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Luxe Meets Practical

“Design is a constant challenge to balance comfort with luxe, the practical with the desirable."
                                                                           - Donna Karan

From dollar bin t-shirts to avant-garde fashion masterpieces, the clothing industry is full of extremes. Mass-produced clothes with little to no design elements exemplify the definition of shoddy workmanship and will most likely develop a hole after one or two wash cycles (you know what I'm referring to!). I once bought a sweater from a street vendor at Notting Hill's famous Portobello Market in West London. I wore it once and tossed it into the washing machine like the label told me to do. When I retrieved it, it had literally disintegrated into pieces. The lack of quality construction was appalling.

The other extremes are haute couture and avant-garde. Haute couture is clothing of the highest caliber. It is custom made for a specific customer using only the finest fabric and often has hand-sewn elements. In the fashion world, the term avant-garde means an innovative creation that pushes the boundaries and has never been done before. It is often a radical fashion statement with an over-the-top design. Think Lady Gaga. These garments are exquisitely made and mesmerizing to look at coming down the runway, but not sensible for everyday wear.

There is a middle ground where luxe can be practical without being boring. Many designers including Marc Jacobs, Calvin Klein, and Donna Karan have built their fashion empires by creating clothing that is comfortable and appealing. I ordered a stunning printed fabric and it just arrived in the mail this week. I thought it would be more versatile to make separates instead of a dress, yet still pass as a dress when worn together. I added a high collar to give the top an interesting and modern vibe.