New Year’s Eve Style Tips

New Year’s Eve, for me, has always been an overly-anticipated occasion which almost always ends in a bust. Not to say, that I don’t enjoy celebrating the holiday and new year, I just always place high expectations on one single night. This year, we’ve [me + manfriend] collectively decided not to do anything glamorous to ring in the new year. Dinner, champagne, really good beer, puzzles, movies, popcorn, chocolate, and puppy. That’s how I intend to spend my New Year’s Eve.

But even I can’t resist a New Year’s Eve outfit. Now, typically ringing in the new year requires sequin, sparkles, glitter, shimmer, and shine. The problem with that is, once you wear it, you rarely find another occasion appropriate of the magnitude of your sequin-adorned cocktail dress.

Here are a few pieces that will allow you to step up your shine in more ways than one. Don’t worry, I couldn’t completely nix the sequin cocktail dress.

Eye-Catching Embellishments

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Golden Leaf Headband via Urban Outfitters. Not only is this piece a crowning compliment to your NYE selfie, it can be worn long after you’ve given up on your new year’s resolutions. Weddings, music festivals, beaches, date nights, or on your luxurious vacation to Santorini– you get the idea.

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Inferno Heeled Boot via Free People. You won’t find greater dazzle for your dancing feet (and in 3.5in heels!).  What’s best about these brilliant booties, is that you can dress them up for another occasion or dress them down with a pair of denims and a V-neck T. Plus they’re black so there are endless ways to play with color or keep it simple.

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Gold Dusted Tights via Target. So I’m not going to lie, when I started writing this post, I initially chose tights from Urban Outfitters– super cute, gold-sparkled, polka dots. And while my poetic description may not win you over, just understand they were way cuter than, well, Target’s tights. However, these tights closely mimic the tights I will be wearing for NYE and what’s more is they’re only $8! So that’s a win in my book. These go perfect with a LBD and LBB’s (little black booties). Or black leather shorts!

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Square Crystal Double Necklace via Free People. I’m quite partial to statement jewelry, and this is a dream. Seriously, you could just wear this with your birthday suit and everyone would only notice this sparkling sensation dangling from your neck. Now if you’re thinking, when the hell am I ever going to wear that again? I’ve got one word for you: ANYTIME! Dress it up with a black crew neck crop-top and a flowy maxi skirt, or dress it down with a faded denim jacket, a vintage graphic t, some black denims, or a high-waisted mini.

And if that’s a little too much sparkle for you, here’s something a little more subtle:

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Merritt Triangle Drop Earrings via Francesca’s. Simple and stunning; I just love these.

Now I couldn’t exclude the sequin altogether, so here is my favorite pick:

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Silver Sun Mini Dress via Free People. This beauty is perfect for NYE because it doesn’t scream NYE. Sure it’s got the sequin, but it’s tasteful. Plus you can wear this piece all year round as an endearing winter white or show-stopping summer sizzler. Pair with a simple chain necklace, some awesome rings (layered if possible), black tights (optional), and some LBB’s!

Don’t feel limited to just the sequin studded cocktail dress this New Year’s Eve! Embrace your accessories and enjoy your shimmering outfit more than once this year…well you know 2016.

Have a happy new year everyone!

 

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Collaboration Advice for Artists and Entrepreneurs

Originally published on Juelp. Article titled, Q&A: What’s Your Advice For Collaborating With Someone?  Written by Amy Schroeder

Ever thought about working in collaboration with another artist or designer? For some artists, working solo-style is best for them, while others choose to collaborate for short sprints or long-term projects. Many Minted artists also say they benefit from the collaborative nature of critiquing each other’s work during the Design Challenge process. For this edition of #ArtistAdvice, we asked full-time design duos Baumbirdy and Rose Lindo and her husband to share their best advice for creative collaboration.

Sarah Baumgardner and Carolyn Doogan
Baumbirdy
Chicago

Our best advice for working in a collaboration with someone is to have good communication from the very beginning. Honest communication is best. Sounds simple, but it can be really hard in the beginning not to take things personally, especially when dealing with something so personal as art.

It’s easy to say, “I like this color palette,” “That looks nice,” or “What do you want for lunch?,” but the true progress comes from “real” critiques. Being able to openly give and take advice and criticism is essential in creating trust and open-mindedness between one another. Being able to recognize and talk about one’s strengths and weaknesses are essential to creating an efficient design process.

Floral Peace” holiday card by Baumbirdy

Openly communicating during the creative process will allow you to see things in a different light and recognize potential in areas you didn’t see before. When you honestly communicate about the good and the bad, likes and dislikes, visions and revisions, it doesn’t become work anymore—it becomes two people having fun doing what they love.

Photos by Carolyn Doogan


Rose Lindo
San Antonio, Texas

Several years ago, my husband and I were living the so-called dream in Austin, Texas. Thomas worked as a corporate restaurant manager with a decent salary and good benefits, and after many setbacks, my design business was finally starting to take off. In 2013, just before I turned 30, my husband traded in his chef coat for a laptop, and we celebrated our new life as business partners with a trip to Denver with our closest friends.

Thomas likes to give himself a new title each week, so for now, we’ll call him Chief Technology Officer, or CTO, for short. He’s always been obsessed with gadgets and researching the latest trends in technology. He’s a wizard at keeping up with our social media and marketing, which has played an essential role in growing our business over the last year. I take care of all the design work and product creation, so our roles rarely intersect.

Heart of Gold” by Rose Lindo

I’ve always been a “fly by the seat of my pants” kind of gal, which didn’t mesh well with Thomas’ strict schedule. We had grown accustomed to missing birthdays, holidays, and most social gatherings due to the restaurant’s schedule we were married to, but it was a small price to pay for, well, whatever reward it was we were chasing after. The more I thought about it, the more I realized we were living someone else’s dream—not our own.

We decided to set financial goals, eliminate all debt, and downsize from a three-bedroom house to a 650 square-foot apartment in hopes of forging our own path as business partners. Thomas is the left brain to my right, while we both fall into the “scatterbrained” category. It’s almost comical to watch either of us work, as we click haphazardly around our screens, usually with at least a dozen windows pulled up at once. Neither of us uses a planner or to-do list of any sort, but we somehow manage to make things work.

When it comes to collaborating with someone else, it’s important to find someone who brings a unique set of skills to the table. If your roles are too similar, you might end up stepping on one another’s toes. Fortunately, my husband excels at all the things I’m terrible at and vice-versa.

Love Lyrics” by Rose Lindo
Top portrait by Ali Brown Photography

Holiday Displays Are Still Leading Sales in a Digital Age

anthro

After reading this article, I was pleased to learn that much holiday purchases are driven by eye-catching window displays. I for one, appreciate the art, the process, and the attention to detail to great in-store displays. I adore Anthropologies countless, remarkable displays, and always find myself venturing inside the store every time I pass. I can’t wait until I have the opportunity to plan for this beautiful, festive, holiday tradition! Please enjoy…

Originally published on Business of Fashion, titled In Digital Age, Holiday Windows Still Drive Sales. Written by Kati Chitrakorn

 

LONDON, United Kingdom — Holidays sales are critical to retailers. For retailers in the US, the world’s largest consumer market, 25 percent of annual sales happen during the holiday season, according to market research firm NPD Group. And since the 1870s, when Macy’s created one of New York’s first holiday window displays, these festive feats of visual merchandising have become not only a seasonal tradition, but powerful marketing devices.

“It’s a lengthy process filled with perfection and precision,” says Alex Wells Greco, who leads visual merchandising at Harrods, on the process of creating the London store’s holiday windows, which often feature elaborate sets and fanciful themes. Indeed, fashioning holiday window displays can be a year-long endeavour, costing hundreds of thousands of dollars and upwards, and often beginning before last year’s windows are taken down. But with the rise of the Internet — digital touchpoints now influence three out of every four luxury purchases, according a recent study by McKinsey — why do brands and retailers still invest so much time and money in window displays?

For one, festive windows still influence 24 percent of holiday purchases, according to NPD, while the best ones can become must-see destinations for tourists and local residents alike. “Our Christmas windows pull tourists from far and wide. They’re the first thing they see, so they’re hugely important for attracting business,” says Janet Wardley, Harvey Nichols’ head of visual display. Roe Palermo, divisional vice president of merchandise presentation at Lord & Taylor, says, “During the holiday season, over 500,000 people pass by our windows daily, so it’s important that they can tune out the chaos of the city, just for a few minutes.”

“There’s a lot of talk these days about ‘experience’ as key to positively differentiating brick-and-mortar shopping from online,” adds Linda Fargo,Bergdorf Goodman’s senior vice president, women’s fashion director and store presentation, who has styled the store’s windows for nearly 20 years. “Given the inherent abstraction of digital retail, there’s an increasing attraction to actual and physical experience. It’s rooted in memory and simple pleasures, like delight and surprise, especially important emotions during the festive season.”

The New York department store spared no expense to ensure the tableaux in its windows dazzled this year with the help of Swarovski, who provided over 7 million crystals for display. “Great holiday windows, at their best, drive much more than merely sales. They can create long-term affection for the store and give one a view into the heart of a brand,” continues Fargo, adding that this year’s windows took a full year and a team of 100 people to take from concept to completion. “This kind of bond-building simply isn’t possible on the screen.”

“[Windows] sell product, but they also tell a story,” says Faye McLeod, visual image director at Louis Vuitton. “For me, it’s like creating art. Every day, the blank sheet of paper that stares back at me is five walls and a pane of glass. It’s the perfect canvas to create something modern, youthful, elegant, luxurious or tongue-in-cheek. At Louis Vuitton, we think it provides an amazing opportunity to connect with people on the street — whether they are clients or not — and have a conversation,” continues McLeod. “No doubt, creating physical windows takes more resources and has less reach in some ways than a website. But good windows can make a powerful impact in the digital age.”

Indeed, the impact of holiday windows is often amplified online, when consumers take and share images of the displays on social platforms like Instagram or Facebook. “Windows may not seem to be a part of this digital age as it goes back to the earliest times of retailing in stores, but it actually does utilise digital in a strong way. Selfies and social sharing of the window visit are a big part of the communication of the brand at holiday. ‘Here we are at Macy’s’ or ‘Saks’ shots fill the pages on social media. [It’s] a great way to get in the brand on top of the mind game,” says Marshall Cohen, NPD’s chief industry analyst.

“In today’s retail environment, the line between online and offline is more blurred than ever,” adds Nadja Swarovski, member of the Swarovski executive board. “It’s important for brands to continue inspiring people in the real world, as well as providing engaging information and experiences online, so that consumers feel confident with their choices.”

Here are some of this year’s best festive window displays. Which windows do you like most this season? Let us know in the comments below.

Bergdorf Goodman

Bergdorf Goodman Christmas window 2015 | Photo: Ricky Zehavi for Bergdorf Goodman

In honour of Swarovski’s 120th anniversary, the New York department store teamed up with the fine jeweller to create five holiday windows crafted around the theme “Brilliant Holiday.” Featuring over 7 million Swarovski crystals, the displays include ‘The Crown Jewels,’ featuring crystallised suits of armour and ‘The Crystal Cavern,’ depicting a prismatic amethyst cave — all of which showcase custom clothing created by three of the store’s designers: Johnson Hartig of Libertine, Naeem Khan and CD Greene.

Barneys

Barneys Christmas window 2015 | Source: Barneys

This year Barney’s theme — ‘Chillin’ Out’ — included a group of Okamoto Studio’s artists sculpting winter animals from inside the Madison Avenue flagship’s windows, which passers-by can watch. “We really wanted to keep our tradition of integrating a performance element into the windows; we felt like it elevates the entire experience,” says Dennis Freedman, creative director of Barneys. There are two key displays: ‘Arctic Chase,’ which features a group of crystal penguins traversing an icy race track in miniature 3D printed Lexus cars, and ‘Winter Brilliance,’ made up of 700 pieces of hand-blown glass, by sculptor Dale Chihuly.

Selfridges

Selfridges Christmas window 2015 | Photo: Andrew Meredith for Selfridges

Selfridges’ astrological theme — ‘Journey to the Stars’ — sees the 12 windows of its London’s Oxford Street store depicting the different star signs and illuminated by over 400 metres of neo lights. Two scarlet red mannequin dressed in Alaia andDries Van Noten represent Scorpio, while the ‘Free as a Bird’ Sagittarius display features a set of iridescent, colour-changing feathers.

Harrods

Harrods Christmas windows 2015 | Source: Harrods

This year, the windows at Harrods have been designed to replicate theatre sets, with red velvet curtains, spotlights and festive décor, while the London department store’s second set of smaller windows, installed two feet above the floor, feature Peter Pumpernickel, the toy mouse that was the star of last year’s campaign. One display also includes a gigantic gingerbread house that took 33 hours of baking, 20 hours of hand-piped sugar detailing and stands at over 4 feet tall.

Bloomingdale’s

Bloomingdale's Christmas windows 2015 | Photo: Billy Farrell Agency

Bloomingdale’s has partnered with celebrity florist Jeff Leatham, who has worked with luxury brands like Tiffany and Alexander McQueen, to create a sensory holiday window experience. Instead of displaying merchandise, “our holiday windows take onlookers on an interactive journey to discover how sight, sound, touch, taste and smell shape the holiday experience,” explains Jack Hruska, Bloomingdale’s executive vice president of creative services. Displays include a pine-scented Christmas tree, and a collection of boiled red and white sweets, which are accompanied by a peppermint smell dispenser.

Harvey Nichols

Harvey Nichols Christmas windows 2015 | Source: Harvey Nichols

Harvey Nichols’ Studio 54-themed Christmas windows required one million glitter flakes, 300,000 sequins, 15,000 gift boxes, 620 mirror balls and 540 baubles to create. “We look to the catwalks for inspiration,” says Janet Wardley, Harvey Nichols’ head of visual display, of the decision to chose the iconic ‘70s nightclub as inspiration. “Following the shows, it was clear that the main trend for Autumn/Winter 2015 was Studio 54.” Alongside brands such as Christopher Kane, Lanvin, Alice & Olivia, Mary Katrantzou, Charlotte Olympia and Paul Andrew, the windows feature giant faces constructed from gift boxes with strings of fairy lights for hair.

Galeries Lafayette

Galleries Lafayette Christmas windows 2015 | Source: Galeries Lafayette

This year, Galeries Lafayette’s holiday windows tie-in to the newest film in the Star Wars franchise (premiering in December) and feature a robot family from the imaginary planet Scopi, about 2,450 light years away from Earth. The windows depict the journey of a small robot, Leon, and his friend, Lumi, who spy the light of a Christmas ornament through a telescope and go in search of it: “Two of our windows are interactive while several others have digital screens that are part of the set,” said a spokesperson for the Paris department store.

La Rinascente

La Rinascente Christmas windows 2015 | Source: La Rinascente

Titled ‘Let it shine, Let it shine, Let it shine. It’s Christmas again!’ La Rinascente follows its tradition of eschewing products for artistic projects. “We never display commercial items in our Christmas windows,” says Tiziana Cardini, fashion director of the Italian department store, which opted to display an artistic installation by Swiss artist John Armleder, featuring numerous metallic baubles placed in front of four large paintings, curated by Cloe Piccoli.

Macy’s

Macy's Christmas window 2015 | Photo: Diane Bondareff for Macy's

Ahead of the release of a new CGI Peanuts movie in 2016, Macy’s celebrates the 50th anniversary of iconic holiday special ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas’ with its windows. Designed by Macy’s national director of windows Roya Sullivan, the store’s six window displays feature key scenes from the 1965 classic, with large figures of the Charles Schulz gang, including Charlie, Lucy and pet beagle Snoopy.

Saks

Saks Fifth Avenue Christmas windows 2015 | Source: Saks Fifth Avenue

The New York department store’s ‘The Winter Palace’ spans the length of a block and features 225,000 crystal lights. The display consists of towering light icicles, crystal palace spires and snowy magnolia arches that represent the “six wintry wonders of the word,” says Mark Briggs, executive vice president, creative of Hudson’s Bay Company. They include a frozen Eiffel Tower and ‘the Great Brrrrrier Reef’.