Friday, November 11, 2011

My Thoughts: Althea Harper Spring 2011 (FINALLY)

It's been a couple of moons since I sat in this very chair at home and stared at my computer monitor for several hours watching the Althea Harper Spring 2012 runway on her website via Watchittoo. I had a horrible connection, as usual with Time Warner Cable, but I grabbed a few screen shots for you and eagerly posted them. Not a day had gone by, I was already emailing Althea Harper's assistant Ashlie Cormier about who I could contact about the makeup job and if I could get my hands on some "good" pictures. Ashlie, she has an incredible ability not to forget the "little guy" (aka me at my computer desk), emailed me images so that I could write a proper blog post. I've been sitting on those images a bit longer than I intended. And indeed, I also have the makeup breakdown for you too! Fun all around!

Let's start with the paint!

If you remember back to September, the models for the Althea Harper show sported awesome beach inspired hair. Those of us watching Watchittoo were treated to some demonstrations on how to get the looks by Big Sexy Hair. Obsessive Compuslive Cosmetics (OCC) played with this look using very bronzy neutral shades.

Makeup artist Katie Pellegrino gave me the low down on how to get this look:
  • OCC Tint (tinted moisturizer)
  • OCC Skin Airbrush Foundation in Pris for added shimmer and highlight on the temples/cheekbones, with Jojoba Oil airbrushed on top for added dewiness!
  • OCC Loose Colour Concentrate in Cruising, Twirl, and Humm mixed in with the OCC Primer (mixing the Loose Colours with the Primer, creates an amazingly long wearing, luminous cream shadow!)
  • Black Iron Oxide Pure Pigment was also mixed with the Primer to create the graphic Eye liner on the outter corners of the model's eyes. 
  • OCC Lip Tar in Tone to block out lip color, leaving a dramatically muted lip. 
We also used the prototypes for the new concealers that we are working on, we have yet to decide on a name, but they will hopefully be launching by the year's end (fingers crossed)!!!"
I'm really digging the face and the cheeks in particular, on the model pictured above. The eyes are a little heavy bronze for me, but I think with the right combo it could be softened for a great look. You can see - the color really brings out the eyes.

My chief concern is the lips. Despite the muted color, sometimes the lip stood out too much, almost looking like it had blistered. Check out the shot to the left of models (sporting show sponsor Claro's IPL device). See what I mean? I think it works really well on the fairer girl to the left. Not so much for the other two.

Now that I've got "makeup" out of my system, lets move onto the chief reason for writing this post:

(Before you ask, no... I do not know the names of the garments, nor do I have the price points).

Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner!

Do you remember the design competition that Althea Harper hosted for this fashion show? I sent in a few pathetic sketches myself, so I wanted to know which look was the winning look. Ashlie gifted me with the information. Here's the winner:

Believe it or not, the winner was a Sophomore from Cincinnati. The bra top and skirt were what was contributed, according to Ashlie. Awesome! I don't know the designer's name but I'm really curious about that black skirt - you see, I don't have one that fits currently.

The Star of the Show

I don't exactly remember where I heard/read this but I do believe this piece pictured here was Althea's favorite. It was featured on the promo pictures for her show (a gorgeous polished blonde wearing it) and it was easy to see how one could become captivated by it. The LBD gets an unusual treatment here with the straps and the white off-shoulder sleeves. It looks amazing, but I wonder how comfortable and practical it would be with the way the arms are done. Can you hail a cab in this?

There's an all black version of it too with a longer hem.

I like the contrasting sleeves more than the all black version, but I think it would have been too much with slit detail on the skirt here (which I like very much). This dress may not be as fun as her shorter sister, but it's still very cute.

My Favorite Pieces
Although the aforementioned LBD was indeed one of my favorite items in the show, I did have a few picks of my own of course.

I really like this one above because the top is very interesting. The skirt is somewhat plain, but that's ok. I think the two go together very nicely. It's not like anything I own but I could see myself trying to wear this outfit.

I think I'm responding to the print on this. I also love Althea's sheath style dresses quite a bit. I like that the dress is simple, allowing the print to show through. I'm just not sure how it differs from this look also presented:

Different print? From the picture I can't tell if it's a different design structure. I'm getting confused by the different model's body types.

Here's it's sister in White:

This looks super sexy and fun! But wait... there's more. The back of this dress is super awesome!

Ta da!  It's a little bit lingerie and a whole lot of sexy. If you have great shoulder bones definitely check this one out! As much as I love it, I'll probably have to let my fantasy of owning it go - yes, I have the dreaded "back fat" that will not look so hot in this dress. Also I think I'll need a couple more rounds of Leandro's Brazil Butt Lift before trying something like this out.

Here's another variation...

When I saw this dress looking through the images I realized it's sort of the same one that I featured above, just with contrasting straps.

Moving on...

Being completely honest, I don't know what this is because of the exposure. But I like it!  I think it's sort of the "tumble out of bed in the boyfriend's button down" look, but in a chic way. I don't know how it's both messy and polished at the same time - I wish I could achieve this on a daily basis. I suspect I'll have my eye the top layer when the actual lookbook photos come out.

Speaking of shirt dresses, here's another one:

How gorgeous is this print? I think it's quite becoming on the model. And I love the flowy nature of this dress. It looks so easy... But I sort of wish it had short arms, or at least arms that weren't gathered. But there's an effortless appeal here, and the print is definitely working in Althea's favor.

Oh look! The dress has a sister! And the sister dress DOES have short arms (or no arms as the case may be):

What do I see along that neckline? I think I've spotted grommets! I hope that means this one can lace up a bit! Bonus points on the interesting hemline. I may have difficulty deciding which dress (this or the previous) I like better between the two.

So far, what you've seen seems to be missing the standard "cut outs" and mesh we usually see from Althea Harper. But guess what? There ARE cut-outs! They're just used in a little more traditional manner (which we've seen from her before as well as other designers lately):

Spenser Hastings eat your heart out! Yes I could totally see my favorite shoulder cut-out top wearing Pretty Little Liar in this outfit above. Fun!

And for the tall, thin, and leggy...

I can definitely picture my girl Ginger wearing this. You don't know her, but she's the aforementioned tall, leggy, thin type. I hope she's reading this blog and takes note. Think Seattle weather can deal with a strapless in the summer? I do.

Here's one that almost wasn't one of my favorites, but it's grown on me. Also it reminds me of something fun...

Do you also see a modern day Princess Leia? Seriously, picture her with the hair!  I'm not into the hem length. I should be - It's more my age. But I want to see a little more knee. On the right girl this white, shoulder-less number could be gorgeous! "Help me, Obi Wan Kenobi. You're my only hope!"

And the stuff I'm not so sure about...

Maybe it's the black... there's just so much of it! I don't like long skirts usually anyway. It's a little hippy, which is fine, but I'd like to see it styled up differently before I make up my mind about it. Maybe a fun necklace or a colorful scarf, some fancy boots... wait I'm thinking fall. This is spring!  Hmmm. either way, it just doesn't seem to go with the other pieces that much.

Pants, and a top...

I'm all for separates and options but I don't like the length on these pants.  I wish they went down just a little father. I also don't like the tapered leg with the roomy hips.

Here's the same look in black:

I actually think I like this better than the white look. Maybe it's the lighting and the color, but this looks like it has more structure while still being easy-going. But I'm just not sure.

Another pants attempt...

I think this is the longer sleeve cousin, and I definitely don't like it. It could be how the model's styled. In this case I don't think the beach braid is helping the look.

Back to dresses...

This dress could be really nice and I think for many people it will be. I might have to see the 360 view of it.  I'm skeptical about the calf-length hemline. I like the tighter skirts Althea has done with this length much better than this flowy one. This reminds me of an ABS dress I had (which now belongs to my friend Teresa) and it never quite fit me correctly. Perhaps I'd have a different opinion  if it were styled with a different shoe too.

I just don't find this black dress very fun at all. Add to it that the model looks like she doesn't like what she's wearing and I'm not ready to buy it. I think I want to see the stills from the look book pictures before making my mind up. But this sort of looks like it belongs in a different collection to me.

Overall Opinion

On the whole, I think these are very accessible looks, and definitely fit with Althea's sexy confidence we've all come to expect from her. It seems a little more upscale than Spring 2011, but I think a large part of that has to do with the black and white, the relative lack of mesh and funky placed cut outs. I sort of miss those funky placed cut outs and mesh, but this collection feels a little more wearable because of their absence.

I'm a fan girl. I'm not unbiased when it comes to Althea Harper. She dipped into chocolate fondue at my house, for crying out loud!  So yeah, I admit it. But I am picky when it comes to selecting what I want to own of hers because usually I could buy several dresses for the price of one of hers. But I choose to continue to support her because she's awesome! My goal is to own at least one thing from every collection of hers. Which will it be this time? And yes, I still have to make my purchase for Fall.

Anything catch your eye in Althea Harper Spring 2012? Tell me below!

Please check out Althea Harper's new Website, and visit the Althea Harper Shop on Facebook.
Katie Pellegrino's website
Peace, Love, Happiness, and Fashion - The blog of Ashlie Cormier.

All images provided by Althea Harper via Ashlie Cormier. All opinions are my own.
Special thanks to Katie Pellegrino for the makeup breakdown!