I love the designer Stella Jean, a Haitian-Italian designer who has a penchant for bright wild prints and colours, that she designs HERSELF and has it made by women in developing countries, paying them a fair wage so they can have an independent income; so when I saw her pieces for sale, I knew I had to get a few.
This one I got was the purple version:
First up: The Omepatia dress. I’ve said it in my video before, and I will say it again – they’re calling this a FRUIT printed dress but these are clearly radishes, right!?
Fruit. I think fashion people just don’t know what these things are because they’re not food people…. and it sounds kind of weird to wear a dress that has vegetables all over it, but it is totally my MO (modus operandi)…
Here it is in its glory on the floor. It came in a few colour-styles, this one is purple.
And the other colour I saw was green but I preferred the purple anyway.
The pleating in the front for the bust is VERY GENEROUS. Do not worry if you’re very curvy, but you should absolutely worry if you have a thicker waist like I do. It doesn’t look it here (thank goodness for good tailoring and impeccably made pieces, but the waist is TIGHT on me. There is no give, there is no stretch.
I took an IT42 which is an US 6 but it fits nothing like. A US 6 on me is usually loose but not too loose like a US 8. In this case, I absolutely needed a US 8 or an IT44 and from now on, I will buy all of my pieces from her as a MINIMUM of a IT42 (the waist JUST fits), or an IT 44.
I normally wear a US 4 in normal US and UK brands, and they fit just fine. For some reason, Italian sizing is always super small, and I need to remember to AT LEAST size up once, if not twice, and then just have it taken in so that I feel comfortable in the waist, etc.
She cuts extremely small for the waist, but is very generous with the bust and hips.
This is what I am talking about – this is a custom print of hers, with her name in it; again, another thing that I love is having something uniquely made for a brand. Erdem does great florals like this, and I have a Dolce & Gabbana vegetable printed dress that was also a custom print by them.
CLEARLY A RADISH. There should be no dispute now, look at the root at the bottom, and the long vegetable-like leaves!
Another shot of this amazing dress. Definitely not a ‘let’s head to the park dress’, as the huge pockets might lead you to believe. I am not lounge/run/play comfortable in this waist size, this is a work / going out for fun sort of dress where I am more conscious of doing something, and less comfortable.
The inside is lined in her signature striped lining. You will see the motif of Haitian-inspired prints in her work, and stripes representing her Italian side in all of her work, such as in her belts, in the lining and so on. It’s a nice touch.
The fabric is pretty sturdy / thick, as cotton should be, and not at all flimsy or soft which gives it is nice structure but also feels a bit like you’re wearing something stiff and formal, which is in line with the clothes I have that are similarly bold and beautiful (wax printed dresses).
The back is beautiful, it looks like it’s a folded collar, which is a very nice detail:
The back looks great… and it zips up just perfectly.
The other odd thing about this dress is that it feels like a hobble dress, and by that, I mean it has NO slit up the back to help you walk. I am shuffling like a penguin in this, so I will need to have someone help me cut something in the back so I can actually walk.
This may be just a “sit and stand” sort of dress to look pretty in, but I like wearing pieces like this out and doing things, so this hobbling is going to frustrate the heck out of me and I won’t stand for it, even if it (ultimately) ruins the look / line of the dress.
At the back you can see it better, just how fitted it is in the IT42 on my US4 body. Definitely size up. I’d even suggest sizing up twice and then tailoring it in.
Please note the attention to detail that in the seams, they made it a point to try and match up two parts of the print together to make it look seamless. A sign of a good designer, as the cheaper mainstream ones don’t care and just mix the print to get the job done, and don’t try to take extra care in matching.
This is the zipper at the back so it looks seamless:
And here I am again, showing you how she’s a woman designer who knows how to create DEEP POCKETS FOR WOMEN WHO NEED THEM, and even if I stuff these pockets, I won’t look bulky because the skirt is so voluminous. I can pretty much fit my hand, wrist and part of my arm in these pockets.
Next up: A yellow printed community village skirt (?). I don’t have the proper name for it because I can’t find it online, but it is a beautiful mix of yellow, purple and green.
Please note, the skirt looks nothing like this online in stock photos (they just said “midi skirt” no name). You can see the pockets are clearly pinned back:
So when I did it manually it looks better so I will likely need to find a tailor or seamstress, or do it myself with popping in two stitches to keep the pockets back:
Laying flat it looks like this – again the pockets stick out:
And they’re pleated/draped!
Note the signature striped lining inside:
And this one finally has a back slit for me to walk in!!!!
And her signature all over the print!
This skirt in this style and colour, opens up to all sorts of pairings with stripes, blue prints, purple prints, green.. I am very excited about this.
That… and the DEEP POCKETS! I am almost up to my elbows! DO YOU SEE THIS!?!?!
A close up on the print:
And the signature seamless zip in the back:
So about sizing. I took a IT40 in this skirt because I thought IT40 = US4 when in fact IT40 = US2!!!!!
I can’t zip this skirt up beyond where you see it here. It’s .. stuck. Any higher and I am breaking the zipper.
That’s okay for me only because I can see it gives a kind of interesting split back for the waist… and I love the print so much I don’t care.
The other option is to hide it with a wide obi belt which takes away a LITTLE bit of what the skirt is about (the waistband is great), but not too much:
Lesson of the day:
In Stella Jean designer styles, size up once, at least… if not twice. And snap up beautiful pieces!