Denim never goes out of style, right?

DistressedJeans1You may not have thought about it or realized it, but denim and jeans have been on the back burner for the last few years. Have you noticed? Women have been wearing black leggings, skinny leg pants and yoga pants in place of jeans.

Well, it’s true – but I’m about to tell you that denim is back. And, of course, I’m about to tell you this classic is back in a new ways with modern tweaks.

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• Today’s denim trend is about a lot more than jeans. In years past, denim was associated with blue jeans, maybe a blue jean jacket now and then. Silhouettes beyond the jean are shirts, off-shoulder blouses, dresses, jackets, fly-a-way tops and rompers.

• Now we are seeing a whole new denim dimension added to this sturdy cotton fabric. Chambray and tencel are the best new complements in the denim universe. Technically, all three fabrics are woven differently, made from different raw materials and represent different weights, but the fashion world is grouping them together this year.

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• Watch for more diversity in the classic blue denim. From very dark indigo to pale washes, the color intensity of denim runs the gamut now. Generally the lightest colors are in blouses and other tops, as well as sundresses.

• Designers are working the denim on denim trend. Does this mean matchy-matchy denim from head to toe? Yuck! Instead what is on-trend are varying weights and washes, mixing darks and lights, mixing denim with lighter chambray or tencel, mixing blue denim with white or black denim, or mixing distressed jeans with a solid blouse or jacket.

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• This is a time for fabric innovation in denim, with surprisingly soft-handed fabrics and stretch technology. At Tres Mariposas we recently sold out of a denim jacket that was so super-stretchy that it felt like a sweater when you put it on. Literally, you couldn’t try it on and not buy it.

• For that effortless cool-girl vibe, add a pair of distressed or ripped jeans to your denim rotation. It’s meant to look a bit messy to show off your slightly wild side.

• Blue jeans are more fun than ever with a wide variety of styles. Cropped, skinny, flared, cuffed, higher rises, wide legs, you name it. The most advanced silhouette is a cropped flare. But most of us can’t quite move on from our skinnies.

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• A denim shirt can be your closet’s MVP. So versatile, with endless possibilities. Layer it under, layer it over, do the casual mixed with dressed-up pieces thing.

Bottom line: Make room for more denim pieces in your wardrobe this year, as denim and its sister fabrics are back and here to stay.

Marc Jacobs: 30 years later

Last week I was in New York for a busy buying trip. Fashion Week had just ended and so the serious work of reviewing collections and making decisions was in progress in showrooms across the Fashion District.

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One of my favorite stops was the Marc Jacobs showroom. I was there to shop the handbag collection. This designer has long been a leader in this category and the Marc Jacobs line of handbags has been among our top sellers.

Handbags on display in showroom last week

Marc Jacobs, of course, is an American design success story like no other. A former designer for Louis Vuitton, he is a creative genius who knows what women want. Today he continually surprises the market with his creations and holds a significant role in the industry.

However, I first knew of Marc Jacobs 30 years ago when he was only 23 and just starting out. In fact, designs from his very first, very small ready-to-wear line were shown at Tres Mariposas in 1986. I’ll never forget how that showing came about.

Back then, once a year, our New York fashion consultant brought interesting items from a number of design houses to El Paso to present at Tres Mariposas. In 1986, her selections for us included a few wool sweaters from some unknown guy named Marc Jacobs.

I remember thinking, “Oh, my gosh, those shrunken little sweaters look like he found them in his grandmother’s attic.” Turns out, my impression was not far from the truth! Jacobs began his fashion career by learning to knit from his grandmother. Our New York consultant said, “His sweaters may look like moth-eaten nothings, but you watch, he is going to be big.” Boy, was she right!

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Marc Jacobs has always been known for retro-influenced designs and fresh takes on vintage looks. Frequently, his designer collection runway shows are full of things that are just fantastical and far out.

But they are also so on target. His show for fall 2016 was no exception and even featured Lady Gaga on the runway!

“Jacobs showed his extravaganza of fashion noir on a stark white set to the sound of single chimed notes by Japanese musician Keiji Haino,” wrote a reporter in Women’s Wear Daily. “The models’ eyes and lips were black. The clothes were dark, wondrous, inventive, eccentric pilings of tweeds, furs, silks, and endless decoration, Victoriana meets Goth meets Biker Chic meets Varsity Chic meets Red Carpet meets Violet Incredible and countless other girls of Jacobs’ runways past.”

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The collection was indeed flamboyant, fanciful and exaggerated. The showroom that we visited was set up like a runway with looks from his recent Fashion Week show, so we got to see some of the styles.

Sure enough, what we saw in the Marc Jacobs showroom set the tone for our entire trip. Fashion is moving to a Victorian-inspired trend for fall. Think high necklines, lace, femininity and some gothic darkness. This trend was also pleasantly interpreted at hip, contemporary lines like Elizabeth and James.

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This designer has certainly come a long way since I first saw his work 30 years ago – and I’m always curious to see what he’s going to come up with next!

For spring, think bohemian, pastels and stripes

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Happy New Year! I hope you had a wonderful holiday season with family and friends – and you got some fun new clothes either for yourself or as gifts!

Who knows what the New Year will bring? Let us hope for a peaceful, prosperous year with a new burst of kindness and compassion for all.

While we have no idea about the country’s future, I’m glad to tell you about the future of fashion trends starting this spring. Up in New York and across the Atlantic in Paris, the experts have conducted their research and made their predictions. Here’s a sneak preview of top spring trends, starting with the most important colors.

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• Pretty pastels: You can expect to see buttercup and sunshine yellow and 50 shades of pink from “sunset hot” pink to the palest ghostly pink. In a class to itself, the new “powdery pastels” are muted with white and take on almost a neutral feel.

• Fruity and festive: The colors of melons add a tasty tang, including cantaloupe, casaba and honeydew, along with peachy hues ranging from coral to light peach fuzz. Another warm color to watch for is true apple red, a pure crimson color with no orange, brown or violet undertones.

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• White, white, white: This spring brings lots of white accents, in white lace, white sheer inserts, white trim. Crisp white shirts will always be in style, whether they are short or tunic-length.

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• Green and blue: We’ll be seeing more green than in previous years, including leaf green that’s the color of palm fronds, emerald green, the slightly darker malachite green and acid green, which has a touch of yellow in it. Cobalt blue will remain big, along with royal blue.

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• Stripes: Wide, narrow, wavy, variegated, broken – all kinds of stripes abound on dresses and tops. Even athletic pants and jackets will feature stripes this spring.

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• Bohemian style: I discussed this as a major trend last fall and it is definitely continuing into 2016. This trend encompasses “hippie” styles, loose sheer peasant blouses, Indian print tunics, ponchos, maxi-dresses, funky elements, artsy folkloric motifs and more.

• Embellishments: In keeping with this bohemian trend are all sorts of interesting details including tassels, appliquéd jewels, embroidery, beading, lace, sequins, fancy buttons, burnout velvet, raw edges, lacing with grommets and lots and lots of fringe.

• Textures: Fabrics continue to be highly tactile with interesting laser-cut designs, perforations, mesh, crochet trims and chiffon accents.

• Denim: America’s favorite fabric is back with a passion, in all washes and finishes from distressed-ripped to dressy dark. Skinny jeans still dominate, but bootleg and flare are still with us. It’s been a few years, but culottes in denim may catch on this spring; shorts and jackets have never gone away.

• The “new” twin-set: While we will still see plenty of knit tank tops and little T-shirts under cardigans, this season also brings cute shorter, cropped tops and matching jackets in woven fabrics.

• Pants: Not much news here, except watch for wider legs and flowy drawstring styles. You can expect less emphasis on leggings – and no yoga pants outside the yoga class.

Stay tuned for more on these 2016 spring trends. If I had a crystal ball, I’d say that 2016 is shaping up to be a fun fashion year!

Celebrating 45 years of trends: Best of fall 2015

Fringe crossbody bag- - Photos by Eduardo MunozLast week, Tres Mariposas celebrated 45 years of fashion, friendship and fun with a Fashion’s Night Out fundraising party. We loved seeing old friends and making new ones. The guests enjoyed shopping – and we enjoyed sharing a portion of the proceeds for each purchase with the FEMAP Foundation for all the good works they do in our community on both sides of the border.

For the party, we wanted to tell this season’s style story with models wearing some of the top current trends. But first we wanted to focus on which trends seemed to be most appealing and most likely to stick around a while. Here’s what I would say are this fall’s best trends:

Ponchos with panache

Ponchos with panache

Ponchos, ruins and capes – all these wraps are practical and instantly impart a trendy, fashionable look. Variations are endless and perfect for any occasion – casual and sporty to throw over denim, detailed with fringe or fashion accents, fun furs for socializing or bold prints. Ponchos are easy layering, instant chic and great for any body type. Choose your favorite for mixing and matching with your essentials.

Leather, suede, fur

Fur VestReal or faux furs and leathers starred on almost every designer’s fall runway. You will see this trend in a statement piece, such as a knockout jacket, or a design detail on a handbag. These days, designers are mixing fabrics and leathers for interesting textural combinations in a lot of great pants, blouses and jackets. By the way, leather or “pleather” leggings are a must.

Fringe

Fringe crossbody bagFringeSwinging and swaying from every possible surface, tasseled trims offer an alternative route into this season’s retro mood. Women can’t get enough of fringe and tassels. This embellishment offers a great vibe – part hippie and part luxury – and adorns everything from handbags, shoes and boots to skirts, dresses, vests, you name it. Fringe communicates fun, channeling a rock star, the bohemian life, Vegas showgirls or Wild West chic.

The mini bag

Mimn bagGood things come in small packages. Vogue calls it the “mini-me movement.” Virtually everyone from Fendi to Tory Burch has this latest must-have. Micro purses are perfect for social occasions where you just need your phone, credit card and keys. No one needs to be a pack mule with a heavy oversized bag all the time. These bags are fun and flirty and downright adorable.

Boots

Over-the-knee boots, called OTKs, are making the ultimate style statement. Close on their heels are knee-high boots, booties, chunky rugged boots, platforms, and low-heeled flat boots and wedge styles. Some are downright works of art, with laser-cut patterns, fringe, delicate lace-up designs and feminine high heels.

In vest

Not the discreet underpinning of the past, the vest takes center stage for fall as the ideal piece in long and lean silhouettes. Call it a long vest, call it a gilet, call it a sleeveless jacket – whatever you call it, the menswear-inspired piece is the ideal item to add to your wardrobe for transitioning to fall. It will work well into the season, especially in that fickle early fall weather when it’s not quite hot, not quite sweater weather. It’s polished enough to take you into an important meeting at work and cool enough to wear over a summer dress for after-work cocktails.

Cross body bag

mini bag2Both chic and practical, long-strapped bags are making a major comeback this season. Not only is this style functional, theft-resistant and hands-free, it looks super chic slung across an equally stylish outfit. You’ll see a variety of bags worn across the body, including mini bags, satchels, messenger bags or the classic clutch.

What’s great about this fall’s trends is their versatility. These are styles that look good on any age and body type. Look for them on your next shopping trip and be ready to rock these new styles!

Designer Trina Turk: Cool and on Trend

Having a long relationship with a design house can pay off with extra benefits, like the surprise we received recently from Trina Turk, that iconic lifestyle brand that’s perfect for our region.
The designer’s collections have been successful at Tres Mariposas for many years and we were thrilled when they sent us a delightful bonus addition to regular shipment: a fun package of popular pieces from their pre-fall collection.

We’re holding a special two-week Trina Turk trunk show where you can buy these limited bonus items on the spot. Women love the fresh Trina Turk look, which celebrates cool and casual “California modernism,” as Trina calls it.
Founded in 1995 by Trina and her husband, Jonathan Skow, a stylist who became an expert photographer, the company has a consistent appeal that hasn’t changed in 20 years. Trina Turk’s success involves the best of classic American design, yet staying on trend.

I thought about why Trina Turk has been successful at Tres Mariposas for a sustained period of time, and here are a few reasons:

Trina Turk’s fuchsia lace skirt

Trina Turk’s fuchsia lace skirt

• Color. Trina Turk’s line consistently includes bright colors. El Paso women always want color. When we’re shopping the fashion markets, finding enough color is always a challenge and Trina Turk offers great options.

Zigzag print dress

Zigzag print dress

• Prints. Women in El Paso and Juárez seem to want clothing that is interesting, energizing and visually engaging. That means that many women find solid color apparel a bit lackluster. Vibrant patterns are part of Trina’s DNA.

Fuchsia romper

Fuchsia romper

• Youthful styling that fits. It’s easy to find youthful-looking apparel. But youthful-looking outfits that look good on a normal body? That’s another story. Trina gets it right. Her fit is relaxed and works for a women of a wide age range.

Over the years, I’ve learned a bit about Trina. I find it interesting that Trina’s mom taught her how to sew when she was 11. Her mother was a creative seamstress who showed her how to modify a pattern and make it her own style.
“In the old days of home sewing, you basically bought a pattern and made the style as it was pictured,” Trina recalls on her website. “But my mother showed me how you could change the style. That lit a light bulb in my head.” The idea led Trina to launch her namesake brand in her apartment’s spare bedroom in 1995.

Amazingly, Trina has been successful for 20 years – but she didn’t start off with a business plan or manufacturing experience. Sometimes it seems that so many young women – including every other job applicant who comes into Tres – aspire to be successful fashion designers. Most have no idea what it really takes.

“A challenge I faced was naiveté: not really knowing what I was getting myself into,” Trina Turk says. “I never did a business plan and had I done one, I would have scared myself out of starting, because the idea of starting an apparel company from the ground up is a daunting proposition. But I was on a mission to do it so I thought ‘I’ll just do this!’”

To help the Trina Turk look come alive for this column, Eduardo Munoz, who does our social media photography, did his magic. Eduardo has a “day job” at BMW of El Paso, but he’s also a very talented photographer. With the rise of social media, many retailers post to Facebook, Instagram and so forth. This has created a new cottage industry and given a platform to many amazing photographic artists. I am really appreciative of Eduardo’s talent.

The model, Keri Smithers, is another talented young person. Keri works almost behind the scenes as an assistant in the Tres Mariposas fine jewelry department. She has also been a great model for our social media photography, another new role prompted by digital marketing. She is slender, sweet, unpretentious – and an natural fashion model. If we take a photo of five models in the same outfit, photographs of Keri will invariably look the best. She is not a traditional “glamour girl,” but it’s as if she has a secret magic. I’m also really appreciative of Keri and her talent.

Here are some of Eduardo’s pictures of Keri in typical Trina Turk styles, including “the romper,” basically a jumpsuit that’s short instead of full-length, and lace that’s young and hip. As you know, prints have their own fashion cycles, and zigzags are in. These prints can be bold and bright – it just takes the right attitude to wear this on-trend look!

Fashion Icon, Diane Keaton, and Me

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Two weeks ago, my husband Sammy and I were on our annual beach outing to San Diego, where many El Pasoans get their beach fix.We stayed at the landmark Crystal Pier Hotel in Pacific Beach because it allows neither my husband nor I to have to compromise on our beach criteria. Who woulda figured that a husband and wife might have different ideas about vacations?

I want to go to a deserted island and read a book a few feet from the water’s edge. I don’t want to just be near the beach. I want to be so close to the water that I can leave the windows open at night and fall asleep listening to the waves.

Sammy, on the other hand, wants to go to a hip, happening beach town with nightlife and great restaurants where he can join the crazies roller-blading on a boardwalk.

Fortunately, Crystal Pier has helped save this marriage. The hotel is a collection of renovated 1930s cottages built on a pier over the ocean. The views are amazing! When I’m in the cottage or on the deck I hear nothing but crashing ocean waves and see only the vast sea and skyline. But at the other end of the pier is all the energy of Pacific Beach. Paradise for both of us.

This year we encountered a delightful surprise as we checked in. The hotel office is at the base of the pier with an automatic gate to allow guests to drive onto the pier. If someone stops at the gate while they are checking in, other guests are blocked from driving onto the pier. I went to check in while Sammy waited in the car.

When I came out, someone’s big black Mercedes-Benz GL was blocking the way. I asked the young lady standing beside it if she knew whose vehicle it was so I could ask them to move. The young lady pointed to the office and said, “She’s in there, checking in. She’s an actress.”

So off I went to ask the person to move their vehicle. I stopped in my tracks. “Whoa! She really is an actress. Wait, what is her name?” I asked myself.

Diane Keaton

Diane Keaton

 

I went back to my husband waiting in the car and said, “What’s the ‘Annie Hall’ actress’s name?” “Diane Keaton,” he replied, and then said, “Well, did you ask her to move her car?” Of course not! I couldn’t bring myself to ask Diane Keaton to move her vehicle.

Not to worry – Sammy said he would go ask her. He later confessed he just figured I was confused and it wasn’t really Diane Keaton. But it was!

He did ask her to move her vehicle. And she was totally lovely. Keaton stayed in a neighboring cottage on the pier, and, of course, I had to get a photo.

Diane Keaton and Nan

Diane Keaton and Nan

I was so amazed that she was still true to her signature style. She was dressed in a fantastic navy pin dot menswear-inspired pantsuit with a crisp white cotton blouse, a handkerchief in the pocket, bolo-inspired necklace and oxford shoes.

The next day she wore all black including a haute couture winged skirt and a hat, which is part of her signature style. In person she is friendly, open, warm and energetic, just like you would think she’d be.

As you know, Diane Keaton’s first famous film role was playing Kay Adams-Corleone in “The Godfather” more than 40 years ago. She won an Academy Award for Best Actress in Woody Allen’s “Annie Hall” (1977), the role in which she established her iconic style. Her film credits go on and on, including co-starring with Woody Allen in other comedies and with Jack Nicholson in “Something’s Gotta Give” (2003). In addition to acting, she is also a photographer, real estate developer, author and occasional singer.

Morgan Freeman and Diane Keeton, in the film 5 Flights Up

Morgan Freeman and Diane Keeton, in the film 5 Flights Up

What can we learn from Diane Keaton about style? Her trademark is sporting menswear as womenswear. She is famous for tailored pantsuits, vests, hats, polka-dot ties, matching handkerchiefs, turtlenecks and quirky hats.

What made it work all these years is that Diane Keaton is always being true to herself. Like other style icons – think Jackie O, Audrey Hepburn – she embraces who she is with confidence and isn’t deterred. She changes what she wears, but not the personality and panache of the look. She isn’t afraid to take risks.

In a September 2013 People magazine article about her, Diane shared some of her Fashion Must-Haves. I like her list:

• Pockets: Pockets are my life! I do not carry a bag ever, because I hate it.

• Expert tailoring: I’m interested in tailoring because when you have a body like mine, without shoulders, you don’t really have much of a silhouette.

• Hints of color: Colors as accessories punch more. If it’s the whole show, count me out.

• A smile: As you get older, there are certain things you can show off – your attitude and how you feel – the smile. Because it reflects warmth. Warmth is really a plus when you’re older.

It was such a thrill to meet such a talented actress and important fashion influence – and to see what she was wearing each day! You never know who you might run into in California, right?

Things to look forward to in 2015: Part II

 

Gesuina Legaspy

Gesuina Legaspy

Guest Columnist Gesuina Legaspy, contemporary and special occasion buyer at Tres Mariposas.

Last week we looked at five interesting trends and design houses that caught our attention on our recent New York buying trip; this week, we look at five more. Here’s a preview of what will be hot in 2015!

Fashions from Helmut Lang

Fashions from Helmut Lang

Helmut Lang: I was pleasantly surprised by the change in direction from Helmut Lang. Gone are the edgy twists on classic styles. His newest line has evolved with his collection, and the designer has ushered in a richer, more chic aesthetic. A longtime fan of Lang, I am excited and curious about the change.  It’s a risk for the designer, and a return to the fashion house’s core looks, but our buying team loved the collection and look forward to receiving the new and improved Helmut Lang Collection for 2015: Clean lines, crisp blouses, tailored suits and jackets. Trés chic!

1970's-inspired denim

1970′s-inspired denim

‘70s-inspired denim: High-waisted jeans and flare legs are back in style, but don’t throw away those skinnies just yet. Do add a few pieces of flare-legged denim to your collection. My favorite styles were from Rag and Bone, who showed dark washes that give off a dressier, cooler feel, but also expect to see many lighter-wash denim options. Each showroom we visited offered at least one pair of flared pants or jeans.

Athletic-inspired apparel.

Dynamic sportswear: Make room for dressy athletic wear like sweatshirts, jogging pants, and football jersey-inspired tops. Athletic wear is definitely having a moment and we want to capture it! I ordered some great jersey-inspired sweatshirts donning celebrities’ names, like Cara Delevigne, Kate Moss and Beyonce. Rag and Bone showcased the best athletic-inspired apparel. 

Special Occasion Drama

Special Occasion Drama

Evening Gowns: As we saw at the Oscars this year, intricate formal dresses are back in style. Lady Gaga, Emma Stone, and Lupita Nyongo all wore dresses that were works of art in their own right, and anything but plain. I was happy to see this shift in evening gowns. For Fall 2015, expect decadent, extravagant and over the top!

Soji Tadashi and his line of eveningwear.

Soji Tadashi and his line of eveningwear.

 

Soji Tadashi’s elegant gowns and dresses were by far my favorite line I saw this market. He showed leather, beads, fringe —you name it, he had it all! It was the most diverse, interesting collection by far. There was lots of jewels, beads and embroidery. All his dresses were red carpet-worthy.

Gray is the color for fall 2015.

Gray is the color for fall 2015.

50 Shades of Grey:  The color for Fall 2015 is none other than grey! This includes all shades, from heather to charcoal, slate to gunmetal. The color is clean and chic and pairs perfectly with a variety of other hues. Grey boots, grey evening wear, grey handbags and gr sweaters.  Mix it up with unexpected accent colors like burgundy, hunter green, and even navy blue. Gray is neutral and basic and should definitely be in your closet in 2015.