- Edited by Vivian Kelly
- 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. http://thefashionexaminer.wordpress.com See you there!!
Friday, May 29, 2009
Text, Vivian G. Kelly
Images from respective product websites
Walgreens’, CVS, Rite-Aid – all three power druggists have stores in one smallish upscale suburb in the upscale Connecticut suburb of Ridgefield, CT.
CVS isn’t taking the competition laying down though. They’ve installed their BEAUTY 360 store within a store concept in Ridgefield, CT in record time.
It’s the 3rd one in the nation thus-far and a bold step in a recessionary environment, where consumers are trading down, rather than up.
Beauty however tends to be the exception, and historically women have plunked down their dollars for little treats even MORE so, during tough times.
WHAT’S BEAUTY 360?
“Prestige and niche cosmetics, skincare and fragrance brands in a friendly environment” – we couldn’t have said it better.
The BIG BONUS is that you can use your CVS “EXTRA CARE” points here!
WHAT BRANDS ARE ON THE SHELVES?
You can always pick-up your fave cheapie buys – L’Oreal, Cover Girl, Almay, etc on the other [CVS] side, not to worry.
At 360. expect some lesser-known but definitely higher end brands.
POP Beauty, Laura Geller, Cargo, Canyon Ranch, Freeze 24-7, Vincent Longo,
100% Pure, to name a few.
POINT OF DIFFERENTIATION
Unlike at Sephora, you can get a treatment here. It’s still in the roll-out stages, but so far there’s a small menu of COMP services, SPECIAL SERVICES [with purchase] and during the opening weekend, COMP – yes, FREE mini and maxi facials being booked upon appointment.
We took 2 separate walk-troughs during the first week 360 was opened to gauge the vibe and scope out the selections.
VISIT #1: We bought POP beauty’s NAIL GLAM in Steven Sprouse/DayGlo orange.
The price: $10 for a stylish 0.5 oz bottle. Here’s a chance to participate in this trend that got jump-started by the 2nd edition of Louis Vuitton- Sprouse bags.
PETIE, who helped us out, suggested one of the COMP services – “Turn Back Time” and applied some FREEZE 24-7 which were puffy and dark, thanks to seasonal allergies.
RESULTS – surprisingly good. What most impressed us was not the lessening in puffiness, but the diminishing of laugh lines when we smiled. “The GABA/FX technology works topically using your body’s own natural muscle relaxant to stimulate microcirculation and signal targeted muscles to release.”
It’s not BOTOX, but a great fix in-between injections.
VISIT #2:We bought yet another POP Beauty Item, this time, the “Eye Pop Trio” in “No.2 Chelsea”, mineral eyeshadow. This company’s a winner, and like the red hot TOPSHOP, also from the U.K.
In preparation for an at home manicure with our new POP neon polish, we tried out the “HOT TODDY” COMP service – a leisurely hand massage using the organic 100% Pure grapefruit scrub and lotion.
VISIT #3: Scheduled for the opening weekend in which we’ll test out the 15-minute CANYON RANCH facial.
360 is the ONLY place other than at the C.R. Spa that you can get these products.
THE VERDICT: We encourage parent Company, CVS CAREMARK to roll out more of these 36o Beauty Niche stores in many more of the 6,900 CVS’s around the country.
ADDED BONUS: You can use your CVS EXTRACARE POINTS to buy the goodies at beauty 360.
CVS [common stock] is traded on the Big Board/NYSE and is near its 52 week low at this time. [$29.64 today]. The 52-wk high was all the way up at $44.29. If the Beauty 360 rollout goes well, this could be a good time to pick-up some shares.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION + READING
To learn more about BEAUTY360, visit www.beauty360.com
To read more about the parent co., www.cvscaremark.com
Saturday, May 23, 2009
Text, Vivian G. Kelly
Images of the Exhibit, Richard Spiegel and from the MET's official press kit
There’s always two sides to any story, and not everyone in fashion-land is on board with Anna’s work with the MET and Costume Institute.
Most notably, industry insider, Michael Gross, has penned “Rogues Gallery” an unauthorized history of the MET and some of the key players there. Gross has a rep for delivering a juicy read with a lot of inside dirt, whether it’s one of his magazine articles in New York Magazine, Vanity Fair, or in a book. Part of the criticism is leveled at the flashy MET ball that’s the same evening as the press preview. This season, the Gala Benefit took place on May 4, with Honorary Chair Marc Jacobs and Co-Chairs Kate Moss, Justin Timberlake, and Anna Wintour in charge. Unlike many charitable events, we’ve all heard of at least one member on this committee.
Under Anna’s watch, it’s turned into New York’s hottest annual event and definitely the one that scores the most press clippings. Maybe it’s not very “old money”, but flash has a way of attracting cash, and that’s what the MET and all artistic institutions need to survive.
LIKE IT OR NOT, THE MET COSTUME INSTITUTE HAS “BELONGED” TO VOGUE FOR YEARS. THIS STARTED WHEN DIANA VREELAND [FORMER VOGUE EDITREX] CAME OUT OF RETIREMENT TO WORK ON THIS THEN DUSTY, IGNORED SECTION OF THE MET. SHE WAS ASSISTED BY NONE OTHER THAN THE YOUNG ANDRE LEON TALLEY, WHO WOULD LATER BECOME ONE OF VOGUE’S KEY PLAYER’S UNDER ANNA WINTOUR’S LONG-RUNNING REGIME.
ABOUT THE CURRENT EXHIBIT
TAKE YOUR TIME going through. This is NOT a drive-by, like last year’s “Superheroes”.
Said Harold Koda, Curator in Charge of The Costume Institute "The exhibition examines a timeline of fashion from 1947 to 1997 through the idealized aesthetic of the fashion model.” "We look at the power of clothing, fashion photography, and the model to project the look of an era. With a mere gesture, a truly stellar model can sum up the attitude of her time – becoming not only a muse to designers or photographers, but a muse to a generation."
We arrived 20 minutes prior to the end of the Monday AM press preview but got to stay an hour, thanks to the gracious MET PR team.
1. Listening to Anna talk to her guest while standing in front of the original Madame Gres Gown Sunny Harnett wore in a glamorous casino shot.
2. Seeing [and very tempted to touch] YSL's Mondrian color block dress
3. All of the Twiggy and Veruschka black and whites
OUR FAVORITE IMAGES
1. In the SEVENTIES SECTION – model Lisa Taylor driving her car
2. The image of a young LAUREN HUTTON with nasty remarks written about this beauty’s “imperfections” – goes to prove, NO ONE’S perfect!!
MOST OPULENT EXHIBIT
John Galliano’s couture dresses shown at the House of Dior 40th Anniversary Extravaganza
If you’re a fashion history buff, you’ll love it.
If you love fashion, period, you’ll at least like it.
Exhibition dates: May 6–August 9, 2009
Exhibition location: The Tisch Galleries, second floor
To read more about the exhibit, visit www.metmuseum.org
A FEW LAST REMARKS
Notably missing: Bruce Webber, Azzedine Alaia, some gritty pictures of the heroin chic grunge period
ON OUR SUMMER READING LIST:
•Rogues’ Gallery, by Michael Gross
•740 Park also by Michael Gross
•A.L.T. – to get more info about the history of the MET Costume Institute, from Andre’s perspective,
PICK UP A COPY at www.amazon.com
ADDITIONAL PHOTO CREDITS
Image of Anna Wintour & Bee Schaeffer, from www.myfashionlife.com
Image of Marc Jacobs and Kate Moss, from www.catwalkqueen.tv
Sunday, May 17, 2009
ON THE STREETS OF MANHATTAN: COLOR AT ANTHONY LEONARD, MATTHEW WILLIAMSON’S PUCCI FOR H&M, DOLCE & GABBANA MAKEUP, & TIPS WITH PAT MCGRATH AT SAKS
Text, Vivian G. Kelly
Images, Richard Spiegel
SOME GUYS HAVE ALL THE LUCK”, CROONED ROD STUART FAMOUSLY, IN HIS SEVENTIES HIT RECORD. IN THIS CASE, LADY LUCK WAS ON OUR SIDE. A LAST-SECOND WALK-THROUGH AT SAKS RESULTED IN SOME SURPRISE ONE-TO-ONE TIME WITH EDITORIAL MAKEUP QUEEN, PAT MCGRATH AND A MAKEOVER WITH HER NEW DOLCE & GABBANA PRODUCT. FASHION DOESN’T GET MUCH BETTER THAN THAT!
AFTER GETTING OUR RED HAIR TOUCHED-UP WITH ANTHONY AT THE ANTHONY LEONARD SALON, WE HIT A FEW MORE SPOTS IN THE MIDTOWN AREA. ANTHONY’S THE GUY WHO GIVES MADONNA THAT GORGEOUS GOLDEN BLONDE THAT ALAS, IS “NOT FOR YOU”.
HE’S THE EDITORIAL STAR HE IS BECAUSE HE HELPS YOU FIND WHAT’S PERFECT FOR YOU. SMALL WONDER MANY OF THE CITY’S TOP NEWS BABES RELY ON HIM TO KEEP THEM LOOKING THEIR BEST FOR THEIR VIEWERS.
AS ANTHONY HAD DONE THE COLOR FOR THE WIG SCARLETT JOHANSSON WORE IN THE DOLCE & GABBANA ADS, WE HAD TO HIT SAKS TO SEE THE LINE THE AD WAS PROMOTING. WE KNEW THAT SAKS HAS AN EXCLUSIVE ON THE LINE, WHAT WE DIDN’T KNOW WAS THAT PAT MCGRATH WAS THE GENIUS BEHIND IT.
OUR 5TH AVE DESTINATIONS:
•THE NEW JUICY COUTURE STORE
•SAKS 5TH AVE.
WE TOOK A PASS AT VISITING THE NEW JUICY COUTURE STORE – TOO MUCH OF A TEMPLE-LIKE ATMOSPHERE AND TOO MANY TOURISTS MOBBING IT.
EN ROUTE – FASHION GONE BAD
We got labeled as “my first rude New Yorkers”, by two pretty twenty-something girls [clearly from O.O.T.] when my associate Richard Spiegel, of www.thefashiontribune.com, noticed that the blonde’s Louis V. bag had upside down LV’s on it.
I exclaimed, probably a tad too loudly, “wow, you’re right!” while leaning in to take a closer look.
After the mine tongue-lashing we received, we pushed North to see scrutinize Matthew Williamson had done and to hopefully pick up a scarf or pair of sunnies. Our guess – we’d drop around $14.99 for a pair of oversized sunglasses.
THE CAFTAN IN THE ADS WAS ON A MANNIQUIN, STRATEGIALLY PLACED FRONT AND CENTER IN THE WINDOW. THE OFFERINGS ON THE TABLE WERE NICE, BUT NOT ENOUGH SO TO PART WITH WHAT WAS IN OUR WALLET. WOMEN WERE SWARMING AROUND THE LOW TABLES LIKE FLIES AT A PICNIC, BUT NOONE WAS BITING.
OUR RECOMMENDATION - LOWER THE PRICEPOINT ABOUT 33%, AND THE CHANCES OF DOING A GANGBUSTERS BUSINESS GO UP CONSIDERABLE.
THE BEST FOR LAST -
A saleslady greeted us within a yard of the 5th Avenue door and swept us off to “the special area” where the product was displayed. We weren’t expecting the lush all-gold dressing room complete with crystal chandeliers that greeted us. Nor were we expecting the party like atmosphere, photographers, and electric buzz present on the floor. The reason soon became clear – Pat McGrath was in town doing a one-time only P.A. to promote the color collection she’d created with Domenico Dolce & Stefano Gabbana.
THE MAKEUP LESSON & TAKE-HOME TIPS
Pat remained gracious and unruffled despite the countless picture requests and friends and fans who wanted a word with beauty’s reigning makeup queen. She even set us up with ALBERTO, who shared some fast and easy TRICKS OF THE TRADE with us while applying our makeup.
TIP #1: BROWS ARE A MUST, THIS IS NOT NEGOTIABLE.
“Even if you don’t have time to do your eyes, the brows have to be filled-in”.
HOW & WHAT: Use a liner brush and a gray-brown powder. Start at the highest point, and go AGAINST the hair growth and fill-in.
GOOD FOR EVERYONE BROW COLOR: D&G “CHAMPAGNE 100”
TIP #2: USE A HIGHLIGHTER, NOT CONCEALER TO GET RID OF DARK SHADOWS
This one makes sense, light reflects.
D&G’s Highlighting foundation goes on even better when applied with a wet makeup sponge.
TIP #3: IF YOU’RE GOING TO FOCUS ON YOUR EYES, USE A QUAD – YOU’LL NEED ALL 4 COLORS
TO PICK YOUR COLOR PALETTE: go with what is OPPOSITE to your eye color for max effect.
[Our eyes are hazel, Alberto used a burgundy palette]
TO CREATE A LARGER-LOOKING EYE
Insider Trick: Hold a makeup sponge extended from the outer corner of the eye. With a shadow brush, draw a “7” in the corner of the eye w/ the 2nd darkest shade in the quad.
Insider Trick: Apply the darkest shade to fill in the “7”. Make sure you blend.
Don’t have any good brushes? *Dolce & Gabanna brushes are coming to counter soon.
ON OUR SHOPPING LIST
“Stromboli” nail polish. This green and gold polish was already doing well.
At $20 a pop, you can get one for yourself, and one in whichever shade a lucky friend likes.
“Shine Naked” lipstick – the perfect nude tone for spring 09.
HIGHLIGHT OF THE EXPERIENCE
-PAT stopped by to see the result and pronounced us “beautiful!”
To view and shop the Dolce & Gabanna Makeup Collection, visit
Additional photo credits
Images of Scarlett Johansson photographed by Solve Sundsbo & product images, from the Dolce & Gabbana website
Thursday, May 14, 2009
TEXT, VIVIAN G. KELLY
Freida Pinto AKA “Latika” TAPPED AS L'OREAL PARIS SPOKESPERSON
The gorgeous Pinto is best known for her performance as “Latika” in the Oscar winning film, SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE,the film that won eight Oscars. After Julian Schnabel’s movie she’s currently shooting, she will be filming this summer in Woody Allen's next film.
Says Pinto, "I am very moved to be joining the great L’Oréal Paris family and all these personalities: a family I am now proud to be a part of".
KUDOS to L’Oreal for continuing to what we’ll call its campaign for racial diversity. Okay, if you’re a cynic [which we admittedly are around 80% of the time] you’d be justified in calling it smart biz-sense. While we love the current Chanel ads for the Lumieres Celestes Collection on a mysterious blonde beauty, we’re equally impressed with L’Oreal’s across-the-board campaign strategy.
HITTING THE STORES
Towards the intent of keeping it “real”, we hit our local Walgreens to see who L’Oreal has pitching various products at this point in time.
DOUTZEN KROES [blonde, blue –eyed Dutch cover girl]
-LINDA EVANGELISTA [90’S supermodel – Steven Meisel’s darling]
-ANDIE MACDOWELL [of “Green Card” and “Four Weddings and a Funeral” fame]
ABOUT THE PRODUCTS
At under $10 a pop [and often less thanks to a generous promotions program] L’Oreal makes it easy to experiment without breaking the bank for a costly cosmetics mistake that happens when you’ve picked the wrong shade of $30+ lipstick, used it once, and can’t take it back.
Some of our favorites that earn a space in our [very small] go-everywhere cosmetics bag:
- Bare Naturale gentle lip conditioner in 815 “Soft “Spice” = super-moisturizing, much prettier than Chapstick!
- HIP Bright Shadow Duo in 514 “Reckless”= fun “out there” color
- Crayon Petite Automatic Lip Liner in “Plums Wines” = truly long-lasting, we use it as a base underneath the lip conditioner for our own custom wine-red shade.
To view more of L’Oreal’s products, visit
Images of Freida Pinto by Manmeet Bhatti, courtesy of Bratskeir & Company