Ulyana Sergeenko Couture Spring 2013.

First reaction to this collection?  Costumes.  But costumes I would be happy to wear.  Silhouettes were stunning.  Beauty details were stunning.  Accessories were stunning.  Fabrications.  Shoes.  Styling.  So forth and so on.  Ulyana Sergeenko sent out a gorgeous collection for her second time around, vying for a place in the elite 'couture club'.

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Ulyana has always fascinated me.  As part of the Russian 'fash pack', Ulyana is not a new face on the fashion scene.  She and her equally hot/adorable Russian gal pals are always the hottest shot all the photographers are vying for outside the shows every season.  If I was to be slightly critical, it would be that this collection really just seems like an extension of the designer's own style.  But to contradict myself...maybe that's what makes it so good.  If you are your own inspiration, you're also your harshest critic.  Regardless, Ulyana's Russian roots and folklorish whimsy (yeah, I used that word, get over it) are obvious inspiration and I'm loving it.  See the entire collection here.

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Have you entered our giveaway yet?! Win a perfect piece of artwork that is sure to bring smiles to anyone...even in the middle of these winter blues.  Enter here!

(All images c/o Style.com)

Giambattista Valli Couture Spring 2013.

I don't have a lot to say on this collection other than it makes me want to find a place to wear a gown.  Someone sort out a reason for me to get all gussied up please. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7

For me, it missed the mark here and there.  I'm not a huge fan of the 80s 'high low' skirt style when it comes to couture...or anything other than a cheapo skirt.  And things may have skewed grown-up Cavalli at times.  And sometimes a little Dior (which I am not complaining about.)  But mostly, I spent the majority of the time I was looking at this collection squealing.  See the entire collection here.

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(All images c/o Style.com)

Chanel Couture Spring 2013.

I've not been saying a lot of nice things about Uncle Karl lately.  I've been underwhelmed by his recent collections and we all just have to deal with that.  I'd never say it to his face.  To be fair, I'm not sure if I could say anything to his face...I mean, in my world, he is more of a god than a mere mortal.  Sigh...

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This couture collection is not one of my soul-shaking fashion moments.  But this was some kind of brilliant 'Alice went to Wonderland and hooked up with the Mad Hatter' vibe.  And I dig that.  Seriously dig that.  Part of it may be the brilliant beauty that Karl always seems to deliver.  (No matter how wishy washy I may be about some of the Chanel collections, I always adore the beauty.)  See the entire collection here.

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(All images c/o Style.com)

Alexis Mabille Couture Spring 2013.

Couture is a dying art.  This season, for me at least, the collections seems to have started without me even really noticing.  Don't tell the rest of the fashion world I said that, please.  Anyway, the first collection I took a peek at was Alexis Mabille and was ready to be underwhelmed.  But dammit.  This collection makes me want to be a ballerina.  Or at least dress like one.  Or at least dress the way I think ballerinas should dress.

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Ballerina!  I want to be a mother f**king ballerina!  And the silver hair was pretty cool too.  But I may leave that for the runway...  But otherwise, wrap me up in tulle and send me on my way!  See the entire collection here.

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(All images c/o Style.com)

McQueen Spring 2013: The Bee's Knees in Paris.

Sarah Burton made her inspiration crystal clear for the Alexander McQueen Spring 2013 show in Paris this season.  Bees.  Cutesy?  Kitsch?  A bit too sweet?  Not in the McQueen world.  The bright yellows and floral appliques could have been a bit too over the top, even for this label, but the dark reminder of the sting and the regal nature of the colony were what poured through.

The take on the bee keeper hat was in your face but the references to golden honey, floral hints (in some cases, more of a punch than a hit) and honeycomb patterns all held true to the McQueen aesthetic.  Not to mention the silhouettes that the label has made famous.  Volume balanced by restrictive structure.  Is it commercial?  Of course not.  Not like this at least.  But Alexander McQueen always wanted to make a statement first and sell garments later.  Sarah Burton obviously understands and embraces that legacy.

(All images c/o Style.com)

Paris Spring 2013: Balenciaga, Barbara Bui, Cacharel.

Well, 'Fashion Month' is officially over.  Paris is the final week in the series and, arguably, the most important so LOOK OUT!  I've chosen some of my favorite shows this week to recap for you.  I'll try to keep it short and sweet because I know it has been fashion show overload recently.  But guess what?  I'm the boss.  But I'll be gentle. I feel like it is sacrilegious to not like a Balenciaga collection.  The name itself demands respect.  And it was a good show.  Not great.  Not super memorable.  But a good show.  It wasn't until well into the show that some of my favorite looks came out and, dare I say, they were super accessible!  I mean, I could see them walking down the street...maybe in my own closet?  Sweet dresses and especially the classic white sweater with a beautiful skirt!  Balenciaga is no longer for the hoity toity but for...well...us!

Oh Barbara Bui...what a sexy freakin' resurgence you're having!  If we are talking about a youthful update, in Paris terms of course, then this label is the poster child.  Leather on leather.  Black on blue.  Casual on gorgeous.  It was seriously simple.  Tailored, classic and comfortable - French fashion embodied.

Cacharel proved to be one of my favorite shows of the season.  Except the responsibility of this label fell upon only a few looks.  It started ok.  It ended a bit 'meh'.  But something happened in between that was delightful.  Maybe it was the color or the styling or the feminine silhouettes.  Oh I don't know.  And that's ok.  I just love it.  Sometimes that is good enough.

(All images c/o Style.com)

Missoni Spring 2013: White Washed.

Before I get into the beauty that is Missoni, I want to remind you of the beauty that is Astrid Endeavor and the necklace we are lucky enough to giveaway with the artist herself!  You have until Thursday to enter...which you can do HERE. Missoni is trademarked by its bright colors and zig-zag knits so you can imagine the surprise when, for their Spring 2013 show, both were subdued to the point of being completely absent at times.  But it suited the label so well!  One of the greatest and last fashion families still in operation, Missoni is still impossibly cool (mostly thanks to the presence of fun, young family spokesperson Margherita) but their fashions can seem a bit repetitive at times.  So it was incredibly refreshing to see and updated take on the Missoni trademark look.

It was still easy to see exactly what house the looks were coming from, even though the beauty and those bizarre imposing collars seemed to take a fair amount of attention.  When I think about the Missoni girl, she is organic, natural, effortless...slicked down hair with frizzy ends and the brightest possible lip color didn't, to me, seem to fit into the ethos that was already being tested.  But I guess this is Fashion Week(s) and I should shut my mouth.

Oh Missoni, you legend.  Would you like to come live in my closet?  Or better yet...can I come live in yours?

(All images c/o Style.com)

OH MY DIOR: The Spring 2013 Collection.

There is very little to say about this collection other than squeal with delight and make faces at it like you've just fallen in love.  One of the most anticipated shows of the season (the other being the newly renamed 'Saint Laurent'), all eyes were on Raf Simons to see if the magic he brought to his final Jil Sander show and his first Dior Couture show were simply flukes or the work of a real star.  So as guests settled into one of the four different colored block rooms specially constructed at Invalides in Paris (and I settled into my bed watching it live streaming online), there was quite the buzz.

 

 

 

Raf delivered.  Raf exceeded expectation.  I want Raf to be my best friend.  Saying before the show that he wanted to pay as much attention to the legacy that is Mr. Dior as he did to his own aesthetic and vision, it seems these two men make a great spiritual team.  With designers like Sarah Burton at McQueen getting some stick for trying too hard to recreate what her predecessor may have wanted and Hedi Slimane given a hard time for potentially stripping YSL of its heritage, Raf seemed to find a really happy medium.

 

 

 

 

 

Don't alienate but update.  It was Dior to the core but in a new era.  The shoes seemed to be a problem for a few of the models but if that is the biggest hurdle, who cares.  This was a gorgeous show and Raf has obviously found his way home.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Don't forget that you have a couple more days to enter our giveaway with the amazing Astrid Endeavor to win a necklace!  Enter here!

(Images c/o Style.com)

Luisa Beccaria Spring 2013: The Cool Girl From Ipanema.

If you're looking for a Spring 2013 show that chose a theme and then stuck to it come hell or high water, look no further than Luisa Beccaria.  Including a model that walked the catwalk holding a massive basket of flowers on her head, this show stood its ground.  It was a beautiful sweet sexiness that you come to love and expect from the Italians.

 

 

 

Parts of it seemed costume-y and there weren't any surprises as the show went on...you understood what the designer wanted to portray and that was that.  But none of this overshadowed the fact that this was a genuinely beautiful show.  Well, except that there also wasn't a huge amount of variation in looks...maxi dress after maxi skirt after maxi dress.  As a major supporter and promoter of the 'maxi' revolution, shapes didn't change much and I just kept thinking that all these massive silhouettes would swallow me alive.  I know it isn't all about me but it kinda is at the same time.  This is fashion after all!  :)

 

 

 

 

The beauty and styling kinda stole the show for me...as much as they could when I really did fall in love with some of the dresses.  The bright head wraps seemed silly at first look but actually ended up being quite perfect.  The simple make-up and straight hair evoked an effortless girlish charm that we all put a lot of effort into trying to recreate.  Bright pink lip, bronzed cheeks...all in all, a good pout and cheekbones.  In a sea of shows dedicated to black and white, as well as the return of the goth for springtime, the steadfast use of nothing but pink, blue and white was not revolutionary but refreshing.  A reminder of what season we were looking at.

 

 

 

 

 

 

(All images c/o Style.com)

Dries Van Noten Spring 2013: Parisian Powerhouse.

(Pssst...have you entered our giveaway to win a beautiful handmade necklace from Astrid Endeavor?!) You hear it every fashion 'month' from all the editors and trend spotters and just those who are passionate about this silly little fashion world.  'Well, you don't actually know what is happening until you get to Paris.'  No disrespect to New York, London and Milan in between (or maybe just a bit) but it's true.  Paris calls the shots.  Think you've seen a major trend happening?  Not unless Paris says so.

Dries Van Noten's Spring 2013 collection helped to solidify the French capital as the CEO as it were of the Fashion Week hierarchy.  As though saying, 'if you all won't stop going on about grunge then we are going to show you how to do it...the Parisian way'.  Schooled.  It was all about playing with traditional thoughts of what SHOULD be while maintaining effortless beauty.

Where heavy plaids should have been, sheer ones were placed.  No shape was extremely feminine nor masculine.  Pajamas and kimonos were used as a compliment to evening wear.  Intense appliques balanced what looked like the shirt you threw on because it's what you found on the floor when you were running out the door.  Pulled together but a total mess.  Perfectly Parisian.

(All images c/o Style.com)

Just Cavalli Spring 2013: Less Is More?!

This morning I watched a great interview with the legend Iris Apfel where she stated 'more is more and less is boring'.  So long story short on that is I am obsessed with her.  But this popped into my head as I looked at the Just Cavalli collection for Spring 2013.  Known for being the gaudy relative of Versace (not actually but I group them together because if I don't, it's all too much), I made sure to check out the show just because I felt like I should.  But goodness me!  I'm in love!

There seemed to be a certain restraint shown by Mr. Cavalli and it suited him well.  There is still the leopard prints and some clashing and bedazzlement and knee-high boots, so fear not if you are a die-hard fan.  But for those of us who never had much time for what we may consider glorified club wear, get on board.

P.S. Don't forget to enter our giveaway to win a stunning handmade necklace with Astrid Endeavor and moi here!

(All images c/o Style.com)

Mulberry Spring 2013: Busy & Beautiful. Real Beautiful.

I had high hopes for Mulberry.  Every season seems to be a seemingly impossible improvement on the year before.  The label is a total pro when it comes to holding tight to quirky English tradition and staying updated and, in fact, cooler than any of us can ever hope to be.  Am I setting myself up for disappointment?  I should be.  But dammit!  Emma Hill and her team have done it a-bloody-gain!

I'm not mad.  I'm excited.  Ok, I'm a little bit mad.  But only because I can't afford it.  Right now.  And I want all of it.  Right now.  I know it is part of the whole aesthetic of Mulberry but the collections make me want to get lost in some kind of magical forest dressed like the most adorable girl ever.  My one issue?  The poodles.  I don't like them and not even Mulberry can make me.

What was that?  You want to win a beautiful necklace?  Well, you're in luck...Thrill of the Chaise is giving one away with one of my favorite Etsy shops!  Enter here!

(All images c/o Style.com)

Temperley London Spring 2013: Love At First Fashion Sight.

I've always been in 'like' with Temperley.  It's quite pretty and Kate Middleton seems to like it and I'm supportive of anything that loves London as much as I do.  But I've been getting pretty bored.  Designers are allowed to have their moments of a 'nice' collection.  We can't all be geniuses all the time (that includes you, Karl) but when I look at a label and begin to think 'well, it's not offensive', I shut off. So thank you, lovely Alice Temperley, for pulling me out of my funk with you!  The Spring 2013 collection from Temperley London could easily double as a resort collection...but that's part of the fun.  It's very 1950s luxurious cruise through the Italian isles.  It's still got the cute factor but with enough sheer to remind you that Temperley designs for women.  Or rather, women with a girlish mentality.

 

Though it may be a bit of a darker reference, as the film as all about a cheating spouse and the perils of love, the collection really reminded me of Jean Luc Godard's 'Contempt'.  Brigitte Bardot as a film producer's wife shooting on the Italian coast and on the island of Capri in the 1950s.  Luxury, beauty and a bit of the French balance between sweet and sexy.

 

The mark of a beautiful garment is that it makes getting dressed to impress effortless.  These looks would stand out in any room and you'd genuinely be able to say 'oh this? I just threw it on'.  Also, who else is down with bringing back the lace glove look?  :)

(All images c/o Style.com)

LFW Spring 2013: Mary Katrantzou, Topshop Unique & Vivienne Westwood Red

I can imagine that designing a collection for Mary Katrantzou is double the stress for the designer.  She is known for her inventive and bold patterns as much as she is for the garments and looks themselves.  That s**t ain't easy.  This season, I have to say, Mary K seems to have really hit her stride as not just a wild textile mistress but as a designer playing against all the big boys.  The notion of old postage stamps offered a romantic and slightly childlike feel to an otherwise hectic aesthetic.  I'm more than obsessed with the color palettes and would happily slide myself into any of the dresses and accompanying shoes given half a chance.

I love Topshop.  And I love Topshop Unique for being able to hold its own (and even be one of the most anticipated London shows) in a sea of designers that aren't directly attached to a high-street shop.  The collection was nice.  Yup.  Nice.  Upon first look, my thought was 'this looks like a real designer collection'.  But that was immediately taken over by 'but is that what I really want out of Topshop?'  I expected something more cutting edge and innovative.  It was nice but forgettable...probably because it looks like the less memorable moments in the New York and London shows that have already come to pass.

It looked like the waiting room in Beetlejuice.  So it's no wonder why I got so excited about the Vivienne Westwood Red show.  With 50s Stepford Wives meeting Tim Burton, Miss Viv forces me to fall in love with her more with every look I get.  For all the kookiness, the looks and silhouettes were a bit more refined than I have come to expect.  But I think they needed to be.  It's all about what you do with the personality after all.  Don't ever stop being you Ms. Westwood.

House of Holland Spring 2013: Yes. A Million Times Yes.

In theory, I should love House of Holland.  In reality, I've always found it a bit 'try-too-hard' silly.  I try...I really do...because I want to be part of the Henry Holland clique.  And FINALLY the man has given me the chance!  Mr. Holland has gone a bit moody this season or at least as moody as this guy, who I can only assume is made of cotton candy and Skittles, can get.

Still present are all the bold prints and patterns the designer is known for but, and I know I keep saying this, it's a bit more mature.  I mean...not properly grown-up but not so damn goofy.  The boots are badass.  There are metallic biker jackets.  And these girls can really rock the beanie!  It's a bit like all the best parts of House of Holland and Marni collided.  I've gone from zero to giddy in 8 fashion show minutes.

I'm a little obsessed with the last look below...it's like I can suddenly be a kid of the 90s again but cool...really cool.

(All images c/o Style.com)

NYFW Spring 2013: Calvin Klein Collection, Nanette Lepore & Vera Wang.

In ways, it was classic Calvin Klein.  But then reading somewhere that 'the Clueless dress ain't got nothing on this' made it clear that this was actually Calvin all grown-up.  I can't imagine what kind of challenge it is to continually come up with collections that are so similar but so different...I mean, Calvin Klein is one of the oldest American labels out there for all intents and purposes and one that has one of the strictest brand identities I know.  Black.  White.  Angular.  No embellishment.  Sporty.  Not too sporty.  Mission accomplished.

Awwww, Nanette Lepore...silly amounts of sweet, almost as much cool and impressive use of 'just enough' color and sheer fabric.  It's about being a lady while also being a woman and I love that.  For me, the shoes were questionable but they somehow worked.  Just not on my feet.  I'll take the dresses.

I'm not entirely sure what to say about Vera Wang's Spring 2013 collection.  It could just be that I've been talking about the New York shows for what seems like ages now and I've run out of steam on them but it's also because I'm a bit torn.  It was a beautiful show.  Her shapes, textures and, augh, everything was gorgeous.  Everything I would wear in a heartbeat.  There was some kind of deconstructed glamour about all the looks that really gets me going.  It felt like Vera but it also felt a little like Vivienne Westwood and Alexander McQueen at times too.  I'll still take it though...and I want a pair of those f**king shoes too.

(All images c/o Style.com)

Bebe Spring 2013: Everything You Didn't Expect.

I wasn't too excited about going to see the Bebe Spring 2013 presentation during New York Fashion Week.  My feet were getting tired.  My head was starting to go dizzy.  And I don't have much time for low-end club wear at high-end prices.  Harsh?  Maybe a little.  But don't act like you don't think the same thing.  Press releases had gone out that the brand was making a leap into a new identity...away from trashy (not exactly their words but not far off) towards the Bebe girl who has grown-up.

 

So I showed up.  Reluctantly.  And then was kept waiting in line outside for an hour.  Angrily.  Needless to say, at 45 minutes into the wait, I had already written-off this collection.  Whatever was  behind those doors, I was going to tear apart.  As I started to make a mental list of all the things Bebe should fire their marketing team for, I was finally welcomed into the building and slowly ushered into what could really only be described as a 'pod'.

 

 

And for someone who holds a grudge pretty easily, DAMMIT, I was impressed.  As I peered through portals (literally) lit up with bright white lights at stoic models, I was really put in my place.  The collection was great.  Updated shapes, colored leather, styling to be envious of...it would have been impossible for anyone to guess this was Bebe.  One side of the room glowed with white and pale pink as it faced 4 identical portals (some with packs for 3 or 5 models) donning black and green jewel tones.

Bebe isn't out of the clear yet...but here's to hoping they deliver these goods.  I want them and I think we all deserve them.

(All images c/o Style.com)

NYFW Spring 2013: Badgley Mischka, Betsey Johnson, Emerson & Norisol Ferrari

Whenever I think of Badgley Mischka, I think of extreme formal wear and dresses.  I'm not complaining but that is what I have come to expect from this staple of New York Fashion Week.  And the Badgley Mischka boys gave us exactly what we wanted but a little bit more. The stand out looks from this show were actually the seperates...including sweatpants!  Even the most casual garments had the special flare of the label (i.e. gold, embroidery, bedazzlement) so nothing seemed out-of-place or entirely unusual, just refreshing and ever so romantic.

It is a life goal of mine to go to a Betsey Johnson show.  The Queen of all things kooky did not disappoint this year and though she may have given us some pretty strong insight into the reasons she ended up filing for bankruptcy this year, she also didn't let that get her down.  Bizarre props, including an actual piglet, were gleefully used by models who struck you as the type of cool girl that you were also a little bit scared of.  An insane amount of looks shimmied down the runway, each styled like a little girl who wants to wear all of her favorite things at once.  In truth, I made a point to not show you this show and the Anna Sui show in the same post because I am pretty sure all our heads would explode  :)

I had the pleasure of attending the Emerson at Lincoln Center this year and for someone who was otherwise unfamiliar with the label, I left being pretty excited about it.  I don't know if it was the inspiration or the styling or the label itself but I really did fall a little bit in love.  Focused on the idea of 1970s horror films, the Emerson show did an amazing job at depicting the beautiful bad girl.  From the first look with a very cool letter man jacket to the black dip-dyed messy braids, this show was youthful and girly without letting you think for a minute that the Emerson chick wouldn't kick your ass given half a reason.  It was a collision of the 'Carrie' and 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' (the movie, not the TV show) in all the best ways.  And the final walk complete with red confetti to a Beastie Boys anthem sealed the deal.

Another show I was happy to attend this seasons was Norisol Ferrari.  To sum up the experience, a drum & bass version of 'Hey Big Spender' was met with outfit names such as 'Dinner with the Ex' and 'How I Got My Raise' and models ranged from new unknowns to 81-year-old supermodels who maybe made moments of the show a bit creepy but kept the entertainment up.  It was a beautiful show, as evident below, drawing on the idea of the classic Hollywood starlet.  Not ground breaking but it doesn't always need to be.

(Badgley Mischka and Betsey Johnson images c/o Style.com. Emerson images c/o Zimbio. Norisol Ferrari images c/o fashionising.com)

Viktor Luna Spring 2013: All Grown-Up.

It is impossible to not adore Viktor Luna.  From his infectiously fun personality to his label's ultra-modern aesthetic, it's no wonder he is one of Project Runway's favorite alumni.  Last season, Viktor showcased his first independent collection at New York Fashion Week and was met with huge excitement (read about it here).  His original space-age prints mixed with edgy tailoring offered quite the presentation of men's and women's looks.  His women are powerful and his men are dapper.

 

 

 

So with such a strong theme last season, it begged the question as to how Viktor was going to not only top last year but also peaked curiosity as to what familiar signature he would choose to begin to carry through all this collections.  In truth, I was impressed.  Really impressed.  In just one season, Viktor not only stayed true to his style but it seemed more grown-up.  In the best way possible.  There was a certain refinement that we didn't even know we were looking for.  And there were small injections of the designer's Mexican heritage that proved his heart was in his work more than ever.

 

 

 

 

For me, it was the navy gown and unexpected wedding dress and suit that stole the show.  All the classic elements were there but it was all so unconventional...without being alienating.  Viktor stepped outside the box just enough to make it very clear that he knows who he is and not giving us any choice but to get excited about the present and the future of the Viktor Luna label.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IUfP6KJOdtE&feature=player_embedded]

(All images c/o Zimbio and Viktor Luna)

NYFW Spring 2013: Prabal Gurung, Rebecca Minkoff, Thom Browne & Anna Sui

Did Prabal Gurung set the world on fire with his Spring 2013 collection?  Not really.  Did he give us some looks that we love and made us say 'I really need to be cooler'?  Of course.  Prabal is a designer that everyone is rooting for and one that is also still finding his way in this mad fashion world.  He mixed strict tailoring with ruffled chiffon (never together, just within the same show) and though it may have offered a disconnect as far as a strong aesthetic, it embodied what all females are at the end of the day...all f**king over the place.  There is something for everyone in this show but the hope is that Prabal will start to refine and really show us all what kind of proper powerhouse he is.

Rebecca Minkoff couldn't be flying higher if she tried.  And the thing is, she seems like a real good laugh so you get excited to see what she's up to.  From videos with the Man Repeller walking on a treadmill in heels to prep for fashion week to some of the coolest live music during her shows, the girl knows how to have fun.  She knows who she is and she wants us all to enjoy it with her.  What I love most about Ms. Minkoff is that she dresses her girls as she would dress herself...to an extreme.  And it totally works.  I want to be Rebecca and I bet you do too.  Now give me all these looks because I want to wear them immediately.

Thom Browne is a man I love to watch for.  He's dark and moody and odd but also refined.  His shows always make you feel a bit like you've stepped into a Tim Burton movie and sometimes that's exactly where I want to be.  Thom pushes boundaries of comfort...not in the way that Alexander McQueen did but in a more subdued and permeating way.  It may not take your breath away in the moment but it stays with you.  Sometimes the hint is more effective than the shout.  And anyone that ends a show with a Kate Bush track is more or less a God in my book.

Oh Anna, Anna, Anna!  I adore you.  Last season I had the incredible pleasure of being able to attend the Anna Sui show during New York Fashion Week (read about it here) and though the designer may be a bit too 'costume-y' for me at times, she always offers up a real show.  It is easy to get involved in what Anna is delivering and her passion and excitement is palpable as soon as you walk into the room. What I love most about this collection is that it really felt like Anna was returning to her roots.  She loves to dress the teenager who never grew up.  Nothing is too fussy and her elements of embroidery and child-like design still manage to not just peek through but stand strong.  I had given up on leggings (and rightfully so) but Anna has me questioning everything I stand for.  Thank goodness I have her.

(All images c/o Style.com)