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As a nearly 20 year Fashion Industry Vet, I've made TheFE my place to cover and discuss everything fashionable from books, to designer ready-to-wear to couture. All aspects of a fashionable lifestyle are included. BIG NEWS: I'VE MOVED TheFE TO WORDPRESS to take advantage of their superior publishing platform. See you there!!


Wednesday, April 29, 2009

A PROPER INDULGENCE – ORIBE’s Gel Serum – A product for the hair obsessed

Couturier Hubert de Givenchy famously said, “Hair style is the final tip-off whether or not a woman really knows herself.”

We’re admittedly hair-obsessed and recession or not, we haven’t given up on wanting to look beautiful. After seeing the Marc Jacobs fall 2009 show, we’re back in LOVE with big hair, eighties style. When it wasn't that, we opted for the slicked-back hair every "power-luncher" on Wall Street favored. Back then, like every other club going girl or guy, we used STIFF STUFF, which held any style you wanted from 8:00AM to 2:00AM, after breakfast at the FLORENT diner downtown.
Fortunately for us, ORIBE CANALES has developed a new product that makes even the laziest of us appear as if we know what we’re doing. ORIBE’s GEL SERUM is “Stiff Stuff”, only BETTER, and the packaging is what couture is to Walmart.

Oribe‘s GEL SERUM. It promises “Radiance, Magic, and Hold”. That’s a tall order but this product holds and conditions, at the same time. By “radiance” we mean SHEEN, not SHINE aka “greasy”. Our unruly short hair stayed firmly in place – all day, with no pins, no clips, and looked as polished at 6PM as it did at 7AM. All that’s required is to massage a pea-sized squirt into your palms and tousle your hair into the desired position and DONE.

These sexy products are the result of 30 years of custom-blending lotions and potion. Oribe and his crew tested them ON SET, IN THE SALON, AND ON HOLLYWOOD’S A-LISTERS. These glamorous test rats got to try and use these paraben-free shampoos, conditioners and styling products way before they hit the market, but now we can all get in on a little bit of the glamour usually only reserved for the jet set.
KEY INGREDIENT in the GEL SERUM: Corn, Wheat and Soy Microproteins are actually anti-aging. The product coats the hair’s surface, also protecting it from blow-drying and irons, in case you get ambitious.
15 fl. Oz - $58
WHERE TO GET IT: The Adam Broderick Salon, Ridgefield, CT
Tel: 203-431-3994

If you happen to be in Miami, you can drop into Oribe’s salon, and book an appointment to have your hair restyled and leave with just the right product RX for your new coif.
The Oribe Salon is located on 1627 Euclid Avenue, Miami Beach. Tel. 305-538-8006
If not, there’s always the website,

COMING SOON: The review on the ORIBE Shampoo and conditioner.

ENDNOTES: If you’re curious about Stiff Stuff, it’s still out there!

*Additional photo credits: Product image from
Image of Oribe product family,
Image of Adam Broderick,

Thursday, April 23, 2009

PART II of the Douglas Hannant Bridal Report – Company President, FREDERICK ANDERSON’s assessment on the luxury retail picture

Text, Vivian G. Kelly
Interview: VGK and Richard Spiegel

We were fortunate to grab Frederick after the show for what we thought would be a 2-minute Q +A. To our delight, what resulted was an in-depth conversation, in which Mr. Anderson, gave us his frank assessment on where retail is at, what works and what doesn’t.

VGK/RS: We absolutely loved how Douglas showed only 12 looks this time, and 14 last time. Talk about editing!

FREDERICK ANDERSON: Yes, you have to edit yourself, no question.

VGK/RS: Where is DH Bridal selling?

FREDERICK: It’s at Mimi’s in New Orleans and we’re working with Kleinfelds too. Now, we’ve got inquiries from Spain about it.

VGK/RS: Who’s buying your bridal collection, and how are you pricing it at retail?

FREDERICK: Our client is not going to get married looking like a fairy princess. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to look like a fairy princess, but that’s not what we’re doing here. Our client’s in her twenties to thirties and she’s looking for a little more design. We just had one who flew over from Ireland for a dress, word is getting out.
Gowns go from $2,800 – 9,000. The average price is between $3,000 – 6,000.

VGK/RS: It’s no secret that the social girls love you and Douglas. Was this line created for your regular RTW customers?

FREDERICK: Actually, this bridal show you just saw was not about social. With bridal, we’re expanding our brand. Our couture clients will call us if they’re getting married though.

VGK/RS: What else are you doing to expand the brand, it’s a process!

FREDERICK: We launched the INSIGNIA COLLECTION last season. It’s at Nordstrom’s, Lord & Taylor, and Bloomingdales’. It retails in the $500 – 900 range.

VGK/RS: What plans do you have in the future pertaining to your brand expansion?

FREDERICK: We’d like a freestanding store. It’s good it’s been a slow year so we can find where the holes are in the industry and we can come in and fill them. The editorial we’ve been getting has been out of control for us. We can’t keep the samples in the showroom. It’s great!

VGK/RS: A lot of people are saying that luxury is dead. What direction do you think luxury retailing is headed in?

FREDERICK: Joe Boitano at Saks recently said that it’s now about “a new level of sophistication”.

VGK/RS: You and Douglas are like Mr. Blass was – you spend lots of time with your customer; you really know her. What is the luxury customer’s biggest complaint?

FREDERICK: Our women want quality, they’re used to it, they live with it, and they know when it’s not there. They may pick up a cute girly thing that’s in the stores, but that’s it. The stores are not clued-in enough about the fact that what women want more than all else is quality when they come in to buy.

VGK/RS: Retail is slow in the USA, but as Kramer on CNBC says, “somewhere out there, there’s a bull market”. Where are things hot right now?

FREDERICK: At ALOthman in Kuwait. They just opened a huge store there. They have Parisian Couture, Oscar [de la Renta], Carolina [Herrera].

To hear our entire interview [raw and unedited] with Frederick, you can listen to the pod cast at the following address:

ENDNOTES: To get a better idea of the DH style esthetic, read his CFDA DESIGN STATEMENT
Douglas Hannant strikes a balance between modernism and romanticism with an ease that is decidedly American. He succeeds in juxtaposing sportswear and couture, day and evening with a youthful regard. Hannant’s designs are simple in shape but rich in fabrication and texture.

To learn more about the Douglas Hannant brand, visit the official website,
Image of Frederick Anderson,VGK
Runway images, courtesy of Douglas Hannant
Photos from the Saks Launch of the Insignia Collection, Matt Carasella,
Image of ALOthamn, from the official website,

Saturday, April 18, 2009


Text, Vivian G. Kelly, with contributions + photography by Richard Spiegel

“There is no luxury in fashion anymore, so that’s why you have to make sure that your hair looks great,” Quips ANTHONY PALERMO. “Isaac Mizrahi said on THE TODAY SHOW, that you have to have the right hair color, cut and shoes.”

THANKS TO Rachel Paltesky of Edite, we found our way to this 4-month old salon on East 54th street, just off Madison Avenue. The Salon is downtown but uptown – a jewel box with custom-made leather chairs with grommets that are as comfy as the club chairs at the Cornell Club. The mirrors are also custom, and were fashioned to look like the dressing room mirrors in a boutique, so you can see your hair from every angle.
The Salon is the perfect place to have a fashion show, and a great off-site space for up and coming designers. Not surprisingly, Edite client, Glam-punk Princess, HALEH will be staging her show there this September. We look forward to seeing the Salon transformed into a punk rock den that evening.

Maybe you haven’t heard of Anthony or his partner, LEONARD ZAGAMI, but you’ve certainly heard of their famous clientele. Between them, they have numerous editorials and celebrity clients. To name just a few - the Springsteins, Madonna and family, Maria Sharapova,Tyra Banks and Iman. Anthony, by the way, loves, loves, LOVES Tyra. “She’s setting the tone for models to be. They’re all going to want what she has, the show, the contracts, she has it all.” Anthony’s a multi-media presence, maybe you caught him on the Oprah show when Oprah called him “a hair wizard”.
ANTHONY is the Salon’s Color Czar/Color Director, and started his hair career with Oribe Canales, the King of Big Sexy hair. LEONARD, the Creative Director, began at Bumble & Bumble, and does magic scissors and a blowdryer, minus the snarky superstar attitude.
Leonard does loads of shows, including Valentino’s exclusive VIP client and press shows in New York. With his easygoing manner and non-stop smile, it’s easy to see how Leonard charms everyone he deals with from Madison Avenue office workers to his celebrity clients.

Anthony identifies the highlights of his career [so far] are having been on Oprah, and having Madonna as a client. To that, we’ll add that he was the man responsible for the color of the Marilyn Monroe-esque wig that Oribe styled on Scarlett Johnasson for the Dolce & Gabbana ads shot by lensman Solve Sundsbro.

LEONARD CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT: The T3 Bespoked that’s Tourmaline infused and weights less than a can of coke. Small wonder, Leonard advised the creators about how to create the perfect hairdryer. “It’s heat, but the right heat because it breaks down the negative ions in the hair and dries it faster”. And it did, our hair was try in 3 minutes flat.


WE came in with an image of Madonna [one of Anthony’s clients] as she appeared in April W, firmly fixed in our mind, but walked out a redhead – Linda Evangelista style circa 1992. Although we’d secretly harbored a desire last year to have the red hair Kate Blanchett wore so well in “Elizabeth”, we never seriously thought we could achieve that flame color. All told, we spent @ 1 1/2 hours in the chair, and left a different woman.

Friendly, laid-back, and most importantly, these guys know what they’re doing and understand that for many women, hair is about fantasy and is a huge priority when it comes to how we feel about ourselves.
THE BOTTOM LINE: If you want beautiful editorial hair and a fun relaxed atmosphere, look no further.

The Anthony Leonard Salon is located on 532 Madison Avenue, 3rd floor, NYC
Tel: 212-750-8100
Take a peek at the website, which will be up and running by end of month

The next day, as we were somewhat concerned that our hair would appear dry after the bleach application. WE lined up our new ORIBE products and got ready to do some serious sampling, starting with the Shampoo and Condition, and the Gel Serum. The Serum promised us “Radiance, Magic, and Hold”, a tall order, even for the king of glamorous hair.
Later this week – how the products performed and product finder info.

- NAIL GURU to the stars - ELLE GURSTEIN & her super long lasting Barielle nail polish line

Image of Scarlett Johansson by Solve Sundsbro
Image of Madonna by Steven Klein, April W
Image of Maria Sharapova from her official website,

Thursday, April 16, 2009


Text, Vivian G. Kelly
Images, Courtesy of Edite
TIME & PLACE: April 2009, at the Edite Showroom, 134 West 29th Street, NYC

Years ago, Michael Kors’ lead designer, LANCE LEPERE told us that one of the secrets of great design was this – “it’s all in the details”. Yes, those little touches that make a bag an “it” bag or if sloppily rendered, out a designer knock-off as the fake it is. The same can be said for shoes. To our disappointment, the floral Sprouse-Louis Vuitton eighties pink patent pumps we initially loved lost their appeal after we saw that the sole had been glued on, and not all that well, at that. Sometimes the best made shoes are ones you've never heard of - at least not until now.



THE LOOK IN A NUTSHHELL: “Chrome Hearts meets Balenciaga”.

Shoe Designer RAFAEL YOUNG’s CV includes designing for Yves St Laurent, and a stint co-designing with Manisha Arora for the trendy H. Lorenzo boutique located on West Sunset Boulevard in LA. Mr. YOUNG is one of a select number of artists who actually designs the old-fashioned way out - of a block of wood. Unfortunately, as with “les petites mains” of the Haute Couture ateliers, this skill is a dying art. These futuristic yet sexy shoes made with the softest of leather and heels the likes you've never seen before, have names to match "Bibop", "Futura" and "Fazer". If they ever make a sequel to AEON FLUX, we'd bet that Charlize Theron would be wearing a pair.

RETAIL PRICING: $700 – 2500.

For more information on the collection, contact Megan Wolfe, at Edite, P: (212) 967-0202 C: (917) 825-3413 F: (212) 967-0822

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

EDITE’s LATEST FINDS OF NEW DESIGN TALENT: Vassilisa, Haleh, Serpico, Claudine Khiet Part I of II.

Text, Vivian G. Kelly

TIME & PLACE: April 2009, at the Edite Showroom, 134 West 29th Street, NYC


We got a favorable impression o Rachel and her concept for Edite when we first started visiting the showroom 1 year ago. It was a bit rough around the edges, but we liked the idea she and her Partner had of sussing-out new talent and putting them in front of American editors – in all areas of the media – print and web both.
The list has shifted and morphed from “good” to “better” in just one year. We fully expect Edite’s selections to go from “better” to "best" in the next three.

HURRAH! Here’s one designer who is cognizant that girls over size 10 want something fashionable to wear too. There are gold lame dolman sleeves with a gathered front detail and a gold button, in long or knee length designs that are the perfect solution for an evening out or when you’re hosting a dinner party at home.
You Rachel Zoe types out there – this line is also for you. Think about how great Zoe looks in her Missoni caftans, we wouldn’t be surprised if she added a few Vassilisa pieces to her personal wardrobe.

Ms. Vassilisa has already scored the front page of WWD, and it won’t be long before other major publications catch-on. Our hope – that retailers “get it” too, and start carrying her nationwide.

So far, you can find Vassilia at: Satine,, Legends in Nantucket, MASS.

Says designer, Haleh Nematzadeh, “It’s the spirit of a girl that first started to play with fashion and loved to explore the mix.”

THE INSPIRATION for the fall 2009 Collection - the leading ladies of the 1981 punk film, Ladies and Gentlemen, We are the Fabulous Stains, Nematzadeh translates the renegade glamour of the film’s three girl punk band into a collection filled with experimental leathers, distressed denim, chain mail, embellished sweatshirt material, and “grunge” plaid. Young girls will love the loose-fitting jumpsuits and tee-shirt dresses are contrasted by robust biker jackets, mini-skirts, and bodysuits. Those of us who actually experienced the eighties will get a kick out of reliving our past! Fittingly, the images of the collection were shot in the Chelsea Hotel, in Downtown NYC, a favorite pied-de-terre for rockers and other creative types while in Town.

Haleh Nematzadeh is an EX-FIT-er who's worked with Pat Field designing a capsule collection. She’s the real deal, she lives the life of a Bowery Girl - just like you would imagine her to be – black hair, red lipstick and tiny. She is her own customer and herself look great in the black mesh leather jumpsuit, or the gold chain mail tank top or dress she doubtlessly wears for a serious night out. Our favorite piece is the black nylon dress with a deep armhole with vintage Saturday Night Fever appliqu├ęs on it.

The complete collection can be viewed at

SERPICO’s fall/winter 2009 Collection – your source for suits and separates with a Graphic Sensibility

Says designer, Melissa Serpico, “I try to create interesting patterns as well as clothing, such as a dress that is all made from one piece of fabric although it is not readily apparent to the eye.”

THE INSPIRATION: the Baroque garden labyrinths of Northern Italy and France, which she describes as the essence of modern romanticism, SERPICO reinterprets everyday favorites with embellishment and innovative fabric choice.

On tap this season: a limited palette of black and blush separates that can easily be mixed and matched, with some interesting hand cut details. We could easily visualize SERPICO in the pages of sophisticated pubs such as W, V Mag and Paris Vogue.
This Chicago native studied graphic design at Loyola University Chicago before going on to study fashion design at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. You can see an architectural influence in the clothes she designs, similar to Narcisso Rodgriguez and the late Gianfranco Ferre, who studied architecture during the course of their careers.
The silk organza she favors juxtaposed with sculpted silhouettes and geometric details offers a fresh take on architecture and detailing.

SERPICO is currently sold at boutiques including Debut, New York and the SERPICO boutique in Chicago.
Melissa’s got an added edge - she makes the owner’s dresses of the ultra-hip DNA boutique in Dubai.

To learn more, visit

HONORABLE MENTION to designer CLAUDINE KHIET –for her modern take that is perhaps inspired by Hubert de Givenchy’s elegant designs for Audrey Hepburn in the fifties’ classic, Sabrina.

**ENDNOTES: Be on the lookout for PART II of this report, which will cover ACCESSORIES at EDITE.
We were the first to view RAFAEL YOUNG’S collection. Rafael’s collection is all about the DETAILS: a well-balanced high heel, and a metallic finish in cobalt, bronze or gold. The bronze leather looks like hammered bronze instead of mere leather.
OUR PREDICTION: Much as with BIONDA CASTANA, EDITE’S RACHEL PALETSKY has found herself another winner. It won’t be long before we see images of starlets and socials strutting around in a pair of Rafael’s shoes or boots.

Images of Vassilisa,Haleh, and Serpico, courtesy of EDITE
Image of the DNA Boutique, from
Image of Haleh Nematzadeh, from

Monday, April 13, 2009


Text, Vivian G. Kelly

Although Joel Warren and Ed Tricomi weren’t on hand, the Warren Tricomi team did a fantastic job, creating the modern woman’s version of a bouffant up do.
The Said SHELLY BURZAWA, CLE DE PEAU BEAUTE’S Training Executive Director, “Think of a woman under candlelight and the porcelain look her skin has in that lighting."
This provided a perfect canvas for the strong Liz Taylor arched eyebrow. Most of us aren’t fortunate enough to be born with perfect brows like La Liz, but no problem. The tools in CLE DE PEAU’s Eyebrow & Eyeliner Compact help you fill in the deficiencies.
Available in 2 shades at and at the Cle de Peau counter at Bergdorf Goodman, NYC.

WE couldn’t have been happier, ensconced in the splendor of the Plaza’s Palm room in a LOUIS XV armchair, listening to Ivor Stravinsky’s controversial ballet composition, “Rites of spring” playing and only 12 looks to have to focus on. Each gown was choreographed to correspond to a particular part of the ballet, from thunder to the blossoming of clouds. As the designer said, pre-show – “12 looks - that’s all you need to make a statement of what you’re doing.”
There were 2 silhouettes represented – bias and poof. Some brides have the perfect figure, as do many of Mr. Hannant’s society clients, the devoted followers of his couture collection, and it’s understandable that they’d want to show-off the efforts of their hard work. A good choice for them would be the ivory embroidered lace gown with a horsehair bodice or the modern looking white tulle veiled sequin racer back gown. A bride who wants to bring on the volume would probably prefer the strapless ivory satin faced organza spiral gown with a wide white marabou hem peeking out. Exit #8 reminded us of “Carrie’s” voluminous Vivienne Westwood gown; the one she wore to her aborted wedding at the New York Public Library. The white shantung tiered pouf gown had the lightness of a meringue cookie.
These gowns are deceptively “simple” but there’s nothing simple about achieving the flowing lines and flattering silhouettes Mr. Hannant has with this second bridal collection.

Backstage Images, Richard Spiegel
Image of Douglas Hannant with models, from the first D.H. Bridal Collection, R.S.
Images of the Collection, courtesy of Douglas Hannant
Images of Cle de Peau Cosmetics, from Neiman

COMING SOON, THERE’S MORE!: Later this Week – PART II of the Douglas Hannant Bridal Report – an in-depth conversation with Company President, FREDERICK ANDERSON. In this report, Mr. Anderson, gives his frank assessment on where retail is at and what works and what doesn’t.

To hear our entire interview with Frederick, you can listen to the pod cast at the following address: