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Raf Simons Starts Strong with Dior Couture

It wasn’t long ago that we reported, after rumors about Azzedine Alaia, then Marc Jacobs, then Alexander Wang that Dior had FINALLY settled on a creative director in Raf Simons. And it turns out, that unlike so many things in fashion these days, the result was worth the wait.

This past Monday Raf Simons officially started his tenure as Dior’s creative director with his highly anticipated debut of the Dior haute couture collection in Paris. The 54 outfits that came down the runway evoked the energy and signature styles that Christian Dior himself infused into his eponymous label in the first decade of its existence. Classic Dior staples like cigarette pants and bar jackets evoked the architectural purity in construction and refined approach to femininity that Dior himself was so well known for. Mr. Simons even channeled Dior’s preference for pockets and loyalty to intense colors through his own modern lens. In many ways the new creative director has hit the reset button on the renown label, casting aside tangents that previous creative directors sent the company down in favor of revitalizing the essence of the renown French label, albeit with his own futurist edge.

Thus far the reaction from the fashion world has been one of delight accented with a bit of relief.

“I haven’t been this excited to see a show in a long time, ” said Emmanuelle Alt, editor of French Vogue, “Today, I’m going to see something I’ve never seen before.”

“Raf’s so shy. Sometimes I don’t think he realizes how good he is,” echoed fellow designer Jil Sander.

Ms. Alt and Ms. Sander were joined by a veritable who’s who of the fashion world with show attendees including Alber Elbaz, Donatella Versace, Riccardo Tisci, Diane von Furstenburg and even some of Mr. Simon’s rumored competition such as Azzedine Alaia and Marc Jacobs. Stars of the silver screen such as Jennifer Lawrence, Sharon Stone and Marion Cotillard rubbed elbows with the most powerful man in fashion, and Raf Simon’s new boss Bernard Arnault and from the photos we’ve seen everyone was as pleased as the reviewers with the styles that came down the runway.

German Archaeologists Discover World’s Oldest Handbag

Yesterday archaeologists excavating relics from a Stone and Bronze Age site near Leipzig, Germany announced the discovery of an item, or at least the remains of one, that takes the term vintage to a whole new level; according to a report from National Georaphic’s Daily News. The item in questions consisted of more than 100 dog teeth arranged close together and in orderly rows, and was found in a grave of a adult age female that has been dated sometime between 2,500 and 2,200 B.C. Experts believe that the teeth, which were a common component of Stone Age jewelry served as a decorative embellishment on fabric or leather bag.

“Over the years the leather or fabric disappeared, and all that’s left is the teeth. They’re all pointing in the same direction so it looks a lot like a modern handbag flap,” said Susanne Friederich an archaeologist from the Sachsen-Anhalt State Archaeology and Preservation Office. “It’s the first time we can show direct evidence of a bag like this.”

Stone Age archaeological digs throughout Europe and even here in the America’s have repeatedly found evidence that animal teeth, bones and even seashells were all common decorative elements in primitive jewelry.

“It seems to have been very fashionable at the time,” said Harald Staueble, senior archaeologist at Germany’s Saxon State Archaeology Office when asked about the significance of the teeth. Mr. Staueble also added that “not everyone was buried with such nice things, just the really special graves.”

Whoever our prehistoric fashionista was she was certainly important, because it is incredibly uncommon to find so many teeth (objects of obvious value at that time) decorating a single item. The total amount of teeth must have come from at least a dozen animals, making the bag a seriously pricey pieces of prehistoric haute couture and also proving that there wasn’t any Stone Age equivalent of PETA. It’s also clear that our Stone Age fashionista really loved her hangbag, after all, she was buried with it!

Click here to read the full Nat Geo article and check out the photos of the teeth.

Promgirl.net Sketch Contest has Returned

One of the lovely designs already submitted for the summer sketch contest.

Promgirl.net has just announced that they will be hosting another of their infamous prom dress sketch contests through their facebook page. The contest is a tradition that is now in its second year with Promgirl.net and is designed to allow young women with aspirations in dress design a chance to compete for a free dress from the website and share their sketches with each other and thousands of other young women looking for the perfect prom, homecoming or special occasion dress.

The sketch competition is just one facet of an expansive and ever developing social networking drive initiated by Promgirl.net in 2011 aimed at educating, better understanding and ultimately better serving the ever growing number of young women both in the US and abroad who take to the web every year in search of the ideal dress for their prom or special occasion. The brainchild of Promgirl.net president Sunny Adrian, this ever expanding effort to engage a new generation of e-commerce shoppers highlights a growing trend within the fashion world as a whole to make fashion more accessible to customer feedback, more reactive to the desires of the market and essentially a more democratic for fashionistas everywhere.

In the world of twitter, pinterest and facebook images can be uploaded and shared worldwide the moment they are captured and feedback is equally instantaneous.  This in turn has generated a new level of accessibility within the fashion world that has not gone unnoticed by designers. While it may be many years before a consumer can work online with a designer to custom design a dress to their specifications and then simply sit back and wait for the finished product to be delivered to their door, make no mistake this is a vision that a large portion of a fashion industry firmly believes will one day be realized. Many years from now if we find ourselves living in a world of such egalitarian fashion history may remember these small first forays into social media collaboration by designers and e-retailers like promgirl.net as the first steps in a great fashion revolution.

No More Yves Saint Laurent?!?

The interlocking YSL is one of the most recognized logos in the world and has been a central fixture in European fashion since the second half of the 20th century, but now it looks like YSL will be relegated to the history books if new Yves Saint Laurent creative director Hedi Slimane has his way. Women’s Wear Daily has confirmed a rumor originally posted on Fashonista that Mr. Slimane intends on changing the french design house’s name from Yves Saint Laurent to Saint Laurent Paris in an apparent homage to the label’s first foray into ready-to-wear fashion back in 1966, which was introduced under the name Saint Laurent Rive Gauche.

Founded in 1962 by former Dior designer Yves Henri Donat Mathieu-Saint-Laurent the Yves Saint Laurent label quickly became a staple of french fashion and is credited as being the first major European fashion house to use ethnic models in its runway shows and to draw heavily for non-European cultures in its design process. Mr. Mathieu-Saint-Laurent himself is also regarded as the inventor of the tuxedo suit for women and perhaps most notably as the central designer who finally made Ready-to-Wear collections respected by the fashion world. This was of course in large part due to the scope of YSL’s Ready-to-Wear collections and the amount of effort that the design staff invested in them, all of which began with the first Saint Laurent Rive Gauche show in 1966.

Perhaps the logic behind Mr. Slimane’s proposed name change is to help recapture some of that innovative and unique energy displayed by Yves Saint Laurent back in the late 60’s, but so far the reaction from the fashion world to the news has been mixed at best. At the time this article is being written their are still conflicting reports coming in from various sources close to the company as to whether this will really be the end of the YSL logo. While it is official that Saint Laurent Paris will become the label’s proper name sometime in the coming months certain sources insist that the YSL will still appear on the company’s products while others are suggesting that the logo will be redesigned to suit the new name by dropping the Y and leaving the SL.

Ready For Summer?

The time has come that we have all been waiting for….Summer! Some people are lucky enough to live in warm weather year around but, people in the northern states are jumping for joy. Time to bust out your shorts, get your tanning oil ready and flaunt that physic we have all been working so hard on.

Summer is a great time to play with patterns, colors and to try something new. Put your jeans away and get ready to go sundress shopping. Sundresses are a must have for summer. They are simple, comfortable and easy to pack on any weekend getaway. You can do a vibrant solid color sundress or opt for a print. Prints are always fun and you will be sure to catch everyone’s attention. Throw on a pair of flip flops and some bangle bracelets and you ready from a night out.

For all you girls with natural curly hair, don’t fight it! That surfer girl look is so hot right now and guys love it! Some natural waves can be tamed with a little hair gel or mouse and is a great look for the beach or even a nice lunch date. Also, don’t be afraid to go a little blonder or change your hair style. Summer is a great time to change it up!

Do simple makeup this summer! Neutral earth tones were all over the runway this spring. Don’t be afraid to play with some shades of pink or orange if neutrals aren’t your thing. Whatever shades you decide to go with, don’t do it too thick. A touch of blush, some mascara and a little lip gloss can go a long way.

Finally, stand out with your accessories. One thing I love about summer are the big hats, sunglasses and cover-ups. These are all inexpensive accessories that you can show your personality with. Step outside of the box with a toe ring or some funky nail art. So, as all the pools open up and the shores fill with families, take the time to get ready for summer because guess what everyone…summer is here!!

Princess Kate’s Fashionable First Year!

There is no doubt that every time Princess Kate steps out that all eyes are on her.  She has taken royal fashion to the next level and made it very practical for everyone to share in her fashion choices.  Unlike some royals or celebrities, she has kept her fashion choices simple, classy and accessible to the public.  For example, the wonderful royal blue Issa dress she wore when the Duke and Duchess announced their engagement was around 385 euro’s.  The dress sold out within 24 hours and made Issa a house hold name.  There is no doubt she has access to whatever her heart desires but, Kate usually purchases her own clothing and accessories.  This makes people feel they can relate to her and makes us love her even more!

Kate always has the perfect accessories.  One area that Kate does splurge on, are her headpieces.  The English people take pride in their fascinators and sometimes there is no getting around spending more on some of the one’s she has been spotted in.  She is also known for throwing a pop of color into her wardrobe with her clutches, jewelry and stilettos.  Amazingly, she wears them more than once!  Who ever made the rule that you can only be seen in something once is ludicrous.  In reality people wear things more than once all the time.  It is refreshing to see her mixing and matching her clothing and accessories on her outings as a Princess.  As for her makeup, she always does natural colors that complement her skin tone and hair.  It was said that she even did her own makeup for her royal wedding!

No matter how we look at it, Kate’s first year in fashion was fantastic!  She has used her fashion as a great example to people around the world.  She has shown girls that you can be sexy without showing too much skin and humble, even with the most luxurious surroundings.  She has proven that you can be price cautious and still look like a royal and that is ok to wear things more than once!  The world looks forward to seeing Kate’s fashion in the future and she deserves a round of applause for having a fashionable first year!

 

Top Make Up Trends for Late Spring Early Summer

For the last few months most of the popular runway shows have featured very tonal and monochromatic color schemes when it comes to makeup and all the magazines and makeup artists we follow have been advising that theme for this summer is going to be natural. So with that in mind let’s do a quick review of the products and styles you will need to stay chic all summer long.

The eyes – Think a modern take on nude when it comes to eye shadow with varying shades of cream, shell and taupe making up most of the palette and using earthy caramels or blushes where any added accent may be needed. As always in warm weather the lighter the texture the better and avoid shinny, your makeup doesn’t need to be flat but more of a semi-matte which will really help bring out your eyes.

The cheeks – With natural being the name of the game you will want to avoid using too much of any product on your cheeks this summer. Instead think earthy tones that work well with your natural complexion. These should be more than enough to help you achieve that high cheek bone look all the celebs crave.

The Lips – Lip primer is fast becoming a must on many a fashonista’s shopping list. Applying primer helps smooth out the natural tone of your lips so that you won’t need as much lip-stick, which helps keep you on the path to that natural look. Creamy and nude are popular choices in the summer but if you want something that really pops try bright red or fuchsia, both of these are good nail colors this time of year and if you can get a match the effect is very eye catching.

The Wildcard – Believe it or not neon is coming back in a big way and this year’s must have colors all sport names like tangerine tango or crazy orange. While this seems like the complete opposite of the natural look everyone is talking about remember that just because it is a bold color does not mean you have to go crazy when using it. If you have a darker complexion these could make for a good choice on the lips and nails. If your complexion is lighter then you will want to stick with the eyes, try blending upwards toward the brow to give your eyes a dramatic accent.

And as always don’t forget that no amount of makeup expertise will save you from having to find a few new fun and flirty short dresses to keep you cool in the hotter months.

 

Don’t Fall Victim to Online Sites Selling Knock-Off Prom Dresses

It’s April, spring is in the air, flowers are blooming, the weather is getting warmer and all across the country young women are searching for the perfect prom dress for 2012. However in recent years a sinister trend has been developing in the online prom dress market that has left thousands of girls with poorly made knock off dresses when prom is only a few days away. Online dress boutiques claiming to sell top quality designer gowns are acting as fronts from illegal third world factories that churn out poorly made knock offs using the designers own photos!

In recent years these sites have become such a problem for designers, legitimate retailers and consumers alike that online advocacy groups have begun forming to help distinguish honest boutiques from crooks and educate consumers on how to avoid a prom dress disaster. One such advocacy group Top Prom Websites, estimates that last year these cheaply made knock off dresses cost the designer prom dress industry as much as 10 million dollars and left hundreds of thousands of consumers with defective dresses and no way to get their money back.

It works like this: illegally operated factories in countries like Indonesia, China and India set up online websites claiming to sell designer gowns by labels like Jovani, Sherri Hill, Tony Bowls, Clarisse and other premier prom dress designers. Unable to be prosecuted under US and European copyright laws they take pictures from designer’s websites and advertise “designer gowns made to your specific measurements”. While most of these factories do make each dress to individual specifications they do so with substandard materials and manufacturing processes that usually result in a dress which looks nothing like the original. However by the time the buyer realizes this they dress has already traveled half way across the world and the money has changed hands. And if you hadn’t already guessed, these sites don’t do returns.

Designers and respected online retailers alike are doing everything they can to raise awareness about this serious and illegal issue. Shoppers thinking of buying their dresses online are encouraged to double check to make sure the address of the shop they are ordering form is in fact in the United States and to watch out for warning signs like sites that claim they need 2 to 4 weeks to produce a dress, considering designer gowns have already been made months in advance this one is a huge red flag. To learn more about knock off prom gowns, and for a list of trusted online retailers visiting Top Prom Websites homepage here.

Jack Black Skips Golden Globes, Becomes Prom King Instead

Actor, comedian and musician Jack Black is no stranger to doing his own thing. So it should come as no surprise that earlier this month when Hollywood’s most glamorous stars were walking the red carpet into the Beverly Hilton’s historic theater for the 69th Golden Globe Awards, Jack was nowhere to be found. However it is not the fact that he blew off the Golden Globes, but what he blew them off for that makes this story so touching. The 42-year-old California native was unable to attend the prestigious awards ceremony because he already had committed to attending a very special high school prom in nearby Sherman Oaks.

Black was attending the 13th annual Renal Teen Prom sponsored by the non-profit Renal Support Network. The prom was held in honor of 300 kids and young adults who were unable to attend their own high school proms because they were battling kidney disease. Some of the prom attendees had already undergone kidney transplants, while others were preparing to have the life saving transplants themselves and still other attendees had just been diagnosed and were preparing for the long battle to beat diseases that claim the lives of thousands of American’s each year.

“It’s a prom for kids that have kidney disease, that have had and transplant and didn’t get to have a prom of their own because they were having medical problems,” Black explained to a local NBC news affiliate “And it’s a great night where kids get to meet other kids that have had the same situation, make friends and share their stories… and have a really good time. Lots of good times… dancing… singing… partying… you know prom.”

The prom goers were clearly happy that Jack decided to attend their party rather than the nearby award ceremony and even crowned him this year’s prom king to show their appreciation. While the prom king’s crown may not be as impressive as a Golden Globe win, in this case it is still worth its weight in gold.

Mila Kunis is Dior’s New Girl

2011 was a banner year for Ukrainian born former TV star turned Hollywood starlet Mila Kunis, she got cast in a number of supporting roles in highly acclaimed films and took the leading lady role in a rom-com opposite Hollywood hunk Justin Timberlake plus the fashion world lavished their praises on her as the 28 year old actress finally established her sophisticated yet sexy red carpet style. Now Ms. Kunis is kicking off 2012 as the newest face for Christian Dior as the face of their Miss Dior handbag line.

“Mila Kunis is a very talented young actress; she embodies the true modern woman,” Dior’s deputy general manager Delphine Arnault told British Vogue. “Her performance in Black Swan was remarkable. She is very gifted. We are looking forward to a long relationship with her.” Kunis will join Black Swan co-star Natalie Portman, another one of Dior’s girls since 2010 many speculated that Ms. Portman who was born in Israel might sever ties with the french fashion house after their former creative director John Galliano was recording spouting an anti-Semitic tirade in a Paris bistro. However with Mr. Galliano long gong it seems Natalie has no problem remaining with the brand.

In an interview with Women’s Wear Daily Kunis is quoted as saying “”I find that Dior is an incredibly grounded house, I always thought what Dior does is so sophisticated, feminine and beautiful.” Which sounds like a perfect fit for the stunning young actress who is fast becoming one of the hottest names in both film and fashion. Check out this link to some of the sample photos at the Huffington Post and see if you can even bring yourself to disagree. Here at Promgirl News we can’t wait to see where the rest of 2012 will take this Ukrainian beauty.