khaleej times Friday, November 19, 2010
C Stephanie Rivers
oveted fashion usually involves vintage gowns, iconic pieces like the YSL Le Smoking, or the 2.55 quilted handbag from Chanel. It is rare that it also incorporates an everyday workman’s uniform as simple as the utility cargo pant. Originally created for tough outdoor work, the style was soon adapted by just about every industry due to its fast-drying fabric, roomy silhouette, heavy woven durable fabric and its multi-patch pockets. The cargo would soon become a fashion staple thanks mostly to the snug fitting olive army pants worn by Margaret ‘Hot Lips’ Houlihan on the long running American medical dramedy, M*A*S*H* — Mobile Army Surgical Hospital, as well as the industry’s fascination with military looks. Houlihan was the butt of many jokes and sent many a medic’s heart racing, but it was the crisp, perfect fitting pant that would resonate with many as the next great style trend. Of course, the cargo has gone in and out of fashion and taken on many proportions: baggy, ultra wide-legged, bootleg taper and the current favourite — skinny, since coming on the fashion radar in the 90s. The current cult favourite is the J Brand Houlihan Skinny Cargo pant — part jean, part leggings — named after the M*A*S*H* character. The light olive colour, soft fabric and perfect fit that J Brand is known for has propelled it into the limelight. The interest is so deep in the denim silhouette that even the loftiest of fashion reporting, The New York Times, touched on the importance of the Houlihan pant. The J Brand style is outselling all of its competitors, including its French cousin, the Cargo from Balmain, and has been seen on every starlet from Rihanna to Khloe Kardashian to Rachel Bilson and Nicole Richie. It would seem that the numbers really do add up in this case, as more than 76,000 pairs have sold, according to sources, and the wait list is well into the thousands. What makes this current hot-item so special, you may ask, at an average price of Dh840 ($230) — and not just another novelty item? Perhaps it is the fit and skinny silhouette that makes these the best on the market. J Brand is noted not only for their superb fit but how their denim is made to fit almost every body type. Everyone from Jennifer Lopez to Kim Kardashian to Jessica Alba to Cameron Diaz and Kate Moss have worn their cargos, and it has looked flawless on each. It’s a
great achievement for a denim maker, not to mention the free advertising. Nailing the right colour hue — the perfect olive green that manages to side-step drab — counts as well, as does the zipper vent detailing on the legs, the streamlined pocket details and the toned down belt loops and waistband. The look is great with stilettos, a soft tee and chic leather bolero jacket, or with an elongated embellished T-shirt, ankle boots and a tulip-hem coat. Many have been spotted out and about in Dubai sporting the look with tees, flats — notably ballerinas, oversized handbags and uber shades. The Houlihan is available in onys, worn marine, espresso, West Point brown, black, taupe and vintage olive. The cargo can be found at Bloomingdales, Bloomingdales.com and JBrand.com. High Street stores from H & M to Zara have similar looks for just a little less, just in case.
KhaKi aT YouR
he closest this reporter wants to come to the military is seeing it while watching a documentary, paying respects to soldiers abroad or wearing a modern camouflage pattern on my fingertips. Leave it to the House of Chanel to make Khaki chic. Their colour collection, Les Khakis De Chanel, nail lacquers are just that; a chic updated version of Khaki and company. This trio of military-inspired hues hit the perfect colour pitch for fall. With colours ranging from army khaki green, to khaki rose, to khaki brun, one can work up all types of nail art combinations.
antone, the colour giant that creates colour palettes and chips used by almost everyone on the planet, makes fashionable predictions of the hottest hues during each fashion cycle. For autumn it was the great escapes to far off locales like Africa and Latin America. The saturated hues continue through Spring 2011 but with a slightly lighter air. For women this time around, the prediction is that Honeysuckle (Pantone 18-2120), Coral Rose (16-1349), Peapod (a medium green tone with strong yellow undertones, 14-6324), Beeswax (14-0941), Silver Peony (a warm beige, 12-1206), Russet (18-1235), Regatta (a lovely cornflower blue, 18-4039), Blue Curacao (a seafoam blue, 15-4825),
Lavendar (15-3817) and Silver Cloud (a moody grey with yellow-tinged undertones, 15-4502) are the colours of the moment to have and to wear. For men, the palette was equally colourful, pardon the pun, with predictions that Barberry (a rich raspberry tone, 18-1760), Firecracker (a rich orange, 16-1452), Turf Green (17-0119), Beeswax (a marigold with heavy yellow undertones, 14-0941), Linen (a warm beige, 12-1008), Russet (18-1235), Regatta (a lovely cornflower blue, 18-4039), Blue Curacao (a seafoam blue, 15-4825), Lavendar (15-3817) and Flint Gray (a yellow-tinged grey) are the colours that every guy should be reaching for. Now that you know the colours for spring according to Pantone, all one has to do is run out and stack up on items in those hues.
The collection was introduced in NY during Fashion’s Night Out, hosted by none other than Anna Wintour (of American Vogue), but has stayed around because, well, it is perfect for the season. Several nail artists in New York and Paris have been using it during photoshoots, and several stars, from Katie Perry to Rihanna, have been spotted wearing them. My favourite incarnation of the hues has been a camouflage-inspired nail manicure worn with basic black and lots of attitude. Now, I am sure the armed services would not appreciate the rip-off but perhaps they can see it as a fashion statement for their leave.
My weekly fashion column printed and distributed in the Middle East. Responsibilities include overseeing design and writing content