Academy Awards Toots and Oops!!

Being public figures and posing so beautifully in ensembles put together with great intent, the actresses on the red carpet at the Academy awards give us great opportunity to see what does and doesn’t work to enhance the figure.

Because of the nature of personality of that shape (the hourglass), a majority of actresses are Lady Diva. They thrive on red carpet attention. This year two Divas gave us both a perfect example of a beautiful unexpected way to enhance her figure and a less than beautiful way to UNenhance the Lady Diva figure.



A Lady Diva is the body shape that is normally referred to as an hourglass. The bust and hips are within 2 inches of death other and the waist is at least 7 inches smaller.

Because her shape already has the curves, the Lady Diva’s (aka hourglass) biggest challenge is not to hide those curves or turn them into something less. Unfortunately Dakota Johnson did just that in the gown she wore that night. While the gown itself is very beautiful, it hides her figure throughly. The shape of the gown is very long and rectangular. There is no real waist to the gown. The one shoulder accent and straight from the shoulders cut of the side seams only serves to minimize her bust and create more of a flat look. Saint Laurent is a fantastic designer but that dress was not for her.



On the other side of the spectrum, Anna Kendrick did something dangerous but unexpectedly gorgeous for her Lady Diva figure. I would normally advice a Lady Diva to avoid the very simple halter style dress that she sports. The thickness of the neckline and the positioning of the opening in the front of her dress only bring the eye out to her bust and back into her waist – beautifully enhancing and reinforcing the curves of a Lady Diva. The gently full gown slowly expanding from her hips down serve to keep her hips in proportion but add a long elegance to her dress. Fantastic. Kudos to the designer – Thakoon.


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Lessons Learned from the CMA Awards

When the stars come out to walk the red carpet in the CMA it gives us the perfect opportunity to see what does and does not work on the various body shapes. This year’s gala provided a couple of beautiful examples. This year we have two perfect example of the same body shape – Lady of Movement (aka rectangle)- and what to do and not do.

What IS a Lady of Movement or Rectangle Bodyshape?

Before we start looking at stars let me go over what makes a figure a Lady of Movement or rectangle body shape. A Lady of Movement’s bust, waist, and hips are within 6 inches of each other creating an athletic slim figure. As the name implies, she looks best when creating movement in her clothing – swirling, asymmetrical flowing lines.

lucy hale beautiful body shape

The Right Way

As a Lady of Movement (aka a Rectangle) body shape, Lucy Hale picked a beautifully appropiate gown. Two level hem and flowing material hanging from a beautiful neckpiece are all perfect for her. As she moves the gown will move and flow around her creating beautiful movement and suggesting more of a figure underneath.



Lacey Musgraves Lady of Movement no

Oops! Let’s Try Again. Not the Best

While there is no question that Kacey Musgraves is a beautiful woman the dress she wore on the red carpet did her no service. Had she been a Lady Diva (aka Hourglass) or a Sassy Gal (aka Inverted Triangle) the dress would have shown off her curves beautifully. As it is, the dress draws attention to her natural lack of curves and creates a very uninteresting rectangle of a shape walking the red carpet. She would have been better following Lucy’s example with angles and flowing lines.


Your Body Shape (and more in general)

To discover your particular body shape and some guidelines on dressing to your assets check out my website Istina Design and enter your measurements into my     BodyShape Calculator


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Tribute to Oscar




Oscar de la Renta’s passing yesterday was a cause for deep reflection. His clothes inspired me and helped me find my style. He didn’t simply create designs. He created sculptures that played with womens shapes – enhancing and empowering the powerful women he dressed. He was my idol, my mentor from a distance.

Some of his quote continue to inspire me. “Fashion is about dressing according to what’s fashionable. Style is more about being yourself.” Then there was: “We live in…the era of the woman. Never in the history of the world have women been more in control of their destiny.” Yes, thankyou.”

The quote that has inspired my designing throughout my life was “I want to make clothes that people will wear, not styles that will make a big splash on the runway.” Enough said.

Rest in peace in fashion heaven.


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Oh, Those Oscars! Body Shape Dos and Don’ts

With celebrity measurements so easily accessible on the Internet, celebrity red carpet posing is a great way to see what does or does NOT work for a particular body shape. The Oscars were no exception. There were many beautiful and amazing dresses on display as well as some best left in the closet. Leaving that editorializing to one side, there were a few attendees that understood and dressed to their body shape and a few that did not.


oscar minus

Perhaps the biggest oops on display was Brandi Granville’s dress. Ignoring the question of whether or not it was going to stay on, it was a rectangle’s nightmare. While I could not find her measurements recorded online, she is clearly a rectangle. Her bust and hips are very close in size to each other and her waist is not much smaller. The low-cut cleavage brings the eyes down closer the the waist and creates a very horizontal line in the middle of her torso. Add that to the very straight line of the dress as it ‘skims’ her body and there is no curving lines to move the eyes around her body. Viewers are definitely fixed on her low bust line. Even the leg slit has a horizontal line at the top and the yardage of fabric on the floor again creates a low horizontal line. What curves she has are lost in the blocky midsection lines created by the dress.


oscar plus


On the other side of the spectrum are two women who know exactly the best way to show off their figures. First, and perhaps the best I saw that night was Halle Berry’s black sequined dress.  She has a very  hourglass like figure with bust and hips in close relationship to each other and a waist several inches smaller. Her dress did much to accent that fact with lines that curved into and out of her waist. A close, almost corset like waist showed off her figure beautifully. With hips an inch or so more than her bust, the diagonal striping on her shoulders does the finishing touch of evening up her proportions.


Oscar plus 2

Another beautiful example of dressing to enhance her body shape was Naomi Watt and her dress for the Oscars. While just barely an hourglass, her figure verges greatly towards a rectangle. However, unlike Brandi, Naomi’s dress does a lot to accentuate her hourglass shape. The bustline of her dress creates a great deal of vertical lines with the cutout of one shoulder and the asymmetry that creates. The roundness of the top of the cut out side creates more movement. The skirt clings to the hips and curves in and then out again to create a beautiful vertical sweep to the dress. The skirt is streamline and adds to the vertical feel of the dress. The eye is kept moving around her dress in pleasing curving lines. This makes her figure look even more hourglass.

These three ladies are beautiful examples of how the way you dress and the choices you make affect the way you are seen and the appearance of your figure. Find pictures of celebs who look fantastic in their dresses and look up their measurements. Then study and learn how the dress adds to their appearance.

Above all, have fun with fashion.


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Trunk Shows

To avoid the major markup that retail stores have to impose on clothing to cover the cost of retail I am using a different way to get my clothing to you - in home trunk shows. Invite a few of your [...]

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