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While in London this summer I dropped by Albam at the Spitalfields location. I was so excited to go by the store to browse and drool.

Early July, turning the corner I spotted two very stylish men relaxing on a bench in the London sun, then looking up I see the sign “Albam”, and upon finding the store my excitement was at its peak. I turned and entered into a store that is clean in design, warm, and welcoming. I browsed forever in hope that something would fit but nothing from Albam will ever fit me, I can only dream. Spending way too long in the store I learned from the friendly and knowledgeable Albam employee that the fall/winter 2012 collection is going to be fantastic! Asking way too many questions I finally leave, with no purchase in hand but so satisfied with my Albam experience.

Now at the end of August we finally get a chance to see Albam’s Fall/Winter 2012 line, and is it fantastic? No doubt! Still a young brand, they have truly stamped their footprint on the market. With designs that are consistently clean and understated, the fall/winter line beings a new design experience.  According to an interview with an Albam designer on the company’s blog, this line is a new beginning, taking the Albam image to a new level. A new journey but with the same design ideals that makes Albam great “honest, confident, considered, technical and pure” (Albam designer interview).

Highlights: Pop of color and pattern.

 

Always clean and classic! Perfection!

 

Beautiful knits.

  

Now available in store and online.

Check out the complete lookbook here.

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This coat has beautiful clean lines and a simple interesting trim. From The Kooples, a hip modern French brand, inspired from the mixing and matching between a couples clothing. I feel The Kooples is part of a new wave of designers that cater to the hip young and wealthy consumer. This consumer loves a classic design that has an interesting element, the quality, location of assembly, and raw materials sourcing are all important. It is not about fast fashion anymore, it is about looking the part, helping local artisans, and the search of classic wardrobe building pieces. Even if The Kooples does not fit all of these criteria, I feel they still rank within this group. The designs are androgynous and the men’s and women’s line coordinate. The marketing is fantastic in using real couples as models. While in Paris I could not get enough of this brand, they are everywhere from Galeries Lafayette to over 30 boutiques just in Paris. Soon to be coming to the states, I am so excited! The Kooples is ultra hip, young, classic, and luxury.

On that note, what a great costume design for Jim Moriarty! In a recent online shopping session I came across a great coat that could be a nice women’s alternative for The Kooples coat.

This coat from AllSaints Spitalfields is a classic crombie coat, wool blend, with a stand up leather trim collar, very clean lines, and external darts on the back.

Check out the Aleggro Coat here!

With the last Sherlock Series 2 episode upon us and the excitement was utterly overwhelming. In the end it was a gut retching fantastic story and the costumes did not disappoint, but do they ever? I don’t think so.

Reichenbach Fall starts off with a ripe your heart out moment, John Watson’s shirt is a traditional and classic Watson design but in a darker color rather than his regular rust red and coordinated plaids. The viewers soon find out why the change in color, Sherlock Holmes is dead. Switch to happier times, the costume changes are multiple, Sherlock always looking sharp in the classic Spencer Hart suit, Dolce & Gabbana shirt, and Belstaff coat.

John Watson’s costume’s range from an event appropriate suit with a pocket square (folded in a very casual but classic manner) to a brown blazer with a nap and a matching striped shirt, and finally a gingham button up shirt matched earlier with the brown blazer. The passing of time calls for many different costume changes each strongly John Watson in their design.

Sherlock’s deduction of Kitty Riley emphasizes the importance of the costume and character, and I discuss this important correlation in my last Sherlock costume commentary .

In the court-house Sherlock and John are both wearing costumes that are classic them, Jim Moriarty’s costume on the other hand has had a slight shift. The viewer’s first glimpse of Jim Moriarty is casual with an overly touristic hat, this is the first time we see Moriarty casual and in light colors. His jacket has an interesting design that shows off the underlying fashionable Moriarty, even in a casual state he is dressed for the moment. This character knows he will be photographed so why pick such an understated outfit?  The light colors are key, white and beige, later on in a cream and light grey ensemble. The story that Jim Moriarty is weaving is part of his new color palette, being intensely photographed and under the media’s microscope he is planting the seed of Richard Brook. Seen by many, he is a mixture of the sharp dressing Jim Moriarty and without sin Richard Brook.  Reminiscently angelic Moriarty wears a double vent suit with a round collar Spencer Hart shirt, an immaculate tie pin and pocket square matching his tie, a smart design by Sarah Arthur.

The next time the viewer meets with Moriarty he is seen as a cabbie, his clothing is hard to distinguish but it is dark in color, his normal demeanor calls for his regular Moriarty color palette.

The last time we see “Richard Brook” he is in casual clothing, wearing jeans and a cream knit top with a maroon cardigan. The cardigan being a warm deep color is very different from the angelic colors seen previously and could be signaling a turning point.

Finally the last time we see Jim Moriarty. Let’s save this for the end.

Mycroft, a character I have never discussed on my blog, the reason is I felt a little overwhelmed trying to cover all of the costumes. Mycroft a classic dresser, always wearing a 3-piece suit with a handkerchief, and pocket watch. The evolution of Mycroft’s costumes start with the umbrella, now so iconic, the umbrella was first used to create a pleasing silhouette and adds an ominous aura to the characters first appearance. The umbrella contributes to the mystery and villain image but once that is thrown to the side the umbrella becomes a classic and upper class portrait of the character. Mycroft’s costumes are always consistent in style but changing in color, textile, and style of pocket square. From A Study in Pink wearing a 3-piece suit with a red tie, red being such a strong color and contrasting with the muted tone of his suit, is the viewers first introduction to who Mycroft is. This character is classic and tailored like his 3-piece suit but the pop of red denotes a fiery and quick-witted person. These traits become much more apparent when the viewer first observes the exchange between Sherlock and Mycroft. The last time viewers see Mycroft is in The Reichenbach Fall, always in the classic 3-piece suit but the red of the tie and handkerchief just pop off the screen, such a strong contrasting color hiding some sort of contemplative pain.

Below is the changing of Mycroft’s suits, from A Study in Pink to The Reichenbach Fall. Often in pinstripes, so classic!

Molly Hooper, I have loved her since the beginning and her story is taken to a whole new level. The moments between her and Sherlock are character development heaven and the costume designs are prefect. The mismatch patterns and over sized coat, a prefect look for a hard-working woman who does not have the time to be keeping up with fashion trends. The ruffles of her shirt and the pattern of the textile are in line with her young girlish like qualities, much like her Christmas outfit in A Scandal in Belgravia. Her color palette is not muted, much like the first series but she is now popping with color, red cherries and mauve printed blouse, showing much more of her strength and willingness to speak up. Once a self-described doormat, Molly has found the strength she always had. I am curious to see how her costumes will change in the upcoming third series.

The beautiful city views from the rooftop, the superb acting, and the fall. A tear your heart out scene with great costumes. Sherlock wearing his classic costume, the slim suit, scarf tied like a noose, purple shirt, and the billowing coat. Jim Moriarty back to his darker color palette and wearing a beautiful coat just barely seen in A Scandal in Belgravia. The Vivienne Westwood suit, and a pointed collar shirt, he is once again dressed to kill just like the end of The Great Game. The coat has beautiful lines, a mandarin collar with leather trim, these factors bring a fantastic edge that only Moriarty can bring to a scene. Their collars and color palette mirror each other, and together they look complete and beautiful.

Leaving us wanting more yet so satisfied, the ending of series 2 could not have gone more perfectly. Who knows what series 3 will bring us but I’m excited!

Check out my other Sherlock costume posts:

Sherlock: John Watson’s Costume: Part 1

Sherlock: The Suits: Part 2

Sherlock Series 2: Irene Adler 

Sherlock: Sarah Sawyer

Sherlock Series 2: A Scandal in Belgravia Costume Overview

Sherlock Series 2: The Hounds of Baskerville Costume Discussion

Sherlock Series 2: Irene Adler and the Lace Dress

The awards have been flowing in nonstop for Downton Abbey and for good reason. This TV drama has taken all viewers into the intricate world of family drama, sprinkled with interesting plots from the upper and servant class life. Very reminiscent of a favorite and earlier TV drama The Forsyte Saga, a personal recommendation with wonderful story and costumes. The costumes of Downton Abbey could not possibly be more amazing, designed by Susannah Buxton and Rosalind Ebbutt the costumes are breathtaking. I could not possibly cover the costumes in detail and do them justice, but I do have time to write about my favorite character, Lady Sybil Crawley.

Lady Sybil Crawley, the youngest daughter and most politically active struck a chord with me. Keeping on the cutting edge of fashion and human rights made her quite a favorite of mine. I would love to say I was just as courageous and out spoken has her in my late teens but that would be a very large lie. Lady Sybil is the image and memory I would like to have had of my teen years but that was not the case for an emo, Oscar Wilde loving, hating “the man”, living in suburbia, middle class teen. How embarrassing it is when we look back, let’s get back to her costume.

All of her costumes are brilliant but the one that truly spoke of her character was the Paul Poiret inspired costume. Paul Poiret first introduced the harem pant in 1911, and is famous for doing away with the corset, this changed the current female silhouette, allowing for much more movement but only on the top that is. With big tunic tops and tiny slim skirts on the bottom it was a huge shift away from the traditional Edwardian S-shape silhouette. Taking a step back Paul Poiret made the hobble skirt highly popular, in the most extreme designs women could barely take a full step. The hobble skirt is a slim skirt with a very small circumference around the ankles making walking slightly difficult. The hobble skirt truly spoke to the then current climate of women’s rights. Influence from the east during the early 1900’s, and taking bits and pieces from different cultures Poiret created a new silhouette for women, freeing their lungs and binding their legs, an interesting paradox in women’s rights and fashion.

Sybil in the harem pants is cutting edge for the time and being such an important shift in fashion history it is so important that the character be wearing it. This personifies the character completely in an outfit, her modern attitudes matching her modern fashions. Pants worn by women at the time were not very common but when worn with a long tunic it was much more acceptable. A bohemian woman would have been more likely to take to this new fashion and just like the women that Lady Sybil Crawley is, her openness, modern attitudes, and fashion sense would lead her to the cutting edge of fashion.

Historical information credits:

Survey of Historic Costume 4th edition

FIDM Museum Blog Paul Poiret: King of Fashion 

Sarah Arthur, costume designer for series 1 is back for another round of wonderfully designed costumes. Series 2 started off with some great costumes, some will become iconic to the fans such as the sheet worn by Sherlock. Using the same costume designer brings a visual continuity to the story, and makes the viewer feel right at home with the new series. There are many familiar pieces for Sherlock and John, the now iconic Belstaff coat worn by Sherlock and my personal favorite John’s Haversack jacket . The Spencer Hart slim suits and Dolce & Gabbana shirts worn by Sherlock and John’s plaid woven or striped knit shirts with most likely Uniqlo jeans are all reminders of the first series.

There are many new lovely designs and pieces worn by the characters. Sherlock owns two more dressing gowns one red and the other red plaid. We also get to see the deerstalker, not originally worn in the books but made famous by illustartor Sidney Paget. New additions are a suit with open cuffs and a diagonal pocket at the chest, but still slim and appear to be in the design of a Spencer Hart. The sheet is also very comical and one may think easy to pick out but the color and fabric is very important. The sheet is not white, if it were it would be very stark against the surrounds. The sheet is surprisingly not very wrinkled so it could mean a cotton blend or at every break in filming it was steamed to death. Whatever the fiber content or color, it was very funny.

 

John Watson has new editions to his wardrobe, a Barbour and Folk jacket. The Barbour International 75th anniversary waxed jacket in sandstone, is a brown heavyweight 8oz wax with a cotton check lining, a storm collar made from corduroy with an adjustable neck strap. The label has been removed for the costume and replaced with a leather black patch, the corduroy and leather is reminiscent of John’s Haversack jacket. Barbour designs outdoor and country clothing with a hint of utility. The color recalls back to John’s earthy color palette, it is breathable and waterproof, perfect for John Watson.

The Folk overcoat is from their spring/summer 2011 collection, sourced fabric from Japan, it is a tight weave but not waterproof, pockets are made from chambray for strength with cotton poplin lining. Jacket details include a leather strap and a draw string that can be worn inside or outside. John’s drawstring had been changed to white and the green color fits the earthy color palette. Folk founded in 2001 by Cathal McAteer, inspired by vintage styles, the company stresses high quality fabrics and understated designs. I still love the Haversack but the Folk overcoat is a strong second. The leather strap is unique and a pleasing design, the lines are simple and classic, and that makes for a beautiful coat.

Molly Hooper wears a very notable costume during the Christmas party, a black body-hugging dress with rhinestone trim, matching straps, and a pair of red Mary Jane pumps. Molly is overly accessorized with matching large rhinestone circle earrings and a silver gift bow in her hair. The costume tells a story to the viewer, it explains who she is and what her intentions are at the Christmas party. Sherlock a little heartlessly describe the outfit’s intentions, just like the lip stick matching the gift wrapping the brilliant Sarah Arthur also matches the red shoes to the lip stick. I feel the costume is perfect, capturing Molly’s fanciful side in the sparkle of the rhinestones, a little festive, hopeful, and cute with the gift bow in her hair, the huge earrings that look like they were from a yesteryears trend, and the awkward bra straps. Molly Hooper a very hard worker would not have the time to be always updating her wardrobe. She is dressed to impress but she may have missed the window slightly. I can imagine her over thinking the outfit and ending on a very Molly Hooper look. Molly Hooper is a wonderful character and I think she would be a treat to design for.

When we first see Mrs. Hudson again she is wearing a wonderful jacket with lace embellishment, puff sleeves, and a scalloped edge. Her costumes are very feminine and reminiscent of Victorian clothing. Series one her color palette is jewel tones, but this series she has branched out a little with a green cardigan and multicolor scarf. The green cardigan also has a nice embellishment of buttons down the cuff and gathering at the sleeve cap. She always has a little more color thrown into her costumes compared to other characters, and I think this really reflects Mrs. Hudson.

Irene Adler, the character and costumes have a huge impact on the viewer and story. She is a strong female character and the costumes reflect the power she holds in the color and design. The designs are classic and have a very simple beauty. Adler’s lingerie is feminine with lace trim or all lace; it is absolutely beautiful. A personal favorite is the green peignoir, it is perfect, and I only wish we got to see more of it. Alder knows who she is and part of her job she must know the needs of others. The first dress we see her in is the Illusion-Bolero Sheath dress from Alexander McQueen, ivory in color, and made from a wool crepe. The dress has beautiful lines and being the first time we meet Irene Alder the color ivory is significant. Ivory is a much more sophisticated color than white, it has more depth and interested, and white is not a very forgiving color on many. Worn with the dress are stockings with a seam and Christian Louboutin shoes, the red sole is a dead giveaway. The contrast of the ivory dress and the red soled shoes is the perfect mix of the character personified in an outfit. Later we see her in a black dress, the details are very hard to make out but it flows and drapes gorgeously. The last dress we see is a highly embellished black dress, it has a great neckline but whole dress is hard to make out. The characters story and dress go hand and hand, each has significance and can be interpreted how you like.

The red sole
Dress detail and Thank you to wearsherlock 

Sarah Arthur has a great eye and did a fantastic job, I cannot express enough how much I love her designs.

Update: Irene Adler’s beautiful black dress is from Jacques Azagury Autumn/Winter 2010 collection. Check it out for a little more detail, it is dress T17.

Thank you to wearsherlock for the identifying the ivory dress, check out their tumblr for great Sherlock prop and costume information.

Links:

Wearsherlock

Sherlockology

Sherlock: John Watson’s Costume: Part 1

Sherlock: The Suits: Part 2

Sherlock Series 2: Irene Adler 

Sherlock: Sarah Sawyer