Sunday, February 8, 2009

Art Deco Digs

photo detail of Chanel and Armani Prive Couture Spring 2008 Collection (

Although New Year’s Day has passed and 2009 is going full throttle, don’t turn your back on 2008 quite yet—and never ever turn your back on anything Armani Prive Couture.
Dressy, art-deco apparel from Spring 2008 Collections are still stylish and inspiring: Chanel’s line utilized mass amounts of shiny sequins and detailed, beaded fans; Armani’s own line featured decadent belt buckles and broach-like center pieces attached to structured, geometrically constructed dresses—dresses that challenge the Chrysler Building itself for it’s well-known position as Art Deco King.

This fabulous, prosperous Art Deco period lasted nearly 35 years, spanning 4 decades from 1911 to 1946. Changing times allowed for growth in American design and new, youthful fashion began. As waistlines moved from below the bust to just at the hips, Chanel rose to top trendsetter; crazy seam lines, embellished draping, gauze, beads, and feathers topped supply lists; leather, knit, and rayon became fabrics of choice.
So, what can you choose? How can you go deco?

Incorporating the art-deco vibe into a wearable wardrobe is simple, chic, and fun. Audrey Hepburn and Marlene Dietrich themselves approved—sporting fitted trousers and broad shouldered tops for the first time.
-Look for high-waist pants with tapered legs to emphasize an hourglass shape. Trousers ought to be fitted so the female form does not disappear entirely.
-Drop-waist, flapper-like dresses are excellent—if you’ve the lean figure for it.
-Shirt-dresses are an easy, comfortable way to incorporate the crisp, geometric lines popular in the art-deco era.
-Evening wear that is tight, but still embellished with funky seams and drapes is key. And look for a open-back—the erotic zone of this period.
-Keep in mind exotic influences—art deco is brave, bold, and sensuous. Women—be empowered and try new styles with confidence.

Self-expression and fashionable, art-deco dressing is easy to achieve via accessories, which took off during this clothing-rationed time (Ah! I’d give up and politely scream, ‘Jail me, just don’t take my Limited Design Edition Jimmy Choo Crocodile Clutch!’).
-Look for Egyptian themed jewelry, scarab beetles, natural stones (like turquoise and coral), and gold.
-Do not over-accessorize if your outfit is already on the art-deco edge of cosume-y. All those beads and feathers, seams and layers can be overpowering. Don’t loose your feminine shape. “Too much going on” is not the point, nor a flattering description wanted by any recipient.

For a super-easy art-deco vibe, try altering your make-up. By changing your daily shadow color or lip pigment, you will be surprised at the different look achieved. Pick out a fun, vibrant color; new, different shades and shapes highlight your natural features. Expressive, poignant shade variations can embolden your eyes and lips. A fresh color palette is illuminating.
-Stream-line your eye make-up. Don’t attempt a smoky eye, rather think ‘tidy eyes.’ The geometric cleanliness of art-deco will come through best with perfectly penciled eye-liner and some dark-black mascara.
-Wear bright red, 40s style lipstick—perfectly applied. Try a lip-stain for better placement. You’ll only have to apply it meticulously once.
-Try “Lilac Impressions,” a new color palette by the make-up line Art Deco itself. It is a twist on modern art deco, a face fit for 2009.

Further Elements, Icons, Influences, and Ideas:
-Sharp, crisp, structured, clean
-High-waist pants, drop-waist dress
-Polish painter Tamara de Lempicka
-Lauren Bacall
-Geometric details, especially in accessories

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