Baroque & Roll

Baroque & Roll
Tuesday, October, 12, 2010 Lately, our mothers would be proud: we've been dropping our hemlines, buttoning our top buttons, and slipping on our bow-bedecked kitten heels, all with the goal of effectively outfitting ourselves in fall's lovely ladylike looks. Yet, while tasteful and demure is nice-both parentally approved and au courant-sometimes getting dressed is all about letting the good times roll! That's why we're so thrilled to bring you our newest installment of Runway to Real Way, which is dedicated to this season's edgy and decadent counterpart: Baroque & Roll.

Noted for its rich fabrics, emphasis on liquid-like metallics, and dedication to sexy, slim, menswear-inspired lines, this glitzy trend owes its glory to a number of intriguing sartorial influences. At Balmain, Christophe Decarnin embraced formerly stuffy brocades and jacquards that would typically feel at home in a room at Versailles and infused them with renewed joie de vivre. Rethinking these tapestry-like materials, he created peak-shouldered mini dresses and statement coats (this Brocade Jacket ($16840) is similar), pairing the latter with skinny Velours Biker Pants ($5201) and shimmering metallic tops and scarves. The high-voltage look not only radiates a dangerously provocative sex appeal, but it is also texturally stunning and complex. The same electrifying use of mixed materials was also favored at Roberto Cavalli, where models walked the runway in everything from darkly romantic ensembles, like an ornate pair of Velvet Devore Trousers ($2394) and a semi-sheer Silk Mousseline Shirt ($2154), to luxurious bohemian looks, such as the featured outfit, which consists of a Knitted-Sleeve Jacket ($11005), gray Silk Blouse ($1150), Embroidered Harem-Style Pants ($4105), and peep-toe Ankle Boots ($1515).

When it comes to Baroque & Roll's historical references, Louis XIV isn't the only king we have to pay homage to; one must also salute rock royalty like Keith Richards, Mick Jagger, Jimi Hendrix, and Marianne Faithfull. In the late '60s, these international idols had a well-documented penchant for opulent glamour, and the military-inspired outerwear, skinny scarves, and funky furs they favored are clearly visible in the Baroque & Roll aesthetic. Even the trend's lithe silhouettes and focus on sumptuous materials-like lamé and velvet-match the sartorial tenets of that time. However, what makes this look fresh now is the decision to leave the Swingin' Sixties red, green, and purple palette behind and adopt a more muted canvas. Take, for example, our selected look from Pucci's F/W 10 runway. The lace-up jumpsuit and plunging neckline clearly references the sexual revolution's heyday, but the fact that the ensemble is black from head to toe and styled with cutout shoes gives it a decidedly current air. Additionally, while there is an emphasis on masculine silhouettes, Baroque & Roll is not strictly relegated to coats and pants. Gucci's Frida Giannini also opted for a décolletage-revealing, deep V-neckline with her sequin and ostrich feather Degrade Dress ($9600, 800.456.7663), which she paired with Python Print Tights ($99, 800.456.7663) and suede T-Strap Sandals ($725, 800.456.7663) for a sizzling high-wattage cocktail outfit. While the masterful mix of monochromatic materials is a more understated example of Baroque & Roll, the flashbulb-ready combo of ombre fur and sparkling paillettes clearly adheres to the over-the-top style of today's topic.

Now that we've fully investigated the runway aspect of this trend, we'd like to take a moment to look at a real-life interpretation spotted on one of the newest additions to the stylesetting Gossip Girl clan: Cleménce Poésy. Earlier this fall, Poésy attended the Toronto Film Festival to promote 127 Hours and was snapped wearing Balmain's Golden Sequined Jacket ($24650) with a vintage tee, H&M Jeans ($39.95), Madewell The Buckled Biker Boots ($248), and a Chanel purse. Not only do we fully appreciate how she seamlessly mixed in designer pieces with high-street finds, but we also love how she deftly translated this runway trend to make it work for a red-carpet event. By contrasting her hero Baroque & Roll piece-the glitzy jacket-with muted winter tones and off-duty staples like roughed-up denim and moto boots, she has achieved a sense of sartorial balance and executed a enviably aloof and fashion-forward ensemble. The finishing touch? Poésy kept her hair sleek yet natural and her makeup minimal, a beauty look that further tempers the opulent nature of this trend.

In order to recreate this dreamy decadence for yourself, we suggest attacking Baroque & Roll as though it is a PlayStation game: ie, one level at a time. Novices should start with an entry-level look, which simply calls for incorporating one Baroque & Roll-inspired accessory into your wardrobe. There are so many options to choose from-you could go for an embellished hat or lace shoes, for example-but we really like Rachel Comey's Envelope Sleeve Clutch ($150), which has a marbled print similar to those seen on the runways, and Topshop's Tiger Sequin Scarf ($70). Both are savvy, low-risk purchases and the perfect beginner pieces for the B&R trend.

Once you're comfortable with the basics, it's time to expand your repertoire and tackle some larger items. Our insider tip for this level is to follow Mademoiselle Poésy's game plan and go for statement outerwear. Tibi's Lace Back Long Blazer ($450) should do the trick and is an excellent choice for evening due to its sophisticated mix of velvet, satin, and lace. If you're feeling a little bolder, Alice and Olivia's Luiza Embellished Jacket ($796) is a spot-on option for recreating some of Decarnin's sumptuous style or you can check out bebe's Brocade Military Jacket ($279), another interesting option. If you prefer to keep your outerwear on the understated side, you could always add a skirt instead; we like Isabel Marant's Glody Brocade Mini Skirt ($470) and either the Jacquard Mini ($128) or the Jacquard Pencil Skirt ($198), both by J. Crew.

Finally, if you're rockin' and rollin' and ready to go for baroque, it's time to attempt the master level, which means layering lots of lavish items to create one fantastical outfit. If you're ready to create a look worthy of Marianne Faithfull circa 1967, you could start with Winter Kate's Ophelia Tunic Dress in Burnout Velvet ($556) and add a furry touch with Anna Sui's Faux Fur Coat ($605) for a monochromatic, sophisticated ensemble with an Almost Famous vibe! Another great option for a luxurious pairing of velvet and faux fur would be to slip on Asos' Velvet Peg Pants ($64) with a black satin tank and Dolce Vita's Sadie Faux Fur Jacket ($286). Or, lastly, opt for lamé and try tucking Equipment's Signature Blouse ($252) into slim black pants and add the aforementioned Rachel Comey Envelope Sleeve Clutch ($150) for a festive, yet professional, after-hours look.-Liza Kaplan

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