How they are redefining the concept of personal style
Enter Stella McCartney, CelinePhoebe Philo, and the Row Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, to whom the best of todaypersonal style owes much of its appeal. These visionaries bring to their labels an elevated sense of what design by women for women can, and should, i be. Their practice is devoid of impossible fits and draconian shapewear and instead aims to find the intersection of power, elegance, and case. It doesnhurt that each designer is, virtually, her own ideal customer. Personal-style pioneer McCartney has been known to step into the spotlight wearing the no-nonsense womanpower suit of cuffed jeans and a black blazer. When Philo emerged to take a bow after her Fall 2011 show; she was understatedly chic in a gray turtleneck, black pants, and white sneakers —and the fashion world took notice. And since Mary-Kate and Ashley have been redefining downtown nonchalance with their respective neo-Stevie Nicks and Carolyn Bessette-minimalist vibes, the rest of the world has noticed too.
However different these designers are from one another, they exemplify a certain cool ethos that has taken hold in womens wardrobes everywhere. The always subtly dressed Sofia Coppola nailed laid-back elegance when she wore a black Yves Saint Laurent jumpsuit to the Oscars. Model Joan Smalls took the fashion uniform to the next level by adding a high-top bootie to her leather-pants-and-blazer moment, and our office girl crush, photographer Mary Frey, knows exactly how to subvert the noir skirt suit with the addition of a lace blouse and a snap slit. At the opposite pole from red-carpet white, dark dressing remains in a class of its own.
The boho boom that Isabel Marant architected is another personal-style stronghold. This loose-and-louche genre has been championed by the likes of Bianca Brandolini d, Margherita Maccapani Missoni, and Poppy Delevingne, who wear leopard as a neutral and printed pajama pants as cocktail attire.
As with any question of pizzazz, it has something to do with appropriation and everything to do with confidence. These ladies know how to make an outfit their own, and they look like theyhaving fun while doing it. They may be anticipating next seasonsilhouette, pushing the boundaries of proportion, and bringing back capes, or they may be playing with fashion. But no matter what the look (or the intention), one fact remains abundantly clear: They wear the clothes, the clothes donwear them.