Friday, April 6, 2012

Apropos of Black & White

You are looking at the woman who those in the vast business of retail throughout the world consider one of, if not the, ultimate arbiter of elegance and style.

Meet Maria Luisa Poumaillou, or simply Maria Luisa -- because that's all anyone has to say and heads start nodding -- "of course, she is the queen of multi-brand fashion. She is elegance and ease personified."

Her eye is piercingly sharp, she sees through the clutter of clothes and collections and curates like an art connoisseur. Her instincts for discovering fashion's new talents, and her melange of the big names with the soon-to-be-names (in most cases thanks to her) is faultless.

Not surprisingly, she advises much less is much better. She also believes, again not surprisingly, that women should spend where it counts -- perfectly cut trousers, a great coat, one exceptional little black dress. She suggests that women often do not take the time to really look at themselves in a dressing room when buying skirts. When a pencil skirt is the choice it should be above the knee; when it is below the knee it must "hug" the derriere to avoid appearing matronly.

So, where can you save? T-shirts; ethnic, statement jewelry and -- are you ready for this (?) -- handbags. She sees them as nothing more than a convenience to carry "stuff" and rues the fact they have become status symbols designed to send a social message to the world.
Kenneth Jay Lane creoles.
In a perfect world, I would like Maria Luisa to be my stylist.

Above you see her words in action: a clean line of black, a soft white jacket -- she likes soft because she preaches "one cannot be comfortable in stiff" -- an ethnic necklace, i.e. a large shell on a black silk cord; creole earrings from Kenneth Jay Lane; wide belt; bottines; ethnic (but of the designer variety) bangle, ever-present sunglasses and red, red lipstick.

You will note, by simply changing the shoes this is a season-less ensemble.


Rebecca said...

My kind of style!
Thanks for posting. Her advice is reaffirming.

LuxeBytes said...

A coup, Tish. Well done.

xoxoxoxo --

Pam @ over50feeling40 said...

Love this post! "REALLY" look at yourself in the dressing room is what I have attempted to practice for the last two years...before I was much faster at in and out with way more mistakes! She is fabulous!

Mary W. said...

An elegant look and I love her take on expensive designer handbags. The shell necklace hitting her belt looks awkward to me though.

kathy peck said...

Before I read the post, and just saw the photo, I have to admit that I wondered why a woman well dressed would be carrying such a frumpy handbag? Even after reading the post, (and I do agree about "IT bags") I wish she was carrying a simple black or tobacco tote. Her handbag doesn't blend in and I find it quite ugly. I also don't like where the shell necklace hits on her body, and don't find her clothing well tailored either. I'm sorry and hope you don't mind my honesty.

Anonymous said...

Maybe it's the angle, but the jacket looks very oversize on her. Is that the style now a la 80s?

déjà pseu said...

I'd really admired her style when you first posted this picture, Tish, and now I understand why. I am nodding my head in agreement that "one cannot be comfortable in stiff." I also agree with her about overpriced "IT" bags, but do think a well-designed and good looking bag can add a lot to an ensemble. And a cheap looking bag can bring it down.

sisty said...

Non, non, non! THis woman is dressed beautifully -- she was the inspiration for my comment on the previous thread that it just goes to show what a good haircut, sunglasses and a jacket can do.

The jacket is not oversized. IMO it fits her beautifully -- look at her left arm. The shoulder is perfect, so is the sleeve, and she clearly has room to button it if she chooses. I think we're so used to seeing shrunken jackets that our eyes just need a little time to adjust.

She's a real, life-sized woman of a certain age who knows what suits her and who clearly has veered away from "trendiness." Truth be told, I didn't even notice the bag because the rest of her looks so great. Maybe that's her point!

Splenderosa said...

Ahhhh, black & white. Elegant, timeless, always correct. On a woman of a certain age, & I am one I suppose, this is lovely. She looks so totally European. Brilliant, Tish!!!

MelD said...

How strange that you all think she looks so marvellous - the bag is frumpy and the bottom 6" are dreadful, trousers too short and frumpy shoes, too. Sorry, I don't completely agree, here!
In fact, I see better dressed women daily in Zurich than I have ever seen in Paris or the rest of France. Just saying.

Joni said...

Yes, her ideas about where to spend money and where to save it are spot on.

I agree with Kathy Peck's statement about the necklace. It seems far too long and would probably look better if it laid more at her chest or a bit above.

California Girl said...

I have always loved having many articles of clothing and accessories. Back in the day, most were high quality off the rack lines although not couture. I can no longer afford them nor do I live near a large metropolis where I may shop. Boston is 2.5 hours away. That said, I find myself shopping the outlet stores we have in our resort mountain town. Some are quite nice. The Coach store is as beautifully merchandised as their retail shops. The Banana Republic is also nice. The Gap is awful--a shambles. We used to have such lines as Ellen Tracy and Anne Klein, when they were still expensive. Those shops were true "outlets", not manufactured for same. I love the TJMaxx store. It always has something I can wear as long as I'm not looking for anything specific. The quality is suspect in many of the lines of merchandise they carry. Every once in a while I do luck out and get a great steal.

I miss the really classic clothes and the longevity of same. It's also harder to get excited about expensive beautiful clothes as I'm no longer a size 6 but, rather, a 12.

Jean S said...

I have developed a real dislike of black and white, but that's just me (and my coloring, which does not want to play ball).

Beyond that, something's off on the proportions here. Perhaps it's the angle of the camera shot? Because I agree with those who think she doesn't look that great.

BigLittleWolf said...

I agree with Mary W about the necklace hitting the belt, but... she nonetheless looks chic and utterly à l'aise.

I adore black & white. Always have, imagine I always will. (I also love adding a pop of red to it - even if it's the nails or the shoes...)

Enjoy your weekend! (Pâques à la campagne ?)

Anonymous said...

Hmm. It's very interesting because I also see exceptions to
a perfectly put together ensemble.
Eyes from different parts of the globe seeing things differently?
I agree the necklace seems too long, and the trousers seem like high waters. The boots, I don't know,from the picture they look,too broken in. Too many accessories. I'm sure that the pieces are of the best quality and she looks intentional but maybe a tad out of date but in an elegant way.

Elizabeth Eiffel said...

Regardless of the details, what is evident is that simply Maria Luisa has style and is definitely bien dans sa peau. When I was a child and teenager, I always visioned myself to be like simply Maria Luisa, but unfortunately this was lost in translation!
Bon weekend.

Sheila said...

I'm so sorry but I agree with above comment that her pants are way too short. I know that she ia a woman "of a certain age." and so am I. I am also of a height where pants off the rack in a regular length are a bit too short, unless I'm wearing sandals. The "talls" are too long without being hemmed so I understand her dilemma; I'm often walking around in pants that are not quite right. But it sounds like she is way more important than me.

Duchesse said...

What I love is that this woman is not trying to look like a 25 yr old- nor is she hiding in godawful layers (e.g., Crea Concept). Yes, her pants are short, and a woman of her age and stature might wear better earrings- not necessarily fine jewelry but *real* noble metals. The bag looks like something for a duty free store but it might be better in person. (And I too dislike status bags.)

Raewyn said...

WELL!! I am so glad you didn't photograph me and out me on your blog!! There must be SO many amazing looking women on this earth who can be so critical of others. We are all entitled to give our opinion but!!!!!! If I looked like her who would give a damn if my shell necklace hung a bit low! Tell me where these style ladies live and I will keep away in fear of showing my imperfections.

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