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One Year Later: Revisiting Christiana J. Paul

   

It’s been a full year since the launch of the Christiana J. Paul Collection. I had the opportunity to catch up with Christina Liedtke, lead designer for the brand and hear more about everything from her inspirations to advice for new designers.

CR: You have now designed two beautiful and unique collections. Where do you find your inspiration?

CL: The most integral part of my inspiration is sourced from human emotion. Our emotions, especially as women, are triggered by daily rituals to special occasions. Whether it is getting ready for the day or sexing up for the evening, the most important aspect is ‘what article(s) of clothing or designer will you wear to feel your best and most confident’ and that is how we want our consumer to feel about Christiana J. Paul.

However, as a central aspect to human emotion, we source a lot of inspiration for the pieces and collections from nature. We respond to nature in such a personally unique and innate way. It connects us directly and sincerely to the constant change around us.  The lines and shapes of nature in each season align with our juxtaposition as women with our strength, wit, sensuality, and vulnerability.

CR: How would you describe your design aesthetic?

CL: Our designs have a certain balance of curved lines and sharp asymmetrical angles. We leverage texture and prints in our fabrics to play out the emotional seasonal storyline. Our designs need to find a balance between a woman’s heart, romantic and soft and woman’s intellect, sharp and courageous.

When we design, we always keep consumer questions in mind to deliver on design aesthetic. We want to deliver on our brand equity of both timeless and evolutionary to mirror women in today’s society. The Christiana J. Paul brand is about love, the love for ourselves  and the love for others in the most inspiring and confident way. For Spring 2014, our tagline is “if you were to see the love of your life, what would you wear?” For Fall 2014, leveraging the darker hues and shapes of autumn, the tagline is “if you were to see the lust of your life, what would you wear?” Both of these deliver on our confident and courageous determination to significantly dress for moments whether it is for ourselves and for others.

 

2014 Winston Coat

Fall 2014 Collection – Winston Coat

CR: How would you describe the ideal Christiana J. Paul woman? What is she like?

CL: We call the woman that wears our designs, Anna. I want to hone in on the word ‘confident’, as she is confident, but in a way that is a subtle statement. She is humbly confident in an aspirational way by just being herself and dressing for herself.  She is energetic, influential, and impactful in her journey and others positively respond to her. She is a working woman that seeks excellence in her presence. We find Anna wearing our designs to day or evening events that require simple and elegant statement pieces as well as beautiful accent pieces like our coats for her daily routine.

CR: What are the hot trends for Spring 2014?

CL: The encompassing and primary trends that I have seen on the runway, in the latest books, and in our own Spring 2014 collection regard the theme of nature in a super natural sense with metallics, pastels, and abstract shapes.

There is much exploration of surrealistic, yet feminine silhouettes in women’s RTW for Spring 2014 with a celebration of feminine connections and friendships and how the power of these and nature plays into fashion and society.

These trends are easy transitions into your wardrobe without being avante garde or compromising your style. For consumers metallics can be poignant, yet subtle while pastel palletes explore the softer and simpler side of spring and summer 2014.

In our own Spring 2014 collection we have fused these trends together through hues, texture, and softer abstract shapes in three of our signature pieces.

SS14 – Bailey Dress         SS14 – Todd Coat            SS14 – Abbott Coat

BaileyToddAbbott

CR: What is your advice to other aspiring designers, that would like to start their own line?

CL: Starting, developing, and getting a line off the ground is not easy and that is an understatement of what it actually takes.  Whether you are new to the industry or already established through your fashion career, starting a line for long term success takes a sustainable and unique style that is consumer likeable to gain distribution and generate revenue.  However that is not the only aspect to this business, having a great style makes it easier. I have highlighted three key elements that aspiring designers need to be cognizant of for success:

#1. Do your research before committing to the development of the line. Truly understand your product offering and how it will fit in the market and with consumers.

#2. Be extremely numbers focused and stay within budget. This is good advice for all entrepreneurs, but specifically in Fashion Design as this is a very costly business. Understand short term and long term capital needed to evolve your line and increase distribution.

#3. Network, network, and network. This industry is built on the network and without it your capital and investments will fall flat.

#4. Don’t give up and always be flexible. To find success in this industry you have to continue to work hard even if doors are closed and phone calls and e-mails go unanswered. You need to find creative ways to gain industry attention and be flexible in both design, style and communication.

 

 

 


Dress for the Job You Want, Not the Job You Have

   

Brought to my attention by Catherine Morgan

 


Introducing Christiana J. Paul | Custom Couture & RTW

   

Launching this fall, for Spring 2014 is an amazing designer, Christina Liedtke with her brand, Christiana J. Paul, that I have had the privilege of becoming acquainted with. I own several pieces and can attest to their beauty, unique style and craftsmanship.  Below, the designer talks about the brands aesthetic, as well as 2013′s must-have items and mistakes that business women make when dressing for work.

 

How long have you been designing for?

I have been studying and designing fashion for over 7 years, working diligently on my own label, Christiana J. Paul – Custom Couture and RTW. I started the Christiana J. Paul brand as a small luxury custom couture house focusing on clients that are attending prestigious events. From the Ball of Versailles to the 2008 Inauguration Ball, and other world renowned events including the globally recognized up-cycled M&M Wrapper Dress, Christiana J. Paul was established. We will be launching our first RTW collection by Fall 2013 for Spring 2014.

How would you describe your design aesthetic?

When I started the company, the vision behind Christiana J. Paul was to create timeless, beautiful, and luxurious garments to enhance the monumental moments for my clients lives. In evolving the brand from custom couture to Ready-to-wear, the vision is still to maintain the custom and luxury experience through  materials and details, however focus the lines on the modern and abstract to collectively combine old world romance with the modern emerging woman. I really want to design luxurious and elegant women’s clothing that is timeless and beautiful, but also approachable and wearable.

How do you describe the ideal Christiana J Paul customer?  What is she like?

The Christiana J. Paul woman is not defined by age, however more committed to being and looking her best. She is a fusion of classic, timeless, but also sexy, and innovative.  She carries elegance, sophistication, uniqueness and femininity in all aspects of her style. She is not shy in expressing her identity, her style, and has a strong sense of self. She is feminine, personable, but also an effective influencer.

The Christiana J. Paul woman is seeking designs that appeal to her meticulous and ever evolving perspective.  She seeks designs that have a level of exclusivity and customization with materials and detail.  These designs play out in her working and personal life. Although she respects trends, she believes in her own style that works for her.

She is always evolving her sense of self to be impactful and make a positive difference in her personal and professional life. She believes that her style is a reflection of how these aspects influence and inspire her and her communities and networks.

What’s your one must-have article of clothing for 2013?

Prints are in and they are beautiful this season, especially for spring 2013.  Everything from coats to dresses to accessories, prints are making a strong statement for many designers. For the consumers, prints can exude beautiful colors, different patterns, and add that extra pop of color and excitement to grab attention.

There are many prints that can be considered trendy or only for that season. If you are going to invest in a few prints for the season, find ones that can be paired with the traditional hues in the black/grey/ivory families, especially when matching with shoes and handbags. Purchase prints that are timeless, but also compliment your body and style.

Two of my favorite prints this season are from my own pre-launch collection.

The James Coat is a perfect blend of natural hues combined with elegant artistry that brings together a modern sophistication with its high napoleonic collar, asymmetrical close, and high-low hemline. Price available upon request.

 

The Christian Dress is a one-of-a-kind floral dress with layered leaf adornments. Beautified and innovated to perfection, this is one piece that will be timeless and adored forever. Price available upon request.

 

 

What’s the top mistake / fashion faux pas that you see women making when they dress for work?

The biggest mistake that I see women doing wrong when they dress for work is simply wearing something that does not fit them appropriately.  I know that you might be looking for an AHA moment, but as much as style is about the brand, the material, the colors and potentially the latest trends, style and image simultaneously are about the fit and how it works for your body type.

I’ve seen too many women come to work with skirts, dresses, and pants too tight, shirts and sweaters that don’t fit their bust area, and sometimes the opposite of things that are too baggy. When something doesn’t fit correctly, it usually leads to a careless presentation, the constant need to adjust the garments, and a distraction to others.

Whether you are in Corporate America, in small business, or an entrepreneur, fortunately or unfortunately, your image is your first presentation. Wearing garments that are harmonizing to your silhouette and that you feel confident in can lead to a surprising effectiveness in front of your audience (i.e. co-workers, management, leaders).

My key recommendation is find a couple good designers/brands that fit your body type well, buy some trendy and classic pieces and mix and match. Women don’t need to wear something different every day of the month, they can repeat certain outfits or mix and match different pairings. I would much rather see outfits repeated that fit well and exude a level of confidence than wearing something that doesn’t comply with a person’s body type or style.

 

Christiana J. Paul will be launching her first collection during Fall 2013 for Spring 2014. However, please go to www.christianajpaul.com for more information about the designer, brand, and a viewing of her work. Also follow Christiana J. Paul on Twitter @Christianajpaul , Facebook, and Pinterest


No. 35 Opens Online Shop

   

One of my favorite purveyors of professional women’s fashion, No.35 UK has opened its online store.  Known for beautiful details, clean lines and impeccable tailoring and quality, I have worn No.35 pieces, courtesy of the designer, on many television appearances.

Check out their shop at http://www.no35.co.uk/shop/

They even have the black version of the slit dress that I tried on here:


Are you on The List? I-Ella Launches New Fashion Treats!

   

 

Imagine receiving a surprise gift bag filled with designer items and free product samples delivered to your door each month.

 

Launched just in time for the Holiday Season, the folks at I-ELLA.com (named Time Inc.’s “Top 10 NYC Startups to Watch in 2011″) recently launched, The List.  Whether you’re uptown or downtown, 20′s or 40′s, the team at I-ELLA along with guest curators, will put together a gift bag just for you or that lucky someone on your list.  Ann Caruso, contributing fashion editor of Harper’s Bazaar, curated the September Bag.

 

Just complete your style profile, choose your bag – Starter Bag, $59; SoHo Bag, $129; St. Barth’s Bag, $389  and let the experts do the rest.

 

Did we mention their November Holiday Bag will include lovely party dresses, clutches, statement accessories, must-have shoes and more?

 

Sign-up now before The List is closed:  http://www.i-ella.com/thelist/

Items from previous The List bags:

 

 


Photos from Ted Baker London 5th Avenue Event

   

If you didn’t get a chance to join us, we had a fabulous time at Ted Baker’s Grand House on 5th Avenue. Be sure to stop by the store or visit them at http://www.tedbaker-london.com.  They have fabulous clothing for both men and women, taking you from day to night, office to events.  Click to enlarge any of the photos.

 

Ted’s DJ, Maid and Butler

 

Carol Roth with MSNBC’s Dawn Stackhouse

 

Carol Roth with Fox Business’s Lori Rothman

 

Carol Roth w/ Fox Contributor Dee Dee Benkie and ICM’s Lawrence Stuart; Carol Roth w/ Integrity Toys’ Vaughn Sawyers


Work it or Leave It? The Pajama Trend

   

Every season, when bold new trends appear on the runway, the big question is, “Can I really wear this look?”  This becomes a more important question when you think about whether you can wear the look to work.

For Spring and Summer, there is a pajama trend, with flowing pants, tops and even shoes inspired by men’s loungewear.
 

Louis Vuitton Pajama Printed Suit and Flats

 
While I have seen various suggestions on how to upgrade this trend, my advice is this is not a work-worthy look.  The cut of the pajamas are loose, sometimes sloppy and well, look like pajamas!  Even if you get clever (trying to pair a pajama top with a pencil skirt or a structured blazer with pajama-style pants), it will still look like half of you just rolled out of bed.

My take, don’t try to work the pajama trend. Leave it for weekend wear (or leave it altogether).


How to Create Your Fashion Portfolio

   

A tough economy doesn’t temper the desire to buy a drool-worthy pair of pumps, the hottest new bag or a fabulous overcoat.  However, when the money is tight, how do you know when to splurge and when to resist the urge?

Below is a guide to creating your optimal fashion portfolio.

Investment Pieces- Buy and Hold: There are certain pieces in your wardrobe that you should not feel badly about paying up for. To evaluate an investment piece, think about how long it will last you.  Is the fabric and construction durable? Is the shape and coloring classic or trend-oriented?  For example, Louis Vuitton bags can be a great investment piece, but you may be better off with the “Speedy” in the classic Monogram Canvas than the trendier Monogram Mutlicolore Canvas.

 

Also, think about how often you will wear it, as well as how fickle you are.  A gorgeous coat may be a great investment piece for someone who is open to wearing it for several seasons.  If you are an outer-wear addict, you may prefer more diversification in your fashion portfolio.  For example, this great Jason Wu leather coat with a fur collar or this Burberry Prorsum plum quilted coat could be a great investment if you will wear it as your go-to-coat for many seasons.

Fully-valued can still be a value:  Whether it’s a pair of premium denim jeans or leather boots, sometimes a fashion item’s price is over our normal threshold of what we think its value should be.  To decide whether to splurge or save (or at least wait for a sale), think about how many times you will wear the item over the course of the next two years.  It makes far more sense to pay $300 for a pair of jeans that you will wear once every weekend (over the course of a year that is less than $6 every time you wear it) vs. a pair of  $150 wool pants that you wear 5 times a year ($30 per wear).  Think of the pricing more in terms of its usefulness to you than what it is you expect to pay for a certain item.

I can see getting a ton of value out of this great Aigner dress (worn alone or paired with a cardigan), these black and white Kate Spade ankle boots or this simple Rachel Zoe overcoat.

 

Trends- Churn and Burn: Just like the hot penny stock of the day, a super-trendy fashion or accessory can turn your fashion portfolio upside down.  If you have to try out the it-look of the season, look for value-brands, sales or even turn to a site like Bag Borrow or Steal to rent out a hot item for a fraction of the cost of purchasing it.

 

A few other portfolio-building tips: To make even more out of your fashion portfolio, keep a written or electronic catalogue of what you have (perhaps in a pretty notebook or planner) and bring it with you when you shop.  The more items you have in your fashion portfolio that work together, the more value you will derive from them.  Also, make sure that the item fits you.  If you have to wait to lose 5 pounds before you can zip up that dress, pass it up.  Finally, never go on “margin”.  If you can’t afford to buy something, don’t buy it.  Credit card rates can make your great deal an investment loser by the time you finish paying it off.

 


4 Ways to Make Your High Heels More Comfortable

   

 

High Heeled Shoes may be the most loved and hated fashion accessory for the working woman.  They can completely make an outfit.  They can also be very painful, especially if you are putting in long days or have to walk around.

Here are a few tips to make those lovely leg extenders a bit more bearable.

Get them stretched: Most department stores and shoe boutiques can stretch out the heel using a shoe stretcher, so just ask.  If you want to try it at home, think about investing in one, like any of the ones available at Heelingtouch.com. If the lip of the heel is too tight, a bunion stretcher can also be used to give you some extra relief!

Use an insole to create the perfect fit: If there is too much of a gap in your shoe, your foot will move around and the friction will be painful.  Use a half or full insole to help close up the gap.

Blistop: If there are certain areas of your foot that tend to get blisters (for me it’s the back of the heel), try Flexitol Blistop.  It’s a quick spray that creates a bond so that you don’t get the friction.  Cheap and easy!

Change ‘em up: While heels are fabulous, don’t wear them constantly.  Carry a pair of flats to wear under your desk, while driving, or while you are walking around the streets (to your commute, to grab lunch, etc.).  I’m loving these bow flats by Ted Baker.

Do you have any suggestions for taking high heels from pain to pleasure?  Share below!


Luxury Travel Accessory Company Tumi Sets IPO Range

   

One of the favorite weapons of the road warrior is durable, good looking luggage and travel accessories. Tumi is a name that is pretty much synonymous with that. The company, which has been catering to working women on a more focused basis with collections in pink and a collaboration with Anna Sui, has set the terms for its Initial Public Offering (IPO), which is set to price the week of 4/16.

The expected price range for the stock of $15-17. This will allow the company to raise up to approximately $320 billion off of a valuation of up to $1.15 billion. This is quite a turnaround (not to mention a profit) for Doughty Hanson and the other private equity firms that bought Tumi about 8 years ago for a reported $276 million. Tumi will trade on the NYSE under the clever ticker: TUMI.

Luxury goods, including accessories, have been strong performers. Michael Kors Holding’s IPO did so well late last year that they raised more money through a follow-on offering just a few weeks ago. So, despite a rich valuation, keep your eye on Tumi.

Anna Sui International Carry on by Tumi.

 


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