Friday, April 6, 2012

Apropos of Black & White

You are looking at the woman who those in the vast business of retail throughout the world consider one of, if not the, ultimate arbiter of elegance and style.

Meet Maria Luisa Poumaillou, or simply Maria Luisa -- because that's all anyone has to say and heads start nodding -- "of course, she is the queen of multi-brand fashion. She is elegance and ease personified."

Her eye is piercingly sharp, she sees through the clutter of clothes and collections and curates like an art connoisseur. Her instincts for discovering fashion's new talents, and her melange of the big names with the soon-to-be-names (in most cases thanks to her) is faultless.

Not surprisingly, she advises much less is much better. She also believes, again not surprisingly, that women should spend where it counts -- perfectly cut trousers, a great coat, one exceptional little black dress. She suggests that women often do not take the time to really look at themselves in a dressing room when buying skirts. When a pencil skirt is the choice it should be above the knee; when it is below the knee it must "hug" the derriere to avoid appearing matronly.

So, where can you save? T-shirts; ethnic, statement jewelry and -- are you ready for this (?) -- handbags. She sees them as nothing more than a convenience to carry "stuff" and rues the fact they have become status symbols designed to send a social message to the world.
Kenneth Jay Lane creoles.
In a perfect world, I would like Maria Luisa to be my stylist.

Above you see her words in action: a clean line of black, a soft white jacket -- she likes soft because she preaches "one cannot be comfortable in stiff" -- an ethnic necklace, i.e. a large shell on a black silk cord; creole earrings from Kenneth Jay Lane; wide belt; bottines; ethnic (but of the designer variety) bangle, ever-present sunglasses and red, red lipstick.

You will note, by simply changing the shoes this is a season-less ensemble.

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