Taking Fashion Week Personally

The conclusion of Paris fashion week earlier this week really means the end of fashion month, as hundreds of fashion shows from New York, to London, to Milan, and finally Paris, are now over.

the front row

the front row

Nearly every single one of these fashion shows is available to look at online, with style.com putting some collections up instantly. If that isn’t enough, models and, in some cases, designers themselves take to instagram to show off backstage antics and to give a closer look at the collection.

I love this unprecedented, and frankly surprising, access to the fashion world (after all, it is an industry that prides itself on exclusivity). But after spending a whole month looking through hundreds of collections, part of me wonders how useful all this instantaneous accessibility is.

I just spent countless hours poring over collections that I will never be able to see in real life. I did it because I enjoy looking at the clothes, but is there anything beyond the enjoyment? It’s not as though I can afford to actually buy one of the new Fendi fur coats, as I suspect the majority of people browsing through the fashion slideshows on style.com can’t.

The world of high fashion has always been aspirational. It’s always been about the fantasy, and the fantasy element definitely plays a role in fashion week. But I don’t think it’s all fantasy, there’s some usefulness, and something very personal there as well. It’s become apparent to me that looking through the flood of fashion week snapshots and instagrams is about sorting through various looks and taking inspiration for your own personal style.

Whether it’s about doing a makeup look used in one of the shows, experimenting with a new color combination (pink paired with red was a big theme of Paris fashion week) or trying a new hairstyle spotted on the runway, it’s about transferring a piece of high fashion to every day life. It’s not about buying an outfit wholesale from the runway, it’s about expanding and cultivating your own personal style. (I think this is the reason street style photography has risen to become just as important as the actual fashion shows.)

For me, I may actually try the pink/red combination! It could be a fun look done with accessories, such as a red bag and a pink scarf. That way it’s not overpowering and might not read so Valentine-y.

Is fashion week important to you? Did any looks or shows catch your eye?

Nostalgia and Late Night TV

Late night television has taken over pop culture news this week, as Jimmy Fallon is in his first week of hosting The Tonight Show, and Seth Meyers prepares to take over Late Night.

Here's Jimmy

Here’s Jimmy

My most vivid memory of late night tv doesn’t have anything to do with my favorite host or guest. What I remember most is begging my dad to let me stay up and watch with him. I was young enough at the time that Johnny Carson was still the host of The Tonight Show, but that didn’t necessarily matter to me. It felt like a treat to stay up way past my normal bedtime and watch what seemed like a terribly grown-up show.

Sometimes my dad would give in and let me watch without a fight. Sometimes I would creep back downstairs and sneak in to watch anyway, my dad looking at me over top of his glasses with a serious “didn’t I just tuck you in” look. But he would never get mad at me for it, he never got mad during The Tonight Show.

Sometimes I would pretend to fall asleep on the couch and watch the whole show with one eye open. Those nights The Tonight Show felt like my own private secret. But more often than not, I would actually fall asleep, lulled by the haze of music and applause from the tv.

This nostalgia factor, the strong memory of watching a grown-up show for the first time as a child, is a driving force of late night television. And Jimmy Fallon seems to have an innate understanding of this. He didn’t use his first monologue to tell the most clever jokes he could think of. Instead, he came out and introduced himself to viewers, and told similar stories about staying up late with his own parents to watch The Tonight Show. It wasn’t the edgiest example of television, but it didn’t need to be. Fallon was showing that he gets it, he’s one of us.

The Tonight Show moving back to New York City is significant not just for media reasons, and Fallon’s new set shows why. Every night, Fallon sits in front of a backdrop of a retro New York cityscape, the Chrysler building immediately identifiable with its iconic silver top. That’s what this version of The Tonight Show is: both a retro city that exists in dreams and memories, and the city as it is now made tangible. And sitting in front of it all is an affable guy offering a smile and laughter to help us navigate along.

If I were still a kid, I’d be excited to curl up on the couch next to my dad and watch this version of The Tonight Show as a treat. As a grown-up, I’m glad that I set my own bedtime now.

Going Shopping: Makeup Edition

Beauty bloggers have been one of the biggest revelations of the internet for me. Before the rise of youtube makeup tutorials, the most detailed tutorial I had witnessed was the episode of Full House where Aunt Becky teaches DJ the art of natural-looking makeup.
Tom Ford Beauty is always a treat to look at.

Tom Ford Beauty is always a treat to look at.

These days, being able to watch makeup tutorials and look at swatch comparisons feels pretty close being in heaven sometimes. For one thing, it’s made online shopping that much easier, as sometimes you can just tell that something will be perfect for you. I also find it calming to watch someone who is clearly experienced at what they do demonstrating makeup techniques, or talking about their favorite products. It all feels very genuine.

However, there are times when testing something in person is necessary. I recently went on a quest for a new foundation and I figured, if I wanted to do it right, I would have to match my shade in person. Shopping can be a hectic experience even at the best of times with crowded stores to overly-enthusiastic sales people. It’s the opposite of the calming makeup tutorial. So, I began my quest with some trepidation.

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My Winter Addiction

It’s that time of year again. We’ve set the clocks back, and it’s pitch dark by 5:30 pm, and the days are still getting shorter. By the time 9 pm hits, you feel like you should already be asleep because you’ve been enveloped in darkness for so long. As someone who actually likes winter, and spends a good portion of the summer hiding from the sun, I have to admit that the ever-present darkness around this time of year even gets to me. It’s tough to work up the motivation to do anything except curl up in bed after about 4 pm.

Since it isn’t actually feasible for me to go into hibernation, I’ve found that a good way to combat the darkness is to literally brighten it up. In other words, candles are my winter obsession. After all, at its core, the holiday season is really about bringing some light and warmth to the dark, right?

The onslaught of Christmas and holiday themed candles is already well under-way. Bath and Body Works, always on top of seasonal changes, has had their winter/holiday display out for several weeks now. On the other end of the price spectrum, Diptyque has unveiled their set of holiday candles for the season, and they’re just as stunning as ever. However, my favorite candle fragrance of the moment is something a little less obviously geared toward the holiday theme.

bendels chai

Henri Bendel’s Chai candle is my current addiction. I recently visited New York, and Bendel’s had one of their Chai candles burning in the store. It was the best sales technique – I was sold instantly. There’s no other way to describe it: this candle is like living in a chai tea latte. It’s the absolute embodiment of comfort.

I’ll be honest, Bendel’s candles don’t burn as evenly as I would like. Burning down the last third of the candle can be a messy business sometimes. However, the intensity and projection of the fragrance make up for it, and make this brand worth it for me. Burning one Bendel’s candle at a time is more than enough to leave my apartment smelling great for an evening, and even throughout the next day.

Bendel’s Chai is my obsession at the moment, but it doesn’t matter what particular candle brand or fragrance you prefer. Candles are a relatively simple way to (literally) brighten up an otherwise dreary evening. A great candle or two always make me feel just a tiny bit more cheerful about dragging myself away from the warmth of my comforter. It’s a chic way to bring a touch of festivity to what can otherwise be an overwhelmingly dark time of year.