Wednesday, March 4, 2009


We know that many of you are struggling with economic challenges right now but in the words of one of our favorite movie characters, Auntie Mame, “Knowledge is power!” So, here is the scoop on the new Spring fashions. As always, my advice is to buy the best you can afford. If you have to buy less do so, just buy better.

Hot off the Press:
Michelle Obama’s inaugural suit designed by Isabel Toledo will be available at Barneys in March. $1500.
Sofia Coppola’s sober and chic shoes and handbags for Louis Vuitton will be available in stores March 9, 2009.
Calvin Klein’s latest jean campaign was declared “scandalous” by the American television industry and has been censored. (But that has not stopped it being seen on YouTube by millions of people worldwide.) The campaign will run as is in Europe while a softer version is being reworked for the US market.
Alexander McQueen is the latest designer to team up with Target. He will design a collection that includes leggings, printed T’s and a leather vest.

The spotlight this spring/summer is on Fluidity and Femininity
You know I’m all for that. However, while sifting through all the Spring/Summer collections, I had difficulty finding wearable outfits for us working women. Serene and beautiful as the collections are, I found very few items appropriate for every day office wear.
“Shouldering on shoulders,” is the new term for this season’s focus on the shoulders. This look emphasizes the shoulders √† la the eighties but less dramatically and with more refinement. I noticed embroidery and embellishments around necklines to emphasize the shoulders. The same effect can be attained with chunky bold necklaces. I must admit that at first I didn’t like the structured shoulders but I’ve changed my mind and now find them empowering.

Max Mara hemlines are being accentuated too. Skirts are longer and reminiscent of Christian Dior’s look launched in 1947. My preference is a length that just covers the knee. This skirt length works well with straight skirts in a dark jersey, preferably with an opening in the back to facilitate walking. The little back slit creates a subtle but sexy affect! If your figure permits, choose a fitted pencil skirt that hugs the body. Wearers beware! Footwear with this length is of utmost importance. Ditch the booties! Show your ankles! Wear high heels! And forget about nude pantyhose too; it kills the look! Opt for bare legs. Heels add a sexy element to your wardrobe but only if you can walk in them with ease and grace. Practice your walk before you venture out!

Elegance and sophistication are the key words to remember to maximize the charm and appeal of this new length.

Armani’s love for China and things Chinese can be seen in his spring/summer ‘Priv√©’ collection. ‘Pagode’ shoulders, high waists and longer skirt lengths were everywhere.

As for colors, blue, rose, orange and sand predominated.

Stella McCartney’s collection is elegant and simple. She used embroidered silk fabrics for tunics that can be worn over narrow pants. As can be seen below, she too emphasizes the shoulders not only in the cut but also with eye-catching detailing.

Chez Chanel, the classic black and white tweed suits are still as chic and feminine as ever. Karl Lagerfeld has designed matching handbags too and even created a leather version of the CC shopping bag! Check out Chanel's hosiery. Karl brought us very sexy hosiery last fall and continues to do so for spring and summer, by using two toned hose.

Jean Paul Gauthier showed a timeless collection. His favorite color for the coming season is sand, an easy color to adopt as long as you pick a light fluid fabric. Colored shoes look especially great with neutral colored clothing.

Isabel Marant is bringing back the denim blouson that can be worn over everything except jeans. Chez Cacharel is all about suppleness and fluidity. Celine is all about blues. She presented all her pieces with VERRRRRY high heels and showed many straight skirts that emphasized the waist. Like Celine, Aquascutum’s world is blue too.

John Galliano loves rose. Flash and dash are the operative words for Agnes B’s collection where lots of rose, green, yellow and turquoise were mixed up in the same element, making for a vibrant and cheerful look.

Accessories are a major category this season. The ‘must have’ shoes are impressive looking with straps. As for jewelry, it’s all about wearing bold pieces.

In the beauty department the best sellers are red lipsticks (my personal favorites) like this one from Dior’s ‘Rouge Dior Satin Collection’.

On Death Row: Harem pants, baby doll look, heavy clunky hardware on handbags and yes, very pointy shoes. Ouch! I still own one pair that I really like.

Shopping in your closet may be the smart way to go at the moment but be sure to keep your look updated. So don’t let the economic climate get you down. Be bold; be beautiful as you can be!


Michele Benza – Completely Confidential Image Consulting Featuring European Style and Elegance. (415-302-9366 | fax 415-388-6753 | + 210 Post Street, Suite 611 | San Francisco, CA 94108 | : michele@mbenza.com | http://www.michelebenza.com |

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