‘Tis the Season for Hats

One of Ms. Colon-Lugo’s creations
Credit Dina Litovsky for The New York Times

Tomorrow marks the 143rd running of The Kentucky Derby – a day for horses and hats! Extravagant hats. That is why the recent New York Times feature about milliner Ellen Christine Colon-Lugo, is inspiring. This is Ms. Colon-Lugo’s, owner of Ellen Christine Millinery in West SoHo, New York, busiest season. And she herself has already spent hours preparing hats for women who will wear them at tomorrow’s Derby. Not to mention that May 15 marks Straw Hat Day, when people used to trade in their winter felt hats for spring hats.

Ms. Colon-Lugo has quite a story: she studied costume design at the School of Fashion Design in Boston and later at New York University. Her hats have adorned the covers of Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, and W Magazine, and she is president of the Milliners Guild in New York. Says Colon-Lugo, “The idea of balance is very important in a hat. I don’t do yoga, I do hats. Hats reveal our inner characters, and we have many of them.

Which of her hats will be watching the Kentucky Derby tomorrow?

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Diversity on US Magazine Covers Improves in 2016

Photo: Courtesy Fashionista

Photo: Courtesy Fashionista

Fashionista researched 147 covers from 10 leading U.S. fashion publications and discovered the following: while some titles remained stagnant, the majority saw distinct improvement. Among the leading publications, which included Allure, Cosmopolitan, Elle, Glamour, Harper’s Bazaar, InStyle, Nylon, Teen Vogue, Vogue and W – Teen Vogue featured the most diversity this year by including women of color on seven of its 11 issues, 63.6 percent. — with cover stars like Amandla Stenberg, Willow Smith and Simone Biles.

This is so important because young women look for themselves on the covers of magazines. They want to feel that the magazine speaks to them and the cover is the fist thing they see. There is a long way to go for inclusivity but this is a statistic that is moving in the right direction. I’m buying it!

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When Photographer Goes Behind the Lense

Niki Taylor, photographed by Chris Craymer - via Harper's Bazaar

Niki Taylor, photographed by Chris Craymer – via Harper’s Bazaar

Chris Craymer, London-based photographer, who specializes in fashion, beauty, and portrait photography, decided to go beyond the photos and interview his subjects in his new book,  From the Heart. The results were surprising and brought a new level of meaning to his relationships and a complete portrait of the individual. Among the people he interviewed was American model, Niki Taylor, with whom he had worked for several years, and who was a great source of inspiration to Craymer. In an excerpt from his book, Craymer describes the essence of Niki: “Niki is often thought of as the quintessential all-American girl—sweet, confident, open and energetic—but I am intrigued by her as a woman whose life has been full of huge career accomplishments and extreme personal challenges … I’m most moved by people who face huge struggles and persevere, through force of personality and will and strength.”

I had read about Niki’s life and tragedies, including the loss of her younger sister, and her debilitating car crash, and I am moved by her will to go ever-forward. I am intrigued to know more. This sounds like a book I want to read! I’m buying it!

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In Loving Memory …

Jean's gift to me, her dramatic black hat

Jean’s gift to me, her dramatic black hat

It started with a message that my dear friend and next door neighbor, Jean, had passed away. A week later I was forced to put my darling cat Willie to sleep after he stopped responding to his medications. And last week I got the devastating news that Cheryl, my beloved sister-in-law, had unexpectedly lost her mother, Charmaine. It has been a painful time for me and for my family and I am having a hard time processing these losses. What I have been doing is gathering memories of them close to me like precious treasures.

My friend Jean was very stylish and we would often share stories about clothes and fashion trends from her days working in New York City. She had a subscription to Harper’s Bazaar and kept the back issues in her front hallway so that I could see them clearly when I entered her house. Not only did Jean save the magazines, but she saved her clothes and cared for them lovingly. Not long before Jean died she gave me her over-the-top black hat from Ann Taylor (that I think she wore to an outdoor garden party). It is very different from anything I wear but I love owning a bit of Jean and find myself thinking about wearing it someday to my own elegant party. In that moment I will think of Jean and smile – as I do with everyone so dear to me whom I have lost recently – in loving memory …

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Harper’s Bazaar Through the Years

1867: The first issue of Bazaar, devoted to fashion and literature, is published on November 2.

1867: The first issue of Bazaar, devoted to fashion and literature, is published on November 2.

The Harper’s Bazaar staff has been celebrating Vintage Week, by taking a look back at the best vintage Harper’s BAZAAR covers through the years. Notable covers include: 1873 – announcement of the big the fan trend; 1900 – the popularity of the mechanical sewing machine leads to more elaborate sleeve designs; 1936 – the iconic Why Don’t You …? column first appears; 1943 –  Diana Vreeland discovers Lauren Bacall, giving her the first magazine cover on the March WWII-inspired issue of BAZAAR; 1950 – the summer issue also features a Junior BAZAAR; 1956 – Audrey Hepburn is photographed by Richard Avedon; 1963 – an Emilio Pucci design is featured on the December issue; 1965 -Avedon’s iconic cover starring Jean Shrimpton taps into the space craze of the decade.

Harper’s Bazaar is the oldest continuously published fashion magazine in the world; fashion history has been told through the covers and the pages of this honored magazine. Fun to step back in time and see fashion trends and culture unfold before our eyes!

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On Again … Off-the-Shoulder

Photo Credit: Harper's Bazaar

Photo Courtesy: Harper’s Bazaar – Daniel Jackson, November 12 Issue

One of the most beautiful parts of a woman’s body is her shoulders. Sadly though, shoulders are often overlooked and we spend too little time exposing them. Some of the softest, most romantic pieces are off-the-shoulder. And they don’t need to be formal dressing only; off-the-shoulder blouses and dresses can be casually-inspired. Structured or flouncy, there are several ways to embrace unique off-the-shoulder looks. I’m buying it – You too?

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Nico Guilis Finds Her California, And Ours Too …

Find Your California, launches

Find Your California, launches: Photo Credit, Nico Guilis

I lived in Southern California for just a few years in the early 70s, but the memories of my life there, run deep. There is a huge part of me who will always be a California girl. So when I read the Harper’s Bazaar interview with artist and photographer Nico Guilis, about the November 3 launch of her new website, Find Your California, I had come home. Nico grew up in Malibu, California: a self-described, “hippy, surfer, artist chick … Find Your California was a mark of independence for me and something that I created on my own that quickly became an inspiration to other girls who are like-minded. I call it the stoke. Sharing the stoke about life. It circles back to a point to happiness,” says Nico. Find Your California will be a collection of travel diaries and beauty stories, all female, with inspiration and positive, empowering messages for girls everywhere.

Love this! Nico, you are gnarly. I am stoked. And I am buying it … For sure!

 

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Am I buying Rodarte Star Wars Collection? For sure, and I will tell you why.

Rodarte Fall 2014 Star Wars Collection: Courtesy of Elle

Rodarte Fall 2014 Star Wars Collection: Courtesy of Elle

In a recent Harper’s Bazaar feature, Rodarte designers Laura and Kate Mulleavy, interview Princess Leia herself, actress Carrie Fisher. Talk about meeting Hollywood royalty! What struck me most in the conversation occurred when Carrie Fisher asked the sisters what inspired them to create Star Wars dresses. Laura Mulleavy’s response? “Telling stories with clothing is what we do best. The collection was about growing up, and we thought with this story we have to have Star Wars in it. I’ve been a fan my entire life.”

Why am I buying it? Because of the message: that clothes take us back to a time and place that mean something to us. I was a fan of Star Wars, too. I took my younger brother to see all of the original Star Wars movies. He may not remember them as much as I do, but I remember every minute. So, in a sense, these gowns are about my growing up, as well. No, I won’t actually be buying a Rodarte Star Wars gown, but I appreciate what the dress represents for the designers and for all of us who watched the amazing series of science fiction and storytelling that was Star Wars. We were all growing up to a new world. I’m buying it!

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What’s in a quote? Sometimes, everything!

Karl Lagerfeld, via Harper's Bazaar

Karl Lagerfeld quote, via Harper’s Bazaar

When I first created my blog, I thought a lot about my message, content, and purpose. So, I created a page called “Fashion Quotes.” Why? Because I love words of inspiration, and want these words to carry us forward, as we start the conversation about fashion and self-esteem. How excited was I, when I saw that Harper’s Bazaar thought the same thing! Recently released: Famous Words of Fashion’s Greatest: Part Two.

One of my favorites is a simple quote from famed designer, Vivienne Westwood: “Buy less, choose well.” I couldn’t have said it better myself.

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Hate dry skin? Try coconut oil!

The power of Coconut Oil

The power of Coconut Oil

When The Universe sends you messages, especially in threes, it’s a good idea to listen. I first heard about the benefits of coconut oil over the weekend when I was getting a pedicure. The woman next to me was saying that she started rubbing coconut oil on her feet, and they have been silky-soft ever since. Next, I read about the marvels of coconut oil in this month’s Harper’s Bazaar. And number three? I found this giant, 54 fl. oz. container of coconut oil at COSTCO today. So, it was time to try it!

Coconut oil locks in moisture without petroleum-based ingredients or chemicals. And coconut oil has benefits for diet, hair, and skin, because of its antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and antifungal properties.  Continue reading

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