Since Mila Kunis and Natalie Portman transformed their bodies into ballerinas for Black Swan the ballet barre fitness trend has swept the nation! Recently, it's completely taken over the Boston area with no less than six different studios offering their takes on the fitness movement.
I was extremely nervous walking into the studio as I really haven't worked out in any form in years. I danced ballet as a child (it was a required class at my snooty middle school...yes, seriously) and was on the cheerleading squad in high school but I can't even remember the last time I did a serious workout as an adult!
I needn't have worried; Melissa (my instructor and the manager of West Newton) understood my reservations and made me feel immediately comfortable. While Boston Body has locations all around the greater Boston area that offer Barre, Pilates classes, private lessons, and spinning, the recently-opened West Newton studio is focused solely on their Body Barre program. The lobby is bright and welcoming with plenty of space to store your stuff and a nice reception area. I went to a class in the middle of the day so it was peaceful and Melissa was able to give students a lot of individual attention.
Boston Body Barre is a combination of Pilates and dance based cardio that incorporates a ballet barre. The idea is to use only your body weight as resistance but do a lot of reps of each exercise to build long, lean muscles.
I was honestly expecting to be standing at the barre the entire time and basically just doing ballet exercises. I could not have been more wrong! While you do use the barre for stretching and balance the class is very much a cardio workout mixed with Pilates mat work set to really fun music like Rihanna.
(The West Newton Boston Body Barre studio)
Melissa was incredibly encouraging and helpful. I was sweating hard by the middle of the 60-minute class but Melissa encouraged us to listen to our bodies and take breaks as needed. I definitely needed a couple, so I just sipped on my water and watched the class from the back. No one made me feel bad or uncomfortable for stopping and when I re-joined the group I got a lot of encouraging smiles from the other girls.
I'm not going to lie, it was difficult and, at times, my muscles were screaming, but it was also really fun and when the class was over I felt amazing. It really made me feel powerful and strong. It was a great experience and I'm definitely planning on going on a regular basis.
Interested in trying it out? I definitely recommend that you do!
This summer the West Newton studio has a special where first-timers can drop in to the 5:30 PM class on Wednesdays and try out Boston Body Barre for free. You just need to register for the class online beforehand!
Boston Body Pilates has five locations in the Boston area (including one right on Newbury St in Boston) so its easy to find a location and class that's convenient for you!
If anyone could get Paris's Grand Palais to reopen a room closed off for 70 years it would be Karl Lagerfeld.
He staged Chanel's Haute Couture collection at the Grand Palais as usual but in the Chanel customized Salon d'Honneur.
So, the French's love affair with Lagerfeld is still burning strong but I think I'm becoming a tad disillusioned.
La fatigue Chanel?! Oui! Oh non!
Karl's vision of future vintage was for a far more substantial woman than I.
Of course the craftsmanship at Chanel is always impecable but how many variations of the classic Chanel suit can there really be?
I was delighted with the doll faced makeup, since thats my personal cosmetic style, and all of the accessories from the hair nets to the cuffed, fingerless "gloves".
Finally, I was excited to see my current favorite model, Lindsey Wixson, was cast as The Bride this season. It was a more whimsical moment than the rest of the collection so Lindsey's face was the perfect fit. I hope Karl is developing a Lindsey obsession to rival his love of Freja Beha Erichsen!
It's been a year and a half of drama and gossip since Galliano's ungraceful exit from Dior.
Raf Simons only had a few months from his own departure from Jil Sander to prepare for his Dior debut.
I've read a lot of negative reviews since the show this morning. I'm not sure if people expected Raf Simons into Galliano in four months but it seemed obvious to me that it wasn't going to work out that way. Simons has always been a minimalist and, when looking through the archives, Dior himself was a bit of a minimalist. Galliano's take was often beautiful and theatrical but it was his personal spin. To associate Dior with ONLY John's work is to ignore the house's storied and innovative history.
Sorry. I'm done ranting.
On to Raf's debut collection for Dior!
Raf's Dior is a quiet, modern take on "The New Look", created by Christian Dior in his Spring/Summer 1947 collection. It was certainly a minimalist collection although there were moments of glamour with heavily embellished gowns. But I was quite taken with the overall simplicity of the collection. I loved the classic New Look silhouettes updated with geometric prints, metal belts, and delicate, embellished tops paired with sleek black pants. He was able to capture the femininity of the past AND the restraint of modern dressing beautifully without compromising either idea.
I loved the cocoon feel of his elegant, gray tweed coats that embraced (rather than distorted) a woman's shape. While there was a lot of black, there was also an amazing amount of bright color for a Fall/Winter collection, and all of it worked together to create a cohesive collection.
My only complaints are probably nit-picky, especially as I'll probably never own Dior couture myself, but the visible bra cups just look tacky to me. There also seemed to be a lot of fit issues around models chests throughout the collection but especially when the gowns included the visible cups in the design. They seemed too small and oddly shaped to fit an actual breast and they moved and shifted unflatteringly as the models breezed down the runway. For such a gifted tailor to have such fits is puzzling to me with the only explanation seeming to be that it was intentional. Either way, I don't care for it. There were also some styling and makeup issues. OK, a lot of makeup issues. But I suppose that doesn't really affect the strength of the collection.
While most expected a bang, I think that Raf has begun his career at Dior with a whisper. But a strong, powerful whisper is better than all flash and no substance. This is a step in the right direction and I hope that Bernard Arnault and the rest of LVMH give Simons the time and creative freedom to grow into a true couturier.
With his Resort 2013 collection, Phillip Lim's team achieved the impossible: A beautiful, wearable collection conceived and executed in only 20 days. Resort is often the overlooked child on a designer's calendar, ironic because it hangs in stores the longest, but Lim understands its importance. Despite the time crunch this is a thoughtful, fully realized collection.
As a woman who doesn't often get to escape, I appreciate the urban sensibility found here. And that's no accident: Lim focused on utility with a twist inspired by his own fire-escape garden. His name for this, as he told both The New York Times and Style.com, is "floutility" and it describes the collection perfectly!
The soothing, neutral color palette is emphasized with pops of sky blue and peach but the real revelation here has to be his choice of fabrics. If you're not a fan of floral prints you're sure to be inspired by his lacquered leather "Flirt" skirt, whose shape closely resembles a drooping flower petal. Phillip told Vogue, "It's about adding blooms to utilitarian forms."
(Can you see the skirts blooming?)
Of course if you like flowers, Lim has provided plenty in different forms, like the raffia flowers embroidered across tops. There were also floral patterns scattered throughout the collection but look closely and you'll see that some resemble aerial views of the city and others take the shape of animal prints!
(I'm seriously lusting after this orange bag!)
Despite the stark shapes, there was a lovely fluidity to the collection and Lim still employed what he does best: liquid like draping. But I was seriously enamored of all of his accessories, especially the shoes. They seem like a fresh take on the gladiator sandals that seem to pop up every two summers.
The only misstep to be found had to be the leather overalls.