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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 28, 2010

The Khirma Eliazov Trunk Show -bags, bags, bags!

Images, Richard Spiegel

"… I did not want to just design arm candy, but rather, sophisticated, luxury handbags identifiable for their high quality construction, distinctive aesthetic and versatility that lends itself to complement a favorite pair of jeans, a cocktail dress, poolside, or at the MET - feminine, functional and timeless." – Designer and Founder, Khirma Eliazov

WHAT: A 1-year-old bag line created by a former Vogue editor and stylist.
Event: Khirma Eliazov Trunk Show
When: April 22-25th (Thursday-Sunday)
Where: Henri Bendel (56th Street and 5th Avenue), right up front and to the right of the door.

Last year, in the depths of what has termed, “a deep recession”, it seems fool-hardy to launch a bag line. That’s what Khirma laughingly told us her parents’ reaction was when she broke the news to them that this was just what she was going to do.
And, that’s true, many aspiring designers come and go, and the projected lifespan is akin to that of a fruitfly’s.
Not this young lady – she’s got some great bags, a Vogue pedigree, AND a little help from some very influential friends. Her bags have already been featured in major publications such as Vogue, Elle, Teen Vogue, Glamour,, Star, and The New York Post.


TheFE: What do you do besides design the bags?You’ve tightly edited yourself, but why now?

KHIRMA ELIAZOV: I'm the face of the company.
I’ve learned on my own – the sourcing, dealing with the production. My experience at Vogue and as a brand-marketing consultant for sure helped.

TheFE: Do you have a backer?

KHIRMA: In Spring 2009, Keira Guez joined me as a partner. She’s our Director of Production and Sales. At this point, the bags are available in over 15 stores

* [Guez is the daughter of denim mogul Paul Guez, has had her hands in the fashion industry from a very young age.]

TheFE: The bags look great, expensive. How are you pricing them?

KHIRMA: The majority is under $1000. I price them to sell – that’s my focus now.
The whole idea is affordable luxury. The little messenger bag retails for $240.

TheFE: Most special thing about your designs?

KHIRMA: It’s all about the detail, The detail is the signature gold box chain like the one my Grandmother used to wear.
I work in leather and exotics and the hand-woven comfy shoulder strap is one of our signatures.

[We hefted one onto our shoulder and it IS comfortable].

TheFE: You say you appeal to a wide age-span. How do you accomplish that?

KHIRMA: These bags are the finishing touch to a great outfit. It works for the conservative woman like my Mom's girlfriends and for my trendy girlfriends. The new collection features a big deconstructed tote, hobo and messenger – something for everyone.

Khirma Eliazov handbags celebrity fans include: Jennifer Lopez, Blake Lively, Rihanna, Sienna Miller, Eve, Alessandra Ambrosio, among others. nationwide.
Lopez was recently spotted wearing Khirma’s ‘Cha Cha’ Bag.

For more information please view the collection online at

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

ROBERT VERDI'S SUITE - The Future of Fashion: Custom Vans, Phyto Paris Haircare, Absolute Acai & Vitamin Zero Martinis= What's good in life!

One of our favorite parts of New York Fashion Week is visiting Robert Verdi’s Luxe Laboratory, deep in the bowels of the Garment District. There’s a plethora of products to try and to review every season. This time at the Future of Fashion event, the list included Vitamin Water Zero, Acai Absolut Vodka, Phyto Hair Care, and best of all, custom made VANS.

Before my visit, I didn’t know a lot about Vans other than 1. they were a competitor of Keds from Cali, and 2. That most of the privileged kids at our CT high school wear them. As my soccer coach husband lives in sneakers, I decided to treat him to the custom made pair LL was offering guests to create for their own use.

Robert’s fabulous Assistant [we should say, “right hand”] got us started on the VANS Custom program, which is available for men and women. We went with the option of creating a flashy version of classic Vans, selecting the “old skool” model, complete with the waffle sole that still does “epitomize the West Coast surf and skate scenes”. The process was surprisingly easy and half way through, Robert himself came over and helped us put together a very colorful pair of shoes. This was a thrill because Robert really has an eye for color, which he uses to his clients’ advantage in fashion, and home décor.
“Great, he exclaimed, he [my husband] likes color!” He added some touches such as Kelly green piping around the tongue of the shoe and purple piping at the top of the rubber sole that matched the purple suede toecap.

All that remained after hitting the SEND button was to wait for them to arrive. Three weeks later, they hit our driveway and behold – the brightest suede shoes we’d ever seen. They were as the site promised “off the wall”!

Short on time, I only briefly stopped into the beauty room but long enough to chat with a Phyto Paris Rep who send us a bottle of PHYTO “Complement Alimentaire cheveux et ongles” [translation: dietary supplement for hair and nails]. As promised, half-way through the two-month treatment time, my hair was visibly shinier and grew faster than it had in the past year. Unlike other supplements we at TheFE have tried, these have a pleasant chocolate aroma and no bitter after-taste. Since they’re working so well, I’m going to continue on and complete the recommended 4-month treatment time. The celebrity hair stylist on hand raved about Phyto's FIBER PASTE, which he said would be especially useful in taming my stubborn cowlicks.
On the way out of the suite, Ashely handed me a chic little LL Bean tote with a bottle of Absolut Acai and few bottles of ZERO VITAMIN water. Being a martini a night girl, I set-about trying out the various Zeros and vodka to find the perfect mix. So far, our favorite back home is the pomegranate “go-go” shaken [not stirred] with Absolute Acai in a 1-1 ratio. Add to that that no matter which Vitamin Water you use, your cocktail’s delivering some healthy benefits. Cheers!

Be sure to catch Robert on his TV Docu-series – The Robert Verdi Show on the Logo Channel,

Sunday, April 25, 2010

The DEVI KROELL Boutique - the Madison Avenue retail picture


Images, from

These days, the picture on Madison Ave isn't pretty. The top designer boutiques are filled with black clad sales people and scarcely a customer. It's true that there are crowds clustered around some of the greats over on Fifth such as Cartier, and that there was a line wrapped around the block waiting for the Abercrombie Flagship to open. Our money's on that these folks are just out of town lookie-loos.
Back to Madison Avenue. We took a Thursday afternoon jaunt down retail's golden mile - starting on Madison and 57th street to see what the action was. Not much tempted us, we passed on the corner Michael Kors boutique, Prada, and in the interest of saving time didn't go into Chanel but drooled at the bag display in the window.

WHY THERE: We unanimously loved the yellow bag we spotted just inside and disliked the multi-colored pants/leggings in the window display and agreed we had to see more.

INSIDE: The sales girl who approached us gets a 10/10 for friendliness and her knowledge of the product on the floor.

The two-level NY boutique is a long Shotgun space, designed by Devi who's quite the designer. She conceptualized the boutique and designed the backboard in chocolate duchesse satin. "Here's one Madison Avenue designer, remarked www.thefashiontribune.comRichard Spiegel, who didn't have to call Peter Marino to design their space."

The python is signature, and always fabulous, whether it's in natural or shocking pink. This season, Devi also worked with leather and designed the sunshine yellow twist bag that lured us into the store.

The larger python bags can take you day to evening and for an overnight if needed. Tiny clutches aren't really where it's at but larger clutches are more on-trend and sell.
The gold peep-toe sandals with a 6" heel retail for $990 but thanks to some help from features in the March AND April issues of, are doing nicely.

Although the [Stock]Market is creeping upwards, it's just not the time to expand a brand. The clothes are not the stars at D.K., and are for the most part, relegated to the upstairs area. The best-seller is the long versatile metallic cardigan for $179O.

There's probably a customer out there who will buy the Michael Jackson-esque gold paillette blazer that goes for just under
$5000, but the real focus remains on the bags and shoes.

Tighten things-up, meaning, scale-down to a smaller space, restrict the RTW clothes to a bare minimum [perhaps just by special order] and narrow the focus to those great core bags and shoes we all love.

717 Madison Avenue
p 212.644.4499

Forum Shops at Caesars Palace
3500 Las Vegas Boulevard South

p 702.696.9944

Monday, April 19, 2010

REEM ACRA'S spring 2011 Bridal Collection- the Beauty of Simplicity


New York Bridal Week, April, 2010, Sunday morning
PLACE: The Crown Building, 550 Fifth Avenue showroom, for the spring 2011 collection preview

WHAT: a simply [literally] beautiful collection of 18 gowns inspired by Shangri-La

As always, remember that Reem is NOT just a bridal designer, but a very talented ready-to-wear designer. That being said, we've come to expect RTW trends to slip into her bridal designs.
This season's significant details:
-Youthful floral sexy lingerie
-Strapless with corset detailing [as in the Reem Acra RTW collection]
-The mixing of fabrics, resulting in an eye-catching 3-D effect

#17 is especially on trend w/ the RTW. There was crystal detailing, flowers, ruffles and embroidery. None of these were done with a heavy hand and in no way could be described as "bling".

Our favorite= the simplest #11, the "I am Sexy" hand draped gown, in ivory satin face chiffon.
Reem graciously posed with her beloved LULU and a model dressed in the finale gown, aptly named, "I Am The One And Only".

The median price or "Sweetpoint" = $4,000 -7,000
To Shop: Reem Acra, New York, Saks Fifth Avenue, Beverly Hills, Kleinfelds, NYC

411 ALERT: Reem is rolling out 10 stores this year, making her gorgeous more readily available to the bride who only wants the best.

To read more about Reem Acra and her brand, visit
Reem Acra is also on Facebook and Twitter

Images of the spring 2010 bridal collection, Dan + Corinna Lecca, Courtesy of Reem Acra
Image of taupe RTW gown from the fall 2010 collection,

The DOUGLAS HANNANT spring 2011 Bridal Collection - BRAVO DH!!

TEXT, Vivian G. Kelly-Van Zutphen
Backstage Images, VGK-VZ & Richard Spiegel

They say, "when you've got it, you've got it". Sometimes, you fall off the yellow-brick road you're on but that's only human. Designer DOUGLAS HANNANT was solidly back on track - no question - scoring a 10 out of 10 with his spring 2011 bridal collection. The Fashion Reporter's Publisher, Priscilla Monteiro and I turned to each-other murmuring out-loud, "gorgeous" after the eighth gown came out. The dresses were everything bridal designers always promise but rarely actually deliver. They were beautiful, fresh, youthful, AND fashion forward. It's hard for tulle not to look as if it's only meant for ballerinas, but Douglas made it look right for bridal.
The white blooms Edward Tricomi [of Warren Tricomi] put in the models' hair instead of in their hands and the soft tulle ruffles that fell softly on the shoulder of one gown all worked to perfection. [*Confession, when we first saw Edward backstage at one of Douglas' shows, we wondered what Iggy Pop was doing there].
Seriously though, what Edward did for this show is an example of what a talented and creative hair dresser can do when given a long leash. As we told him post-show, we'd be happy if we never saw another boring side swept Barbie ponytail at a show again. The sleek mermaid gowns befit the older bride and the extraordinary ice blue embroidered floral gown would have been perfect for Marie Antoinette for her romps around her Petit Trianon "cottage" on the grounds of Versailles.

Rarely, IF EVER, have we left a bridal show in such a pleasant mood. Apparently, the retailers in the front row felt the glow of success too. They pressed forward to talk with Douglas and his partner, Frederick, [the only man we know who can work a lavender blazer like this] and urged their photographers to get additional shots of the dresses.

Brides-to be can now do one-stop shopping at the Legendary Plaza. The Douglas Hannant boutique and a Warren Tricomi Salon are located in the Plaza. Even if you're not getting married, think about getting one of the best cuts of your life with Edward and some color with Joel Warren.

Friday, April 16, 2010

nanette by nanette lepore - the Mother's Day Gift Set

TEXT, Mark Behnke and Vivian G. Kelly-Van Zutphen

Call us grumpy, but we hate Hallmark Holidays, and we'll lump Mother's Day into that.
Mother's Day requires gifting and restaurant reservations at over-crowded venues, and lots of planning, if you play by the rules.

Known by our nearest and dearest for "doing our own thing", this year, we have a plan that's a happy compromise. May 9th, we're going to run in the "Run Like a Mother" 5k at 9:00a.m. , then have our Mother over for lunch on our patio and gift her with a Nanette Lepore Gift Set. Downtown PR firm, Bratskeir & Company sent us the new nanette by nanette lepore to sample.
Our "nose" is admittedly shot after a deviated septum surgery 5 years ago. Nanette's inspiration sounded wonderful, "I wanted to create a fragrance that would make women feel as if they were enveloped in something soft and amazing."
To find out if nanette really IS amazing, we gave our Boston-based fragrance contributor, Mark Behnke, a call. Mark is the Managing Editor at, the New in Niche columnist on, and the Men's Style Editor at"

Mark's nose is as fine tuned as a Stradivarius violin, so what he says goes.
Below, his review on Nanette's latest fragrance.

Nanette by Nanete Lepore, is the second floral fragrance from Nanette Lepore and it improves on the original. To create this fragrance, the designer partnered with Elizabeth Arden and perfumer Anne Flipo of International Flavors and Fragrances. Nanette by Nanette Lepore is better [than Nanette Lepore] because they added some depth to the floral character of Nanette Lepore by adding in some amber and musk to the original. It is also more identifiably rose centered than the original and a touch more intense. That added intensity makes it a good spring fragrances for warm days and cool evenings.

We bopped into the Nanette Lepore boutique last Saturday to look at the Mother's Day Gift Set box. Packaging is such a key element of fragrance and we've bought in the past because we fell in love with the packaging, as we did with this one.
We loved the nude blush box with a pretty jet black design detail on the inside. The bottle itself has a romantic vintage feel tp it, and was inspired by some vintage perfume bottles Nanette saw in a Florentine gift shop. Celeb fans such as Scarlett Johnasson, Leighton Meester and Eva Longoria, will be adding this fragrance as the finishing touch to their Nanette clothing collections.

Mother’s Day Gift Set Contains:

2.5 fl oz/ 75 ml Eau de Parfum Spray
3.4 fl oz/ 100 ml Sensual Body Lotion
0.16 oz/ 5 ml Deluxe Mini Parfum

Pricing & Availability
$95, available at Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus

Sunday, April 11, 2010

ROBBIE DAWG treats – the RX and Must-Have for Doggie Princes & Princesses


There was once a little dog named LOUIS. He lived in the lap of luxury in Tokyo, with a wonderful woman who spoiled him silly. Louis had it all, including LOUIS VUITTON squeaky toys! STILL, he wasn’t happy and scratched his owner’s niece when she came to visit.
The solution came to us after attending THE GALLERY NEW YORK event one of our favorite fashion PRs, Alison Kennedy, co-owner of KPR Public organized last month in NYC’s Garment Center.
It was there, that we discovered ROBBIE DAWG.

Lisa Fortunato started w/ 1 treat she originally made for her own pooch. After getting laid-off she gave this a go fulltime. After 5 yrs of working in her apt she's in the black, and her product in sold in ALL 50 States in the USA.
TheFE: Your dogs inspired the line?

LISA FOTUNATO: Robbie has his own line and Lulu has her own line.
Our treats have no salt sugar and a 16 month shelf life.
We donate 40 lbs of product per month to Bidawee, Women's Cancer, and also work with the NY Mayor's Alliance.

Checkout Lisa’s book, boasting [we're not kidding] 150 doggie recipes. "The Everything Cooking For Dogs Book" is available on
An incredible 17 out of 17 people who reviewed the book found it to be helpful for their picky pets. One owner wrote, “The recipes have all the ingredients you have on hand in your kitchen, and are incredibly easy to make. The cookies I baked worked great during the "training" phase with my dog.”
LOUIS, back in his swank apartment in Toyko, would enjoy the events Ms. Fortunato participates in. Recently, she participated in an event with CHRISTOPHLE on Fifth Avenue called, “Bring your dog to shop day at Christophle!”

What’s next - Next is a cat line for Cookie and Dough, inspired by her two cats. We can’t wait to road test these treats on our finicky black darling, “Koko”.
To purchase the treats and learn more about Lisa's charitable collaborations, visit

To stock-up on Louis Vuitton essentials, visit

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Jewels for Spring - The Bigger the Better, the Girls Like it Better!


We're thrilled about the nude trend for spring, which gives the boot to all of that BLACK and snow, boots and endless layers we've dealt with for the past 4 months in what's been one of the coldest Winters in the Northeast in years.
Wearing nudes and beiges serves as the perfect backdrop for some major jewelry - real and faux. Don't be afraid to mix it up like the legendary Babe Paley and Coco Chanel did.


Some of our favorite high- low pieces come from the most random sources. While going in to size our Tiffany star band at a family jeweler in Danbury, CT, we spotted a picture of CARMEN LUCIA BUCK wearing the most gorgeous ruby we've ever seen, right next to the vault. Turns out, Frank Cappiello, has designed some honking big rings [still does] in his thirty-plus year career as a fine jeweler. He's most proud of the Carmen Lucia Ruby ring he designed for the late Mrs. Carmen Lucia Buck. According to Frank and a write-up in The Washington Post, the acquisition process began with Carmen's longtime jeweler, Frank Cappiello, who suggested to her husband that he make a giant ruby ring for Mrs. Buck. Dr. Peter Buck is a founder of the Subway sandwich chain and a nuclear-physicist, with a net worth Forbes estimates is $1.6 billion, which explains how he could take up Cappiello's suggestion. The Carmen Lúcia Ruby weights in at 23.10cts, is set in platinum along with two colorless triangular diamonds. It's the one of the finest large, faceted Burmese rubies known and the largest faceted ruby in the Smithsonian's National Gem Collection. Neither Mr. Cappiello nor the museum would disclose the price of the gem, We do know though, that the ruby was mined in the 1930's from the fabled Mogok region of Burma.

In Frank's shop is a portrait of Carmen Lucia in gala attire wearing the ruby, which she wore as an everyday accessory until her death.
In October, 2004, , Dr. Buck donated this magnificent ruby to the National Gem Collection and the people of the United States as a tribute to his late wife.
To see the Carmen Lucia Ruby, go to the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History and have a look at the Hope Diamond, which is in the same room. Now's a good time, when the cherry blossoms are out!

LOW: RZ by Rachel Zoe Jewelry for QVC
At the other end of the spectrum is our modern day version of "fun, cheap dime story jewelry". Babe Paley might have combined this huge filigreed cuff with some her huge yellow canary diamond Verdura ring. Rachel even makes the perfect spring weather wrap, a cream double faced cape that fits everyone from a size 0 - 14. It makes the ideal backdrop for any jewelry you might want to pile on.

The RZ line is available on
Below, pricing information.
Rachel Zoe Double Faced Belted Cape
QVC Item #A199719 Approximately $95.00
Available in Black, Camel, Ivory (shown), Red and Yellow

Rachel Zoe V-neck Vest with Faux Fur Front
QVC Item #A199722 Approximately $62.00
Available in Silver (shown), Ivory and Coyote

Rachel Zoe Impressive Filigree Cuff Bracelet
QVC Item #J147752 Approximately $104.00

Image Credits
Images of the Buck ruby, Chip Clark
Images of the RZ line, courtesy of QVC
Nude trends piece, from