Thursday, May 19, 2011

A Craving for Carven

I have a craving rivaling that of a pregnant woman in need of pickles. I've got one thing on my mind and I can't seem to shake it. My new obsession is simple, elegant, and cute as a button: the divinely crafted Carven. Apparently this wonderbrand has been kicking around since 1945, but I only discovered its awesomeness this Spring when it was re-launched at Paris fashion week. 

Founded by Madame Carven Mallet, a complete amateur in the delicate world of 1940's couture with a fresh idea about beautiful clothes, Carven is acclaimed as one of the first brands to execute a ready to wear collection. Madame Carven was also the first to design women's tennis and ski wear, providing a stylish yet sensible way for women to exercise. From its moment of inception, Carven was offering accessible luxury to women unshackled by convention, and this mission shines through in the desirable designs being created today.

Even after disappearing for many years, Spring 2011 was no exception from Carven's past glory. Now headed by Guillaume Henry, who took over as creative director in 2009, Carven still upholds the playful, wearable nature that Madame Carven worked so hard to produce, but with an added bonus that separates Carven from every other luxury brand today: Henry wants Carven to be beautiful and affordable. This line was Henry's first to show during Paris fashion week, and the attention to detail and obvious craftsmanship paired with the wallet-friendly price point put Carven back on the fashion industry's map. 

Cutouts, studs, bolo ties, landscape prints, and nostalgic backpacks are just a few of the swoon inducing elements in this perfectly pastel collection. The use of removable collars and cashmere bandeau bras increases the value of each garment, offering additional ways to play with Carven's unique without blowing your budget. The entire line is girlish yet classic, neutral but fun, sexy and sophisticated; the new Carven fits the modern woman like a dainty leather glove, bringing us the clothes we've been craving at prices we may actually be able to pay without taking out a loan or selling a kidney. 

By the time the Fall 2011 collections rolled around, I was bright eyed and bushy tailed, scanning the lists until Carven appeared. To say I was impressed would be a drastic understatement. 

With platform wedge loafers, exposed chunky zippers, leather, and tartan, Carven's Fall 2011 collection is everything I love about the autumn season. Preppy wool coats with toggle buttons complimented the odd splash of lace and delicate white collars. The colour palette was neutral and dark, with pops of cherry red, gold, tangerine and olive. Models were classic and minimal, sporting long, brushed out hairstyles and little makeup. The odd accessory was thrown into the mix in the form of a bright handbag or tiny round spectacles. Overall, the look was proper with an edge, bourgeois meets bad girl. The result was the democratic mix Madame Carven prized in her design days; millions of women can mix and match these pieces, determining their own unique style while still embodying a Carven woman. 

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