8 Little black dresses for the party season
Whether satin and strapless or in laser-cut leather, never underestimate the power of the little black dress. Every stylish woman knows that the LBD works for any occasion that calls for chic.
The party season is fast approaching and I'm always on the lookout for the perfect little black dress, aren't you? So here are my top 8 favourites.
Put your hair up and your heels on! Show off your neckline in a swing dress with a casual up-do that flatters and frames your face, and get ready for some dancing!
Ladies, meet your party hero. Let's face it, no matter your style, nothing says _'Let's Party!'_ more than a sequin dress. Olivia Palermo, the queen of Style, is super chic in this mini party dress.
Mini dress, hexagons and sheer puffed sleeves, who would have said this was going to be a match made in heaven?! Super modern + stylish design = creative perfection.
Whether you're looking to channel old-Hollywood glamour a la Taylor Swift or going for '20s-style Great Gatsby glitz, I can never say no to a tulle skirt and form-fitting heart bodice combo!
If it's a more feminine and romantic look you're after, then you can't go wrong with a sweet and sexy, backless lace-trimmed dress and satin sash.
When you want to look modern and a little bit edgy, think about wearing an asymmetrical dress. Asymmetrical dresses with diagonally sliced hemlines are one of the new “it” styles for spring.
The sheer neckline is sexy but fashion friendly and adds some intrigue to your overall look. Plus, a style like this could be brought into the office with the right blazer but is also perfect for the next wedding or cocktail party you have on the books.
And finally, here's my favourite option for a classically polished look; an oversized bow cascading on a simple shift silhouette.
Step-by-step guide: the making of an alexandra de curtis bag
I’m excited to share a step-by-step guide of how my handbags are made. You’re invited to an exclusive sneak peek into what goes on behind the scenes in my Roman workshop.
Step 1: the design process
This is one of my favourite steps, as I get to put my initial ideas on paper. I’m not a big drawer though, I’m more of a 3D kind of person. So, rather than picking up a pencil, I pick up paper and scissors and I start cutting away until I get to the shape I had envisioned. By this point I usually have a good idea of what leather I will be using because certain leathers work best for some shapes, and as I quickly discovered in may early days as a designer, not so well for others.
step 2: the pattern
Once I have a good idea of the shape I want to make, I go and see my trusted team with my ‘paper’ bag and together we create the first prototype. The first step is to create a pattern of the bag, just like you would for a shirt or a dress. We deconstruct the bag into carefully measured and cut cardboard pieces which represent the various pieces of the handbag and use these to cut the prototype to size.
step 3: making the prototype
If it’s a completely new style we’ll make a full paper and fabric prototype of the bag and stitch it together, otherwise we cut it immediately with the leather I’ve chosen to see if the shape works. This is a crucial step because this is when you see whether the leather will hold the shape or not, so I tend to go straight into cutting the leather sample.
If all looks good, (even though minor changes which will always happen at this stage), we cut the patterns onto the leather and my team gets to work on the different sections of the bag. Below you can see the handle in progress: a rubber tube is placed between two pieces of leather and each end of the handle is reinforced by gluing sections of leather back to back before the leather is sewn together with a sewing machine. Once all the pieces of the bag are cut and glued, the accessories such as zips or studs are attached, and all the pieces are sewn together - it’s a bit like a jigsaw puzzle!
step 4: adding signature features
This is the final step and where we personalise the bag. Elegant embossing is a distinguishing feature of all my handbags and is done very simply with a press, either plain or with a gold finish. Every bag comes with a removable shoulder strap and a small leather pouch to keep your items from getting lost at the bottom of your bag.
Another distinguishing feature is the bow on the front of most of my bags. This simple detail represents my minimal aesthetic and the true craftsmanship of this ancient craft. The bow is made with a piece of leather that is cut raw to show the colour contrast of the bonded suede lining against the smooth leather. It’s that pop of colour that will hopefully brighten your day whenever you wear one of my bags!
I hope you enjoyed my step-to-step guide to making an Alexandra de Curtis bag. You can view the whole process in my video by clicking on the image below.
Navy Is The New Black
I have always been more of a shoes and handbags addict rather than a clothes horse. During my 20s and early 30s my wardrobe consisted mainly of black items in an effort to keep things easy and simple in the wardrobe department. My work uniform was made up of your standard black work suits, various classic LBDs, black cashmere sweaters, black jeans, black coats, basically black everything.
When I first started working in London, my mother would often ask, 'Why do you wear so much black? It washes you out, it’s not good for your skin tone.’ At the time, as one does in one's early 20s, I completely ignored her, quietly thinking to myself she had no idea what she was talking about. I felt it was the easy wardrobe staple to looking well dressed, chic and professional. But when my boyfriend-now husband started commenting on my colour choices too, 'Why are you buying another black sweater, dress, [enter any item of clothing here], I started to wonder whether they had a point.
Black can be draining and downbeat as much as it can be slimming and fierce, and now in my late 30s, two kids later, I don’t care as much about looking fierce and (as) slim as I did back then. In fact, for a few years now I have been avoiding black altogether and find myself drawn to navy blue instead. My wardrobe is now based on navy blue in all its inky, expensive-looking glory and you will often find me wearing it from head to toe!
Until recently, navy blue had a slight image of being something your mother would have worn, but then it became really right to wear it. It's flattering for daytime or nighttime, it is more forgiving than black, less harsh and carries a subtle air of sophistication. It stripes better than any other colour, and looks both classic and sharp at the same time. This autumn it looks perfect with the pale pink trend, or with the other classic – camel. I would also add grey to that list. Meanwhile, spending lots on something navy will never be foolish, as the colour works hard for your investment.
"When I see someone in navy, I think they are sophisticated, effortless, not trying too hard but with an innate sense of style. I wish that was what I thought when I saw myself in navy.” Jane Shepherdson, Former CEO of Whistles.
It is no surprise then that stylish women loving navy blue is not breaking news because even the cliche’ of the black-clad front-row fashion editor is a little outmoded. If the so-called black crows of old are now in navy, then it must be a navy revolution!
How To dress like an italian woman
I get asked this question a lot; how do Italian women always look so stylish? What’s their secret? Now, I probably wouldn’t put myself in the category of best dressed, but there are a few simple rules even I rely on when putting together my wardrobe.
Good lingerie is a total must.
Italian women know that what you wear under your clothes is as important to feeling sexy as what's on the outside. Poorly fitted undergarments worn under an expensive piece of clothing = fashion disaster. A lace bra or silk slip will not only make you feel sexier, but it’ll give you a boost in confidence and posture.
Invest in high quality wardrobe basics.
Italian women’s wardrobes are based on a set of wardrobe essentials that are made with high quality materials and are timeless. Fast fashion that will only last a season is a big no-no. So, anything made with natural fibres such as silk, linen, cotton, merino wool or cashmere should be at the base of your wardrobe. Look for essential wardrobe staples such as crisp, white cotton shirts, tailored, black wool trousers, and soft, cashmere sweaters in neutral colours. I go a little overboard when I find a favourite basic and always buy it in more than one colour.
Build your outfit on one statement piece.
Italian women seem to have it built in their DNA to find that special piece that truly makes an outfit. This can be in the form of a beautifully fitted coat with a unique collar, a ruffled blouse or some bright coloured trousers that have the ability to catch your eye and sometimes, stop traffic!
Emphasize your curves.
Are you proud of your cleavage? Flaunt it. Great legs? Show them off. The key is to emphasize the parts of your body you're most comfortable with. But remember to focus on one body part at a time to avoid looking vulgar.
Don’t be afraid of high heels.
If even on the bumpiest cobblestoned roads, Italian women can pull off a stiletto with grace (and the right amount of swagger), then you definitely can too! Keep tennis shoes for the tennis court and walking shoes for the park. Footwear is very important, but so is a good pedicure.
Put a cap on it.
Long before the Fedora craze took off in the rest of the world, Italians knew that the right hat provides the crowning touch to any outfit.
Sequins, glitter and gemstones are very much a part of any Italian woman’s wardrobe. This is where you should play up your personal style. But be careful as you can quickly go overboard. Whether you’re wearing a sequin skirt, glitter shoes, or a statement necklace, try and balance them with neutral basics for an elegant and sophisticated look.
Don’t forget a pair of sunglasses.
The final touch on any Italian woman's outfit is a chic pair of sunglasses.
And last, but not least, pick a classic statement handbag.
Italian leather craftsmanship is the gold standard when it comes to handbags, and for good reason. Italian women always have a classic leather bag on their arm!
iTem of the season: the mini handbag
My family and I moved house last month and even though we moved into a larger place, I've felt the urge to purge a lot of those 'extra' things we accumulated after 10 years in our old place. Following Marie Kondo’s Japanese art of decluttering, I’ve really tried to downsize my closet, kitchen and kid’s stuff and only kept the things that bring happiness, serenity and inspiration to my home. Needless to say, my choice of handbag has also changed in the last few months. Following the decluttering of my home, I also downsized my handbag to a Mini version of my popular Ruched tote. I was surprised at how carefree I suddenly felt when all I could fit in my handbag were my keys, my reduced wallet and my iPhone! There’s been a huge weight off my shoulder (literally) and such a feeling of freedom, all thanks to my new Mini companion!
COLOUR Trend Alert: Pink is the new neutral
Dusty pink paired with neutral tones and metallics is the hottest colour trend emerging in the design world right now. A palette of one or two colours is such a sophisticated way of giving more importance to a piece, whether it be a sofa, a handbag or a coat.
Rose Quartz (Pantone’s Colour of the Year 2016), a beautiful, subtly chalky pink provides a warm, soft back-drop for statement pieces. It creates a sophisticated, contemporary look that’s clean and cosy all at once. My favourite pairing is with other pastel colours, metallic copper and various shades of greys and greens. Finally a trend I can totally work with!
SPRING / Summer Colour Trend: TEAL.
go MONOCHROMATIC with blue-greens this season because they don't have to match EXACTLY to look chic. teal offsets whites and creams and also looks gorgeous with burgundy or black. if you want versatility without being boring, choose this go-with-anything colour.
Spring Trend alert: Perforated style... for everyone.
Perforated designs are popping up everywhere this season, from interiors to fashion. From micro to maxi cut-outs; with a dash of sexy, a touch of spunky or a lady-like lace design, the trend really can satisfy everyone's personal style.
ON STYLE & fashion
WHAT’S IN YOUR HANDBAG ON A TYPICAL DAY?
Typically I TRY and carry as little as possible – so purse, phone, keys, but in reality I’m a bit of a bag lady.
WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT YOUR ALEXANDRA DE CURTIS MAXI BUCKET BAG?
The colour is amazing. That shade of tomato red is so hard to find and I think goes with everything.
WHAT’S YOUR BIGGEST FASHION PET PEEVE?
People who follow trends to the point that they lose their personal style.
BIG BAG OR MINI BAG?
DO YOU HAVE A 'WORK UNIFORM’?
It tends to be jeans and boots in winter but in the summer I go mad for a floaty dress.
TREND YOU’LL NEVER TRY?
Platform heels – I’d love to but I'm much too tall!
FAVOURITE NEW DESIGNERS?
He’s not really new per se but I love Lorenzo Serafini’s new Philosophy.
HEELS OR FLATS?
BEST PIECE OF FASHION ADVICE YOU’VE EVER RECEIVED?
Never style anything that you wouldn’t tell someone to actually wear.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR PERSONAL STYLE?
I would say it was part bohemian with a tougher edge.
WHAT ITEMS DO YOU SPLURGE ON AND WHAT DO YOU SAVE ON WHEN IT COMES TO YOUR WARDROBE?
It really depends on the item. I guess I tend to splurge on bags and shoes but sometimes Topshop and & Other stories have amazing accessories too!
ON work/life balance
FAVOURITE LONDON SPOT ON A SUNNY DAY?
Southbank, walking across one of the bridges is so beautiful when its sunny.
BEST WAY TO SPEND A WEEKEND?
Escaping London and spending the weekend in the countryside with friends.
FAVOURITE SOCIAL MEDIA APP?
FAVOURITE LONDON BRUNCH OR AFTERNOON TEA SPOT?
I love brunch at Cecconis.
FAVOURITE HOLIDAY DESTINATION?
GO-TO DRINK ORDER?
Margarita- I’m obsessed with them!
LAST BOOK YOU READ?
My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante .
FAVOURITE WORKOUT ROUTINE?
FAVOURITE WAY TO UNWIND AFTER A LONG WEEK?
Epsom salts bath – I’m addicted to them!
DREAM TRAVEL LOCATION?
A road trip across America.
WORK-LIFE BALANCE CAN SEEM LIKE A MYTH IN LONDON, ESPECIALLY IN FASHION! HOW DO YOU STRIVE FOR BALANCE? WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE WAYS TO UNWIND?
I love to read or have a bath. I also really love walking. Sometimes I’ll walk the hour and a half into work and listen to a podcast which I find really therapeutic.
On career & Harper's bazaar
HOW DID YOU GET STARTED IN THE FASHION INDUSTRY?
I started interning just for a couple of weeks here and there when I was at university and then managed to get a longer internship when I left. I kind of ended up staying and staying from there!
WHAT’S THE BEST PART ABOUT YOUR JOB?
Seeing all these absolutely amazing clothes and accessories in the flesh. And the people – I’ve made some amazing friends.
FASHION IS HARDLY TYPICAL, BUT WHAT DOES AN AVERAGE DAY LOOK LIKE FOR YOU DURING THE AUTUMN SEASON AT HARPER'S BAZAAR?
A lot of time I’m at my desk prepping shoots. Then sometimes I’m going on appointments to see new collections, meet designers and of course going on shoots.
WHAT DO YOU LIKE MOST ABOUT BEING ON THE HARPER'S BAZAAR TEAM?
The team here are the best, all such amazing kind people and as far from the ‘fashion’ stereotype as you could imagine. Then there’s the fact we get to work with so many amazing brands.
WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’D BE DOING IF YOU DIDN’T WORK IN THE FASHION WORLD?
I’d like to think I’d be an artist or maybe an art teacher.
WHAT’S THE BEST PIECE OF CAREER ADVICE YOU’VE RECEIVED, AND IF YOU COULD GIVE SOMEONE CAREER ADVICE FROM YOUR EXPERIENCES WHAT WOULD IT BE?
Only go into fashion if you’re totally obsessed by clothes. Despite getting lots of nice perks its very hard work and to begin with not for very much so you have to really love it.
The million dollar question...
IF YOU HAD TO PICK ONE DESIGNER TO WEAR FOR THE REST OF TIME, WHO WOULD IT BE?
Chanel… Or maybe Chloe… too hard a question!
- For some stylish fashion advice, take a look at Florrie's world of accessories on Instagram @andfinally_ by Florrie Thomas and Anna Rosa Vitiello.
Colour blocking - Black, WHITe & ORANGE
Is black, white & orange the perfect colour combination? We think so! Inject a little colour into your spring wardrobe with our new range of blood orange bags.
item of the season: The Mini Bucket
The bucket bag trend is still going strong this season. We think it has to do with it's universally appealing shape. It's structured, but not too structured - fashionable, but not too out-there. The adorable Sophie Goodwin, Style Editor at Tatler looks très chic in her grey Alexandra de Curtis Mini Bucket.
FALL TREND ALERT: THE Leather jacket
Demand for unique statement pieces is high, and designers responded by revamping the traditional moto-jacket-and-skinny-jeans biker look for fall. Leather jackets got youthful updates with fur accents, hardware elements and oversize cuts. No-fuss dressing couldn’t be easier for the cool girl on the go. And don't forget to add a slick leather handbag to complete the look!
Celebrity muse: Sophia LOren
Happy birthday sophia! 'La Loren', as she is nicknamed in Italy, is one of the most sensual and beautiful women of our time...and at 83, she's still got it!
"Sex appeal is fifty percent what you've got and fifty percent what people think you've got."
- Sophia Loren
Fall Trend Alert: The cape
Complement your autumn style with the Midi Ruched Tote, your handy cape accessory (excuse the pun!). Carry by hand or over the shoulder with our adjustable shoulder strap. Which of these is your favourite? We're thinking one of each! ;)
TREND OF THE WEEK: Summer ESSentials
With SUMMER In full swing, We look at our daily esSentials for A casual day out in the city: A White slouchy vest, denim jeans and some flat comfy shoes always do the trick. Pair it our chunky leather bangles, A navy blue zip clutch or a white tote and you're summer ready!
Introducing this month's SPECIAL feature: #STYLISHGIRLSTYLISHBAG with Sophie Goodwin, style Editor at Tatler Uk
ITEM OF THE WEEK: The NEW SOPHIA Tote (in travel mode)
Summer is just around the corner and i'm already dreaming of warm summer nights, gelato, gelato and more gelato (!), and summer holidays, of course! Here's a list of my top items whenever i travel. For your next holiday, why don't you book a flight to RomE and come and say 'Ciao'?!
CELEBRITY CRUSH OF THE WEEK: REESE WITHERSPOON
The charming ACTRESs, PRODUCER, and MOTHER of three is now also aN E-entrepreneur! We love her latest project, the Southern-inspired retail site, Draper james. The site offers an array of fun and brightly coloured clothing, accessories and home dEcor inspired by her southern upbringing. you go, girl!
Mother's day: Top 10 gift ideas for stylish mums.
Mother's Day is fast approaching (IN Italy it's on MaY 10TH) and instead of buying her the ubiquitous bouquet of flowers, give her one of these stylish pieces that she'll treasure forever (WELL, PERHAPS NOT THE BISCUITS!)
SPRING '15 TREND ALERT: sporty, perforated fashion
gym-inspired trends are something fun to try this spring, especially in the form of sporty, perforated handbags. With a sporty-meets-punk vibe, laser cut accessories make a strong style statement, adding a visually interesting touch to any look.
Have you spotted our new arrivalS? Bring your outfit straight into this season with this patent black bucket bag!
Spring Trend ALERT: double deniM
Double denim has had to put up with a lot of stick in the past, but we believe it’s about time we forgot about double denim’s past misfortunes and the poor interpretations often on show, and give the style another chance. The most successful way to wear double denim is to opt for contrasting shades and textures. Add a black bag to instantly dress-up the look.
CELEBRITY CRUSH OF THE WEEK: Jessica Alba
For a lot of people, orange is a hard colour to pull off. Surprisingly though, it's a very flattering colour since it instantly adds a natural glow to your skin tone. just look at our celebrity crush of the week, jessica alba. Try our Blood orange mini bucket to add a touch of this spring colour to your outfit.
TREND ALERT: Black is the new black
ITEM OF THE WEEk: our white & grey mini bucket bag
this winter we're all about whites, creams and greys. ♥minimalist chic ♥
CELEBRITY CRUSH OF THE WEEK: Olivia Wilde
A wonderful actress, model, producer, mother and our ultimate CELEBCRUSH!