How I Work Out: Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin

Sometimes, on days where I’m so busy I don’t have time to work out (or just so drained I don’t have the energy to do anything but blog and make up anti-workout excuses), or be as active as I like to be, I like to look at photography by Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin. The pair create photographs so dynamic and full of movement that I feel like I’m engaging in physical activity vicariously through their work. It’s SO efficient.

And just in case you wanted to get a window-workout with me, here are some of my favorite Inez and Vinoodh shots:

Don’t forget to hydrate post workout.


Coco Zoe


Fashion faux pas: What’s in a name?

Confession time.

My first semester at “fashion school” I committed a huge sin: I referred to the design house of Proenza Schouler as a “she.” (As in, “OMG, did you see the Spring 2012 Proenza Schouler line? SHE is SUCH a genius.”)


Jack Mccollough and Lazaro Hernandez

Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez, the men behind Proenza Schouler. The lined was named after combining the two designers’ mothers’ maiden names.

And shame on me, too. I should have known better. Not only for the fact that, hello, I enrolled in school specifically to study fashion, but also because others run into the same difficulty with my favorite designer and design house — Alber Elbaz designing for Lanvin — and I get beyond indignant any time Elbaz were referred to as a “she,” as though Jeanne Lanvin were still alive and in charge. (BTWs, Lanvin, a.k.a. @LANVINofficial, is following me, a.k.a @xococozoe, on Twitter. That means it’s only appropriate for you to follow me too!!!)

Alber Elbaz, the genius behind Lanvin.

Alber Elbaz, the genius behind Lanvin.

But, in reality, it’s NOT that difficult to get designers and design houses confused: many designers collaborate, and unite under one house name, as in the case of Proenza Schouler, or other designers take up office the name-holding designer has vacated, either because they have long-since died (i.e. Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel), or because they were caught spewing anti-semitic obsceneties and subsequently suspended from their eponymous lines (i.e. John Galliano. Seriously, though, the most brilliant geniuses are also the most MAD).

John Galliano, in his signature "if-Bret-Michaels-had-sex-with-with-Aramis-from-The-Three-Musketeers" sense of style.

John Galliano, displaying his signature “if-Bret-Michaels-had-sex-with-with-Aramis-from-The-Three-Musketeers” sense of style.

And with today’s business politics inspiring corporations (LVMH and Gucci Group, we’re looking at you) to play a never-ending game of musical chairs, it’s becoming more and more difficult to keep up with who’s who and where — unless you’re Alexander Wang, then in February 2013 the entire U.S. FINALLY knew the name of designer behind Balenciaga. (P.S. I love you, A. Wang, but Balenciaga will always be synonymous with Nicolas Ghesquiere to me).

Nicolas Ghesquiere, former designer of Balenciaga.

Nicolas Ghesquiere, former designer of Balenciaga.

But here, to save as many poor souls as possible from future faux pas, are five hot designers and the even-hotter non-eponymous houses they design for.
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Suit up, ladies.

If there are two things that I’ve learned about myself while attending fashion school that I didn’t know before, it’s that (1) even though I still die for a chic-ly bad-ass all-black outfit (particularly if there’s leather involved), I am a hardcore fan of mixing and matching color and print (blame in on the SoCal in me) ; (2) I have an ongoing obsession with menswear.

So I guess it was no surprise to me when my favorite trend of this past year (and, judging from the Spring 2013 fashion shows, a trend for next year as well) was a culmination of both: smart and sophisticated menswear-inspired pantsuits, that were both fun and polished, thanks to brilliant colors and bold, neck-to-toe patterns and prints. Even those pantsuits that didn’t fit in on the color-and-print parade were anything but basic: ornate details shone on both the black heavily beaded suits that Alber Elbaz came up with at Lanvin, as well as the elaborately pleated and peplumed beige jacket that Zac Posen paired with a beautifully flowing and darted wide leg pant.

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With the ubiquity of the celebrity stylist these days, of course our favorite fashionable celebs were quick to jump on the trend. Some were daring enough to feel pretty in prints, others kept it safe classic, opting for a less loud pant-and-jacket combo.

And I guess it would be rather declasse to talk about women’s pantsuits without taking a look at great moments in women’s pantsuit history, from designers Andre Courreges and Yves Saint Laurent, to female power and/or fashion icons such as Katharine Hepburn, Marlene Dietrich, Bianca Jagger, Diane Keaton, Grace Jones, and, yes, Hillary Clinton (who I added to this list because, if nothing else, every time she continues to wear her well-tailored monochromatic pantsuits, it feels like a giant sartorial middle finger to anyone who dares suggest that Madame Secretary pay more attention to fashion — she’s third in line to take over the presidency for democracy’s sake, not third in line to take over as editor-in-chief of Vogue).

Despite the pantsuit’s place in today’s fashion, as well as fashion history, some still feel discomfort at the sight of a woman who dares to don a pair. After discovering that the state of California actually had to pass a law giving women the legal right to wear pants in the workplace as recently as 1995, I wasn’t surprised, but reading posts like this well-written piece from still continues to bring out the fashionable neo-feminist indignance in me.

But I guess one can’t expect a piece of clothing that embodies androgynous sex appeal to be without it’s controversy – after all, the pantsuit is the one item that holds the duality of masculinity mixed with a potential seductive femininity (on Hillary? No. On Bianca Jagger? God, yes). It’s the power of the pantsuit, printed, or plain.

Wish me a Fur-ocious birthday

In honor of my birthday coming up (where my Virgos at??), as well as the upcoming Fall season (a.k.a. the most exciting fashion season of them all), I decided to give a little recognition to some of the furs from the Fall Collection of one of my favorite fellow Virgos in fashion — the fabulous Rachel Zoe.

1. The Petra

Petra Faux-fur Coat, $425, Rachel Zoe. Image via

They have the Petra Faux-fur Coat styled with her sequined mini dress, but I’d seriously wear this with anything and everything. I would sleep in this coat. But, when I’m not asleep, this is one of those no-brainer coats that would be perfect to throw on over bootcut denim, chunky San-Francisco-hills-safe heels and a jewel-toned woven top in an effort to stay warm during one of my upcoming chilly, pre-fashion-school early mornings that I see looming in my near future.

2. The Marianna

Marianna Faux-fur Jacket, $495, Rachel Zoe. Image via

So Marianna looks uber rustic — as in, like, you just decided to head over to the Yukon to do some bear hunting (maybe in some throwback-to-2002 Timbaland/hiking-boot Manolo Blahniks a la Jennifer Lopez in her “Jenny From the Block” video), then glued on the hide from a freshly-skinned grizzly onto the leather coat you were already wearing like some kind of DIY project gone horribly Grizzly-Adams-esque — but that’s why I love it. Total Yellowstone-chic.

(side note: I totally don’t condone or endorse killing grizzly bears. Or any kind of bears. But, particularly grizzly bears, since they’re endangered. We cool, PETA???)

3. The Brooklyn

Brooklyn Faux-fur jacket, $375, Rachel Zoe. Image via

Are we off ombre yet? Well, after seeing this jacket, I’m definitely not. Just put that over a pair of high-waist short-shorts, a white tee, a bad-ass pair of Jeffrey Campbells, with a stack of layered necklaces (you say, “accessorizing,” I say, “excess-orizing”) and I believe I’ve just found my birthday bar-hopping outfit.

All coats, in addition to more of the Rachel Zoe Fall 2012 collection, can be found at

Happy birthday to all you Virgos!


Coco Zoe

“Now get money, little duffel bag girl”

So as if you couldn’t tell by the complete lack of updating of my blog this past week, school is almost out for the semester, so not only am I in the middle of a handful of crazy finals projects, I am also only a couple of days away from packing my bags to go back to San Diego (for a fabulous 20 hours) before heading out to the Philippines (3/4 of The Motherland) for 3 weeks.

But for me, packing can be tricky. As much as I would love to pack half of my closet to take with me when I travel, certain common sense restrictions induced my frugal choice of transportation to the airport keeps me from doing so.

Let me explain: I’m a student going to a school infamous for high tuition fees, so while (being the fashion-obsessed person that I am) I do allow the occasional smart buy or mini-splurge on a fashion or lifestyle item I just CAN’T live without (I mean, hel-LO red satin platform pumps that I bought last semester, which look like something Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz would wear if she grew up to be a stripper), I otherwise do my best to save money where I can: I stick to a strict monthly budget by, for the most part, suppressing my impulse-buying urges (or if I need retail therapy I head to thrift shops or *gasp* fast fashion stores), rarely eating out, not drinking on the weekends, and replacing $5 coffee drinks (those extra espresso shots and soy milk substitutions curiously add up) with bringing my own from home (I KNEW being a former Starbucks barista would come in handy one day). I also buy the really cheap kind of toilet paper, know which drugstore-brand beauty products actually work just as well as “the real thing,” and, even though MUNI can be frustratingly unreliable, pay my $62 each month for a monthly pass with a smile on my face as I think about how expensive gas costs these days.

Dorothy-gone-stripper chic. Image via my Facebook, circa midterms last fall. I believe I was studying and breaking in my shoes at the same time.

So with that all explained, I guess I don’t have to elaborate on why I would rather take MUNI to Civic Center Station, then pay $8.10 to take BART to SFO (San Francisco International Airport) vs. taking a cab for $45 + tip (the difference equals a maxi dress & accessories at XXI, thank you very much). But, the cheapness of the trip comes with a different type of price: the cost of lugging around luggage (that’s why they call it “lugging,” I guess) through a bustling, crowded public transportation system. And so, after a few trips, I’ve learned to pack light(er)… and I’ve also learned that anything heavy, big, and with wheels SUCKS to take on and off BART when it’s crowded, and also when you’re traveling by yourself.

Thus, I have a newfound appreciation for duffel bags.

While on a search for duffle bags online that looked classy and chic but didn’t scream “FOLLOW ME AND ROB ME BECAUSE I’M TRAVELING SOLO AND OBVIOUSLY HAVE MONEY BECAUSE LOOK AT THE LOGOS PLASTERED ON MY LUGGAGE,” I came across the following finds, which, while definitely not Luxury-Brand prices, aren’t exactly fast fashion prices, either. Because, let’s face it, when it comes to luggage, you really get what you pay for in quality as well as aesthetic:

Elliott Lucca duffel bag, $298,

Elliott Lucca, $298 – Leather, snakeprint, with a tassel. This nude bag is anything but ordinary.

Leather, stripes, and everything nice. $300, from

Leather racing duffle, $300 – This bag reminds me of that one of my boy-who-like-boys-friends has, which he carried around with him on our way to a happy hour because he wanted to “look like they type who worked out.” I laughed for a week when he told me that. Then I laughed for another week when his bag gimmick worked, and he met a handful of new guys that evening, all of whom started off the conversation either by talking about working out, or about the gym. Smh. Oh, and P.S. also offers personalization/monogram services.

Distressed leather doctor-style duffel, $205 –

Distressed leather bag, $205 – One thing I love about distressed leather is that if the baggage handlers — or, more likely, ME — aren’t careful and end up scuffing my bag, it’s not that noticeable because it’s already sort of scuffed. A perfect choice for the accident prone.

Good luck to anyone else going through their last week of the semester!


Coco Zoe

Business-card Chic

Last week, my highly-anticipated business cards (ordered from finally came in, and I was beyond thrilled.

Image via my cell phone camera. #TeamAndroid


And yes, I did get the color inspiration from the recent amazing Giuseppe Zanotti colorblock series.

The d’orsay style from Giuseppe’s colorblock series. A few sizes of this style are still available on ($795).

Here’s to networking, even after school gets let out 🙂


Coco Zoe

So much to dress for this week part one: Sarah Burton & Phillip Treacy

Sarah Burton and Phillip Treacy will both be at tomorrow’s Academy of Art University Symposium.

Sarah Burton, as taken by David Burton. Image via Vogue UK.

Philip Treacy (left) with Iman. Image via

Just to remind everyone, Sarah Burton is the brilliant force behind current design house, Alexander McQueen — which, most recently pumped out the collection that I dubbed “Cousin-Itt Chic:”

From the Alexander McQueen fall 2012 RTW collection by Sarah Burton. Image via

And Phillip Treacy is the mastermind milliner, who comes up with hats like this one, on Sarah Jessica Parker:

SJP at the World Premiere of Sex and the City in London, wayyyyyy back in 2008. Image via

If you wanted to see more by Phillip Treacy, I came across this post from Miss Delite’s blog, with a LOT of awesome images of his work!

Wish you all could be at the symposium with me!

Coco Zoe