Our finalists have been hard at work proving to us—and you!—that they're the Next Biggest Style Blogger—and after taking to the Internet to expound on the spring trends, they welcomed us to their home turfs where we assigned each of them a unique challenge. From tackling New York Fashion Week to hunting down a vintage outfit for under $100, these bloggers combed their local streets to turn up the best resources and stories possible. Want to know how they did it? Just check out their videos after the break!
Editor's note: To be fair to each contestant, none of these blogger posts have been edited.
Christina's Challenge: Interview A Designer Backstage At Fashion Week
It's just another manic Monday. I wish it was Sunday, 'cause that's my Funday. My ‘I don't have to runday.’ And run I did! This year Valentine’s Day was extraordinary. Spending the day filming my interview with Refinery29’s Style Director, Piera Gelardi, Anna Plaks in Ad Marketing, and camera crew, Randy Stulberg, and Meghan Sims. It was our second day of filming in my cozy little Astoria apartment and the weather was just perfect. We were able to capture some footage on my fire escape, which was rad. The night before having spent reviewing my challenge (interview with designer, Chris Benz) and making a quick dash to my fashion designer friend Haleh Nematzadeh’s apartment. She had a few pieces from a previous collection that we thought would look great on camera.
Early morning start and was excited to see the girls, even more excited to meet Chris Benz and review his Fall 2011 collection. Slipping into my Oak black step through dress and setting up for an interview with Piera, my nerves really started to kick in. I had an outfit in mind, a romper with vintage corset and ruffles I borrowed from Haleh, and couldn’t decide if it was going to work for the show. As I went through my notes for Chris, I started to feel flustered and anxious all at once.
Piera’s interview with myself went off without a hitch, wrapping up just in time to get ready for the show. I finally decided against Haleh’s outfit and went with a dress by Twenty8Twelve and my pewter Finsk booties. Jetting out and securing a taxi wasn’t quite part of the challenge, but was challenging nonetheless. Finally arriving at the David Rubenstein Atrium at Lincoln Center, it was show time. Camera on and a suddenly bashful blogger of Le City Kitty gazing into the eyes of designer Chris Benz, q’ing him on his inspiration. Finding out all the great details of Savannah that captured Chris for his playful yet subdued collection. Floral prints on shoes, oversized wide pants, and tall scarecrow-like hats, which were my fave. The collection overall was bliss, both Chris Benz and his collection I should say. Fun details were meeting Christene Barberich, Refinery29’s Editorial Director and Gossip Girl’s Jessica Szohr. This was the absolute best Valentine’s Day had.
Roberta's Challenge: Create A Fashion Week Look On A Dime
It's easy to look like a million bucks when you have it. The challenge is when you don't. When someone asks me what my ideal fashion week outfit would be, I would probably be wishing for the latest Proenza Schouler dress, add a Balmain jacket into the mix, and top it off with some incredible YSL platforms. Sure, with money to spare this would be perfection, but like the rest of us, my usual budget includes just enough to improvise runway looks at my favorite vintage stores with some additions from my own closet. Now don't get me wrong, I have a soft spot for my favorite fashion brands (my heart stops when I hear even the name Balenciaga!), but an important key fact to remember about the perfect fashion week outfit is that YOU DON'T NEED TO SPEND A LOT to look good.
Refinery 29 actually took me up on that challenge and made me put my money (or lack thereof) where my mouth is by asking me to create a fashion week look for just under $100 bucks. No matter where you are, you can always find great vintage stores to shop for under $100 dollars. LA has tons of options. My favorite vintage stores include Virgo located in the heart of Downtown LA and Wasteland, which is right near my house on the famous Melrose Ave. When it comes to finding my dream fashion week look, I get inspired from current runway trends, and I look for pieces that would stand out from the crowd. (I mean, come on, Fashion Week is meant for you to be SEEN!)
When I was at Wasteland on Melrose, as you can see in my challenge video, I was lucky to find a complete outfit that I fell in love with. I found an gorgeous black long sleeve maxi dress (which, as you know is one of my favorite trends) and paired it with a beautiful navy military jacket with incredible power shoulders (very Balmain!). Personally, I believe accessorizing is key when it comes to having the ultimate look, so I added some cool rings and necklaces from past flea market finds. I also thought a fun fur hat (bought at H&M for around 10 dollars!) would be a great bold statement piece that will make you stand out. A pair of $25 used Top Shop wedges from Wasteland, and the outfit is complete. Screw looking like a million bucks, I'd rather look like a hundred ;)
Zarna's Challenge: Give Us A Fashion History Lesson
When it comes to fashion, it is so important to look to the past for inspiration because there are certain trends that simply never go out of style! Case in point: seventies bohemian. I’m infatuated with the exotic prints, billowy shapes, and carefree nature of the trend and recently it’s been popping up all over the S/S and F/W 2011 runways in forms of bellbottoms, platforms, and maxi skirts. The seventies bohemian style originated from the Indian gypsies of the 1300s who migrated their style from India to Europe, and eventually the United States. This is why there are so many Indian influenced patterns and textures in the style! The Beatniks of the 1940 and 1950s revived the Bohemian trend, and inspired the hippies of the 1970s, which was when the trend became mainstream. In the early 1990s, the term “hippie-chic” was used to describe Tom Ford’s collection for Gucci and inspired celebrities like Sienna Miller and Kate Moss to reinvent the bohemian style.
Derek Lam presented a gorgeous denim bell bottom in his collection, while Alice and Olivia had a stunning burnt orange pair, and TopShop Unique boasted a floral version. Platforms were most notably reminiscent of the seventies when they were presented in flatform style (my favorite being the tweed Chanel version) and maxi skirts were flowing down the runways of Rick Owens, Rag and Bone, and Rebecca Taylor. In my video challenge, I share how lucky I am to find so many seventies bohemian inspired pieces in my mother’s closet and how to find similar pieces in modern stores! Groovy? I think so!
Ashley's Challenge: Be A Street Style Stalker
Let's be real: Orange County, CA isn't known as the most pedestrian friendly area in the US. Driving ten blocks to the supermarket to then drive to a Starbucks (which is in the same shopping center, mind you) isn't particularly frowned upon around these parts. People really do live in their cars. It's just the way it is.
With that being said, you can imagine the instantaneous anxiety that washed over me when I found out that my particular challenge would be fashion street style photography. Besides certain cathedrals of consumption, i.e. outdoor shopping malls, there really aren't places that have an equal ratio of high foot traffic to well dressed people. Adding to this, I had to decipher what actually constituted as “well dressed” in my mind since I wanted to shoot people who appealed to my tastes. Lots of people dress up, but a fake tan, rhinestoned denim jeggings, and an expensive bag do not a well dressed person make, in my opinion.
I wanted to find people who had put thought into their outfits, be it a pair of cheery striped socks peeking under a rolled pant cuff or a vintage pin placed just so. I'm a big believer in noticing subtle details because I think it gives you a glimpse into someone's personality and the fact that they are dressing to please themselves.
Luckily, I feel like this thinking comes across in my challenge video. In between lugging my tripod around the county and freaking out because a location literally had zero people to shoot, I actually found some folks whose style I really liked. Success!
In the end I had embarked on a quest for sartorial authenticity in a place best known for all all things fake, and you know what?
Orange County totally delivered.
Anna Jane's Challenge: Be A Runway Makeup Maven
For my Style Blogger challenge, I was to create a runway makeup look for spring. To me, springtime equates to sloughing off the makeup you’ve worn all winter to reveal a fresh face. A bronze glow is cast with a light swipe of bronzer and a subtle, peachiness radiates from your cheeks. Still, a neutral face alone simply wasn’t enough to convey the perfect spring makeup look. After scouring runway trends and seeing line after line of lightly made-up faces, I came across photos from the Fendi SS 2011. What resonated with me was the bright, bold lip color used on all the models. Other designers like Jil Sander and Gucci featured the same look: a pretty, fresh face with the brightest burst of lipstick.
It’s no surprise that bright colors go hand in hand with springtime. After months of enduring blankets of white snow, puddles of slushy mud, and days lacking sunshine, our desire for another color palette is heightened. Hints of spring begin to emerge when trees begin to bud tiny, green sprigs and when the sky opens up to reveal a bright blue alongside the vivid, yellow sun. All of the sudden, one’s urge to grab a dark jacket subsides and the habit of wearing your darkest eyeliner seems too heavy.
For the challenge video, I loved researching potential looks and especially enjoyed buying the COVERGIRL products like Lip Perfection in Flame, LashBlast Mascara, eyeshadow in Sheer Nude and bronzer in Golden Tan to help me create the perfect look. (I even created a second look for fun because I was feeling ambitious!) I hope you enjoy the runway look I created in the video and may the sight of bright lipstick help you ‘think spring’ like it did for me. I’m finding that a bold lip makes the days seem a bit longer and the skies a little less gray.