Dear Anthro: I am in love with your Creative team.

Okay, I intended to make this post more sincere, but I just had too much fun making captions for the pictures. If you recall, I love making snarky captions.

In all seriousness though, I think the branding/merchandising folks over at Anthropologie are f-ing geniuses. They create this vibrant fantasy world in which women of all kinds want to live - a romantic place full of lush textures, flowery scents, afternoons spent by the lake, and daydreams. The aesthetic has such a French emphasis on living well and surrounding oneself with simple luxuries. And the team has taken it up a notch by creating this quietly dramatic, visionary take on an outfit collection/lookbook. They have my team here at work practically drooling at the mouth with its sophistication and general gorgeousness.

But make no mistake, this kind of lifestyle doesn't come cheap.  In fact, a trip to the bakery could very well cost you $1000 if you want to look as good as these models do!

Dear Anthro: I'm still in love with you.

It's been a while since I made a serious visit to the Anthropologie site. I was a little burned out after the orgy of Anthro-induced spending I made last year, where I bought all kinds of things including a $200 trench coat (which I still like a lot, by the way). Looking back, that was entirely too much to spend on a trench of that sort. 

I'm not really sure what got me to go back this time. I think because someone at work sent around a link to the Free People "Vintage Loves" campaign (which, by the way, is totally absurd, especially the pricing!), and that got me thinking, and then I got an e-mail about Anthro's latest sale. So I made a beeline for the sale section, and picked out all the best of the best--and yes, I too noticed my penchant for whites, blues, and pale oranges.

Stuff I just bought on sale at Anthropologie

I really need to stop, but when prices are this good, and I have free shipping as a member of Anthro, wild horses can't stop me!  If anything doesn't fit right, I plan to return them to the brick-and-mortar store.

1. Baltic twill trench ($498, on sale for $199.95): I feel I've been waiting all my life for the perfect white trench coat.  I hope this is it.  I like the details along the bottom hem.
2. Withering frost vest ($78, on sale for $39.95): I don't really need it, but it's pretty.  I am a sucker for crochet and lace edging.
3. Levitation slingbacks ($128, on sale for $29.95!): Just this afternoon I was noting that I needed a good pair of black flats since my current ones are falling apart.  These are not quite what I had in mind (I need ballerinas with a buckle), but I could hardly believe that they were $100 off and have leather soles - the mark of true quality - and available in my size.
4. Walk-the-line gauchos ($118, on sale for $39.95): Another phenomenal buy.  I have kept my eye out for good gauchos since I saw them on a friend of mine, who is very petite, and they complemented her frame handsomely.
5. Fallon cargoes by Hei Hei ($88, on sale for $49.95): Not super cheap, and if I wait a bit they will probably go down to $25 or less, but I absolutely love pants made by Hei Hei.  They are unbelievably comfortable to romp around in on the favorite pair of pants, so I had to get another.

Barbara Cole for Anthropologie May 2009

It's funny how Anthropologie appeals to almost every woman out there in the way that it captures the imagination.  It's some very powerful brand management that communicates a single, cohesive idea: a well-lived and beautiful life.  Everything from the whimsical details (flowers and pearls on a cardigan?) to the lush weight of the fabrics to the jewel-box setup of of the stores works together to create this feeling of romance, creativity, and luxury.  And yes, I love their clothing--but can only afford to buy it on sale.

So whichever marketing manager came up with the idea of teaming with self-taught fine art photographer Barbara Cole ought to get a raise.  What a stroke of genius!  When the gorgeous May 2009 catalog landed in my mailbox, I was intrigued by how Cole's style brings the clothing to life.  And the cover looks almost like a painting, reminiscent of the Pre-Raphaelites, fairy tales, and the Lady of Shalott.  

I don't know a lot about the photographer herself, but I poked around her site a bit and found some more arresting images of dreamy water-color fabrics and burnished floating hair.

To see the "making of" video, visit Anthro's website.

Posted simultaneously to:

Thoughts on Anthropologie

Annie: Well I've never really bought/shopped there cause i always thought it was too pricey...I think I should reevaluate (havent been in one for yrs)

Me: well if you get stuff on sale it's pretty good, but i agree their regular priced stuff is absurd

Annie: yeah i think i remember falling in love with a skirt but they were charging like $150 for it...i was shocked cause it was flimsy

Me: was it made out of gold =P

Annie: hahaha that or the eternal soul of a fairy =)

Stephanie: fairy baby eyelashes, spun into gossamer thread!