Preview the Eva Mendes for New York & Company Holiday 2013 Collection
News flash: few celebrities actually have an innate sense of style. All those candid snaps you see in US Weekly and In Touch of your favorite actresses and singers running errands and hitting the playground with their kids? Well, many of those celebs are wearing T-shirts and jeans gifted to them — which is why, if you de-program yourself and really start to see past all the “celebrity” mumbo jumbo, you will objectively come to the conclusion that these famous girls look either completely generic during their days off or, worse, downright sloppy. There are, of course, some exceptions. Gwen Stefani manages to look cool and modern even when walking her dog. Jessica Alba can take her daughter on a hayride and still look fabulous. And Eva Mendes can be picking up a loaf of bread or putting gas in her car and she’ll still likely look prim and pretty in a floral day dress. Given that Mendes has always manifested an interest in fashion — and has consistently shown a knack for dressing to flatter her figure — it seems like a natural progression that she would design her own fashion line (especially given that, in this day and age, even C-list reality TV “stars” are developing clothing lines, masterminding book deals, launching low-calorie snack lines, and so forth). So, in a sense, it wasn’t all that shocking when I heard that Eva Mendes was designing her own line for New York & Company. What was surprising was the retailer with whom she chose to develop a clothing line. She didn’t go for a highly accessible budget chain store like, say, Kmart or Walmart, nor did she flock to some high-end boutique known for its limited-edition collections (think Colette Paris or Opening Ceremony). Instead, she chose a rather mid-level store known for having on-trend but work-appropriate fair at reasonable prices (and plenty of blowout sales during the year).
After earning the public’s accolades with her debut collection for New York & Company (in stores now), Mendes has designed a more vast follow-up collection for the Holiday 2013 season, arriving in stores on November 15th. In keeping with New York & Company’s overall aesthetic, the designs are understated and classic but with understated modern details. The choice of fabrics, meanwhile, conveys the traditional femininity that we associate with Mendes’ own style. The palette is fairly muted, with ivory, black, peach, mauve, and gray playing the most prominent roles, but what the collection lacks in color, it makes up for in terms of interchangeability — most separates can be mixed and matched in a number of ways so that you really get some bang for your buck.
The silhouettes, meanwhile, have a retro vibe, but they still manage to look modern and youthful. For instead, the Danielle Lace-Striped Dress ($84.95), shown fourth above in Ivory/Black and in Black/Black, channels the 1950s thanks to its slim bodice, belted waist, and pleated A-line skirt, but the black-and-white striped pattern lends the design a bit of Mod attitude, while the lace again adds that soft and girly sweetness. That 1950s feel also seems to have inspired the Meanie Draped Shoulder Top ($46.95), shown third above in Weave Walnut Pink and in Peach, a short-sleeved blouse with a draped, ruffled detail that extends from the neckline to the shoulder. Meanwhile, there’s a 1970s disco flair to the Jasmine Chiffon Dress ($79.95), shown ninth above, which has a bit of a draped, flowing, goddess-like feel, but which has a one-shoulder construction and a short hemline — not to mention a mega-shiny fabric —for that added razzle-dazzle.
In keeping with the Victorian influences that ruled the Fall/Winter 2013 runways, the collection incorporates a baroque print with sequined details. This print — one of the collection’s highlights —appears in such pieces as the Julie Sequin Tee ($59.95), shown at top in Black/Gold; the Alicia Sequin Pencil Skirt ($64.95), shown seventh above with a black keyhole blouse; and the Olivia Sequin Dress ($89.95), shown second above in Black and last above in Magnificent Mauve. The Julie tee’s cuffed neckline make it look endearingly prim, and you can imagine pairing this piece with a black pencil pencil skirt and a cropped blazer for an office-ready look, with black leather pants for a rocker chic vibe, or with jeans for a laid-back but glam look. The Olivia Sequin Dress, meanwhile incorporates long sleeves in a see-through chiffon fabric with cinched sleeve openings that create a billowing, balloon-like effect.
Other standout pieces include the Silky Halter Top ($46.95), shown sixth above in Animal Camo Peach, and the Allegra Signature Necklace ($49.95), shown eighth above.
So what’s the verdict on the collection? Well, there are some absolutely adorable pieces (like the Julie tee and the Danielle dress) that, while not necessarily showstoppers, can prove really versatile in a modern woman’s wardrobe, transitioning from one realm to the next. Was I floored by anything? Well, no. But, then, these pieces aren’t necessarily supposed to have that “Bam!” effect; they’re silent weapons in a woman’s arsenal, parts of a quiet storm.
Whatever your thoughts, my experience with New York & Company has been that it’s all about the fit. Some garments look great on the rack (or on the body-less model selected for their ad campaign or lookbooks) but they’ll look completely different on every customer, flattering some women while giving others double stomachs, wider hips, odd-shaped breasts, and so forth. So, before you go buying everything in sight, make sure to try it on!
Check out some additional pieces from the collection below and let me know your thoughts! Which would you wear?