Are you wondering if your striped dress, blouse or bikini will still be on the menu this spring/summer 2015? No worries! Fashion designers once again serve us a platter of mix stripes of all colors and directions that, put together in an unexpected way, will become a real sensation this upcoming season. But did you know that wearing stripes had once been a perilous venture?
In the Middle Ages, there was a case of a French cobbler, member of the local clergy from Rouen, who was condemned to death because he had been wearing striped clothes. Why? It’s hard to imagine but back then, stripes were aligned with diabolical qualities, demeaning character and pejorative nature. Michel Pastoureau in his book “The Devil’s Cloth: A History of Stripes” draws an evolutionary line of the striped pattern that starts with a study of Carmelite monks who wore brown and white striped cloaks. When they arrived in Paris from Palestine in the 13th century, they were nicknamed “les frères barrés”, which was a disparaging term as “bars” were then associated with all kinds of malfeasance and illicit behavior. After twenty five years of insults and disputes, they were finally forced to give up their striped habits by Pope Boniface VIII in 1295.
So why were stripes so scandalous? There are a few theories, all of them very speculative. One of Pasoureau’s hypothesis states that perhaps highly ambivalent stripes confused the rigid norms of the absolutist society which at the time tended to see all issues as “black or white”.
True or false, the destiny of stripes started changing during French and American Revolutions when it suddenly became very chic to wear stripes and even decorate houses with striped walls, sheets and furniture.
And voilà, here we are today, still fascinated by the ambiguous quality of stripes and their illusory dazzle motion which makes the striped print one of the most successful fashion trends of all times.
I decided to go light on stripes with this outfit, but still stay within my zebra dazzle theme. Therefore, to accompany my fabulous DVF Sutra Zebra Patchwork Leather Hobo bag, I picked the Joe Fresh blouse (similar), Calvin Klein faux leather skirt (similar), a belt (JCPenny, similar) and Diane von Fürstenberg Padme Black Vacchetta heels.
This Joe Fresh top is the one to hunt for! 100% silk and all the excitement of safari adventure with elephants, leopards and zebras crossing all over you in one African-hot print that suits so well the exotic handbag. The genius mix of fun print, stylish cut and timeless black and white makes this blouse a thrilling piece especially when paired with other solid colors. You can never go wrong with eye-catching prints combined with classy monochromatic pieces: impactful effect guaranteed. Don’t get sweep up in a claim though, try it yourself and see the results!
I slipped into this Calvin Klein faux leather black skirt and put this fire red matte lipstick on to add that edgy vibe and spice up the whole look. I love the leather-like quality of the skirt that matches the black leather of the handbag and the heels.
Red lipstick has become my secret weapon of black & white outfit and this season opaque matte red is the one to smile with. Velvety look, intensity and that beautiful depth of the matte red, makes it one of my favorite shades that I promise myself to wear more this year (my personal new year’s resolution). As Charlotte Tilbury, makeup artist that designed the collection of matte lip colors for Amal Clooney’s wedding in Venice, said for Vogue: “A red lip lights up your entire face.(…) All you need to go with it is a smile”.
Armed with a high-impact matte red smile, I headed for a stroll to the Meatpacking District in New York City, and straight to Gansevoort Plaza at the junction of four streets that create a lovely square paved with Belgian blocks. A perfect spot to stretch your legs and relax after a day of shopping at the nearby Diane von Fürstenberg location. You can sit at one of the cute tables with red umbrellas spread around the plaza and enjoy the quiet afternoon while sipping coffee from Kava Café or even have some macaroons from Dana’s Bakery. This is a less-known and certainly less-visited by tourists part of NYC where you can sense the history of the old little streets and feel that sort of special charm that always surrounds European Old Towns. Irresistible! Time slows down for a while. Precious!
So I put my heels up and succumbed to the charm.
Talking heels: these DVF Padme Black Vacchetta sandals are a real gem, plus an absolute comfort. Made of beautiful vacchetta leather with chunky debossed chevron heels, these shoes are made to be noticed. The DVF signature Sutra hardware at vamp mirrors the flip-lock closure of the bag, joining in the conversation about “Chic and the City”. The V-line pattern of the heel makes for an extra dazzling stripe in the zebra patchwork of the purse.
To intensify the dazzle a little more, I added this Nicole by Nicole Miller bracelet (similar) and Liz Claiborne necklace, earring and ring set (similar necklace, similar earrings): all featuring zebra motif. The stripes on this statement bracelet are designed as a patchwork of faux leather and suede-like fabrics divided by silver-tone metal line: extravagant look with a definite modern note. The Liz Claiborne jewelry set spotlights a black oval stone in a silver-tone setting that has been curved with stripes for an ultimate striking effect. The other ring (Avon, similar) glisters in the sun delivering that glamorous sparkle and finishing touch to the look.
Now, whenever you’re heading today and no matter who you are meeting tonight, wearing stripes or not, remember about a red lipstick in your purse. But most of all, take your best smile with you.