A dress for Fall

Billy Reid Fall 2013

A long-sleeved dress for fall. An autumn wardrobe essential… You would think, because of all the pre-fall and fall collections there was not one piece that I could use for inspiration. This Billy Reid red dress (see it in full length) comes very close to what I have in mind, but the length is wrong: were it knee-long, it would have made all the difference, because the three-quarter hem is what makes the dress lack shape a little. Otherwise, I love everything about it: the simple design, the light fit, which necessarily calls for a belt, the colour, those long sleeves and high neckline – a relaxed femininity, a very classic American style. The kind of dress you can wear when the days turn slightly more chilly, but are still too warm for an extra layer on top – it looks somehow empowering and maybe that’s what I like so much about a dress with long sleeves. The kind of dress that evokes a feeling of freedom, its languid style defying the strictness that may be associated with autumn fashion, but still rising up to its sartorial demands.

photos: Style Bistro

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Photography: safari adventures

jamie beck-safari

In a nod to my wanderlust for exotic places, I couldn’t resist posting this dreamy safari story, as told through the lenses of Ann Street Studio. The thing I love the most about these photographs, each one beautiful in its own right, is that they ignite a whole sensibility about a world just as I’ve imagined it. A world of refinement in a place of a rugged beauty. An adventure that you set off to experience in style. A style that is elegant and utilitarian, formed of khakis, safari shirts, jodhpurs, midi skirts with riding leather boots, linen jackets and scarves, set against the wild landscape, against romantic accommodation or outdoor candle-lit evenings under canvas tents.

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Safari_Ann Street Studio

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SafariAfternoons_Ann Street Studio

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Jamie Beck-Safari mornings

photos: Ann Street Studio | You can view their complete safari series here: A Great Adventure / Safari Dreams / Safari Mornings / Safari Afternoons / Safari Nights

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My Thalia Street Shopper, by Mary Jo Matsumoto

Classiq-Mary Jo Matsumoto Thalia Street Shopper

Let me introduce you to my Thalia Street Shopper, by Mary Jo Matsumoto. It was a birthday present from my husband, and if you are wondering how I chose this bag out of Mary Jo’s many, many designs that I’m coveting, I’m telling you that it was a tough decision. But I couldn’t be happier with my choice and, every time I wear it, I love it even more. The Thalia Street Shopper has always been one of my favourites. It’s a classic: distinct, discrete, without screaming IT bag, and its minimalist elegance is what has attracted me from the start. And what makes it truly indispensable for me is that it’s roomy enough to carry all my essentials, whether it’s for when I feel like working from a café downtown, when I run from meeting to meeting or take an on-the-spur-of-the-moment day trip.

I had seen and felt Mary Jo’s bags up-close and I knew what quality to expect, the very best, but I was still impressed (as everyone else who sees my bag is) with the impeccable craftsmanship when I held my shopper in my hand. Made from the softest leather, it comes in a beautiful, rich and durable shade of brown, with contrast turquoise piping lending a bold vibe to its classic design. And what’s more, the bag is just as beautiful on the inside: its warm tangerine ultra-suede lining comes as a treat and adds to the luxury of the bag…it’s in the details. Agelessly chic, the Thalia Street shopper is made to span seasons and to be fantastically appropriate for so many occasions. I’ve fully enjoyed the ride so far.

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Thalia Street Shopper details

photos: for Classiq / by me | featuring the Thalia Street Shopper, part of the Thalia Street Collection, by Mary Jo Matsumoto

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Style in film: Elizabeth Taylor in ‘Suddenly, Last Summer’

Elizabeth Taylor's style_Suddenly Last Summer

The white one-piece swimsuit Elizabeth Taylor wore in Suddenly, Last Summer (1959), directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz and based on the play of the same title by Tennessee Williams, is one of the most iconic swimsuits in the history of film. A nod to a glamorous past, a piece that will never go out of style. Even if the film is in black and white, the contrast between her tanned skin and the white tank suit is striking. While vacationing in Europe, Elizabeth’s character, Catherine Holly, is asked by her cousin, Sebastian Venable, to wear an alluring white maillot in order to attract his would-be lovers. Needless to say that she succeeds and, furthermore, this image of Elizabeth has stood the test of time to this day.

Before August is over, I wanted to turn to another movie that is great to gather summer style inspiration from, even if to a less extent than La Piscine and Bonjour Tristesse. As Catherine Holly, a young woman institutionalized for a severe emotional disturbance that occurred when her cousin died under questionable circumstances while they were on summer holiday in Europe, Elizabeth Taylor steals the show from both Katharine Hepburn and Montgomery Clift and she is as glamorous and beautiful as only an old-Hollywood star could be.

costumes in Suddenly Last Summer

Elizabeth Taylor's style - Suddenly Last SummerElizabeth Taylor's style Suddenly Last Summer

Elizabeth’s costumes were designed by Oliver Messel. He is one of the most celebrated English designers, whose work as production designer overlapped the world of costume, set design and architecture. Messel was also the art director for this movie, having created those dramatic sets. Elizabeth’s style in the film is simple and enduring and I think Helen Rose’s words perfectly apply to her look here, as well as in many other films: ‘If you have a magnificent jewel, you put it in a simple setting – you don’t distract from it with a lot of detail.’

Above she is wearing a sheath dress, it might have been black. I love the slit neckline and the short sleeves: those details and the brooch are the only embellishments the dress needs. Below, in simple white blouse and pleated skirt cinched with a belt, accessorised with pumps and tote. Both looks are as classic as you can get.

Elizabeth Taylor's style in Suddenly Last SummerElizabeth Taylor's style Suddenly Last Summer 7Elizabeth Taylor's style Suddenly Last Summer 6

But it’s the summer outfits that stand out. Besides the white swim suit, there is also this striped number that, although not having a statement status, is a classic. The clothes Catherine wore at the seaside pretty much sum up what summer beauty should be. Is there anything more you need that great bathing suits and a gorgeous sun dress?

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And here is this dress with fitted bodice, A-line skirt and matching belt that came in a beautiful shade of green which can be seen in this publicity still. Green was a favourite colour of Oliver Messel’s and one of the legacies he left was “Messel green”, his trademark shade that he often used in his interior designs. This is one of those shots that I wish they were in colour, because of the beautiful contrast between the green of the dress and her tan. She wore the dress with simple bangles and hoop earrings and white flat sandals with thin straps. It’s one of the most iconic looks of the fifties and it has become an intrinsic part of screen history.

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Elizabeth Taylor's style Syddenly Last Summer

photos: screen stills captured by me, from the DVD edition included in this collection | production credit

Posted by classiq in Style in film | | 8 Comments

Forever in blue jeans

classic summer look

“I have often said that I wish I had invented blue jeans: the most spectacular, the most practical, the most relaxed and nonchalant. They have expression, modesty, sex appeal, simplicity – all I hope for in my clothes.” (Yves Saint Laurent)

You can’t really improve on these words.

I wish you a wonderful weekend, as relaxed as a look like this always makes me feel!

photo: Arty Filles

Posted by classiq in Style | | 9 Comments