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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, November 25, 2010

James Aguiar Shares His Plane Travel Beauty Survival Tips

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Fashion spokesperson, personality, and TV host, James Aguiar redefines the term “ramblin’ man”. We caught up with James outside Malon Breton, pre-show.

I listened in, as Fashion Tribes’ Mark Behnke, asked James [who sees everything] what his take is on menswear for s/s2011. While they dissected the s/s 2011 season, I mentally calculated the number of air miles James would log, in just one season. I came up with roughly 20,000 miles, NYC-Boston, NYC-and a few other cities,[8,815 miles, one-way, from New York to Auckland, New Zealand]. Not only does James have to survive the travel, he doesn’t get to crash in 600 thread count thread sheets and order-up room service and a glass of wine to wind-down. James had to hit the ground running, and be camera ready. After nearly 9,000 miles, he had to get on the job, hosting Auckland Fashion Week. So, there’s no room in James’ game for under eye circles, on yawning.
I decided to find-out how he does it, because I can’t recall the last time I felt “fresh” getting off a plane.
While I love to travel, I dread the washed-out feeling and lizard dry skin that’s I walk out with even with repeated applications of my ultra rich Mario Badescu seaweed night cream and Perricone MD Cold Plasma. They serve me well while on land, but evidently, something more is required. Prior to chatting with James though, I couldn’t think of anything else other than resorting to the old world trick of putting olive oil on my face. James’ secret travel weapon is Amore Pacific’s Refreshing Complex spray mist.
I tracked-down the miracle potion

Refreshing Complex is loaded with Minerals such as Zinc, Calcium and Magnesium and is rich yet oil-free. It uses stabilized Bamboo Sap instead of distilled water, which can have a drying effect. Added to that are brightening botanicals such as Ginger Root, Matsutake Mushroom and Aqua-Sponge Complex™, Amore Pacific’s
exclusive moisture binding complex. It’s a bit rich, $100 a bottle, but one great skin care item is truly worth its weight in gold, even at it’s current $1,300/oz.


1. Spray, Spray, Spray! I spray my face non-stop with Amore Pacific while on the flight.

2. Looking fresh means not wearing makeup, ever on the flight.

3. Combat dryness before it hits by geting a facial a few days before you travel.

4. Tried but true: Drink tons of water.

5. Remain pure -
DO NOT DRINK ALCOHOL on the flight.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Cecil Beaton - The Art of the Scrapbook, launches Monday, November 22

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Over the years, I've developed a lasting obsession with coffee table books published by Taschen, Abbeville Press, Abrams, and most recently, Assouline, after meeting M. Assouline at Book Expo in LA. two years ago.
Although I will always love fashion and continue to report on it, my taste for clothes has veered to classic "basics": cashmere pullovers, oversize turtlenecks, LaCoste shirts, moccasins, dark jeans and lots of well cut navy and black jackets.
What really interests me on a personal level now is fine jewelry and books. Those items are always on my list to Santa.

Sometimes, I can't wait for Santa to check his list and I throw caution to the wind. The home office book shelf is groaning under the weight of the books I've collected. It all started when my friend, Laura Wood, my agent at Fine Print Literary Managment, gifted me Pucci - A Renaissance in Fashion, by Shirley Kennedy. I've consigned many designer bags, shoes, and clothes over the years, but I have never parted with a single of my precious coffee table tomes. In a recent conversation with Paul Wilmot, we reflected on the decline of magazine print, but cheered up when we began discussing the tactile delights of spending time with our favorite coffee table books.
Last year, I went through an interiors book kick, spurred by a conversation with Interior Decorator friend, Demi Schimenti, who thought my newly decorated home was "a little bit Bunny Williams". That evening, I ordered: Bunny Williams' Point of View, by Dan Shaw, New Paris Interiors, edited by Angelika Taschen, Eileen Gray by Philippe Garner.
The year before, it was jewelry: Verdura, by Patricia Corbet, Seaman Schepps by Amanda Vaill and Janet Zapata, and Elizabeth Taylor: My Love Affair With Jewelry, by Francois Curiel.

2010 is about fashion designers and fashion icons. The chase started with my coming across Brendan Gill's Tallulah [Holt, Reinhard and Winston, Inc.], which was in an antique dealer friend's [Cromlix & Co.] delicious cache of treasures he sells from his barn-showroom. I was there to pick up a vintage Little Red Riding Hood Cape I'd fallen in love with on my previous visit and had come back to buy. Bending over to inspect an emerald green chaise longue, I saw the Tallulah Bankhead book on the shelf and grabbed it. Tallulah's one of those style icons fashion designers never tire of referencing and flat Internet images were not enough for me.
Although she Tallulah Bankhead was undeniably a talented actress, it was the images that had me captivated, especially those of her shot by Cecil Beaton, one of fashion's most stylish photographers ever.

Mr. Beaton had a dream career which included working as a staff photographer for Vanity Fair and Vogue, photographing celebrities in Hollywood, and later serving as the official photographer to the Royal Family. Assouline has published a book that will be the perfect choice for your most discerning fashion friend, just in time for Christmas.As the Assouline press release states,
"Mr. Beaton was instrumental in inventing the cult of the celebrity image while pushing the boundaries of his art form with innovative techniques and staging".

Inside this book, are Beaton's clippings from magazines, newspapers, and playbills, which give you insight into this remarkable photographer's creative process. THis is the first time they've been reproduced.
"To flip through the pages is to enter a fabulous and surreal party where Tallulah Bankhead rubs shoulders with a bust of Voltaire and a portrait of Stravinsky; where Beaton’s first trip on the Queen Mary coincides with Queen Elizabeth’s coronation."

The book is more than just a collection of great images. What sets this one apart is that flipping through, you see how Beaton’s scrapbooks allowed him to play with pictures he had taken (and perhaps those he wished he had) "in the dreamspace of artifice that was always his favorite setting." It really is the precursor to the modern day "mood board" all fashion designers have in their studios.
To view inside the Beaton book, cut and paste this special hotlink into your browser:

A handbag or cashmere sweater is all well and fine, but a book such as Cecil Beaton - The Art of the Scrapbook, like a diamond, is forever.

Details and Where to Purchase

Cloth over board in slipcase • $250 • 210€ • 170£ • 392 pages • 11.5” x 14.4” • 29 x 36.5 cm • 218 illustrations
ISBN – 9782759404728

Available on and at Assouline Boutiques.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Colette Malouf Stands Apart And Makes A New Part

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This post is about my newly found respect for the Power of the Accessory and my ever-increasing admiration for fashion stylists, such as Amanda Ross, Mary Alice Stephenson, and Colette Malouf. Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus, and one little accessory can create your entire look. The right well-chosen accessory has the magic to turn mere clothes into fashion. While this statement is hardly a news flash, it wasn’t until I worked with Colette Malouf that I really experienced the phenomenon of optimizing my look with only one key piece.

I’d RSVP’d to the Shiseido pop up store spring 2011 preview event organized by Kaplow PR many weeks ago to look at makeup, not accessories. Nonetheless, I spent the first half of my visit admiring Colette Malouf’s latest collection of mermaid inspired hair accessories. The colors were straight from the Technicolor palette of marine life in the Caribbean. As if that weren’t enough, I got the added bonus of a personal consultation with Colette, in which she got me to look at myself through a different set of eyes. This is something that a good stylist does – they look at you and suggest, not demand, that you try a few things – like a different hair part.

My hope walking into the event had been to continue the conversation that Lisa Johnson, my blogger guru of
and I had started with Dick Page, backstage at United Bamboo. I’d looked forward to picking up where we’d left off about what lip and eye colors Dick was feeling for, as well as some off-topic sharing about exercise regimens and the joys of cooking.

Dick was not there, but meeting and working with Colette Malouf,
another fashion star, and someone I’ve always wanted to meet was more than enough to make my initial disappointment disappear like a puff of smoke.
I’d of course, heard of Colette – she’s a longtime member of the CFDA and one of the most prominent names in the accessories world. Colette, who New York Magazine crowned, “the Queen of Accessories”, started out as a hairstylist. In 1987 her fledgling business took off like a rocket after she introduced “The Malouf Pouf”. She elevated the humble ponytail holder into a must-have item that quickly became a staple in Kelly and Birkin bags all around the country. That one little accessory was responsible for helping fashionable women get through those tough in-between blowout days. By her second year, she reported $1million in revenues. Colette built on her success, combining her experience working as a hair stylist, and her artistic eye, turning boring every day hair into a woman’s best accessory.

My impromptu styling lesson with Colette sold me on the power of hair accessories. Having her practiced eye analyze my frustrating growing-in my not quite there yet bob and suggesting easy solutions, was a Christmas Gift that arrived early.

Colette’s part of that rare breed that possesses artistic genius as well as business sense.. As I settled into her chair, she told me that Shiseido had only asked her to have some of her clips and headbands on hand for their event so that attendees could have a look at them. Instead of just giving product, Colette decided that SHE herself – would do a PA and meet and greet the editors. As she played with my hair, all the while analyzing it, she reflected, “I’m a real person, there IS a Colette Malouf. People won’t know that though, if I don’t get out there. It’s important to be an extroverted [fill in the blank, designer, editor, writer].”

Colette – a Soho NYC native, has been eating and breathing fashion since was a child and has been in the fashion business for 23 years. She used to sneak into her Grandmother’s attic and spend hours among thirties, forties, and fifties iconic designer clothing and accessories treasures in there, such as Schiaparelli, Dior, Norell and Hattie Carnagie.
“Jewel encrusted heels, crocodile purses white kid gloves, and black resin cigarette holders fascinated me for hours. It became an obsession and today I have managed to save a closet full of favorites. This is the foundation of my inspiration to create elegance in an artistic manner” says Colette.

COLETTE’S STYLING 411: “I look at face shape, texture, cut, lifestyle. Then, I do the stylistic part, something that contrasts with your look.”


In my case, she took in my working uniform - black Joan Jett tee, navy cashmere sweater, dark jeans, moccasins, square jaw, pale makeup-free face, and small 5’5”frame – and dropped the data into her artistic data bank/computer.
What the creative computer spat out was the idea to try an extraordinary Mermaid meets Old Hollywood headpiece I never would have envisioned myself wearing.

Before adding the headpiece, Colette revealed that special something it takes to be a good stylist. She showed me one simple thing that had me [gasp!] loving my hair. The frustration I’d been feeling for weeks about my unruly hair dissolved after fifteen minutes with her. After playing with my hair for a minute or so she suggested something that broke me out of my comfort zone: changing my part.

Colette was the first hairstylist to tell me to part my hair from right to left. By the time I got out of her chair, she’d convinced me to celebrate, rather than curse the 3 cowlicks on that side. The reverse part lifted my forehead and showed my hairline, which she pronounced “pretty”. I thought we were done, but she decided it needed something more. She began to experiment with some of the headbands from her Mermaid inspired collection of silk and beaded bows and headbands.

After rejecting a delicate lace and pearl seed pearl headband
that resembled sparkly sea coral, she selected a green silk organza “seaweed” headband. The band does double duty as a tiny hat that’s got a forties nuance.
As I gazed at the gorgeous confection, she placed it on my head and adjusted the “leaves”. It was pure fashion, and I wanted it, but was it …. “too much”? Too Isabella Blow? When I wondered aloud about that, Colette skillfully dismissed the notion, encouraging me to be adventurous rather than making me feel foolish for asking the question. She suggested that I should maximize the piece by wearing it with all black. The silk shantung "bendaband", contrasted against the black, would pop, as a Harry Winston necklace does on a jeweler’s velvet pad.
I mentally pictured my February Fashion Week uniform – black Prada combat boots, dark jeans, black cashmere pullover and skinny black wool Hilfiger coat. It’s comfortable, but when I’m backstage, surrounded by TV reporters decked-out in the latest “it” 5” Louboutins, I invariably wonder if I should have made more of an effort. Was I “fashionable”? The Duckies jokingly refer to the TV hosts as “the young curly haired girls with the mikes”, but nonetheless, I secretly envy their perfectly executed hair and makeup, expensive figure-hugging dress and heel combo.
I’ve held-out, refusing to participate in the backstage dress-up wars. Number one, I can’t wear heels and number two, I’m not 22. What I want is to feel fashionable, not “dressed-up”. Dressing-up is for cute toddlers who want to look like Disney Princesses, or for those who are trying to play some kind of character. I’m a professional adult women and I want to look like myself, only better. I want that “easiness” that fashion personality, Abe Gurko spoke of this morning, when we chatted about his blog, and about what good fashion really is. He referenced the scene in “The Women”, [George Cukor’s stylish 1939 film], when they did the show and loves it because “it all seemed so effortless.” That effortless ease, that put together look is what I’m really “going for” when I get dressed, whether it’s for fashion week or for everyday.
Why NOT wear something extravagant and fabulous, like Colette’s headpiece any day of the week if it can make me feel as elegant like an old-time Hollywood stars, Joan Crawford and Rosalind Russell? The piece has the elegance of that era, but is not overly costume-y or retro.
Once my hair hits my shoulders, I’ll invest in one of Colette’s chignon and figure 8 pieces that will transform my ordinary red-brown hair into the -chic French twist Grace Kelly and Kim Novak
wore in their Hitchcock heroine performances.
Colette demoed that look a few minutes later, transforming a Shiseido Exec in attendance; deftly twisting thick shoulder length into a French twist [no product!]. in less than two minutes flat, just like in her “Twist of the Wrist” YouTube video. The Exec and her friends were awestruck; with her new do, she really could pass for a Hitchcock heroine.
For a tutorial on how to get this look, watch Colette’s YouTube video, “Twist of the Wrist”

Thanks to Colette’s styling advice, even with hair in the painful growing out stage, I will at long last feel fashionable while conducting backstage interviews. I’ll be wearing my fashion uniform of black tee, black slacks and black coat, as usual. This season though, I’m excited about my look. Although I’m only adding Colette’s green headpiece, that one special piece will make all the difference.

Monday, November 8, 2010

EXCLUSIVE! Coffee and Tea With the Duckies, and a Very Big Surprise – Meet… Mrs. Brown

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The highlight of the week of November first was a late afternoon visit to the Duckie Brown studio, on West 13th Street. I had been invited for a studio visit, and looked forward to revisiting the Fashion V Clothes argument, now that the dust from NY Fashion Wk s/s2011 had settled. Not only did I get to spend some quality time, but I also got an exclusive.

The minute I walked into the studio/apartment [they lived there for years before moving to Brooklyn], I felt the Downtown meets Brit vibe, that air of “cool”
that umpteen stylists and designers strive to create. Few get it right and their efforts to be “original” [“Preppie with a Twist”] usually fail. The Duckies however, fall into the category of fashion iconoclasts. They’re in a league with Grace Coddington, Alber Elbaz, Kate Moss and Stella Tennant. All of them constantly surprise you because you never know just how they’ll style themselves or their collections. One thing they all share- whatever they come up with is always interesting.

Over the years, sitting in the audience, watching Duckie Brown shows, I’d find myself wondering how that really slim fitted coat would look on me. I usually have trouble paying 100% attention at a men’s show, as I won’t ever be wearing those clothes. Duckie though is different. I could actually envision donning the dropped crotch trousers, little caps and sharply tailored coats. I was happy when they started the Florsheim collaboration, especially when they announced they’d be doing women’s shoes and I looked forward to treating myself to a pair. I’d always envied the sharp oxfords Wall Streeters such as the mythical “Gordon Gekko” wore on “Wall Street”.
Clothes, though, really? Going into women’s usually signals a stab at going for “the world of”. Daniel and Steven just don’t strike me as the sort to crave world domination, so I never really seriously entertained the hope that one day, there would be Duckie for us women.

Daniel casually threw-out the bomb in the first few minutes of our chat and said that The Duckies are going to break into women’s wear. What?? Yes, that’s right. Women’s. The line is called “Mrs. Brown”.
Thinking more about it, going over to women’s makes a lot of sense. Everyone knows that the big money is in women’s wear and there have been some designers who have successfully bridged the gap and made the transition from menswear to women’s’ wear.
Ralph Lauren, the undisputed king of branding, whom we discussed later in our chat, created a “world of” that though redundant, [some old stand-bys: “Safari”, “Prairie]continues to strike a chord with consumers world-wide. Ralph made a humble start, when he managed to sell a few of his ties to Bloomingdales’ and later opened a necktie store using his “Polo” label in 1967. He started women’s three years later and really got in the public’s radar screen when he was hired to make the costumes for “The Great Gatsby” in 1974.
The late great Alexander McQueen, began his career apprenticing on Savile Row, for Anderson and Shepherd and then Gieves and Hawkes. While there, he learned the art of tailoring which would become a key part of the celebrated McQueen design DNA.
Pretty little dresses such as the ones Rebecca Taylor and Nanette Lepore make are a staple of the New York runways, and yes they sell to the cute twenty-something crowd. A McQueen suit though, is in a whole different league; it’s a masterpiece of tailoring and technical skills. Most women’s wear designers just don’t possess that level of talent. The McQueens of the world are few and far between. I felt privileged to be sitting on a leather sofa with two guys in his league when it comes to tailoring, and imagination.
Steven, like Lee McQueen, is a crack tailor in addition to be being a visionary designer. His problem, he supposes, is that he is not “a show-off” like the suavely handsome Tom Ford. In typical British self-effacing style, Steven recounted how devastated he was after attending a pattern making class at FIT.

Steven: It’s about feeling that you’re good enough. Years ago, I went to FIT and came back to the studio and cried and told Daniel, “They were so good”.
I didn’t think I could do anything as good as I thought they would. When I went back with my thing, it was amazing to see how good mine was and how shit theirs was.

Steven held up the blazer for us to inspect.
It was a reproduction of the one he’d whipped up for that long ago class.

Why do this arduous tailoring exercise again?
“Because I needed to know that I could,” Steven said, holding up the piece, smiling.

From there, we dove into the subject of “putting yourself out there” and “show-offs”.
Tom Ford, Steven declared, “is a huge show-off”. Steven and I are obsessed with Ford, his public persona and his stab at trying to make fashion exclusive again and his jump-back into women’s.

After leaving Gucci, Tom started over, founding Tom Ford International in 2005 with longtime collaborator, Domenico De Sole. The latter runs the business end of the brand as he did while he and Tom were at Gucci. In the preface written by W/WWD Editor, Bridget Foley, in the 2004 coffee table book, Tom Ford: Ten Years, Tom stated that he did not want to do women’s again, was burnt out, wanted to go into film. Of course, no one really believed him, and everyone was certain there would be another women’s collection. When he started his Tom Ford label by launching with menswear, I was…disappointed. Maybe, he really had had his fill with all of those Gucci collections, and that was really it.
In retrospect, it was yet another brilliant marketing move by Tom and De Sole.
When he finally did debut Tom Ford women during s/s2011 NY Fashion Week, the show people generated a hailstorm of controversy. His decision to do an old-fashioned fifties-style salon show, in which he narrated the looks to a select audience of 70 caused many fashionistas angst, miffed as they were at not even getting to see an image [forget seeing the actual clothes] of this VIP room show.

Steven, in an oracle-like fashion, had said only two days earlier, that he wished that fashion would go back to being more exclusive.
He’d argued animatedly with Daniel, who feels that fashion should be democratic and stated, “I disagree, call me a snob, but fashion should be aspirational. There’s sportswear, and there’s fashion. Think back to those shows at Dior, in the fifties. Entry was limited only to the select few, and there was a sense of ceremony to the whole thing, versus what we have now - which is this.
Although they applauded Tom for his risky show, Steven feels that it was just going back in time, not moving things forward. “How though,” Daniel mused out loud, “do you make a fashion show new and interesting? What hasn’t been done and is unexpected?”
Daniel shouldn’t worry about this as he manages to surprise us every season, whether it’s by putting on the infamous “back to silence” show that kicked-off with a cacophony of sound and abruptly cut into utter silence, or the latest show that used a full half of the space intended for seating to the models rather than to fill them with show goers.

Daniel says that they do ham it up a bit while taking their victory lap post show, they do it “because it’s expected”.
“How strange it would be” says Steven, if we just stood at the foot of the runway and didn’t smile? That’s not us, we have a sense of humor and that’s just taking yourself too seriously.”
Unlike Tom Ford, [at least his public persona], the Duckies are not big show-offs, haven’t even written a press release about Mrs. Brown. “ I guess we should do a press release to WWD about Mrs. Brown” laughed Steven.

The decision to do women’s started when Milwaukee-based Florsheims offered the Duckies a deal to design men’s shoes for them. It was a marriage between David and Goliath. Florsheim’s is a giant brand that’s been around since the late nineteenth century. After some financial difficulties, the Weyco Group acquired it in 2002, with the idea of putting it back on track. Weyco’s Chairman and CEO Thomas W. Florsheim, happens to be the grandson of Florsheim’s founder. Weyco is upscaling the brand’s profile, thanks in part to its collaboration with the Duckies. This deal has given “the Budweiser of men’s shoes” designer edge. On the flip side, it’s put money in the Duckies’ pockets so they can keep doing what they love – designing cutting edge fashion in limited quantities.
The Duckie-Florsheim deal continues to expand. Women’s shoes and socks are coming soon. Socks will retail for around $25 and the shoes top out in the $300’s. All of this was the result of Daniel’s knack for recognizing the right product placement.

TheFE: You do your own PR, that’s one of Daniel’s big roles, right?

Steven: Daniel is as good as KCD.
KCD did not get us a cartoon of me pinning a kid’s trousers in the New Yorker that ran in the “Talk” section of the April 6, 2007 issue.

Daniel: It was the most advantageous piece because Lizzie Widdicombe, who wrote the article, mentioned the Florsheims Robert William Asch wore with our suit to the prom. They saw it, and they called. That was one of the top five editorials we’ve ever had.

Ms. Widdicombe’s piece features a sketch of Steven tailoring a high school boy in Duckie Brown for his prom. The teen, Robert William Asch,
had written the Duckies an email titled, “A Not So Ridiculous Proposition”, asking them to dress him for his prom. When it was all over, Steven decided to gift Asch the $3,800 outfit and happened to accessorize it with a pair of black Florsheims.

TheFE: Now that things are growing, with Mrs. Brown and Florsheim women’s will you be taking on a power PR firm?

Steven: If we had a very specific goal in mind, but Daniel really does it all.
He produces the show. He’s got a background in television and a flair for production and the drama of presentation.

Daniel: I like to do it. We say “no” More often than not. We lend out to stylists we know or like. You have to make the effort. I love it when Deborah Watson comes in. She’s highly edited, she picks four pieces, and you get four fantastic pages.
There are less than 5 images in 10 years that I love, that Florsheim cartoon was one of them.
I’ll do it [the PR] for as long as I can. I can still answer my own phone so I just do. We show at the tent because that press pit is jamming.
All press is good press. If you believe the good stuff you have to believe the bad stuff.

Steven: Tim [Blanks] said to us after our last show, “Now you’ve hit the ceiling, you have to go to Paris”, but we’re New York designers, this is where we live.

TheFE: So your end-goal for Duckie Brown is…

Steven: We want to go forward, to work with new shapes, and see how they break the rules. We question why things are the way they are.

Daniel: You have to pay attention, look for good collaborations; we like to do collaborations that enrich us. At the end of the day it’s about the work. I’d rather have someone do a diffusion line – let’s call it “Just Duckie”. They set up all of the infrastructure and we design it. We’re different than many designers in that we don’t have that sense that ‘it’s not enough’.

Duckie Brown is the sun, and everything emanates from there. We just want to sustain what we have, to see what happens to the body when you make a shift. It’s about doing something that is interesting and indulging our curiosity. It’s not intellectual, as in Hussein Chalaian intellectual. I like being conclusive, not exclusive. What we do is fashion that’s from our gut.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Fashion V. Clothes: Post #6: Adriana Lima + Victoria's Secret- Lingerie, the Foundation of Fashion

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Unless you've been hiding in a log cabin with no connection to the outside world, you have not heard about the Victoria's Secret, and the VS "Angels". The VS Show the Angels walk in typically crashes sites worldwide because of so many page views.
One of the Angels who's responsible for generating this level of frenzy is Adriana Lima.

The opportunity to interview her presented itself at an exclusive press event at the Soho, NYC store I recently attended. The thrust of the event was that Adriana would be in New York to preview the $2 Million Bombshell Fantasy Bra to the press and to tourists lucky enough to be in the neighborhood, when she hit the Red Carpet in front of the store, wearing the bra, a blue silk dressing gown, and white leather opera gloves. The bra boasts an astounding 60 carats of diamonds and 82 carats of sapphires and topazes, laid-out in a constellation pattern. The whole thing is set in 18-karat white gold.

Naturally, she’ll also be wearing it on the runway at the 2010 Victoria’s Secret Fashion show that will air Tuesday, November 30 (10/9C) on the CBS Television Network. The $2 Million Bombshell Fantasy Bra will be featured in the 2010 Victoria’s Secret Christmas Dreams & Fantasies Catalogue that hit mailboxes on October 20th. If the Bombshell Fantasy Bra is out of your price range, you can pick-up the Miraculous Push-up Bra and matching V-string embellished with pink iridescent crystallized Swarovski elements for $250 and $50 at VS stores nationwide.

While I wanted to see what the $2 million diamond bra designed by Damiani looked like, I was most interested in the opportunity to find out what Adriana - the world-famous VS Angel thought about lingerie.
I asked her only one question - Does she consider lingerie to be fashion or is it something completely apart from fashion? I was gratified to receive a full [nearly 2 minute response].

[click on the video for a close-up view of the bra's design and to hear all of Ariana's response to our question: "Is lingerie fashion?"].

I was especially keen on speaking with THIS Angel, because she's had a multi-dimensional career. True, she's responsible for selling millions of dollars of bras and panties for Victoria's Secret, and is a regular cover girl on GQ and other lad mags, but she's also walked on some of the most prestigious runway shows in the world, wearing fashion. No one would dispute that Marc Jacobs' designs for Louis Vuitton are fashion, not clothes.
While I waited my turn in the back of the Soho store, which had been roped off for the press and film crews, I tuned-into what HuffPo and E! asked the stunning Brazilian. Unsurprisingly, they all wanted to know how she'd managed to get her killer body back after having a baby less than a year ago. Answer: Good nutrition and exercise. She dropped a tip about jumping rope in her hotel room that got a good laugh when she confessed to being concerned about her poor neighbors downstairs].
Another question – “How did it feel to wear a $2million bra? [“Amazing”]. Unsurprisingly, she purred on camera that she was “very happy to be walking the show this year and had really missed doing the show last year”.

While these questions are certainly relevant to the event [the unveiling of the $2million fantasy bra], I hoped that my questions would give her a break from the usual ones she gets thrown at her.
Adriana took my questions seriously, and stated that she considers "all creations to be fashion".

Later, while editing the interview voice notes, I decided that she was right – it’s
hard to argue that lingerie is not fashion. After doing some research, I learned from,that " the first record concerning lingerie came from way back around 3000 B.C... Egyptians considered clothing to be a status symbol and the higher-ranking women would wear narrow tunics as undergarments that started below the chest, extended to the ankles, and were supported by a crosswise shoulder strap. Sometimes they would draw tunics around to the front of the body to mold the waist. Slave and servants wore no undergarments; only simple loin cloths or [they just] went naked."
A thousand years later, in 2000B.C. , the prototype for the push-up bra was born. "A female figure from 2000 B.C., found in Crete, depicts the first recorded corset-like bodice and crinoline (a caged or hooped underskirt) that shoves the bare breast upward. Both are interesting in that they show similarities to lingerie eons later in the western world."
The obvious icons are today’s Angels.
Lingerie continued to enjoy popularity throughout the ages. Fast-forward in our time machine to the importance of Corsets during Elizabethan Times. Remember ‘those ‘Tudors’ episodes, when even King Henry occasionally had trouble peeling off all of the elaborate undergarments of his latest noble bedmate?

Centuries later, around the time of the Great Depression and during the World Wars, women [including my French Grandmother] resorted to drawing a black line extending from their heel to just under their buttocks to emulate the silk stockings

they could no longer afford during this time of deprivation. The glamorous twenties' Flappers had made silk stockings a must-have item. True, they'd been around since the mid 1600's, but the Flappers played a big role in popularizing what was previously only for wealthy women. The delicate silk stockings snagged and were costly to replace. Once rayon came along and women of all classes could wear stockings.
Next to get its moment in the spotlight was the bra.
Howard Hughes [then an aeronautical engineer] gave the bra biz a big boost when he designed a bra for Jane Russell
that made her seem even bustier than she already was. Hollywood couldn’t get enough of stars
such as Lana Turner and their ample cleavage. Lana became known as the “Sweater Girl” because of her famous cone-shaped brassieres, and Marilyn Monroe ‘s cleavage helped cement her rep as one of the sexiest fashion icons of all time. Marilyn loved her Chanel No. 5 and her silk stockings. She was also careful to show her famous 36D’s to best advantage in a then-futuristic sling-strapped bra that gave her the lift and separation the modern day Wonder Brad does today. The open top gave the illusion that her famous bosom defied gravity without any help.
*Fun Fact: Marilyn’s cream-colored double-cup bra
sold for $5,200 by London auction house International Autograph Auctions. The winning bid was from an unidentified caller in Hong Kong.
The seventies were a wash lingerie-wise as women took pride in not wearing bras, but that changed in the body conscious eighties. While in Grad School, working part-time at the Limited, I was intrigued by the tiny Victoria's Secret store that had just opened in New Orleans. It was 1985, and the VS store was tiny but the women who worked there were excited in that way that you know you're looking at something that is going to blow-out in a big way. No one though, could have predicted just how huge the brand would become.

Every curious, I asked the women what the name meant. Was it an English brand they were bringing over? They said that it was supposed to sound British and hence "upper class" and that the "Victoria" part was made-up. There was no actual Victoria. Disappointed, I still liked the idea. Apparently, so did the rest of America. Today, VS is North America's #1 specialty retailer of women's intimate apparel, and there are 1,040 [mostly mall-based] Victoria's Secret stores. According to, last year, VS reported revenues of $5604.00M.

The splashy annual runway show and the Angels ads and signage help to generate these blockbuster dollars.
Unsurprisingly, like major athletes, the Angels are well coached as to how best to represent the brand. Being the good spokesperson that she is, Adriana talked about the importance of the right bra/undergarments while wearing fashion. To my surprise, she did not plug a specific VS bra, but instead talked about how the smooth line of the right bra can show off a designer garment to best effect.
Adriana showed her human side by confiding that she had not chosen the right bra for a very beautiful dress she'd recently worn and had regretted it, not feeling comfortable. If one of the world's most beautiful women and experienced models can make an error like this, just remember that next time you choose the wrong undergarment. Part of being fashionable is looking put together, or as C.Z. Guest
said, “well turned-out.”
Lingerie matters, Monroe knew it and would not have dared make a public appearance without the right bra on underneath her skintight dresses. Take a cue from Marilyn, and take the time to choose the right bra, panty or body slimmer that will show your special dress to its best advantage. The options these days are through the roof at VS. There are collections of bras to choose from: The Very Sexy, The Bio Fit, The Nakeds, The Incredible, The Angels. There are also entire floors of luxury department stores dedicated to stocking foundation garments for every possible garment you could choose to wear. With the vast resources available today, there is no excuse for a bra strap on thong to peek out of your designer outfit. Being fashionable and put together starts with choosing the proper foundation garments. Without these key pieces, even the most beautiful fashions are diminished into nothing more than just expensive clothing.