As we all know, purses and shoes are universal fetish items of many women as shopping for these is equally passionate experience for women of all sizes and ages, which makes this market fruitful and ever growing! 


Recently I find out about an amazing young handbag and accessory designer - Adriana Castro. Columbian native, living in US has not only a great talent in designing gorgeous, exotic skins accessories but also a great story behind creating her brand - Adriana Castro. 


Adriana is using various exotic skins for her designs such as crocodile, eel, lizard, ostrich, python, leather and water snake. Skins are also processed in different ways which makes them glazed, matte, metallic or stone washed.




Growing up at fathers crocodile farm in Columbia young Adriana got inspiration from the natural beauty and color palettes surrounding the Amazon for creating her  crocodile accessories designs. Smarty she first went to study business to be able to run a successful brand, after which she continued her accessory design education at Art Institute of Miami International University.


Adriana launched her first handbag collection in SS 2007. and instantly got recognized by prestigious media worldwide such as WWD, Vogue, People, In-Touch, Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire, Style.com, Grazia etc.




Castro's handbags are loved and carried by celebrities and fashion influencers including Sarah Jessica Parker, Jennifer Lopez, Eva Longoria, Kim Kardashian, Heidi Klum and Audrina Patridge. Five Adriana Castro bags were also featured in the movie Sex and the City 2. and her exotic collection is available exclusively at specialty retailers worldwide including Henri Bendel in New York City, Saks Fifth Avenue in Dubai, Harvey Nichols in Hong Kong as well as select boutiques in Russia and Mexico.


Photos of my very favorite Castro pieces from her SS 2012. and FW 2012. collections are bellow. In terms of prices (cc $1000), as these are genuine exotic skins I can say that prices are high but match the items quality for sure. Adriana's handbags are made in trendy colors but they are not one season wonders by no means, each of these pieces can easily be worn for years as your closets signature item.









You can see more of Adriana Castro's purses by following her blog, Facebook, Twitter and website. Soon you will be able to read the short interview I did with Adriana, please post your question in the comment if you would like to ask her a question and I will include it in my interview.

Photobucket

Through some of my work projects I had an opportunity to meet Dominika. What I particularly like about this young lady is that she is extremely hardworking no matter what job it is, she is aware and realistic about situation she is in, she plans ahead and has clear goals of where she would like to be. Although still a bit inexperienced she has a natural drive, talent, look and fighter mentality, she has proven to swim well in local media and fashion environment which will enable her to reach across Croatian boarders as well. 

Dominika has applied for local upcoming fashion student competition called Modni Ormar and has participated in recently held Dreft Next Generation young fashion designer contest where she made gorgeous illustrations for her ocean inspired collection however the contest called for Fall-Winter one which prevented her for progressing further in the competition. I hope she will still manage to produce this collection as I would love to see it come to life!





Here is what Dominika had to say...

1.   When did you realize that you want to become fashion designer and why?
Since I was 9 I wanted to be a fashion designer. It might see as cliché but once, my mum's friend was babysitting me and we were watching Fashion TV, I was hypnotized with what I saw and I loved it all instantly, 2 days later, I was still fascinated, I simply asked for a pen and a paper and I started to draw, as the years passed, my fascination with fashion only grew bigger and bigger.

2. On which fashion design contest did you participate so far?  
Recently I participated in Dreft Next generation contest with collection inspired with sea creatures shapes and forms, next I will participate in 7th edition of fashion student contest  Modni ormar, finals are scheduled to be held in November 2012.

3.   Who are your role models when it comes to fashion design?
I have a number of designer figures I see as role models, I differentiate them according to generations. First, there is naturally Coco Chanel and Christian Dior, then their successors Karl Lagerfeld and John Galliano, then Eli Saab and finally never forgotten McQueen.
When it comes to Croatian designers I love the work of Adela Kliškić and Nikola Barbir because I find their talent unreachable!

4.   What were your inspirations for the collection you applied with on Dreft Next Generation contest? How would you describe this collection and are you planning to produce it?
I got inspired for this collection while listening to Gorillaz album Plastic Beach and thinking about set contest topic which was – Dreft Black. Simple blackness is too simple for me. I am always searching for the background story; this is how I created collection inspired by sea shapes damaged by oil spill. I am planning to produce it as soon as I will be able to fund the production.

5. You are currently attending TTF (Croatian fashion design college), do you feel that this school is preparing you well enough to become independent profitable fashion designer and why?
TTF definitely has amazing professors who are experts in their fields and know how to transfer that knowledge on us – students. Also, I think that our school is amazing inspiration source and provides additional knowledge for those who are proactive enough to seek for it. I don't think that anyone in school can prepare you for the real life and showbiz environment.

6.   What is your opinion of Croatian fashion industry today?
The way I see it, in comparison to the rest of the world, I see it as a big joke. We are very small and irrelevant in global context, but everybody seems to consider themselves a big celebrities. It seems like famous designers, models, stylists and starlets are made over night. I feel like most of the people in the spotlight in fashion industry in Croatia have no background to support their status, this is why I would love to move abroad as soon as possible.

7.   Other then attending fashion school what other jobs do you do?
I used to work in Stilist magazine as a stylist, now I am writing Fashion ID column on fashion portal – La Couture. I look for people who dress differently and I interview them about their personal style. Soon I am planning to start working on cooking & styling project with Mr. Rene Bakalović but this project is still in development stages. Naturally, I am working on my upcoming collection for Modni Ormar in November.

8.   Do you think that fashion designer can make a decent living in Croatia?
I would say no, but since currently we have so many fashion designers, I seem to be wrong.

9.   What are your plans after graduation?
After finishing my undergraduate degree here at TTF in Zagreb, I would like to enroll in graduate school in Amsterdam, then, if I will be lucky – masters in London. I am planning to network and build connections in Western Europe and then decide where to settle. For now, the one thing I know for sure – I don't want to stay in Croatia.

10. What kind of women do you see as the buyer of your clothes?
I would like to enchant women of all ages, those who like to dress feminine, but feminine with the twist to it, women who are not scared to be different, to walk in high heels all day and are not intimidated of the admiration looks they will get walking down the street when wearing my pieces.
I want to design for women who will not settle for classic skirt and dress shirt, those who dress for themselves exclusively, not for those who use clothes to attract men.

11. How do you see the influence of the social networks and bloggers on fashion industry today?
I am terrified more than anything to talk about this topic, hehe. I do respect foreign bloggers who are professionals and make money from their blog, those who really help young designers with promoting their work. In Croatia, I respect street style blogs and blogs constructed as fashion news.
     I ignore and dislike bloggers who dress something new every day and publish dozens of photos of having coffee with their friend, I consider those to be a self promotion sites. In Croatia, most of the blogs are like that.

12. What are your immediate plans for the future?
Next in order is upcoming fashion student contest Modni ormar which will take place on November the 15th, where I was selected as one of the 16 finalists to show their collections. This is the first opportunity for me to show what I can do; I am doing my best to create the collection as perfect as possible to most tiny detail.  I hope this collection will be a success and create more opportunities for me.


Photobucket


Nautical trend featuring navy or light blue horizontal stripes has become a classic trend marking all from casual wear transitioning from Spring to Summer, casual business wear in combo with khaki pants or shirt, to yachting resort collection and editorials on fabulous tropical retreats. 

Designers who does nautical best is for sure Ralph Lauren as you can see on the photos bellow taken from www.ralphlauren.com. 



Even though many are scared of wearing horizontal stripes as they may add to the width I can resist to wear them. 

My favorite nautical look is often the classic one in combination with khaki bottoms, ropy accessories and red make up. In terms of accessories I try to combine one statement jewelry piece with Chanel red lipsticks and nails and that is it.
Net-a-porter




Victorias Secret

Also, I love wearing straw hats and clutches or beach bags with maxi cotton dresses and just a swimsuit to complete all I will need through the day. 

Lucky magazine editorial

Coral jewelry can also be a great statement piece which will showcase the dark skin and the rested glow we all tend to have during vacation. :)

Vogue Australia 2011.

I believe there is no excuse for ladies to down dress on vacation as this is the time that you actually have time to play around with clothes and maybe try new things.

Do you feel like you give yourself more time then usual to dress up and look your best during Summer lovelies?

Photobucket

Zac Posen is definitely one of my very favorite evening wear  fashion designers which is ever more true since he returned to the City from Paris a year ago. Zac continued to use luxurious fabrications from silk organza, chiffon, bordeaux tulle creating old Hollywood glamour but still modern looking evening pieces.

 Both of his lines Zac Posen and Z Spoke by Zac Posen are absolutely on the point with what I love to wear. 

There is so much to admire in his resort 2013. collection, amazing halter gowns, precisely to perfection tailored pencil skirts, hourglass dresses, amazing detailing and attention to details, female body flattering fit which can make any women look like a glamorous red carpet goddess.  








Ohh I wish I could wear these gowns every day!  
"I always try to create age and body diverse collections that work for all types of women ... The collection is inspired by a woman’s ability to be flirty and sexy, 
while always remaining elegant and sophisticated."
Zac Posen







Emina Hadžić is a London based designer, originally from Bosnia, she is a lady behind the young La Luna London designer brand. Her team asked me to review her romantic, RTW Spring/Summer 2012. collection. As soon as I ran through photos I had my favorites! Lovely black lace and mustard silk lining and maxi red dress worn by Scottie Thompson on the photo bellow.

Overall, I liked the down to Earth, real women in mind approach and smart targeting Emina is doing with her brand. Her target customers are very much so real, working women, her models, lookbook setting and the collection feel is realistic, romantic and feminine. There is not much Photoshop and super skinny models involved which is quite refreshing in today's fashion industry environment. Her SS 2012. collection is focused on dresses all made of luxury materials such as silk, lace and chiffon, with pencil structured dress as her signature piece. 



Emina's dresses are worn by many real life women naturally but also many celebrities in US, UK and Balkans, ranging from various TV hosts like E!News's Liz Hernandez, Ashlan Gorse to Mika Newton, Emily Moore, Scottie Thompson and Lepa Brena :)


Scottie Thompson featured in Regard Magazine December 2011., California

Were you ever approached by any of the organizers of fashion events in Croatia, Bosnia or Serbia and would you ever consider showing your collection on any of them?

I was actually approached by Stella from ABC models in Sarajevo for Sarajevo Fashion week Spring/Summer 2012 unfortunately due to some very important meetings and appointments I could not attend. However, I am looking forward to taking part in the very near future.

Where do you sell your clothes? Do you have a showroom,do you sell online or via multibrand boutiques?

At the moment I am only selling via ASOS.com, I figured as I am only just starting out it would be a good try out and then I will concentrate on opening my own store. I am currently working on a showroom but I just cant seem to decide where to open it..London or Los Angeles. We are also working along side few online stores to get La Luna London collection sold via them..so many things happening at the moment. 

La Luna London Mini Crepe dress sold via Asos

Are you ever planing to go towards mass production or would you prefer to have a smaller more exclusive stores in selected locations?

 To be honest, I don't think I will ever go towards mass production. I prefer to make smaller quantities and have my dresses sold by more exclusive stores rather than big retailers. I also think that I will only ever open one or two stores, just to make it all little bit more exclusive and exciting.

 What are the demographics of your customers?

I feel like knowing your target audience in this business is crucial, our customers range from the age of 20 to 45. We are a brand that concentrates on everyday working women, who also have a fun side and who appreciate true style at the same time.

Do you have a "signature piece" and would you please indicate a price range of your pieces?

My signature piece is my structured pencil dress, my dresses are bound to flatter your body in every possible way. La Luna London dresses range from 200 GBP to 1,700 GBP. 


You can find out more about this young designer brand on La Luna London website and follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

Photobucket

There are many reasons why Miss Selfridge is one of my favorite brands. I used to shop in Miss Seldfridge bircks and mortar stores iz UK, Madrid and Zagreba and now I mostly shop online. Last thing I ordered is this mint and scull scarf bellow and one mint peace bracelet. 

What I love about Miss Selfridge the most is that they have great prices, modern prints and fabrications, the close is true to size and I usually pick natural fabrications in which my skin can breath. Bellow is the selection of cool pieces I found in last couple of weeks on Miss Seldfridge online shop.


I love that they have "Going Out" shop and other compassion shopping sections which help me choose and find pieces faster. Since I work for big multinational company I often try to find clothes and dresses particularly which I can wear day to night, bellow is the selection of couple of those, price range for these is from 30 to 50 Euros.



I also very much love the origami and 3D one shoulder dresses in beige-black and red bellow which I would recommend as evening wear both for business and some other semi-formal evening parties.


There is also lovely selection of "Going out" dresses, I am currently obsessed with dresses which have sheer parts and peplum.


I found this cute bondage black fitted dress with bright color wrap detailing which I love but I got the feeling it would be super short on me since I am quite tall with long legs.



Those of you who follow me on Facebook know how much I adore McQueen and scull details, mostly on jewelry and accessories. Last time I ordered from Miss Selfridge online store I was just about to go to Madrid so I entered Madrid address as shipping one and since I was in a hurry I miss-typed the zip code and apartment number, the order was couple of days late but they made some extra efforts and had it found me for which I am so so so grateful, especially since it was totally my fault.


I am trying to get these quite rubber flats for this summer, hopefully they will still have it my size by the time I make my order ;) Since, I think recently they also have a free iPhone app through which you can browse, share and shop on the go which can be a handy feature.


I never before ordered shoes from this site so I cannot tell you how they run in terms of size and quality but bellow are the ones I have on my Summer WANT list :)


What are your experiences with Miss Seldfridge products and online ordering lovelies?


Photobucket

Instagram