Monday, March 31, 2014

ICE STYLE.....ISU World Figure Skating Championships 2014 Costumes Recap, Ladies and Pairs

Diamonds and Pink Panther: USA's Ashley Wagner (Ladies) and Germany's Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy (Pairs) at the ISU World Figure Skating Championships 2014, Saitama Japan

Last week--and weekend (beginning on March 24 and ending yesterday) was the final big international Figure Skating competition of the season--the 2014 ISU World Figure Skating Championships. This very important event in figure skating is usually a BIG deal, were it not for the fact that, well, the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics had just occurred last month.

So, needless to say, some of the "top stars" of figure skating decided to "skip it": Including Gold and Silver Medal winning Ice Dance teams Davis and White from the U.S., and Virtue and Moir from Canada. Ladies Gold Medalist from Russia Adelina Sotnikova and Silver Medalist Patrick Chan also did not attend. But there were still a lot of A-List skaters, making it a good competition. These 2014 World Championships occurred at Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan to a very fan-tastic crowd (Gotta Luv Japan!).

Costume Change--Canada's Duhamel and Radford (Pairs)

Most the costumes the skaters wore were the same costumes they have been wearing throughout the season, but there were some "Costume Changes" including Canada's Pairs Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford who wore different costumes for their Short Program and Akiko Suzuki going back to a previous SP costume as well as some others...

So here's a photo recap of some of my fave Ladies and Pairs (plus some Costume Changes) from the 2014 ISU World Figure Skating Championships:

Akiko Suzuki of Japan, Short Program: Akiko wore this purple costume to her SP to "Hymme a L'Amour" by Marguerite Monnot. I've said before that it's A LOT, and maybe in need of applique editing. It's still a nice color for her. She DID NOT wear this to the Sochi Olympics for her Short Program and instead, she opted for this red costume...

Akiko at Sochi 2014 Short Program Costume: I liked this red costume much more. The neckline sequined beading is INCREDIBLE.

Kostner of Italy
, Short Program to "Ave Maria" by Franz Schubert: The
sky blue colored costume featured a "plunging" neckline (in illusion)
with gorgeously strewn sequins throughout. It was beautiful, classic and
"Ice Princess" perfect. Her skate was almost like a religious
experience; the music, the skate, the costume...she seemed Angelic.

Mao Asada of Japan, Short Program to "Nocturne in E
flat major, Op. 9, No. 2" by Frederic Chopin
: I liked this lavender
costume from Asada; the front bust gathered drape was original and the
sweetheart neckline caviar beading looked expensive. I also appreciated the
ombre dying effect in her costume.

Julia Lipnitskaia of Russia Short Program to "You Don't Give Up on Love" by Mark Minkov: I thought this was a very nice costume for Julia and this program. I loved the deep violet blue and baby blue combination and the torso/bodice sequin work looked beautiful. My favorite detail of this costume were the back straps that were beautiful.

Gracie Gold of the U.S., Short Program to "Piano Concerto" by Edvard Grieg: The costume was designed by Gale Johnson and Denise Gold and I LOVE it! It's elegant, classic but with a sexy "red carpet" edge and also works really well with her music and program; it's like a "mini-me" gown one could see at a late 19th Century/early 20th Century Ball in Europe. The off-the-shoulder look seems very "Moulin Rouge"-like as well.

Ashley Wagner of the U.S, , Short Program to "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" by Pink Floyd: The costume featured black stretch chiffon, double-layer "skirt" and panels with silver crystal trimmed details. I really liked this costume because it really reflected the theme of her music. I especially loved the various sizes of the jeweled crystals and how the neck detail looked like a built-in diamond necklace.

Juulia Turkkila of Finland, Short Program to "Firebird" by Igor Stravinski: I don't think I've ever commented on this costume for Juulia. So, here it goes: I think it's kinda fabulous! The colors are great and "Firebird" appropriate. Is it a bit "Cirque du Soleil"? Yes, and reminiscent of something I've seen at the Olympics Synchronized Swimming? Yep, that too. But I like it.

Joshi Helgesson of Sweden, Short Program to  "Mystere" and "Taiko" from Cirque du Soleil: Joshi wore a different costume than what she wore to this program back in the 2012-2013 Season (photo on the right at Trophee Eric Bompard 2012). I liked the change! It was subtle but good. The colors are vibrant and effective and instead of the "sweetheart" neckline,m she went for a one-shoulder silhouette. She did keep the "petal" skirt but changed the hem slightly.

Netta Schreiber of Israel, Short Program to "Take Five" by Dave Brubeck: I have never discussed Netta and so I thought it was fitting to talk about her and this jumpsuit. First off: it's rare to see a jumpsuit/bodysuit. Netta wore a stretch black one with deep lilac strap accents with silver crystals. This is interesting but more fitting for a "warm up". Just saying.

Pairs Costumes Highlights:

Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy of Germany, Short Program to Henry Manicini's soundtrack to "The Pink Panther". Aliona's costume featured a blindingly bright pink color and a silver crystal stripe down the top portion. Her boots were even covered in the same Lycra pink fabrication. I've discussed these costume many, many times and I just think they are fun, colorful and very, very effective. They have now become ICONIC. Seriously. 

Savchenko and Szolkowy, Free Skate to "The Nutcracker" by Petr I. Tchaikovsky: Their costumes were visions of the "Sugar Plum Fairy" and the Nutcracker prince. They were a bit "Costume 101" in terms of their designs and execution. I would have loved something more refined and Couture-worthy. But it's hard to critique the 5 time World Champions!

Ksenia Stolbova and Fedor Klimov of Russia, Free Skate to Music from The Addams Family soundtrack by Marc Shaiman: While I appreciated the bold choices, I thought this was a confusing Pairs Costume look. Fedor looked very Gomez Adams "kooky" in his costume yet Ksenia looked as if she was skating to "Carmen". Her costume was so sleek and simple, as compared to his. For once, the MAN stood out more than the female and yet, it didn't work. And to add: there is NOTHING of Morticia Adams in her look. I did like how elegant and clean her costume looked, but it was for a different skate. 

Felicia Zhang and Nathan Bartholomay of the USA--Short Program and Free Dance: Between these two costumes, I liked the Free Dance to Music from Les Miserables by Claude-Michel Schonberg (right). The costumes designed by Dawn Imperatore and James Peterson. These costumes were very "Les Miserables" and unless you were in a COMA you would obviously recognize that. Their Short Program costumes to "Carousel Waltz" to Rodgers and Hammerstein (left) was "Ehhh". Zhang's pink "heart" applique costume looked too "Todlers & Tiaras" and his looked like what a guy would have worn in 1998 at a dance club.

Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford of Canada, Short Program to "Tribute" by Eric Radford. Eric wrote this music and in terms of their costumes, they changed (Thanksss Godsss!) In past competitions, they had worn the ones on the right; to begin, Eric's was a bit of a yawn but on a plus side, it fit him very snugly showing off his very athletic build. Meagan, on the other hand (and Thank Goodness) wore a softly draped cowl front, fluttery skirt and sequined torso with a very unfortunate hairstyle. All this changed for what they wore for last week's 2014 ISU World Figure Skating Championships. She wore a silver costume that showed off her very toned arms and his was an all-black look. Which one do you guys liked best?

Vanessa James and Morgan Cipres, Short Program to Minnie the Moocher by Cab Calloway, Jumpin' Jack by Big Bad Voodoo Daddy: These costumes were a Costume Change from what they had worn at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics. Above is the "new" costumes. James wore a red with black trim halter costume and Cipres donned a silver and black sequined plunging neckline long sleeve shirt with black pants. These costumes were a Costume Change from what they had worn at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics: 

Purple Queen and "Jazzy Vest" King...Which ones do you guys like the best?  I am definitely a fan of the new costumes worn at Worlds. Red for Vanessa and plunging for Morgan...a hard combination to beat!

**Next Up: The 2014 ISU World Figure Skating Costumes--The MEN and ICE DANCE!

J.Crew Reviews {straight from the JCAs!}

This is the weekly "J.Crew Reviews {straight from the JCAs}" post, to help each other share our reviews.

So if you have recently purchased, or stopped by a J.Crew store to try on an item (or two) from J.Crew, maybe you might be willing to share that information with us in this post.

Also, this request is not just limited to clothes. Please feel free to discuss bags, shoes, jewelry, accessories, etc.

In particular, if you could mention a few of the noteworthy details like fit, size, fabric, and the like— that would be fantastic! Thanks in advance! :)

J.Crew Profit Drops {uh oh!}

The following is from Newsday (click here to read in its entirety):
J.Crew profit drops as mall traffic wanes; company reported pursuing IPO
March 25, 2014
By Lindsay Rupp  

J.Crew Group Inc., the retail chain owned by TPG Capital and Leonard Green & Partners LP, reported a 42 percent drop in fourth-quarter profit amid a broader decline in shopping-mall traffic.

Net income tumbled to $5.92 million in the quarter, down from $10.2 million a year earlier, the New York-based company said Monday in a statement. Still, revenue grew almost 7 percent to $686.2 million in the period that ended Feb. 1.

J.Crew is working to bounce back from an industry slump that hurt holiday sales and triggered a wave of discounting among rival retailers. At the same time, the company is contemplating an initial public offering for later this year, according to people familiar with the matter. It also held early-stage talks with Japan's Fast Retailing Co. about a sale of the chain, people said in February.

... The chain could fetch a valuation of as much as $5 billion in a potential public offering, one person familiar with the situation said.

Tapping the IPO market would mean following in the footsteps of other private-equity backed retailers. Burlington Stores Inc., which is backed by Bain Capital LLC, is up 83 percent since its October debut. Vince Holding Corp., the apparel company backed by Sun Capital Partners Inc., has gained almost 24 percent since its November debut.

... A $5 billion valuation would be a big jump over what TPG and Leonard Green paid for the chain in November 2010. Net of cash, the value of that deal was about $2.64 billion, data compiled by Bloomberg show. At the time, the takeover drew complaints from shareholders that chief executive Mickey Drexler didn't get a fair price for the company.

The company also said Monday that it will incur a refinancing loss of $37 million in the first quarter.
(1) Very interesting to see that J.Crew did not perform as well as in other quarters. For the most part, J.Crew had been able to avoid the issues other retailers faced (like the decline in mall shopping).

(2) I also want to point out that as much as J.Crew does not like it, they are still a "shopping mall" store. So when I saw that line in the article, I chuckled to myself.

(3) Lastly, I am interested to hear how J.Crew plans to "bounce back from an industry slump that hurt holiday sales and triggered a wave of discounting among rival retailers". Right now, J.Crew has been offering back to back promotions, and the sale section is still packed with goodies. (I am not complaining about the promotions, in fact, I am happy to see so many. But is it just me, or it doesn't feel like they are moving merchandise like they should be?)

What are your thoughts on J.Crew's performance? Are you surprised or not surprised by the latest numbers? What do you think J.Crew's strategy should be?

Project Runway All-Star Designer, Daniel Esquivel, presents six new designs at "Top Austin Model Finals"

Daniel also is one of the "Fabulous and Fashionable Men of Austin!"

Photo:  Clark Patterson

Click here for more photos of the event from photographer Clark Patterson.

Thank you to our Austin-based field reporter, Frank Hui!


Le Fashion Blog Must Have Round Black Sunglasses Spring Summer 2014 Natural Beauty Textured Beach Waves Wavy Hair Black Bra Slouchy Grey Gray Tank Top Paint Splatter Elastic Waist Denim Jogger Shorts Jeans Coachella Music Festival Style 2 photo Le-Fashion-Blog-Must-Have-Round-Black-Sunglasses-Spring-Summer-2014-2.jpg
Le Fashion Blog Must Have Round Black Sunglasses Spring Summer 2014 Natural Beauty Textured Beach Waves Wavy Hair Black Bra Grey Gray Tank Top Coachella Music Festival Style 1 photo Le-Fashion-Blog-Must-Have-Round-Black-Sunglasses-Spring-Summer-2014-1.jpg

These round black sunglasses need to get on me. A definite must-have for spring and summer. They'd actually be perfect to get for all the upcoming music festivals like Coachella, no?

Get the look...
+ Goodnight Moon Sunglasses
+ Alterna Bamboo Beach Waves Texture Spray
+ Cheap Monday Shamika Tank
+ ASOS Boudoir Basic Molded Balconette Bra
+ Paige Denim Splatter Echo Park Shorts


Good morning, Everyone! I hope you had a great weekend! If you read my blog on regular basis, I am sure you are well aware of my obsession with shoes and I think, I've also mentioned before that one of my biggest dreams is to some day design a shoe collection of my own. So, you can imagine my excitement when I was approached by Shoes Of Prey, a website that allows you to design your own custom shoes, to create my very own design! 
I have to admit that the design process was completely addictive, with so many shoe shapes, leathers, fabrics and colors to choose from, I spent countless hours playing around the 3D Designer. 

I started by selecting the shape of the shoe (you can choose between ballet flats, stilettos, sandals, oxfords and wedges). Since I am completely addicted to high heels, for me it was between stilettos and high heel sandals. And with Summer right around the corner, I figured a cute pair of strappy sandals is just what the doctor ordered:) 

Once I selected the shape of my shoes, I started playing with leathers, fabrics and colors (170 in total to choose from). As you know, I absolutely love bright colors and color blocking in particular. So, after playing around with a few different color options, I decided to go with a beautiful cobalt blue. Since I wanted the blue to be the focal point of this design, instead of adding another bright color, I chose to pair it with black and white. I also wanted to play around with a few different textures, which is why I opted to combine leather, suede and fish skin together. I think this combination adds richness and depth to the design. What do you guys think? 

The best part of this whole experience, aside from the design process of course, was opening the box and finally seeing my design come to life! I am so happy with the way they turned out. Fun, bright and comfy, they are exactly what I had had in mind for Summer. So, I suppose I should warn you in advance, you are definitely going to be seeing quite a bit of them on this blog! Hope you don't mind!:)

P.S. If you are just as obsessed with shoes as I am and/or have a soft spot for custom made heels, head over to to design your perfect pair! 

Shoes Of Prey custom made color block sandals | Finders Keepers Time Traveller skirt { also love this version } & peplum top { similar here & here } | Gucci Soho leather Disco bag | Vita Fede original titan bracelet & ultra eclipse crystal midi ring | BCBGMAXAZRIA Multi strap buckle waist belt | J Crew drop earrings - sold out { similar option here

Thank you for reading
& Keep On Smiling,

EDITORIAL: Neelam Johal in Vogue India, March 2014

Model: Neelam Johal (Wilhelmina)
Editorial: Greenhouse Effect
Magazine: Vogue India, March 2014
Photographer: Esther Haase
Stylist: Lorna McGee
Hair: Simon Izzard
Make-up: Emma Osbourne

Source: Zorka @ tfs