October 31, 2011

An Interview with Kaelen Haworth

Photo Credits: KAELEN S/s '12 Presentation via 2.bp; all other photos - Courtesy of KAELEN

Toronto native Kaelen Haworth launched her namesake brand, KAELEN, in 2010 after working for Stella McCartney, Jenni Kayne and MTV. The New York-based designer's spring 2012 collection has an ethereal, folkloric feel to it with a hint of something darker.

Kaelen Haworth of KAELEN talks about the inspiration behind her spring collection, favorite songs at the moment, and style icons in an exclusive interview with Young Sophisticates.

YS: How did your time working at Jenni Kayne and Stella McCartney shape you as a designer?

Kaelen: Both companies were very different, so being at both helped me a lot. It was really helpful for me to understand the growth of a business and how I would want my company to evolve. I have so much respect for both companies both in their aesthetics and also their business direction.

YS: How would you describe your design aesthetic?

Kaelen: My design aesthetic is definitely modern, and I focus a lot on fabrics and textures, so it has a lot of depth in that regard. I like to experiment with asymmetry, proportion etc. so the silhouettes are often a little ‘off’ or different. I like to keep things on the cleaner side so that the pieces can be very personal to the wearer. I want the person who wears my clothes to feel as though it was effortless to get dressed.

YS: What’s your fall uniform?

Kaelen: I don’t really have a fall uniform, because I think fall is the best season for trying new things and switching it up because you get such a plethora of temperatures and weather. I usually make the switch to pants and long skirts, and I always love a scarf. Sweaters I wear year-round, but they get bigger and more prevalent in fall because there is a short window. In the winter, I can’t wear outrageously big and chunky sweaters because they mess up my outerwear game.

YS: Do you only wear your own designs? What other designers do you like to wear?

Kaelen: I don’t only wear my designs. Firstly, I haven’t been around long enough to cover every eventuality in dressing. Second, I love fashion and find it very inspiring, and I appreciate other designers so much. I think you also have to be able to appreciate and get excited about a different point of view.

I love Rick Owens, A Détacher, Isabel Marant, Current/Elliott for denim, and Electric Feathers.

YS: KAELEN Spring 2012 collection has a very ethereal, folkloric feel to it – almost reminiscent of a woodland nymph. At the same time, there’s a hint of something
darker going on. How would you describe your Spring/Summer 2012 collection?

Kaelen: You pretty much nailed it! It is softer than past seasons, both in color but also in silhouette. I carried over some things that people responded very well to (pleating, strong prints etc.) and took it into a more feminine realm. I like taking something very feminine by nature and taking the frill or girliness out of it. Like the bias dress with the ink blot print. To me, it’s feminine without being too sweet.

YS: What was the inspiration behind the spring collection?

Kaelen: I was feeling a little more romantic than I had in the past, and I wanted it to be very airy and beautiful but not without depth. I wanted it to feel a little haunted in a way that you couldn’t quite put your finger on.

YS: In terms of color palette, the spring collection consists of mainly cream and nude. Are you normally drawn to a neutral color palette?

Kaelen: I’m learning that about myself, yes. I always have these big color aspirations, but I respond so much more to a tonal color story. I love color, it just has to fit into what I’m feeling without being forced. I think I prefer brighter colors in the fall as opposed to the spring collections, which seems a bit backward now that I think about it.

YS: What was your favorite piece in the spring collection?

Kaelen: I loved the cropped macrame top with the floor length fringe (pictured at left). It’s definitely a challenge, but that is what I love about it. Also there is a lot you can do with that much fringe. The options are endless.

YS: What was the most challenging piece to design in the spring collection?

Kaelen: The print pieces were tough. Placing a print on a garment was challenging because the print was large, the fabric was narrow, the silhouette had to change a bit. But it worked out for the best, I think. It ended up being better than what I had originally planned for.

YS: What kind of woman wears your clothes?

Kaelen: The woman who wears my clothes has a strong sense of personal style and is not easily swayed by trends. That said, she’s experimental and open to changing things up.

YS: Who are your style icons?

Kaelen: Lauren Bacall is one - I like that she always looks powerful. She didn’t dilute things with a ton of accessories and always looked impeccable. Right now I also love Florence Welch. I find musicians really inspiring. Their style is more tangible because you get a complete sense of it from the music, the videos and even the stage presence.

YS: What are some of your favorite songs, at the moment?

Kaelen: Charlotte Gainsbourg - Terrible Angels, Kanye & Jay Z - The Joy, Florence + The Machine - Shake it out, Fleetwood Mac - Never Going Back Again, Robyn - Call Your Girlfriend, Feist - The Bad in Each Other, The Rapture - It Takes Time to be a Man. I need new music though - I’m a serious music fanatic and I need to find new stuff constantly. Totally open to suggestions!

YS: Before attending Parsons School of Design, you received a degree in English literature. What are some of your favorite books?

Kaelen: East of Eden, The Great Gatsby, Shantaram, A Separate Peace, The Shadow Lines. I’m a huge book nerd. I love to read. I’ll read when I get home from a bar at 3 am. I honestly think there are few things in this world that are better than a good book.

YS: You’re wearing awesome glasses in your Twitter profile picture (@kaelenNYC). Do you wear those on a daily basis out of necessity, or are they a fashion statement?

Kaelen: Thank you! They are both a necessity and a fashion statement. I have pretty bad eyesight. But I love wearing glasses and have a million pairs, so it works out ok.

October 28, 2011

YS Look of the Week

Photo Credit: via whowhatwear

Keira Knightley at "A Dangerous Method" movie premiere at BFI London Film Festival, wearing a dress designed by Roksanda Ilincic.

What do you think of this look?

Matt Bernson Shoe Giveaway Winner

Photo Credit: Matt Bernson Basile Blade Boots, $244

Congratulations, Jamie! You are the winner of the Matt Bernson Shoe Giveaway!!

Thank you to everyone who entered the giveaway & remember to keep entering more Young Sophisticates giveaways. There will be plenty more to come!

If you'd like to browse or shop Matt Bernson boots and shoes, click here.

October 27, 2011

Style Q&A: Capes

Dear Young Sophisticates,
Are capes currently in style? I've been seeing capes on display at a lot of stores. If so, what are some affordable options?

Yes! Capes are on trend at the moment, and the perfect transitional piece to wear this time of the year. Weather permitting, you can wear your cape this fall and winter to give your look a classic cool finish.

For under $50, this affordable Charlotte Russe camel colored cape is classic and totally chic. Camel never goes out of style. So, why not buy a cape in such a classic color? Wear this cape with a trendier outfit and it will instantly give your outfit more of a Grace Kelly style vibe.

Another option for under $50: shop ASOS' bright tartan cape in yellow- it's bold, dramatic and demands attention in bright yellow tartan.

Photo Credit: via tumblr; BB Dakota Cape via Piperlime

At under $150, I have one fabulous option for you: BB Dakota Calhoun Cape. The cape pictured above screams hello fall! while maintaining a classic style sensibility. It also feels a bit English to me as well. Love that! P.S. it's one of Rachel Zoe's picks as well.
Photo Credit: Nanette Lepore Sweater Cape via Nordstrom

I know you said "affordable options," but for those readers willing to splurge on a stunning cape, this brilliant purple Milly cape is straight up Blair Waldorf. It's gorgeous, and I love a coat or cape with color since that's what the world sees of your outfit when it's cold outside.

Last but not least, I'd be remiss if I didn't include another designer option - Nanette Lepore Sweater Cape (pictured above) - it's totally my favorite of all the options. The creme color and buttons are perfection!

Now, how to style it. With jeans and t-shirt (Natalie Portman has worn it this way). With a cute top, fancy shorts, and black opaque tights (Blake Lively has worn it this way). With black cigarette pants and a ladylike top. The possibilities are endless.

October 26, 2011

Living Room Inspiration

Photo Credit: via tumblr

Today's post is all about interior design inspiration. The perfect living room. Whatever you fancy, these stylish spaces are sure to inspire!

As some of you may already know, I am now writing a column over at La Dolce Vita called "The Luxe Report." La Dolce Vita is one of my favorite interior design blogs, and I am thrilled to be writing a column all about luxury trends in fashion and interior design.

Have you already read my interview with Michelle Nussbaumer? Michelle is one of the top interior designers in the US, and she graciously shares interior design tips with Young Sophisticates.

The living room is really the heart of the home, in my opinion. I appreciate living rooms with modern elegance mixed with traditional pieces here and there.

How about you? How would you describe your design aesthetic when it comes to the living room?

October 25, 2011

Sophisticated Slippers for Every Budget

Velvet loafers are the hottest new trend in footwear. Think the slipper-style shoe is best left for lounging around your house? Think again. You can wear velvet loafers (or slippers made of other materials) to brunch, out shopping, anywhere really.

The menswear inspired shoes are quirky cool and require lots of confidence. Find the perfect pair for you with the Young Sophisticates guide. C'mon, you know you want to try this trend.

Here's the guide to Slippers/Loafers for Every Budget:

FREE: The leopard print loafers (pictured at the end of the post) could be yours for free! Yes, really - if you win the Matt Bernson Shoe Giveaway. But, hurry, you only have a few days left to enter. Details on how to enter here. (Note: this pair of Matt Bernson loafers retails for $165.)

Around $25: Lulu's Black Velvet Loafers are anything but basic. At this price, you can try the trend without splurging. And, the black velvet loafers will go with everything!

Under $50: Urban Outfitters Woven Loafers feel unique, and will instantly give your outfit a not-too-precious look. Add a dose of sartorial style to an otherwise basic everyday t-shirt & jeans combo. P.S., the tassel detail on the shoe is awesome.

Around $150: Charles Philip "Sylvie" Tassel Suede Loafers give off a prep school meets eclectic style vibe. The royal blue tassel really adds a pop of color to the otherwise bison brown suede shoe, resulting in the right amount of panache.

Photo Credit: via Stubbs & Wooten

Designer: Olivia Palermo is wearing Stubbs & Wooten slippers in the photo on the left. Stubbs & Wooten Louie Burgundy V are extremely luxe-looking. The deep, rich burgundy color of the shoe is on trend for fall. You really can't go wrong with a dazzling pair from Stubbs & Wooten - as you can see from the shoes pictured above.

When you're trying to figure out how to style your loafers, I recommend substituting the loafers for your usual ballerina flats. Skinny black cigarette pants work well with velvet loafers. Or, wear a loose fitting blouse with tight, skinny jeans - velvet loafers look fantastic when paired with denim.
Photo Credits: Olivia Palermo via outfitidentifier; Matt Bernson Gitanes Leopard Pony Hair, $165

Love these leopard print loafers pictured above? Enter for a chance to win leopard print loafers or another pair of Matt Bernson shoes of your choice. Details on how to enter here.

October 24, 2011

An Interview with Michelle Nussbaumer

Michelle Nussbaumer is a Dallas-based interior designer, with design projects around the globe. She was named as one of the five most influential Women in Design by Elle Décor in 2009.

I recently stopped by her showroom, Ceylon et Cie, in Dallas' Design District, which is open to the public. I was totally blown away by the beautiful, unusual finds from all over the world.

Michelle shares her interior design expertise with Young Sophisticates in an exclusive interview all about design.

YS: At Ceylon et Cie, there seem to be many different global influences on your interior design. Do your travels influence your design aesthetic? What parts of the world do you find most inspiring?

Michelle: Absolutely, anywhere, everywhere! I am most inspired by my travels to exotic places and seeing the undiscovered.

Photo Credits: Courtesy of Michelle Nussbaumer; Ceylon et Cie showroom photos taken by Young Sophisticates

YS: What are some design trends that you currently love?

Michelle: I don’t follow trends, I try to start them! Right now I am loving anything emerald green and faux-bois patterns.

YS: Your design philosophy is “more is more.” Do you maintain that philosophy when it comes to your personal style in terms of clothing? Or, do you favor more minimalist looks?
Michelle: I love accessories and lots of jewelry, unique patterns and bold colors, but not necessarily all at once. No matter my outfit, I pile on the accessories- Moghul diamond bangles, vintage jewelry and scarves, sourced on my travels.

YS: Ikat print is so popular right now in fashion and in interior design. What’s the best way to incorporate ikat into a living space?

Throw pillows are any easy way to update your space. My Chevron Ikat throw pillows (pictured at left) liven up any space, for under $100!

YS: For readers on a tight budget, what are some luxurious small items that can give a space a more glamorous feel?

Michelle's Picks:
  • 1930's Mexican Ceramics
  • Vintage Textiles (pictured at right)
  • African Baskets
YS: What are the best pieces of furniture to invest in? What items do you think you can spend less on?

Michelle: It’s best to invest in dining tables and casegoods. These are pieces you keep forever.

Save on upholstered pieces. You can find great vintage sofas and chairs and update them with upholstery.

YS: What are your favorite places across the US to shop for treasured finds?

Michelle's Shopping Spots:
Blackman Cruz in Los Angeles; JF Chen in Los Angeles; [and] bazaars and flea markets in any city I'm visiting.

YS: There was a beautiful vase of blue hydrangeas on display at Ceylon et Cie that really livened up the space. What other types of flowers do you favor?

Michelle: Peonies are my favorite. I also love roses, originating in Damascus.

YS: How can readers find out more about you and your design services?

Michelle: Just ask! We have a new website that will be launching in October, stop by the showroom and say hello!

If you aren't able to visit Michelle Nussbaumer's Dallas showroom (Ceylon et Cie) in person, check out Ceylon et Cie on 1stdibs.com.

October 21, 2011

Look for Less: Elegant Entryway

Much like fashion, I am most drawn to monochromatic looks. This entryway, designed by fabulous interior designer Jennifer Ferreira of Ferreira Design, shows why it is so appealing. Jennifer’s mix of textures and her use of black make this room unexpected as well as elegant.

Black is often overlooked as a wall color. However an entryway, especially a smaller one, is the perfect place to make bold color choices. Just look at how the walls help showcase the white elements in the space, especially the molding.

Graham & Brown offers a lovely black damask print wallpaper (pictured below) that has the classic feel you need to pull off this room. If you’re not a fan of wallpaper, paint is an easy alternative. Ralph Lauren Paint in Bone Black or Galvanized are both gorgeous options.

I am a huge fan of lacquer. The high gloss finish of the entryway furnishings complements the room’s traditional wallpaper. ZGallerie’s Angelique Mirror has the antique silhouette and contemporary finish needed to achieve this look.

If you want to achieve a more contemporary look, West Elm’s Convex Mirror in black is perfect. West Elm’s option has less intricate detail which puts its shiny black finish in the spotlight. I must admit, I never shy away from a DIY project. If you share love of a good craft project, try covering an antique mirror with a few coats of Rust-Oleum Gloss Black Lacquer Spray.

Photo Credits: via 2.bp; Graham & Brown Black Damask Print Wallpaper

Last but not least, every entryway needs a great table to greet visitors with pretty things. Target’s East End Avenue Console Table offers a modern option for fans of clean lines. For those who are drawn more to the traditional feel of this room, Sears Antique Black Console Table is a better choice. Add some white accessories or flowers and you’ll have a monochromatic entryway to die for in no time!

Get more of Marche's tips on interior design, fashion and more at her fabulous blog, EyeCandy. And, remember to look for her interior design column here on Young Sophisticates!

October 20, 2011

Trend Report: Colorful Cords

Add colorful cords to the top of your shopping list.

J. Crew has a fantastic selection of colorful corduroy pants - including matchstick, high-waisted skinnies, and boot cut.

If your nervous about wearing corduroy pants because of fit issues, try some flare leg corduroy pants - like Levi's cords - also budget-friendly at under $50.

Flare cords totally on trend, and definitely more flattering (for most women) than skinny cords.

Already own a pair of corduroy pants? It's time to pull out those cords out of your closet & proudly wear them as part of your fall off-duty look.

Remember when I talked about how bright pants are the new big thing for fall? The trend also applies to cords!

Wear bright cord pants, like CURRENT/ELLIOTT hot pink cords (pictured below) with a slight flare. The hot pink color is amazing!!

P.S. I recently interviewed CURRENT/ELLIOTT designers Emily Current and Meritt Elliott - read their style tips here.

Photo Credits: Rachel Bilson via onsugar; J Brand via mytheresa.com

Want to evoke a similar style vibe as Rachel Bilson's maroon cords? Try these J Brand merlot skinny cords - the merlot color is so rich, and perfect for your fall color palette.

Photo Credit: CURRENT/ELLIOTT hot pink cords (pictured above) - mytheresa.com - shop here

Rachel Bilson paired her maroon cords with cool lace-up boots. Speaking of boots, remember to enter the Matt Bernson Shoe Giveaway, where one winner will receive one pair of shoes OR one pair of boots from shoe designer Matt Bernson. The winner will be able to choose her favorite pair of Matt Bernson shoes or boots as the prize.

Oh, and I should mention, Gisele, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kate Hudson have all been spotted wearing Matt Bernson footwear. Enter the shoe giveaway now until October 17 on this blog. Get the details on how to enter the giveaway here.

October 19, 2011

An Interview with Designer Lynne Hiriak

Lynne Hiriak is the designer of CARDIGAN by Lynne Hiriak, a singular knitwear concept dedicated to cardigans.

Lynne's passion for cardigans is clear: her personal collection of cardigans hovers at around 200 pieces!!

Lynne talks about her fall fashion must-haves, her design inspiration, and of course, her love of cardigans with Young Sophisticates.

YS: I share your obsession with cardigans. I absolutely love wearing them. I'm curious - how did your love of cardigans lead you to create a knitwear line dedicated to the eponymous item?

Lynne: I’ve always loved cardigans from when I was in High School! It was a part of my Catholic School Uniform. I must admit, then, I always wished that I could spice up my yellow or navy crewneck cardigan. The irony now is that I’m still trying to design that perfect navy cardigan!!! I don’t think I’ve been able to do it yet!

YS: You have design experience working for Michael Kors and Derek Lam. Other than designing cardigans, what other pieces have you most enjoyed designing during your career?

Lynne: I have to admit, working and consulting for an eclectic mix of designers who are so talented and present to me some very serious challenges in terms of execution, it’s very hard to answer that. Every designer I have worked for has their own perspective, creativity, and sensibility that sometimes, I would seriously leave a meeting – sweating, wondering how I can deliver!!! Honestly, besides Cardigans, my Marc Sweatshirt has become a bit of a cult favorite with both girls and guys…I have a bit of an obsession with sweater sweatshirts! I want to one day have a line of well- sweatshirts…..

YS: The CARDIGAN Mimi Sequin Dress (pictured at right) is so cute. How did you come up with the idea for that dress?

Lynne: Thank you! That’s super sweet of you! The Maritime French Stripe has always been a signature pattern for Cardigan, and the dress was a signature shape. So I did the math, and it worked! Being repressed in Catholic High School, mixed with Consulting for Guess Marciano for 3 years kinda birthed that really cute dress. It’s totally one of my favorites. I get compliments on it ALL the time. And, now, I am officially a total sequins addict…

YS: What was the inspiration or concept behind the rustic shoot for the fall look book?

Lynne: We shot the lookbook one week before the tragic hurricane this summer. It’s a little bittersweet because we shot on my friends' (Karl and Johnny) land the weekend before and the weather was perfect, gorgeous, sort of a bit of calm before the storm. So in hindsight, we were all so happy that we have some gorgeous photos that really preserved the beauty of the land.

My inspiration for fall womens was a little bit PBS Brideshead Revisited, mixed with Upstate migration into the woods, plus a little bit of Sweden. So the eclectic mix of Fairisles, Polka Dots, Donegals, and Classic SchoolBoy stripes really worked well together in the outdoor woodsy, green environs of the Hudson River Valley. My team of Trevor Smith, Lauren Wood and Caroline Ventura is quite perfect…We also did a shoot together last fall if you haven’t seen it….pretty gorgeous! We’re quite a great team together…

Photo Credits: Courtesy of CARDIGAN; Daphne Shawl Cardigan (pictured above)

YS: Other than cardigans, what are your fall fashion must-haves?

Lynne: Crewneck sweatshirts……the Marc! ………BRVTVS jewelry- feeling for gold! …80/20 wedge shoes (wanna be tall but gotta be functional!) …..Gryphon beaded dresses (that look so femme under Cardigan!) ...Michael Kors Aviators (my go to eyewear for 15 years! need some new ones!).. lace tees (to peep out under Cardigans)……black pearls - strands of them….to go with my not so black Cardigans!