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I'm Mariel. My style is caught somewhere between a prepster obsession with plaid and the hard hitting trends of the big city. Employee at kate spade new york HQ, Astoria resident, big fan of the internet (I also blog at mariel and matt and mariellie.) All opinions expressed here are strictly my own.

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21 February 11

Tumblr x Paper

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Wednesday, February 16

Worn to work and to the Tumblr and Paper Magazine party at the Empire Hotel to celebrate Tumblr’s NYFW coverage.

This is look 15 out of 30, but since I didn’t take an official outfit photo, I’ll leave you with the details and some party pics.  

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Me, Kristen & Sarah

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Lindsey, Jaimen, Gabi & Bethany

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Kristen, Sarah & Sara

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Jessica and I

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Jaimen gets frisky. Sara is amused. Sarah is not amused.

Thanks, guys and girls, for such a great night!

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9 February 11

First Republic Fashion Forum

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On Monday night, I joined Sara at the Mandarin Oriental for a fashion panel featuring some of the industry’s influential members. The participants, from left to right as pictured above, included:

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Robert Verdi is not amused.

Though the official topic at hand was “the business of fashion,” the meat of the discussion centered around a topic of conversation near and dear to my heart:

How has the internet changed fashion, for better or for worse?

Naturally, the panelists discussed e-commerce. Verdi quickly related a popular phrase, that the internet has allowed for “democracy in fashion,” granting consumers the ability to have a relationship with brands that they didn’t before. As Ms. Agins reminded us, the transition away from an in-store shopping experience began with QVC and HSN, and shopping sites still accomplish a personal, even tactile, shopping experience with 3D merchandise images, videos, customer feedback, and unique features such as try-before-you-buy personal shopping and Skype fittings, both implemented by Norma Kamali’s team.

Brick-and-mortar stores like Bloomingdales recognize the challenge posed by online shopping (particularly flash sale sites like Gilt, who denied taking away market share from full price business and insisted that they often function instead to introduce consumers to new brands) and have to work to keep the “social experience” of shopping special. Overall, everyone agreed that e-commerce is a good thing.

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I coveted Norma Kamali’s cat eye shades. Thankfully, Sara found me these $14 lookalikes which I will be purchasing as soon as the 30x30 shopping ban is over.

The panel’s opinion divided when, inevitably, the subject of fashion bloggers was introduced. Most of the panelists did not seem in favor of the blogging community, calling bloggers ”self appointed experts” and lamenting the editorial viewpoint that is supposedly lost with the democracy of the internet. Solomon predicted a “backlash” against the blogging trend and Verdi even poked fun at “haul vloggers,” imitating the 16 year old vlogger Juicystar07. I was disappointed to see the talent, hard work, and results that bloggers have achieved within the fashion industry to be so overlooked by these experts - that is, until Ms. Kamali stepped in. Calling bloggers “emotional experts,” a phrase recalling the individual touch and word of mouth type of influence that many bloggers have found, Norma noted that we tend to follow people we respect in a sort of ”return to tribalism.” Sara and I were surprised and delighted that the oldest member of the panel was the one who vocalized the most respect for new media.

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So, in conclusion, the experts can’t come to one about the relationship between the internet and fashion. On one hand, internet equality is good if it means brand exposure to new audiences, but on the other, there’s no longer an exclusivity to the business (my reading between the lines of ”lack of editorial viewpoint.”) With this conversation taking place during Social Media Week and right before the influx of bloggers to formerly-industry-only events like NYFW and the Magic tradeshow, I’m very curious to see what will happen now. And of course, you know what side I’m on.

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7 February 11

Balenciaga: Spanish Master

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At center, the 1957 wedding dress of Sonsoles Díez de Rivera (daughter of Balenciaga’s Spanish muse, the Marquesa de Llanzol), inspired by Sevillana Madonna images.

On Saturday, I headed uptown to the Queen Sofia Spanish Institute for a gallery talk by Daniel A. Silva, the Museum Department Registrar at The Hispanic Society of America, and a special viewing of the Balenciaga: Spanish Master exhibit. 

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The exhibition was made possible by Oscar de la Renta, whose style and career was heavily influenced by his early start at Eisa, the Spanish counterpart to Balenciaga’s couture house in Paris. It was curated by Hamish Bowles (my favorite Vogue contributor and very close friend), with many of the pieces on display coming from his personal archives.

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At the Institute…

Mr. Silva spoke about Balenciaga as undeniably Spanish, drawing inspiration from classic Spanish artwork of Velasquez and Goya, traditional dress and cultural icons including the costumes worn by flamenco dancers and bullfighters. Here are some of my favorite exhibition pieces and their inspirations.

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Velasquez’ Las Meninas and the 1939 Balenciaga dress based on it.

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Balenciaga was not a fan of the bullfight itself, but created several garments inspired by the traje de luces, the heavily embroidered costume worn by the torero, and popularized bolero jackets as a result. He also incorporated carnations, which were thrown into the ring to congratulate a triumphant matador, into textile designs. Oscar de la Renta created a gown for his SS11 collection also based on the carnation motif.

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Though usually Balenciaga drew from Spain’s rich cultural heritage, he was also inspired by contemporary Spanish art such as Joan Miro’s abstract paintings. This 1960 charteuse dress was made of silk gazar, a textile originated by Balenciaga to allow for increasingly experimental designs.

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Lastly, the real showstopper - 1967 Balenciaga gown and wrap based on the idea of the Maja, the Spanish version of the English dandy, with Goya’s painting of the Duchess of Alba.

If you’re in New York, I highly recommend visiting - the exhibition on this legendary designer continues through February 19. You can also check out more reviews of the exhibit at Habitually Chic and Paris Breakfast, and pre-order your copy of Balenciaga and Spain by Hamish Bowles, due out this March.

(All borrowed images are linked to their original source. Uncredited images are my own.)

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20 November 10

What’s In Store: Pop Up Flea

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Attention all New Yorkers! The boyfriend and I stopped by the Pop Up Flea today to get him an (almost matching) pair of Warby Parker nerd specs and I was blown away by the gorgeous menswear and furnishings for sale. Vendors include LL Bean Signature, Gant, Gitman Brothers, Schott NYC, and more, and I guarantee you’ll be able to find the perfect gifts for your man friends. (Or perhaps you’ll find yourself a man friend - many an eligible, well dressed bachelor is in attendance.) Sunday is the last day so head down to Nolita ASAP!

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The guys from Billykirk putting the final touch on handmade wallets.

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