Tuesday, February 28, 2012

My Fashion Superheroine: Kim Schalk

There are many perks in the life of a wardrobe stylist, namely meeting talented designers. We are so fortunate to live in a city that boasts a healthy scene for local jewelry and accessories designers and a slow, but growing, apparel sector. Hence, I feel obligated to promote these designers at every opportunity, especially to my clients.

Among such designers is my local fashion superheroine, Kim Schalk. A patternmaker by trade, she leaped to design and production during a stint at Barneys New York. After a dizzying decade, which included ownership of a local boutique in Adams Morgan, launch of her first label and three children later, the designer is building a new line, Kim Schalk Designs.

This Sunday, March 4, Kim unveils her fall 2012 collection at Nana boutique for a special trunk show. Kim returns to the charming indie boutique where she has held courtside for several years. Yours truly became acquainted with Kim’s then label, God Help Miss Agnes, by gobbling up her repurposed tops and skirts nearly five years ago. I continue to treasure those pieces and was honored to carry her spring and fall 2011 collection at my boutique, CARBON.

She departs from her vintage-inspired creations for a Grecian goddess draped in rayon jersey fabrics. In true tradition, she incorporates an element of surprise into her design. For this collection, she favors metallic belts and accessories to evoke a dose of female empowerment, or rather a superheroine edge. If wielding metal cuffs doesn’t appeal to your inner Wonder Woman, the collection’s soft palette of light greens, creams, and blues are statement worthy.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

My Top Spring Looks for Her

Our atypical warm winter day has me pining for spring frocks and shoes. I see bursts of tangerine (the "It" color for the season), abstract prints, peep-toe espadrilles and a dose of the whimsical. While my style wanes from the modern bohemian to vintage-inspired (well, anything vintage circa 1950s), I am adamant about fit - just ask my clients! My top spring picks offer the best of both worlds: strong silhouettes that support an hourglass figure and visual interest. The latter can be honed or exaggerated depending on your personality and lifestyle.

I challenge you to embrace bold colors if you tend to favor a neutral palette of creams, grays and white. For the edgy rocker, soften your look for a floral print (pair with a cropped moto jacket to reinforce your point of view). Either way, spring transitions us from months of drab to bright awakenings. See you at the garden party!

City Jacket and Pants (100% organic cotton, herb-dyed) by A.D.O. Clothing. Available mid-March at A.D.O, $220 city jacket and $142 city pants

Abstract print dress by Samantha Pleet. Contact info@samanthapleet.com for price.

Empire Dress (100% organic cotton) by Organic by John Patrick. Sold at Barney's, $560

Florence Espadrilles (faux suede) by Olsen Haus. Sold on www.Vickerey.com, $185

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Valentine's Eco Chic Gift Guide

For this Valentine’s Day (just around the corner!), say I love you with these eco chic and locally made products.

For Her

1. Give her roses, an orange peel in the shape of a rose that is. CALAMARIE offers their classic orange peel rose necklace collection in a variety of colors and shapes. All are handmade by Colombian artisans. Now through Feb. 14, receive 20% off your total order and receive free shipping on orders over $50. Enter coupon code: Valentine.

2. Wrap her up in a cozy chic handmade scarf by JEM. The locally made gems are versatile given her creativity and flare for styling.

3. Pamper her with Herban Lifestyle all natural, cruelty-free bath and beauty products. Everything from soaps to facial cream to lip balm is gentle on the skin and on the Earth. Our top pick? The brand new unscented chocolate soap! Just for my dear readers, receive 20% off your total order now through the end of February. Enter code MSL20.

4. Put her treasures in a handmade jewelry box made from recycled wood by Brazilian local artists sold through VirtuArte. The fair trade company offers a plethora of gorgeous goods from around the world.

5. Choose from an assortment of locally made products at Nana’s Handmade Valentine Mart this Saturday, Feb. 11 from 12 – 6 p.m. The retailer turns her store to a mini bazaar filled with all types of gifts from hand printed cards to re-purposed vintage jewelry to handmade silver money clips.

For Him

1. While you are perusing the Herban Lifestyle products for her, pick up a few sudsy soaps and aftershave for him, too. The wide selection includes a gift set taking the guesswork out of it.

2. Button him up in a prepster dress shirt by Reads Clothing Project. Local designer/founder Read Wall updates the classic dress shirt with a casual yet cool flare. Plus, for every product sold, Read donates a book to the Books for Africa Project. All products made in the USA.

3. Layer him in a Patagonia Synchilla Vest. It is easy being green in this warm vest - made from 87% recycled polyester, part of Patagonia’s Common Threads Program.

4. Channel his love for sports through handmade cufflinks. Local jewelry designer Evelyn Brooks has created the sports-themed accessory to appeal to his competitive spirit!

5. Stock him up with organic cotton briefs by PACT. These colorful undies go the distance when proceeds from every purchase benefits Citizen Effect, a local non-profit that raises money for global community projects.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Crystal Couture returns with big appeal

Crystal Couture returns with big appeal. The annual shopping and runway event hosted by the Crystal City Business Improvement District welcomes 50 retailers and designers, double from years past.

From February 7 – 11, 2012, Crystal Couture takes over the former food court at the Crystal City Shops, transforming the space into a rocking runway, lounge and shopping spot. The one-stop shopping experience allows guests to browse discounted styles on the rack and on the runway as models showcase the latest fashions.

Among the selected vendors offering locally made and eco-friendly products are Aidah Collection, Elizabeth St. John, and the now closed CARBON boutique. Look for me at the CARBON booth where I will be selling our remaining inventory at discounted prices. You will also be able to shop products from some of the CARBON local designers, Kim Schalk, Diamantina handbags, Carmen Eliam jewelry, JEM accessories, Melissa Lew eco-friendly jewelry and YB Green handmade earrings.

In addition to the shopping and runway shows, fashion fans can cool off from the sizzling styles with sips from the bar, free make-up and hair makeovers, chats with wardrobe stylists and music from DJ Neekola.

The weeklong event is free and open to the public.