The Refined Woman

Scroll to Info & Navigation

New York Fashion Week from My Lens

image

Fashion Week is over.  Le’sigh.  

Balance + Creativity.  Those are my two words from Fashion Week, and if I had a third it would be freeeeeeeezing!

Creatively, what consistently inspires me with each Fashion Week I have attended is how committed designers are season after season to continue creating.  These sometimes less than 10 minute runway shows represent a culmination of upwards of a year of dreaming, planning, and executing. There is always a deadline. With the final bow from the designer after her September show, she knows that she has precisely 6 months until her next bow. There cannot be a moment wasted between bows.

And then there’s the aspect of balance.  As opposed to last February with Em when we ran ourselves completely ragged, my goal this February was to remain balanced in the chaos.

This meant me making choices and practicing saying no to some really fun things (Any FOMO’ers out there will sympathize with me on this).  

It meant choosing a night in as opposed to going out for a fancy dinner, church instead of a runway show, the ballet with friends and not a networking event, flats instead heels (some of the days), one on one coffee dates and not a late night swanky party.  It was good for me to tangibly walk out balance, and to be present with the idea that working hard is important, but we are so much more than what we do.  

I will say I dearly missed Miss Em this Fashion Week; it’s much more fun to go to things with a partner in crime.  Thankfully though God provided some wonderful buddies for me to run around with.

I walk away from the past week exhausted, yet inspired.  Inspired to keep creating + to keep striving for balance in my life.

Now onto my photo journal…I just have so much to show y’all

First off:  Alice + Olivia.  Hands down the most creative experience all week.  The Alice + Olivia presentation was comprised of 7 unique fairy tale experiences in the McKittrick Hotel where the infamous play Sleep No More is housed.  Not only were the clothes beautiful, you truly felt you were on this fairy tale journey through the mind + heart of Stacey Bendet.

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

Like I said Fashion Week wasn’t all work, I got to run around the city with my sweet friend Lauren.  From coffees to Hillsong to late night Bingo at The Standard we had a blast together.  I’m so thankful for this girl.

image

Then I got to meet + photograph this fellow Southern gal Anna, who is not only super sweet, but an uber talented stylist!

image

I just can’t really talk about the Nautica Menswear Collection.  Oh em gee, those men were so incredibly handsome.  Oof.  That’s all I’m going to say about that.

image

Mid-day coffee breaks at Saturday Surf were a must.

image

My heels came straight off after the shows, and fit nicely in one of the slots in my fabulous camera bag.

image

Night at the Ballet; it was inspiring + melted my soul.

image

Y’all might not know this, but I was first introduced to fashion week, over 3 years ago.  I photographed in the pit for 12 seasons, and as crazy as it is I found myself missing it terribly this season.  Maybe next September I can find myself back in the grind!

image

Mara Hoffman’s Collection was ethereal + bold.  Her mixtures of geometric + tribal-esque patterns were surprising and refreshing!

image

image

image

image

Wall-o-instagram in Lincoln Center.  You could use their hashtag #mbfw + if you were so lucky + (if you had a gazillion followers) your picture would appear on the wall!

image

Dear Monique Lhuillier,

You slay me.  Season after season after season.  You make style look so effortless and chic.  Your work embodies femininity and strength.  You inspire me.

Love,

Kat.

image

image

image

image

image

This gold + creme dress was my favorite!

image

image

image

image

image

image

Then sometimes you go to shows, and you feel like you’re herded cattle and have to wait outside in the 15 degree weather for 45 minutes.  #notglamorous #imsurprisedmyfeetstillfunctionbecausetheyweresocold….

image

…only to be let inside + realize that your seat has been taken + this is your view of the show…

image

image

image

BUT THEN…my whole day was worth it because I saw the legendary Bill Cunningham.

image

image

image

image

image

And this leads me to my final show:  Nanette Lepore, which was an exquisite way to end my week.  (Not to mention I sat across from effortlessly chic and elegant Kelly Rutherford AKA Lilly VanDerWoodson)

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

It pains me to say I cut out so many images…guys I shot so so much, but in not wanting to be redundant/bore you to death I tried to keep it down.

That being said, if you have made it to the end of this epicly long post, bless you.

Until September, I bid fashion week adieu!

XO,

Kat

A Refined Woman | Brynn Watkins

1. Who is Brynn Watkins, and, aside from Being Elliott, what are some other projects you’re involved with?

I am a woman who is always looking for the next thing. I am always looking forward to the next step, the next collaboration or the next styling job. I love making connections and meeting new people with interesting life stories so I can learn and gain knowledge from their experiences. I am driven to a fault. 

Projects are always coming at me from any which direction. Right now I am working on a summer styling shoot set in Montauk—think ”Mara Hoffman” esque.  

2. What is Being Elliott all about?

Being Elliott is all about helping women discover the whimsical fascinations of life through inspiring ideas, style tips and personal touches which create their special looks. I really want to make women smile at the end of the day.  If Being/Elliott can help do that, than I am ecstatic. 

3. Why did you start Being Elliott?

I needed a platform to share all my crazy creative energy! I love fashion and finding inspiration from other blogs and content out there and I thought..why not contribute to that inspiration myself? It is now my passion and escape.

4. Describe who you think your typical reader is (her style and attitude towards life)?

She is independent, bold , knows what she believes in and is willing to fight for it. She also knows you don’t have to spend “an arm and leg” to look like a total fox.  

I pray my reader always remembers to laugh at herself and to think of others before her own needs. I want to be her friend :) 

6. Share your Favorite designer and why.

Oh gosh…. what a tough question!

Right now, I am loving 3.1 Phillip Lim. His style of minimalism and elegant line is really hard not to fall in love with. I have yet to find a piece he has designed I can’t see eye to eye with. 3.1 Phillip Lim was meant to be in my closet.   His price tag is another issue :)

7. Share three products you are currently obsessing over and why.

-My Elize Cuff from Stendahl Jewelry is the perfect piece. I just slip it on my wrist and it takes my outfit to the next level. Love.

-My new scent from Goest Perfumes called "Dauphine". The subtle hints of rosebud and almond musk is an instant confidence booster. 

-My favorite new book and current read from my editor at LOLO Magazine, Lauren Scruggs’  Still Lolo.  This is an inspirational story about faith overcoming all obstacles. I can’t put it down! 

8. Advice for bloggers just starting out?

Be bold and develop your own unique voice.  Also, don’t be scared to reach out to brands and companies you love. Who knows what can happen. Try! Try! Try!

The Battle to Be True

image

(photo by Bess Friday)

I have started and re-started this post so many times. 

Last week I read two articles that cut me to the core and I knew right away I wanted to write a response of my own to the discussion’s started in  The Circus of Fashion and Blog is a Dirty Word

But I kept putting it off. Because there are so many different things on my mind as I have reflected on what it has meant for Kat + myself to start this blog and then jump right into our first fashion week. 

Fashion week did feel like a circus. All around Lincoln Center the parade of insanely dressed, pursed-lipped fashionista’s is disorienting. It’s an alternate universe and all I could do was marvel at how difficult it looked to walk in those shoes. 

On the flip side, Leandra hit my experience on the head. Lincoln Center is "a haven for aspiring bloggers who spend their fashion weeks ardently hustling through the fountains in the name of recognition."

As glamourous as Kat + I liked to make it look, it was not always so pretty. Just carrying around my DSLR 14 hours a day through the streets of NY and waiting in the standby lines made me want to cry. And I did cry some nights, for lack of sleep and sheer mental exhaustion. I can honestly say I have never spent a week hustling so hard. 

The temptation is to make everyone believe that we were just being whisked into these shows because they want The Refined Woman there, when in reality no one had any clue who we are.  

Something I’ve been thinking a lot about this week is the battle for authenticity. How to be authentic with this blog, in what we wear, how we wear it, what we say, who we are… 

I used to think that as long as we were true to our brand and only showed things we *would* purchase ourselves, that would be authentic enough. But what I want more than anything is actual transparency. Not just in what brands we show or products we feature, but in everything we do.

I’m not totally sure I know what that looks like. I’d like to find a way to show you guys everything without bumming you out or boring you with behind the scenes.

I want to be silly and crazy and imperfect while still showing you what I strive for, which is, to embody the poise of the Refined Woman. It’s not such an easy feat. 

I guess part of me wants to wrap this post up nicely, and tell you I’ve come to the conclusion on how The Refined Woman is going to do that. But I guess all I want to say is that it’s our goal to try. Our invitation to you is to call us out and help us move in that direction. This blog is for you, after all, and I don’t think we can do it without your feedback and help as we go along. 

xo,

Em

Reflections from The Refined Woman on NYFW

What we found though is that if you are kind, and if you work hard, amazing things can happen. There is no industry this doesn’t apply to—even fashion, as intimidating as it can seem.” -Em

We could not be more honored to be a guest Writer on Darling Magazine today!

Em shared some of her thoughts on NYFW and Darling shared some of their favorite images we shot during our snowy NYC trip.  Check out the feature HERE.

image

Refined at Fashion Week: Day III

image

There has never been a post this long in the history of The Refined Woman because there has never been a day so epic to recount.

Though I am a fan of the Hyperbole I promise I am not exaggerating when I say yesterday was the day that all the dreams our little hearts could hold were fulfilled. 

Lest you think I still exaggerate. Let me begin with some images. I keep looking at them to remind myself it was real. 

But first, what I wore. Because that’s important, right? Maybe not as much as all the aforementioned dreams being realized, but I am happy to say that after yesterday, all the money I spent (3x more than the pants themselves!) to have these thrifted leather pants tailored seems like it was worth it.

image

Cardigan : JCrew / Blouse : Lush by Nordstrom / Leather Pants : Thrifted (similar) / Heels : Louboutin  / Camera Satchel : ONA

image

From Kat : What is on my bucket list you may ask?  Among sky diving and being fluent in another language is attending a JCrew Presentation at New York Fashion Week.

When Em and I found out we had tickets to the Fall 2013 JCrew Presentation there may or may not have been squeals, tears, and a little dance party.  

(Spoiler alert : we screamed like girls.)

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

Here’s a shot of THE JENNA HERSELF with Anna Wintour.  NBD. (REALLY BIG DEAL.)

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

From Kat : What I love about JCrew is how each season they push the envelope with their mixture of patterns, textures, and colors with classic silhouettes; it’s why they’re able to appeal to the 18 year old hipster, the 30something business woman, and Anna Wintour.  You can’t beat class, and you cannot beat Jenna Lyons innovative mixture of all things new with all things timeless.

From me : That about sums it up. This collection rocked my world in every way possible. 

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

(JCREW SHOW BONUS : The guys. ) Sorry to state the obvious here, but these gentleman I mean how good looking can you get?  Really?

From Em : I think Kat may have found a husband. I saw them making eyes.

image

image

image

image

image

image

Now, while it would have been MORE THAN ENOUGH to just see Jenna Lyons in the flesh, we were able to say hello after the show and she was so gracious and lovely to us. We may have even handed her a business card and snapped her photograph before swooning. She kissed us and the cheek, complimented our outfits, and was super sweet.  

Truly, Jenna, you are THE Refined Woman. Thank you for inspiring women in fashion everywhere.image

WAIT.

That’s not all.

At the J Crew Presentation I was able to introduce myself to a woman who really inspired me to follow my passion for fashion blogging and photography… Garance Dore. I took a photo of her at the presentation (the lighting was just OK… but Kat took this one later on which I just adore. Go Kat!)

Garance, thank you for being so gracious in person. You do not know how much it meant to me.

image

and THEN. (then!!)

I took a photo of the man, the legend, the Sartorialist himself. 

As I bent back to photograph him in my heels and ridiculous leather pants I almost ATE it on the concrete of Lincoln Center. I imagine that’s where this little smile came from…

image

And then I died of embarrassment and I am pretty sure I ran away. I guess it’s a good to have some moments to keep us humble, am I right?

If you looked at and read this whole post, bless you. More good stuff to come tomorrow.

xo,

Em