Monday, January 28, 2013

Pretty Pirouettes

Current obsession: ballet, literally, inspired flats

I know I am a little late to the game on this trend. Chloé did the ballet themed thing in Spring 2011, and  before even that there was the Black Swan frenzy of 2010, but for some reason or another this trend just finally has found its way into my heart now.

(Fun fact, I did actually dress up as Black Swan a few years back for Halloween. In my opinion, my best (and most last minute) costume ever! This costume was complete DIY, from head to toe. Tutu from Ardene, tank from Sirens, crown, feather boas and various glitter acessories all from Claire's and all bought roughly 2 hours before heading to the Halloween festivities of that year. Surprisingly enough, to this day I still have people asking me where I got my costume!)

Anway, back to the SHOES! I have decided that I absolutely need a pair of ballerina like flats for Spring of 2013 and am currently lusting over these Chloé ones. You might say "Oh Darcy that is just soooo 2011 and soooo over." Well, maybe so, but isn't personal style about wearing not only whats trendy, but what you love?  To be perfectly honest with you I am not a huge fan of what is actually trendy right now. I mean spikes, skulls and shreds? I like to dabble in it, but it is definitely not a style I can fully embrace. If you know me at all then you are well aware of how ridiculous (and homeless) I would look decked out in rocker wear. Don't get me wrong, I have nothing but appreciation (and many times even envy) for those gals who can successfully pull off absolutely any trend and always look cutting edge. I have just come to the realization and reality of the fact that I am not one of them. My style is more classic, feminine and I would much rather be ridiculed for rocking a style that may in fact be considered long gone but is 100% me, rather than to be maybe be current, but look absurd doing so.

 These Chloé flats retail for about 500 dollars and upward. Unfortunately, being somewhat of a starving student I can't exactly justify spending almost the amount of one course on a pair of flats. If anyone could fill me on where I could get a replica of these darlings I would be forever in your debt!

Any surprise that I also am in love with the tutu trend? Not to worry, I would not wear the flats and tutu together and look like I'm heading to the local curvy girl's rendition of Swan Lake. It's all about breaking up the pieces and mixing different styles together, just like these lovely ladies did.
 You cannot talk bout tutus without mentioning Sarah Jessica Parker's alias Carrie Bradshaw. In Sex and the City's intro Carrie was the first fashionable lady to rock the tutu and women everywhere (myself included) have been coveting this delicate look ever since.
So basically, if this snow EVER goes away, this spring you can expect to see me prancing around the streets of Ottawa in ballet inspired wear. I think this adoration may derive from my unfulfilled childhood dreams of becoming a ballet dancer. I always thought ballet was just simply beautiful and ballerinas represented the essence of femininity.  I did take a ballet class, many moons ago, but quickly realized I don't quite have the grace or disciplined diet required. Sigh, maybe in another life. Until then, I can at least channel my inner Carrie Bradshaw. Funny, since I actually always fancied myself a Charlotte.

What do you think of the ballet trend? So passé or actually on pointe? 

P.S Seriously, if anyone, and I mean ANYONE, out there in the blogsphere knows where I can get those flats at an affordable price I will love you forever.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Frida Frenzy

Since I've been profiling various Yucateco designers this month, I thought it would be most appropriate to feature one of the most influential Mexican woman of all time. She popularized the full brow trend, an abstract way of thinking and strength that would never be imagined possible for her petite frame. Yes, I am talking about the fabulous Frida Kahlo.

Frida both confuses and amazes me. Her story is one of despair, pain and heartache, and she was clearly way ahead of her time. Her mind frame and way of thinking were so unique, so refreshing, when you hear her coined terms and phrases you don't automatically question it. She turns your questions of why into, well, why not?

"Feet, what do I need you for when I have wings to fly?"
"I paint self-portraits because I am so often alone, because I am the person I know best."
“I drank to drown my sorrows, but the damned things learned how to swim.” 
“I don't paint dreams or nightmares, I paint my own reality.” 
“I paint flowers so they will not die.”

Obviously I have a thing for Frida. I didn't always feel that way, to be honest I barely knew anything about her until recently. My best friend is a huge fan and admirer of hers, and since I am certain that her judgment is of the highest caliber, I myself wanted to see what all the fuss was about. All I knew was that when I saw a painting of a woman with a grimace and unibrow, it was probably her. I've been meaning to catch the flick detailing her story for quite some time now, but haven't seemed to find the time.

Cue to present day Ottawa. Today in our nation's capital, with wind chill, it is supposed to feel like -42.  As a girl who just got back from Mexico, with sinus problems and a bum foot, there was no way I was braving that today. Yesterday was (only) -23 and I thought my face and feet were going to fall off.  Today me and my clogged up sinuses stayed in. While doing some oh so interesting readings for school, I was flipping through channels and settled on an episode of Style Star for background noise. Today's style star was the voluptuous vixen Salma Hayek. After watching her style story, I was inspired to finally take the time to watch Frida. After googling "watch Frida online free" and having the very first link work (that NEVER happens), I took that as a sign that yes, today would be the day!

The movie Frida is one of despair and depression, heartache and hope, and innovation. It leans towards the artsy fartsy side (its a movie about two artists, what do you expect?) and is a tad dark. But in all honesty, that is life isn't it? Real life isn't the romantic comedies that feature Ashton Kutcher, nor the Batman or X-men action dramas. Real life is hard, and its difficult and yea, sometimes its a little dark. Frida was bedridden (due to various severe injuries from an accident at a young age) for a good chunk of her life, but this never deterred her from pursuing her dreams and painting.

Frida clearly has a set style. She goes through a phase of downplaying her femininity and at times, even went as far as to dress in men's clothing, which, in her era (and location), I'm sure was QUITE scandalous. She eventually reverts back to her full, floor length skirts (which I found out was actually a ploy to hide her legs, as one was thinner than the other due to polio) and perfectly braided coifs. Even as she travels to Paris, she still dresses as if she were on a Mexican ranch and I love it. I honestly can't think of many other icons that stay so true to their styles.

Anyway, enough of my raving. You should check out the movie, as it probably details the story a heck of a lot better than I ever could, and in the meantime I leave you with some of my favorite shots/paintings/photos of the legend known as Frida.

What is your opinion of Frida Kahlo?

Thursday, January 17, 2013

How to Make It as a Fashion Blogger: Wall Street Journal Spreecast

I need to start this post by saying boy, am I ever GLAD that I was home today! The gods seriously have blessed me by not having any classes on Thursdays and I woke up thinking I was just lucky I didn't have to brave the subzero weather outside (-27 here in Ottawa..brrrr!) and got to stay home in my sweats. Little did I know, things would turn fashionable, and fast!

There I was, just lazing around on my laptop getting my daily dose of Twitter as per norm, when I noticed some tweets from Bryan Boy and The Wall Street Journal about an upcoming discussion via Spreecast entitled "How to Make It as a Fashion Blogger" Alrighty then, don't mind if I do!

I tuned in, and was lucky enough to even go on video and ask a question to the talented team of Bryan Boy, Bag Snob and Tom+Lorenzo. I immediately regretted my choice of sweats and wearing my glasses, but hey, an opportunity like this cannot be missed! I got to ask them my question and had an extremely blonde moment of trying to record the discussion on my cell phone (knowing that I would NOT want to forget this or miss a second of their advice), having my phone die, scrambling to plug it back in and charge a little to get at least SOMETHING; basically just looking like an overall basketcase..only to find out that, of course, the Spreecast was posted afterwards and you could replay it.  Can you say fail?! Goodness..definitely not my finest nor smoothest moment, but nonetheless, I received some sound advice and am here to share it all with you!

Here are what I found to be some of the best take away points from the discussion:

1) Have your own voice 
In this industry it is all about being unique and having something different to offer. No one wants to hear someone who is monotone, unimaginative and just plain out boring. I KNOW you have a personality, let it shine through. It is very scary to put yourself out there so much, and invite critique and judgement, but all of the judging panel agreed that this is a crucial part of making it in this market. There are always going to be haters, so you might as well own who you are!

2) Not in New York? No problem!
Surprisingly, none of them starting blogging in New York or some other metropolitan city. Bryan Boy actually started in Manilla, Philippines, while Bag Snob started in Texas! They all also agreed that it is almost preferable to start away from the Big Apple. A smaller market leaves you more space to voice your opinion and allows access to easier exposure. Don't use a rural location as an excuse, all you need to get started is an internet connection and your own imagination.

3) Don't be a Yes man 
Remember that kid in school that would always agree to anything just so people would like them? Don't be that guy. Having a successful blog isn't about giving raving reviews of every single thing you buy, its about having an honest opinion. No one wants to be friends with the brown nosing suck up, and no one will want to read your blog either. Voice your own opinions, whether they are good or bad. Honesty is always the best policy and your readers will notice and appreciate that, and you will gain their trust.

4) Don't sweat the small stuff
Like grammar mistakes. Yes, of course you should strive to make your English profs proud, but at the same time don't sweat a typo or two. A blog is seen as a diary and you wouldn't spellcheck your diary (unless you have OCD), would you? Try your best to make it grammatically correct, but make sure you don't take away its personality. It needs to sound like you.

Like I previously mentioned, the whole thing was recorded so if you would like to watch my slip-ups for your own amusement, or you know, listen to the rest of the discussion, here it is!

How To Make It as a Fashion Blogger

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Designer Profile: Andres Gasque

3 weeks may seem like a long time for Christmas vacation in Mexico, but in all honesty it didn't even begin to give me enough time to properly explore all the fashion talent that lies in the Yucatan. Luckily for me (and for you all reading) I managed to find time to not only interview local designer Andres Gasque, but he also invited me to his photo shoot for his Summer 2013 collection, Titanium. I was able to get a sneak peek of the collection, the campaign and for the first time since being in Merida, Andy accomplished something that has never, ever happened to me in Mexico...amongst all of those models and heels, at 5'7, I,  actually felt SHORT (and it was glorious, so a huge thank you for that Andy, I adored every single second of it!)

Andy's passion for fashion has been under construction for quite some time now. His earliest and fondest memories are of his mother's sharp eye for style. For years she dressed up both him and his brother in matching (but equally fashionable) outfits. In secondary school the sketching, drawing, drafting and dreaming began, but it wasn't until an iconic moment in fashion history happened that Andy had his "aha" lightbulb moment of "I could actually do this!" Of course this milestone was the emergence of Calvin Klein and his classic CK jeans bursting onto the fashion scene. Andres came to the realization that if "CK" can work, then hey, so can AG!

Ambitious Andy didn't make the jump over to the fashion industry right away. First, he fulfilled his father's wishes of finishing a degree in International Business in Monterrey. Upon completion, Andy knew he had to pursue fashion, and in my personal opinion, his business degree served him very well. Andy was now equipped with the tools and resources to present his plan of attack, and that is just what he did. Andy rides the fine line between the creative genius and the pragmatic realist. He knew that it would be a rocky road ahead, and knew that he had to approach this in a way his parents could support and understand. He proved to his father that this fashion thing was not simple a whim by pretty much presenting him with a business proposal, research and budget for the fashion school he wanted to attend in New York City. He also completed a 6 internship with Mexican designer Ricardo Seco and even accompanied him to various shows in Spain and across Mexico. He won over his dad and off to Parsons he went. 

Andy's dreams were put temporarily on hold when he was in a life changing car accident one summer while home from Parsons. He nearly lost his life and suffered severe injuries. I was honestly amazed at his resilience and determination. I also have injured myself (nothing as severe) and fully know how difficult it is to recover and ward off depression, but Andy wouldn't have any of that. He knew he had to  recover in order to get back to Parsons and finish up his degree. He knew he had a purpose in this life and his positive attitude and willpower are really quite impressive. While in recovery, the ever efficient Andy wasted no time in continuing working on his dreams. He started a brand with a friend and learned valuable real world experience before heading back to Parsons for his final semester. 

Fast forward to the present day. Today, Andy has his line in 3 separate stores in Merida, as well as having his own studio. He consistently presents fashion shows and from what I have seen, puts his business background to good use. He is one of the few designers that I was able to talk PR & business shop with, discussing press releases and business plans with equal ease as fabrics and cuts. He still appreciates his mother's keen eye for style, and takes advantage of that as she is both his biggest fan and harshest critic. Honesty is the best policy in the Gasque household and she is not shy to voice her concerns and advice, but Andy admits that she is usually right on the money and he more often than not follows her suggestions. Between his mother's judging skills and his sister being his perfect sample size, it is pretty much the picture of Project Runway in the Gasque living room. 

Simple, sophisticated and stunning are just a few words that describe Andy's clothing. His clothing are wearable and classically cut, usually featuring one "shock value" piece amongst the collection. His Titanium collection was inspired by the titans and greek deities. He wanted to depict the combination of strength, power, flow and etherealness that represents the greek culture. The colours of this collection are derived from the ancient armour of the Titans, including shades of liquid metals and whites. 

Unorthodox concepts are where Andy thrives. Contrary and contradictory terms that can be sculpted together to create an elegant end result are his specialty, and although I can't release too much, I can assure you that his Fall 2013 line is looking promising. 

Enjoy some pictures from my interview with Andy as well as some behind the scenes shots from the photo shoot! You can find Andy's work at, posting on Facebook and tweeting on Twitter. And not to worry, of course I will keep you all in the loop and share the actual professional photos from the shoot as soon as they come out.
Stay tuned!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Happy Birthday Kate: A Style Ode to the Duchess

Today, January 9th, is my favorite style icon of ALL time's birthday. She's classy, even a little be sassy, sophisticated, elegant, ultra feminine and never, ever, ever fails to be appropriately dressed : I introduce you my style obsession: Kate Middleton.

To celebrate my icon's birthday today I thought I would share some of my favorite Kate looks. By the way, I must add, she is turning 31 today..and holy smokes does she ever rock it! For someone like me that's terrified of hitting a quarter century, she really gives me hope that there is a (stylish) life after 30. Reason #3471792737372 why she's my idol.

First off, let's discuss the gorgeous gowns. Being a duchess, of course she has to rock a gown or two, from time to time, dahling. But she really does it like no other. In my opinion she expertly rides the fine line between trendy and classic, which is an extremely hard task to do, and something I struggle with on a daily basis. This sparkled baby pink number and aqua lace creation are among my faves.
Ok, yea, sure wears a gown well., that's a simple prerequisite to being in her position; you may be thinking. Oh but just you wait. I would also like to introduce you to casual Kate, which may just be my favourite Kate of all (gasp, shocking I know). Kate always, always stays classy, even when dressing down and she never fails to look pulled together. I adore the nautical strips and navy blue combo she sports in the first pic, and check out her army green rubber boots!
 Kate also expertly uses one of my favorite pieces of clothing to exist: the day dress. I hate pants, with a passion, and she cleverly executes my all time fave piece over and over again.
And how can we forget lovely lace! Kate appropriately uses lace, always looking feminine and never outdated. 
Last, but not certainly not least, we have to mention her hair. You can NOT discuss the Duchess without raving about her perfectly coiffed dos. Her full head of hair, luscious chocolate brown hue and effortless curls are the things girls (espeicaly this one) dream of. 
Happy birthday Kate! Keep up the great style, and I leave you all with a few words of wisdom that I am sure the Duchess will approve of.