Author Archives: 'ana Fonua-terrazas

CSM Style Influencer: My mom, Sela Lumepa Fonua

So many different experiences and impressions have molded and defined my fashion & style over the years.  Over the course of CSM‘s history I’ve toyed with the idea of further developing my ‘Pasifika Fashion Series‘ by adding the platform of style influencers.  I’ve received such an overwhelmingly positive feedback for this series from you the CSM community that I wanted to give you all the opportunity to tell me and the rest of the world about that special person that has played an integral role in “Using fashion as armour to walk life’s runway…” and honor them as a CSM style influencer.

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To help kick off this new layer to CSM’s ongoing ‘Pasifika Fashion Series‘ I want to introduce you to my style influencer, Mrs. Sela Lumepa (Lauhingoa) Fonua.  Growing up in a traditional conservative Tongan home in a very western world had it’s fair share of challenges and obstacles.  My mother growing up represented elegance, class and most importantly the idea of self empowerment.  As a working mother of four who constantly said phrases like “always be your own person because you is the best there is out there” and “it doesn’t matter that you are a woman, you are a Tongan woman which means you can do anything you set your mind too” it was no wonder that I never lacked in the areas of self confidence and perseverance.  These notions that my mother instilled in me were a strong juxtaposition to what my western school friends were being taught.  While I was empowered to aim for the stars but do so in a style of dress that I can best describe as ultra conservative (seriously I’m not joking, my mom had me wear tights with my shorts growing up) my friends who dressed and flaunted their western garb of freely wearing shorts without tights and sleeveless tops (I can not begin to describe how much I yearned to wear a sleeveless top) but in contrast to me a lot of my school friends aspired to be stay at home moms.  Many didn’t see a life outside of the home for themselves in the future.  Having children and staying home to raise them was all they foresaw in their futures.  While motherhood is definitely one layer of my aspirations, seeing my mother work and raise four children all while ensuring that everyday of our childhood lives we experienced the luxury of eating home cooked meals and living in an amazingly well kept home, she showed me that I can want it all AND have it all (and all while keeping true to one of her infamous pieces of style advice: Always remember that first impressions are everything so being well groomed even if it’s just to walk outside to grab the mail is important).

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While I grew up very conservative in the realm of fashion and style, the modern ideals that my mother instilled in me created the foundation for my ‘Edgy, Comfy, Chic’ aesthetic.  This traditional Tongan mom gave me the groundings to understand that while my culture is very conservative in dress we are a matriarchal society who pride ourselves in being one of the rare few who recognize the importance of giving a voice to a woman.  I’ve been able to translate that voice into defining who I am therefore has allowed for my style evolution to be such an organic process.  Empowered by this and amazing advice on old school tips for skin care with the bonus of having a daily reminder of what defines ‘timeless style’  is ultimately what lead to CSM: A Style Maven’s Diary.

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May: Emerald!

Happy Birthday to all of you you Taurus & Gemini’s born in the month of May!  May’s birthstone is the stunning emerald gemstone.  What’s even more amazing?  Your birthstone is also the Pantone color of the year.  So shine bright all year long and make everyone else green with envy with one of these stunning birthstone baubles.

So start the year long celebration of your birth now and check out the following envy inducing pieces I’ve picked out to help you do it in style!

May Birthstone Bauble BoardTop L to R: Cara Couture Woven Bracelet/ Burberry Cuff links/ DANNIJO Bracco Earrings/ Ela Rae Sosi Hand Chain/ Nocturne Reem Bib/ Baublebar Collar/ Baublebar Earrings/ Baublebar Clover Earrings




The Best of the Met Ball in prep for tonight!

THE fashion event of the here is finally upon us and now that you are fully downloaded on the fashion icon and legend, Charles James, let’s discuss my 3 most memorable looks that have graced Costume Institute Ball’s red carpet.

In chronological order let’s start with this look from 2009.  This freshly dubbed style icon showcased to a tee how your own personal style should always resonate in anything you wear.  Rihanna pulled together one of my most memorable looks from the Met Ball red carpet by stepping away from the traditional floor length ball gown and giving us a new modern option: a Dolce & Cabbana tuxedo suit.  And can we just have moment for how everyone (myself included) was obsessed with this haircut?

Rihanna in Dolce & Gabbana-2009

Sheer, bare, lace, beading and feathers.  This coupled with an awe inspiring train is the perfect formula for why Beyonce is and will always be a red carpet “Best Dressed” mainstay.  In 2012, the Queen is probably the only star to carry such a noteworthy Givenchy gown on this super bowl of red carpets because while I can not take my eyes off of this jaw dropping gown it’s just as equally breathtaking because she is the one wearing it.  We find too often on this red carpet a gown that is just too much for the wearer and therefore leaves us feeling really underwhelmed and naming a list of others who we wish were wearing that gown.  She pairs this gown perfecting with a a simple pulled back ponytail and complementing the luxe of this gown with a fresh nude face.

Beyonce in Givenchy-2012

And last but certainly not least was the only star who fully embraced and let her style creativity reign at last year’s 2013 red carpet where the them was “Punk: Chaos to Couture”.  Many attendees were total red carpet let downs because with such a broad and robust theme there was definitely a chance to go extremely wrong or hit a red carpet style home run.  SJP (better known as Sarah Jessica Parker) was on my shortlist of style mavens to watch sashay down the red carpet runway and with majority of my list letting me down in the creativity department it was such a breath of fresh air to see her show everyone how to style to this theme with perfection!  She wore a Giles ensemble with the most talked about Philip Treacy headpiece of the year.  Seriously, SJP was utter perfection!

SJP in Giles-2013

Set your clocks for tonight at 5pm CST (6pm EST) for live updates from the red carpet!  Make sure you are following Vogue, The Metroplitan Museum and myself on social media for up to the minute updates of who is wearing what.



Charles James: Beyond Fashion #MetBall2014

Charles James Board 1The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute Ball is literally around the corner and the biggest night of the year for the fashion industry.  One red carpet night a year the fashion elite showcase their stylistic interpretations of each year’s themes.  Last year’s theme was dedicated to the great impact that punk has contributed to the fashion industry and I could not have been more excited.  This year’s theme is a complete dichotomy of punk but the influence and insurmountable contributions is bar none.  The theme of “Charles James: Beyond Fashion” is in dedication to the life and work of courtier Charles James.  The name and significance of Charles James is not well known outside of the fashion community so I wanted to take this opportunity to introduce you to Charles James and his legendary work.

  • Who’s the Designer:  Charles James, otherwise known as the “Great American Courtier”.  James started his design career in London, and then Paris, and arrived in New York City in 1940 (fun fact is that before he officially settled in New York City he spent time here in Chicago).  While he had no formal training, he is regarded as one of the greatest designers in America to have worked in the tradition of the Haute Couture.   His fascination with complex cut and seaming led to the creation of key design elements that he updated throughout his career: wrap-over trousers, figure-eight skirts, body-hugging sheaths, ribbon capes & dresses, spiral-cut garments, and poufs.   In addition to these design elements he also has a long list of iconic ball gowns from the late 1940s and early 1950s which are the Four-Leaf Clover, Butterfly, Tree, Swan, and Diamond.
  • What’s the inspiration & relevance:  The exhibit is a focus on exploring James’s design process, his use of sculptural, scientific, and mathematical approaches to construct revolutionary ball gowns and innovative tailoring that continue to influence designers today.  Approximately seventy-five of James’s most notable designs will be on display.   
  • Who’s wearing what? :    That is the big question but here are a few predictions so tune in to see if they happen to be right-Prada will be represented by brand face Lupita Nyong’o and Michelle Dockery; Prabal Gurung by Zoe Saldana; Givenchy by Amanda Seyfried; J. Mendel by Taylor Swift; Diane von Furstenberg by Margot Robbie and Olivia Munn; Tommy Hilfiger by Zooey Deschanel; with Jessica Chastain, Emilia Clarke, Naomi Watts, Jessica Pare and Allison Williamsalso attending. Lanvin’s Alber Elbaz will be there with a mystery celeb, but not usual house model Emma Stone.

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Tres Bien Spring/Summer 2014

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  • Who’s the Designer:  Brothers Hannes and Simon Hogeman debut their Tres Bien Spring/Summer 2014.
  • What’s the inspiration:  Since opening their successful Swedish online shop, Tres Bien, the Hogeman brothers had created a perfect niche for themselves the chaos of online purveyors as THE defining destination shop where the marriage of high fashion and streetwear said their vows.  This collection is a direct reflection of their taste and their shop and is best summed up in their own words as, “It all comes down to our taste which stems from growing up in Sweden with a general interest in fashion, style, and culture.  We were brought up in the nineties with Helmut Lang and Ice Cube.”  
  • Why it’s relevant:  The taste level of these two is only have of the genius the other half is the sensibility for how to create conflicting juxtapositions  such as Carthartt & Comme des Garcons or Stussy & Rick Owens jive and intermix but taking it a step further and presenting the ultimate high low pairing that is absolute genius.  These two have mastered this formula and need to teach an international Dabble course-no seriously I would sign up in a nano second. 
  • Where to wear it:  Fellas, Guys, Gents, everyone of the male sex this are you listening to me?  First save the site on your browser of choice.  Second make your calendar with the date of Friday, May 2nd when collection goes live on their site (psst, tomorrow is Friday, May 2nd).  And last but certainly not least: Shop, shop, shop!  These silhouettes are great basics for your wardrobe  and present a great versatility in color that you will be able to wear each piece for timeless seasons to come.  So what are you waiting for?  Hop to it!

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Noir Kei Ninomiya Fall/Winter 13-14

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  • Who’s the Designer: Kei Ninomiya from COMME des GARÇONS
  • What’s the inspiration:  In Ninomiya’s own words his inspiration was drawn from his want to, “fuse conflicting elements of organic and inorganic matter.”   His designs have always had a duality in their approach so it was no surprise that with this collection he utilized both warm and cold fabric textures with his choice to focus on handmade knits juxtaposed with laser cutting or incorporating this incredible knit fabrication interlaced with metal rings and drawing back to the the organic with a with biological motif.  
  • Why it’s relevant: New and innovative approaches to traditional fabrications is why style & fashion have a relevant purpose in all of our lives.  The idea of changing how we interpret a regular knit garment and manipulating the construction based on the point of view of drawing inspiration from nature is ground breaking.  Ninomiya is a bright shining star that reinforces the notion that “Art is Fashion & Fashion is Art”.  His approach to giving more depth to the technique of knitting based on the idea of “I see crows picking up wire or something on the ground to build their nests.  Like them, I thought I might make knits using odds and ends around me. I like to think of ideas to realize things that seem impossible.”  His knitting focused on geometric patterns of which he created his dresses and skirts based centrally on the idea of knitting the graphics three-dimensional based on the houndstooth pattern.
  • Where to wear it:  Everywhere, period. Kei Ninomiya’s collection is for the bold statement makers who appreciate fashion as a real artistic element.  After all, you know what my motto is –“Using fashion as armour to walk life’s runway”- and this collection just resonates that mantra so wear each piece with smize and werk that runway of life!

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#WWAW: Spring’s Biggest Trends? Rocked it!

So it’s officially Spring and long overdue for a #WWAW (What Would ‘Ana Wear) post.  With Spring temps finally gracing us with it’s presence and Memorial Day weekend around the corner it’s time to get a handle on what Spring trends to try out and work into your wardrobe rotation.  Ready, set let’s go and explore some trends shall we?

What’s the Inspiration:  Mixing and matching Spring’s biggest trends such as crop tops, florals, cut-outs and bucket handbags.  Every designer from Proenza Schouler to Christopher Kane had sprinkles of each of these key elements in their Spring/Summer 2014 collections.  There are so many trending zeitgeists that initially I tried to narrow down and figure out which one to start with as a focus and possibly do a series and then had an ‘aha moment’ to incorporate them all into one outfit.


Why it’s Relevant:  So the whole idea of trends is that they are temporary fads, but what causes the transition to style is to not have any restrictions and to embrace being a rule breaker.  As a style & fashion rebel I took on the challenge to not only incorporate 4 trends into one ensemble but to make them my own.  While many would not mix florals with cut-out spikes or stripes and ripped jeans I believe all trends can cohesively be worn all together.  The trick is to ensure that you stick to one color palette especially if there are a number of different juxtaposing trends. I chose to stick with the modern black and white palette with a pop of color accent in my blazer and complimenting this accent color in my accessories.


Where to Wear it:  These trends are key elements in my Spring/Summer wardrobe and the big bonus?  This ensemble is food/music/art festival ready.  Why you say, because any style maven who lives in Chicago knows that means you have mastered the art of layering and fully appreciate any ensemble that allows you seamlessly adjust to any change in Chicago’s bi-polar weather.

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What I’m wearing:  ASOS Floral Blazer/ ASOS Striped Bandeau (Similar)/ ASOS Ripped Skinny Jeans/ Marc Jacobs Bucket Handbag (Similar)/ Jeffrey Campbell Spiked Cut-out Booties/ Mirrored Sunnies 

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#CSMStyleTips: Economical Fashion is Trending!

Cheap Fashion BoardAn overarching theme that has dominated the runways as of late is the idea of economical fashion.  The recent runways stand as proof that all you need to tap into the momentary trend is a little creativity and not a maxed out credit card.   At  Sydney fashion week showgoers were using props like a McDonald’s cup to pose for the street-style photogs emulating a piece from Jeremy Scott’s fast-food-inspired collection for Moschino.  Chanel’s supermarket sweep of a Fall show convinced us that even grocery carts can be glamorous (especially if they’re being pushed by Rihanna, Cara Delevingne, and Joan Smalls).   Same goes for Anya Hindmarch’s luxe “Have a Nice Day” bags modeled after those handed out at convenience stores.  Other pocket friendly styling tricks I would highly encourage giving a whirl too include pinning a violet to our furs à la Fendi and securing our ponytails with dollar-bin scrunchies like Dree Hemingway did in Trager Delaney’s latest lookbook or even adding a bit of pizzazz to an edgy ensemble by wearing a bandana.  Anyway you look at it, now is the time to take advantage of high street’s departure from the dreamy and luxe and wear your sandals with socks (remember this one?)




Male Crop Top: Rock or Stop?

Male Crop Top BoardThree years ago Kanye had the fashion web in a furry discussing his infamous wardrobe choice to wear a womenswear top from Celine’s fresh off the runway Spring/Summer 2011 runway.  This year rapper Kid Cudi follows in those same groundbreaking steps by wearing a male crop top for his performance at Coachella.

While many got angry at the idea of Kid Cudi wearing a male crop top with cut off jean shorts I believe he’s given way to the male crop top to become the next big trend.  Now don’t laugh, because many didn’t believe that meggings (men’s leggings) had any real life and now the likes of Shia LeBouf have been sporting this trend non-stop as of late.

Crop tops for men have been gaining life on the runway over the past few years.  Just as the midriff-baring top went high fashion for women receiving an update from designers like Proenza Schouler, Prada, and Topshop—younger eccentrics and established brands alike are re-imagining it for men.  Four years ago in Milan, over the top label Frankie Morello sent two versions of the abs-flashing top down the runway.  That same year, Calvin Klein showcased cutoff outerwear and cropped T-shirts stamped with the brand’s name.  Astrid Andersen followed suit the next year with her own cheeky cropped muscle tee and has started experimenting with it more over the past two seasons.  Other designers like Hood by Air, J.W. Anderson, and Sibling have been chiming in with their own inspirations and giving more life to this trend to transition from the body building muscle beach to the catwalk.  So what say you, is the male crop top a Rock it or Stop it?


Mary Katrantzou X Adidas


  • Who’s the Designer: UK luxury womenswear designer Mary Katrantzou will be teaming up with iconic sports brand Adidas for an Autumn/Fall collection that will be released this November 2014.
  • What’s the inspiration:  The inspiration for this capsule collection will be centered around Katrantzou’s “‘iconic, hyper-colour, kaleidoscopic’ patterns”-is anyone else screaming for joy besides me?!! (please excuse the high pitched squealing that I pass off as screams of joy).  Katrantzou goes on further to explain the reasoning behind her inspiration and want to partner with Adidas, “I grew up, like so many other kids around the world, wearing adidas trainers and I’m really excited about bringing my vision to such a global brand…They have a fantastic heritage and their ability to innovate in sportswear makes them the perfect partner for us to work with in this market.”  And I would have to 100% agree with you Mary especially due to Adidas willingness to collaborate with some of the industry’s most innovative designers such as Jil Sander, Jeremy Scott, Stella McCartney, etc.
  • Why it’s relevant: Mary Katrantzou is at the forefront of redefining our perception of prints and had created a beautiful niche for herself in clearly trademarking a signature style in her approach to prints.  Because of her we have the widely accepted notion that print on print is not only okay but prints are now considered a basic.
  • Where to wear it:  EVERYWHERE!! With this collaboration happening it’s a clear indication that the current athletic footwear trend of spring/summer will not end when Labor Day weekend rolls around but should be ushered into your fall/winter wardrobe.  Basically athletic footwear will be a key footwear silhouette for the next few season so don’t sleep on refreshing your fall/winter shoe game by introducing a pair from this capsule collection.  Lord knows I will definitely welcoming home one (maybe two or three but who’s counting right?)