With the cyclone of changes and growing pains that TNA has been going through recently, it's been a tad tricky to keep up with and evaluate the gear goings-on. A handful of ladies have still managed to impress us, though, despite the upheavals, which gives us the opportunity to present our 2017 edition of the Knockouts' Ring Gear Awards!
Who are we placing where and why did they wow us? Well...
The Fourth of July celebration is continuing around here, as several of the lady superstars have been kind enough to grace us with Stars and Stripes-themed 'shoots. I'm especially pleased to see this set from the Knockouts, as it's been awhile since we've gotten major photoshoots from the brand, excepting the massive gear 'shoot from a few months back. Prior to that, we saw the KO's do a number of awesome themed photoshoots, but they haven't had a set focused on fashion for ages. This one rectifies that dearth by including both a theme and fashion! That's the way to a stylish girl's heart!
First up is Laurel, who blasted on to the scene last year and grabbed the Silver Snap honor for photoshoot of the year with a single scintillating shot. She's got a good one in the running for 2017 as well with this thoroughly Americana-inspired look. She paired a solid red string bikini top with denim cutoff shorts. I love the extra dimension she brought to the look via her denim vest - the suggestion and shadow make it stand out from an ordinary string bikini 'shoot. She added a dash of glam with her crystal statement necklace - love that! And naturally, any good cowgirl would wear her boots with her glam, so ta-da! Caramel Western boots it is. Her long and loose banana-curled hair gives this a completely classic country-bombshell vibe, aided and abetted by her joyously confident pose. So much fun!
McKenzie brings a fashionista's heart to her ensemble. While she starts with the iconic white tank and blue denim skirt combo - the latter given a suitably modern spin with fraying and distressing - she makes it super trendy with asymmetric red suede ankle booties (fabulous!) and a starred-and-striped kimono: yaaaaaaaas, girl! I'm all in for this injection of trendy modernity in streetwear into Knockouts fashion. It makes a classic look come alive with freshness and spunk. She is proving her slot on my One To Watch list is well-deserved! More please :) She also earns props for her pose - it's a standard, but she nails it! Actually, she nails every pose...as does Laurel. And their back-to-back snap together is an unquestionable shoot highlight.
I always love Gail's distinctive sense of style and this look is no exception. She combines an on-trend ruffled star-and-stripe bikini top with medium-wash denim shorts. The chevron waist and flawless fit of the latter makes them scalding hot, even with a minimal amount of distressing and skin-peek. She completes the look with boldly geometric heeled sandal booties in bright white - a perfectly summer-appropriate (and ttly on-trend) conclusion. The look is has a crisp, classy punch and it's trademark Gail. I love it from head to toe. And her aaaaaahmazing pose is only helping that love :) I wish we had gotten a few more shots from her, as her looking backward pose is killer as well!
The set rounds out with Allie. It doesn't get much more iconic than her half-starred/half-striped bikini top. She paired it with rolled deep-blue wash denim shorts that she left half un-zipped and open in a distinctly 90's-throwback look. While I'd probably opt for a fully-zipped set-up if I were wearing this look in real life, Allie's flirty styling helps this editorial look by elongating her line and accentuating her hips. Like Laurel, she reached for Western-tinged booties to finish the ensemble. Allie's represent the super-hot-lately nod to the theme, as opposed to Laurel's full-on iteration, but they work equally well, lending a current edge to her outfit. This pose isn't my favorite of Allie's set; there's something about her stance that's just a touch off. Happily, her other snaps are much stronger, with her poses in front of the American flag being highlights.
Gail got to meet up with a number of her friends this spring and there was some serious fashion involved! Before we get to that, though, Eva was doing some fun fashion things, as well.
First, she's keeping her own NEM line trend-heavy with this pretty striped choker top. It melds both on-point stripes and the smoking hot, not-going-anywhere off-shoulder silhouette. I love the fresh, summery feel of the piece, which Eva enhanced by pairing it with beige denim. That color story always makes me think of sun-soaked beach promenades! In a related NEM note, the company has recently introduced active-wear! Primarily in black and white with futuristic sheer and satin-y contrasting panels, it has the same modern, confident vibe as the rest of the NEM line. So, def be sure you check that out :) Next, she received the opportunity to walk the runway for made-in-the-USA evening-wear brand Stello. The company launched its Sir Stello menswear line this spring and Eva modelled this black suit on the catwalk. Overall I really enjoy the way this piece was styled, with the wide leather corset belt (although I could have done without the dangling suspender straps) and the pants tucked in to Eva's lace-up booties. Even thought the clothes are masculine, the way they are accessorized and used highlights the feminine form and fluidity. The contrast feels surprising, without being tacky or aiming for shock value and I could 100% see this styling being used like off-runway.
Gail met up with Christy and Brooke around Wrestlemania and the ladies three were looking fine! I need to just take a moment and rave over what an amazing job Brooke has done - her post-baby body is unbelievable! And this pretty ivory dress highlights every curve! I love her bold eyes and soft rose lip shade. And I reeeaaally wish I had gotten to see her shoes. Actually, that's true for all three ladies. Work on that for next time for me, huh, Lovelies? ;) j/k. I'm thrilled we got to see some fashion, any fashion, from them all actually. Christy paired a feminine and on-trend blush choker-cutout blouse with her usual dose of rocker edge via a metallic gold pencil skirt. I love how she always injects something unexpected and which feels very much "her" into a look! Gail looked classy and chic in a blakc satin dress with a gorgeous strapless silhouette and sweetheart neckline. A gold statement collar necklace ramped up her look. Is this #GirlSquadGoals or what?
For some reason, Impact *always* decides to release a photoshoot right around Wrestlemania. It's slowly becoming one of my pet peeves with the company. They don't release anything for almost a year and then, boom, right when everything is psycho-crazy around Wrestlemania, they put out a huge 'shoot. Why, guys? Don't you know it's just going to get buried in the Wrestlemania onslaught? You're not going to top that. You're going to end up here, getting reviewed in June. That's so unfair to the ladies on your roster. Maybe a litttle diff timing next year, huh? Think about it. Ok, enough of Brie's b*******g. To fashion!
We kick it off with Brandi and a black and white version of her halter-meets-high-waisteds snake-embellished gear. This is such a solid effort from her! The gear is spot on, her poses are killer. She looks like she was born to do this. Gear 'shoots are notoriously difficult because they tend to be simple - just you and your gear out there on a blank backdrop to do your thing. It's hard to keep them interesting. Brandi works some less common poses and overcomes the drawback of the standard, blah gray background. Done like a boss and I love it!
She's back, b*****s! The BAM is back! ODB has returned, flask, attitude and all. She's looking fab in an on-point red romper, made suitably trailer-park-ish with a camo head band. Her personality comes blazing through these shots and it makes them come alive. I love the spark she brings back to the roster!
Sienna is making a serious effort to sell the whole skirt-as-gear thing and while I'm not on board yet, I give her points for tenacity. This black and burgundy combo is stunning, especially with the way the burgundy peeks through the black lace. I'm 100% in for her halter top (wish it had the same deep red metallic lining as her skort). This gear is definitely going in the right direction!
Impact has been a good bit off the radar over the last year in terms of photoshoots. It's a shame after the great run they had under Christy Hemme's direction and the launch of the website completely dedicated to the KO's that really gave them a chance to break free and stretch their wings. While we wait for the company regroup and (hopefully! ..as in preeettttty pleeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaase!) get back to giving us photos again, we can thank our Kim's trip through her archives for giving us this little trip down memory lane - n AMAZING gear from Gail Kim at the time of one of her many KO's title wins. Gail began to do some really unique and special things with her gear during her second WWE run and she continued that fantabulousness, albeit with a much darker vision, when she returned to Impact. She nailed the sweet spot between trendy and tough, with a dash of romantic thrown in to spice things up. Lace and leather became trademark fabrics for her. We watched her evolution through various shades of lace with top+shorts combos and then, one day, she decided to knock us all out of our seats and on to our keisters when she debuted her one-piece variation, which evolved into various combinations of cutouts and sheers, accented with lace and leather. Oh, and finished with lace-up OTK boots. This set showcased exactly that kind of killer pairing: a deep-v front bodysuit (shove over Ariana - Gail done it first!) done with black lace set over a stunning shade of bright turquoise. The effect was mesmerizing, beautiful, bold and sexy as all Hel..sinki :). Floral lace shorts reprised the black lace-over-turquoise shading that dropped jaws everywhere, while a patent belt at Gail's waist brought even more attitude to an already scalding silhouette. After all that, those incroyable OTK boots were just icing on our fashion cake! But Gail didn't stop with her gear - she slayed a sitting pose or two as well, just to remind us that our undying devotion wasn't in the least misplaced. Bon temps, bon temps!
PS lots more posts coming this week, loves! I've got FashionHaps up the yin-yang and more all prepped and ready to be write up for your enjoyment, so stick close :)
Jumpsuits and risky pants seem to have reached consensus-status among the divas this fall. Cathy, along with Barbie, gave us a pair of them and handled both excellently. Her first was a navy square-neck piece with wide straps (I LOVE those for hiding bra straps!) and a subtly sexy front notch. The matte fabric of this piece keeps it slightly to the casual side, so Cathy ramped up the look by pairing it with strappy nude sandals. If you thought that was good, her next choice was even better: a stunning forest green satin piece, chosen for the Heroes Gala. First, I’m in love with this color right now – it’s luxe, elegant and looks stunning! Second, the high cross design of this piece is dramatic and sexy, especially with the little peekaboo situation just about her waist. The side buttons add just a touch of flash, which Cathy accentuated with jeweled fan earrings that make just enough of a statement. Her bright cranberry lip brings a festive touch to this fantastic look.
Carmella hopped on board the daring-pants-plus-neutrals vehicle and, as with both other ladies who have tried it, the pairing succeeds nicely. These windowpane-printed pants could get too busy in a hurry, but matched with this deep-v top and black leather jacket (I love how she got in a touch of her trademark leopard print via the collar!), they come off funky and experimentally modern. If I could swap anything, it would be her boots. I’m giving her a bye on this one because I suspect this was a rainy day (I would probably lean toward a knee-height version myself for a bit more polish), but for non-inclement weather, ankle booties with a block heel or flat OTK’s would give this pairing a little fiercer finish.
We know Brandi for many of her more formal looks, but she also rocks casual style. This simple pairing of an ivory peplum sweater with black leggings and flat ankle boots has just the kind of laidback, confident femininity that’s perfect for fall…or the post-holiday winter chill ;). On a more familiar note is this blush dress, paired with nude platform pumps. Brandi is a master at picking chic classics with a twist and this piece is a #HowItsDone101. This iconic silhouette gets an update from the wrap effect and the crossed front detail, which has the added benefit of accentuating the waist and creating the hourglass shape. Her color story of mixed pale neutrals keeps this fresh and modern.
Maryse also explored the wrap-look option with this Want My Look piece. (Aside: the wrap dress reflects the current 70’s trend, as that was the decade in which designer Diane von Furstenberg brought it to the forefront of fashion). This low scoop-neck silhouette pushes sexy to its limits, while Maryse adds attitude by finishing it with black suede OTKs from Sam Edelman. She brings an extra touch of attitude and drama by topping it with a metallic trench, a twisted-classic piece from Femme LA, which I love her use of! The sheen adds interest and chic to a simply sexy black monochrome look and gives it a powerful flair. Her blackberry lip brings a darker vibe to the look, which, while it might be harsh for day-time wear, works well for the drama of an evening ensemble.
You know that weird, blank space between the end of the holiday season and spring, where everything is blah? Let’s see if we can fill it with fashion! ;) I have a lot…like A. LOT….of catching up to do. So, let’s see if I can get it all jammed in. Are ya with me?
Eva can really nail certain looks and this simple gray dress fits that category. The gray mélange fabric is sleek, yet not super-formal, due to the visual texture. She pairs the look with black pumps and finishes it with a stunning, formal up-do, which adds an extra bit of polish that make sit appropriate for a party or an evening dinner date.
I’m pretty sure you all know how I feel about yellow anything, even yellow used in combination. Alicia has used this incredible powder blue + banana yellow combo in her gear before, but I still have to take a moment to stop call it out now. I LOVE it! The yellow adds a fabulous spike of sunshine to the cool blue. I love the design of this gear anyway – the complex pairing of mesh and sheer and satin and sexy and modern: it’s just amazzzzzzing. But when Foxy does it with a pinch of yellow, well, I’m in seventh heaven. *happy, savoring sigh*
Speaking of fun gear, this set from Bayley reflects the metamorphosis she’s been in the process of lately. It’s an excellent direction to be going in, as it combines the lighthearted effervescence of her previous iterations with a touch of more mature restraint. The end result is pairings that reflect her goofy, joyous persona, while still being aesthetically pleasing. This particular combo spikes red and cobalt with black and silver. The look is clean and cool and the overall fish-scale patterning ties the whole thing together. Setting the stars above that pattern makes them pop out, putting special focus on them. This is such a great example of how well thought-out complex gear needs to be, in determining colors,
placements and harmonies. This one is a gem!
From gear, we make an about-face to this lovely, floaty gown from Maria, worn for he sister’s wedding. We don’t often see Maria in a piece as minimal as this – her intrinsic style sense is much more dramatic and glamorous, but she looks equally gorgeous in this simple silhouette. I’m also loving this soft blush color on her. The whole look is sweet and feminine, and I’m really loving how well it works on her!
Speaking of things we don’t often see, how about houndstooth pants from Maryse? I have to say, I wouldn’t have selected anything as bold as this and made the prediction that she would wear it. An attention-getting pattern like this can be tricky to style. Maryse (as I would definitely predict) hit on one of the ways that works: keep everything else simple and neutral and let the strong statement come solely form the pants. She does so by pairing them with a graphic sweatshirt and beanie, all in predominantly black, and rounding things off with black OTK boots. The whole combo works nicely. I enjoy a surprising fashion choice when it’s styled well. Props to Maryse for pulling this off! Her next look, for the STARS Gala at Universal Studios, is much more in keeping with what we know of her fashion: forward-looking and chic! This white satin tuxedo dress is by BCBG Max Azria. Her pointy toe suede pumps in nude are Louboutin. Versace designed her metallic clutch. This look is flawless! It hits all the right notes with its lightness, its formality and its subtle edginess. It’s noteworthy to me that Maryse mentions she styled it herself, something she does for many events. While some of the ladies have switched to employing a professional stylist for certain occasions, Maryse puts her own sensibilities out there, in much the same way as Blake lively. Both ladies get mad respect form me for that, even more so because their choices are so consistently excellent.
We have a surpise...and a you-could-have-guessed it. Are you ready? ;)
It's that most wonderful time of the year again, Fancies: the time when we give the gift of recognition to the very best photoshoots of the year! We pick the nominees, but to narrow it down to the sole, ultimate, number one of the year, your help is required! We need you. We can't do it without you. So, help us choose...The One.
This year presented some unprecedented challenges. First, in the Knockouts category, there were very few full photoshoots at all. We therefore had to make use of a couple that were one-shot 'shoots, which I have always preferred not to include, but this year simply have so few other options that it's the most reasonable solution. In a similar vein, many of the Divas snaps this year were part of combo 'shoots, so I've made the decision to consider each lady superstar's set as an individual 'shoot. All that being acknowledged, there were plenty of moments which wowed us, inspired us, sent us reeling into transports of delight. Who, may you ask, accomplished all this? I'm thrilled to announce this year's list of Silver Snap Awards Nominees:
It’s not every day that a new lady debuts wrestling gear that’s as well executed and stylish as Brandi’s is. Plenty of ladies do amazing gear, but often it occurs later in their evolution as wrestlers. Brandi’s precociousness is attributable to her love of, and thorough immersion in, fashion but it’s still both noteworthy and commendable. So, we’re going to take a special look at her and break it down, layer by layer.
The first thing you notice at her entrance in her fantastic duster coat. We’ve seen capes, we’ve seen trenches, but this piece is completely unique and it’s definitely something special! The cutaway silhouette at the top gives it a very clean, chic vibe, almost like a men’s Edwardian swallow-tail coat. Women have been appropriating what were once men’s fashions for ages – probably since the dawn of fashion ;) – but it’s really fun to see the way Brandi’s done it here, making a fierce, modern coat out of a vintage formal haberdashery. She does bring it right up to the present day, adding a spike of glamour via gorgeous and unusual square crystal buttons. I couldn’t resist including a close-up so you can truly appreciate the complexity and beauty of this choice.
Her gear has that quality of just-right minimalism, with enough detail to be interesting, but edited enough to be immediately accessible. The sheer inset in her top reminds me of the design Madison uses, but Brandi makes hers distinctive with a tiny strap across the top which creates a slight keyhole effect. It's a bespoke-type of detail which has the added benefit of practicality, something I'm always on board for! Shorts and matching knee pads complete her silhouette nicely and carry the color all the way through her outfit.
Perhaps the most unpredictable aspect of her gear is the snake motif that Brandi has sprinkled throughout her ensemble. -add meanings from note by laptop. I really love the glittering-eye detail on the creatures; it's beautiful and lends a magical, "come-alive" quality to the appliqué.
Lastly, Brandi's color choices have been unerringly solid. The white gear, with its steely-black accents, might be my favorite because of its eye-catching and dramatic contrast. Her amethyst-purple gear is a close runner-up though - that rich jewel tone looks stunning on her! When I see this deep, luxurious shade, I can't help thinking of her Hall Of Fame Fashion Review winning gown from 2015 and it makes me hope Brandi will grace us with a similar tourmaline green or deep teal variation of her gear sometime soon! :) I wouldn't say no to cobalt either ;). I look forward to seeing what further variations of this superb gear she has in store!
Welcome to the place where wrestling & fashion join hands. #BeInspired #LoveFashion Let the Fierce be with you! ;) Peace & Glitter!
Brie: shoe-lover :) fashion-lover and generally glamorous semi-dork
Photos used for criticism and comment under US Copyright Act Section 107.