i dream of...

I was typing a comment on a post by Olivia of Gone With The Fashion about basics, and it got me thinking about how I approach shopping and deciding what I'd like in my wardrobe.

All my life I've been pretty much drawn to classic styles (I grew up thinking Audrey Hepburn was the chic-est thing, thanks to my mum; I was awed by the clean chic of Carolyn Besette Kennedy), but I've also been stunned into silence by Alexander McQueen, or Christian Lacroix, or something couture by Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel. My personal style is some distance from the cerebral imaginations of Nicolas Ghesquiere, but I always eagerly look to what he shows every season.

My shopping is about reconciling the "real" fashion I love and wear and the fantastical that inspires awe. I see clothing as primarily functional and I love it when designers or brands create thoughtfully designed basics - things that are simple but have a detail or a shape that makes your heart sing. This is the sort of thing I'd like to see dominate my wardrobe - simple shirts, blouses, trousers, jackets, knits, the odd dress. I'm a wallflower dresser.

And then there's the occasional need to go one step up and buy things of beautiful design and craft that's more about fantasy than utility. I dream of the perfect silk shirt to wear every day , but I also dream of a wonderful slippery silky confection by Alber Elbaz for Lanvin, fit for a goddess.

So, here's my vague list of "dreamy" items that I'd like to acquire some day, not because I need them, or expect to wear them much, but because something about them is deeply stirring. I don't need to get them all.

- Something artfully printed or embellished (or both) by Dries Van Noten
- Something sculptural and elegant by Maria Cornejo
- Something in flowing silk by Alber Elbaz for Lanvin
- Something starkly and yet sensually tailored by Stefano Pilati for YSL Rive Gauche

A perfect marrying of the basic and the fantastic for me would be a gorgeously tailored jacket by Phoebe Philo for Celine - made with the kind of delicate details (in shape and finish) that lifts it from a traditional jacket, and yet still wearable.

Above is a look from the Dries Van Noten spring 2009 collection, one of my favourites of his. Wouldn't it be something to own something from that collection?

Picture from style.com


S said…
I have a love for Dries as well. I remember when that collection was in stores, I was pregnant and really wanted this navy and white striped kimono style top that tied in the back, which I thought would accommodate a growing belly really well, lol :) It sold out though, too bad. Anyway, I really love when something well designed and luxe can be mixed with the basics you already own, which is often the case with Dries as well as Zero. I really like when Dries does a printed or beaded top with a pair of safari shorts. Very nice dreamy list!
A warning about acquiring your fantasy pieces, you'll start to want more. ;)

I think what I need to do with Dries is to look at it sans heads, otherwise there is a disconnect for me. I've been fascinated with Daphne Guinness' style of late. I like how she fuses reality with fantasy. I notice she wears surprisingly classic pieces (very well cut jackets and coats, sharp white shirts) with high impact accessories (two tone hair, dripping in diamonds, crazy heel-less wedges).
Ammu said…
I bought a beautiful pair of high-waisted grey Dries trousers on sale last year. They are not embellished at all, but so perfectly cut, very Katharine Hepburn. I need to wear them more.

Would love to own a dress/skirt by Elbaz for Lanvin - I have a pair of shoes and a scarf by Lanvin, but the clothes are the real deal! And they seem very easy to wear, unlike the signature pieces by someone like McQueen for instance.
Nanashi said…
Dries' prints are always so beautifully done, I also dream of a day when I can add colors with pieces from his work.

Balenciaga . . . I dream of a long wool jacket from any season (the tailoring is just so stunning), and the coat by Celine.

I think it's good to oscillate between the functional and the dreamy lists, it's what makes building the wardrobe so personal, without the dreamy lists the functional list can be quite static.
miss sophie said…
i've always admired Dries' designs from afar. i've never purchased a RTW designer piece but something by him or Celine might be tied for the first in the future...

i definitely dream of a beautifully tailored Celine coat like the one Jenna Lyons was wearing earlier this season.

but i'm very similar to you in that the majority of my pieces are simple and pared down - i like the occasional crazy print or unusual detail to balance out the simplicity :)
Olivia said…
Beautifully written post as always - and so nice that commenting on my post made you write this one!

Yours is definitely an approach that appeals to me. I think in reply to someone else on my blog I was saying carefully crafted basics are the ones that appeal to me, and this is summed up in the best way by a Celine tailored jacket, as you say.
One can spend years tracking down the finest basics from designers like YSL and Dries - on a bit of a quest to find that elusive incerdibly simple garment that is so carefully and thoughtfully constructed.
I really like the idea of amassing quality basics that will be the base of my wardrobe for years, and adding in touches of the unexpected here and there to mix it all up and make it relevant. I have my eye on a Tom Binns necklace at the moment for example, to do just that!! x
featherfactor said…
What a thoughtful post! I'm like you, I like basics that are not too flashy and plus I'm a total sucker for cost-per-wear calculations so beautiful, ornate pieces don't find their way into my closet so often. But the ones I do have are such treasures. So hard to strike that balance.

If Jane said…
chic taste. chic.
lin said…
sorry for responding on the late side, was a bit preoccupied over the weekend!

S: I think I know which kimono top you're talking about (scary how I could picture it right away, I'm definitely a little obsessed with this collection). You're right about how Dries is still pretty wearable, one reason I relate to his work.

Pret a Porter P: Will need that warning! Why without the head when it comes to Dries, you think?

I've always admired Daphne Guinness of all the "eccentrics" there's something razor sharp about her style that I find very appealing. I also love Amanda Harlech, wish we saw more of her style!

Ammu: Sounds like a great buy...I suppose my eye is always drawn to the flashier aspects of his designs but in his boutique I realise there's so much more to look at.

I was at Lanvin in December admiring a velvet dress that was on sale...his clothes are dreamy and yet you could actually imagine putting it on. Lovely.

Nanashi: Agreed! I love it when I see something that makes me willingly suspend the need for practicality.

Miss Sophie: Exactly! For now, I satisfy my need for fantasy through vintage things - easier on the wallet but still unique.

Olivia: Thanks for the inspiration!

Featherfactor: I always think my gut knows when I see the right thing, I suppose that means the high price tag will be justified when I see it, because I know I've thought it through!

If Jane: Thank you!

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