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One Dress — Many Looks

Thursday, December 16th, 2010
By La Petite Acadienne

‘Tis the season — for the holiday party.

The holiday party can range from the sublime to the horrific.

On one end of the spectrum, you have the festive/raucous, delightful/hilarious evening with good friends and intriguing strangers, filled with witty conversation, great music, delectable nibbles, excellent beverages, and a lovely atmosphere.  Dancing games on the Wii are optional (it IS, however always a delight to see your pregnant friend Jennifer waving a remote around wildly to the gentle strains of “Groove is in the Heart.”)

On the other end of the spectrum is your boyfriend’s sad office party, where you are forced to make small talk with Troy, the unctuous middle manager who insists on talking with his mouth full (of spinach dip, no less) and who has already dropped every single name with whom he has even the most tenuous connection.

Buying a new outfit for a party that promises to be fun is a delight, but also comes with a certain amount of pressure. Buying a new outfit for a party you dread? That’s just bleak and sad and depressing.

So what to do? Get yourself a workhorse stunner of a dress and make that bad boy earn its keep by pairing it with a gamut of accessories.

You could go with black, but why not experiment with a bit of colour?  This Donna Karan dress, with its artful draping, modest neckline and gorgeous colour, can work for a multitude of occasions.

For look #1, you could go with an elegant, yet somewhat exotic look. The rich colour and flattering draping of this dress remind me a bit of the saris that my best friend’s mom used to wear, so why not go with a bit of Indian influence? These earrings and this bracelet fit the bill quite beautifully without being at all costumey. This is perfect for a romantic dinner out with the beau, or for cocktails with the girls.

Look #2 is great for those evenings when you want to make a big impact without having to put a lot of thought into it.  It’s one of those nights when you are getting home late from work and now have about a half-hour to shower, change and put on some makeup. You’re frazzled as heck, but still want to look put-together.  Consider a bold, single accessory like this floral brooch, in a highly contrasting colour. It conveys a major amount of confidence and sophistication — basically, it’s the type of look that less confident women will wish they could carry off.  And when you’re wearing a statement piece like this one, you can eschew any other accessories, making for fewer mental gymnastics at a time when you’re truly on your last nerve.

Look #3 is for those times when you really do have to go in a conservative direction. Perhaps it’s a business dinner with a client. Perhaps it’s some other sort of function with dreary but very important people. Conformity tends to be the name of the game at events such as this. However, there are still ways to add a bit of personality and quirk to your look. These earrings and this watch are classic and basic, while this adorable owl brooch adds just enough of a touch of whimsy that you won’t blend in TOO much with Muffy, Kiki, Babs and Myra.

Mind you, if you want to utterly knock the socks off of Muffy, Kiki, Babs and Myra, Tiffany’s version of an owl pin will probably delight them enough that their faces may break free of the constrains of their latest Botox injections and actually register a facial expression.

Well…we can hope, right?

Bisous!

LPA


Designer Profile: Monserat De Lucca

Monday, December 13th, 2010
By La Petite Acadienne

Hidey-ho!

I featured a nifty bracelet from Monserat De Lucca in a previous post, and I can tell you now that I had a HARD time figuring out which piece of theirs to feature in that post, because there was just so much stuff that I loved.

What was I able to find out about Monserat De Lucca?

Not much…yet.

Their bio page is very low on details as to how they came about, and other information about them is pretty much non-existent.  They’ve indicated that they will be sending me a bio shortly,  so I will update this post as soon as it comes in. In the meantime, I was able to find out that they were founded in 2006, and a bit about their design inspiration:

“Modern women are multi-faceted dynamic creatures. We wanted to embrace this by creating accessories that are delicate and edgy, feminine and masculine, hard and soft, just like the women that they are intended for. We were inspired by the next natural evolution – an evolution in which the biker girl and the bohemian girl might not only be friends, but they may also be the same girl!”

Their pieces are whimsical, quirky, feminine and strong. AND, they’re very reasonably priced. I definitely plan on snapping up a few pieces, such as this sweet nest necklace:

These conversation-starting bracelets:

These lovely, tendril-y earrings:

It’s also worth noting that they have some rawther lovely handbags as well! I’m currently lusting after this gray satchel (which also comes in a multitude of other colours!)

Bisous,

LPA


Sale Time – Kenneth Jay Lane!

Wednesday, December 1st, 2010
By La Petite Acadienne

The lovely folks over at Zappos have some excellent sales on several delightful Kenneth Jay lane items. Here are some items that really stood out, but feel free to browse, darlings!

I love the sculptural look of this bangle.  It looks like wearable modern art that you picked up at the gallery of some avant-garde Scandinavian artist with no last name. However, at less than $50, it costs MUCH less than Bjorn’s artwork would.

Sometimes a girl just has to have a little bit of leopard print. Of course, the notable thing about leopard print is that a little bit really does go a long way. These earrings (20% off, people!) add just a subtle touch of the fierce animal print to your ensemble. AND, good news for my non-pierced friends — these earrings are clip-ons!

How unabashedly girly is this necklace? It makes me want to be somewhere drinking something with pineapple juice, an umbrella, and a dangerous quantity of rum. At the very least, it does an excellent job of chasing away the “Ugh…winter’s just STARTED and I’m already sick of it” doldrums, doesn’t it?  The fact that it’s 20% off the original price certainly doesn’t hurt matters either!

Happy bargain hunting!

Bisous,

LPA


La Petite Acadienne’s Reality-Based Chrismakwanzikah

Saturday, November 27th, 2010
By La Petite Acadienne

Aaaaannnnnnddddd….back to Earth.

That was fun, wasn’t it?

Sure, I’d love to get all of those ridiculously lovely and extravagant gifts (from my prior post) for Christmas.  Will I? Heck, no. Am I upset about that? Of course not — hence the word “fantasy” in the title.  I’d also love to have a flat belly, a high, round bum, and the skin that I had at age 16. But some stuff just isn’t going to happen, and to be upset over it would be beyond silly.

However, the fun thing about the holidays is that there are all kinds of lovely and fun things to buy for others and to covet for yourself, at most every price point. So you can still have lots of fun wishing and hoping and giving, and in some ways, it’s even MORE fun, because these gifts can ACTUALLY happen!  So, without further ado, here’s my more realistic list of things that would be just delightful to find under one’s tree:

1. A pearl pendant necklace.

I adore the sheen and luminosity of pearls, but a full pearl strand is a little too buttoned-up for my current tastes. This necklace is less formal, but is still very elegant. And the chain, being rose and yellow gold, and silver, makes it a very versatile piece that can be worn with just about anything and worn by just about anybody, from you to your mother-in-law to your sister.

2.  Colourful little earrings

These are subtle and sweet, but add a nice pop of colour. And I love the shape: girly, but not twee. A perfect gift for your teenage niece, or for yourself as a reward for checking off your list!

3.  A pretty scarf.

My name is La Petite Acadienne, and I have a scarf addiction. It started out innocently enough, with just the odd scarf here or there, but now it’s starting to take over my life. I have some scarves that only go with one item of clothing in my closet. I do NOT, however, own an orange scarf. And I love orange. So I can TOTALLY justify adding this to my collection, right? Right? And if not, I know my mom would love it, and then I can borrow it!  Win-win!

4. A useful book.

If, like me, you thought that cleavage and girdles were something you only see in the mirror, then wouldn’t it be nice to have this handy-dandy reference book that gives you a nice overview of various gemstones, their characteristics and how to identify them? This is one of those books that I think most anybody would at least find interesting at worst, and utterly fascinating at best.

5.  I still want my housekeeper.

6.  Stuff that smells good.

I have absurdly thick hair. Seriously. Any time I’ve been to a new stylist, I can pretty much guarantee that in the first 30 seconds of the shampoo, I will hear the phrase,  “You have a LOT of hair.”  It goes without saying that my hair tends to take up a lot of room on this Earth. Anything that can make it less large is great. Anything that can make it less large AND make it smell so good that I want to spend all day with my ponytail in front of my nose? Even better. And this stuff definitely fits the bill. I got this stuff for my own sister a few years back. She loved it and used every single drop.

7. A funky little bracelet.
Monserat de Lucca Charm Bracelet

If you know (or are) a lover of all things steampunk, or if you just want something that is not “girly” but not too heavy, then this bracelet is something a little different from anything you may have seen before.

Happy shopping!!!

LPA


La Petite Acadienne’s Fantasy Chrismakwanzikah

Friday, November 26th, 2010
By La Petite Acadienne

We all have wish lists, right?

There are wish lists, however, and there are wish lists. The former is compiled of things that you would love to receive, and that you might actually receive. (More on that tomorrow…)

The latter is pure and utter pie-in-the-sky fantasy, compiled of things that you would probably only receive if you grew up in the kind of house that has servants’ quarters.

I’m convinced that I really DO have a rich, childless auntie out there who is unbeknownst to me but who has followed my progress since infancy and is just waiting for the right moment to announce herself.

Well, darling auntie, if you’re thinking of popping up this holiday season and are wondering what the perfect little cadeau would be for your darling niece, look no further.

(Note to The Stonecutter: this list also applies to you, if we are someday unencumbered by that little thing called “reality”. Just letting you know.)

1. This gorgeous Giorgio Armani bag.

Dark-sage pleated leather? Well, okay…if you insist, I suppose I could live with it.

2. A black diamond ring.

I love the hammered gold on this ring, and the way that it gives the look of stacked rings without visually shortening the finger. Plus, black diamonds are just neat.

3. Purple Ferragamo flats

I own no purple shoes right now. That is just not right, because purple makes me happy, and pretty shoes make me happy, so pretty purple shoes would be like Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups for my feet  — everything I want, and nothing I don’t.

4. A housekeeper.

I can only pay you in Lego. Is that okay?

Being a working mom with a long commute, it always feels like we are falling behind on the housework, particularly where The Stonecutter works 50 hours a week AND has a side business on the go.  I’m pretty good at tidying and keeping things organized, but please, please do not look closely at my tile grout. I would luuuuurrrrve for someone to do those icky but necessary jobs for me, like cleaning out the fridge, scrubbing the tile, cleaning the light fixtures, and all of the other jobs that are on my “I’ll Get To It…Sometime” list.

5. A vintage Chanel charm bracelet.

I love charm bracelets. My mom had one (I have no idea what she’s done with it, however, and did not want to ask for fear of appearing grasping). This one is just lovely.

6. A new car

They see me rollin';, they hatin';...

My aforementioned long commute means that my vehicle has seen better days. I would love to have something bigger, to more easily accommodate the Gigantic Car-seat of Awesomeness, plus all of the other assorted detritus that comes with having a young toddler. I would also like to have some bells, whistles, fireworks, fripperies, and doo-dads.  I think the Lexus RX 450h (“h” for hybrid) would fit the bill rather nicely.

7. This

Sunset by Harry Winston, Padparadscha and Diamond Necklace

When I saw this necklace, I just had to write about it. Actually, first I had to regain consciousness and pick myself off the floor, where I had been laying in a puddle of my own drool. And THEN I had to write about it.

May you all have a very sparkly holiday season!

Bisous,

LPA


Designer Profile: Alexis Bittar

Thursday, November 18th, 2010
By La Petite Acadienne

In my last post, I featured a pair of earrings by Alexis Bittar, and also featured one of his cuffs in an earlier post. Looking at his entire line, I was utterly smitten, and so wanted to bring you more information about this talented individual.

Bittar was born in Brooklyn, NY to Bob and Helen Bittar, both university professors and antique collectors. At age ten, Bittar began selling flowers from a hand-painted cart near his home in the Bay Ridge neighborhood of Brooklyn. On his 13th birthday, his parents gave him a tangled lot of antique jewelry.

It was an odd gift, but it sparked a life-long fascination with the craftsmanship of jewelry.

He continued his entrepreneurial career throughout his teen years, selling antique jewelry and vintage clothing on the streets. While in high school at The Bronx School of Science, he discovered the New York club scene, where he developed an interest in fashion and design.

In 1990, using Lucite and semi-precious stones and metals, Bittar created two different collections, selling his one-of-a-kind pieces on the corner Prince and Green Streets in Soho. In 1992, Dawn Mello, the fashion director of Bergdorf-Goodman discovered Bittar’s work. A year later, began a relationship with Saks Fifth Avenue. In the following years, Bittar began to sell his collection in stores across the United States, as well as Harrod’s in London and Isetan in Japan.

In 1996, Bittar designs a collection of Lucite and steel furniture for The Cooper Hewitt Museum. The same year, Bittar designed a limited edition set of home wares for Barneys New York and Takashimaya.

Bittar opened his first eponymous boutique on Broome Street in New York City in 2004. The same year, his designs were featured in a worldwide Estee Lauder campaign.

Bittar opened his second store in New York in 2008. Later that  year, his designs were featured on the cover of French Vogue, styled by Carine Roitfeld.  In 2010, Bittar opened his third boutique on Madison Avenue. Actress Joan Collins was named the face of his 2010 national ad campaign. In 2010, Bittar was nominated for the CFDA “Accessories Designer of the Year Award” alongside Marc Jacobs and Proenza Schouler. Bittar was presented the award by actress Dakota Fanning during the June 2010 ceremony.

Below are a few examples of Bittar’s work. I urge you to go look at his entire collection. Bring a bib, however, because you may drool.

Alexis Bittar Woven Teardrop Earrings

 

Enjoy!

LPA

 


You Should See a Doctor About That Cuff

Friday, November 5th, 2010
By La Petite Acadienne

So, you’re wearing an outfit that seems a little…not quite right.

Maybe it’s too sweet, or too blah, or too something. All you know is that your usual kick-ass-itude appears to be crowded out by the sheer”meh”-ness of the whole thing.

What to do?

Get a cuff.

No, I don’t mean “get slapped upside the head”.  This is a non-violent blog.

You think she put up with any crap?

I’m talking about cuffs. Gorgeous, strong, womanly, bold cuffs. A cuff is not for the meek or the  mild. It has presence and verve, and a bit of 1970’s disco-diva awesomeness. It channels Wonder Woman, and who was more unapologetically and stylishly kick-ass than Wonder Woman, I ask you? (None. None more kick-ass.)

A cuff can be a classic piece, depending on the style, but it’s not one of those classic pieces that can sometimes fade into the woodwork. It’s noticeable. And it’s JUST the thing needed to add that strong-woman edge back to your ensemble.

So, whether you’re dressed down in jeans and t-shirt or all dolled up, a well-chosen cuff will let people know that you are Someone To Be Reckoned With.

Look — strong and beautiful cuff bracelets, both simple and ornate!

Don’t you feel stronger already?

Bisous,

La Petite Acadienne


The Eight Pieces of Jewelry Every Woman Should Own

Thursday, October 28th, 2010
By La Petite Acadienne

Bonjour!

In my many years of reading fashion magazines, I’ve occasionally seen a piece written about the “must-haves” for a jewelry wardrobe. These pieces are considered the ultimate, versatile, can’t-live-without-them classics that will serve you from age 19 through 99 and beyond.

The list usually goes like this:

  • Pearl Stud Earrings
  • Diamond Solitaire Earrings
  • Hoop Earrings
  • Diamond Solitaire Pendant
  • Pearl Strand or Pearl Drop Necklace
  • Gold Bracelet
  • Gold Chain Necklace
  • Signature Piece in your most flattering gemstone

Personally, I have no quibble with this list. There are no items that could be considered bad choices, really. And it goes without saying that if you ARE going to purchase any of these pieces, please buy the best quality that you can afford.

That being said, are those the eight pieces of jewelry that I should own?

No.

Not really.

If I were to be limited to eight pieces of jewelry, my list would have some of those items, but it would also look a bit different. This is based on my own personal preferences, on sentimentality, on my workplace, on my body shape, on my clothing choices, and on a myriad of other factors that tell me that pearl stud earrings, while perfectly lovely, are not on my list of bare necessities.

So what is?  (Wedding jewelry excluded – I’m talking about things you’d buy for yourself.)

  1. Diamond solitaire earrings – personally, I can’t think of any woman who couldn’t use these, but your mileage may vary.
  2. Medium gold hoops – great for work or for weekend. My mom bought me a pair when I was 18, and I still have them and wear them often.
  3. Larger gold hoops – to add a bit of gypsy-ish allure to a weekend or evening outfit. I like hoops, so sue me.
  4. A big honkin’ cocktail ring – it should look like something your fabulous Nana owned. If you didn’t have a fabulous Nana, then make one up, and buy a ring that you think she would have liked. This little number makes any outfit more special. Wear a simple outfit with one standout bauble, and you’ll look like the most confident woman in the room.
  5. A turquoise necklace –this is a summer staple for me. It looks amazing with any and every skin tone and just adds a great summery feel to basic outfits.
  6. Some sort of diamond pendant – a solitaire is subtle and classic, and can be a workhorse of your jewelry wardrobe.
  7. A sparkly brooch – some sweaters have necklines that don’t really lend themselves well to necklaces. And if you wear interesting glasses, you might not want earrings that compete. So how to oomph up a plain sweater? Get thee a brooch. Again, pretend that it was your fabulous Nana’s.
  8. A chunky steel men’s-style watch – yes, I know we all just check the time on our cell phones, but your cell phone does not add edge and panache to your look. A masculine watch keeps a girly outfit from being too sweet, and adds extra interest and mystery to a business outfit.

Some of you might look at my list and disagree to the point of throbbing forehead veins. Others might look at it and say, “ZOMG!!!1 she has read my mind!”

So…what are YOUR eight must-haves?












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      Disclaimer: Manolo the Shoeblogger is not Mr. Manolo Blahnik. This website is not affiliated in any way with Mr. Manolo Blahnik, any products bearing the federally registered trademarks MANOlO速, BlAHNIK速 or MANOlO BlAHNIK速, or any licensee of said federally registered trademarks. The views expressed on this website are solely those of the author.