10/01/2012 - 11/01/2012Bostonista: 10/01/2012 - 11/01/2012

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Sponsored Post: Rent the Runway's Our Runway!

A few years back, I wanted to look beyond gorgeous for my birthday party.
I was turning 25 and all I could think about for weeks beforehand was that episode of Sex & The City where Carrie turns 35. 
Her friends were late, she had to buy her own cake and at the table next to her she overhears another birthday girl, "25?! F!%* I'm old!"

It was ringing in my ears.

My solution to not looking like that other birthday girl was to test Rent the Runway with a very chic, little black dress from Herve Leger
The dress arrived in two sizes (RTR does this complimentary so you're sure to find the right fit for your event), in a beautiful garment bag with a little bag of "emergency" tools like double sided tape and deodorant remover. 

If you're skeptical of renting a dress or outfit for a big event (or even just a Wednesday night) you need to give it a try. I'd never be able to afford a Herve Leger dress regularly but since RTR rents designer pieces at 10-15% of retail it was an affordable way to feel like a starlet for the night. Just think of it as your chance to wear that same Proenza Schouler dress you loved on the runway!

Those bandage dresses sure do hold you in and give you instant curves but they are also impossibly heavy. By the middle of the party I was sweltering! I looked great but the dress may not have been the best choice for a July evening.  If only Rent The Runway's newly launched, Our Runway, had been around then! 

Our Runway is RTR's ingenious new way of customizing how you "shop" online by showing your recommended pieces on real women! You can still see the pieces on traditional models (because who doesn't love models) but you can also get a sense for how it might look on your body. 
 Our Runway is almost entirely user-generated with women posting pictures of themselves in their rentals with accompanying reviews. Once you enter your stats, you'll be able to see what women with your body type (and in your age group) have rented and how they wore it.
It's pretty revolutionary. 
 Rent the Runway launched Our Runway back in October and I'm already wishing that more retailers would follow suit! 

I have some events coming up but mostly I just like to look stylish as often as possible so I have my eye on a couple of pieces to borrow from Rent the Runway!
I still remember when Karlie Kloss rocked the Modern Madame dress on the Prabal Gurung runway and I'm planning to steal her prowl for holiday parties. I'm also obsessed with Proenza Schouler's accordion dress simply because emerald looks killer on me.

I'm SUPER excited to tell you that I've teamed up with Rent the Runway for a special giveaway for my readers! So you can look extra glamorous this holiday season too!
Sign up for Rent the Runway with promo code, BOSTONISTA, you'll get $25 off your first order AND be entered to win $100 gift card! 

Friday, November 2, 2012

RL Closing Rugby

Despite having a banner fiscal year, Ralph Lauren has decided to close it's "collegiate" line, Rugby.
You're probably unmoved by this and wonder why I,  a girl whose style doesn't tend to lean towards Boston Brahmin, would even note it.

Well, Rugby Ralph Lauren launched here in Boston on Newbury St in 2004 as a tribute to Boston's famous Ivy-League style. (Sometimes I think people in New York mistake Boston's college scene for British boarding schools starring jovial trust funders with charming Kennedy accents but I digress.) So forgive me for having a soft spot for the RL offshoot. 

I'm not preppy. I'm not even close. 
I've never even owned one of those Ralph Lauren Polo shirts or cable knit sweaters, which is practically unheard of here in New England. But I like Rugby's vibe and they are great for certain basics especially when fall rolls around. 
So what went wrong?

Now, I'm not a retail business expert but I have a couple of thoughts:

1. I don't recall much fanfare heralding the launch of Rugby. I remember it just suddenly being on the less impressive end of Newbury St one day near Urban Outfitters, Condom World and the now defunct Jasmine Sola (don't you miss Jasmine Sola?) and the doomed Virgin Records space. While this block of Newbury has certainly improved with popular brands popping up, it didn't exactly bode well for Rugby back in 2004. 

2. If I didn't regularly receive occasional press releases and look books as a girl on the fringe of the fashion industry, I probably wouldn't even know that it existed. I know they've done 

3. It was absurdly expensive. Those basics I mentioned earlier? Purchased on major sale. 

4. Point of view. For one thing, I'm not sure that this boarding school dandy twenty-something actually exists anymore. When the line quickly took off around the world (including a much hyped store in London's Covent Garden and in Tokyo) it diluted the brand too much and turned it into much more of a "mall" brand similar to some of Ralph's other lifestyle lines at Macy's. I'm not hating on those lines at all especially as their prices (usually) reflect that...Rugby's price point stayed high.

I loved poking around the Rugby store on Newbury St and I'm going to pout when it shutters for good in January.
I wish RL would decide to keep the line and store as a Boston/online exclusive although it would probably do better at a different location.

(Photos Courtesy Rugby Ralph Lauren and The Boston Globe)

Monday, October 22, 2012

Mario Testino: In Your Face

(Mario Testino on the Red Carpet at the MFA; Courtesy of The MFA)

As someone who has been reading Vogue every month for more than half of my life, Mario Testino is a legendary figure in my mind. The fact that his first US exhibit is now at the MFA in Boston is pretty much mind-blowing to me. The fact that I got to view it before the general public and then actually meet him, well, I'm still in shock. I also have a new fashion crush because he was so charming!

Mario was generous enough to have a "conversation" of sorts with members of the press and bloggers  on the afternoon of October 17th after we had the privilege of viewing In Your Face. At this point in my blogging career, I've been lucky enough to meet (or at least be up close to) many people in the fashion industry that I've admired for so long. Many of them have been...disappointing to say the least. Mario, on the other hand, was so genuinely open and warm. He shared his stories and listened carefully to questions the audience asked. He was thoughtful with his answers and seemed to truly care about what the audience had to say.

He was also completely charming towards us bloggers and made sure to take pictures with each of us afterwards. He asked a lot of questions about fashion blogging and its community in Boston. He even joked, "The bloggers are front row? It took me 10 years to get front row, no?"
Mario promised to take a minute to check out each of our blogs so if you're reading Mr. Testino, Hi!
(Me in the exhibit with Gisele's legs. I did get my photo with Mario but it came out terrible so I'm choosing not to share. You can't see too well but I'm wearing: Blazer by Zara, Skirt by Zara, Shoes by ShoeMint,  Shirt by Velvet similar here, and bag by Rebecca Minkoff.)

So, why did he call the exhibit "In Your Face"?
Because, to him, it meant "something plainly in front of you. The biggest, clearest way of expression. This is really who I am. This is really what I believe in. An acute example of what I cherish.." here in front of you.  He also spoke a lot about the tension that exists between art and commercial photography which, as a Vogue photographer, is something that is often brought to his attention. He doesn't worry about it though, saying, "I don't think I label. I just do what I do and it falls where it falls."

I'm going to share with you some of the stories he told that I think you'll find the most interesting.

On Madonna:
A turning point in Testino's career was when Mario shot Madonna for her first Versace campaign back in 1995. Avedon was scheduled to do the shoot but Madonna wanted Mario and Gianni agreed. Following that, he snapped Madonna with her new-born, Lourdes, for Vanity Fair.
"I was very lucky to photograph her at an important time in her life. (And) She kept bringing me back. She kept me alive!"

On Kate Moss:
(Kate Moss, London, 2006 © Mario Testino)
Mario Testino has known Kate since the very beginning of her career and they are now close friends. He recounted a story about Kate's first runway show at age 15.
"She was crying backstage. (They hadn't given her enough looks.) I said, "Look, don't worry. In life there is cologne and perfume. You are a perfume. You will last forever." I've stuck through thick and thin (with her.) She makes life more fun!"

On Anna Wintour:
Anna convinced Mario to leave Harper's Bazaar (at the time the most influential fashion magazine) for Vogue. He was unsure but followed her.
"I'm a Vogue photographer. Maybe I always was. It was the best thing that has happened (to me.)"
On her infamy, "She has a quality that many don't see. She's very loyal. She's very straightforward. I listen to her and follow her. I show her (this) exhibition. She has a lot to say. And she was so right. I took 3 pieces out!"

On Gisele:
(Gisele Bundchen, New York, 2007 © Mario Testino)
"I met her when she was 17 at a casting in New York. I thought someone had turned on the light when she walked in. I kept telling people, "I have this girl!" They weren't so sure. Then, a year later, all the people who weren't so sure had to have her! She has no problems, skin, hands...she's been gifted. And on top of it she's kind and energetic." She's a hard worker. She (looks at a picture) says, "I can do it better!" She bring energy. You can either be blank or you can be inquisitive and bring a whole new light. She brings a light."

Princess Diana & Catherine Middleton:
(TRH The Duke & Duchess of Cambridge, London, 2010 © Mario Testino)
Mario famously photographed Diana for her final sitting before her death.
"She was entering a new phase. They had taken her HRH (title) and I think she felt a new freedom. She was one of the magical moments in my life. She was a true princess. She had kindness. Why life wanted me to photograph her when I did? (But) Kate she has been prepared. She's a real icon already."

Advice on a Successful Career in Fashion:
"You gotta be you! That is a hard thing. We are all in awe of other people. It is hard to overcome. Otherwise...unfortunately, its work. You have to work! You can see the effort and you see it when you don't (put the effort in.)"

See Mario Testino's In Your Face exhibit now through February 3rd 2013 at The Museum of Fine Arts. His collection of Royal Portraits (including Will & Kate's engagement photos) are on display now through June 16th 2013. 

Thank you to Mario Testino & The MFA team!
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