- 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!!
Saturday, July 31, 2010
TEXT, VIVIAN KELLY
It was a delight to go up to the all-white shotgun Park Avenue home studio. I was on-board from the start, when my contributor, LIZA MULVENNA, told me I should really check out her designs. The concept was right-on – a small collection of highly edited styles that Anjali will customize for you. If you prefer a shorter sleeve, you got it. A longer sleeve, that’s fine too.
We loved the silver glitter dress that Anjali told us she made for Teri Hatcher. It's a perfect pouf short sleeve scoop neck dress. She works primarily in silk and throws-in some cotton voile for seasonality.
Lest you think Anjali is a one-note designer who can just whip up a few silk dresses, think again. There's a lot more: silk dresses with bracelet sleeves with and a ruffle down the front, a 2-tone sheath, a camel cashmere skirt with silk loops and a pair of silk harem pants.
Up until this point, her best seller is the silk bias cut cowl neck silk dress, but I’m betting that with alterations, those silk harem pants will blow-out. All that’s needed is a loosening in the hip area and these will be gold with anyone who’s a size 10 or over.
With retail prices coming in $140 -360, Anajali’s line can be classified as “affordable luxury”.
Said Anjali, while suggesting things for me to try on, “You'll keep these pieces in your closet for years and they can be changed-up with your new accessories.”
Our favorite: the swirl print white + black shift dress. As my friend, Richard Spiegel, of www.thefashiontribune.com remarked, “This is a winner of a print. I’d like to see it made up as a pair of slacks.”
To order, visit www.anjalikumar.com
Friday, July 30, 2010
TEXT, VIVIAN KELLY
We made it to the presentation held at the Antony Todd store on East 11th Street, just off University, with 20 minutes to spare. Michele of Atelier PR organized one last talk-through of the collection for the benefit of the late-comers.
The eight models were unbelievably, not sweating, although they were posed on a white platform under bright lights and were wearing full-on winter outfits. The models were perfectly cast, ranging in age from early twenties to early fifties. Rather than just looking like generic models, they resembled the elegant men who inspire Mr. de Corato's designs.
The mostly female crowd of editors clustered around the dapper designer, and hung on his every word. As he talked passionately about a pair of white driving gloves and the artisan who made them, I forgot that I was sweating, late to my next event, and started listening, 100%. Here's a designer who's got it all and who could be the next big thing in the world of menswear.
Going down the list:
1. First and most importantly, the clothes are exquisite.
2. The clothes are timeless. Mr. de Corato told us he is still wearing one of the first suits he produced. It is over 8 years old.
3. The designer is media-genic - he comes across as warm, interested and attitude-free.
4. His boutiques are anchored in the top spots where the affluent shop: New York, Palm Beach, San Francisco, and Vail.
I really tuned-into what Mr. de Corato was saying when he spoke of the white driving gloves I'm dying to own. The designer joked in a mellifluous Italian accent, pointing to the model, " Yes, he's wearing driving gloves, but HE'S not driving; his driver's taking him to the soccer game at the arena."
When it comes to designing his clothes though, Mr. de Corato is all business and has dedicated himself to finding the very best artisans and small manufacturers to deliver the goods. He used Loro Piana natural fibers, horn buttons, sheared mink, super 150 wool, and satin pique in this collection.
Accessories are part and parcel of the look and he researches the components for his shoes and glasses with as much zest as he does the RTW. Taking a pair of sunglasses off one of the models, he held them up for us to inspect and scratched the lenses with a key, as we watched, horror stricken.
"See, these glasses are really scratch-proof. They are modeled after those from WWII. Please, know, I'm not the producer, I'm the dreamer who finds all these wonderful little producers who can make them come true."
Once he's identified potential partners, he engages in partnerships with them to produce small quantities of clothing and accessories that appeal to the man who appreciates fine Italian tailoring and is willing to invest in timeless pieces that give the wearer an elegant silhouette.
One notable piece was a cashmere sweater lined with mink and trimmed in suede with horn buttons. This is a piece I can easily image one of the nattily dressed Milanese men wearing in October while sipping a martini at Harry's Bar in Venice.
Although the Antony Todd store is indisputably chic, [think of a well-appointed hunting lodge], I can't wait to visit it later this year, after Mr. de Corato redecorates it.
To view more designs, visit www.decoratoboutiques.com
Thursday, July 29, 2010
The ED HARDY Resort & Swim Show at the Raleigh
TEXT, VIVIAN KELLY
It’s no secret of what my regard is [not] when it comes to the Ed Hardy franchise. I’ve watched, blogged and yes, sniped from the sidelines since attending my 1st Christian Audigier show at Mercedes-Benz LA Fashion Week around three years ago.
Sitting front row usually guarantees you a goodie bag, but in my case, someone had already swooped in and taken my blinged-out ball cap, which I might have worn as a joke during New York Fashion Week. One of the Account Reps from PR Firm TARAINK, kindly took my name and contact info and promised he’d try to get me one. If nothing else, I walked-out impressed with this firm’s level of courtesy.
While I can't say I was feeling the female models' hair, I did like the guys' mini surfboards. Many of the models were surprisingly meaty. Could this possibly be a new trend?
Audigier’s all-woman design team piled it on: the colorful rubber watches, the studded strappy cone heels and Betty Boop round toe pumps. There were definitely those in the audience who most enjoyed the parade of “Jersey Shore” style beachwear. The business guys seated front row's eyeballs practically fell out of their heads and rolled across the runway like a stack of marbles, as the models swaggered down the runway. The suits got progressively skimpier and bling-encrusted as the show rolled on.
The show ended SO appropriately, with the song, 'I Want to be a Billionaire' by Travie McCoy. Christian Audigier may well make this his theme song as he's accomplished this goal on the back of the graffiti, Love Kills".
The “Most exciting moment in show” goes to getting to gaze at the Claudia Schiffer look-alike who stood out from the crowd of dark haired girls. The only thing I wondered about while exiting the venue was why MTV hadn't brought the Jersey Shore gang to sit front row at this show. It would have made a great addition to their Season 2 Debut.
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
TEXT, VIVIAN KELLY
Images, courtesy of Edward James, www.fashionwatchtv.com
You just can't go to a TR show and leave in a bad mood. The mood is carefully choreographed to create that laid-back feelin' good True Religion Vibe. You've got the great 6O's and 70s soundtrack, w/ songs like "I was born a Ramblin' Man", the aviators, the fringed suede cowgirl vests, the bare feet, the sexy bedhead hair , ankle bracelets and go to hell tans we all aspired to back before the sun was pronounced to be "evil" by all practicing dermatologists.
The staples were there, namely the faded denim jean cutoff and hand-tooled wide leather belts that keep the $ $ coming-in at retail. As far as the suits, the bottom are a tad skimpy and there are lots of cutouts on the one-pieces for the women, but the TR girl has the bod and the attitude to pull it off. The guys are as all-American as it gets in their surfer dude hair, necklaces and long board shorts. Although the line screams "Cali", it would play just as well in any surfer community across the globe.
Sunday, July 25, 2010
TEXT, VIVIAN KELLY
It was strangely quiet pre-show up at the Raleigh Penthouse. Australian designer, Leah Madden, wanted it this way. By showing in the Penthouse, she hoped to achieve a more intimate feeling, as opposed to last season when she did a runway show in the Cabana Grande. Leah led us backstage pre show where she cheerfully resolved last minute fitting conflicts. A conflict in this world, is a model complaining that even with her “chicken cutlets” Ie: rubber breast enhancers, she didn’t’ fill-out the suit she was supposed to wear. Even beautiful 5’11” size zero Russian models have body issues.
Turning away from the models for a moment, Leah said, “I'm doing so much resort that it has it has to be practical and wearable to and from the pool but also glamorous. It's all lightweight 100% silk. For a dress I try to keep it under $300,and swimsuits under $200.”
The first grouping was a bit somber for beach - a black + rose print but she hit her stride with a well-constructed black strapless suit and a peacock print on a butter yellow background. Heather Taylor, the owner of A TROPICAL AFFAIR, a Santa Barbara boutique, pronounced the black high -waisted 2-piece suit "smoking hot" -for the right customer. One thing was for sure; the New York photographers were having fun at this show calling out directions, getting in fine form for the Beach Bunny – Kardashian media circus slated to take place just after White Sands.
The White Sands collection is available in LA Boutiques and on line at www.whitesandsaustralia.com
High-end Lingerie and Bikinis available at www.atropicalaffair.com
Saturday, July 24, 2010
TEXT, VIVIAN KELLY
Runway Images, Courtesy of Edward James, www.fashionwatch.com
Sometimes, the show is about the pre-show. This was most definitely the case when it came to the Beach Bunny show. Prior to the actual event,
Photographers clawed at the PR girls guarding the backstage entrance. Once in, they crouched like tigers by the fuchsia media wall backstage in hopes of getting the money shot of the notorious Kardashian sisters. The more sparkly nude lip gloss and cleavage showing, the better. Tempers were flaring in the photo pit at the White Sands presentation, in the preceding time slot next door, which was running behind schedule. The problem – that the shooters wouldn’t have enough time to get down the antiquated penthouse elevators at the Raleigh and check in backstage for the Kardashian photo op.
As I had the luxury of not HAVING to shoot them, I was happy to go on a recon mission backstage to see if the K girls had arrived.
By 7:00p.m. I reluctantly gave up my prime spot in front of the media wall and got in line to check in for the actual show. Two minutes later the K girls strolled in – splendid in nude lace + black skintight dresses, glossy black hair and kohled eyes, with full on security to face the photogs.
It has always annoyed me how celebrities like to claim that they “hate the paparazzi”. The truth is that without photographers vying to take their picture, they would fade into oblivion, and cease to exist.
Let’s give the K sisters some credit here. Yes, they were headed backstage, but they walked, VERY SLOWLY across the parking lot to get there, giving anyone who was fortunate enough to be in the right place at the right time, the opportunity to snap-off an image. [I was even able to get an image of Kim and her entourage].
The show was sadly, a disappointment, and as a colleague pointed out, “all over the place”. It’s difficult to produce a cohesive show with three different designers [four, if you count Beach Bunny’s actual Design Director], at the wheel. Design is like cooking, if you have too many ingredients you end up with slop. In this case, the result was unfortunately something that resembled hooker-wear. Who can tell though? Celebrity may be enough to get the cash registers ringing when the clothes hit the retail floor, providing the show, and the girls are still smoking hot.
Friday, July 23, 2010
TEXT, VIVIAN KELLY
Last night was that kind of night David Bowie famously sang about, " I don't want to stay in, I don't want to go out...Modern Love".
I elected to stay in and finally watch "THE RUNAWAYS", starring KRISTEN STEWART and DAKOTA FANNING. Yes, they WERE both great in the Twi-series, but there's more to these girls than hanging-out with vampires and werewolves. Kristen was totally believable as the tougher than tough JOAN JETT [who I mistakenly thought was originally from Long Island]. DAKOTA FANNING played the band's reluctant sex pot, CHERIE, to a tee. The hair, makeup and costume team got it right too, and even if you're not into girl punk bands, if you love fashion, you'll appreciate the visuals.
The best part - when the Japanese school girls actually broke the glass of the green room where the girls were relaxing pre-show and swarmed in like a bunch of hornets.
A close second - when Joan comes-up with the lyrics and music to "I Love Rock And Roll".
See it - rent it at your local RedBox kiosk.
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Some of the most fun parts of my few short days during this latest Miami Fashion Week took place not at the actual shows, but in-between events.
Saturday night was a long day, a day at the laptop and a botched opportunity to meet KENDRA WILKINSON followed by the now-it’s really getting old chaos at the door of each and every show. Sometime between the True Religion and Ed Hardy shows, Clarasonic’s fabulous HELEN MILLER, got me in for a full facial treatment with the Clarasonic wand/brush system. The whole treatment, took under 10 minutes and I got off the spa bed in the back of the booth and inspected my face in the magnified mirror the technician put in my hands. The fine lines around my eyes did not disappear but my skin DID feel significantly more hydrated, as if my tight pores had suddenly opened up and allowed much-needed moisture in. Mind you, this was after only one treatment. The key here is daily use, much like oral hygiene. If you floss, you’ll keep the tartar build-up away. If you use CLARISONIC, you’ll gradually get rid of the build-up on your skin, and the products you use will penetrate and actually do what they’re supposed to do.
After relaxing and chatting with Helen and a stiff sea breeze cocktail, I reluctantly pulled myself away and peeked over to see if I could get in some eye-makeup tips over at the MAKEUP FOR EVER.
I passed on the free touch up booth, as the line was overly long. Instead, I reapplied my latest favorite products, MAKE-UP DESIGNORY’S “Mahogany Lip Pencil [tremendous staying power] topped with BECCA’s new GLOSSY LIP TINT in “MARSALA”. I was one of the few women at the Raleigh with “grown-up lips” on, ie: not stripper-like sticky candyfloss pink gloss on. My nails, which I painted in the room with NAILTINI’s “BORDEAUX” held-up beautifully, despite the cloying Miami heat and humidity – no chipping here.
Because I left early, I missed-out on seeing my favorite model of today’s generation – HILARY RHODA – have some fun demoing MERCEDES-BENZ’s between shows, when she got behind the wheel and played Gran Turismo 5 poolside, at the Raleigh. She was there to join Lisa Vogel, creative director of LUXE and co-president of RAJ Manufacturing, to Raise Money for Oceana to Raise Money for Oceana, the largest international organization focused solely on protecting the world's oceans.
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With this as with anything else, get the ORIGINAL, not a shoddy copy – your skin is worth it.
To buy Becca glossy lip tints, shop www.beccacosmetics.com
Monday, July 19, 2010
TEXT, VIVIAN KELLY
An old friend asked me on Facebook, “WHY and are the Kardashian sisters STILL hot?” I didn’t have to reflect at all before answering; “Most definitely”, while narrowly avoiding crashing into a group of rappers headed the opposite way on Ocean Drive. The Kardashians, love them or hate them, are as necessary to what fashion’s become today as white blood cells are to your [blood] plasma. Over the past 10 + years, fashion has become a media circus. Initially, I was mildly disgusted, but now I’ve moved solidly into the acceptance stage. The bottom line here is that the Girls show up, the photographers show up, the public shows up. THEN, if all goes well, the public’s enthusiasm extends to popping into Macy’s and buying [in this case] a Beach Bunny Swimsuit.
Yesterday, I emerged from a daze after hours on my laptop in the blissful silence of my SHELBORNE hotel room to the madness at the HOTEL GANSVOORT, three blocks up Collins Avenue. I didn’t think being late would be a problem – since when are celebrities on time, anyhow? Apparently, these days they are extremely punctual, probably thanks to the many handlers, PA’s and PR’s who attend to them. KENDRA [Wilkinson] had come and gone by the time I arrived, but there was still a fair amount of activity in the plush ballroom, strangely located directly next to the David Barton Gym. Suites such as this are a good opportunity for small designers such as KRISTINA ASHLEY, who had a table with some of her cute ruffled bikinis, to get some media exposure without blowing her annual budget on a publicity outreach. Her strategy is working. The press handout was stuffed with edits in Lucky Mag, Ocean Drive, and WWD.
While I walked away minus a copy of SLIDING INTO HOME to review, I did walk away with samples of BOTRAN RESERVA RUM being repped by RCP Brand Market Specialists, which my husband pronounced "exceptionally smooth".
As far as Kendra, the PR organizing the event, Helena Goldglantz of Helena Renee PR, suggested that I “can go and buy the book at Borders”. After my initial shock [as press, I usually get the book in question, no problem], I reflected that making another sale at Borders or Barnes and Noble, etc., is really the point of the whole book signing exercise anyhow. What I regret though, is missing the opportunity to meet a girl who pulled herself away from the pack of pretty Hefner PlayBoy Bunny-dom and turned herself into a brand. Kendra, represents the thousands of pretty blonde girls who hit the streets of LA hoping to be discovered. It will be interesting to see how she continues to evolve. I guess I’ll be making a stop at Borders to see what Kendra, Phase II – the Mom – is all about. After browsing the inside jacket on www.amazon.com, I've put this book on my reading list. Kendra is a survivor. The big question is, ‘Will there be a Kendra, Phase III, what will it be, and will we still care?’
Note to self – take a page from the new celebs and be on time!