth stores are scheduled to open on April 3 at the Mayfair Collection!

Peter Pilotto for Target jacket
Peter Pilotto for Target jacket
Peter Pilotto for Target  maxidress
Peter Pilotto for Target maxidress
Fashion · Lifestyle

NYE Milwaukee 2014

Well, unfortunately, I’m not going to be spending New Year’s Eve in Paris like last year. Le sigh. But I’m trying to make the best of it. We have reservations at Carnevor, a swanky steakhouse (Kobe goes there when he’s in town…) and will likely head over to Distil, an upscale cocktail bar, afterward.

I’m really struggling with what to wear, however. The weather forecast is atrocious, to say the least. Temperature: 5 degrees, with an 80 percent chance of lots of snow. Gee, can’t wait. I guess um, on the bright side, that’s better than today. It’s currently 4 below zero. I can’t even get up the motivation to go out to the gym.

So what to wear on a frigid NYE? I’m considering my wool Alexander McQueen dress or my Celine tuxedo pants. Just for fun, I scoured the Net-a-porter sale and created a fantasy outfit. Happy 2014 everyone!

 3.1 Phillip Lim Leather over-the-knee boots
3.1 Phillip Lim leather over-the-knee boots
 Versace Fox-trimmed ribbed wool cardigan
Versace fox-trimmed ribbed wool cardigan
Belstaff Campden embellished silk-satin dress
Belstaff Campden embellished silk-satin dress
Fashion · Lifestyle

Fashion and Impressionism

Night out at the museum
Night out at the museum
Jen Kao dress, McQueen heels
Jen Kao dress, McQueen heels
Another couple embracing the theme
Another couple embracing the theme

On Saturday, my husband and I drove down to Chicago. I wanted to squeeze in a visit to the Art Institute of Chicago to see their current exhibit “Impressionism, Fashion and Modernity.” We saw the same exhibit in Paris at the Musee d’Orsay and wanted to see how it compared here. There were obvious changes, with different paintings and fewer dresses on display. But I think both museums’ shows were well executed, enjoyable and informative. The museum has been hosting a series of cocktail parties in honor of the exhibit (all with themes related to fashion trends of the Impressionist period), and this night’s theme was decolletage. This gave me an excuse to wear my new Jen Kao dress (purchased at Bop in Madison) and my Alexander McQueen heels. I must say, I’ve never had so many compliments — women went crazy over the shoes. They are pretty fantastic!

Fashion

Zac Posen for Target Fail

Zac Posen for Target tuxedo jacket
Zac Posen for Target tuxedo jacket
Close up of the damage
Close up of the damage
Another view of the fabric fail
Another view of the fabric fail

I enjoy designer collaborations, and I generally see them as a good thing. I think they can be a win-win for stores like Target and H&M, as well as the designers when executed well. They bump up the style quotient of the store and hopefully introduce more people to brands like Proenza Schouler and Margiela. These stylish pieces at affordable prices allow more people to get a taste of the fashion industry.

However, the designer and corporation still need to be aware of quality issues and not compromise on materials/construction. In 2010, I purchased a satin tuxedo jacket in the Zac Posen for Target collaboration. I love the piece. Honestly, it was one of my favorite designer cheapies ever. It looks great with jeans and it has really cute details — navy trim, fabric covered buttons, etc.

I wore it a handful of times but not excessively. Maybe a half-dozen times, tops. A few months ago, I pulled it out of my closet and noticed in horror that the seams in the back were completely coming apart. The fabric was wrecked. Torn, shredded, a total nightmare. I couldn’t believe my eyes. I mean, it’s not like I gained tons of weight and ripped it, Incredible Hulk style. Seriously? I took it to my tailor and she said it was a lost cause. She told me the fabric was basically like a big ribbon and it was bound to fray and fall to pieces eventually.

I know the jacket wasn’t that expensive ($49.99), and I guess I shouldn’t have expected it to last forever, but wow. I was pissed. I’m still angry at Target and angry at Zac Posen, or whoever approved this mess. I’m also embarrassed. Shouldn’t I know better than to buy some cheap piece made in who knows where? It really made me question if I even wanted to buy any of the Prabal Gurung for Target pieces. I did get a few, and I really like them, but how they hold up remains to be seen.

I’m still hoping that this jacket can be saved, but it will probably take a very creative miracle. Maybe some of it can be salvaged and transformed into something more fabulous.