Monday, February 28, 2011

Oscars: What I Would Wear

One of my Twitter followers challenged me to say what I would wear, and I thought, you know? That's really fair. I should have probably posted this before the show, since I now have an unfair advantage, but here are three looks I pulled together with some cursory perusing around and 1st Dibs. So here goes:

If I were.... A First-time Nominee

 This dress was my favorite in Elie Saab's collection, which also yielded Mila Kunis's lavender dress. I love its movement, its hint of sexiness, but romantic neckline. Red, as we know, is played out, but this is just so lovely, I couldn't resist!

I think I'd like to keep the romantic look going and go for these unexpected pearls. I love the geometric pattern, and it seems like gold/pearls never get their due on the red carpet. I love platinum and diamonds, but you know...let's stretch a little.

If I were ... A Presenter

This Monique Lhuillier isn't ground-breaking by any means, but it moves beautifully, looks comfortable, has an interesting color and comes with pretty jewelry! I think it would look great on camera, and I can just see it with a smoky amethyst eye.
A dress like that might not even need jewelry, but if it did, I think this art deco Cartier bracelet would do the trick.

If I Were ... A Nominee's Date

I love the intriguing color and understated elegance of this Donna Karan gown. It wouldn't detract from my date, who would be having his moment in the sun, but could get me more attention than the average wifey on the carpet.

I'd pair it with these somewhat matchy, but super amazing aquamarine art deco earrings. They would demand a second look.

If I Were ... The Favorite to Win, 
With a Couple Nominations Under My Belt

Most of us mere mortals will never get a chance to wear frou-frou, poufy couture. I'd own my moment and wear this Marchesa. Yes, it's feathers. Yes, it's a bit much. But does it get more "Cinderella moment" than that? Nope, didn't think so.

A dress like that might not need bling, but I'm not sure I could resist these Georgian rose-cut diamond earrings. They hint of nights at Versailles.

So? What do you think? Any of you have your Oscar dress picked out? How about that Thank You speech? I'm from the South, so I'd be thanking my momma and God, obviously.

Oscar Fashion 2011

So, the show was pretty meh last night, right? I thought Anne Hathaway came off as a hammy suck-up (not to say she isn't talented...she is) and James Franco seemed like he wanted to be anywhere but there. The production sucked, too. The montages seemed like they were cut and pasted from previous telecasts, the script was awful, the presenters seemed like they didn't get to rehearse enough and splitting the song category up was just dumb. BUT, there was fashion, was there not? So let's talk about it!


I think there is something to be said for awards show fatigue. I've been watching most of the awards shows for nearly 20 years now, so I tend to have somewhat unrealistic expectations when it comes to fashion. I want my breath taken away! Gwyneth Paltrow, in Calvin Klein, did that for me. She just looks straight up fierce. That fit is flawless, the color is glitzy, the brooch adds interest and she looks like who she needed to be for the night: a performer who wasn't nominated.

So my co-worker took one look at Cate Blanchett's edgy Givenchy Haute Couture and said, "ew, blech." I know some people on the Twitter said she had a picture frame around her boobs, and someone else said the jewels looked like growths. But you know what? I freakin loved it. Cate is one of a handful of people who can look at couture and say, "Yep, I can rock that" and find a way to translate it with ease to the red carpet. The dress hung and moved beautifully, and her haircut was bangin, too.

Amy Adams looked old-school glamorous in this super sparkly L'Wren Scott gown. I was an eensy bit annoyed by the necklace; for some reason I have just always hated y-necklaces over crew necks, but her hair was glorious and that dress looked amazing on camera. Plus, 500 points for color.

Natalie Portman's Rodarte gown was a gorgeous color, elegant and looked comfortable, which is great for a pregnant woman. I won't lie...Catherine Zeta-Jones is still my favorite pregnant Oscar winner, but this really lovely. I just needed something a little more...BAM. But I'm giving her the pregnancy pass.

I know we've seen this dress a few times, but I just LOVED Hailee Stanfield's Marchesa gown, which she had a hand in designing. It was exactly what I would have wanted to wear when I was 15, and also maybe my dream wedding dress. She'll never have regrets about this one.

My life goal is to grow up to be Helen Mirren. This Vivienne Westwood was age appropriate, but also sexy as hell, and did all the right things for her. The sleeves also emphasized her new short hairsdo to great effect, and gunmetal just slays me.

I thought Mandy Moore looked ethereal and elegant in this Monique Lhuillier. It was definitely safe, and I'm pretty sure someone wears a variation of this dress every year, but the styling was excellent and she seemed regal on the red carpet.

I like this Michelle Williams' Chanel gown more every time I see it. She's really rocking the Mia Farrow hair and the dress was sleek without being boring. I love that she resisted the urge to accessorize the crap out of it, as I would have done.

I lurved this Elie Saab gown on the runway, but in practice, it looked like an FCC violation waiting to happen. I also thought the color seemed a little dull on Mila, but for a first-timer, this was a good showing.

Let's get this out of the way. Jennifer Lawrence did everything about her first Oscars right. She didn't come dressed to win, because she knew better. She arrived early so she'd actually get a chance to talk without competing for attention. And she wore something that hugged her long limbs, and just generally made her look like a Baywatch babe.

BUT, and this is a big but, I was totally irked by this because I wanted someone to point out that we've seen this dress before. What you don't remember? Check this out. I just need a little more creativity for the Oscars, you know?

I wasn't really dying over Jennifer Hudson's orange Versace, but it's certainly not bad, and girl gets major kudos on the body. The cleavage made me feel an eensy bit awkward, though.

Sandra played it a bit safe in this red Vera Wang, but in a night of red dresses, I thought this was maybe the best. She also resisted the urge to drape herself in diamonds. Do you think she could have used a little bling?

And although I think we can all agree that Anne was like a scrappy Rachel Berry wannabe all night, her haute couture Givenchy dress was gorgeous. 

Anne's red Valentino didn't do it for me, though. I thought it looked like an amalgamation of every red dress she's ever worn, with a bit of duvet magic thrown in.

Under normal circumstances, I might be dazzled by this frothy Marchesa, but on Halle Berry, I was yawning. She wears spangly, frothy nude-colored dresses every where. I feel like I've seen this 1 million times. I get that we're all attracted to certain things, but I'd love to see her wear a hot color, like a fuschia or electric blue. She has the complexion to wear any color!

I always think of Hilary Swank as a sort of boring also-was-there girl on the red carpet. I loved her own Oscar-winning bronze dress, but this was so done. I swear Penelope Cruz has worn that three times.

I keep flip-flopping on Nicole's dress. I remember really loving it when it came down the Christian Dior Haute Couture runway, but in practice, it just kind of moved awkwardly and didn't seem to fit like the proverbial glove. It seemed like a hybrid between Renee Zellweger's winner dress and a kimono, and maybe a tablecloth and I just wasn't sure. I do, however, love the bright shoe.

Honey, No

Florence Welch seems to only wear Victorian nightgowns stained with tea. This dress was Valentino couture, and unlike the others, I didn't like it on the runway either. I think she might also hate her boobs, because she seems to insist on never supporting them properly.

Marisa, I love vintage as much as the next girl. But you know how sometimes, you find a great dress on the hanger at the vintage store and you push yourself into it, and the bust line feels strangely high and the stomach part barely fits and the tulle seems kind of dingy with age? That's what happened here. Even her face seems to say, "Yeah, I know guys, but I'm here and I have to at least try to sell it. Please stop judging me."

Melissa Leo's Marc Bouwer dress a doily masterpiece? An angel's dressing robe? Composed of first-graders' paper snowflakes? Sigh.

Reese looks like a Barbie bridesmaid. I literally remember people wearing this bridesmaid's dress, except theirs weren't by Armani.

I honestly don't have much to say about Scarlett Johansson's dress except that I hated it the minute I saw it; I hate the tone-on-tone pattern, I hate the weird, weird thing it did to her boobs, I hate her eye make-up, I hate her "I just swam at the beach" hairsdo...I just hate.

I love when Sharon Stone leaves the house because she reminds me of a real-life Cruella DeVille. I like feathers as much as the next person but she literally looks like she's molting. The Tippi Hedron in the Byrds hairdo didn't help the effect, either.

Annnnnnnnnnnd my favorite of the worst: Sunrise Ruffalo, wearing Two Face Couture.

So what did you guys think? Kinda boring year, right? And it really shouldn't have been. Coming up later: I'll subject myself to criticism! Someone tweeted me to say, "Well, what would you have worn?!" and I'll tell ya, I don't back down from a challenge.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Sunday Best v.50

Well, friends, it's my favorite TV event of the year: the OSCARS! The Oscars are my Super Bowl, and I have only missed the show once since I was in 3rd grade. My family had a tradition, started when I was in middle or high school, of filling out ballots and competing to see who picked the best. Sean and I have continued this tradition, but the winner gets to eat wherever they want for dinner. You can check out my ballot here.

I'll also be tweeting the Oscars @amberfi. That picture above, by the way, is Gregory Peck, my personal sex god, and Sophia Loren.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Watercolor Inspiration

My facebook friends know that I've recently come down with a serious case of painting frenzy. As you may recall, my friend Arthur suggested I pick watercolor painting back up for the first time in five years. I started out really bad (like, REALLY) but was sort of amazed and surprised myself when I started to improve quickly. I've been painting animals, but I have visions of someday painting funny portraits and rooms and houses and more. I thought I'd share some artists who have been inspiring me lately:
 Caitlin McGauley does the most incredible interior-inspired paintings for Lonny Magazine, and whimsical illustrations for Kate Spade and Tory Burch.

Melissa Ebert paints inspired flowers, like this batik-influenced one.

Stina Persson is the master of a beautiful bleed, and controlling white space.

Samantha Hahn captures gesture in her amazing fashion-inspired works.

Dallas Shaw creates whimsical fashion-inspired work. It reminds me of the stuff I liked to draw when I was little.

Sujean Rim Bruno is famous for her work with Daily Candy and Target; I used to stare at my Daily Candy emails, trying to figure out her secret!

And we must always pay homage to our forebears:
 Egon Schiele ...

And Andy Warhol!
And last but not least, here is one of my recent favorites I did: a pink Bourke parrot.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Today I like ... Flemish Style

I love finding inspiration from other eras and thinking about ways it could be updated for now. That doesn't stop at historic home tours or museum exhibits; before we had photographs, artists did a great job of documenting the decor styles of their periods. 

I'm particularly inspired by the work of Jan Van Eyck, who captured the simple, yet refined style of the wealthy Flemish folks in the 15th Century. I particularly love the vivid colors and rich fabrics, paired with rustic wood and plain walls in Arnolfini Portrait

Get the Look
I think it would be unwise to slavishly recreate the room above, but there are easy ways to incorporate the vibe, especially the non-Christmasy pairing of red and green.

  1. A little bit of green goes a long way with this botanical fern pillow, $59 at Pottery Barn.
  2. This IKEA four-poster bed is a great modern tribute to the old classic. $299 at IKEA.
  3. Frame the bed with this classic convex mirror, $85 at Kitchen Source, of all places.
  4. A carved wood chair like that in the painting would be hard to come by, but take inspiration from the idea of a heavy, unique wood chair beside the bed. I like this bobbin armchair from Hollywood at Home.
  5. Hang these affordable IKEA velvet curtains on the posts, and behind the bed for serious drama. $70 a pair at IKEA.
  6. An antique Anatolian rug would bring the whole room together. $999 at ABC Carpet and Home.
  7. I forgot to include this in the mood board, but this Ethan Allen brass chandelier would bring great drama to the mix.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

I Spy: A. Dodson's

My friend Lauren has been talking up A. Dodson's, a decor and fashion shop in Suffolk, for more than a year now. I don't make it that way very often, but Sean and I decided to be adventurous and travel the back roads of Hampton Roads on Saturday.

A. Dodson's, luckily, is on U.S. 17, so it's not really on a back road. Like Anthropologie, its store displays are inventive, creative and artistic, which makes the store a destination for anyone who thinks shopping is an experience. The walls are lined with burlap, feathers, fake vines and paper flowers and leaves. It's mesmerizing!

I just snapped a few shots of some of my favorite things in and about the store. They have plenty of botanical and nature prints, glass cloches and ceramic birds. I liked the butterfly prints above.

But my heart really leaped for this red wire pendant lamp, only $700 (eek!). I picture it over my very favorite dream dining table, the Louis Zinc table by John Reeves.

This garden-inspired room was magical I couldn't get a not-blurry picture of it!

Feather-lined walls!

And crinkled paper leaves!

I have a weakness for pewter and brass animals; I was in love with these metal pheasants.

The store also sells antiques; this Hoosier chest was updated with a moroccan print fabric and crystal knob.

And Sean pointed out this book, which could literally be my life mantra.

A. Dodson's is located at 2948 Bridge Road, Suffolk, VA.