style fuss

The Lovely Bones.

Posted in Press Play, Uncategorized by Ciara on June 29, 2010

I recently watched Peter Jackson’s film of Alice Sebold’s The Lovely Bones.  I’ve liked some of Peter Jackson’s films before (more Meet the Feebles than Lord of the Rings…) and I was intrigued by this film when I first heard about it, but kind of thought it might be too much of a thriller for my taste…  and it is, but incredibly so.

The film is set in Pennsylvania in 1973 and begins to tell the touching and heart-wrenching story of a sweet, and strangely beautiful fourteen year old girl, Susie Salmon (Saoirse Ronan).  This first part of the film is ephemeral and gauzy like the photographs Susie takes as an aspiring nature photographer.  The crux of the film is not that Susie is murdered (it gives that up on the back of the DVD case) but the struggle and resolution of what happens after.

This film is breathtaking.  Then terk-jerking.  Then absolutely horrifying as it runs the gamut of emotion.  Elements of the grotesque see-saw with images of utopia while many scenes that twist the stomach also please the eye.  For example, the bathroom scene where filth and blood exist in a highly-stylized and surreal white space.  (This scene reminded me a lot of Silent Hill.)  While chilling, the abstraction of this fervent drama evokes beauty and fantasy…  the best and the worst of it.

The entire film was thoughtfully made, from the perfect 1970’s styling and the attentive editing, to the wide and strange  palette of pieces this film is composed of.  For me, it was really Susan Sarandon.

(Images from


Alexander The Great: R.I.P. McQueen

Posted in Uncategorized by Ciara on February 11, 2010

Photo courtesy of

I had every intention of writing a post today that centered around the start of NYFW – a joyous event in my mind and in that of every  fashion darling.  However, when I came across the news of Alexander McQueen’s death this morning I felt anything but joyful.

The official statement found on



Alexander McQueen’s runway shows were always ones that I looked forward to the very most.  More than just a fashion designer, this man was truly a very talented artist in the truest sense.  According to the articles I’ve been able to find, it is believed that McQueen’s cause of death was suicide though no official statement from his family has been made.

Lovers of his eccentric and controversial work are saddened today but we can take comfort in the amazing art he created through which he lives on.

Alexander McQueen Paris Fashion Week Fall 2009

Illustration by me of the same © Ciara Pickering 2010

I Am Thankful For…

Posted in Uncategorized by Ciara on November 26, 2009

At Thanksgiving we are supposed to take some time out to give thanks for all that we have.  I know that many people practice this reflective ritual but I also know that many people tend to be a little preoccupied by all of the delicious food that may surround them in abundance.  Personally, I have had a struggle this past year particularly with graduating during an economic downturn and the subsequent demoralizing job hunt.

In many ways this has been a very lean year – For example, I’ve continued to cut my own hair (which I fortunately tend to like better anyway) to save on unnecessary spending and gone without more often than not in many ways.  This has taught me a great deal about being creative and resourceful and I am truly thankful for that.

This year has also been quite fat and full in its own way.  I have had experiences that were life-long dreams of mine and for those moments I am grateful.  I have an amazing love in my life that sustains and supports me.  In spite of trying times (and in some ways, because of it – being unemployed, I’ve had a lot of time to think)  I am thankful for so very much.

  • Clark!
  • finding surprising luxe fabrics in a thrift store
  • perfect liquid eyeliner
  • new and exciting opportunities and experiences!
  • art supplies and Al Green
  • “kwalahs”
  • film-making
  • costumes
  • an amazing new friend
  • dancing
  • black coffee in the morning
  • yoga
  • tech-flippin’ology
  • NYC actually being BETTER than I ever imagined
  • art, art, art
  • my mother’s wild spirit
  • my newly embraced heritage and the culture somewhere in my veins
  • overly-ambitious artistic endeavors
  • divine decadence
  • nicely done nails
  • art deco

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Links à la Mode : The IFB Weekly Roundup

Posted in Uncategorized by Ciara on November 10, 2009

Independent Fashion Bloggers

Go Fashion Bloggers, Go!
Edited by Debutante Clothing

As more and more print magazines fold, bloggers seem to be growing in professionalism and media legitimacy. When bloggers such as Previously Owned and kaKofonie Of si(gh)lenS can get the scoop on international designers, you know the fashion playing field is being leveled. If bloggers can host great giveaways like Retro Chick’s, I wonder why the FTC needs to play big brother. Fashion Pulse Daily wants to know if you even care. It seems we are becoming the pretty, little websites that could. Yay bloggers!

Links à la Mode : November 5th

  • 39th and Broadway – – Gender GAP
  • Aysha’s Rabbit Hole – – Cosimo Damato new hat collection!
  • Bobbins And Bombshells – – pics from her trip to Phoenix including a mini vintage shopping guide.
  • Decline Designs – Won’t Get Fooled Again: Counterfeit Melissa Shoes
  • Denim Debutante – – Three Need-to-Know Tips to Help You Find Your Perfect Pair of Jeans
  • Earth Vs. – Picking and making the best of your new (or old) winter coat
  • Fashion Pulse Daily – – What do you really think and how much do you honestly care abot the FTC guidelines for bloggers?
  • Fasshonaburu – – An upcoming label everyone should know about: Minimarket
  • fête à fête – – Lia Lintern’s divine Winter 2010 coat collection
  • Friend in Fashion – Giveaway – win a custom made dress or skirt
  • Further Ado – – When fashion and architecture collide
  • I’n The It Girl – – Assad Mounser Jewelry
  • Idiosyncratic Style – – Top 10 Creepy Collections… loving the “darkside” of fashion.
  • kaKofonie Of si(gh)lenS – – Interview with Susi Quillinan of Peru
  • M.I.S.S. – Video Interview with Lydia Hearst – her top 5 favorite things about Fashion Week
  • Monoxious – – How to make your own embellished lace tights
  • Oranges and Apples – – Personal Shopper Giveaway – win a parcel of thrifted goodies tailored to your style, needs and ideas!
  • Previously Owned – – Puerto Rican Fashion Spotlight: Stella Nolasco
  • Retro Chick – – Win a Lowie wrap and gloves worth £129 courtesy of Cerise UK
  • The Coveted – – Reviving Vintage Knickerbockers, The Perfect Fall Trouser
  • The Curvy Fashionista – – Plus Size Curves and Fashion at the California Womens Conference



Halloween Tips & Tricks

Posted in Uncategorized by Ciara on October 27, 2009


kitty cat costume

© Ciara Pickering 2009

Halloween Week has officially begun!  … and yes, because of my love of the holiday, I am in full support of extending the celebration all week long!  I have been planning a fun costume for myself for a few weeks now.  Of course, I don’t really need an excuse to play dress up!  This week I will share with you some of my favorite Halloween pictures from when I was a little kid.  The above photograph taken when I was about three during my cat phase – I was a cat for three years in a row at least. 🙂

There are some fabulous costumes out there, ready to buy and wear but personally I find it a lot more fun to get creative and see what happens!  Funds are tight for a lot of people this year but don’t let that dampen your Halloween spirit!

  • Thrift-store finds are begging to be transformed into your holiday finery!  Any  character you might be inspired by can easily be outfitted with a simple trip to Goodwill.  Not to mention many thrift stores’ proceeds go to benefit the less fortunate and with Thanksgiving and Christmas coming just around the corner the small amount of money you spend can definitely do some good.  Better than picking up a costume-in-a-bag and cheaper, too!  And if you decide to go gore-y this Halloween you won’t feel too bad about mucking up something you acquired with pocket change.
  • You’d be amazed at what a pair of cheap panty hose, some corn syrup, and food coloring can get you!  I’ve found some remarkable tutorials on YouTube for making all sorts of ghoulish delights for under $20…


  • Okay, so maybe blood and gore isn’t your ticket.  I found myself searching for inspiration photographs and making a style board.  The more images I collected the more inspired I got and the more my idea has progressed.  See something you like – rip it off!  There’s no need to shell out big bucks for a costume a bunch of other people will be wearing!  Instead, get a picture of it (or 50!) and figure out what key pieces you will need.  Usually there are distinct elements you have to nail – with my Margot Tenenbaum costume I knew I needed the fur coat, wooden finger, heavy eyeliner and blonde wig.  Sure I would’ve loved the Lacoste polo dress but I  knew if the other elements were right the costume would be a success.  Got the wig for $10, fur coat was my great-grandmothers’, and I made the wooden finger with papier-mâché and wood-look contact paper.  Total spent?  $15  Fun had?  Immeasurable.
  • This brings me to my next point:  Use what you’ve got!  Get inspired by your own wardrobe or that of a close friend or relative.  We all have things in our closets that we rarely wear.  What better time to utilize these unique pieces?  Take a shopping trip through your own closet or host a clothes swap with friends and come up with ideas together.
  • For my costume (which I will reveal in good time…) I took inspiration from the runways!  (Particularly Rodarte with their sometimes spooky, goth edge.)  Some trends really lend themselves well to being reinterpreted as costumes.  There is no need to make Halloween too oh-my-gawdy and sacrifice being chic…  unless of course that’s your goal! 🙂
  • Finally, if you’re having trouble cementing a killer-costume (okay, pun intended) then find a buddy to make your Halloween statement with!  Dressing up as a pair or in a group is always fun and it is much easier to get into character when you create an atmosphere with others.

With all of this said, I would LOVE to hear some of your ideas for Halloween!  Costume ideas, tips and tricks of your own, memorable Halloweens past…  all of it!  Spooky or otherwise, what are you going to be for Halloween?



Panty Raid – Agent Provocateur Autumn 2009

Posted in New Collection, Uncategorized by Ciara on September 10, 2009

Though gorging myself on trashy reality tv is not one of my guilty pleasures (Project Runway is still acceptable, if not still great, even after this bizarro bump to Lifetime), the occasional melodramatic-primetime-teen-soap opera makes its way into my heart.  I adore Gossip Girl for all of its dramatics and even more for the clothes, of course, but my secret addiction is Smallville.  It was initially The Boyfriend who introduced me and at first I could only chid him over it.  Eventually, he convinced me to watch the first season and about a month later I emerged having digested the entire series, all seven seasons, with great satisfaction.  We recently rushed to the store and got season 8, the night it came out, like a midnight raid for Harry Potter…  I confess, I’m a nerd.  For whatever reason, I love the show.  Maybe it’s the absurdly over-the-top special effects, the escapism that this type of program can offer, the unfurling of the semi-relatable past of Clark Kent as he juggles the challenges of being an alien…  and going through high school…  whatever it may be, it makes Smallville particularly addictive.

All this to say I was particularly drawn to the new collection by Agent Provocateur.  I’ve been a huge fan for years.  The lingerie is seductive and spans a wide range of what one might choose to portray sexy.  The new Autumn collection plays on the idea of superheroes with a beautiful and other-wordly toothsome way.  It is dramatic and striking but not costume-y or vulgar.  The lingerie itself is gorgeous, as always, and the photography and photo-manipulation is… well, out of this world, pardon the pun. 😉

Some of my favorites include:


Agent Provocateur Autumn 2009

Agent Provocateur Autumn 2009


Agent Provocateur Autumn 2009

Agent Provocateur Autumn 2009


Agent Provocateur Autumn 2009

Agent Provocateur Autumn 2009

Kameelion Black

Agent Provocateur Autumn 2009

Agent Provocateur Autumn 2009

Melody (my verrrry favorite!)

Agent Provocateur Autumn 2009

Agent Provocateur Autumn 2009

Even without all of the glitz and space age styling, these pieces are classic and incredibly sexy for anyone looking to feel amazing.  I for one can say that in spite of a moderately higher price tag than I might love, I will very soon be adding some of these extraordinary pieces to my wardrobe.

See the full collection at Agent Provocateur