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Archive for October, 2011

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Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge recently went solo for the first time as a royal. Stepping in for Prince Charles, who was unexpectedly called away, Catherine hosted a private charity dinner at Clarence House. 

The Duchess is stunning sporting an older design by Amanda Wakeley. The floor-length Empire waist gown accentuates Catherine’s long and lean stature. Just a bit of sparkle on the shoulder straps keeps the look elegant yet quiet. I like the flared hemline, which is feminine and also gives body to the gown.

The only hitch to my mind is the hair. It is too long and has no style. A simple updo with a few wisps around the face would give Catherine the sophisticated look she needs now that she’s a duchess.

A royal favorite, Amanda Wakeley launched her label in 1990 and soon became known to many a Hollywood celebrity as well as the late Princess Diana. In 2010, Wakeley won an OBE (Order of the British Empire) for her services to the fashion industry. Her signature look is understated chic, which explains why Catherine is one of her clients.

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Image courtesy of Footcandy.

Some of us collect tea cups. Others of us collect dolls. And many of us collect … shoes. How many in your collection – 50? 100? Well, Carolyn Butler of St. Helena has got most of us beat. She has 500 pairs of shoes and still counting. One day having realized just how extensive Carolyn’s collection is, her husband suggested that she go into the shoe biz. So she did. In 2002 she opened Footcandy.

Today Footcandy has stores St. Helena, Sonoma, and Walnut Creek as well as a website. Footcandy specializes in designer shoes, offering such popular brand names as Tory Burch and Kate Spade, as well as the more elegant Oscar de la Renta and Valentino. Footcandy is also very honored to be able offer high-end styles from Christian Louboutin, Manolo Blahnik, and Jimmy Choo. In 2010 Carolyn launched her own shoe line.

Carolyn is a busy bee traveling all over the world visiting shoe manufactures, but she took time to answer some questions for Over Dressed for Life. 

What is it about shoes?

Shoes will never betray you, no matter how you feel on any given day – fat or thin- shoes will always fit. Pants are not so loyal. 

When you became more involved in the shoe industry, what was one thing you learned that was surprising?

The shoe industry refers to something called a Last, better known to the consumer as the shoe’s silhouette. The fit of a shoe depends on the design, shape, and volume of the Shoe Last. It was amazing to me how much creativity and energy went into the Last of a well-made shoe and how a slight variation to any part of the shoe affects the fit.

When buying for your shops, what qualities do you look for in a shoe?

  1.  Craftsmanship
  2.  Design
  3.  Does it meet existing trends – there’s always a trend

Congratulations on the debut of your own shoe line. Where did you go for design inspiration?

History! After spending years in the shoe business and scouring my closet’s personal favorites, I gathered what I thought to be the most important elements of a well made designer shoe and developed the Footcandy Shoes line. The Footcandy Shoe line is ultimately a tribute to my favorite designers including Manolo Blahnik and Alexander McQueen plus a few of my own creative tweeks.

What are the shoe trends for fall 2011?

Leading trends for fall are numerous but most definitely the motorcycle boot, platforms, nude hues, a lady-like kitten heel, and animal prints are still in the running. 

What is your shoe look for this season?

Boots! The knee-high boot is my personal “go to” this season and I can’t get enough of the Jimmy Choo, DYOTT knee-high in camel available at Footcandy, of course.

Thank you, Carolyn. Here’s to many, many more shoes for us all.

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The Cindy Marshall paper doll by Lisa Perrin. All rights reserved.

When my mother was growing up she had a thing for paper dolls, but not the store-bought kind. No, she was more creative than that. She made her own.

My fashion designer grandmother taught Mom how to illustrate fashions, including the proper accessories – shoes, gloves, hats, and handbags. Mom would cut models from magazines and redress them in her own fashions. “I was really into hoop skirts,” she says.

Mom’s paper doll addiction continues today with the Dover Paper Doll Series. Her collection numbers close to fifty and includes Chanel, Erte, and Classic Hollywood Stars.

So, you bet I was over the moon when I  found custom paper doll artist Lisa Perrin. This year’s birthday gift for Mom will be a Cindy Marshall paper doll. 

I contacted Lisa by e-mail and we immediately got to work. Over approximately six weeks I sent Lisa pictures of my mother and some significant outfits in her life from the 1960s (which I have discussed on Mom’s Closet). Lisa sketched the doll and four outfits, sending me images at every stage asking for feedback.  It was really a treat to see the project develop and Lisa, talented and patient, was a pleasure to work with.

I love the way Lisa drew my mom’s pose, which is right on the mark. Lisa knew to put Mom in the essential 1960s girdle with garters and she got her signature page-boy hairstyle picture perfect.

Lisa is an accomplished artist having studied drawing and painting at State University of New York. Currently she’s working on a MFA in Illustration Practice at Maryland Institute College of Art. I’m a big fan of illustration and Lisa’s style really speaks to me. Fanciful and kind of spooky, Lisa’s work has an Edwardian/Art Nouveau quality to it. But of course when it comes to custom paper dolls, Lisa strives for authenticity to the person.

Lisa’s custom paper dolls are printed on 8 1/2 x 11 medium weight card stock and come in a protective cellophane sleeve in a non-bendable mailer. 

The Cindy Marshall paper doll arrived last month and the hardest part is waiting. Shhh, Mom’s birthday isn’t until December 27th.

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