January 31, 2012

Everything's Coming Up Roses...

Karma's a bitch, which means sometimes it is actually nice to you. Much like your love hate relationship with your "I really just hate her" BFF. So it was just my luck that on the tail end of a mind numbingly bad week (perhaps the second worst ever) something good, like really good happened out of the blue.
It's funny how New York is so big and yet sometimes you run into just the person you were hoping to.

Long story short, thanks to this chance encounter, business is back on track. In the next few weeks the site will be launching and a virtual dressing room will be opened for all to come and see (AND SHOP). Just think of Carrie's closet in the Sex and the City movie, times ten, all online! So thanks to this pity party turning into a pool party (or whatever), I'm back on track and ready to go, with "Everything's Coming up Roses" (from Gypsy) playing in the back of my head ( I mean really, not like I'm a big show tunes fan).

"And nothing's gonna stop us 'til we're through!
Honey, everything's coming up roses and daffodils!
Everything's coming up sunshine and Santa Claus!
Everything's gonna be bright lights and lollipops!
Everything's coming up roses for me and for you!"-Steven Sondheim

Celia Birtwell illustrations, via pinterest

January 30, 2012

Betsy Explains it All...SAG edition

After an extended blogging vay-kay I am back! Nah-na-na-na-na-nah. Somehow in my extended absence the blog crested the 1,000 viewer threshold without so much a a celebratory cocktail on my behalf (and my handful of friends who probably click endless amounts of time out of pity)...I digress...back to business.

This week it is another edition of Betsy Explains it All...SAG edition. Think of this as the dress rehearsal to the upcoming mother of all Hollywood events...the Oscars! A whole lot of making nicey nice and not a whole lotta cake and champagne. Dresses were on the safe side. Lots of body skimming designs in a crayon box of colors, just like the GG's although these dresses didn't have the same wow factor. Overall, bravo ladies, job well done. Tagline of the night is "could have been worse". As for the actual SAG awards; as if I had time to watch? Maybe in another lifetime or if I lost my remote. It's all about the dresses, so let's take a look...

 Starting off with some nice bright colors. Love Natalie Portman's vino gown, a similar shade to Viola Davis's GG number, very nice Natalie. Michelle William looks pretty in a simple red Valentino stunner. Valentino is the fashion house that knows just what to do with that hue. Green with envy over Emily Blunt's Oscar de la Renta? Uh, not quite, but it is a nice color, that can easily veer off into Kermit territory, so props to Emily for making it work. I like the color of Jessica Chastain's dress but the overall look is lacking. I think its her hair, it's looking a little to precious and would have been better pulled back in some sleek pony or updo. Is that a tat in Kyra Sedgwick's cutout? I think yes! How clever that the cutout perfectly frames it. Keeps it from being boring.
A few more colorful frocks from the stars of the small screen. Sticking to berry hues, Sofia, Julie and Quinn from Glee look lovely. Sofia is a little one note with the same slightly fishtail gown and Julie looks like she is smuggling eggplants under her arms, but it could be worse. I like "Quinn's" hair as I am always a sucker for that front braid, perfected by Sienna Miller (and Mischa Barton of all people) eons ago. 

 I like Emma Stone's look, I think it is cute. Its a great way to wear black without looking to serious. The ankle straps might have not been the best choice, but they keep things in proportion without looking silly. Tea length can be a hard look to rock, especially on the red carpet ( I'm looking at you Tina Fey and your Zac Posen joke a few years ago) and dresses of this length are usually in sherbert-y cupcake hues. So final verdict Emma, "Easy A". Tina Fey has been working it ever since aforementioned Zac dud and she looks nice and safe in a black column dress. Nothing much to say either way, which is a good thing. Glenn Close brought the glam factor in a navy stunner. It seems ever since Helen Mirren showed the world how to look sexy as a senior citizen, the bar has been raised- high. A little bit of d√©colletage, while partially hiding her arms in tulle sleeves is a nice balance. Melissa McCarty, congrats! You seem to have recovered nicely from your GG mullet mishap. This hairstyle is much better, not to mention it makes you look like such a lady. Way to go to all!

Out of all the blush tones/nudes, these were the ones I liked the best (and there were lots). Each one on an actress of a different age giving the red carpet three different looks. Octavia Spencer showed versatility after her GG lavender choice. The sleeves are a nice balance because they keep the bottom half from looking like a beach sarong. Julianna Margulies always likes to keep things fitted and sexy and this custom Calvin Klein fits the bill. Its a good example of a look that features applique in a way that is not heavy or bulky. Girl from "Modern Family" who I now know is named Sarah Hyland shows the more youthful side of a nude look, in a 1920's inspired style. The flutter sleeves tend to be for the 30 and younger crowd (or at least thats who wears it best) and its nice the dress features beading mostly at the top and at the train, keeping away from the dreaded embroidery bulk, that can make even the most toned of sz 0's look preggers. Not featured are the close but no cigar looks (feel free to google) of Lea Michelle (UHG stop trying so hard, barf, barf, not worth posting your smug face and too much leg look here) Kristin Wiig (edwardian choker + nude gown= WTF no, eww, gross) and Tilda Swinton, who is an eternal fashion hit or miss.

Two polar opposite looks I really loved. Viola Davis in her classic Marchesa, Grecian inspired gown and Rose Byrne in Elie Saab. Viola will probably be on the best dressed list, while Rose will be crushed by Joan Rivers and crew on "Fashion Police". The look is very fashion forward but I'm biased, as I love me a good jumpsuit.

And these are the one's I just do not like. Frankly it could have been worse. Shailene Woodley, who's name I had to look up to get it right, (apparently until recently only known as the preggers girl on ABC Family's "Secret Life" or whatever it was called. Well she's certainly had a career boost? hmm), went for something outside the box, but all I can think of is Roxy does prom. This dress is almost the exact color combo of many a middle school Roxy outfit in my wardrobe. The neckline is matronly as well. Frankly the designers at Roxy would have done a better job giving her a Hawaiian/surfer chick goes to Hollywood gown. Ehh. Zoe Salanda always likes to go big in statement making couture gowns. This Givenchy is no exception. No doubt slaved over by countless artisans and dress making bigwigs (is that embroidery Lesage perhaps?). The problem is it does NOT photograph well. Everything is fine and dandy from the waist down, but up top it looks like she has paired a Hanes tank with a beaded granny shawl, which makes me think of Stevie Nicks. Lastly, we have Angelina "Corpse Bride" Jolie, who to me looks like the walking dead. The dress is nice and this style worked for other skeletal stars (think Keira Knightly in gold Gucci a few years back) but on Angelina it looks scary. From her hair to her front to back tats Angelina is scary and probably even skinnier than her skin and bones Tim Burton claymation counterpart. It's a problem when the words "Tim Burton" and "clay figures"are used to describe how lacking the usually stunning Angelina is looking these days.

Honorable mention goes to Armie (both Winklevoss twins in Social Network) Hammer. Who is super good looking in a non actor way. The guy knows how to look good in a tux, so for that he gets to be in here next to all the ladies. (that second pose is a little on the D-bag side thou)

Au Revior, until the Oscars, when we Explain it All again.

January 23, 2012

Soho Wonder

This past Saturday left a gross layer of slushy snow across Manhattan. While every part of wanted to stay in bed and do nothing, instead I donned my bean boots and headed into the greyish ick of a Saturday. Since a certain friend of mind wanted to see the rerelease of Beauty and the Beast I found myself sporting some 3d glasses, humming along to "Be Our Guest" and wishing I was five again. Thankfully after my dalliance with childhood I returned to the present with brunch at Mercer Kitchen and an impromptu trip to C. Wonder on Spring Street.

72 Spring Street @ Crosby
New York, New York

Frankly I was put off by this particular home goods/ clothing emporium not because their offerings weren't cute or right up my style alley, but I was concerned the merchandise screamed cheap and mass produced. Being in the vintage biz I like my things with a little bit of age to them, especially since in many cases older items were better constructed. But, I decided to take a chance, as I am not the kind of person who likes to buy oven mitts second hand. The bright green lacquer doors had me at hello and I was pleasantly surprised. A few laps around the store later, I left the store with a large shopping bag, weighed down with "essentials" I had been neglecting to buy for months.
This embroidered grey leopard pillow rang in at $19 and looks so expensive, I also snagged a pillow embroidered with a bulldog for $11, what a steal!

 2 of these $8 blue ikat mugs are perfect for coffee and will look great with all my blue and white dishes in storage. The mugs also come in red, green and brown and this pattern comes in a variety of pieces.
 These chinoiserie cereal bowls a little too "pretty" for my taste but they were $4 each so oh hey! two were coming home with me!
This ashtray is a near dead-ringer for the oh so pricey Hermes favorite at like 1/100 of the price. $39 later I am quite happy with my find, which also come in a whole menagerie of animal designs. 

And last but not least, the aforementioned oven mitts. $7.99 each and worth every penny.

So long story short, check out C. Wonder. Perfect for college dorm/apartment knickknacks, a present for someone (that only looks expensive) or a little pick me up for your digs. Although they sell clothes and jewelry too, I would suggest just sticking to the home goods. C.Wonder is apparently also at the Westchester Mall for any suburban shoppers out there and online, cwonder.com

January 16, 2012

Betsy Explains it All...Golden Globes edition

Borrowing the title from one of my fav oldies on Nick, starring Melissa Joan Hart, today we bring you a new series in which Betsy, not Clarissa explains it all. Today its all about Golden Globe dresses, the good, the bad and the just plain ug-lay. All in all the dresses were good, it seems peeps (or rather their stylists) took less of a fashion risk than years past. There were lots of blush tones and blacks with some blues, reds and pinks thrown in for good measure. There was very little in the way of yellow, which can sometimes be the color of choice for blondie actresses, like Reese Witherspoon and Michelle Williams. A bunch of gals played it safe in traditional princess ball-gowns and hey sometimes it better to be safe than sorry. So without further ado, lets break it down.

Blush tones: A nice change to see so many different looks in a variety of ethereal hues. Staring with Heidi Klum, who rocked a turquoise necklace in an effort to keep her from looking washed out. Kate Beckinsale is a Rachel Zoe client so the chances of her looking good were high but her oversized Lorainne Schwartz earrings were a nice touch. Charlize Theron, oh Charlize, always a fashion risk taker. She has a longstanding beauty contract with Dior, so she is always able to pick from the tippy top of the fashion pyramid. I liked this dress although in pictures it was hard to get a good angle but early predictions put her as best dressed. Jess Biel, newly engaged!? to Mr. Sexy back? and then wearing this dress? It's niiiiice and the use of lace is pretty BUT give the girl a little sparkle and show a little skin, not the best choice for you Jess. Moving along to "the girl from Modern Family" who looks just cuuu-te in vintage Dolce & Gabanna. Nicole Richie brought the glam factor in a metallic open back number. She looks so stylish, especially for someone who was neither nominated nor presenting, so way to go Nicole for still capturing everyone's attention. Funny gal Amy Poehler worked it in a dress that has some sort of sleeve and her hair looks nice too. Angelina, oh Angelina, how I do not like this look. Its not the dress that is the problem but rather your ice queen, red lips look that is not doing you any favors. But congrats! You will probably win skinniest arms of the night! And last but not least in the blush tones category is Jessica Chastain who looked lovely in a white high neck pearly number that I quite liked. 

 And now onto the black and white dresses. Way to go everyone for showing black does not have to be boring and safe! Lots of unexpected details. Claire Danes and Rooney Mara rocked sophisticated open back looks. Nicole Kidman looked a little less frigid, probs thanks to laying off the botox and choosing a body hugging Versace gown. Kate Winslet's, look fell somewhere in the middle for me and was just okay, but congrats on winning last night! Debra Messing (another RZ girl) looked quite nice in basic black and Zooey 'just oh so quirky and individual' Deschanel, looked like her quirky self in custom Prada. What is off about Zooey's look is her awkward haircut, which looks nice from far away until you see she is rocking sorta a bob/sideburns near her ears...so quirky! Salma Hayek was all va-va-voom in Gucci and considering she is married to the man who owns Gucci, she better be looking sharp. Mila Kunis worked it her Dior, but we can't help but wonder if that one strap was necessary and might have looked better strapless with a little more bling to round it out.

Blue being one of my favorite colors, makes me slightly biased towards this group of well dressed ladies.  But all in all job well done! A variety of shades and textures and you all look great. The only look I am on the fence about is Sarah Michelle Geller in her tie-dye Monique Lhuillier, I really want to like it, as I am tie-dye obsessed, but its a little too much dress, especially around the middle and its frankly the same blue as the splotches one finds in a laundry detergent ad. 

 The red, pink, purple and a little in between ladies. The red gowns were spot on and Viola Davis and Emma Stone look great in their vino colored dresses. I love Natalie Portman's pinky stunner and Jessia Alba picked an unexpected mauve hued Gucci (props to stylist Brad Goreski). Julianna Margulies looks sexy and simple in a sparkly column number and one of last night's winners, Octavia Spencer, looks lovely in lilac.

 And this next category I like to call safe stunners. All these ladies stuck to classic designs and crowd pleasing hues. I think Paula Patton was the only one of the night in yellow and Tina Fey nailed in a bright berry hue. These looks were about classic elegance, minimal jewelry and the red carpet favorite, the one armed pose. Congrats to all of you for knowing your not making any worst dressed lists!

And now to the bad and the ug-lay. Some of these looks came to close to nailing it. The purple dress on the far left is not actually a bad dress, but the color, UHG, such a Barney and Friends hue, it gives me flashbacks to my 1993 Barney obsession. Another flashback inducing gown belongs to Lea "Ice Castles" Michele, this look is muy feo. The worst part is Lea probably got all excited when her stylist suggest pushing the fashion envelope and she has such an inflated ego, she probably didn't notice till she got home that she picked a dud. "Don't Cry Out Loud" Lea, because no one like you anyways. Another dud, Madonna's pick. What was she thinking? She has a bangin bod and she chose to highlight it only from the waist up. This look had me thinking of Oscar the Grouch. From its metal-ly trashcan hue to the gross green bottom, Madonna can wear anything, so why this? This last look is not ugly but a case of a bad decision. Funny gal Melissa McCarthy breaks the size zero mold, but this dress is doing her no favors. I think maybe its her mullet like hairdo thats the biggest offense. For all these misses, better luck next time. 

January 15, 2012

House of Chanel

The Coveteur has a great feature on Gabrielle 'Coco' Chanel's Paris apartment. Located at 31 Rue Cambon, Coco's lair sat atop her eponymous shop and workrooms. The space served as a huge inspiration to Coco when she designed. Every surface is full of details that are often seen in Chanel collections, like camellia flowers and hints of lacquer. The mirrored Deco stairs are where Coco would sit, several steps up, when the collections were shown. The trick was she could see everyone in the audience and see there reactions, without anyone seeing her. Pretty clever right? 
Its nice to see a space that has been preserved and captures the essence of Coco in a time capsule like way. If those walls could talk, just think of the stories they could tell! Coco not only designed and worked in this space but loved to entertain friends like Elizabeth Taylor and Salvador Dali. Even cooler is the use of now iconic Chanel motifs which are scattered throughout the space. Play a little game of "I-Spy" to see how many you can find. Here's a hint...the photo of the chandelier is chock a block full of CC logos and no. 5's, just to name a few.

January 13, 2012

Chutes and Ladders

Because life is messy and complicated and has its ups and downs. Life would certainly be a lot more fun with a giant slide in your living room (and don't think I haven't tried!) Happy Weekend!

All images via Pinterest

January 12, 2012