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BUY NOW WEAR NOW: Red, White and Bikini

For us Americans, the 4th of July is all about BBQs, fireworks and fun in the sun.  If you plan on soaking up some rays in celebration of our country's independence this weekend, here is some sizzling swimwear that's bound to make a splash!


BACK TO BASICS: A Summer Beauty Boost

As summer settles in and temperatures start to rise - so does the need for keeping your cool.  I caught up with the beautiful and talented makeup-artist, Cris Jenkins, (below) for some beauty boosting tips on how to stay fresh-faced and pretty, all summer long...

Calls Herself: Cris Jenkins
Credibility Factor: Freelance Makeup Artist
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NATTY STYLE: What are this summer's key beauty trends? 

CRIS JENKINS: Color! Coral is the new pink. Coral is a fresh and sophisticated approach to summer and really a happy medium between pretty pink and vampy red. And don't think you can't join the party: beauty brands have made a coral for every skin tone!  Bobbi Brown, MAC, Chanel - everyone seems to be all-over the coral craze with shades ranging from peachy to salmon corals, warmer mango, orange and even amber corals. 
NS: What products will keep us looking hot in the metaphorical sense, and NOT the physical when the weather heats up? 

CJ: I'm excited by Smashbox's Artifical Light (both colors). A fellow makeup artist, Jackie Gomez, introduced it to me on one of the pre-Fashion Week shows last year in NYC and I've been in love ever since. It gives skin a dewey glow that looks great when the sun hits your face. I like to blend it around the bones of the eye; an inverted C application. I recommend starting above eyebrow, blending out into the hairline then come down to just on top of the cheek bone. In the evening I like to take it down the center of the nose. Looks HOT! Celebrity glow HOT!

NS: Since summer is all about vacation and weekend trips, do you have any tips for traveling and how to pack only what we'll need while away? 

CJ: Absolutely! Look for products that are multi-purpose or functional. There are three items in Bobbi Brown's line that I love. To keep it simple I personally use her tinted moisturizer w/ spf in the summer. You've got a little bit of coverage, moisture and protection in one product. My other personal favorite multi-function item is her Pot Rouge - good for a little color on your lips and cheeks. Then there's her Shimmer Bricks - they work double-time as an eyeshadow and a highlighter: just dust wherever the sun would hit the face.  It even looks great lightly dusted on shoulders and chest...just simple and beautiful.



STYLE FILE: Flower Power

Last week was my birthday, and my girlfriends and I celebrated with a boozy dinner at NYC's latest hotspot The Lion, followed by dancing at Boom Boom Room.  To echo the cheerful celebratory vibe, I chose a bright floral party dress and topped it off with shiny baubles around my neck, a metallic purple clutch with more bubbly baubles, and laced up sandals tied in a bow.

SILK DRESS: Diane Von Furstenberg
LACE UP STILETTOS: Christian Louboutin
EMBELLISHED CLUTCH: Diane Von Furstenberg
NECKLACE: Street Vendor

- Natty


NATTY NEWS: 61st Annual Tony Awards, 2010

With some of the biggest stars with the boldest personalities and baddest stage presence - the red carpet fashion at the Tony Awards has a lot to live up to.  But these lovely ladies seemed to have no trouble creating jaw-dropping looks that stood out - even in this tough crowd!

Scarlett Johansson in Elie Saab
A Jewel in Emerald 

Cate Blanchett in Georgio Armani Privé
Ok so the length of the jacket, and the peep of skin is really not ok.  However, I love the new hair, & I give her major kudos for taking a risk.  Kate has a no-nonsense style that makes this sleek metallic pantsuit really work.

Jada Pinket Smith in Marchesa
Ruffled, Red and Regal

Jamie Lynn-Sigler
Terrific in Tie - Dye

Kerry Washington
A Dip-Dyed Dream

Leah Michelle in Zac Posen
By far my favorite look of the evening: age appropriate and figure flattering - this was a beautifully bold and unique color choice on a classic silhouette ... flawlessly finished with a red lip and minimal jewelry.  Well done, newbie, well done.



STYLE FILE: The Stylish Side of the Moon

Sometimes you've just gotta go for comfort ... For drinks with my girlfriends at Above Allen at the Thompson Hotel LES, I chose an old Pink Floyd t-shirt and leggings.  To make the look more bar-time than bedtime, I pulled the T off one shoulder and added sky-high booties, loads of layered bracelets and nearly black nails.  

T-SHIRT: Vintage Pink Floyd (Brand unknown)
LEGGINGS: Forever 21
DARK GREY CASHMERE KNEE-HIGHS - (worn scrunched down): Brand unknown
BRACELETS & BANGLES: Miscellaneous bracelets in leather, gold, and tigers-eye beads



NATTY NEWS: CFDA Fashion Awards 2010

This week the Council of Fashion Designers of America held what is arguably the most important fashion event of the year - the CFDA Fashion Awards.  The CFDA awards are to the fashion community what the Oscars are to the film industry - with a host of titles nominated and awarded to designers by their peers.  Every year fashionphiles wait with baited breath to see who will claim the coveted prizes - and of course, what everyone will wear while it all goes down.  This Monday, June 8th the event took place at Lincoln Center - the soon to be site of New York Fashion Week, come fall.  There were loads of lovely ladies, all looking their best while honoring some of the industry's most talented.  Below are a few of my favorites, as well as a list of the lucky award winners!  

Maggie Grace in Notte by Marchesa 
Short and Sweet

Jessica Beil in Diane von Furstenberg
Bright and Beautiful

Donna Karan in Donna Karan
Draping Done Right

Carmen Kass in Michael Kors
Back-up Beauty

Whitney Port in David Meister
The "Silver-Screen" Personified

Devon Aoki in Zac Posen & Kent Shire jewelry (the best part! Love the double bracelets)
Classic with an Edge

Iman in Giambattista Valli
Iconic Indeed...


Womenswear Designer of the Year: Marc Jacobs

Menswear Designer of the Year: Marcus Wainwright & David Neville for Rag & Bone

Accessory Designer of the Year: Alexis Bittar

Swarovski Award for Womenswear: Jason Wu

Swarovski Award for Menswear: Richard Chai

Swarovski Award for Accessory Design: Alexander Wang

Geoffrey Beene Lifetime Achievement Award: Michael Kors

International Award: Christopher Bailey for Burberry

Eugenia Sheppard Award: Kim Hastreiter, Editor & Publisher, Paper magazine

Eleanor Lambert Award: Tonne Goodman, Fashion Director, Vogue

Fashion Icon Award: Iman

Board of Directors’ Special Tribute: Alexander McQueen



STYLE FILE: Who Wears the Pants?

2010 brought about the turn of a new decade, and the return of one long ignored wardrobe essential - the pant.  With separates edging out the previously trend dominating dress, we began to see pants expand from just the simple skinny, to bigger and bolder silhouettes.  One of the biggest diversions came from the jodhpur - a blousey shape, nipped at the waist and ankles for dramatic effect.  But proceed with caution: this style can be less than flattering if not properly styled.  A tall frame works best with this look, and just to be sure that you don't end up looking like Hammertime - choose a super - high heel to further elevate and slenderize the look. 

THE PANTS: Nathan Jenden
SILK CHIFFON BLOUSE: Diane Von Furstenberg
LONG GOLD LAYERED-LEAF NECKLACE: Vintage (given to me by my mother)
STACKED GOLD/SEMI-PRECIOUS STONE RINGS: (All handed down to me by my mother)
GOLD WATCH: Vintage Pierre Cardin



A NATTY NUGGET: A Walk Through Fashion's History

On our way to Toronto last week, my boyfriend (later referred to as N) flipped idly through a freebie airline magazine, browsing the "best of" Canada's sights and scenes.   As he came upon a page advertising Toronto's Bata Shoe Museum, N said nothing but slid the mag over to my seat as I sleepily opened one eye in mild interest.  "SHOE MUSEUM?!" I squealed in delight, my eyes popping open - I was instantly awakened from one reverie, and into a new one.  Yep, that was it - I had my free time planned for the day.

What could be more exciting for a fashionphile and self-proclaimed "Imelda Marcos-in-Training" than a museum dedicated to her very favorite accessory?!  So, after a long, orientating conversation with the extraordinarily helpful and seriously fabulous hotel concierge - I set out on my trek to find this historical homage to all things footwear.  Below are the highlights of what I found - from the most microscopic to the most gargantuan.  I've also included some particularly fascinating bits of info I learned - which offer some interesting insight into fashion's psychology.  Does all of this make me a nerd?  Probably.  But heck, at least I'm well heeled!  

Who could possibly have smaller feet than Barbie??  Polly Pocket - that's who.

Attention to detail that would put every Louis Vuitton "seamstress" to shame: These lilliputian stockings measure about 1.5 inches long, and were actually HAND KNIT with minuscule needles and thread - unbelievable? Watch the video.

Nobody believed  the old adage "beauty is pain" more than 10th century Chinese women, forced to bind their feet to fit in shoes that could fit in my palm.  

Espadrilles 1.0?  I mean - these look almost wearable...

Ooh, THERE it is!!  Cinderella's glass slipper, finally found.

The world's first wedges.

Talk about a platform...

Is this what's next for Nina Ricci??

"A DELICATE BALANCE - Criticism of the Chopine
Chopines, and the women who wore them, were the focus of much criticism and derision in the 16th century.  Many sumptuary laws took aim at chopines as a means of controlling textile consumption while critics derided the women who wore them on moral, intellectual and aesthetic grounds.  Despite the fact that women were expected, often required to wear chopines, they also had to bear the brunt of criticism levelled against the wearing of them."

UGGs: the original.

Medieval times were all about the pointy toe...

Apparently thigh-high boots were a men's trend first...

"HEIGHT OF FEMININITY - Gender & High Heels 
At the close of the 17th century, heels were well on their way to becoming an exclusively feminine form of footwear.  This increased gendering of footwear mirrored larger cultural trends that sought to define masculinity as "rational" and femininity as "irrational".  Attention to matters of dress was offered as proof of women's inborn imprudence and the wearing of high heels came to be seen as providing clear evidence of this failing.  The rejection of the high heel and other forms of impractical dress by men was seen as confirming their intrinsic good sense.
As men moved toward more subdued attire, the proclamation of familial wealth through dress once again became the responsibility of women's apparel.  Just as the chopine in the 15th and 16th centuries, the high heel would become inexorably connected to the construction of femininity and the economics of fashionable display." 
*Natty's Note: Can you believe it?? I, for one, am NEVER irrational when it comes to fashion. Especially NOT when I'm in line at 8am for a sample sale - in hopes of snagging first dibs on deals, or when I go to bed dreaming of a bag I saw at Barneys earlier.  Listen, sometimes 5 inch stilettos are essential.  6 inches of wooden wedge under each foot is ALWAYS well worth the cost of Advil you'll take during the evening to survive the pain. And YES they will hold our reservation if we're late to dinner because it takes me twice as long to walk anywhere. Didn't you see Memoir's of a Geisha? I'm channeling that chick - minus that whole "opressed-and-objectified" part.  Sheesh.

And last but not least, no shoe museum would be complete without an homage to the man and the show (and the reason I was there) that brought true appreciation to women's designer footwear: Manolo Blahnik and Sex and the City.