The Celect ups O.C.’s style game


The Celect carries delicate but architectural jewelry by Bjorg and Vibe Harslof
The Celect carries delicate but architectural jewelry by Bjorg and Vibe Harslof

Had the pleasure to meet Carrie and Murphy Martines of The Celect at The Lab recently.

Not only are they a cool, friendly couple but they also have impeccable taste — as is obvious to anyone who steps foot inside their intelligently curated boutique. Filled with under-the-radar American and European designers, the vibe of The Celect is casual with an edge and an eye for craftsmanship.

This is no fast-fashion, trend-of-the moment, made-in-China  haven — Carrie and Murphy pay particularly close attention to where the clothes are designed and made.

“We definitely ask designers where they are made,” says Carrie. “We want to make sure the price of the garments you’re getting what your paying for; that you’re not gonna get something you’re gonna wear once; it’s gonna be a piece that is more timeless and not just a trendy item; it’s going to be in your closet over a season at least.”


Rachel Comey jeans at The Celect
Rachel Comey jeans at The Celect


The Celect is the place you go when you want  that uber-cool architectural minimalism akin to the likes of  Rick Owens or Haider Ackermann or The Row‘s oversized knits except with a bit more whimsy. (Honestly, what else would you call these bright swimsuits by We are Handsome and these booties by Bless?)

It’s the place for fashionphiles who understand exactly what is so cool about wearing drop-crotch pants and high-top kicks. It’s not the place to look for tops cut low enough for an Orange County Housewife, Herve Leger bandage dresses  or festival-wear (not that there’s anything wrong with any of that).

Carrie and Murphy — both designers with long history in the fashion game and a love of unique boutiques — have created a modern style mecca in their airy store.

The lines at The Celect — Damir Doma Silent soft wear-forever tees and dresses, Risto knits and Alejandra Ingelmo sneakers, Mark McNairy shorts and shirts, Linda Farrow sunglasses — are selected for their timeless, modern appeal.

The Celect stocks lingerie by Laguna Beach's Noe and swimwear by Minimale out of Venice, Ca.
The Celect stocks lingerie by Laguna Beach’s Noe and swimwear by Minimale out of Venice, Ca.


A wall display of Linda Farrow sunglasses at The Celect
A wall display of Linda Farrow sunglasses at The Celect

The boutique stocks both men and women’s clothes making it perfect for the boy or girl who likes to borrow from the others’ closet.

I fell madly in love with a pink flamingo jersey by British menswear designer Katie Eary. I know it’s technically a man’s shirt but I dream of wearing it with skinny jeans, flowy white trousers or a lean tube skirt and combat boots. Of the women’s lines I crave one of Risto’s painted tees or bright knit skirt; either would work well with — and be a welcome relief from — my largely black winter wardrobe.

A rack of covetable Katie Eary shirts for men
A rack of covetable Katie Eary shirts for men

The Celect also carries a hefty portion of unisex lines such as Paris-based Rad Houraini. Houraini’s gray wool felt capes fall right in line with two fall trends — gray and capes! — but have an architecture that will last past this fall.

The inventory at The Celect (think selection + curation) is still evolving, Carrie and Murphy say and soon they will be stocking Rick Owens Drk Shdws as well as Murphy’s menswear line COPY.

Next time you’re at The Lab (2930 Bristol St A101B, Costa Mesa) check out The Celect.

Clogs by LA-based Sydney Brown, $475
Clogs by LA-based Sydney Brown, $475



Paris Fashion Week Street Style recreated

 It has always been my opinion that the ONLY REAL “Street Style” happens outside the runways of Paris, London, New York and Milan. I can spend hours looking at and dreaming about recreating looks that capture my attention.The set below was inspired by this look: Red, White and Blue in Paris.

 I try to find items in a reasonable price range that approximate the outfit I am lusting after, in this case a lady-like ensemble in one of my favorite color mixes: Crayon!
Paris Fashion Week Street Style recreated
Whenever I see cobalt or bright red (or even green and yellow) I want to pair them with other primaries to create a cheery outfit. But the key to avoiding looking like a pre-schooler is to keep the shape of the individual items clean and simple and sophisticated.
Thus the boxy top, slim skirt, rounded jacket and sharp-edged shoes in color-wheel bright hues still look grown up.
In this outfit I love how the crisp white skirt grounds bright blue and red accessories and how the black accents make the colors pop.  Plus, the balance of shapes and styles in this particular look add a layer of sophistication: the sporty bomber jacket plays nicely against the very classic-sexy silhouette of the pencil skirt; the chunky watch offsets the ladylike vibe and tasseled necklace adds a bit of exotica.
And lets be real, I love nothing better than a pointed-toe pump and a great big clutch; as far as I’m concerned adding a clutch and pump to any outfit immediately ups the style quotient.
Ciao for now!

Etro goes West and so should you




During the Fall shows I identified — as did others — a strong western trend (some called it folk-  or global-chic  as both the trends overlap on details such as yoke blouses, fuller longer skirts, lots of fringe and layering to name a few).

Apparently, the trend is still in play if Etro’s Spring 2015 show at Milan Fashion Week (see video above) is anything to go by.

And, recently, items reflecting the Western trend — either literally or in oblique references through profile or silhouette — have been finding their way into the stores.

I’ve found ponchos and blanket wraps at Nordstrom and boutiques such as No Rest for Bridget in Huntington Beach.


Spotted a while ago at Nordstrom; click to find similar
Spotted a while ago at Nordstrom; click to find similar
Blanket wrap from No Rest for Bridget, $69,  in Huntington Beach will go with everything as soon as the weather cools down.
Blanket wrap from No Rest for Bridget, $69, in Huntington Beach, will go with everything as soon as the weather cools down.


Cowboy inspired boots are everywhere and even pumps are getting the western treatment like these from Gianvito Rossi ...

Gianvito Rossi Western pump, $995 at Neiman Marcus
Gianvito Rossi Western pump, $995 at Neiman Marcus


Etro’s Spring 2015 reflects the West from a more Native American point of view than lines such as Tibi, Michael Kors, and Philipp Plein did in February but it’s still channeling the romance of the Old West albeit in a modern way.

It’s no surprise that Western sensibilities and aesthetics (also referred to as Cowboy Chic, Southwestern and Americana in current fashion literature) has come back. The details of cowboy gear are classic and timeless: slim silhouettes, lots of leather and stitching and awesomely cool last-forever boots.

Hand made boots and other cowboy gear at Burns 1876 at Fashion Island, Newport Beach.
Hand made boots and other cowboy gear at Burns 1876 at Fashion Island, Newport Beach.


All hail Marc Jacobs: The uniform for now




Ask anyone who knows me: I am an unrepentant fan of Marc Jacobs’ runway shows — not just the clothes he sends down the runway which are often as confusing and confounding as they are awe-inspiring — but the girl he creates and the world she lives in.

His closing show at New York Fashion Week — for Spring 2015 — was no exception.

As usual his girl looked unlike anyone else and totally the girl you wish you were (Or the girl I wish I was when I was much younger). This time instead of wearing disheveled disco shags and artfully smudged eyes  ( I still love you so much Fall 2013!)  the models wore blunt-banged bobs and virtually no makeup. I say “virtually” no makeup because no less a beauty icon than Francois Nars “did” the girls in the most adept no-makeup makeup look ever accomplished. By some reports they simply wore moisturizer.

Who gets Francois Nars to apply moisturizer and nothing more to models? Marc Jacobs, that’s who.

The clothes were similarly hypnotic and discombobulating.

Rendered in military khaki, olive and blues (against the background of a bubble gum pink house because ….?) at first the exaggerated army jackets, uber baggy pants with cargo pockets that literally could carry actual cargo (no purse needed) adorned with giant grommets, cabochons and guipure lace looks almost cartoonish in a sort of hallucinatory way.

But then, I started to see the possibilities.

I like to look at runway clothes and figure out how they would look on the street, and the more I look the more I see how it would work.

I want to wear one of the waist-highlighting jackets open over a pair of skinny jeans or leggings with a black tank or turtleneck or striped tee. I want to wear the super slouchy cropped army cargo pants with a tight white ribbed tank because slim on top, full on bottom is a silhouette I can get behind. Also, as full as the pants are when paired with a slim top they will mimic the silhouette of the swingiest full-skirted dress; it’ll just be more badass than princess.

Some of the dresses — still evoking a uniform in this very cohesive collection — are very pretty and worth wearing exactly as presented.

As for the shoes? Simple and luxe and retro,  Jacobs paired everything with bedazzled Dr. Scholls sandals and velvet Mary Janes reminiscent of those cute “China doll” cotton shoes you wore as a child.

Jacobs’ style isn’t to everyone’s taste but I predict that high-street retailers will start turning out pieces inspired his Spring 2015 RTW collection before spring gets here.

Ciao for now …



Go see some fashion at OC Style Week

I love this time of year: it’s when everything starts happening — style wise that is.

One way to see lots of cool stuff you can buy NOW is StyleWeekOC with events happening at Fashion Island and Irvine Spectrum.

The week started off Wednesday at Fashion Island with a Fall Trends show by Neiman Marcus featuring a tons of ornate looks in saturated colors and piled high with glittering jewelry and furs …


Models walk the runway at Fashion Island in a Neiman Marcus trend show.
Models walk the runway at Fashion Island in a Neiman Marcus trend show.


It continues tonight at Fashion Island (Friday, Sept. 12, 7 p.m.) with a retailers’ show featuring looks from American Rag, Ella Moss and more.

Then 5 p.m. Saturday with “Fashion Island’s Evening of Glamour” Featuring designs by FIDM students for Celebrity Cruises ad a evening looks from Fashion Island boutiques.

Next week the action shifts to Irvine Spectrum where, on Saturday, Sept. 20 at 7 p.m., yours truly will join celebrity designer Nick Verreos to judge another Celebrity Cruise design competition.

In between the Fashion Island and Irvine Spectrum shows there will other presentations such as a Children’s runway show from Neiman Marcus at Fashion Island and a Street Scene show at Irvine Spectrum.

Check out the entire calendar of events here: StyleWeekOC.

Hope to see you on the 20th at Irvine Spectrum …



NYFW: Pretty only goes so far …

Less than a full week into New York Fashion Week Spring 2015 and all I can do is yawn.

I’m sure the clothes in person are beautifully made and tailored to perfection (I am not there in person so I’m going to concede that looking at the collections on a 13″ MacBook Air might diminish the magic a bit) but how many deep-V dresses, shirts, and coats can a person look at without screaming “is that all there is”?

By my reckoning every designer has shown the same trends, details, color palette, silhouettes and textiles … adding their personal twist sometimes but sometimes looking unrefreshingly similar to another designer’s collection. It’s like they all got the same playbook that directed them to make ….

A White Shirt:  As seen at …

EDUN RTW Spring 2015

Alexander Wang RTW Spring 2015

Versus RTW Spring 2015

Prabal Gurung RTW Spring 2015

Isa Arfen RTW Spring 2015

Zac Zac Posen RTW Spring 2015

A deep V:  As seen at …

Altuzarra RTW Spring 2015

Diane von Furstenberg RTW Spring 2015

Nanette Lepore RTW Spring 2015

Angel Sanchez RTW Spring 2015

3.1 Phillip Lim RTW Spring 2015

Yigal Azrouel RTW Spring 2015

Matched Sets: As seen at …

Derek Lam RTW Spring 2015

Tommy Hilfiger RTW Spring 2015

Lela Rose RTW Spring 2015

Kye RTW Spring 2015

L.A.M.B. RTW Spring 2015

Cutouts: As seen at …

DKNY RTW Spring 2015

Rosie Assoulin RTW Spring 2015

Thakoon RTW Spring 2015

Charles Youssef RTW Spring 2015

Black and White: As seen at virtually every collection so far (my big prediction: Black and white will BE BIG NEXT SPRING) including  …

Donna Karan RTW Spring 2015

Escada RTW Spring 2015

Ohne Titel RTW Spring 2015

The Row RTW Spring 2015

Public School RTW Spring 2015

Printed/Patterned Coats (a trend which I am super in favor of): As seen at …

Carolina Herrera RTW Spring 2015

Tracy Reese RTW Spring 2015

Jonathan Cohen RTW Spring 2015

Creatures of the Wind RTW Spring 2015

I could go on and on and on with examples of the repeating themes (I left out Kimono dressing; asymmetric angled wrap skirts, crop tops, print dresses, stripes, shorts, culottes, layering and slouchy pants to name a few.) but I’m not trying to be a nag.

To be sure all of the clothes look gorgeous; I wouldn’t kick any of them out of my closet.

I loved the entire Donna Karan collection for her signature easy elegance and I loved the DKNY pairing of pale blue and persimmon. Prabal Gurung’s angled sensibilities and striking color combinations look particularly fresh in his cutout, mesh, knits. I am perpetually fascinated with heavenly construction and tailoring delivered by The Row and Alice + Olivia showed two delicious and witty print dresses (one a literal “Zebra print” and the other a full-skirted blue and white frock decorated with what looked like a Picasso) that made me swoon.

All of the collections look like they’d fit the same easy-going cool American girl who likes things a little bit sporty,  a little bit lady-like. In some ways the clothes seem to be quintessentially American in their laid-back appeal.

I just wish they would also take some risks, display some subversiveness and rebelliousness.

Oh well, there’s always London and Paris to look forward to.

Ciao for now …




Beautiful spaces: Traditional Jewelers; Cucina Enoteca

I don’t love lots of things as much as I love fashion but two that come close are food and interior design. To be clear, I love to eat food (a LOT) and when I am not reading fashion blogs or fashion magazines or fashion catalogs I’m pretty often staring at interior design blogs and HGTV home remodel shows.

Basically I love beautiful things whether it’s the curvy profile of a pointed-toe pump, the sensory delight of a lovely dish or a well appointed room — all are beautiful to me.

This week I got to indulge my senses at back to back events celebrating the openings of Cucina Enoteca and Traditional Jewelers.

Continue reading Beautiful spaces: Traditional Jewelers; Cucina Enoteca

Now who’s gonna police the fashion? #RIPJoanRivers

Just a quick post to remember comedienne and TV and Fashion pioneer Joan Rivers who died today at age 81. I never met her but I know a few people who did and they all describe her as a funny, irreverent, smart and warm woman.

She was also a self-made fashion icon.

Back in the ’90s she reframed the way people talked about fashion — for good or ill — when she began hosting E! Red Carpet. She was the first to ask “who are you wearing?”. The actress  she questioned didn’t know who she was wearing because back then actresses mostly just went out and bought dresses.

Not anymore.

I think you could rightly call Joan the godmother of celebrity stylists because with that one question she launched a multi-million dollar celebrity-style industry.

It’s sad and somehow appropriate that Joan Rivers died on the first full day of New York Fashion week — an event that she and her co-hosts at “Fashion Police” were all set to cover. Seems like she went out in style.

Here are some of the fashion blog tributes to Joan from around the web:

WhoWhatWear: Joan Rivers’ funniest quotes of all time

The Cut: Remembering Joan Rivers’ Iconic Style

The LATimes: Joan Rivers: Making Fun of Fashion