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Color Crush Holiday Gift Guide Part 5 — Striking Gifts in Black and White!

We’re well into the “12 Days of Christmas” countdown, so it’s time to speed things along with our Color Crush Holiday Gift Guide! After exploring red, green, gold, silver, pink, and purple gift options, we’re focusing on goodies in classic white and black hues. Some recall the snowy backdrops of the winter season, while others boast Art Deco, Mod, and Op Art influences, but one thing they all have in common is that there’s no question about their coolness quotient — it’s right there in black and white!


Alaïa Eau de Parfum Blanche, $150 for 3.3 fl. oz. Available at Saks Fifth Avenue stores.

The clear and translucent bottle and the elegant white box of the latest Azzedine Alaïa fragrance, Alaïa Eau de Parfum Blanche, immediately convey the natural buoyancy and  diaphaneity of the aromatic composition inside the elegant vessel. Developed by Marie Salamagne, Alaïa Eau de Parfum Blanche features top notes of almond, mid notes of heliotrope, and musk and vanilla base notes that, together, successfully create a scent that feels as enticing as a flicker of candlelight between smitten lovers, as warm and welcoming as a ray of sunshine streaming through a glass windowpane. That sunny quality is complemented by the sweetness of almonds, the milkiness of the vanilla base notes, and the blissful femininity of heliotrope flowers. According to Salamagne, this scent was inspired by Azzedine Alaia’s trip to The Alhambra, a former Arabic palace and fortress in Granada, within Spain’s the Andalusia region. The fragrance’s solar spirit, then, likely stems from the light streaming in through the windows under the Muqarnas (stalactite-like decorations along the underside of arched ceilings) in certain palace chambers or, for that matter, through the arabesque windows in the Hall of the Ambassadors. I also love the milkiness of the scent in that it reminds of the traditional pre-wedding ritual in Morocco during which brides-to-be bathe in milk prior to dressing for the ceremony.





Adriana Castro Anka Satchel in Watersnake and Leather, $1350. Available at AdrianaCastroOnline.com

Colombian handbag designer Adriana Castro prides herself on masterminding statement-making pieces that give any outfit an elegant air. Her designs often incorporate fine Italian leather (treated and tanned in Tuscany) and exotic water snake, crocodile, python, ostrich and lizard skins that she splices together to create interesting chromatic and textural juxtapositions. This stunning satchel features a body comprised primarily of water snake, dyed to create jagged white-and-black vertical stripes, with supple black leather accentuating the base of the bag, the top handle, and the half moon-shaped top flap.


J.Crew Midnight Crystal Necklace, $128. Available at JCrew.com

Even the simplest of LBDs will look positively regal when accessorized with this statement necklace, featuring a black grosgrain ribbon tie. The gold-plated brass and zinc metal necklace features intricate floral shapes embellished with clear and black glass and epoxy stones, as well as acrylic beads in golden, light mint, and smoky topaz hues.


Salvatore Ferragamo Eva Mosaic Block Heel Pumps, $595. Available at Bloomingdales.com

It may have taken a while, but it seems like media, advertising, and fashion industries are finally embracing women with voluptuous bodies (Kate Upton, Ashley Graham, Christina Hendricks, and so on), so it’s only fitting that footwear designers move beyond stick-thin heels and rediscover their love for wider heels that are every bit as striking as their stiletto counterparts! Among those enjoying the resurgence of the block heel is Italian brand Salvatore Ferragamo. With its round toe and black suede uppers, this pump nods to the 1940s, but the embellished block heel and bow accent add a level of ornamentation that’s thoroughly modern and graphic.


DKNY Pinstripe Cropped Pullover Sweater, $198. Available at DKNY.com

Pinstripes aren’t exclusive to business-ready jackets, pencil skirts, and trousers. DKNY took the motif to a trendier and sportier realm with this figure-hugging, 100% wool jumper, which features a mock neck and a belly-baring length. Just imagine it with wide-leg pants and platform sneakers.




Noir Jewelry Helium Ring, $40. Available at NoirNYC.com

Inspired by planetary orbits, this 18-carat gold-plated brass ring features a marble-like center bead that’s black on one side and white on the other and which seems to rotate around a horizontal axis. The design recalls the usual illustrated rendering of lunar phases.


Ralph Lauren Satin Robe & Short Sleep Set, $154. Available at RalphLauren.com

Sleeping in raggedy shorts and worn-in T-shirts might be comfortable, but it won’t necessarily lead to any sparks in the boudoir. At the same time, who wants to watch TV or read a book in a lace teddy or a corseted slip? This short sleep set, featuring a lace-trimmed cami with a V-shaped neckline and a pair of shorts with a lace-trimmed hem. The satin-like robe that completes the set, meanwhile, features 3/4-length sleeves, a lace-trimmed placket, and a self-tie belt.


Botkier Valentina Backpack, $298. Available at Botkier.com

Backpacks are all grown-up these days — a fact that can be proven by the very existence if this Botkier backpack, which is crafted out of genuine leather and features rocker chic gunmetal-toned hardware. Measuring 9.25″ in height, 11″ in length, and 4″ in depth, this backpack is large enough to carry textbooks, notebooks, iPads, wallets, makeup bags, and much more — which is, after all, the primary purpose of a backpack! Functionality aside, this backpack feels remarkably modern thanks to its boxy silhouette and the contrasting textures and finished of the vertical stripes along the top flap: the glossy white stripes of varying widths, the embossed snakeskin print panel at the center, the distressed black leather stripe along the backpack’s left side, and the glossy black leather stripes on each outer edge of the angular flap. The zigzagging edging along the top flap also adds a contemporary twist.


DVF Joneva Leather Jacket, $1298. Available at DVF.com

An edgy wink to organized chaos — or, at least, to the beauty of entropy — this classic moto jacket features a black-and-white splatter paint print that gives a wink-wink to graffiti art and Pollock-esque abstract art. Made of lambskin leather, the jacket features an asymmetrical front zip closure, two zippered front pockets, and zip-off sleeves so that it can be transformed into a vest.


White House Black Market Porcelain Trinket Tray, $24.50. Available at WhiteHouseBlackMarket.com

This porcelain tray will look fabulous on any dresser or nightstand. Measuring 6 1/2″ in length, 5 1/2″ in height, and 3/4″ in depth, the white tray features a glossy black trim along its perimeter and a hint of gold — the perfect combination for any Chanel lover. And, of course, the Coco Chanel quote stamped on the tray sums up your thoughts on the recipient: she’s classy and fabulous!



Kat Von D Everlasting Mini Liquid Lipstick Set, $49. Available at Sephora.com

It only makes sense that an acclaimed ink master would develop a liquid lipstick formula that has practically as much staying power as a tattoo. Kat Von D has accomplished precisely this feat with her Everlasting Liquid Lipsticks, which come in bold and adventurous colors, offer full coverage, and stay in place for hours on end. Initially, the colors look liquid and have a glossy finish but, as they dry, they reveal a truly matte finish — all the while maintaining their striking pigmentation and keeping lips hydrated and comfortable thanks to the vitamin E and sunflower seed oil in the lipsticks’ formula. This new Everlasting Mini Liquid Lipstick Set features eight mini lip colors, among them two new hues: Plath, a deep russet red, and Roxy, a bright grape color.

Below, check out swatches of: Backstage Bambi, an ’80s-inspired hot pink; Lovesick, a mauve pink with nude undertones; Echo, a navy blue that borders on deep violet; and L.U.V., a magenta violet shade.



Next, check out swatches of Santa Sangre, a vermillion red; Plath, a reddish russet brown; Roxy, a grape-y, electric violet hue; and Mother, a pink mauve shade.



All eight 3 ml Liquid Lipsticks are packaged inside a black box with bold silver lettering for a bad-to-the-bone feel.



Oasis Osaka Embroidered Dress, $120. Available at Oasis-Stores.com

Leather may be associated with strength and toughness (think bikers, dominatrixes, rocker girls, action movie stars, and so on), but this dress explores the line between bold and demure, durable and fragile, tough and delicate via the intricate rose vines and feather-spreading birds embroidered along the sides of the skirt and bodice, as well as adorning the sleeves.



Sondra Roberts Marble Resin Clutch, $85. Available at NastyGal.com

Who wouldn’t lose their marbles trying to get a hold of this Sondra Roberts clutch? Made of a white marble-print resin, this mesmerizing clutch features a paneled construction, a fold-over flap, and a hidden magnetic snap closure.




Melissa Flower Boot, $235. Available at ShopMelissa.com

Leave the bright yellow rain boots to Paddington Bear and, instead, opt for a more fashion-forward form of waterproof footwear. These biker-inspired rain boots will keep feet warm and dry while adding a touch of drama to any ensemble via their three-dimensional floral motifs.



Cricket “I Got 99 Bobby Pins, But I Can’t Find One” Bobby Pin Tin, $9.95. Available at Ulta stores.

A clever riff on the hook of Jay-Z’s “99 Problems,” this cheeky tin is stamped with the phrase “I got 99 pins, but I can’t find one.” Most women can relate to the bobby pin conundrum (I have a theory about there being a bobby pin monster and a sock monster that work together to make us think we’re losing our minds when we can’t find the objects they so ruthlessly swipe from us!). This whimsical tin, however, should help you keep all those slippery pins organized in one place. And, in case, you were wondering, there really are 99 pins inside the tin!



Tartan + Twine Cosmic Divide Medium Clutch, $24. Available at Ulta.com

Whether stores inside a roomy tote or a carry-on suitcase, this medium-sized bag will help you organize your toiletries, cosmetics, First Aid supplies, and hair styling accessories. The zippered bag, made of black PU with metallic foil details, features a mesh divider on the inside that creates two separate compartments. Keep a boar bristle brush on one side and rubber bands, bobby pins, and barrettes on the other, or pack your eyeshadows and lipsticks on one side and your foundations and blushes on the other.



BCBGMAXAZRIA Zola Color-Blocked Top, $228. Available at BCBG.com

With its kimono-like sleeves and layered construction, this satin-back crepe top exudes an easy elegance. The black trim along the shoulders and the back of the long sleeves, meanwhile, makes for a very minimalist take on color-blocking.


Kate Spade Janna Glasses, $179.97. Available at Visionworks.com

Whether you opt for clear lenses or black tinted ones (like those shown here), these Kate Spade eyeglasses have a delightfully retro and totally chic flair. The cat-eye shape itself nods to the 1950s, while the black-and-white striped brow bars add to the Elvis-in-the-Jailhouse-Rock-video feel.



Shu Uemura Murakami Holiday Collection Cosmic Blossom Eye & Cheek Palette in Cosmicool, $65 . Available at ShuUemura-USA.com

Even if the name Takashi Murakami doesn’t ring a bell, you’ve likely come across the Japanese contemporary artist’s work — after all, he designed the cover art for Kanye West’s sophomore album, Graduation; collaborated with Louis Vuitton for 13 years on some iconic handbag designs (the white bags with the multi-colored LV logo print, the cherry blossom-adorned collection, and the camo print LV logo luggage set); and his work was even transformed into a June 2011 Google doodle. The psychedelic and multi-colored flowers that recur through much of Murakami’s work now adorn the products in the limited-edition Shu Uemura Beauty and Shu Uemura Art of Hair Holiday 2016 collection. The artwork on this glossy black Shu Uemura Cosmic Blossom Eye & Cheek Palette, then, is enough to make it a collector’s item, but the eyeshadows inside really seal the deal. Inspired by clusters of stars twinkling in space, the palette features three satin colors, one matte shadow, and three glitter-packed shades, as well as a shimmering pink blush hue.

Here are the first three eye shadow shades in the Cosmicool palette: C1, a deep, blue-toned, metallic lavender with lilac sparkle; C2, a dreamy pink lilac shade, and C3, a subtle lavender shade with iridescent glitter:


Next, you can see the two darkest shades in the palette — C4, a sooty and earthy gray with a pearlescent finish, and C5, a midnight navy with a smoky feel and a matte finish — as well as a glitter-packed gold shadow and a sparkly silver glitter shadow:


And since beautiful cosmic-inspired shades will make any girl smile, the palette includes this pretty pink blush shade to accentuate the apples of the cheeks:


And, of course, it has some scattered glitter flecks to keep that stardust magic alive!


Alexis Bittar Lattice Lace Pearl Hinge Bracelet, $275. Available at AlexisBittar.com

If you stare closely at the embellished hinge closure on this black lucite bracelet, you’ll notice that the vertical trio of prong-set, light gray pearls resemble the body of a butterfly while the glass and crystal beads along each side form triangular shapes that resemble wings.


French Connection Manzoni 3D Floral Lace Sleeved Jumper, $138. Available at USA.FrenchConnection.com

Talk about having a few tricks up your sleeve! This cotton-knit French Connection sweater has a classic  V-shaped neckline, gathered cuffs, and a roomy fit that conveys laid-back ease, but its semi-sheer sleeves, which feature three-dimensional floral lace detailing, add a romanticism to the otherwise clean and sporty design.


Guess Spiral Chain Ring, $38. Available at Shop.Guess.com

This is one delightful bit of finger food! These two rings are connected by a chain link strand, so that they can be worn on adjacent fingers or stacked atop each other. Each ring features a black leather-like insert and shiny gold-toned edges that jut out like the top and bottom rims of a spool of thread.


Banana Republic Plaid Boucle Scarf, $58. Available at BananaRepublic.Gap.com

Measuring 80″ in length and 20″ in width, this cozy scarf features a classic black, white, and gray plaid print that will harmonize with black biker jackets, white robe coats with oversize shawl collars, hip-length  jewel-toned peacoats, military maxi coats in navy and burgundy, and black puffer jackets.





Jonathan Adler Glitter Canister, $88. Available at JonathanAdler.com

Shaped like a classic Big Top circus tent, this Jonathan Adler canister adds a whimsical feel to any table, bathroom cabinet, living room shelf, or kitchen countertop. Made of high-fired porcelain, then glazed by hand, the canister measures 4″ in width and 6″ in height so that it can store a plethora of items — from biscotti, dried pasta and beans, rice, flour, coffee grinds, tea bags, and cookies to cotton balls, Q-Tips, wedge sponges, and more.



Tuleste 2″ Lace Pom Pom T-Bar Earrings, $85. Available at Tuleste.com

No need to be a cheerleader in order to sport some pom-poms! Instead, you can bring it on harder than the Toros and the Clovers combined with these black lace Tuleste pom pom earrings, which measure 2″ in diameter and dangle from 2.75″-long, brass-plated metal bars that form a “T” shape.


Japonesque Pixelated Color Eye Shadow Palette, $38. Available at Ulta.com

Prepare to be mesmerized smoldering, multi-dimensional, pigment-packed eyeshadows in Japonesque’s Pixelated Color Eye Shadow Palette, which feature color-shifting pearls that catch and scatter the light. The six Pixelated Eye Shadow shades are accompanied by four Pro Basic shades in soft neutral tones designed to help blend, diffuse, and buff.

First, check out the four Pro Basic eyeshadow shades in the palette:


The 01 shade is a lovely whitened pink pearl shade with a very soft white finish, while the 02 shadow is a light, golden cream color with a more resplendent satin finish. The 03 shade, then, takes us into earthy territory with its light gray-tinged brown hue and soft satin finish, while the 04 shadow is a smoky carbon black with a high satin finish.

Moving on to the pixelated shades, check out the 05, 06, and 07 eyeshadows:


These high-impact shades have a bit of a rock ‘n’ roll edge to them — from the gunmetal 05 shade with its lilac reflects to the 06 shade, a blackened emerald green with purple shimmer, and the 07 shade, a midnight blue shade with violet reflects.

Next, we have more prismatic wonders:


As you can see, shade 08 is a metallic taupe hue with pewter-like undertones and plenty of color-shifting pearls, while 09 is a deep metallic bronze shade with tonal shimmer, and 10 is a deep red violet with scattered color-shifting pearls.

You can wear the prismatic shades all over your lower lids for a truly adventurous look or you can apply one of the Pro Basic shades as a base layer and work a Pixelated eye shadow into the outer corners and crease.



Alice + Olivia Lucia Racerback Dress, $440. Available at AliceandOlivia.com

We tend to associate crochet dresses with Boho girls frolicking through grassy expanses, picking wildflowers and putting them in their hair, or with beach-bound beauties soaking in the sun, their bikinis visible through the woven material. This sleeveless dress doesn’t quite fight against those mental associations but, rather, it expands upon them. While the lower half of the dress is unlined and features high side slits, characteristics that are consistent with the aforementioned free-spirited themes, the lining on the upper half adds a level of sophistication while the black and white horizontal stripes add a Mod influence. The result is a dress that combines Edie Sedgwick’s fun-loving aesthetic with Alessandra Ambrosio’s earthy vibes.


donatienne-white-jewelry-pouch-open donatienne-jewelry-pouch

Donatienne Jewelry Pouch in Snow White, $350. Available at DonatienneHandbags.com

If you travel with a lot of jewelry (hey, every woman has a right to assess numerous options when accessorizing!), then you’ve likely had the irksome experience of opening a so-called jewelry organizer or pouch to find all your necklaces tangled in knots, hooks of earrings dangling from chain links inside the muddled jewelry ball. The sight usually involves some sighing, whimpering, and maybe an Advil or two in preparation for the enormous headache of untangling the cluster of baubles. Well, what if there were a jewelry pouch that could truly keep delicate chains, statement necklaces, cuff bracelets, tassel earrings, studs, midi rings, and chokers in their proper place? That’s precisely what you can expect from this Donatienne jewelry pouch, made of 100% Italian calf leather and featuring a 100% synthetic interior. The zippered pouch  features a multitude of compartments: a zippered pouch for large earrings; a panel with a slim leather strip featuring two snap closures on either side that’s perfect for storing rings and, beneath it, a broader leather strap (again with snap closures on either sides) featuring tiny perforations along its length designed to store stud earrings; a fold-out section with two zippered pockets; and another zippered pouch for miscellaneous objects like bangles and cuffs. Not only will this pouch solve any travel-related jewelry woes, but it can keep your bling organized at home —  big plus when you don’t have much space in which to organize your trinkets.








Savannah Hayes Antwerp Pillow, $198. Available at SavannahHayes.com

Made of 100% Belgian linen, this pillow will add a fun graphic element to any solid-colored living room furniture — whether it’s a black leather sectional, a red microfiber love seat, an upholstered loveseat in a sunny yellow, or a beige linen armchair. With its complex grid of triangular and diamond shapes, this pillow feels like a tribute to M.C. Escher’s maze-like drawings.





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