Oscar de la Renta

Earlier this week designer Oscar de la Renta passed away at the age of 82. The fashion designer had been battling cancer on and off since 2006. He passed away peacefully in his home in Kent, Connecticut, but his loss will not pass so quietly.


de la Renta started his fashion career in the early 1950's, working for brands like Arden, Balenciaga, Lanvin, and Balmain. He launched his own label in 1965 and quickly became a household name as he worked with Jacqueline Kennedy, making her a true fashion icon. Since then, his work has graced nearly every red carpet event and has been the top choice for numerous celebrity weddings. Most recently, de la Renta designed the dress for Amal Alamuddin's wedding to George Clooney. He served as President of the CFDA (Council of Fashion Designers of America) from 1973 to 1976 and again from 1986 to 1988, and won the CFDA's Designer of the Year award in both 2000 and 2007. de la Renta certainly created an act that will be tough to follow, but on October 13, 2014 Peter Copping was named that new Creative Director of the de la Renta fashion house.

image from WGSN.com

image from WGSN.com

Coming from humble beginnings as one of seven children in Santo Domingo, de la Renta rose through the ranks to become the legend that he is today. His collections always embody a sense of ladylike grace and beauty that are uniquely his. Equally as memorable are his many quotes commenting on style, fashion, women, designing, and life in general.

"Never, ever confuse what happens on a runway with fashion. A runway is spectacle. It's only fashion when a woman puts it on. Being well dressed hasn't much to do with having good clothes. It's a question of good balance and good common sense."
 - Oscar de la Renta

Jacquard

Lately I've found myself gravitating towards a lot of clothing marketed as "jacquard." Something about them always draws me. However, until I actually looked up what jacquard meant, I couldn't for the life of me see the real connection between any of those clothes.

As it turns out, jacquard refers to an apparatus that can be fitted to a loom to make it easier to weave brocaded or intricate fabrics. The noun has since been adapted as an adjective, referring to the fabric made by the jacquard. If you want to get really specific, a jacquard makes it possible to raise each warp thread independently of all the others, offering the highest level of warp yarn control. Knowing very little about weaving, I can't tell you what a warp thread is, but maybe it'll turn out to be one of my next posts. You never know!

a jacquard look from Moschino's Fall/Winter 2013 collection

a jacquard look from Moschino's Fall/Winter 2013 collection

In any event, it looks like there isn't much of a connection to all my favorite jacquard items, except that the fabric used to make them required more complicated weaving than a typical loom can offer. Maybe I'll just start thinking of the word as a way to say "made with a little extra love and care."

Shop a selection of jacquard items from my fall wishlist.

Choupette Lagerfeld

Everyone loves their pets, but few love their pets enough to provide them with 2 maids and a chef of their very own. Then again, few pets (only one to be exact) are lucky enough to be owned by the creative director of Chanel, Karl Lagerfeld.

Choupette was originally owned by male model Baptiste Giabiconi, who asked Lagerfeld to cat-sit while he traveled for the month of December in 2011. Upon Giabiconi's return however, Lagerfeld announced that Choupette was his new love and obsession and unfortunately Giabiconi would have to find himself a new furry companion. Thus began the lavish lifestyle of one of fashion's favorite felines.

Choupette has been photographed for numerous ad campaigns and magazine editorials, most recently appearing in the car company Opel's 2015 calendar. Why stick to the usual pin up models when you can use a face like Choupette's?

Her latest project is a collaboration with beauty brand Shu Uemura, called (as you may have guessed) Shupette. Stay tuned for more information on how you too can achieve the pampered look Choupette has got down to purrfection.

all images taken from Pinterest

Bespoke

Fashion people are always coming up with new and wonderful words to replace those deemed unpleasant or unexciting. Vegan leather has replaced pleather, curvy has replaced plus sized, and vintage has replaced old or used. Because of all these alternative words, fashion vocabulary can get a bit confusing at times. Luckily you have Lady Gray to guide you! So what on earth does "bespoke" mean???

Bespoke refers to an item that is custom made or made to order. In its original use, it was meant to refer to mostly men's clothing like suits and hats and because of the custom nature of those items, bespoke pieces were very expensive. Nowadays, bespoke has ventured into the women's department and can refer to many more things. For instance, getting a bag or a pair of sunglasses with your monogram, or a pair of smoking slippers with your family's crest embroidered on them (it's real, see below) would mean you've received a bespoke item. It's a word more commonly used in British English, but being the fancy people that we are, fashion minded Americans have adopted the term in place of 'custom'.

image taken from Stubbs&Wooton.com

image taken from Stubbs&Wooton.com

Many places offer bespoke items like sweaters, purses, and shoes. J.Crew has an entire section of their website dedicated to custom items called the Monogram Shop (below). Some designers, like the shoe brand Stubbs and Wootton (above), have built their whole business on the idea of creating individual bespoke items. So when you're looking for something completely your own to make you feel special, maybe try googling bespoke, instead of just custom.

image taken from JCrew.com

image taken from JCrew.com