In 2009, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston acquired a major coup — more than 100 couture designs by Arnold Scaasi, in addition to press clippings and sketchbooks from his late-1950s-to-early-1990s collections. “Scaasi: American Couturier,’’ now showing at the MFA through June 2011, is our first look at 28 of the cocktail dresses, gowns, and costumes he custom-created throughout the years. The designs on display highlight his relationships with four members of his select clientele: singer / actress Barbara Streisand, New York socialites Joetta Norban and Gayfryd Steinberg, and Broadway / television star Arlene Francis.
Bringing to light Scaasi’s touch for event-ready panache, the collection includes the famous sequined pants outfit that was worn by Streisand during her 1969 Oscar win, along with stage costumes worn in her early concerts, a fur ensemble worn on a trip to Canada in 1970, and costumes worn in On a Clear Day. In addition to these theatrical pieces, cocktail dresses and gala gowns from yesteryear are brought forward to showcase the design detail that helped earn Scaasi his status as an elite designer.
Born Arnold Isaacs in 1935, the son of a Montreal furrier, Scaasi moved to NYC in the early 1950s where he worked as an apprentice for the elaborate couturier, Charles James. Influenced by James’ idea of building an evening dress as you would a piece of sculpture, this early training led Scaasi to approach clothing design as a three-dimensional construction project.
Changing his name in the mid-1950s to Scaasi (Isaacs spelled backwards), he became one of the few designers capable of sustaining a made-to-order business in the burgeoning age of ready-to-wear. His designs breathed new life into the elite world of evening apparel, re-energizing the American fashion industry. With bold colors, luxurious fabrics, and dramatic shapes, he quickly rose to fame. By the end of 1958, he had won the Coty American Fashion Critics Award for best designer of the year and had seen his clothing featured on the covers of Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar… all before reaching age of 30. Finally, he realized he preferred designing privately for the women he adored, his devoted and exclusive clientele. Stars and socialites such as Joan Crawford, Barbra Streisand, Elizabeth Taylor, Charlotte Ford, Blaine Trump and Brooke Astor were all a part of his client list, which also included First Ladies from Mamie Eisenhower to Barbara and Laura Bush.
Scaasi was noted for his tailored suits and glamorous dresses trimmed with feathers, fur, sequins, and fine embroidery. “I create clothes that are pretty, usually with an interesting mix of fabrics,” he has said. “I like luxurious fabrics — great quality for day, and opulence for the evening. I am definitely not a minimalist designer! Clothes with some adornment are more interesting to look at and are more fun to wear.”
Head on over to the MFA to check out this fashionable exhibition, which is included with general admission — it’s not often you get to stand side-by-side with such creations! While there, pop into fashion photographer Richard Avedon’s exhibit, which we fashioniSTAs blogged about back in August! Together with the MFA, we’re here to help you keep the pulse on the styles of yesterday and today.
~Kim, FashioniSTA, Second Time Around
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The FashioniSTA season of advent has begun! Holidays mean holiday shopping, and there’s nothing a FashioniSTA likes more than that. To celebrate this joyous season, we are unveiling our latest style step into what we would like to call the FashioniSTA revolution. We are giving you an inside look at Second Time Around and all of our style resources, which means more events, discounts, and insider tips, all for our loyal readers.
During this FAS (FashioniSTA Advent Season), we will be unveiling new additions to our FashioniSTA Revolution, all you have to do is keep checking in. Start by checking out our latest page at the top of the blog, here you’ll meet the Boston girls behind the FashioniSTA name. Outside of your style jurisdiction? Keep checking back as we continue with our search for new additions from other cities!
Every time we reveal something new, you will be given the opportunity to win gift cards to STA, and of course we will have a larger prize as our grand finale. Let the countdown to a fabulous, FashioniSTA holiday begin!
In addition to the fact that I can stuff myself and not look like a fatty, there are a lot of things that I love about Thanksgiving. The fact that I can usually come up with a good list of things I’m thankful for is also a plus. In addition to the fact that I haven’t been hit by a bus and I’ve once again avoided contracting swine flu, I have a list of fashion favorites to which I’m grateful.
Here are the things that fashioniSTAs everywhere can be thankful for:
Black Friday Sales
To fashioniSTAs, Black Friday is like Christmas came early. This is the day where shopping becomes an Olympic sport, and some of us train all year for this portion of the holiday games. Yes, I’m aware that you’re supposed to be buying gifts for your friends and family, but nothing says that you can’t browse for yourself while you’re at it and take advantage of the great deals out there. And where’s the best place to do that? At Second Time Around, of course! (Shop 7-9am for 50% off all merchandise! See details here.)
Unless you live under a fashion rock during the holiday season, you know that this is the time to break out your sparkly outfits and bring on the holiday cheer. It’s the time of the year when dressing in head-to-toe sequins is considered “festive” rather than psychotic. Personally, I’m all for dressing like this year round. From Alice + Olivia to Ann Taylor, you have a million options from sequin tanks to sparkly miniskirts to glitter pumps. And as a holiday staple, there’s always the full-sequin dress, perfect for New Years as well. All the sparkly clothing during this time of the year just makes everything a little more cheerful, no one ever got into an argument over glitter.
Don’t pretend that you’re not part of the We Love Leggings Fan Club. I haven’t met a single girl, when pushed, who won’t admit to having this obsession. Dress them up or down, daytime or night; there are few occasions where you cannot wear them. They’re perfect if you’re petite or plus-size, and you can now wear them with a variety of tunics and dresses so you can look put together without putting in almost any effort. And they are a Thanksgiving staple for those of you that actually partake in the food festivities and eat until wearing denim feels like a straightjacket for your legs.
I choose not to remember when cell phones and laptops got stuffed into bags, exposed to the elements. The technology industry finally wised up and fused fashion with function when they introduced accessories to hold all of our electronics. Think about shoving your iPhone – or iPad, for those of you ahead of the techno-curve – into your purse without a case. Horrifying. Now designers are chomping at the bit to protect our electronic valuables, with cases fromYSL (right), Louis Vuitton, Marc Jacobs and Juicy Couture. Now your personal style can be expressed through your technological necessities, what’s better than that?
I’m as big of a fan of Jersey shows as the next person. Ask anyone, if I could make a living watching Real Housewives of NJ, I would do it. But even I can admit that I’m glad Jersey style didn’t sweep the nation the way the television shows did. While I’m a fan of some of the fashion I see on the shows – depending on who’s wearing it – the bright pink lipstick, over-the-top animal prints and excessive bronzer are a little much. And when I say the bronzer is too much, that’s saying something, since I’ve been known to paint on the stuff like my skin was an easel.
Here’s hoping you all have a stylish and happy Thanksgiving!
~Ashley, fashioniSTA, Second Time Around
If you follow fashion trends, you may have already figured out that one secret to staying current is simply identifying styles from the past and wearing them in new ways.
Retro is the new modern, and there’s no better way to dress vintage than by wearing the real thing. “Vintage” is usually defined by the era of 1940 to 1980 — earlier than 1940 would be considered “antique” clothing. While today’s designers often reproduce looks from the past with a few modern twists, there’s a certain satisfaction in wearing an authentic vintage dress, skirt or sweater. It gives you a fashionable flair and is always a conversation-starter.
But pulling it off isn’t always the easiest. However, if you follow a few key guidelines, it can become as effortless as throwing on your old pair of jeans.
The most important thing to keep in mind is this: modernize it, don’t relive it. Head-to-toe vintage can look too much like a costume, so blending yesteryear with today is key. Use a sweater or skirt with items you already have. Mix and match new with old to create a style all your own! You want to look reminiscent of days gone by, not like you’re on your way to a theme party. Which leads us to our first tip…
TIP #1 – Keep it Simple
Do not try to put together a whole vintage outfit, top-to-bottom. If the vintage piece you’re incorporating is loud or flashy, make it your accent piece and make sure the rest of your ensemble is understated. If your main garment is vintage, be sure accentuate the ensemble with more modern pieces. Pair a vintage neck-tie blouse with skinny jeans and flats. Wear a 50’s shirt dress with new patent leather pumps. The opposite works just as well; feel free to use a touch of vintage (scarves, jewelry, a fun jacket) to gussy up an otherwise regular outfit.
Below look: Shirt: 70s Vintage — $19 / Tank: Eileen Fisher — $25 / Denim: Seven for All Mankind — $59 / Shoes: Arturo Chiang — $29 / Bag: Longchamp — $79
TIP #2 – Mix Period Styles Together
Think about the style you are trying to achieve. Do you like the sleek sophistication of the 1920s-30s or “New Look” clothing from the ’40s and ’50s? Does your taste run toward mod 60s miniskirts or flowing hippie 70s styles? Or is it more 1980s, with big shoulder pads and high-waisted pants? Whatever your preferred style, you’ll be surprised at how easy it is to blend the fashion timelines together. Styles have overlapped through the eras much like they do today, and combining elements from the decades will help to achieve a look that is all your own.
Below look: Cardigan: J. Crew — $29 / Tee: Three Dot — $25 / Skirt: 60s Vintage — $19 / Shoe: Stephane Verdino — $79 / Bag: 80s Vintage Anne Klein for Calderon clutch — $19
TIP #3 — Become a DIY Designer
As the decades changed, so did our culture’s eye for acceptable hemlines, necklines, and forms. The result? Many great vintage finds are passed over on the rack, deemed to “matronly” or too “boxy”. What to do? Alter it. Tailor that “piece with potential” to give it a contemporary fit. A long dress that looks dowdy at mid-calf length can be easily hemmed into a mini dress. Remove outdated shoulder pads and replace tacky buttons with new ones for an instant makeover. Add a few darts to give that sheath a new shape, and take the scissors to those bell sleeves to create a shorter cap.
Some vintage purists hate alterations, arguing that any modification to these relics results in them being rendered worthless — it would be like painting over a Picasso. This is a valid debate, and it’s worth pointing out that any items of high original retail or cultural value are best left in their original state. However, there are many vintage items on the market that were mass produced at very low cost in their heyday and are worth nothing more to history other than a sense of nostalgia — like that H&M sweater you might find at the back of your closet in twenty years. So do a little research into your pieces before putting your sewing skills to work. Then it’s time to get creative!
Below look: Jacket: Arden B. leather — $49 / Dress: 70s vintage — $25 / Shoes: Stephane Verdino — $79
TIP #4 – Fun First! Fashion follows.
This tip especially applies to your vintage choices. We here at Second Time Around truly believe that if you feel good, it shows. Confidence is the key in pulling off any style, so be sure to find the right look for your comfort zone. Whether your final ensemble is understated or bold, you will be well on your way to staying ahead of the curve… by following trends of the past!
Below look: Cardigan: 80s Vintage Adrienne Vittadini from Bergdorf Goodman — $39 / Denim: Marc Jacobs — $69 / Shoes: DKNY — $69 / Bag: Gucci — $109
~Kim, Store Manager, Second Time Around Harvard Square
30% OFF SALE!
Save with STA this Veteran’s Day Weekend!
30% off all NEW for Fall merchandise* (sweaters, denim, handbags, and more) beginning this Thursday!
Come shop with us Thursday, November 11th – Sunday, November 14th and save!
*Discount not applicable to furs. Not to be combined with other offers.
See you there, fashioniSTAs…
I don’t know if you’ve heard, but the playground is apparently the latest style scene. All of the up-and-coming stylistas make it their mission to look like lean, mean fashion machines once they hit the monkey bars. If you are sending your child out – or allowing anyone you know to do so – without making sure they are runway-ready from head to toe, you are doing them a serious disservice, or at least that’s what it seems when you get a look at any celebrity child. My only complaint when I was little was that my clothes weren’t sparkly enough, not that my Burberry prints clashed with each other. Ready to give your kid celebrity status?
To start off, you need to think practical. With the cold months ahead, your child will obviously need mini Ugg boots. Spring for the Pink Baily Button boots in a dark raspberry color so that she really stands out at recess – and really, almost $150 on tiny footwear is very reasonable. To ensure that she will also be comfortable inside her second-grade classroom, I suggest the Marc Jacobs Rainbow Mouse Ballet Pumps (right). [On a side note, I actually think these are the most adorable shoes, and if they weren’t over $250 and were going to be put on a small child’s foot and most likely stomped in the dirt until the rhinestones fell off, I would probably seriously advocate these.] And while you wouldn’t want this poor fashionista to freeze, I definitely recommend the Burberry Nova Check Poncho, because if you weren’t already sold, the hood would definitely push you right over the edge.
Why dress your baby in normal, frumpy clothes? Instead, dress her statement pieces with intricate details. Try a D&G Junior Denim Bow Dress for $415, this dress’s large appliqué bows will give your 8-year-old just enough Lady Gaga for her second grade class, of course without going overboard. For a more flashy entrance, try Roberto Cavalli’s leopard-printed jeans, bringing the flair of Jersey Shore to an elementary school near you. Too extreme? Scale it back a bit with a pale yellow linen Ralph Lauren dress, perfect for all of the summer weddings that your social butterfly young daughter is sure to attend. And this dress is actually washable – at 30 degrees – a big selling point amidst the other dry clean only selections. For a fall perfect look, your child’s wardrobe should really consist of a balanced mix of signature statement pieces and easy basics. And by easy basics, I obviously mean Junior Gaultier faux leather skinny trousers and Monnalisa navy leggings with pearl details. Apparently basic black leggings haven’t trickled down into the youth sector, these children are just too fashionable to be seen in anything so pedestrian. And of course the finishing touch to any mini-fashionista’s look would be a pair of rounded, blush-colored Chloé sunglasses.
If your child is looking to attend a nightlife social event (and really, when is your child not looking to do this?), try a Sonia Rykiel full-sequin skirt with attached suspenders. Of course, they are referred to as “braces,” because apparently nothing in kid fashion is described normally, that would be too kid-friendly. Or go with a Junior Gaultier sequin three tiered dress in black, perfect for the third-grade class New Years’ bash at Tenjune. And word on the street is, you can also use this dress as part of a witch Halloween costume.
And for the budding elementary school fashionista, sending her to school with a brown paper bag lunch would just be plain mean. Especially when Juicy Couture has their own pink and academic-themed lunchbox, which contains what they refer to as a “flask.” Exactly what comes to your mind when you hear that? Yeah, my thoughts too. When I was attending a school that provided recess, we called them “Thermoses,” but I guess when you’re a style star on the rise, even your lunchbox gets an inappropriate adult name.
And for those mothers out there who have little princes at home, treat him right and dress him to kill. The ladies out there will not be impressed with his graphic tees and ripped jeans, so go for Paul Smith’s black suit with lilac pinstripes. It’s just enough pizzazz for a future fashionisto, or if your child happens to be a mini Chuck Bass. For a more casual look, try Paul Smith’s mini leather bomber jacket paired with child Ray-Ban Wayfarers. I’m sure the children will get the Top Gun motif that you’re going for.
With all of these tips at your command, there is no excuse why your child should look like a normal kid. Of course, she won’t be able to actually play or interact with other children, but that’s a small price to pay. Why make your kid comfortable when they can wear premium denim and suck on a D&G pacifier?
~Ashley, fashioniSTA, Second Time Around
Coming up with a Halloween costume is a great way to experiment with your sense of style in the most extreme way. No one dresses up like a fairy and rolls around in glitter if she doesn’t like to wear sparkles on a semi-regular basis. And while this night can help you channel your fashion creativity, why limit it to just one night? Extend the life of your Halloween fashion sense by (semi-subtly) incorporating it into your everyday wardrobe. While I’m not suggesting that every one of your workday ensembles should have a theme, pumping up the creativity once in a while is sure to make getting dressed in the morning a fun experience. Here are a few themes that you can work into your wardrobe to create your own everyday Halloween costumes.
Channel your inner Gossip Girl and pump up the preppy. While this style is all over the place thanks to The CW, you can take it a step further than just wearing an argyle sweater or a big headband. For a traditional look, go with a plaid kilt (pleating optional), like one from Burberry in either traditional Nova print or their latest army green color. Pair it with dark tights and a white cable knit sweater or cardigan. Finish off the look with loafers from Tod’s or Mary Janes with white ankle socks, and a thin headband. For a more Blair Waldorf look, go with a large pleated skirt in a solid color, paired with argyle tights and a Peter Pan blouse paired with a v-neck cardigan. Check out Land’s End for the traditional basics – such as the blouse and a khaki skirt – and then go all out with a Jennifer Oulette headband. Trade in the sweater for a Juicy Couture blazer and try Commes de Garcons’ latest lace-up loafers or Joie’s Louis Louis. If this still isn’t enough, layer on strands of pearls and carry a structured handbag, like Tory Burch’s flat Dayton leather clutch.
This is a great theme to try out at a nighttime event. This theme is all about draping and gold accents, so to go the Cleopatra route, try Temperley London’s appropriately-named Queen of the Nile dress, and accent the look with two identical cuffs on each wrist. Top off the outfit with bold, geometric earrings, like ones from Gerard Yosca. Or try Rachel Roy’s gold sequin dress or Yigal Azrouel’s gold lamé dress, both excellent mini dress options. Finish it off with Low Luv x Erin Wasson’s welded cuff or an upper arm bracelet, extra points if you can find one in the shape of a snake. If you’re feeling full-length inspired, you can go with Yigal Azrouel’s white open-back gown, just pair it with a large, gold bib necklace and gold cuffs or multiple gold bangles.
To channel a Spartan queen, go with Alice + Olivia’s Goddess dress and drape a couple of delicate gold necklaces. You can also try this look with brown leather accessories, such as a headband and thick, brown leather cuffs, for a truly Spartan warrior-ready ensemble. With any of these looks, you can wear gold sandals, either gladiator style or strappy – like Jimmy Choo’s Lance Mirrored Sandals. For a more daytime-appropriate look, go with Tory Burch’s Aziza blouse with white pants and gold sandals or bejeweled flats. Try an updo with a couple thin, gold headbands for a truly Spartan-inspired look, and of course top it off with large golden cuffs.
Should you be one of those people who hop on the fur bandwagon every year when it starts getting cold out, then this theme is right up your alley. Start with a fur vest, either in brown or white from Juicy Couture or Rachel Zoe’s QVC line, and layer it over LaRok LUXE’s Weekend Warrior tank. Pair these with leather or liquid leggings and add fur boots – like from Tory Burch or Dolce Vita – for an authentic look. Top it off with a brown leather headband. To go all out with this theme, you can go with a fur skirt from GAR-DE and pair it with booties and a banded top. You’ll be itching for a horned headpiece in no time.
To try something from the past other than another 1950’s ensemble, try something from the roaring ’20s. Antik Batik’s Laria mini dress (right) is perfect for a night out, and you can pair this dress with seamed fishnet tights from Club Monaco and a rhinestone headband from Juicy Couture. Or go with a simple mini dress and accessorize it with Haute Hippie’s Faille Jacket and peep-toe stilettos. To go slightly more modern, pair Temperley London’s Giovanna tunic with a pair of leggings and vintage-inspired crystal earrings from Kenneth Jay Lane or a banded, chain headband worn across the forehead. For especially chilly nights, go with a faux fur jacket from Juicy Couture.
For those of you who just want to infuse the spirit of Halloween into your wardrobe, try a couple of key pieces to create haute Halloween spirit in your ensemble. Go with DSQUARED2’s Chain Skeleton Gilet as an option for a truly daring nighttime look. Or try one of the many black lace tops offered by designers such as Alexander Wang and Nanette Lepore and pair with a black leather skirt and black tights (fishnets optional). The combination of different black textures mixed with a touch of sparkle will create a truly bewitching look.
~Ashley, fashioniSTA, Second Time Around
Pink is October’s signature color, and products that benefit Breast Cancer research are popping up everywhere. Beauty supplies, jewelry and clothing, and even home goods are doing double duty by looking great and supporting a worthwhile cause. A true fashionista cares about her wardrobe and the wellbeing of others, so do both with select products from some of our favorite brands. From Estée Lauder to Tory Burch, these designers are reaching out to give even more pink support to October.
If beauty products aren’t your thing, there are clothing options as well. Hit the gym with Under Armour shorts ($30, 10% going to breast cancer charities) or an Ellsworth Project Pink workout tank ($60, 20% benefitting breast cancer research). Or take Line & Dot flowy magenta tank out on the town ($74, 20% going to Susan G. Komen for the Cure). Yumi Kim also has a great floral blouse option ($138, perfect for a day at the office with a pencil skirt or a pair of jeans for the weekend. You can also take the cure close to your heart – and body – with Wacoal’s hot pink lace bra ($2 goes to Komen).
Since we’d never want to give accessories the cold shoulder, of course we have to include the great handbags and shoes that we found to benefit the cause. Tommy Hilfiger has a red leather bag (right), perfect for fall and all of your fall essentials for $398 with 50% of the proceeds going to Breast Health International. Coach also features a pink leather Mia bag, for those of you who want to embrace October’s signature color, in both large ($358, 20% goes to BCRF) and mini ($198). Should you be all set in the handbag department, go for Tory Burch’s Pink Logo rain boots ($150, 15% benefits BCRF) and umbrella option ($45) and hit the stormy weather in style.
As always, Ralph Lauren’s Pink Pony collection benefits the cause, with products ranging from cashmere to candles. 10% of the proceeds go to benefit cancer care and prevention, and as a special edition product, 100% of the sales of their Pink Pony Alligator Wallet ($3995) will go to the cause. Can’t pony up that kind of cash? One of my favorite products that they offer is the “Decorate Your Pink Pony Tee” ($150). Not only do you get the signature Pink Pony black tee, but it’s also like arts and crafts for adults. They had me hooked when they included individual crystals.
Remember, you can always support Breast Cancer Awareness Month with us at Second Time Around. Pick up a pink wristband at any of our stores, and while you’re there, browse for a pop of pink to add to your wardrobe!
~Ashley, fashioniSTA, Second Time Around
You have broken the mold on inexpensive clothing with your designer collaborations. From Rafe to Richard Chai, each GO International collection that you debut makes you even more of a fashion superpower. On behalf of the shopaholic nation that flocks to your store, I must let you know that with great power comes great responsibility. How you handle this responsibility is up to you, but we have a few suggestions on designer lines we think could really help you live up to your potential.
Diane von Furstenberg
There is not one girl on planet Earth who does not love a DVF wrap dress. Want to see what mass mayhem looks like? Pair DVF style with Target prices and prop the doors open. Everybody looks good wearing her designs, and I know the only thing keeping most people from buying everything she ever puts on a department store rack is the steep price tag that seems to find its way onto every one of her garments. Just imagine it with us, Target: Racks filled with colorful, printed wrap dresses; chiffon-draped, floral summertime blouses; tiered, ruffled skirts; all topped off with a couple pairs of her animal-printed sunglasses. And maybe some rubber flip-flops with her signature love knot design.
This isn’t so much of a suggestion as it is a desperate plea. I need a bandage dress, Target. And by “I,” I mean every woman in greater North America. Preferably one that is in a vibrant – yet classy – color and maybe with a little sequins. You don’t need to go over the top with the ombré and the full glitz effect, just a couple bandage skirts in both pencil and A-line, as well as a few variations on the classic bandage dress with different necklines.
Yes, this line would be slightly one-sided, what with the lack of pants and tops available, but I doubt you’d hear anyone complaining. His dresses seem to look good on a variety of body types, and I’ve never heard of anybody saying that looking great was a bad thing. So by not putting this line in your store, Target, you might as well tell all of us that you don’t want us to look great. And that’s just offensive.
This one should be pretty obvious. Yes, I’m aware that he has a lower-priced line, but unless you happen to be a millionaire, his Marc by Marc Jacobs line is still a little on the pricey side. But his designs could easily translate to a GO International collaboration with his ability to create a broad spectrum of looks under one label. Military-inspired or library-chic, this versatile designer could create a versatile line that would appeal to your extensive consumer base. It’s actually pretty poor business management if you don’t implement this designer into your stores.
Target, please take his bold patterns and edginess from his Marc line and pair it perhaps with a few takes on his premium designer-line handbags. Nothing fancy, just a couple quilted handbags with chain straps and big hardware. But pair those handbags with exposed-zipper skirts and cardigan-style dresses, and you’ve got all the tools of a major style superstar.
So you see, Target, we’re not asking for too much. We haven’t requested elaborate, real-fur vests or bedazzled booties encrusted with Swarovski crystals. This is just one, simple fashion-obsessed plea to the powers that be. We’ve given you all the tools, all you have to do is say yes. So easy.
PS – Love the new Tucker line.
~Ashley Bell, FashioniSTA, Second Time Around