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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!!


Thursday, July 30, 2009


WHERE & WHEN: The Standard Hotel and Spa, Belle Isle, Miami
Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Swim, mid-July, 2009

Text, Vivian G. Kelly

With over 15 years in the fashion business, we’ve experienced and written about a lot of beauty treatments, more than we can remember. Some standouts: the DDH Facial at the Delano Spa, pedicures by Billy at the Shore Club in Miami, and massage at the Carapan Spa in New York City.
We’ve got a new addition to the list – the spa at the Standard, Miami. The treatments we experienced there during Mercedes-Benz Miami Swim Week catapulted the Standard to the top of our list. This spa has the winning combination of excellent treatment [a given], customer service, and a cool yet friendly ambiance. It’s not often you find all of these in one package.

Is inspired by global bathing cultures, self-teaching and healing.
While there, you’ll be encouraged to discover and indulge in the communal, shared rituals of ancient bathing traditions with a Turkish-style Hamam, Roman waterfall, Aroma Steam Room, Finnish Sauna and Mud Baths.


The Spa’s Director, MINA GOUGH,gets our vote for “Most gracious Spa Director”. She had the best manner of all the spa directors we’ve met over the years. She took us on a tour of the grounds, pointing out the mud bath area by the pool, the stainless steel tubs inside and the porcelain ones on the decks of the rooms.

Why all these baths? Said Mina, “The Standard, is based on the concept of bathing and water therapy.”
WHAT THAT MEANS: you can experience Tub Therapy in the privacy of your room after sweating out toxins in an Ashtanga class.

THE VIBE: Friendly and organic. The Standard is an oasis of tranquility on Island Avenue, just a shot down the cause way on 17th street from the Raleigh, on Belle Isle. There’s nothing remotely stuffy or uptight here, some of the guests’ dogs were lounging contentedly on the lobby couches. We mentally slowed down as we took in the vast expanses of pale aqua and white and the tall green boxwood hedges borderingth the property. The tour was so enjoyable that we got a late start on our facial and pedicure.

The facial we experienced at the Standard was above and beyond. Admittedly, we have trouble relaxing and run around like a wind-up toy from 6:30a.m. until well after 10p.m. [much later during show weeks].
Not much after laying down on the table and Kathy starting our facial, we were in a deeply relaxing ¾ sleep, similar to what you experience after an especially good Ashtanga Yoga class or 5 mile run. Although it’s technically a facial, we’re going to call it a facial/massage appointment.
Kathy started with a light pressure point massage on our legs and then on our face and shoulders.

The actual facial with the ASTARA SKIN CARE LINE w/ the exception of the DDF SPF30 sunblock – [Astara doesn’t currently make one]
Our facial included:
CLEANSING with Botanical Cleansing Gele

EXFOLIATION with Daily refining Scrub

EXTRACTION – it never tickles but is necessary if you want beautiful clear skin”
MASK - using the Activated Sea Mineral Mask, which gave us a glow, we don’t normally possess unless we’ve just been exercising.

MOISTURIZING – Astara Anti-oxidant Moisturizer on face, Astara Botanical Eye Treatment around the eyes.

SUNSCREEN – DDF’s organic sun protection


Astara’s claim is that it is “RAW NOURISHMENT FOR THE SKIN”
These products are synergistically formulated to diverse the damage incurred by ageing, environment and lifestyle.

That evening, at the CIA MARITIMA swimshow, the makeup artist at the MAKEUP FOREVER cabana pronounced our skin “glowing and fresh looking”.
It felt more hydrated than it had after months of dryness maybe due to the RETIN-A we apply nightly in our ongoing anti-wrinkle campaign.
Three days later, back home, our skin STILL felt hydrated. ASTARA is definitely a line worth looking into and trying.

TAKE-AWAY: A complete Astara Travel kit is available for $86 in a clear zip carrying case. KATHY assured us that the products last a long time as they are very pure and need to be diluted with water prior to application.

To read more about Astara, visit

The pampering continued with an extremely thorough pedicure by ALEJANDRA who removed the dead skin and calluses our daily runs cause without resorting to the dreaded razor. She used a mixture of acid on pads [it didn’t hurt] and a lot of elbow grease buffing away the unsightly dead skin.
Perhaps the best part was that she had our damaged toes looking just about perfect – an optical illusion that we’re grateful for while we’re waiting for our blue runner’s nails to grow back in sometime later this year.


In between treatments, we browsed the gift shop and asked Kathy what she’d personally tried and would recommend.
FOR THE BODY: It’s PURE FIJI’s Coconut Sugar Scrub, which smells good enough to eat.

FOR THE FACE: Even if you’re currently devoted to another skin treatment line, pick up DDH’s organic Sun Protection in SPF30 for daily out and about use.

AESTHETICIAN TIP: If you’re a runner or engage in sports that have you sweating, put on some 70 sunblock as it is much thicker and you won’t have to reapply as often.

THE STANDARD MIAMI’s Features and Amenities - just a partial listing!

• Indoor Baths: Hamam, Aroma Steam Room, Scrub Room, Cedar Sauna and Wall of Sound Shower
• Outdoor baths: Roman Waterfall Hot Tub, Arctic Plunge Pool, Falling Water Column, “Sound” pool with underwater music installation and high
pressure jet streams.
• Mud Lounge with water-side sun loungers
• Fully programmed yoga center with waterfront yoga lawns, guided retreats and workshops
• 7 spa treatment rooms
• Natural Beauty Skincare Clinic
• Fully equipped gymnasium with personal trainers, Pilates and Gyrotonics
• “Do-It-Yourself” menu of hydrotherapy treatments
•Naturopathic, Nutritional Counseling and Acupuncture

The Spa is very discreet, but if you want complete privacy, that’s also available. • In-room holistic spa services including massage therapies, Chinese herbal baths, aromatherapy and reflexology are all available in-room.

We’re on board for the poolside mud bath that’s available in a variety of fun colors. After getting cleaned-up, we’ll be heading over for some classic BINGO. This old game is now cool again and a great way to spend Sunday night.

Like us, if you’re the sort who doesn’t mind not being in the eye of Miami’s social hurricane taking place on Collins Avenue, a stay at the Standard is for you. It offers: peace, quiet, luxury, pampering – all in one of Miami’s most gorgeous properties. It’s not a hard choice to make.

Address: 40 Island Avenue
Miami Beach, FL 33139
Phone: 305 673 1717
Fax: 305 673 8181

Photo Credits
Images, courtesy of Lucy McIntyre, The Standard Hotel and Nadine Johnson Public Relations
Image of front entrance and boutique, VGK


Sunday, July 26, 2009


Text, Vivian G. Kelly

We’ve always been intrigued by this designer ever since attending some of his first shows @ 9 years ago. Hundreds of fashion shows later we still remember two of his outfits: the black “Audrey” dress, and the hot pink “Judy Jetson” number. We count seeing those outfits coming down the runway as “fashion moments”.

Just before leaving for Mercedes-Benz Miami Swim Week, we had the opportunity to sit down with B. Michael and his business partner [and longtime fan & client] Attorney MIRA LUKOVIC MULLINS at her spacious downtown apartment. The space is where B. Michael’s well-heeled couture clientele come to select models from the collection, which will then be made-to-measure. “B” as Mira fondly calls him, has an air of aloofness and propriety, which we’ve come to associate with couture, which is after-all an art form. The slight initial stiffness and Dolce & Gabbana sunglasses slipped off once the designer began showing the clothes he’s justifiably proud of. He multi-tasked with ease, answering questions, all while selecting outfits for Mina [who’s also a perfect size 2] to model.


THE FASHION EXAMINER:: We reconnected with you because one of our former students at AAU [Academy of Art University], Amaka Nwigwe, contacted us about your showing at the Fashion On the Square event. The event sounds like it’s quite the big deal in San Fran.

BM: This time, it’ll be a big posh event. There will be a gala reception, we will have wonderful clients of ours as well as what Y’Anad, the PR for the event is organizing.

FE: Who’s your client? Who’s wearing couture these days?

BM: My client has a busy life. She wears me to boardroom, to lunch, to cocktail, black tie, and the red carpet.

FE: What’s your best piece ever?

BM: The black dress from my first collection – Italian double face wool crepe. I also have a black suit called, “The exit suit”.

FE: Haute couture is somewhat shrouded in mystery. The term is often erroneously applied to clothing that is not technically “haute couture”, as defined by The Chambre Syndicale. What’s the real couture process?

BM: I require at least 3 fittings. We start with a muslin then a shell fitting, and a fitting with the lining.

FE: Is everything done in America?

B. MICHAEL: The Atelier workroom is in Long Island City. The client comes to West 12th Street for the fittings.

FE: How do you address the plus size issue?

BE: With my clothes I can fit up to any size. It’s not like I’m offering size 2 – 14.
I have women who are 0, 2, 14, 20 and they all look wonderful in the clothes, as they’re made to fit them perfectly.

FE: What retailers carry you?
[*Note: the retailers listed below carry a sample. Once the client makes her selection, the process begins; she selects her color, etc.]

B.MICHAEL: Saks Jandel in Chevy Chase, the John De Medeiros International on Worth Avenue in Palm Beach.
There’s a big event in Nov. with John we’re involved in.

FE: What collections do you have at this time?

B. MICHAEL: Homme is a new project; I want to do it properly, give it a proper launch. In the meantime, I’ll put be putting 4 men’s looks in my 35 look women’s collection. Men’s will be made to order.

FE: Who’s your guy?
BE: He’s very tightly wound, but he’ll wear a dinner jacket while unwinding, The cut is very tailored but twisted just a little bit.

FE: Do you design a lot of clothes for each collection?

B.MICHAEL: No! Eleanor Lambert said to me, “Edit your collection”. Years ago, I did 60 looks which was in 1999, but that was then. When you show your first collection it is the most euphoric moment of your life and you’re not thinking of things like the number of looks.

FE: Did you ever trip in the course of designing or showing a collection?

BE: Yes! In my 2nd collection, ego kicked in, I got great reviews, and I made a mistake and showed all short skirts which is not my aesthetic. They didn’t sell either!

Fe: You mentioned that you were restructuring?

BE: B. Michael America will be the Umbrella Company.
B. Michael Signature is the demi-couture collection hanging in the store, B. Michael New York will launch in Jan. 2010.
Going forward, B. Michael Homme will be called B. Michael Menswear.

FE: What are you doing to grow the business?

BE: We are growing – we are launching a RTW collection in store with a major retail partner in Jan. 2010. It will be a different animal
It will be $250 dress, very affordable.

FE: How are you coping with the recession?

BM: When I built this collection I felt it was important to make pieces that are gorgeous but somewhat timeless. You need to get some mileage out of it. So, I introduced some peridot green. For this collection, I bought European fabrics. I have to for what I do. It’s all about the fabric.

FE: How do you advertise?
BM: I’ve been called the underground couture designer. We’re very careful about what we do. Fashion on the Square is the right type of event.
The point of couture is that it works with any body.

FE; Would you do Target if they approached you?

BE: If I could maintain the standards and integrity of my designs, yes.

Fe: Succession is always such a fraught issue. Look at what’s happened over at Blass. They’ve never really recovered after Mr. Blass passed away.

Be: My daughter is in the business and helps me. She acts as the liason between the clients and me.

We look forward to reading about The Fashion on the Square event, and will post something in the coming week on The Fashion Examiner. Stay tuned!

Saks Jandel - 5510 Wisconsin Avenue
Chevy Chase, MD 20815
(301) 652-2250

John De Medeiros International -
150 Worth Ave # 136
Palm Beach, FL 33480-4480
(561) 659-5424

Images of Mira Likovic Mullins, VGK
Runway Images, from B. M’s Facebook photo gallery

Friday, July 24, 2009

The BEYONCE “I AM” Concert at Mohegan Sun

Text, Vivian G. Kelly
Images, from the official website:

WHEN & WHERE: Wednesday Night, July 23rd, @ 8:30p.m.

Sitting in Section 105H we had a bird’s eye view of the stage and could have jumped down and fallen into the arms of the blue shirted security guards.
The mood in the venue was mellow yet happy and anticipatory as we waited for the Diva to come on.
Unlike the Justin [Timberlake] concert that was 98% women and 2% men, the ratio was 60/40 here. Many of the men attended with their S.O.


Beyonce uses French fashion designer THIERRY MUGLER, to create the fantasy get-ups she wears on stage. True to form, she made her entrance in a gold lame body suit , complete with a giant gold tail-bow, 20 Carat diamond earrings, and 5” gold heels. Put that with her huge hair, and she was every inch the”SASHA FIERCE” character she morphs into once on stage. Being a glam diva is a tough climb and once there, it’s even harder to stay on top with all the younger performers breathing over your shoulder and waiting in the wings.

The SASHA FIERCE outfit – think a cross between Wonder Woman and a leopard.
Her backup dancers wore rubber skin patent leather suits that showed every one of their muscle striations and more than thrilled the male contingent in the audience.

NOT JUST [any old] DIVA
The concert spanned a wide range of songs and reminded us of the impressive body of work she’s accumulated since she broke away from Destiny’s Child and went on her own. There were numbers from the platinum “DANGEROUSLY IN LOVE” 2006 album which caused a sustained deafening roar from the audience, to some songs from “Dream Girls” to video of her singing at the OBAMA INNAUGURAL. Knowles reminded us of pop legend TINA TURNER, at a long-ago “WHAT’S LOVE GOT TO DO WITH IT” concert we attended I 1985 in Charlotte, NC, just after her huge career comeback. The strut, the legs, the bigger than big hair, the voice that bounces effortlessly from octave to octave – check.
Unlike Tina, Beyonce has youth on her side and effortlessly contorted herself into a human pretzel all the while singing her heart out for her audience.

When the lights went up and Beyonce appeared in a gold encrusted bodysuit on a flying trapeze well over 20 feet off the ground.

Her tribute to the late Michael Jackson. Hair guru LEONARD ZAGAMI of NYC’s ANTHONY LEONARD had predicted early that day that pop divas would be doing numerous tributes to the late king of pop. Good call, Leonard!
It’s not suprising that Anthony’s on point, he’s the guy who cuts Madonna and countless other celebs’ hair. Life is too short not to have great hair.

What really won us over is that you really got the feeling that she was giving her all to the audience, no hold-backs. Also similar was the frequent audience interaction, she leaned over many times to touch her fans’ hands, to their delight and to the consternation of the Arena’s security detail. A guy named Joe Wilson she had a conversation with during the show’s life will never be the same.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009



Text, Vivian G. Kelly
Runway Images, Dan and Corinna Lecca
Image of Designer, Richard Spiegel
Sometime after 9:00p.m., Thursday, July 16th
The OASIS tent at the Raleigh Pool, Miami Beach

As the show was in the Oasis [the sandy venue] it was appropriate that the girls walked out barefoot as opposed to in the usual stilettos.
RETRO touches such as the bubble rubber beach caps our Mother wore to the pool in the sixties and oversize Carrie Donovan style sunglasses added a bit of fun.

HIGHPOINT: the day glow-front halter pink maillot

Everything’s an alteration – unless you are lucky enough to afford couture. That would include bathing suits. No, it’s NOT crazy to have your seamstress alter your bathing suit. More than one model was tugging on bottoms that seemed a trifle baggy, during the show.
ONGOING TREND: By the time the show was over, we could say with confidence that the ROMPER is a trend that has legs and a fun addition to your warm weather wardrobe.

We met designer, MARIA DOBRZANSKA REEVES a few days later, at the XTRA LIFE LYCRA SHOW a few nights later. We’ve always been fans of young designers, and were pleasantly surprised to find out that MARIA is just that. Although the collection she showed this season was thematic and heavily retro, she shows promise. We’re looking forward to her next collection.
To see more designs, visit

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


TIME & PLACE: Sunday, July 19, 2009, 8:45p.m.
The Beachway venue at the Raleigh

Text, Vivian G. Kelly
Images, Dan & Corinna Lecca

Finally, some accessories! Designer BENNY ROSSET used accessories on the runway, and good ones at that. There was a Grecian feeling to the collection imparted by the one shoulder cream dress and “Artemis print”, Greek key gold hardware detailing and prints, and patent gladiators with interesting fishnet insets. There was a touch of Cleopatra thrown in thanks to the hammered gold breastplate necklaces and gold bracelets coiling up the models’ forearms. The vast majority of the collection showed originality. We love Pucci, but the house of Pucci does Pucci best.
That section was short though and Benny got back on track with some vibrant coral pieces, Greek key prints and a brown and a sold bronze halter maillot with a gold Versace medusa head belt – nice touch! The hard rock eighties’ sound track helped to keep everyone energized all the way to the end.
To shop the collection, visit

Sunday, July 19, 2009


Text, Vivian G. Kelly
Runway Images, Dan and Corinna Lecca

BACKSTAGE we caught some time with designer Paola Saavedia, who was extraordinarily calm pre-show.
FE: What was especially important to you this season?

PAOLA: I want to show that the label, “Made in Columbia” means that what we manufacture is of an excellent quality.

FE: Where did the name CAFFE come from?

PAOLA: Everyone equates Columbian Coffee to mean great coffee. I want them to think that way about our products too.

FE: Who’s your customer?

PAOLA: A woman who’s looking for comfortable luxury that is elegant. My suits are comfortable because they have seamless stitching which also looks better.

FE: There are a lot of new models this year on the runways. What type of girl do you favor for you shows?

PAOLA: I like flatter girls because they can wear my suits with a deep V and a gold ring in the middle.

FE: The hardware in your line is very strong. Who designs it?

PAOLA: I design my own jewelry.

The seamless construction Paola’s becoming known for does wonders for the silhouette of the suits. The deep v halter maillot with ornamentation in the cleavage was sophisticated and sexy as was the white rouched bandeau to with a hammered gold ring in the middle [This is the suit Paola recommends for the small busted – thanks Paola!]

FUN EXTRAS: The copious straw toes with ikat trim and gold detailing are fancy enough to take off the beach and out to drinks. Of the prints and solids, solids won out.
MUSICAL NOTE: One thing we like about Miami swim is that you never know what the sound track will be as opposed to New York tent shows that tend to use many of the same tracks over and over.
The music here – “I fell in love with a DJ” that had a decidedly Jamaican vibe to it, that KELLY KILLOREN BENSIMON was dancing in her seat to.
There were even some Michael Jackson tracks blended in, perhaps in homage to the late king of pop.
STRONGEST POINT: The distinctive heavy gold hardware that make these more than just another swimsuit. Strategic placement such as at the back of the bikini bottom added interest.

To view more Caffe designs, visit

Friday, July 17, 2009

Mercedes -Benz Fashion Week Swim kicks off with TIBI

Mercedes -Benz Fashion Week Swim- the 2010 Collections

Text, Vivian G. Kelly
Images of Tibi runway show, Edward Le Poulin
Images backstage, Richard Spiegel
Image of Dan Lecca, from


IN a season that you’d think everyone would be cutting/scaling-back, IMG’s swim shows are going on in South Beach yet another year. Yes, despite the City’s Convention Director phasing the City’s involvement in these shows out, this round of shows sounds to be bigger than ever. There are more parties, more presentations, which has us making a mental comparison to how New York Fashion Week has been increasingly more spread-out, which we don’t mind a s it mixes things up a bit. What ‘s unfortunate though, is that the show-goers have to make a decision between two shows as occurred last night. We chose the MARYSIA SWIM show at the Oasis venue at the Raleigh over the INCA show at the W Hotel.
The sixty-four thousand dollar question this season concerns the Runway’s Runway King, Dan Lecca. He and his team are on site shooting for Mercedes-Benz as they have been for the past few years but he won’t be releasing the photographs to editors as before. Having “the Dan Download” was one of the best things that IMG ever did and made it possible for us to attend a show in New York’s Forbidden Zone [South of 23rd street, and West of 9th Ave.] AND write up shows we DIDN’T attend that had the same time slot midtown in the tents. A colleague of ours had a conversation with Mr. Lecca and discovered that Mr. Lecca chose to take the high road, and offered to give the photographs to IMG – for free. Astonishingly, they refused his generous offer. The runway’s premiere photographer doesn’t really NEED to be doing this, but he does it season after season, because he loves it. We miss you Dan!

TIme/Place: Thursday night, July 16
The Cabana Grade at The Raleigh Hotel, Miami

BACKSTAGE, Designer Amy Smilovic spoke of her vision as a journey to Indonesia in which shapes were “clean and minimal” and stated, “Bigger shapes [fuller bottoms] can be sexy.” We liked the new more modest bikini bottom in a chevron print, which reminded us a bit of the suits Fifties pinup calendar girls would wear.

Everyone’s feeling eighties after Marc Jacobs showed a directional collection last fall heavy on neon brights. Ms. Smilovic paid homage to the era in her way – our favorite an orange asymmetric dress with rope strap detailing accessorized with giant gold cuffs.

The prints were on the Psychedelic side– think a Sixties acid trip, with the best being a green and white combo.

Playsuits looked sophisticated, especially the coral long sleeve one that could take you to dinner on ship or shore.
We loved: the café au lati roulette strapless cover up in chiffon, which would make a good ad, as would the carousel Ikat cover up. Boston-based stylist Gerard Vallecello, a friend of Marc Jacobs’ sitting next to us leaned over towards the end of the show and remarked, “I love her, [Smilovic] she knows how to put everything together. “
Speaking of shopping, once you’re in shape, pick up the hot pink and purple strapless lava bikini. Thinking of it will motivate you through spinning class. You could wear TIBI green crepe de chine lounge pants after you’re done as an elegant alternative to a Terry cloth sweatsuit.
Tip: We love Havaianas, but you’ll look even sexier in a high heeled pair of thongs, like the ones at Tibi.

LAST WORDS: the first 2/3 of the show were strong. Keeping a collection to fewer than 30 looks tends to work best when showing to the press.
To view more Tibi designs, visit

Monday, July 13, 2009

POSH PRESENTS FOR POSH POOCHES: Custom Dog Beds by KOSTAS and the latest in street wear by PSYCHEDELIC FUR

Text, Vivian G. Kelly

Our Mother’s black Pomeranian, “Mona”, gets more beauty treatments than her adoring owner, and for that matter, gets more new outfits each season. Go figure. This is not news to you if you’re the owner of a POSH POOCH – the sky’s the limit when it comes to the little darlings, right?

Kosta Dafila is your man if you’re looking for a statement making bed for your dog. There’s a bed for punk wanna bees, one for Upper East Side fancy girls and a traditional awning stripe for those who vacation on the Vineyard and East Hampton.

BTW, Kosta makes more than dog beds. To view samples of his work, visit,

New York and Los Angeles based PSYCHEDELIC FUR

PSYCHEDELIC FUR was launched in New York in 2005 by music industry executive and passionate dog lover, Lori Lambert, when she adopted her Havanese puppy, Louie. Nothing in the shops was right, so decided to create her own that reflected her love for rock ‘n’ roll.

In June 2008, Lori partnered with Los Angeles-based Teri Hertz to launch their "official" line of paw-litical tees and bandanas. products drew national and international media raves featuring specially designed campaign items for “Bark Obama” and “McCanine”.
These buzz-worthy tees have been featured on The CBS Morning Show, Us Magazine, and
[Exact address: http://www.]

XS [7 lbs. And under] all the way up to XXL [61-80lbs]
Tees, $21
*They even provide an excellent sizing chart on the official website,