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Oscar Gown Predictions

The hottest color in Hollywood is and always will be the color red. Not as a lip color or a glamourous ball gown, but the annual Academy Awards. The red carpet is instrumental to an actress’s career. Taking the right risks and knowing how to present yourself in front of the paparazzi can be a deciding factor on the journey to either icon or plus-one territory.
If awards season is the playoffs of Hollywood, the Academy Awards are the Superbowl. Both budding and iconic celebrities feel the sartorial pressure to shine at this event. Some of the most indelible Oscar moments have included Audrey Hepburn’s feminine Givenchy gown in 1954, which caught the attention of millions for its timeless appeal and slender silhouette; Cate Blanchett’s ethereally sculptured Givenchy haute couture gown at the 2010 Oscars made her an unlikely member of the fashion camarilla, and the eternally stylish Diane Kruger’s Chanel gown spoke volumes in 2010. It was chic, alluring, and exotic, just like her.
With the 2012 Academy Awards fast approaching, magazines and websites across the world are making bets on what each nominee will be wearing. With the fate of their award out of their hands at this point, it seems as through the only power they have is the ability to control what they are wearing. Unequivocally, safe choices will keep a star off worst dressed lists, but they run the risk of leaving her entirely forgotten. There is immense pressure on actresses to hail the look, but luckily they have their stylists to do most of the heavy lifting for them.

Alexander McQueen Spring 2012 Ready-to-Wear

We begin with the best actress in a leading role category. Rooney Mara, nominated for “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,” has developed a much darker style since landing the role for which she is nominated. She gravitates towards edgier looks which serve her striking looks well. Mara says her choice of gown will not be about how she looks, but is “all about how I feel and if I feel good in it.” To the recent Golden Globe awards, she wore a low-cut black Nina Ricci dress which, though hardly girly, was surprisingly more feminine than expected of her. Since she rarely moves out of the black and white spectrum, she should stick to what she knows best and wear all black to the Oscars, specifically, a noir, floor-length, heavily embroidered Alexander McQueen dress from the Spring collection would catapult her to world-wide stardom. Its dramatic shape at the hips extends outwards, a feature, that would be wise to edit out of her Oscars edition. 

Chanel Spring 2009 Couture
Michelle Williams, an Academy Awards regular, seems to have been defiled of all excitement surrounding preparations for the event. It is obvious she lives by the philosophy that she should wear the dress as opposed to letting it wear her. The downside, of course, is that she generally goes for less than exciting red-carpet options. Classic with a bit of drama, usually from the shape of the dress, is how the actress, nominated for her work in “My Week with Marilyn,” could accurately summarize her red-carpet style. At last year’s awards ceremony (nominated for “Blue Valentine”), she wore a Chanel haute couture white column dress reminiscent of Mia Farrow in her “Gatsby” days. While the dress was beautifully beaded, its overall effect was watered-down in photos. Hopefully she will stick to Chanel for 2012’s ceremony, especially a richly constructed similarly streamlined dress, possibly the Chanel archives. 

Louis Vuitton Spring 2012 Ready-to-Wear

Chloe Grace Moretz, the cheeky teen star who’s film “Hugo” is up for best picture, has been known for her distinct red-carpet style. A natural risk-taker, she loves to play with her outfits, often times infusing  her own unique style into each look. Girly and young, her willingness to look her own age is refreshing, unlike then 17-year-old Miley Cyrus who tried to use the 2010 Oscars as a platform to show the world she wasn’t a little girl anymore Oscars in a very grown up Jenny Packham gown. Moretz would look great in an age appropriate, knee-length, boat-necked, Louis Vuitton Spring collection dress. While the dress sounds prude in description, designer Marc Jacobs’ floral appliques will surely look adorable when paired with Moretz’s signature I-know-I’m-cool smirk. 

Emilio Pucci Spring 2012 Ready-to-Wear
Emma Stone, whose film “The Help” is also nominated for Best Picture, has not yet established what one could describe as a signature style, but continues to master a wide variety of trends. At 23, she is still very young, and has plenty of time to develop a signature style. For the Oscars, I think she should try the only trend she hasn’t yet been seen in: a black, two piece Emillio Pucci Spring 2012 gown. While not as obvious a stand out piece as her shockingly minimal Calvin Klein dress at last year’s Golden Globes, the body-conscious look is heavily embroidered and its dramatic nature will read well in photos. 

Giambattista Valli Spring 2012 Couture

Jessica Chastain, one of Stone’s co-stars in “The Help,” is nominated for the Best Actress in a Supporting Role category. The 30-year-old red-head is still unknown in  most Hollywood circles, but continues to rise in popularity because of her willingness to take risks when it comes to fashion. Her feminine demeanor shines through in absolutely anything she wears. For her Oscar dress, a black Giambattista Valli from his recent couture collections would be perfect for her. The high-neckline combined with the subtlety of the black lace on the arms proves to be both guilefully sexy and innovative.  The alternating lace panelling of the skirt reveals the wearers legs when in motion but conceal them when standing still. Judging from her sartorial choices at past shows, the gown would fit quite well within her closet of gowns while simultaneously working to further her style evolution.

Elie Saab Spring 2012 Couture

“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” was nominated for two awards, though lamentably neither of which was for acting. Though unlikely, if Emma Watson were to present, she would continue to look amazing in her penchant for feminine silhouettes, like that of a compacted bodice and full skirt. I can easily picture her in Ellie Saab’s Spring haute couture gown. It’s mint-green flowing overlay of chiffon is dotted with floral appliqués and nipped at the waist. The color would compliment her pale skin and the dress would serve as a stunning reminder that she has grown up from her role in the “Harry Potter” films. 

One of the main reasons why designers put gowns on the runway is to vie for the chance at the red-carpet. The Academy Awards draw some of the highest ratings every year, so the chance for a celebrity, especially a nominee, to wear a designer’s dress to the event is a major business opportunity for any brand. Whether or not these predictions come true, hopefully celebrities are willing to take more risks and make Oscar history with their looks this year. 

H&M et Versace (old)

To fete H&M’s most anticipated designer collaboration to date, Versace and H&M took over Manhattan’s Pier 57 to host one of the most memorable events of the year. The coming together of two major fashion players in order to bring the iconic designs to a larger audience was a possibility that the House of Versace’s creative director, Donatella Versace, had vehemently declined in the past. Her view point swayed as she watched many of her predecessors, Sonia Rykiel, Jimmy Choo and Lanvin discover a younger clientele through their own work with the lauded Swedish chain. Versace claimed that she made  felt that such exposure could instrument renewed breadth into their aging customer basis. "I thought this was the right moment to bring out these clothes for a younger crowd to be aware of what Versace was,” Donatella told the Vancouver Sun.
Murmurs of excitement and curiosity echoed throughout the city’s fashion hubs in the days leading up to the November 8th event as people desperately used all of their connections to try and make it onto the esteemed guest list. No one would willingly miss out on their chance to rub elbows with Hollywood royalty and fashion’s elite, nor on the opportunity to enter the pop-up shop without having to forge a campsite on the sidewalks of New York.
The night’s festivities started along the Hudson River at Pier 57’s premiere show space which the Swedish retail chain had rented out and remodeled into‘Versace Hall’ for the night’s proceedings. First came the obligatory step and repeat for the more distinguished of the invitees. Next, guests were escorted through a long, blacked out tunnel into the make-shift cocktail lounge, deliberately resembling Versace’s headquarters in Milan. The wooden runway running through the lounge was specially constructed to ensured everyone front row seating, preventing any unnecessary cat fights from erupting in a room full of huge egos. The overall experience of the venue reflected that of the collection and of Donatella herself: over-the-top extravagance, border-lining on questionable taste.
The fact that there were over five hundred people invited, combined with the fact that no one would willingly miss out on this event, made for a considerably crowded space. The front row felt more like a who’s who of fashion than your average run of the mill sponsored shopping event. The guest list was ripe with influencers including high-wattage attendees Alexander Wang, Susie Bubble, Chloe Moretz, Anna Sui, Blake Lively, Dree Hemingway, and Chace Crawford, nearly all of whom turned up in their best Versace.
Once everyone had the chance to greet each other and settle into their seats, the lights dimmed and out stepped the first model dressed in head to toe black leather. The rest of the show featured the collection on the likes of nearly every current top model: Lindsey Wixon, Abbey Lee Kershaw, Aymeline Valade, Daphne Groeneveld, and many others. Each model was styled like the mother Donatella herself- bleached blonde and the faintly orange. The collection itself was a walk down the Versace archives, focusing especially on their ‘90s heigh-day, with a hint of rock and roll.  While the men’s collection looks fantastic in this setting, there is little doubt that the average male who shops at H&M is going to buy a neon pink suit or zebra printed skinny jeans. 
Nicki Minaj and Prince, two legendary icons of outrageous fashion, rocked the night performing in front of a large backdrop prominently displaying the H&M x Versace logo. “To have my friend, the great, the amazing, the one and only Prince, and the extraordinary Nicki Minaj both perform at the event, will create exactly the feeling of joy and glamour I want this partnership to express,” Donatella told WWD. Prince, who began his career around the same time as the the House of Versace was created, danced around in a red pajama suit to his classic hit “Purple Rain.” Nicki, though overshadowed by Prince, individuated herself by dressing up as a palm tree; complete with towering heels and a neon green afro. The palm tree, a classic symbol of the Versace brand, is meant to symbolize the deceased founder, Donatella’s brother, Gianni Versace. 
Post show, guests made a mad dash to the small pop-up shop causing a veritable mob scene to break out as everyone scrambled to snap up pretty much anything within reach. “Shopping at Versace x H&M’s pop up store was hysterical,” tweeted internet celebrity, BryanBoy, “We all felt like crazy.” Despite the fact that many of their peers and professional acquaintances were looking on, people were going sample sale crazy- acting like a gaggle of pre-teen girls at a Justin Bieber concert. For those who ran the fastest in their stilettos, the payoff was great- gratifying proof of their attendance in the form of neon hues, studded leather, grunge era leggings, and shift dresses elaborately sprinkled with sequins. 
  While the event gave Versace the chance to show the collection exactly as they envisioned it, it wasn’t solely about showcasing the clothes. In a time of cheap imitations and designers ripping off other designers, Versace shows the fashion industry what it really means to be an exclusive brand. By bringing the fun back to fashion and  revolutionizes the high street market, Versace proves that high fashion still holds the same weight in the modern age of fast fashion as it did when it reigned supreme in the ‘90s. 

Blake Lively for Chanel (old)

One of Chanel’s greatest fortes is how well it is able to translate the glamourous lifestyle of the Parisian woman into a garment. Yet, recently Chanel’s creative director Karl Lagerfeld seems to be moving away from all preconceived notions of the typical Chanel customer. Maybe Karl is trying to attract a younger generation to Chanel; whatever the motivation, the newest face of the iconic brand certainly has the status as teen queen of the Upper East Side to fit the mold of youthful elegance. 
Turning his thoughts into actions, Karl Lagerfeld has chosen twenty-three year old California-born actress, Blake Lively, as the official ambassador and face of Chanel Mademoiselle handbags. The “American dream girl,” as Karl calls her, was chosen for her “charming personality and intoxicating ora,” notwithstanding the fact the the paramount role would usually go to someone of European decent. The bag in question is the Mademoiselle, a classic chain strap, quilted double ‘C’, oblong shaped pocketbook which will be available in five different sizes as well as a confounding myriad of color and fabric choices. The advertisement, featuring Ms. Lively are set to break in fashion magazines and online in April.
Karl’s decision should not come as much of a surprise, as Lively has publicly become the obsession du jour of the fashion industry. Christian Louboutin even went so far as to immortalize her in the form of the ‘Blake’ shoe, a strap happy mule silhouette in range hues spanning the rainbow. Anna Wintour and the Kaiser himself have taken her under their powerful wings after falling prey to her charms last summer. Lively, who has made it known on many occasions that she doesn’t believe in celebrities being seated front row at fashion shows as a form of publicity for either party involved, sat front row next to Anna for Chanel’s haute couture show last July. That was just the beginning of fashion’s love affair with the Gossip Girl actress. Wintour put Lively on the cover of the first edition of Vogue’s Best Dressed issue in 2010, despite the fact that her August cover sold the least copies at newsstands. Karl gave her every girls dream by letting her play dress up in a stunning grecian gown, fit for the likes of a modern day Bardot, and taking her as his date to the 2011 Met Gala. 
Lively embodies the natural star power and glamour needed to face the storied bag, but rumors around the industry say that not everyone feels this way. Many of Chanel’s employees in Europe are feeling a bit snubbed as the face of such a unique treasure of France isn’t even European, let alone French. Internal sources at Chanel say there has been grumbling behind the scenes, but no one wants to risk their job and say anything to Karl, though many feel that Lively is “off-brand.” But, you have to give it to her, the girl is trying. It’s plain to see that she seems truly ecstatic about her newest role at Chanel and seems to genuinely love the product she will be endorsing. “Though I am the face of it, I will carry it like every girl,” Lively told WWD. “I will always feel it’s more than just a purse. It’s a quilted case full of lipstick, love letters and the dreams and possibilities that I have always felt every time I see that beautiful ‘CC.’ ”
While the ads, shot by Lagerfeld himself, feature as yet unseen dimension of Lively compromising her usual bubbly nature in favor of a sultry, more Chanel version of herself, she seems to have regained her happy and startlingly humble attitude when discussing her role at the brand “How did Cinderella feel when she slipped on the glass slipper? How did Snow White feel when she met her Prince Charming? A dream come true is an understatement. I can say that I feel like the happiest, luckiest girl around.” Sure, it’s a bit cheesy sounding, but it’s just another reason why Karl and the rest of the world have fallen so hard for her positive, self humbling personality. 
Lively is taking her role as ambassador very seriously, joining the ranks of fellow ingenious ambassadors Jen Brill, Diane Kruger, and Poppy Delvigne. Among attending Chanel events, so far including two events held in her honor, and carrying her own Mademoiselle bag around town, she is rarely seen without at least one Chanel piece. As her own stylist, no doubt with a little instruction from Karl, Lively expertly works Chanel into the rest of her wardrobe in a way that would make any young woman swoon with envy. Her ability to style a panoply of designers into each of her well constructed looks through the calculated placement of accessories is rightly lauded as she is consistently named a bested dressed contender on nearly every list. Her preeminent versatility of dress gives potential customers proof that Chanel, with a little creativity, can be seamlessly incorperated into the wardrobe of any generation; is that not what Karl was aiming for the whole time? 

Karlie Kloss for Free People

karlie fp3 Karlie Kloss for Free People January 2012 by Guy Aroch

via Fashion Gone Rogue and Olivia's Obsession
Karlie Kloss shot by Guy Arcoch for Free People January 2012

"I grew up in New York City but left for college at Northwestern University in Illinois. Four Chicago winter's were enough for me- I came right back." - Amanda Fitzsimons
I've been gone for five, clearly I am over due to come home. 

Order of the British Empire

Anna Wintour Legion d’ Honneur

I'm a sucker for all things relating to Ms.Wintour. I read a couple of months ago in WWD that she had been appointed the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II, a high honor in the U.K. She received the award for her services to British journalism and fashion in America. This includes her work as EIC as well as her involvement in supporting the British fashion industry. 
This comes in addition to her position on the President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities, which she was appointed to in 2009 by Obama, and her Legion d’Honneur award which was awarded to her in 2011 by Nicolas Sarkozy. As impressive as the award itself was, what was equally impressive was that she was wearing Chanel Couture which had literally walked down the runway the day before. 
Maybe she'll start wearing the pin around town. 

Midnight in Paris, Opening Scene

"how is anyone ever gonna come up with a book, or a painting, or a symphony, or a sculpture that can compete with a great city. You can't. Because you look around and every street, every boulevard, is its own special art form and when you think that in the cold, violent, meaningless universe that Paris exists, these lights"

One of my favorite movies of all time. Paris in the '20s is where my mind goes when I can't sleep.  I am constantly transported to the late night cafes and romantic street lights of Paris whenever a Cole Porter starts to play on my Dad's old record player. I know they say that nostalgia is denial, but no one can compare Paris in the '20s to anything in this day and age. Except, perhaps, Paris now.

For more nostalgia...

Saturday Mornings in New York

There are very few things that I love more than Saturday mornings. Its pretty much the only time I ever have to myself without any obligations or places to go (read: finally! no social interactions, yessss). I get up early, enjoy a leisurely cup of coffee, read a few magazines, and then maybe catch up on my WWD, blogs, see a movie, read a book... 
But, what is even better than doing nothing at home in the South, is a Saturday morning in New York City. I didn't get to spend too many in the city this summer as I was usually made to go to Southampton to see my family (I know, forced to go to the beach... poor me.) But when I did get to spend the occasional Saturday in the city, I took full advantage. Even though I was raised in the city, if I can get my hands on a camera I'll act like a tourist- I love my hometown. 

Photos from a random Saturday in the city
Summer 2011


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Caroline Mason: 21. Native New Yorker (and one time North Carolinian). Assistant to Derek Blasberg. Just a girl who is OCD about all things fashion, drinks way too much coffee, and has an affinity for late night talk shows and travel books. FIT class of 2016. Previously with Karla Otto PR, Lori Goldstein and Lester Garcia.

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