What this season's runways trends really mean.
Thought you had fashion’s rules of proportion nailed? Well, this season is about to throw you a curve – a really voluminous one, complete with silhouettes that challenge the natural lines of the body. On runways from New York to Paris, power is the watchword. Follow the thread back and there’s a nod to the 1980s power shoulder à la Melanie Griffith as Tess in Working Girl or Grace Jones on the cover of her album Nightclubbing. Look to the present and you’ll see Hillary Clinton and her army of pantsuits stitched into this latest version of authoritative dressing.
Last fall, Demna Gvasalia, fashion’s newest enfant terrible, debuted his take on Cristóbal Balenciaga’s legendary sculptural shapes. He opened the show with a houndstooth skirtsuit equipped with shoulder pads and padded hips, imposing the hourglass shape. This season, he showed oversized blazers and trench coats, with the emphasis on the breadth of shoulders. A similar silhouette showed up at Jil Sander. Designer Rodolfo Paglialunga borrowed equally from the ’40s and the ’80s for a look that would certainly have appealed to Griffith’s Tess as she battled Wall Street’s male contingent to shatter the glass ceiling in corporate finance.
Phoebe Philo kept her signature Céline minimalism intact while playing with her version of a zoot suit: baggy high-waisted trousers and an oversized wide-lapel blazer. But she also provided a less formal take on the look by pairing her crisp-white boxy tailored jackets with leather culottes and printed maxiskirts – her suggestion on how to wear the jacket of the season outside an office environment. Despite being intimidating at first (as it’s meant to be), the shoulder-emphasizing jacket is as versatile as that boyfriend blazer you’ve been wearing for the past decade and can easily vibe with a pair of jeans for those I-just-threw-this-on days.
From left: Céline, Balenciaga & Isabel Marant Spring 2017 RTW
But the suit jacket is not the only authoritative garment that underwent deconstruction this season. The button-up dress shirt, a staple in every woman’s closet and a universal symbol of professionalism, also took on new shapes. Isabel Marant gave the crisp collarless button-up the same exaggerated shoulder of the power blazer du jour, with billowing rolled-up sleeves. She paired it with shiny high-waisted black pants for a slightly sinister look, but the pillowy shirt can easily be worn with breezy culottes, palazzo pants or a miniskirt on warmer days. Stella McCartney’s shirt/blazer hybrid is another ingenious semi-formal piece, paired beautifully with paper-bag-waist culottes. Burberry, Ellery and Marques’ Almeida gave their poufy sleeves extra oomph (bordering on pirate chic), best worn with slimmer pants or shorts. In some instances, the button-up featured a dropped hemline, transforming it into a shirtdress. But in the case of Rag & Bone and Hermès, it was layered over pants or leggings, keeping that utilitarian office look perhaps a more chill take on the power suit.
From left: Hermès, Marques' Almeida & Burberry Prorsum Spring 2017 RTW
The most surprising twist of the season? Adding a tool-belt-like bag (yes, a fanny pack!) and holster as a statement of convenience and independence. (Plus, they look majorly badass.) For two centuries, women’s mobility has been somewhat hindered by the handbag. While backpacks certainly serve their purpose, the design itself is too cumbersome for all occasions. When Carrie Bradshaw donned a monogrammed Gucci belt bag in Sex and the City, it was greeted with enthusiasm, only to be lost in the sea of It bags that followed. Still, it was bound to make a comeback. The new crop of fanny packs takes a more sophisticated appearance, working well with both formal and sporty ensembles. For Jil Sander, the waist pouch that looks like a miniature bucket bag fits with Paglialunga’s interpretation of the workforce wardrobes of powerful women. Marni’s Consuelo Castiglioni, who, like Paglialunga and Philo, focused on the pantsuit this season, took the idea of a waist bag to the extreme, with large poacher-pocket bags mounted on each hip in a more practical version of Gvasalia’s padding. The Marni woman has never shied away from so-called man-repelling pieces, and there is perhaps no stronger message than creating literal volume around oneself.
On a less monumental scale, Stella McCartney’s casual brown faux-leather belt pouches pair seamlessly with a leisurely spring wardrobe, be it an oversized pyjama-like ensemble or a pair of jeans. For a nighttime option, Barbara Bui’s shiny leather fanny packs will go splendidly with a little black dress – or any fancy frock, for that matter – like an ultra-modern wallet on a chain. Interestingly, it’s the female designers appropriating a stereotypically masculine gadget who concocted most of these tool bags.
A shift in fashion silhouettes isn’t going to solve gender inequality in the workplace. But it does take confidence to pull off these looks, whether worn in a full look as seen at Marni or opting for one dramatic garment at a time. And perhaps that’s the key: The power in these shapes emanates at least in part from the wearer, as she dons her armour and heads into battle.
Guess who Amber Tamblyn ran into at the Women's March this Saturday? (Other than hundreds of thousands of people taking to the streets to express their opposition to the new Trump administration).
Not one, but two of her "sisters" from the Travelling Pants franchise!
First, Tamblyn bumped into America Ferrera in Washington.
And then, via some kind of miracle of teleportation (seriously, how) Tamblyn was in New York, where she marched with "Sister 2", aka Blake Lively.
As for sister #3, aka Alexis Bledel: She's currently filming in Canada at the moment, so hold the conspiracy theories.
Angelina Jolie is the face of Guerlain's latest fragrance. Image by: Getty
Here's what we know so far.
Angelina Jolie has a new gig as the face of Guerlain's upcoming fragrance. The name of the perfume and details about the notes have not yet been released. Here's what we do know: According to the press release, the partnership was decided back in December 2015 while Jolie was directing a movie in Cambodia. Her first exposure to the brand was through her mother, who loved their powder. Perfumer Thierry Wasser was inspired by the actress/director to create a scent that expressed "the notes of a woman." Jolie donated the money she made from the campaign, which will launch in March, to charity.
We will update this post as we learn more.
Carli Whitwell and her husband attempt to find some common holiday ground.
I came to the realization that my husband and I are vacation incompatible when we were on our honeymoon. We were in the crumbling, romantic seaside city of Syracuse in Sicily. I was jonesing for a little loungey beach time, preferably with my new BFFs: cassata (a ricotta sponge cake) and espresso. But Tim had hunted down an archaeology museum, so instead I found myself wandering after him through its dusty corridors for hours.
So we divorced. Kidding! But to avoid future tantrums – mine, not his – we devised a plan. Going forward, we’d divide all vacations: 50 percent sightseeing, 50 percent slothing.
We tested out the approach on a recent getaway in Napa Valley and San Francisco. A road trip, I reasoned, would ensure that I could hop in the car and hightail it to the nearest beach if Tim pulled the museum sneak attack. It might not come as a surprise that Napa (wine, sunshine, spas, swimming) is my thing. There are 501 wineries in the county, and according to our tour guide, David, “There isn’t a bad glass of Cab Sauv.” Challenge accepted, sir.
The author and her husband. Image by: Ford Canada
First up: sightseeing. Our Napa time began with a visit to Elizabeth Spencer Winery. This mom-and-pop operation doesn’t grow its own grapes; rather, it sources them from local vineyards. Spencer’s was my kind of tasting: We were served in a tree-lined courtyard. For those who prefer the romance of a wine tour, I’d recommend Davis Estates. It’s the passion project of Mike Davis, a gregarious-cowboy type who made it big in the tech boom and then went into the wine biz – for fun. The tour is worth it to see his palatial manor alone; apparently some state senators had stopped by the week before. A blissful Tim took so many photos his iPhone died. Meanwhile, I powered through until I found a comfy hanging chair on the terrace overlooking the valley.
Round two: sloth mode. You won’t find any impersonal 500-room hotels in Napa; it is mostly B&Bs or small resorts. We stayed at the ultra-luxe Calistoga Ranch – think summer camp for millionaires – which has just 50 rooms. They call the rooms “lodges,” which is apt because they’re bigger than my condo and feature outdoor fireplaces, outdoor showers and hot tubs. It’s also worth noting that the resort is in a forest, so it smells like you’re inside a cedar-scented candle. We wrapped up our stay with a deep-tissue couples massage in the ranch’s Auberge Spa, after which I nearly cried because I didn’t want to leave.
The Golden Gate Bridge. Image by: Getty
Next up: city sightseeing. Knowing we were headed into his territory, Tim appeased me by letting me drive. I dawdled as much as I could, taking a leisurely, winding route into the city before hitting all the classic tourist stops – Golden Gate Bridge, Fisherman’s Wharf, AT&T Park (the stadium where Kanye proposed to Kim, so obvs a must-stop) and the OG hippie haunt, Haight-Ashbury. (FYI, Deadheads: 2017 marks the 50th anniversary of the Summer of Love, and the city is hosting exhibitions and festivals all year long.)
Today’s San Fran is not the Full House iteration you grew up with. It’s now a home base for booming neighbour Silicon Valley, and apartments here cost more than their Manhattan equivalents. The people-watching is just as good as the Big Apple’s: Over truffle fries and a glass of Cab Sauv in the St. Regis hotel, I’m pretty sure we saw at least five app-development deals go down.
San Francisco's "Painted Ladies" on "Postcard Row" Image by: Istock
As the city has evolved, so, too, has the food scene. The region now boasts 49 Michelin-starred restos. We ended our getaway with a meal at the buzzy Twenty Five Lusk, which recently got a thumbs-up from Barack Obama. “Nobody comes here once,” our guide had told us about the city. Turns out not even sedentary vacationers like me can resist it. We’re already planning our next trip.
JOY RIDE Your road trip is only as good as your wheels. Here are my three must-haves.
The 2017 Lincoln Continental Image by: Ford Canada
1. Comfy seats. We test drove the 2017 Lincoln Continental, and I can report that the leather seats were as soft as the marshmallow-like bed in my Napa lodge. They also boast back massagers.
2. A good sound system. The Lincoln’s 10 speakers ensure you can always play Rihanna at full blast, as she should be.
3. A jacked-up dashboard. Among its many tricks, it shows the speed limit of the road you’re on. This is helpful when you’re pulling a Jack Kerouac and have no idea where you are or how fast you should be going.
This article originally appeared in the February 2017 issue of ELLE Canada.