There is nothing else I like more than cooking and fashion! Entertaining in style is one of the key ingredients for a successful event. For this post, I invited my friend Irina Bas, the owner of the luxury retail website called Madison 55, to work with my wardrobe – specifically with outfits for the upcoming season of holiday entertaining. Irina has an incredible personal style, a career in fashion and she is a regular at fashion weeks and city’s hottest events.
If your home has already become a culinary destination for friends and family, I feel that selecting perfect attire is an important (and fun) part of the event – along with your food and décor. I like to have a game plan for everything – I compose the menu, pair the wines, decorate the table with flowers and choose the music for the evening. I love the way the right outfit feels, when you wear it and love when I find something that will go well with the theme for the evening.
Irina offered a wealth of advice on how to style for any occasion — from a festive celebration to a casual gathering with friends. Selecting a perfect outfit in advance eliminates any stressful last minute decisions on what to wear when the doorbell rings (even though it has happened to me on numerous occasions). Have a game plan, the perfect attire adds fun, confidence and if you do it right — you might get a compliment or two!
Our first look was a casual elegance, perhaps a Sunday brunch with friends or a casual dinner during the week. For an effortless relaxed look, go for the lightweight denim shirt. Irina tucked mine into the tailored high waist skirt in light pink with the knee-grazing hemline.
Roll up the sleeves to continue with the look and add a statement accessory, like the one seen on the photo above from the designer Diana Broussard’s plexiglas necklace in the bottle green shade. With this look you don’t have to sacrifice comfort for style.
This necklace from the New York based designer Diana Broussard’s plexiglass collection is a great conversation piece. Once your guests are seated, it will remain at everyone’s eye level to be admired through the night.
I couldn’t resist showing Irina my personal collectible item- the book clutch by French designer Olympia Le-Tan. The hand-appliquéd clutch of the iconic first edition book cover of The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger is a designer’s homage to one of the best English-language novels of the 20th century.
Boyfriend jeans have become somewhat of a staple of contemporary wardrobe. Most likely you already have a pair of this cult denim classic in your closet. My jeans have a light-blue wash and a nice comfy stretch to them (so I don’t have to compromise the comfort in the kitchen).
Irina paired my boyfriend jeans with this statement jacket, which I have acquired on our last trip to Italy this summer. The elegant jacket with its crystal encrusted buttons has transformed the look into nighttime glamour.
Roll up the cuff of the jeans for the most flattering length and wear them with some easy heels.
For a Festive Celebration, we tried this paillete-embellished work of art top and unexpectedly combined it with a pair of leather pants in dark cognac shade. Just like in cooking, juxtaposing completely different ingredients can create an exciting combination of flavors; in our case one stylish outfit!
Irina believes that accessories are essential in completing ones look. Wear one or two pieces at a time, if it is a statement necklace, the small studs or perhaps, a ring can finish the look but never all at once. Irina is working on opening her own trendy accessories boutique on Upper East Side, where she will exclusively carry such big names in the world of fashion as Diana Broussard, Olympia Le-Tan, Petr Axenoff, Shourouk Rhaiem, Ek Thongprasert jewelry lines to name a few.
For an edgier evening look—a standout LBD with the striking cut out in the midsection. The rule of fashion is that an elegant black dress should be part of any woman’s wardrobe. My dress has a flawless feminine silhouette, made of the comfortable stretch-jersey fabric on the bottom and a form-fitting leather top; it is perfect cocktail attire for the fall. Complete the look with the pair of comfortable heels and enjoy the accolades from your guests.
A pair of dazzling “Peacock Feathers” drop earrings, like the ones I’m wearing from Irina’s personal collection by the talented Russian jewelry designer Petr Axenoff was my only accessory for the outfit. His jewelry is based on Russia’s rich culture and history—the folklore, Tsars, and masterpieces of Russian art. The jewelry feels so dear to my heart; I might get a pair just like this one for my personal collection.
This pair of killer heels may not be the most comfortable, but they are oh-so-gorgeous!
From Irina’s personal collection, this dazzling Swarovski encrusted necklace in emerald green from the Parisian designer Shourouk Rhaiem, is a fabulous statement piece. My elegant burgundy-colored chiffon blouse served as a perfect canvas to showcase this stunning piece. But it can also be worn in a way Irina did— with a pair of khakis and layered tank tops for a casual chic look.
Our last look of the day was a light weigh two-toned knit tee and a leather skirt. The jeweled neckline is simple, elegant, and casual enough to host a lunch for your friends during the busy holiday season. To stay consistent with the color palette, Irina picked the earrings with semi-precious stones I brought from the island of Seychelles, to match the outfit. A pair of pumps with the chunky comfortable heel is perfect for teaming with this outfit. To add a splash of color, we used a red lipstick for a change.
To sum up the experience we had my home-made Mushroom Terrine with the Rainbow of Micro-greens and a glass of perfectly chilled French Sancerre.
Irina’s take on my wardrobe felt fresh and young and somewhat eye-opening. Through the prism of her eyes, I looked at my clothing differently with a new sense of appreciation and creative approach. Sometimes it takes a stylist’s perspective to realize the full potential of one’s closet using new stylish and unique combinations.
But the most important advice —stay true to your personal style and don’t be afraid to experiment and have fun with it. At the end of the day, as Coco Chanel said— A girl should be two things: classy and fabulous.
Photographed by AnyaPhoto.