Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Gifts Under $55 for Your Besties

The season of gift-giving is here, and for those of you who practice procrastination, it's time to get to it! After peruising many, many gift guides and coming up short of one that was packed full of items I thought my fabulous friends (or I) would be ecstatic to receive, I knew I had to create one that is purely SugarSpiceStyle. Here are nine gifts for your girls who are your most loved, fun, feminine, and indulgent friends--all under $55.


set of shot glasses by Betsey Johnson, Macy's $28
These shot glasses are part of a fun and sinnocent collection of barware by Betsey Johnson; there are also coordinating coasters and drink identifier rings available for purchase separately.



Bud Vase Garland, Urban Outfitters $24
We all have a friend who has an extra special appreciation of aesthetics and nature, and this is the perfect gift for that friend! Help her add some life and beauty to her place in a creative way with these whimsical bud vases that string on the wall as if they were lights. Of course, accompanying this gift with a small bouquet of flowers is a must.




Larger Than Life lipgloss in Holly Woodlawn, Nars $26
Red lipgloss is a must for any lady, but some seem to have an extra special relationship with red lips, a special place in their hearts just for it. This bright, orange-hued red is perfect for your red-lip-loving friends--blonde, brunette, or redhead. This is a versatile shade that's apt for any season and is sure to be a hit. (Nars Cosmetics also meet my top criteria for makeup: no animal testing!)



If you like the idea of a grab-and-go bag as a gift, also take a look at the Boss Lady shopper and the Travel Light overnighter. These bags are made of 95% post consumer recycled material. I have a few that I like to use for weekend travel; they're fun to use and strong--perfect for shoes and odds and ends like hair dryers and purses.




Kiss and Tell Cory by Rebecca Minkoff, Amazon $55  
This is just too fun! Because we all know that reliving that first kiss as we dish to our bff about it is almost as good as the kiss itself... 



Old Enough To Know Better flask, Anne Taintor $22
Flasks are not just for men. This is 2012, and any sassy party girl should have a flask with a cheeky expression that reflects her personality. Take a look at Anne Taintor's site for more flasks, cocktail napkins, coasters, and shot glasses with other witty and irreverent phrases.





Any friend who likes to nap or travels will appreciate a Mary Green sleep mask. Mary Green is famous for her fine silk lingerie, but her sleep masks are simply the cutest out there. Browse through a selection of dozens of sleep masks with different designs to pick the one that's perfect for your pal.



Fun-Due Kit by Dylan's Candy Bar, Neiman Marcus $40 
Noone's ever too old to enjoy some sweet messy fun, and this set just screams sleepover, manis, and a catchup sesh! Dylan's always delivers with their treats, and the packaging is just as fun as the goodies inside.



wine toppers by Corkickle, Uncommon Goods $18
available for reds or whites
Let your friend add some pizzazz to her wine bottles by gifting a set of these chic wine toppers. They're perfect for your friend who entertains or who is known for her signature glass of wine with dinner.



Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Lady Luxe Gifts

For the girls who have been very good this year (and have plenty of (vicarious) resources), here is a proposed gift list of little luxuries to indulge in every day of the week, throughout the entire year.



Prada Candy Giant Deluxe Eau de Parfum
Bergdorf Goodman $3,500


Prada Candy is my new scent addiction; my vocabulary simply can't do it justice. It is a warm and sweet scent, comprised of caramel, vanilla, and musks. Add to your fragrance collection as well as your boudoir decor with this 30.6 oz more-is-more, exclusive collectible edition of Prada Candy. It's not only quantity but quality that makes this item so special: the bottle's hot pink stripe is Prada's signature saffiano leather, and the black parfum top is made of obsidian. As if that weren't enough, the coordinating presentation case is covered in hot pink saffiano leather, has a small podium inside to display the main event, and is lined in black satin with an embroidered Prada moniker.


cashmere robe, Juicy Couture $398
(also available in black)

Is there anything softer and more luxurious than draping yourself in pure cashmere after a hot, relaxing bath? For the woman who has it all, this is the perfect addition to her lounging wardrobe. And if she does truly have it all, including a cashmere robe, take a look at Kiki de Montparnasse's lounge apparel for some uber luxe loungewear.



diamond slice and micro-pave ring by Susan Foster
Matches Fashion $10,021

Within the past several years, rough-cut diamonds have become the trend for fine jewelry. A statement cocktail ring is a timeless investment piece that adds an aura to any ensemble, and there are few material goods that rival a left-hand diamond ring, particularly one as unique and fine as this Susan Foster gem. This ring is a gift of a lifetime that she'll treasure forever.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Your Brocaded Best

Brocade is one of the top trends of Fall/Winter 2012. Showcased by Dolce & Gabanna, Proenza Schouler, and a staple of Balmain, brocade has definitely proven itself as the fashion nectar of the designer gods. Technically, brocade is a type of woven fabric. It's produced on a special loom that gives the appearance that the fabric was embroidered. Jacquard, technically, is used to identify the woven fabrics made on a jacquard loom, which was invented later and made it easier to produce fabrics that look like brocade, damask, etc. Another term you'll see thrown around these parts is baroque, which was a cultural period in Europe during the 17-18th centuries and is defined by its ornate, detailed style.


                                                                                      image from Fashion Bomb Daily
    Dolce & Gabbana F/W 2013

Personally, and apparently Dolce & Gabanna agrees, brocade looks best in black and gold. And what better way to shimmer and shine at a holiday party than with flicks of gilded gold? Below are six statement pieces to work this trend into your wardrobe, a must-have for the fashion conscious.



Rita Jacquard Peplum Bustier at Bebe, $98

This beautiful bustier has a brocade-type weave and is a gorgeous piece to add some sophistocated fun and flair to your wardrobe. Peplums can be difficult to wear depending on your figure and where the peplum hits. My advice: try it on with bottoms styled similarly to what you'd wear with it, and don't hesitate to ask a friend or your fellow shopper for feedback if you're undecided. 



Palladium Brocade Blazer at Juicy Couture, $298

Hello tuxedo blazer, love of my life! This blazer is the legitimate deal: genuine brocade. This is an investment piece and probably the smartest purchase of any item featured here. Until December 12th, all Bird by Juicy Couture is 40% off, which brings the palladium brocade blazer down to $179. A special note for wearing brocade: be gentle with it; prong set jewelry can do damage if the weave is large enough.



brocade foil print velvet skinny by 7 for All Mankind, Bloomindale's $198

If King Louis XVI were alive, I'm sure he'd have all of his wives dressed up in these gold encrusted velvet skinnies. Not only do these pants suggest an ideal brocade, they also nail the printed pants trend. Extra points! 



sequin skirt by Lipsy London, Bank Fashion about $70

Clearly, sequins are not brocade. However, patterned sequins are a definite showstopper, especially in Victorian print. This piece will surely turn heads and garner compliments. 



brocade minaudiere, Lanvin $1490

Alas! Brocaded couture! These genuine brocaded accessories are great accent pieces for almost any black  ensemble, and they go well paired with the above items (exception might be pairing the heels with the pants). 



metallic brocade pumps by Giambattista Valli, Saks $490

These Giambattista Valli  pumps are wardrobe royalty. Since the shoes speak for themselves, I will add that if you aren't familiar with Giambattista Valli, you should be. The Parisian design house does dresses and gowns that are nothing short of phenomenal. Haute couture collections 1 and 2 are surely worth viewing, as well as the wedding gowns. 


**Styling**

A word of caution: wear one brocaded piece at a time or with another small brocade accent piece, such as a clutch or heels. If you should be working as a stylist at Vogue or giving AdR lessons, go ahead and cautiously rock a few brocaded pieces at a time; just make sure the prints are complimentary and the golds work together. 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Juicy Couture Loves World Wildlife




image from Juicy Couture

When I learned of Juicy's $20,000 philanthropic contribution to WWF and promotion of their cause, I was absolutely ecstatic: two of the things I love most, coming together at last to benefit the most innocent and vulnerable that exist in our world. Below are the six limited edition charmed necklaces, available only at Juicy Couture.


image: JuicyCouture.com

WWF turtle necklace, Juicy Couture $78




image: JuicyCouture.com

WWF elephant necklace, Juicy Couture $78




image: JuicyCouture.com

WWF tiger necklace, Juicy Couture $78




image: JuicyCouture.com

WWF monkey necklace, Juicy Couture $78




image: JuicyCouture.com





image: JuicyCouture.com

WWF panda necklace, Juicy Couture $78


***Love the Wild, Wear Couture***


While diminishing and healthy habitats are a problem for almost all of these six animals, the illegal wildlife trade is the largest threat to tigers and elephants. It is estimated that there are fewer than 3,500 tigers in the wild. Last year, an elephant was brutally killed so its tusks could be used for ivory, but this didn't happen once last year--it happened 25,000 times (National Geographic). There's so much we don't know about these animals. But what we do know is amazing: there's currently research that suggests elephants use the ground to communicate with each other through vibrations from stomping, they cooperate with each other to solve puzzles, and they've been observed mourning the loss of herd members by carrying around the bones or covering a body with grass. "Elephant Emotions" on PBS's website gives fascinating insight into these complex animals, from their tears upon being reunited with relatives to their celebration of newborns. For more information about illegal wildlife trade and to sign petitions urging stronger political action, go to WWF's panda.org. When you purchase jewelry, trinkets, or art, be sure to know what the material is, and avoid items that are ivory.

Domestically, you can help discourage the use of wild animals in entertainment by not attending circuses that use wild animals in their acts and supporting other circuses, such as Cirque du Soleil. 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Bergdorf Goodman: 111 Years of Extraordinary

Bergdorf Goodman is one of my favorite stores. It's the only store I've been to that has the abundance of goodies of a department store with the ambiance of a quaint but illustrious boutique. Their windows are designed with the utmost creative perfection and showcase the objects of fantasies. Inside, with every step and every glance, a connoisseur is delighted by the most exquisite couture in the world.


BG 111th Anniversary "Extreme" pump by Christian Louboutin, Bergdorf Goodman $3,995


In honor of 111 years of extravagance and style, over a dozen designers--from J Brand to Jimmy Choo--have created items exclusively for BG. The 111th Anniversary Collection includes pieces for women, men, and the home. At the top of my list are the knockout Christian Louboutin pumps and the idyllic Charlotte Olympia wedges that channel the Bergdorf spirit.


BG 111th Anniversary "Bergdorf" wedge by Charlotte Olympia, Bergdorf Goodman $1,395


Below is a behind-the-scenes look at the photo shoot for BG's September magazine: the couture, the artists, the models, and the energy.






+++

Bergdorf Goodman is constantly involved in philanthropy, from supporting the Humane Society of NY to Joan Hornig Jewelry, which donates 100% of profits to the customer's charity of choice. BG is truly a paragon of luxury retail. 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Maison Martin Margiela with H&M

Maison Martin Margiela with H&M


Collaborations and diffusion lines are all the rage, and there's a solid queue of haute houses shacking up with H&M. Maison Martin Margiela is next on the list to team up with H&M for some runway worthy designs at a fraction of the cost, hitting stores November 15. Take advantage of this opportunity to snag one or two pieces of haute-style must-haves, but before you drop $800 at H&M, check out what MM6 (Maison Martin Margiela's diffusion label) has to offer; one investment piece can do much for a wardrobe.  

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Life's Comic Relief: Henri

Besides enriching my life by bingeing on Juicy jewelry this week (massive Juicy Couture sale alert!), my other obsession has been the French cat Henri, one who is stuck in an existential torment. I only wish Choupette Lagerfeld and Henri could converse, sharing their unique perspectives, and enlighten the world with their discourse. Without further delay, here is Henri to present the irony of life, as captured in great cinematic glory by Will Braden.


Much to my dismay, this first video, Henri, 
can only be viewed on YouTube here


Henri 2, Paw de Deux

Henri 3, Le Vet


Henri 4, L'Haunting
(note: Henri is wearing a cattle costume in the last frame,
while le White Idiot is dressed as a cowboy)

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Explore and Expand

Here are a few sites that are worthwhile for anyone with a curious mind and an appreciation of the sublime.


"Boho-fantasy" from Pamela Love NYC's Journal
Image originally from weheartit.com

A voluptuous diary of life by the talented jewelry designer, Pamela Love: http://pamelalovenyc.tumblr.com/



"Poetico-Speculative Bubble" by PIIMS, from an article by the Idea Engineering Lab

An article for those who wish to expand their cognitive horizons to include realms of abstract complexity: "Introducing aesthetics to rejuvenate intellectual capital management and enrich knowledge-based development strategies" (Note: this is a pdf.)




from Oliver Glass's FashionChurch.com
A perspective of culture through the creative passion of fashion and photography: http://fashionchurch.com/



Saturday, October 20, 2012

Shoe Select

Walking After Midnight: Episode 3
Directed by James Franco for Stuart Weitzman


I've recently neglected my favorite fashion accessory, the fairest of them all, the beloved shoe--nay, high heel. This has merely been a coping strategy on my behalf. It ails me for my relationship with the shoes I love most to be limited to peruising, a distant tease that leaves me more dissatisfied than before I laid my virgin eyes upon the forbidden fruit of my soul (and wardrobe). So, I've been altogether avoiding my favorite sources for shoes. It's sad, I know. I used to be able to get a quick fix by purchasing a decent pair of shoes at Baker's or a mid-tier department store, but I'm disgusted and depressed by the overabundance of faux stacked heels, horrid stitching, and stiff plastic "leather," frequently at around the $100 price range. So I scavenge. I scavenge for the $300 pair of Charles Jourdan's at Last Call for $90, the $225 Via Spiga's on clearance for 65% off, and the grand-daddy finds like a $350 pair of Calvin Klein thigh-high red suede boots for $100 at T.J. Maxx. I attribute this disaster of a shoe market where fake cork heels are plastered on shoes in almost any store outside of Saks and Neiman's to multiple factors, including most of my fellow shoppers who pay $50-$100 for subpar-quality shoes. Michael Antonio is getting away with murder. Imelda Marcos would have him beheaded (befooted?).

I understand my rant may come off as a bit snobby, and I apologize for it (obviously if I'm not trotting around in Loubou's I simply can't be that much of a snob). I do not mean to offend anyone with fake cork heels; I can respect you without respecting your shoes. I'm aware that this cheap-shoe-thing is a personal pet-peeve of mine. I'm plenty sure, however, that there are several ladies who will read this and identify with what I say with exuberant passion. I still remember the first pair of designer shoes I got: a pair of hand-painted Stuart Weitzman wedges gifted to me about 10 years ago. Oh, when I saw that purple box with the gold lettering, I thought it couldn't be!

This post is in tribute to the ladies who cherish the boxes in which their finest shoes are housed, appreciate the baby's-bum-smooth leather sole of fine shoes, and dream of wardrobes with endless shelving for their favorite heels. Even if you can't afford it, you can appreciate it--it excites something deep within that could only be rivaled by the ignorant high of a fantastical first date. All that being said, here are shoes that are sure to wow and dare to disappoint.

image from Neiman Marcus

Thursday, October 11, 2012

A Fine Art Kind of Beauty

Fashion and art are just as friendly as fashion and architecture. One needs to only look at this year's Yayoi Kusama's hyped collaboration with Louis Vuitton or Yves Saint Laurent's infamous Mondrian day dress from 1965, representative of the original paintings by Piet Mondrian, a fine artist influenced by the same cubism movement that inspired Frank Lloyd Wright's architectural creations (Falling Water). But it doesn't stop there. With increasing attention to the cosmetic scene in the latter part of the 20th century up to the recent explosion of nail art among the masses and a T.V. program, The Makeup Show, that elucidates cosmetics applications as a craft, beauty and cosmetics are jumping on the crossover bandwagon.


image from Snap Fashion

Mondrian Day Dress by YSL circa 1965

Nars Cosmetics is one of my favorite makeup brands for its range of highly pigmented shades and commitment to not testing on animals. For Spring, Nars collaborated with Thakoon for the Thakoon for Nars Nail Polish collection. This fall, Nars has reached beyond the world of haute fashion for inspiration and gives us the Andy Warhol collection, available exclusively at Sephora. This collection features the Flower's Eyeshadow Palette, available in 3 different colors: Flowers 1 (white/rose/lavender/gold/lavender grey/black), Flowers 2 (white/heather blue/lavender grey/black), and Flowers 3 (white/pink champagne/brown/lavender grey/black). Watch "Get the Look//Underground Pop" video here for the best how-to using the Flowers 3 palette.



image from Sephora
Flowers 1 eyeshadow palette by Nars: Andy Warhol, Sephora $55

In conclusion to my collection of posts looking at the crossover between fashion and architecture, which ended up including all of the raw incestuous activity among arts beyond fashion and architecture, I'd like to introduce you to a project that promotes the arts while contributing to a cause. In LA, Frog Yogurt, a favorite spot of VH1's Basketball Wives, is showcasing the work of different local artists every quarter, with the proceeds being donated to the charity or cause of the artist's choice. Until December, Plasticgod is the featured artist who is supporting The American Cancer Society as his cause. Plasticgod has had exhibitions all over the world, has had his work showcased in the Andy Warhol Museum, has been recognized in media in publications such as Vogue and Entertainment Weekly, and, last but not least, was the top selling artist at Hello Kitty's 35th Anniversary "Three Apples" Exhibition.


image from LA Dine-n-Club

Frog Yogurt in LA teams up with artists and charities


Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Aesthetic Accessories

As promised, here is the next installment of "Fashion is Architecture." If fashion is to architecture, then surely jewelry is to furnishings. The furnishings of a room can make or break it, just as jewelry can make or break an outfit. The best accessories, whether in a building or with an outfit, are those that enhance the presentation of whatever it is they are decorating, not solely how gorgeous the accessory is in and of itself. Regardless of whether the furnishing or piece of jewelry is a statement piece or an unobtrusive punctuation for a roving eye, the overall aesthetic should improve and they should contribute to the feel of the look. Too many accessories, not enough accessories, clashing accessories (different from contrasting), or accessories wrongly placed will detract from the overall aesthetic. You can't just throw on jewelry or haphazardly furnish a room and expect it to work. Don't make the mistake of relying on your outfit's garments or the architecture of a room to compensate for wretched accessories. Take some time, give it some thought, and make sure those additions are truly adding something!


image from Ross-Simons.com

drusy earrings in sterling at Ross-Simons $150

Here are two of my favorite accessory pieces that I've seen during the past couple of months. I chose these earrings for their sparkle, must-have style, affordability, and versatility. Below is the limited edition, $18,000 Stellar Console table by Jake Phipps. The detailed facets of the range table refract light from 900 individually sized mirrors, mimicking the natural crystals of the above drusy earrings, delivering a unique texture and incredible sparkle.

image from JakePhipps.com

Stellar Console table by Jake Phipps $18,000


Monday, September 24, 2012

"Fashion is Architecture"

Lines of Fashion and Architecture
image from UK Fashion Hub


Coco Chanel said, "Fashion is architecture. It is a matter of proportion." Although there are stark differences between fashion and architecture, they share many similarities. In their greatest forms, they are both art, capitalizing on our evolutionary affinity for specific proportions (think golden ratio); they are three dimensional; they require familiarity with and skilled manipulation of materials; they are the concrete manifestation of outrageous creativity; and they are restricted by the constraints of functionality. Occasionally, the typically divergent arenas of fashion and architecture cross paths. The next several posts on SugarSpiceStyle will highlight the juxtaposition of fashion or jewelry with architecture or home ware. 


video


This video introduces famed fashion designer Jason Wu's crossover collaboration with Brizo, a premium faucet brand. Last year, Brizo was awarded the WaterSense Manufacturer Partner of the Year by the EPA for promoting advancements in water efficiency. Brizo is also the first national sponsor of the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital Dream Home Giveaway. Enjoy Wu's unique perspective of fashion and design, and savor the glimpses of his haute couture intermixed with previews of the collaborative product.    

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Puppy Love for the Fashion Friendly

During the second half of September, Anthropologie is showing love for our animal friends by hosting events at their stores to help the less fortunate of the canine crew, especially those dogs who have been abandoned and are homeless. Click here to find the closest location near you and the date of the event. Stop by and help the dogs in your area by either adopting a fluffy friend or contributing to the pet supply drive.   

image copied & cropped from Anthropologie.com 


This week, Threadflip's online sale is a shopping event to benefit dogs by way of contributing 100% of proceeds to the Rescue Paw Foundation, a program that gives vital funds to no-kill shelters. As though you'd need more of a reason to shop a sale that benefits pups, this event boasts 70% off designer items: from Levis to Cartier, $20 to a couple hundred dollars, there's a gem just waiting for you...and a puppy at the other end who will make the purchase twice as worth it. If you want another way to support the Rescue Paw Foundation, aka Our Cause for Paws, take a look at London Jeweler's bracelets and necklaces with a paw print sterling silver charm that also benefit the Foundation. 


images from Threadflip.com




Sunday, September 2, 2012

Nail Art: Acid Wash, Foil, Spun Sugar

I'm no longer in denial; I admit I have a bit of an addiction to nail art. I've recently been experimenting with new techniques for fancy fingers, and I'm very excited to share the results! For each technique, I include directions or link to a video tutorial so you can have fun playing and flaunt some fabulous nails. I've used neons and brights in these manis, but try more neutral or subdued colors for a look that 's easier to wear and not as bold.   

acid wash: Surface to Mars


This is the acid wash technique. It's super easy and gives a great effect. Pick multiple colors. Start by painting your nails as you normally would, layering one or two coats of color #1, letting it dry, and repeating with color #2, color # 3, etc. For this mani, I used four colors: white, neon yellow, neon orange, and navy. After all the layers are dry, use a tissue or toilet paper soaked in nail polish remover and rub areas on each nail until the layers of polish underneath are revealed. Don't use cotton pads because the fibers will get stuck in the dried polish. When you're pleased with the design you've created, finish your mani with a top coat. 


foil mani: Lemon-Lime Crush

If you've seen pictures of OPI's Spotted, you know it's pretty awesome, it's black, and it's only available in France. What I love about the foil mani is that it gives you an effect similar to Spotted, but you can get the look with any colors and without spending $50+ on ebay. For this technique, apply two coats of your base color (for this mani, yellow), and let it dry thoroughly. Apply a thick coat of your top color (green) on one nail and immediately take a scrunched up piece of foil and press it onto the nail briefly, then remove. The base color should show through in different spots; if you want more of the base color to show, repress the foil onto the nail again. Move onto your next nail, repeating the process: paint a thick coat of your top color and press a fresh part of the scrunched foil onto the nail. Finish with a top coat!


drizzle/spun sugar nails: Candy Shop

This is definitely the most tedious technique of the three and might take some practice to really get the hang of it. This Drizzle Spun Sugar Nail Art tutorial is the best one I've been able to find; start watching at about 2 minutes. I found it much easier to tape off your nails first and line up the tacky polish in a row alongside the nail (on the tape) and then pull strands of tacky polish across the nail with a toothpick, as opposed to lifting the polish from another surface to the nail as in the video. This made a huge difference! Finish with a top coat and get ready for compliments! For another look at this technique, check out this fab Zoya spun sugar mani by Let Them Have Polish.