Rich Cousin Envy

the young, the broke & the fabulous

Belted Coats

Wanna be fashionable for free?

Wear a belt over your coat or cardigan. Too hot? Belt your dress at the waist!

Left: Model Cara Delevingne for DKNY prêt-à-porter Autumn-Winter 2012/2013 [Source: style.com]; Right: Model Hedvig Palm for Chanel prêt-à-porter Autumn-Winter 2012/2013 [Source: style.com]

Left: Model Katryn Kruger for Cacharel Prêt-à-Porter Autumn-Winter 2012/2013 [Source: style.com]; Right: Alexander McQueen Pre-Fall 2012 [Source: nymag.com]

Left: Temperley London Pre-Fall 2012 [Source: nymag.com]; Right: Model Lindsey Wixson for Anna Sui prêt-à-porter Autumn-Winter 2012/2013 [Source: style.com];

Left: Chris Benz prêt-à-porter 2012/2013 [Source: style.com]; Right: Reem Acra Pre-Fall 2012 [Source: nymag.com]

Left:Blogger Bee from Atlantic-Pacific wears a Gap jacket, JCrew belt, Saint James top, Giuseppe Zanotti shoes, Kate Spade skirt, Karen Walker sunglasses model ‘Number One’, Lauren Elan necklace, Michael Kors watch, and Jcrew, David Yurman and Stella&Dot jewelry, MAC ‘Ruby Woo’ lip color [Source: atlantic-pacific.blogspot.com]; Right: Model Julia Suszfalak for 3.1 Phillip Lim prêt-à-porter Autumn-Winter 2012/2013 [Source: style.com]

Left: Billy Reid prêt-à-porter Autumn-Winter 2012/2013 [Source: style.com]; Right: Model Daria Strokous for Alberta Ferretti prêt-à-porter Autumn-Winter 2012/2013 [Source: style.com]

Left: Model Nadja Bender for Emilio Pucci prêt-à-porter Autumn-Winter 2012/2013 [Source: style.com]; Right: Christian Dior Pre-Fall 2012 [Source: nymag.com]

Left: Michael Kors Pre-Fall 2012 [Source: nymag.com]; Right: Versace Pre-Fall 2012 [Source: nymag.com]

And now for a master tip: For skinny belts, loop it around itself, like in this picture of Diane Kruger:

[Source: en.vogue.fr]

Tuxedo Stripes

Lateral stripes are no longer for joggers wearing Adidas.

Also known as tuxedo stripes, they are everywhere this season!

Model Kasia Struss for Lacoste Fall 2012 Campaign [Source: nymag.com]

Left: Pedro Lourenço Pre-Fall 2012 [Source: nymag.com]; Right: Doo.Ri Pre-Fall 2012 [Source: nymag.com]

Left: Model Alison Nix for Gabriele Colangelo prêt-à-porter Autumn-Winter 2012/2013 [Source: style.com]; Right: 10 Crosby Derek Lam prêt-à-porter Autumn-Winter 2012/2013 [Source: style.com]

Left: Model Deimante Misiunaite for 3.1 Phillip Lim prêt-à-porter Autumn-Winter 2012/2013 [Source: style.com]; Right: Azzaro prêt-à-porter Autumn-Winter 2012/2013 [Source: style.com]

Left: Commuun prêt-à-porter Autumn-Winter 2012/2013 [Source: style.com]; Right: Araks prêt-à-porter Autumn-Winter 2012/2013 [Source: style.com]

THE POOR COUSIN WEARS:

Pussy Riot

Seven members of the band Pussy Riot [Source: en.wikipedia.org]

I travel a little bit for work, and I happened to be overseas having dinner with a Russian colleague the night before the Russian Presidential election. To my delight, she expressed her confidence that, this time around, Vladimir Putin would not win, and I jokingly said that “whether he wins or not is one thing, whether he becomes the president or not is a completely different issue”. I wake up the next morning to the news that Putin has won the elections with a whopping 62% of the votes.

To say that the Russian people believe Vladimir Putin’s dictatorship government is corrupt is an understatement. A former KGB spy, his level of paranoia is high, although if I were in his shoes, I too would be hyper vigilant of critics. He knowingly launches witch hunts on those who cross him, often landing them in jail on bogus charges, or forces them to leave the country under unusual circumstances.

So why is someone who carefully cultivates his macho image by shooting down tigers afraid of a bunch of screaming little girls?

Pussy Riot is a punk-rock Russian feminist group formed in August 2011, some say as a faction from Russia’s Voina art collective. This wing of the movement is said to have been angered by the discrimination against women within political issues in Russia. The band stages political protest performances in unusual and “unauthorized” locations, such as the Place of Skulls on Moscow’s Red Square and subway stations.

Pussy Riot at Lobnoye Mesto (Place of Skulls) on Red Square in Moscow [Source: en.wikipedia.org]

Their costumes are important in the message they are trying to convey; consisting mostly of brightly colored dressed and tights, the outfits ensure they are identifiable as women. Their insistence on wearing bright sunny dresses no matter how harsh the cold shows that they will not back down from their ideals, regardless of how unfavorable the conditions to pursue them. Pussy Riot’s motto “no more heroes!” is represented by the balaclavas covering their faces. The disguise provided them with anonymity, and sends out the message that anyone can join the movement. The move also shields them from personal attacks in the press, a common tactic used by Putin to intimidate, discredit and/or silence his critics.

On February 21st, 2012, just days before the presidential elections, Pussy riot staged a “punk prayer” protest at Christ, The Redeemer Russian orthodox church. The song entitled “Holy Mother, Chase Putin Away!” is a direct response to the growing ties between church and state in Russia. The “pope” of the Orthodox Church, Russian Patriarch Kirill, not only openly supported Putin’s bid for reelection, but went so far as to call his victory a “miracle from God”, who had “rectified the crooked path of history”. I wish there were strong enough words to describe the irony of that statement.

Feminist punk group Pussy Riot perform during a ‘flashmob’-style protest, which eventually led to their arrest. [Source: tmagazine.blogs.nytimes.com]

Three members of the group were arrested within 1 min of the protest, under accusations of “inciting religious hatred” against the Russian Orthodox Church. They were formally accused of “hooliganism”, and held without bail, away from their children. As if more evidence were needed that the odds were being stacked against them, the trial was set to be held at the Tagansky Court building, where two of the members, under the Voina art collective, staged a massive protest. On June 4, formal charges were brought in an indictment that comprised 2,800 pages. On July 4th, they were then “informed” that they would have to be ready for trial on July 9th. They announced a hunger strike citing two working days was not sufficient time to prepare a trial defense. The trial started on July 30th. All three were convicted of 2 years in prison.

Amnesty international, political figures and celebrities have all called for the release of the three women, and protests against the clearly unfair trial have been held worldwide. I will not publish their names and ages to pay respect to Pussy Riot’s ideals, but the information is widely available online. It was also made known over the weekend that two other members of the group have now fled Russia. It is unknown how many people the group counts own, as estimates range from 7 to 25.

The idea that a bunch of screaming women in bright colored dresses would frighten someone who is known to have his enemies assassinated can only speak to the power and truth in their message. It is now up to the Russian people to decide whether they want to conform with their reality, or substitute their own.

Varsity Jackets

the menswear trend for women is really strong this Fall-Winter 2012/2013 season.

One curious addition to the tailored pieces is the Varsity Jacket, that gives a more casual, boyish tone to an otherwise very feminine outfit.

Left: [Source: 21arrondissement.com]; Right: Blogger Hanneli Mustaparta during Paris Fashion Week AW 2012/2013, by Vanessa Jackman [Source: fashion-streetstyle.tumblr.com]

Left: rag & bone Pre-Fall 2012 [Source: nymag.com]; Right: Model Iris van Berne for 3.1 Phillip Lim Pre-Fall 2012 [Source: style.com]

Left: Model Valery Ka for DKNY Fall-Winter 2012/2013 Ready-to-Wear [Source: style.com]; Right: Model Lili Ji for Damir Doma Fall-Winter 2012/2013 Ready-to-Wear [Source: style.com]

Left: Commuun Fall-Winter 2012/2013 Ready-to-Wear [Source: style.com]; Right: Model Julia Frauche for Balenciaga Fall-Winter 2012/2013 Ready-to-Wear [Source: style.com]

Left: Billy Reid Fall-Winter 2012/2013 Ready-to-Wear [Source: style.com]; Right: A.L.C. Fall-Winter 2012/2013 Ready-to-Wear [Source: style.com]

Left: Catherine Malandrino Fall-Winter 2012/2013 Ready-to-Wear [Source: style.com]; Right: Model Zuzanna Bijoch for Anna Sui Fall-Winter 2012/2013 Ready-to-Wear [Source: style.com]

THE POOR COUSIN WEARS:

Asma al-Assad falls out of Vogue

Since Jackie Kennedy vacated the position of “First Lady of Vogue” in the late 60s, the fashion world has been anxiously looking for a replacement. While Michele Obama made a great candidate with her support for new American designers, she is not stereotypical beautiful; a tall African-american woman of broad shoulders, thick proportions and toned arms, she is a far cry from her fashion counterpart, Naomi Campbell.

Asma al-Assad, photographed by James Nachtwey for the article A Rose in the Desert, in Vogue magazine, March 2011 edition. [Source: presidentassad.net]

Enter Asma al-Assad. The mysterious First Lady of Syria is "…glamorous, young, and very chic—the freshest and most magnetic of first ladies. Her style is not the couture-and-bling dazzle of Middle Eastern power but a deliberate lack of adornment. She’s a rare combination: a thin, long-limbed beauty with a trained analytic mind who dresses with cunning understatement", or to sum it up: tall, skinny and blonde. She is intelligent, speaks at least 3 languages fluently. Her features remind you of an older Helena Christensen. The one catch: much like Her Royal Highness, the Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton, she would not pose for pictures or give interviews to anyone.

The Atlantic does a great job of explaining what comes next:

November and December of 2010 were busy months for Syrian president Bashar al-Assad. He rebuffed international nuclear inspectors, rejected U.S. attempts at diplomatic engagement, stretched out peace talks with Israel (Israeli foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman accused him of undermining peace, calling Syria “the center of world terror”), ducked fallout from WikiLeaks revelations that he had attempted to arm Hezbollah with Scud missiles, and celebrated his tenth anniversary with first lady Asma al-Assad, whom he married only a few months after succeeding his father’s 30-year rule and who herself spent those two final months of 2010 hosting a reporter from Vogue magazine, which on Friday published a glowing profile of her.

In November and December 2010, Vogue thinks it has landed the interview of the decade. Perhaps they have finally found an elegant figure that is more suitable to Vogue than that of Mrs. Obama’s.

Perhaps it did not occur to Ms. Joan Juliet Buck - the writer of that flattering Vogue piece entitled A Rose in the Desert, whose excerpt you read above- to pick up a newspaper or turn on Al-Jazeera in her hotel room so she could watch the Arab Spring uprising in Tunisia that same December 2010.

If you muscle through the 3,000-word opus to Mrs. al-Assad, there is no mention of the fact that the al-Assad family has ruled Syria for 40 years and 2 generations, or how Damascus is now a hub for terrorists from Hamas, Hezbollah and the Islamic Jihad. Instead, you will read that "Syria is known as the safest country in the Middle East, possibly because, as the State Department’s Web site says, “the Syrian government conducts intense physical and electronic surveillance of both Syrian citizens and foreign visitors". Apparently actively spying on domestic and foreign civilians is commendable in the house of Wintour.

From Jezebel:

Buck (…) proceeded to have some very deep thoughts about Syria. For example: “Syria. The name itself sounded sinister, like syringe, or hiss.” (The horrific quote has already spawned a hilarious Twitter hashtag, #countriesbyvoguewritersA favorite: “Czech Republic. The name itself sounded like what I should have done before writing that Vogue article.”)

But Ms. Buck goes further. After procuring time with Bashar al-Assad (a journalist’s dream!), the only politics she makes mention of is how they decide whether to order pizza or buy a new puppy. "The household is run on wildly democratic principles. ‘We all vote on what we want, and where,’ [Asma] says". If only the Syrian people could say the same.

Asma al-Assad, her husband Bashar al-Assad and two of her children, photographed by James Nachtwey for the article A Rose in the Desert, in Vogue magazine, March 2011 edition. [Source: presidentassad.net]

It’s not only odd and embarrassing that Ms. Buck did not do her research before submitting her piece to Vogue; there is also a lesson in this for all of us: not all fashion icons are created equal, but all dictator wives are obsessed with shoes.

From the Guardian:

Some of Asma al-Assad’s prospective purchases arouse polite comment from her friends. On 3 February 2012, she was browsing the internet for luxury shoes, according to an email titled "Christian Louboutin shoes coming shortly". She wrote to friends sharing details of new shoes on offer, including a pair of crystal-encrusted 16cm high heels costing £3,795. She asked: “Does anything catch your eye – these pieces are not made for general public.” One friend replied dryly: “I don’t think they’re going 2 b useful any time soon unfortunately.”

Since the Syrian uprising began on March 2011, it is estimated that 16,000 people have been killed. But as the innocent perished, Asma al-Assad fought stress much like the average American soccer mom: she went on a shopping spree. She furnished her coastal home palace, which offers breathtaking views of the Mediterranean, with more than 130 items priced at at a grand total of £270,000 (approximately US$ 430,000), custom ordered from the United Kingdom.

Again, the Atlantic provides context for perhaps the most startling portion of Vogue’s March article:

Much of Vogue’s article appears to familiarize the Assads in small but persistent ways; it notes, for example, Bashar’s “startling” electoral victories but not that he was the only candidate. It lists one detail after another portraying Bashar and Asma al-Assad as fun, glamorous, American-style celebrities: trips to the Louvre, a story about the couple joking with Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, Asma’s effort to give Syria a “brand essence,” the fact that all three Assad children “go to a Montessori school,” and countless references to Christianity. Though the Bashars are Muslim, like nine out of ten Syrians, the article meticulously associates them with Christianity, detailing their Christmas tree, their love of Christmas music, Asma’s visit to a Catholic orphanage, and a Christian children’s concert that is said to bring the audience to tears. The article ends with Bashar ringing a Christmas bell, declaring, “This is how you can have peace!”

Ms. Buck tells Newsweek she was “duped” into writing such a glowing review of Asma al-Assad. Doubtful, as from Vogue’s own admission, the piece was a whopping full year in the making. Most likely, the "flash of red soles" was enough to blind her to Mrs. al-Assad’s disregard for the Syrian people.

I think Ms. Buck finally understands what it’s like to be a fashion victim.

Phillip Lim

Designer Phillip Lim in his garment-district office, in New York City. Photo by Joseph Maida. New York Magazine (July 22, 2007) [Source: nymag.com]

  • Age: 39
  • Nationality: American (parents are Chinese)
  • Aesthetic: Urban Contemporary, with a touch of minimalism
  • Designs for: 3.1 Phillip Lim, Kid by Phillip Lim

Phillip Lim has made it his mission to bring affordability to Designer Fashion. All about “clothes that refine, not define”, he makes chic, effortless pieces that are easy to understand and easy to wear.

Born in Bangkok, Thailand to Chinese parents, Lim moved to Southern California’s Orange County as a baby. One day, while working at Barneys in California, he unpacked Katayone Adeli’s inventory and fell in love with fashion. Attracted to the “no-fuss chic” aesthetic, he tracked down Adeli and landed an internship that would eventually lead to a spot on her design team.

In 2000 when Adeli decided to move to New York City, Lim stayed behind and co-founded the label Development, in Los Angeles. The label was successful but small, and in 2004, Lim’s bosses decided they were interested in the poppy sportswear trend that was defining California style: Juicy Couture, C&C California. Lim was not.

Wen Zhou (left) with her business partner, designer Phillip Lim (right). [Source: teenvogue.com]

Enter Wen Zhou. The daughter of Chinese immigrant parents — her mother a seamstress like Lim’s, and they often say they are "the same people, but one wears a skirt". Zhou started in fashion selling buttons as a summer job; by the time she was 21, she was CEO of a fabric company, and Development was one of her clients.

When she heard Lim parted ways with Development, she sent him a plane ticket to New York. He arrived on a Thursday, and by Monday, Zhou had invested $750,000 of her own money to start a line they would call 3.1 Phillip Lim, as they were both 31 at the time. She gave him a room in her own apartment and told him to have a collection ready in 2 months.

Left: Model Egle Tvirbutaite for 3.1 Phillip Lim Spring 2007 Ready-to-Wear. This t-shirt featuring rosettes made by Koi Suwannagate would sell over 3,000 units. [Source: style.com]; Right: 3.1 Phillip Lim’s Pashli Satchel handbag is so popular that, since its introduction in 2011, it has been made in dozens of different colors, and event adapted into a mini version, featuring a long should strap. [Source: 31philliplim.com]

3.1 Phillip Lim debuted in February 2005, and was an immediate commercial and editorial success; good enough for Anna Wintour to feature one of his denim jackets, only 8 months later, in the October 2005 edition of Vogue.

Left: "The Break-Up" handbag features Lim’s extrapolation of the cape trend into the superhero/comic book world. [Source: 31philliplim.comRight: Model Iris van Berne for 3.1 Phillip Lim Pre-Fall 2012. This skirt mimics the lines of the Pashli satchel. [Source: style.com]

His signature “no fuss chic” is everywhere, with a touch of whimsy. Plain t-shirts are transformed by embellishments, purses gain zippers in unexpected places, the cape trend inspires a superhero motif. It’s understated and elegant, much like Zhou and Lim.

THE POOR COUSIN WEARS:

Phillip Lim Superhero

Phillip Lim Chic

Hold on to your bags!

Wanna be fashionable for free?

Put your arm through the straps, and hold your purse!

Victoria Beckham wears a Victoria by Victoria Beckham dress as she leads the way out of the 202 London restaurant in Notting Hill, followed by husband David carrying Harper. [Source: dailymail.co.uk]

Left: Model wears Jason Wu Cloud-Print Dress AW Prêt-à-Porter 2012/2013 [Source: bergdorfgoodman.com]; Right: Jason Wu Pre-Fall 2012 [Source: nymag.com]

Left: Model Bette Franke for J. Mendel Fall 2012 Campaign [Source: nymag.com]; Right: Paris Street Style [Source: waynetippetts.com]

Left: From lecatch.com; Right: Model Yulia Kharlapanova for Costume National AW Prêt-à-Porter 2012/2013 [Source: style.com]

Left: Chloé Pre-Fall 2012 [Source: nymag.com]; Right: Céline AW Prêt-à-Porter 2012/2013 [Source: style.com]

Left: Charlotte Ronson AW Prêt-à-Porter 2012/2013 [Source: style.com]; Right: Banana Republic AW Prêt-à-Porter 2012/2013 [Source: style.com]

Left: Sportmax Pre-Fall 2012 [Source: nymag.com]; Right: BCBG Max Azria AW Prêt-à-Porter 2012/2013 [Source: style.com]

Hold it from the bottom, as if it were very heavy!

Oxblood

'It girl' Olivia Palermo in Elie Saab dress, Dior shoes and Carrera y Carrera jewelry for the magazine Tatler Russia, August 2012. [Source: thetrenddiaries.com]

Deep and dark reds are one of the 4 main colors we are seeing as a trend for Autumn-Winter 2012/2013.

But the real star of this scarlet cast is a red they call Oxblood.

Left: Christian Siriano AW 12/13 Prêt-à-Porter [Source: style.com]; Right: Badgley Mischka Pre-Fall 2012 [Source: nymag.com]

Left: Burberry Pre-Fall 2012 [Source: nymag.com]; Right: Jason Wu Pre-Fall 2012 [Source: nymag.com]

Left: A.P.C. AW 12/13 Prêt-à-Porter [Source: style.com]; Right: Carven AW 12/13 Prêt-à-Porter [Source: style.com]

Left: The Row Pre-Fall 2012 [Source: nymag.com]; Right: Charlotte Ronson AW 12/13 Prêt-à-Porter [Source: style.com]

Left: Derek Lam AW 12/13 Prêt-à-Porter [Source: style.com]; Right: Oscar de La Renta Pre-Fall 2012 [Source: nymag.com]

The good news is the color suits most everyone! Just tone down the accessories and make up, because all you need to wear is Oxblood.

THE POOR COUSIN WEARS:

Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis - Part III: Jackie O

Aristotle Onassis and Jackie [Source: hellomagazine.com]

Following President Kennedy’s assassination, Jackie and the kids moved to New York City, as they wanted to get away from all the memories in Washington DC. Three years later, in June 1968, when Robert F. Kennedy, her brother-in-law, was also assassinated, she was worried for the lives of her children.

The Onassis wedding, as covered by LIFE magazine, November 1968. Jackie wore a short Ready-to-wear Valentino dress. [Source: books.google.com]

Only 3 months later, in October 1968, Jackie marries Aristotle Onassis, a Greek shipping magnate, and one of the richest men in the world. She felt he could provide the privacy and security she needed for herself and her children.

Her marriage with Onassis gave her a lot of freedom, and this reflected in her fashion: Jackie traded in her heels for sneakers; her formal, preppy clothes from the Kennedy years for t-shirts, sweaters and tailored yet relaxed pants. She really let her hair down, and was rarely seen in an updo. Her new minimalist look was mostly deprived of accessories, except for her oversized glasses and occasional Hermès scarves and handbags.

Then tragedy struck again in 1973, when her husband’s son died in a plane crash. Aristotle Onassis was so overcome with grief that he died, not 2 years later. So at the age of 45, Jackie was a widow for the second time.

Jackie Onassis at the Costume Institute’s “Fashions of the Hapsburg Era” gala, 1979; she edited the book by Diana Vreeland that accompanied the exhibition. [Source: vanityfair.com]

Jackie O found meaning in her life by working as a book Editor, leaving behind an impressive legacy of books. As for the reason she worked, even though she did not have to, she confided to a friend at the time: “I have always lived through men. Now I realize I can’t do that anymore”.

During her 7-year marriage with Aristotle Onassis, they lived in 5 locations: Paris, a private island in Greece called Skorpios, her horse farm in New Jersey, a yacth named The Christina (after Aristotle’s daughter).

The last location was her splendid 15-room 5th Avenue apartment in New York City, which overlooked the glass-enclosed wing of The Metropolitan Museum of Art displaying the Temple of Dendur. She died of cancer at this apartment in 1994, at the age of 65.

THE POOR COUSIN WEARS:

Inspired by Jackie Onassis chic 70s style
jackie o

Inspired by Jackie Onassis’ 70s casual style
Jackie O

Best Bets

ONLINE & IN-STORES

    • ALDO takes an extra 50% off sale handbags and an extra 30% off sale shoes as part of its Hot Hot Sale (prices as marked). Limited time only. Our favorite picks:
  • Barney’s Warehouse SaleA few items were added to the ongoing sale. Up to 75% off.
  • Our favorite ASOS offers up to 70% off through its outlet, and 30% off “party dresses”. Prices as marked. This adorable Vero Moda Buton Back Contrast dress is only $10.22! Plus take an extra 20% off by entering NEW20 during checkout.
  • The Nordstrom Anniversary sale is over, but the store continues to take up to 75% off women’s dresses. This Donna Morgan dress is only $61.90 is almost as great as this Lauren Ralph Lauren sequined number for $98.90.
  • Cache offers an extra 60% off item in its sale section. Discounts are shown when you add items to the cart ONLY. This beautiful Pull On Utility silk shirt is a bargain at $39.60 and makes a great staple in your closet.
  • Banana Republic offers up to 40% off as part of their ongoing sale. Save an extra 20% off online by entering promo code SPECIAL20 during checkout. 
  • Receive 30% off your GAP purchase. Enter promo code GAPFRIENDS during checkout. Through Sunday, August 12th.
  • Take $15 off Sole Society shoes, normally priced between $50-$60 by entering GIFT15 during checkout.

IN-STORE ONLY

  • TEEN VOGUE is having a Back-To-School Saturday bonanza at The Grove in Los Angeles. Come by for a free performance by Cheryl Lloyd at 1:30PM, followed by a fashion show and MAYBELLINE NEW YORK free mini-makeovers and manicures*To take advantage of online and in-store deals, you need to download their Insider app to redeem coupons.*
  • H&M is having a spring sale, including panties from $3, bras from $7, bags and knits from $10, and much, much more! Limited time only. As part of TEEN VOGUE’s Back-To-School Saturday, take 20% off your purchase by showing the coupon through their Insider App.
  • Dita von Teese’s favorite, vintage store The Way We Wore offers 50% off pristine items from the 1920s through the 1980s (all items on their first floor).hrough Sunday, August 26. Monday—Saturday 11am—7pm; Sunday noon—6pm. 334 S La Brea Ave between W 3rd and W 4th Sts (323-937-0878).