As a tribute to the currently transpiring Fashion Weeks, we decided to turn to a true international style star for today's Insider's Picks¬--Vanessa Traina. Though she may not be as instantly recognizable to all our readers as some of the well-dressed celebs we like to feature, Traina's a powerful force within the fashion community as a muse, champion of emerging young designers, and in-demand contributor (more on that in a moment). Influential publications like Paris Vogue, Vanity Fair, and Jalouse dedicate editorial inches to her flawless taste and give her places of honor on their best-dressed lists (present company included). Likewise, almost every fashioncentric street-style website has at least one or two posts dedicated to this impeccably put-together young tastemaker. Though there is a mysterious element to Traina's allure, we think all the fanfare has much to do with her elegant poise, refined yet modern taste, and effortless √©lan. Even in the rarefied world of high fashion, those qualities are a hot commodity, so it's no surprise that our Insider has managed to captivate the attention of editors, designers, and style-stalkers alike!
When Traina graciously and enthusiastically agreed to collaborate with us on today's story, we were beyond thrilled. After all, this San Francisco born-and-raised beauty is not only a rising style icon in her own right, but has worked with some of the industry's most illustrious legends. (We hate to name drop, but let's just say that Carine has her on speed dial!) At present, she calls New York home and is a full-time assistant to all-star stylist Marie-Am√©lie Sauv√©, who is an editor for both American and French Vogue and a close collaborator of Balenciaga's Nicolas Ghesqui√®re. Though Traina's first gigs included styling lookbooks for friend Alexander Wang and The Row, she now spends her time on shoots (wearing Isabel Marant, which was her favorite F/W 09 collection) with heavyweights like Craig McDean and Patrick Demarchelier. When not on set, she warrants a front-row seat at all the most influential shows¬--Givenchy, Balmain, Balenciaga, and Proenza Schouler¬--plus, just last week she strutted down the Altuzarra runway (friend Joseph Altuzarra's much buzzed-about line...see what we mean when we say she has a keen eye for emerging talent?). Needless to say, Traina's dance card is pretty jam-packed! Despite that fact, this consummate professional was kind enough to take some time to share a list of her favorite fall essentials with you, dear readers, in today's edition of Insider's Picks!
Balenciaga Black Suede Cage Bootie ($1945, 212.206.0872)
When it comes to shoes, Traina isn't afraid of an impressively towering heel! Each season her soles are decked in directional designs, and her most current selection doesn't disappoint. Here at Who What Wear headquarters, we are all swooning over these Black Suede Cage Booties from Balenciaga. The shape of the architectural heel is genius and the platform adds a little structure and a lot of height! We recommend you follow Traina's advice and pair these lovelies (or these Unique Ankle Boots ($410) from Topshop) with anything and everything this fall!
Ugo Cacciatori Luster Marine Bracelet ($564)
While dainty delicate pendants and gumball-sized precious stones are all well and good, there's something seriously chic about wearing a few strong silver bracelets. Traina, who favors chunky menswear jewelry to add a little borrowed-from-the-boys edge, is a devoted fan of Ugo Cacciatori's line. We especially love his metallic pieces that incorporate leather and use texturized material, like this Luster Marine Bracelet or his Luster Ring ($174)!
Serge Lutens Perfume ($120, 310.276.4400) in Fleur d'Oranger
Despite her fashion-forward taste when it comes to clothing and footwear, Traina knows that a classic scent makes a chic statement. Serge Lutens is regarded for beautifully composed fragrances; his Fleur d'Oranger is a heady mix of orange blossom, fragrant white flowers, and musk that is subtle yet distinct, much like our subject du jour!
Balmain Biker Jeans ($1900)
Though we personally weren't huge proponents of the acid-washed jean trend that Balmain introduced a few seasons ago, we fully embrace the design house's interestingly detailed denim pieces. These Traina-endorsed Biker Jeans are fashion-forward without forsaking comfort¬--both equally important to a stylist's assistant who spends long days on set! If you love the look, but would rather not invest your entire paycheck on pants, try Current/Elliott's The Moto Skinny Jeans ($238) or opt for Topshop's Baxter Jeans ($80), which are Traina's high-street denim of choice.
Proenza Schouler PS1 Bag ($4250)
Traina has this specific bag in black leather, but we wanted to show a dressier version in python to prove that this messenger style is as versatile as it is timeless. We can completely envision Traina toting look books, call sheets, a camera, and a notebook or two in this seriously luxurious satchel! We can also recommend Deena and Ozzy's Moto Bag ($68) for a similarly shaped, wallet-friendly carryall.
Alexander Wang Cashmere Beanie ($190, 212.219.2688)
Whether you are braving a brisk morning in the city or trying to survive a bad hair day, this delicious cashmere beanie from Alexander Wang is the perfect accessory to add to your winter wardrobe (check out American Apparel's Cotton Beanie ($16) for an equally cozy cap option). Traina wears her super-soft Wang beanie in a slightly slouchy manner, perched on the crown of her head. The look is casual and chic: done and done.
Ann Demeulemeester Chunky Wedge Ankle Boots ($956)
This Antwerp-based designer is constantly in demand due to her understated and conceptual collections. Though Traina picked these boots because of their function¬--the wedge is the ideal heel for a strenuous shooting schedule¬--we also love the streamlined shape of the rounded toe and buckle ankle strap. To get a look-a-like pair, try Gabriella Rocha's Karissa Boots ($110).
Erin Wasson x RVCA Enchanted Tank Top ($49)
They say like attracts like, so it's no wonder that Traina is drawn to a collection created by a fellow fashion muse¬--Erin Wasson x RVCA. When our insider's not rocking a Givenchy cut-out dress sitting front row at the Chanel couture show in Paris, or wearing a strong shouldered Balmain leather jacket to various fashion week fetes, Traina favors well-designed and unfussy pieces that are easy to mix with her stylish staples. Hence her fondness for this Enchanted Tank Top in heather gray makes perfect sense!
Fuji Instax 200 Camera ($47)
According to Traina, there is nothing better than a Polaroid picture, and we couldn't agree more. The instant gratification of these appear-before-your-eyes cameras makes them the perfect cheap thrill. Though this Fuji camera isn't quite the same as the treasured Polaroid, the Instax 200 offers vivid, high-quality prints almost instantaneously, ideal for capturing on-set outfit changes or candid party pictures!¬--KM