Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Roberto Cavalli for Target Australia Oct 2012

A terrific collection at terrific prices.
Go, now, run dont walk.

I underestimated how popular this range would be.

Released today, the collection had 42 pieces including shoes. Every item is shown on this blog, along with what body shapes & complexions best suit the item.


The collection has a number of distinct themes, all very Roberto.

1. Black tuxedo suit and cocktail dresses, with some gold and black sparkly separates.

2. The animal zoo:
a) a leopard/floral print;

b) a teal giraffe print; 
c) a zebra print; 
d) a taupe animal print
e) a teal python/animal print 

Stock levels

The Bondi Junction store completely sold out within hours (Mr Cavalli was there at 9 am helping the sales boost).

My local store, Carlingford, only received limited stock and frankly, I dont think people in this suburb know what "designer" means, so the collection didnt look too hammered by late afternoon.

But the stock at Parramatta and Macquarie (which are both classified as large stores) was smashed by COB today.

So why did Roberto sell so well & Stella McCartney didnt?

Brands which traditionally rely on being cute and flashy will always sell better ON THE HIGH STREET than brands which traditionally rely on quality of fabric & cut. hence why Cavalli is walking out the door, but the Stella McCartney Tar-jay collection hung around for ages & was eventually reduced to sell.

Roberto's trademarks

All of Roberto's trademarks were present in this collection - 
resort wear (swimmers & kaftans), leopard print, zebra print, bold florals mixed with the animal prints, metal accents in gold, short dresses, print maxis, ruffles & slim cuts on the daywear.

Roberto's quality

The quality was great & for the price, super great.
The stitching was good, both on clothes and shoes. I loved the use of cotton on the pieces where cotton was suitable (& not icky synthetic). The prints were nicely done. There were elements of binding on internal seams (so much nicer than exposed overlocking). The gold bits on the garments were heavy, not tinny. 

Note to self: Dont soak the items for ages - the gold will rust. (I have a tendency to soak for days - I leave the items in the laundry & forget to go back for days...the result of having too many clothes perhaps....??)


Very consistent standard pricing 

The trench was the most expensive item at $129.
Tuxedo jacket was $99
Long dresses at $99
Short dresses at $89, except for the cocktail dress at $99
Tops or shorts at $59, including swimmers
Pants & skirts at $69
Sequin top $69
Shoes (all synthetic) $59 - $89

Warning - particularly applicable to on line buyers

It may be dangerous to buy any item in the leopard/floral print on-line.


The different patterns within the leopard/floral print differ in their placement on practically every garment, even between garments of the same size. It's almost like every leopard/floral item is unique, but in reality, its a cost saving technique which is employed when the garments are cut. 

And the point is?

When a fabric consists of a pattern with many variations - vibrant, muted, pale, dark, warm tones and cool tones, I want to make sure the right patterns/colours are placed on the parts of my body which are flattered best by those patterns/colours.

I want the florals near my face & the leopard away from my face.
I want the print around my torso b/c I dont like see through patterns around my tummy. 
I hate pale colours near my face as they wash me out. 

I wont be able to make these choices if I buy on line - you can only do this type of selection in the store. 

Also the model's version of the leopard/floral items will not be the version you will receive in the mail. 

Are you willing to take that risk by buying leopard/floral items on line?

I wouldnt, but that's just me.

Finally, here are the goodies....

Baby doll dress, empire line, fully lined, poly chiffon in a zebra type print. $89.
The gathers on the bust are great for small boobs & the flirty skirt is great for pears.
Also good for rectangles and hourglasses.
Perfect for petites.
Avoid at all costs if you are a busty (unless you want to look busty) or an apple.

The showpiece, a flirty poly chiffon, fully lined. $89. Notice how the different parts of the print are located at different spots on the body?
Great for busty types. Make sure the colours near your face are the ones that flatter you.

A wrap ruffle top. $59. I desperately wanted to fit into this - but the ties were too high up & the section of the top under the ties looked like a big blob over my torso with no boobs up top.  There was limited supply of this in Sydney & all the ones I saw had alot of cream up near the face/shoulder - not a good look for me.

The ruffle top definitely looks better on a busty girl.

Classic Cavalli print maxi - the boob area has gathers and is easy to fit. Fully lined. $99

Teal giraffe print maxi, fully lined. $99. Bust uses gathers, not darts, so is easy to fit.

Short scarf dress, fully lined. $89 I wasnt thrilled with this - the "scarves" are just rectangular pieces of fabric  sewn to the edges - a bit lame. Also if you look at the picture on line, the scarves are a chiffon - in reality the scarves are an opaque fabric which just falls vertically too easily & doesnt float....

The on-line version showing the floaty sides.

This is the boob area of the scarf dress - is shaped by darts (not gathers). This makes it harder to fit well as the nipple has to sit at the outer most part of the cup. Good luck with fit on this. Probably one in a million or so....

Bra friendly straps & a terrific cocktail look. $89 Best for busty girls. Black jersey, easy to fit & flatter. Avoid if you have a small bust.

I was super impressed by this. $99 The fabric had wonderful body & would ease over lumps & bumps. The back zip isnt full length. I was hoping for a double sided zip so you could increase the size of the back split - no such luck in the high street. 
Perfect for small busts & rectangles may wear this too.  Not good for pears, apples nor inverted triangles.

Impressive - good for small busts & rectangles. $69.

A cotton/lycra stretch fabric. $99. As an evening jacket, cotton isnt the best - in a plain colour like black, the fabric shows every wrinkle. Cotton is best for a casual day jacket. Nice gold button though. IMO, overpriced. Sizing tends to be on the small size.

Satin striped tuxedo pant & a hot pant, both with the animal print band on the waistband.
Match the jacket But IMO, better to wear these as separates. $69 each.  

Matching cotton/lycra pencil skirt, cant recall whether lined, but the back kick pleat has the leopard on the kick pleat and the waist has the band of leopard as well. $69.

Cotton/lycra white narrow pant with leopard soft fabric belt - Liz Hurley would be proud. $69.

Leopard wrap dress, not lined with gentle ruffle down one side. $89. This is a fixed wrap so you wont be fiddling with it all day. The downside is that if it doesnt fit YOUR shape, it isnt adjustible - say bye bye dress.
Terrific for busty girls. This wont work for pears or rectangles or apples.

Same as the leopard wrap above. See above. $89.

The trench - the only thing over $99 - it's $129. 100% cotton, well seamed & will look wonderful open or closed. Self belt & wear collar up or down. Terrific for larger sizes. The patch pockets & the epaulettes looked lovely.   

Teal 100% cotton kaftan style with beautifully worked lacing at the bust. Border pattern, 3/4 sleeves. $59. best for warn undertones - it really is a teal (green tones) rather than a blue. The cord has gold baubles at the ends - nice heavy metal, not light & cheap.

I loved this. A poly chiffon - very glamourous yet practical. Will work for most body types except petites (too much volume for a petite).
$59. The only reason I didnt buy it is b/c the camel tones on the print were killing my cool toned complexion . Would have killed for it in pure B&W.

Same as above, in a different print. Again, warm tones. $59. I love this style. It's elegant.

Poly top with gold buttons down the front. this was another lame one. It wasn't a poly chiffon, but a poly like those  stretch versions we wore in the 70s. Eeeeww...$59.  Cute concept, badly executed IMO.

100% cotton, kaftan style with self lacing & loops at the bust. Side splits. $59. Nice item. This came home with me, but which one?
Every one had the pattern placed in a different spot of the body than the others - even when they were the same size.
On left: The diagonal white section emphasised my belly & the horizontal line of the waist of my jeans.
On right: there was too much animal print around my face & made me look jaundiced.
In the middle - the top part has enough strong colour so dint wash me out, the diagonal leopard part through the tordo slimmed & wasnt see through around my tummy. Score! 

Here's the other item that called out to me.....poly chiffon cami with double ruffle on hem & drawstring  at the top of the ruffle. Side zip & hook & eye closure. Great work. Easily worth $49.

Here are my requirements:

1. I am fair skinned with dark hair, so I need vibrant colour near my face.
2. I have a cool complexion, so warm tones near my face kill me.
3. I have a tummy, so the peplum needs to sit just at the right place to flatter.
4. I have a big bum, so the peplum needs to be wide enough to flatter.
5. I am long in the body, so my most flattering peplum sits low.
6. I dont like wearing see through tops and this one is not lined through the torso, so this will be tricky.

Do you have any idea how many of these I looked at & discarded even though they were all in my size?

About twenty.

Yep, I look & look until I find something that works & if I cant find it, I dont buy it.

Here are some of the rejects:

On the left: Too much pale & see through around neckline & through tummy area.
In the middle: Too much pale & see through, but the ruffle area looked too artificially stuck on.
On the right: Too much leopard near the face, making me look ill. 

You may think I am a fusspot - well, yes I am. But when I stand in front of the mirror and look at each of these, I see big differences. Hence I want to make sure I am spending my money on the most flattering version of the print.

And the WINNER is:

Not too much leopard near the face.
The print on the ruffles flows reasonably well from the torso print.
Enough vivid colour near the face.
Heaps of print on the torso, so isnt see through.
Woo Hoo!

Gorgeous one piece ($59) with padded cups, worn with the black short ($69).

Notice how the various one pieces vary in the placement of the print on the body? The left one had alot of animal near the face. The right one looked like very washed out pink mass around the face. Loved the orange lining.
This will work for most body types except apples and rectangles and pears.

Again, notice how the prints vary over the body parts?  Best for hourglass. Cups are padded, but its not the best style for a pear. Cups are too skimpy for busty types. Caveat: Metal on the body in the sun can burn. $59.

Unlined except for the padded area at the bust. Good one piece for sunning or swimming, but again, note the metal  bits on the ends of the ties. $59.


Not impressed with these - they looked too chunky even though they are not platforms. $69. Also in a jaguar print.

Glamour sandal with the statement RC serpent. Cute & I loved the boxes, wrapping. $69 for the heels &  $59 for the flats. Also in jaguar colour.

Faves for me. Synthetic & fabric with rubber soles. $59.
I didnt buy though, b/c I have a couple of animal ballet flats which are cheapies and I never wear them (not comfy) - didnt want to risk the same thing with these...


I dont recall seeing this top in the stores I stalked..oops, visited....

I cant recall this dress either - but its pluses & minuses are the same as the baby doll dress which was listed first in this post.

I dont recall seeing this top shown, good for large busts, but the empire line would also work well for small busts. Make sure the border print doesnt sit along the widest part of your hips, otherwise you will look even bigger.

I didnt see the gold lame top. Lovin' the trench though.

I didnt see the tee bar shoes with the peep toe...

So what will you be buying from this range?

Jeans - an easy tip for best fit

I have ranted previously (many times) that each size of an "off the rack" garment has to fit a gazillion different body shapes.

So it is unlikely that ANY "off the rack" item will fit you perfectly or even pretty well up front.

This will be the case for everything from swimwear to jeans to tops, bottoms and dresses.

Two solutions come to mind:

1. Hone in on the brands which cut for your shape.
2. Make your alterations person your new BFF.

Let's take the alterations solution and focus on jeans.

When you are buying jeans you need to consider many things:

- wash/print,
- leg length
- in seam length
- waist size
- crotch length - the "rise"
- pocket placement especially on the butt
- thigh width
- hem width

Am I scaring you?
I sincerely hope so.

All this means is that you have to spend time hunting down the jeans that fit you well.

After all, NO Pain, NO Gain.

Now let's focus on one aspect of jeans fit - the waist.

One of the commonest complaints about jeans fit is that the waist is too big & gapes at the back. ie: It doesnt follow your curves. Everywhere else, the fit is perfect.

If this is the only problem with the jeans), except maybe for leg length), there is an easy $10 ALTERATION which I want you to ask for.

Instead of unpicking the waist band & bringing in the centre back seam (a pretty big & costly job) - you ask for two darts to be placed on the back waist band & sewn flat.

The two darts should be on either side of the centre back seam.

Make sure they dont cut any fabric off - a good alterations place will be able to sew this dart FLAT without cutting off any fabric.


Instant waisted curvy look.

What's the story behind this photo?

A couple of years ago I was looking for white jeans that werent super low nor super high waisted. 

I found that the Jane Lamerton white jeans fit me well except for this waist problem. So I bought two pairs (as you do when something fits well, hahaha) and had this alteration done.

I ended up wearing them to death (so to speak)....

Recently I unearthed them & tried them on - oops, a size (or two) too small now. But I unpicked one of their waist bands to see if that would help.....

Silly me, of course it didnt really help. 

But at least now they are back to original, I can sell them on ebay without the always tricky "have been altered" being included in the listing.

DONT FORGET: Jeans waist band too big?
Get 2 darts sewn in the back.
It'll cost you $10.
Easy, peasy, lemon squeezy.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

3 Classic smart casual looks

Three classic smart casual looks which will stand the test of time.


Breton tee, check
Rolled up chinos, check
Ballet flats
Bright bag


Taupe trench, check
Breton tee, check


Pea coat, check
Crew sweater, check
Tee, check
Jeans, check

Caveats:  The items shown here have been around for decades. But every 5 or so years, shapes & silhouettes change - so you should monitor your pant shape (leg width, waist height, wash etc), shoulder shapes & fit through the torso to ensure your pieces are current. 

Other than that, these pieces will guarantee you the lowest cost per wear than practically anything else on planet earth.

But if these looks are not your style, then I totally get it & understand if you stay away from them. But you need to find the pieces that are "you". And that's the fun of shopping.