Arguably the epitome of British sartorial ingenuity, Alexander McQueen has just launched on Nordstrom.com for pre-fall 2013, with a highly covetable assortment of precision-cut jackets, structured separates and fitted dresses. So what better way to celebrate this exciting new designer addition than with expert style advice on how to curate a wardrobe of investment pieces?
The Thread tapped Kyle Anderson, accessories director for Marie Claire, to shed some light on why women need timeless, well-crafted designs—and in the process, he showed us how to personalize a few of his must-have looks from the collection.
THE THREAD: Why do accessories matter, and how can accessories add individuality to a look?
KYLE ANDERSON: Accessories are the most important way to personalize your look and make it your own. It’s all about the high/low mix. I recommend that everyone invest in covetable classic pieces that you can wear forever, like watches, classic fine jewelry, a pointy-toe pump like a Manolo, the classic top handle day bag, a chain bag and an metallic evening clutch. Then mix in personal finds and trendier items to put your own unique stamp on it. You could throw on a cool bracelet you bought on vacation, along with cost-friendly costume jewelry and trendy shoes for a thrill.
If it’s colorful, funky and trendy, don’t spend a lot on it. I suggest that you invest that money in the key ticket items that you wear every day. To me, nothing says personal style like mixing a handmade bracelet with something like a Rolex, or wearing a classic designer bag with trendy flat sandals in the summer. You always want to mix something really classic and chic with something funky and unexpected that makes you feel confident—makes you feel like you are really you.
Fashion’s Finest: Nina Garcia, Marie Claire’s creative director, and Kyle at Paris Fashion Week in March. (Photo by Style by Deni.)
THE THREAD: When you’re at a runway show or at a market appointment, what quality does a look or an accessory need in order to get you excited?
KYLE: I’ve been an accessories editor for eight years, which is a long time, so I’ve seen a lot. What gets me excited is seeing something I haven’t seen before. I like it when designers take risks. I like glamour and things that make me scream, “I want this!”—then I know others will want it too. It’s just a feeling. I get goose bumps and then text photos to Nina [Garcia] and say, “OMG, look at this amazing bag!” I love it when people think outside of the box. We see so much that it takes a lot to stand out.
THE THREAD: Tell us about the first McQueen show you ever attended. What makes a McQueen show so special?
KYLE: My first McQueen show was just last year, for the spring/summer 2013 collection. McQueen is such a cutting-edge brand that takes risks and does unexpectedly mind-blowing shows.
Flowers and bees inspired the collection; there was huge screen of buzzing bees for the backdrop. I loved it, and I loved the accessories. We shot their runway Lucite shoe for a full page in our April issue. I adored the floral with the tough shoes, because that’s what McQueen does really well—the mix of pretty and hard. McQueen is known for having the most standout statement shoes every season; the shoes become collector’s items, and people who wear them make a statement that they are confident and know who they are—or who they want to become. Women who own their look and who are never forgotten wear McQueen.
THE THREAD: Any standout looks from McQueen’s FW13 collection that made you say, “I absolutely need to style/shoot that”?
KYLE: For FW13, I liked the pearl accents; they were very punk. The looks were medieval and pearl-encrusted, but there was something bondage and punk about it—the perfect editorial combination.
THE THREAD: What do you appreciate most about Sarah Burton’s aesthetic/creativity?
KYLE: I think Sarah gave McQueen a much softer, more feminine look. Since Sarah took over design, it’s had a bit more wearability and overall femininity, and that’s been a buzz in the industry. I think Sarah identifies well with female consumers.
KYLE’S GUIDE ON COOL
The Look (pictured above): “I like this oversized-collar leather jacket because I’m obsessed with black leather,” says Kyle. “Whether it’s the ’70s, ’80s, ’90s or current trends, people always are looking for the perfect black leather jacket. I think this one is feminine and cool.”
How to Wear It: “I’d wear this jacket in the spring with a tank underneath, skinny black jeans and sandals—think a fall-meets-winter look. Why not pair it with these red Alexander Wang sandals? The look doesn’t have to be biker head to toe. These platforms still have a hard-edge look, and I think all black with a red summer sandal would look cool.”
The Look: “This little black dress is super-versatile. It’s great for everyday wear and especially for work. You’ll get the mileage out of this dress, and it’s a great buy because of the sleeves,” adds Kyle. “Most offices are freezing in the summer.”
How to Wear It: “I like the flirty shape of the skirt on this dress and the more structured fitted sleeves. You can dress it down, add some edge or keep it classic. Make this look your own with these Saint Laurent booties. The combination is a little sexy: rock-‘n’-roll-meets-daytime professional. It’s about mixing it up!”
Discover the masterfully crafted world of McQueen.
Check out Kyle’s blog for more drool-worthy accessories and daily snapshots of his often-photographed style.
Runway images courtesy of McQueen