- 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!!
Tuesday, August 31, 2010
TEXT, VIVIAN KELLY
Since last summer, I’ve been noticing THE RETURN OF THE BRACELET. I’m not talking about a discreet gold bangle or one or two CARTIER LOVE BRACELETS. WHAT’S ON FOR FALL AND MOST LIKELY SPRING 2011 IS THE CONTINUATION OF THE BRACELET BONANZA. IN SHORT – THE MORE, THE BETTER, AND THEY DON’T ALL HAVE TO BE MATCHY-MATCHY.
Rather, IT’S ABOUT INDIVIDUALITY, MUCH AS A CHERISHED CHARM BRACELET IS. THINK OF IT AS YOUR SLEEVE [not the tattoo ink kind] MAKING A STATEMENT ABOUT THE THINGS THAT YOU FIND ATTRACTIVE.
AN ARMFUL OF BRACELETS IS SOMETHING WE CAN ALL SPORT ON A DAILY BASIS. IT WORKS FOR JUST ABOUT ANY SITUATION - WHETHER IT’S TO ATTEND AN ART OPENING, FASHION SHOW, GO TO WORK IN OR TO JUST WEAR WHEN ON THE RUN DURING THE WEEK.
Here’s an opportunity to mix it up: you can combine rubber bracelets such as the black/red rubber "CURE SMA" [Spinal Muscular Atrophy"] I bought at my Aveda-Shine Salon, or my vintage MONET CHARM bracelet, or the diamond and platinum pave ones by Leslie Greene.
TAKE A PAGE FROM THE FABULOUS SHARON STONE. TRY SOME HIGH-LOW ACCESSORIZING. IT’S RELEVANT BECAUSE THIS IS HOW THE MOST STYLISH WOMEN AROUND HAVE BEEN DRESSING FOR THE PAST DECADE. SHARON made a “bold” statement by daring to wear a generic BLACK TEE with an ARMANI COLLECTION COAT and VERA WANG SKIRT to the 1996 Oscars, when she was up for an award for her role in “Casino”. Fashion folk couldn’t stop talking about it, and before you knew it, everyone was out in the open, proudly going “high-low”.
Fast-forward to the recent 62nd ANNUAL PRIMETIME EMMY AWARDS. Some of the season’s most beautiful gowns were on display but what hit me were THE MOUNTAINS OF BRACELETS. Some of the best on the Red Carpet were wildly different. Below, a few of my favorites.
EMMY LOOK #1: BREEZY, EASY, + MODERN
KYRA SEDGEWICK’S stack of monochromatic beaded bracelets by SYDNEY EVAN, which complimented her cranberry pleated gown to perfection.
EMMY LOOK#2: HOLLYWOOD GLAMOUR
Nail this always-right look with stacks of DIAMOND BRACELETS. LESLIE GREENE makes some great ones, as worn by KIM KARDASHIAN and ELISABETH MOSS.
For some less pricey options, you’ll only have to wait until September 12, when TARGET UNVEILS THEIR “TUCKER FOR TARGET” collection. I’m looking forward to picking up their GLAM STUDDED CUFFS. Another good piece to add-on is Jewelry designer CYNTHIA GALE's bronze and recycled silver ECO SECRET SECRET GARDEN CUFF, Inspired by the famous novel, The Secret Garden.
STYLE TIP: HAVE FUN – THE LOOK YOU’RE GOING FOR HERE IS “MODERN AND EFFORTLESS” IE: IF THE PIECE SPEAKS TO YOU, PUT IT ON. The possibilities are endless.
LESLIE GREENE jewelry is available on www.lesliegreene.com and on www.QVC.com
GEO ART is available at www.store.geoartnyc.com
Sunday, August 29, 2010
TEXT, VIVIAN KELLY
I gazed in horror and disbelief at the 24 pages of listings in the August 24 edition of THE FASHION CALENDAR, and gamely plugged-away at sending-out my requests. Days later, I’m STILL working on sending them out.
WHAT GIVES WITH THE UNPRECEDENTED # OF DESIGNERS SHOWING AT NY FASHION WEEK?
To borrow a phrase from fellow-blogger, ABE GURKO, “WHAT THE ??” IS THE DEAL WITH SO MANY DESIGNERS SHOWING AT NY FASHION WEEK WHEN A DEEP RECESSION IS GOING ON?
WHAT GIVES? If www.cnbc.com is to be believed, this season’s NY Calendar should be around 4 pages, not 24. The tip-off that designers would spend the moolah to show recession be damned, started a few months ago, with The summer season is upon us and the countdown has begun for Miami Beach‚s Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Swim. This July, IMG Fashion is pleased to announce its line-up with a record number of designers to showcase their collections for 2011.
I turned to my former boss, JIM ZEBORA,
REGIONAL BUSINESS EDITOR, HEARST CONNECTICUT NEWSPAPERS, for some insights on this phenomenon.
According to Jim,
“The designers at Fashion Week, are looking well beyond the U.S. and the recession and using it as a springboard for international attention. New York, far more than Paris or Milan, speaks to the world masses, and what we see at Fashion Week here is going to be reflected in Shanghai and Singapore, a well as Chicago. I believe it’s a smart commercial decision to show in New York, and more likely to translate into sales for the designer’s clothing.”
So, now those fashion designers have decided to throw the dice and stay in the game, WHAT CAN WE EXPECT TO SEE in my upcoming blog, in which various experts look into their crystal balls and share their predictions.
Friday, August 27, 2010
TEXT, VIVIAN KELLY
One of the beauties of being “a fashion veteran” is that I can with all honesty say, “Oh, I’ve seen THAT before” – at least another version of whatever “that” is.
TAKE THE MILITARY LOOK THAT’S ALL OVER THE PAGES OF SEPTEMBER’S HARPER’S BAZAAR. It pops u on pp. 308, 320, 396, 481, and 508. Flip through your issue or visit www.harpersbazaar.com, and it will pop right up at you. . I’M USING THE PREVIEWS I’VE BEEN SEEING AS AN INDICATOR THAT THE FALL MILIARY TREND WILL EXTEND INTO SPRING. MILITARY HISTORICALLY POPS BACK UP ON THE FASHION RADAR SCREEN IN TIMES WHEN THE ECONOMY IS IN A SLUMP. THE LAST WAVE WAS IN THE EARLY NINETIES, when I started out as a part-time PR Assistant to Michael Kors, reporting to the exotically gorgeous LEYLA BASAKINSKI.
My knee-jerk reaction was to run upstairs to my huge attic and pull-out my long black vintage Michael Kors coat. I still have and cherish it. The long sweeping coat was the first important piece I received as part of my clothing allowance while I started there, at the West 24th Street Studio, around the corner from the infamous BILLY’S TOPLESS. After mulling it over, I brought it down to take to the dry cleaner’s and started trying to figure out how I could make it current.
For inspiration, I scanned the PEOPLE’S REVOLUTION preview pics for the upcoming s/s2011 NICHOLAS K Collection. Designer Nicholas Kunz, will be showing a “strong utilitarian inspired collection [which] takes on a rugged but avant-garde military vibe infused with dusty, earth color tones and a modern spin on classic looks.” Ms. Kunz’s latest effort implements a military color palette of rich army greens and browns, creams and navy blues. She updates it by adding striped checks and combinations such as woodland and fog camouflage. Little touches like the smoke colored aviator glasses and the high heeled lace-up booties help make a statement. The olive drab outerwear she'll be showing at her LINCOLN CENTER SHOW at the MERCEDES BENZ S/S NY SHOWS highlights the MILITARY FEEL of her spring collection. FEEL IS THE KEY HERE. JUST AN ELEMENT OR TWO WILL DO IT. Ms. Kunz's collection is interesting because it suggests that we'll be moving into UTILITARIANISM. If there were ever a time to be practical, this is it. Pundits and experts on www.cnbc.com are now predicting two more years of recession.
This is NOT a combat boot moment, which is a little scary, and too literal by far. You do NOT want to look as if you belong in the cast of the 1981 German Art house flick, “Das Boot” from the early nineties. THE SOLUTION TO UPDATING MILIARY LIES IN FOCUSING ON BORROWING THE COLORS ASSOCIATED WITH MILITARY. Michael Kors hits squarely on it with a soft olive sweater and skirt in his fall 2010 collection show accessorized with little cashmere cap and sexy brown leather sandals. Your take on military COULD BE A GREAT SHOE, LIKE THE CUTOUT CESARE PACIOTTIS FEATURED ON p. 508 of Harper’s Bazaar, or OLIVE AND BRONZE NAILCOLORS, IF YOU’RE THE CAUTIOUS SORT.
If you’re stuck for ideas, have a look at www.netaporter.com.
They’ve joined forces with Harper’s to teamed up to bring you some must-haves items, many retailing for under $500.
THE BOTTOM LINE: TRY FOR A FEMINIZED VERSION OF THE LOOK.
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
TEXT, VIVIAN KELLY
There they were – in the DÉJÀ VU Designer Consignment Shop, in Portchester, NY – of all places. I’d dreamt of owning a pair years ago, while serving as Michael Kors’ PR Director, way back in the mid- Nineties. ASHLEY KENNEDY, then my newly minted intern, came in on her first day wearing a burgundy red pair. Ashley had wonderful accessories, so it wasn't a huge surprise when a few years later, she scored a job as Accessories Editor for Elle Magazine.
I was in love with her patent leather clogs, with gold tone nail detail and the classic Gucci Horsebit. I walked home that night, marveling about this guy no one had ever heard of – TOM FORD – who had just officially taken over as Design Director for Gucci. Here was true genius, someone who had made the dorky clog into something I couldn’t peel my eyes off of.
There have been other clogs in my life since then – camel brown DANSKOS - UNBEATABLE AFTER BUNION SURGERY[I've had two], and the OKABASHI red ones I now wear when I want to treat myself to a little reflexology. They also get top marks as a cute alternative to bulky rain boots when it’s gross and wet out and you want to keep your feet dry. Okabashis are made in the good old USA, in Buford, Georgia. They're reflexology-based [but don't hurt like the Adidas Adissage sandals - 20 minutes max in these for me, thank you]. Okabashis are endorsed by the American Chiropractic Association, BUT ARE MINUS THE FRUMP FACTOR THAT USUALLY GOES ALONG WITH THAT ENDORSEMENT. If you think rubber shoes get smelly, that's not a concern, Okabashis are anti-microbial. Just throw them in the dishwasher, and voila! They're sanitized. They're guaranteed for 2 years, and when you're done, they're 100% recyclable.
THE BOTTOM LINE: OKABASHIS= FASHIONABLE + AFFORDABLE RECYCLING.
A clog discussion would be incomplete without mentioning the ONCE UBIQUITOUS CROC CLOG. I understood their appeal for the Elementary School Crowd, but Adult Women [non-nurses]? Shame on you for wearing these ANYWHERE other than while you're gardening. I can't think of anyone who would voluntarily wear these "Croc Bermuda" pair that resemble Laura Ashley sheets from the early eighties. CROCS have since diminished in popularity and I laughed out loud when I saw their kiosk at the Mall, right next to the Pet Rock Stand. Like in real estate, a BIG FACTOR OF A SUCCESSFUL RETAILER IS LOCATION. WHO ARE YOUR NEIGHBORS? Pet rocks that glow in the dark? How unfortunate. One last lash-out concerns CROC'S BRAZEN BRAND-EXPANSION, NAMELY RIDING ON THE COATTAILS OF OLD SUCCESSFUL COMPANIES SUCH AS KEDS. Why would I buy Croc's knock-off version when I can get the real deal at Keds?
Back to the Guccis. Today, I finally added THOSE VINTAGE PATENT LEATHER GUCCI CLOGS to my designer shoe collection. I’ll be proudly stomping around Lincoln Center and Milk Studio, doing the rounds in my black pair while running around at the upcoming NY Fashion Week, reporting for www.thefashionexaminer.blogspot.comSadly, Tom Ford no longer designs for Gucci, but TOM IS ONE OF THOSE RARE DESIGNERS WHO CREATED A CLASSIC. HIS GUCCI CLOG GOES TO SHOW THAT A TRUE CLASSIC IS ALWAYS SOMETHING WORTH INVESTING IN, AND LOOKS AS GOOD TODAY AS IT DID OVER A DECADE AGO.
IF WE'RE REALLY LUCKY, THIS SEASON, WE'LL BE TREATED TO A NEW "GOTTA HAVE IT" CLASSIC, THAT SOME YOUNG UNKNOWN HAS ON TAP FOR US AT THE UPCOMING COLLECTIONS. STAY TUNED.
Monday, August 23, 2010
TEXT, VIVIAN KELLY
fall 2010 Image, courtesy of Custo Barcelona
By “fake”, I DO NOT MEAN KNOCK-OFFS. THIS FAKE IS ALSO KNOWN AS FAUX FUR.
THE KAISER, KARL LAGERFELD, MOST NOTABLY DID IT FOR FALL/WINTER 2010 AT CHANEL, BUT HAVE A LOOK AT THIS WILD LOOK BY CUSTO BARCELONA.
for Fall 2010,
CUSTO BARCELONA introduced the “2 great coats in 1”. It’s all-glam on one side, and all-about vintage on the other.
It’s currently available in Burgundy and Hunter Green, as seen on the fall 2010 New York runway show. I got there too late, and despite having a ticket to a decent seat, had to content myself with watching the show on the monitor in the Bryant Park lobby. Nonetheless, as menswear writer, MARK BEHNKE of www.fashiontribes.com and I studied the looks, I was all-in. HERE, IS A DESIGNER WHO STILL MANAGES TO CUE INTO THE TRENDS, BUT STILL DOES IT "MY WAY". We loved the color, the flash, and the sheer hutzpah of this collection, that reminded me of the ghetto-glam of one of my favorite BOND flicks, "Live and Let Die", in which one of the Harlem drug lord-villains, 'Mr. Karanga' [actor, Yaphet Kotto], wore a coat quite similar to this one, in the scene where he was assassinated in his over the top Caddy pimp mobile.
I love the fashion AND economical aspect of this coat. You get to hit fall’s vintage trend, and as for glamour – THAT is ALWAYS in fashion.
Available at www.custo-barcelona.com
Sunday, August 22, 2010
TEXT, VIVIAN KELLY
Yesterday, at the Mall, I stopped into H&M to see if there was anything there that I could pick-up for under $40 that with my genius tailor’s nimble hands, could be elevated to be worthy to wear to the upcoming Mercedes Benz New York Fashion Week.
It took some time, but it was there – a safari dress, not in the usual khaki, but in the still fashionable gray. As I rubbed the fabric between my fingers I had visions of UBER-MODEL, LAUREN HUTTON, AT THE TOP OF HER GAME, CIRCA 1975. Transfixed on the floor at H&M, I was transported back to the age of that effortless “all-American dressing” that HALSTON and then RALPH LAUREN, did so well. [I still maintain that one of Ralph’s best-evers was his SAFARI COLLECTION, and those fragrance ads still hold-up, years later.
Back home, while trolling galleries of images of Lauren, I came across a wonderful article on her life in this period, by Lee Wohlfert on www.maryellenmark.com
In May 1975, Lauren was an “IT GIRL”, and anyone who was anyone, raved about her style and specialness.
She was on of then VOGUE EDITRIX, DIANA VREELAND’S DISCOVERIES. Said, Ms. Vreeland, “"She is the best of America," says Diana. "She is the person people want to look at. I am always amazed at how many moods she can project. Sometimes she has the eyes of a baby, the questioning look of a child. Then she has this very special electricity. Her reactions are so fast. I like her speed, her timing."
This all leads back to the big question: WHAT can we expect to see at the spring/summer 2010 NY shows? Will designers go back to all-American dressing? There are hints in the September Vogue and Harper’s issues that just hit my doorstep, that we may be going back to that uncomplicated “American” look. TOMMY HILFIGER JUST INVESTED IN 6 PAGES OF JUST THIS LOOK – SEVENTIES TAILGAITING – in the front of the September book. A few pages before, there’s a spread for MICAHEL KORS. Long-time model, CARMEN KASS is in a classic camel coat and has a yummy brown satchel bag on the crook of her arm. The year could be 1970, and if you reverse the models’ hair color, they couple could well be ALI MCGRAW and RYAN O’NEIL in LOVE STORY.
I’m circling back tomorrow, and getting this dress and dropping it with Kaitlin at R&E Cleaners and Tailors. I'll be sporting my $39.95 find at Fashion Week, channeling a little bit of Lauren Hutton.
Saturday, August 21, 2010
TEXT, VIVIAN KELLY
Okay, I’ll admit it. As a dyed-in-the wool fashionista, my relationship vis a vis Forever 21 is bipolar.
I'll grudgingly admit that a trip to the mall necessitates a trip to THE MUCH-MALIGNED FOREVER 21.
Fellow-blogger, ABE GURKO, recently blogged about the bennies of RETAIL THERAPY on www.imeanwhat.com which also ran in www.huffingtonpost.com.
While Abe hit THE EMOTIONAL PLUSSES OF RETAIL THERAPY, KNOW THIS – RETAIL THERAPY COMES AT ALL PRICE POINTS. It can be that gorgeous periwinkle blue and cream wool rug I scored at an estate sale in Lakevillle, CT for $100, or a WHITE CHANEL 2.55 bag, as seen in the SEPTEMBER 2010 ISSUE OF HARPER’S BAZAAR.
If a 2.55 is not in your price range, and you're not in the estate sale loop, YOUR RETAIL THERAPY FIX CAN BE A SCORE AT FOREVER21 THAT’S EQUIVALENT TO THE COST OF 4 GRANDE LATTES AT STARBUCKS.
Back to Forever 21 – I like to shop as I read magazines – JAPANESE STYLE, FROM BACK TO FRONT.
Shoved way in the back by the dressing rooms were black jersey tops with overly encrusted bling on the shoulders- so last year or the blue metallic micro-mini dress. Ugh.
The front of the store presented a complete about-face.
FOREVER SEEMS TO BE BETTING ON THE BASICS- dark jeans, gray hoodies, old skool tees, with Hello Kitty in the starring role. To think of it, Chanel’s 2.55 is a classic – WHAT IS NEW HERE?
THE MESSAGE SEEMS TO BE: WE’RE PLAYING IT SAFE FOR FALL. Even those who don't religiously tune into CRAMER's hit show, "Mad Money", at 6p.m. EST [I'm addicted to www.cnbc.com ] have a clue that the economy IS NOT improving in a major way any time soon.
Regardless, the girls AND moms are buying, and as PORTS 1961’S VP of Publicity and Marketing told me earlier this week over lunch, at the 26th Street Showroom, “ SALES - THAT’S WHAT THIS [PR] IS REALLY ALL ABOUT AND THAT'S WHAT REALLY COUNTS IN THE END.”
To read more about what Tony has to say about what it takes to be a top New York publicist, read Sharon Feiereisen's piece, "Fashion Industry Insider: Tony Alcindor, Publicist", www.thefashionspot.com
Friday, August 20, 2010
THE SIMPLE PLEASURES EQUATION: EARLY PAUL ANKA + A MARTINI + FALSE EYELASHES + GORGEOUS FLOWERS + BEAUTIFUL WRITING PAPER=A SLICE OF HAPPINESS
TEXT: VIVIAN KELLY
Sixties crooner, PAUL ANKA, said it all when he won-over the girls with his hit single, “Just Give Me A Steel Guitar and a Glass of Wine”. This was one of the songs Michael [Kors] picked back in the nineties, when we were putting together the soundtrack for one of his showroom press shows. What is still crystal clear in my mind was how HAPPY “the girls” aka the supermodels in the show were doing that show. While in our cramped offices at 550 Seventh Ave., getting their hair and makeup done, they got into the groove of JUST BEING HAPPY and letting down the “I’m a fabulous supermodel” guard. Pre-show, a few of them pronounced Paul Anka “corny” while hearing it for the first time as BOBBI BROWN applied makeup onto their already perfect faces. Once walking the cramped runway though, they smiled more than I’ve ever seen models smile at a show at the 1,000+ shows I’ve attended in my 18 years in this biz. EVA HERTZIGOVA waited at the elevator holding her BIRKIN, humming, “ Just Give Me a Steel Guitar”.
Years later, sitting in my house in the CT countryside, on a faux red CAVALLI-eque croco barstool, I’m listening to the crickets and enjoying a VEIL VODKA and ROSES’ LIGHT Cosmopolitan. I’m bent on recreating the fantasy of an easier glamorous time, so I go for broke with the requisite accessories. I’m armed with a pair of astonishingly easy to apply POP “Diva” FAUX LASHES”, red nails by REVLON, a giant KENNETH JAY LANE cocktail ring, and a GORGEOUS COLORFUL FLOWER ARRANGEMENT. Off to my right, is an ANDY WARHOL “Jackie” print.
All of this serves as the background to the activity, which is writing thank you notes on my monogrammed CRAIN”S STATIONARY for the thoughtful gifts the dozen close friends who came over this past weekend gave me. All the gifts were about COMFORT AND A LITTLE BIT OF LUXURY. There was: the aforementioned pink and red rose and calla Lilly bouquet, the funky retro WENDY MINK necklace, the bottles of SKY and VEIL vodka, a pair of “ POP FAUX LASHES, and GIFTS FROM THE SEA, a book my friend, Deborah, of THE FASHION CALENDAR, insist I read. She says I’m “ready” for it.
After I finish the highly satisfying note writing I crack open the book. Log-in this weekend for the review.
WHERE TO GET IT
Flowers - Pamela Jones Florals, contact: email@example.com
Stationary - Crains at www.crane.com
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