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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. http://thefashionexaminer.wordpress.com See you there!!

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Thursday, December 30, 2010

The HUnt- Continuing To Accessorize a Vintage Gown and William Rast for Target


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TEXT, VIVIAN KELLY


Yesterday, I resumed The HUnt [the one in which I am seeking to accessorize my Fifties Vintage dress for New Year’s Eve.
Yesterday, a visit to The Fashion Connection 2, where I remember there being a surfeit of wedding style silk shoes yielded very little. The most promising candidate was a pointy heel cream silk Gucci with a monstrous 4” heel and only secures to the foot with a thin ballerina style ribbon.
I’m making my last ditch effort today and tomorrow, which will include which will include visits to DSW and TJ Maxx. If none of those work out, I may go back and get the Guccis and just find a seat and spend the evening on my bum, getting up to circulate for 5 minutes here and there.

The trip to the Consignment Shop though, was not a total waste; I left with a baby blue DKNY oversized turtleneck sweater slashed down to $12.


I passed [for now] on a skinny little black Valentino top with a self-belt and silver tone buttons I’ll stop in next week to see if she’ll come down in price.
There’s usually a silver lining to everything, and yesterday’s quest was no exception. I’d been intending to investigate the William Rast for Target collection ever since I received emails from LaForce & Stevens PR that Justin Timberlake’s line would be in store soon.
Only last week over coffee, I’d told couture designer friend, B. [Michael] that I wasn’t going to drag myself to Target to look. The plan was to order a few pair of the jeans and to try them on at home.
Feeling a bit grouchy about my non-success vis a vis the shoe hunt, I decided to drop into Target since I was out and about anyhow. Key to this decision – I’m listening to the audio version of Keith Richards’ LIFE book on CD and it is great!
Nothing like a good Book on Tape to keep me motivated.
Once in Target, I focused on finding Rast. The display in the Bethel store was so small that I started to walk out before I caught sight of the understated signage that was overwhelmed by glaring displays for Mossimo.
Into the dressing room I went, with 4 pairs of jeans: 2 in dark denim “skinny leg” and 2 in a faded medium color with a bootleg cut. Sizing tends to err on the small side – unlike the Isaac Miz collection. A size “3” = a 25 waist in Rast, and a “5” = a 26 waist.
They’ve got a little bit of stretch to them and aren’t bad, actually better than I’d expected, coming in at $49. The deciding element for me was the thin-ish denim fabric. I walked-out sans jeans. If and when they go on clearance, I’ll probably pick up the medium denim and road test them and see how they fare in the wash.
Conclusion – for a Target –Designer Collaboration, this one was pretty good, and the quality a notch over the previous Rodarte, Zac Posen, and Jonathan Saunders Collaborations.

On the schedule for today, a trip to the fabric store to pick up thick satin ribbon to sew on to the vintage dress to as B. Michael said, “harness” myself into the dress, one more stab at finding the shoe, an a trip to the Aveda Salon to confer with my CT- go-to hair guru, Erin Simmons, about the hair style to best complement the dress.

Regardless of the outcome, I’ll be wearing the dress and putting up pictures. Hopefully, the final result will be a fashion “Do” not a “Don’t”.
I’ll let you write-in and decide!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

This Week's Pictoral - the HUNT Begins in Earnest

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TEXT, VIVIAN KELLY

This week, which yes, included Christmas Day, was nonetheless dominated by the fun problems presented by most recent acquisition while on THE HUNT. The dress [no coat] will be the centerpiece of my New Year's outfit. Pamme is going to the bother of bringing-out the fine china, crystal and champagne. While I love my black wool and taffeta Vera Wang dress, it's too minimalistic. For this occasion, more is more, and as such, better
The dress is the centerpiece, but it comes with its unique set of requirements: the right hair makeup, shoe, and jewelry.

I won't take-off my platinum and diamond wedding band, but other than that, the only jewelry I'll wear is the starter piece in my Miriam Haskell collection - a pair of pearl and gold clip on earrings. If you're not familiar with Miriam Haskell Costume Jewelry, here's a little 411 from ww.miriamhaskell.com
Miriam Haskell has been synonymous with impeccable style and beautiful jewelry since the 1920’s. Haskell Jewels, headquartered in New York City, is a leading designer, marketer and distributor of costume jewelry. Founded in 1926 by Miriam Haskell, she established her brand name as one that represented, and continues to represent, the utmost in style and quality by creating hand crafted jewelry with keen attention to detail.
While the company is busy with initiatives that involve some of the majors such as Macy's and Nordstrom, it is her VINTAGE pieces that I consider "true Haskell" and which experts such as Camilla Dietz Bergeron deem worthy of collecting.


Below, some shots of the journey on this phase of THE HUNT.






Saturday, December 25, 2010

THe HUnt- Accessorizing a Vintage Gown for New Year's Eve






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The thrill of the hunt

I got sucked-in when I was 25 years old, and working for a powerful battleaxe of a woman on Wall Street in the late Eighties. With a boyfriend who was living thousands of miles away in Texas, I had my only day off – Sunday – to do as I pleased. That’s when I discovered designer goods for less. I’d heard that there was a good designer flea market a few miles North of my former High School,

Greenwich High. I borrowed my Father’s baby blue Olds and after getting lost a few times, finally found it and Susan and a lifelong passion for the hunt.

Susan Munson changed my life because after buying my first few important pieces from her, I started what was to become my life-long love affair with fashion.

From Susan, I bought, a white fox fur coat

my boss pronounced “Vegas” and a Speedy 35 that impressed even her. When I told her I scored it for $45, I had the satisfaction of seeing her jaw drop to the ground.

Years later, I’m still on the hunt. I am unable to go travel without visiting at least ONE designer consignment store while at that particular destination. Sometimes, that includes Goodwill or Salvation Army shops, as in the one in San Francisco, where an acquaintance of one of my AAU students found a Chanel leather and gold chain belt for $8. When I dropped in, I found some vintage Monet clip earrings, which I happily scooped up, but no Chanel.

My most recent score is a vintage [I’m guessing circa 1955 turquoise evening gown laden-down with pearl embroidery with a matching sleeveless coat. Both are floor length and I am facing one of my biggest fashion challenges ever and would love any feedback from you, my friends and readers.

So far, I've been piecing it together with a little help from my friends: B. Michael, Dawn Sheppard and Kathy of Dawn's Vintage Jewelry and master hair stylists, Anthony Leonard [NYC] and Erin Simmons [CT].

CHALLENGE: I’ve decided to wear only the dress, which is a size 12. I am a size zero or two, but that’s by today’s standards. Standing 5’5” tall, I’m dwarfed by the gown which weights-in at around 10 lbs.

My friend, couture designer, B. Michael, forbade me to cut the dress. His suggestion is an easy one and brilliant. I’ll sew-in two sets of ribbons, one just below the breastbone, and one, above the waist. Once tied, the dress will be anchored onto me. The effect will be that of a tunic rather than a fitted gown, but I’m thrilled to be able to actually WEAR the dress to the black tie New Year’s Eve Party I bought it for.

SECRET ADDRESS, revealed – I first spotted this treasure at the end of the summer at McGeorgi’s Antiques & Consignments when I was there looking for a desk lamp. I was drawn by the color but passed, as I had nothing to wear it to.

Once my brilliant Improv Actor friend, Pamme Jones invited us to a black tie New Year’s Eve gathering, I had my excuse to go back and buy this gown from Carl H. Georgi II, the shop’s owner. Curiously, Carl claims not to “know anything about fashion and style” but he’s got the eye, no question.

Now that I’ve acquired the dress, I’m working on the right hairstyle, which I’ll be blogging about next complete with the video of B. Michael’s suggestion on what hair to do that will modernize my vintage dress with a modern spin. He also points me in the right direction as to which shoes I should wear.

The hunt for the right shoe resumes on December 26th. On December 28th, a visit with Anthony
at his Anthony Leonard Salon, to discuss the hair and on the 31st, Erin of Aveda Shine Salon will actually set the hair for the party 6 hours later.

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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Ports pre-fall 2011 "l'heure bleue" Collection

TEXT, VIVIAN KELLY





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The Pre-Fall Collections used to be a relatively minor affair years ago. Not so anymore. These days, they get their own week in The Fashion Calendar. The most notable one this season is Fiona Cibani’s collection because in it, she proposes a number of trends that we will see in the all-important fall 2011 shows come February.
It’s helpful to get a sneak peek at the coming season’s trends and I enjoy the poetic/artsy references this house always delivers. The drama and the dreaming are part of what transform nice clothes into something else.
If putting on a new dress can make you feel as if you’re part of a Euro fantasy such as “L’Heure Bleue”, I say, “great!” That is WAY more interesting than just being presented with a dozen or so styles and no gilding of the lily. Then again though, I’m one of those who wants more from my clothes other than mere utility. If that were my only goal in dressing, I’d just go to my local tailor an ask her to whip me up a few black pant suits and call it a day.
I’d much rather buy into some romanticism, light a Cyprus Rigaud candle [Jackie O’s fave], tune into some jazz on my Mac book and pretend that I’m part of the tableau Fiona proposed.
I won’t ruin it by chopping it up, and you can read the unabridged version of the Inspirations Statement if you want to put your feet up for just a few.


If so, sit back and fantasize for 5 minutes.
Once you’re in that dreamy headspace, have a look at the images the lovely Tony Alcindor and his Team sent me as I was down South when this chic event was going on.

If you’re feeling rushed and impatient, I’ve bulleted the trends for you at the end and you can read the 1-2-3-trend summation.

Inspiration: "L'Heure Bleue"

"Just before sunrise, just after dusk, there comes a moment known as l’heure bleue; a moment when everything seems to slow down to a heartbeat and everything seems full of possibility. This season Fiona Cibani has distilled the essence of that magic hour in her stunning new collection for Ports 1961. Drawing from memories of blurred twilight and from meditations by iconic modern painters, Fiona has infused her autumn-wear with a tender richness that subtly suggests the infinite. A key inspiration was Gerhard Richter whose photo-paintings of hazy landscapes and delicate still-life often seem to melt before your eyes. This collection pairs the vision of a twentieth-century master with the intuitive elegance of a twenty-first century woman."

Trends on the Horizon for fall 2011:


The use of unique surface treatments.
Fiona uses metallic dusted cotton and wool; “water-coated” stretch jersey, highly reflective silk and optically lustrous lace
The effect= an “almost supernatural aura”

The use of pastels to hint “at a kind of l’heure bleue between the seasons embodying that moment when fall’s fragility breaks and tumbles into tougher winter weather”.
How it’s done – Fiona contrasts subtle shades such as Down White, Rosa Pink, Viola Powder and Cabana Blue with bolder strokes of Hunter Green, Cyan Navy and Umber Brown.
[No Black]
The modern interpretation of classic couture techniques results in a non-literal sense of delicacy = tailoring but with the absence of classic reinforcement resulting in a softer feeling with lots of cascading fabrics
THINK: wispy ostrich feathers worked into knits,
Pattern-work that offers exposed shoulder lines
Pockets that vanish into the fabric that created them
Paneled hourglass silhouettes= a new take on classic draping creates and a modern sense of femininity
It’s this last point that best defines the Ports 1961 aesthetic, and keeps me coming back to see what the Cibani sisters will propose, season after season.








To learn more about Ports1961, visit www.ports1961.com
To shop for some heaven-scented Rigaud candles, visit www.erikasplaceforgifts.com

Monday, December 20, 2010

The Duchess of Windsor aka Wallis Simpson Style, Brought to You by Carolee







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TEXT, VIVIAN KELLY

There's been so much hoopla about THE Royal Wedding slated for April 2011, that I'm "over it" before the actual event has actually taken place. On the bright side though, I'm thrilled that it's helped to bring additional interest to far more interesting Royal Fashion icons, such as the one I'm taking on today - Wallis Simpson, also known as The Duchess of Windsor. Like Kate Middleton, Wallis was another "commoner" who married way "above her station".
There are several books in my shopping cart at www.amazon.com including The Duchess of Windsor, the Secret Life, and the rather sinister-sounding The Darkness of Wallis Simpson,
by Rose Tremain.

Here's a woman I want to know more about, and whatever I discover after reading these books, I still love the look!

An email from Wilmot Communications hit my inbox, telling me about Carolee's "Style Icon" Collection. It's right down my alley, and the timing couldn't have been more perfect.
With Julia Cushman from PWC's office, hooked me up with Carolee’s head designer Heather Williams who answered some of my most pressing questions about this Fashion Icon and helped to dissect her style. Better still, Heather chose two key pieces in the Carolee collection that answer the question I always have: “How do I get the look?”

Below, Heather shares her accessorizing know-how with TheFE.

The Fashion Examiner: Describe the Wallis Simpson look. After cruising the Internet briefly to refresh, it seems quite understated. I seem to remember that she was fond of pins....?

Heather Williams: The key to the Duchess' look is elegant simplicity. She wore the finest couture dresses, with a ladylike refinement that provided a simple and polished background for her exquisite jewelry. In fact, she was known to have dresses designed simply to show off a piece of jewelry. A woman today may not be able to afford the Duchess' designer dresses, but she has a wealth of well-tailored and refined silhouettes that are currently the trend in fashion.

TheFE: How important was jewelry to her look? What are the key pieces one must have to "do Wallis.”

Heather Williams: The Duchess' jewelry is legendary, and that's where she had a touch of flamboyance. She loved pins, particularly those with animal themes. Her colorful flamingo pin is perhaps her most famous piece, along with her beloved panther pin.


She often wore pearls
as well, which of course are the hallmark of the ladylike look she embodied. All of these items are lovingly recreated in Carolee's Style Icons collection for today's Duchess-inspired woman to enjoy.

Most of the Duchess' jewelry had a story, as it was given to her by the Duke to mark special occasions in their life together. Her famous jeweled cross bracelet, which she wore on her wedding day, is perhaps the best example. Each cross is engraved with the date of a special event that symbolized the love and devotion she enjoyed from the Duke. Again, Carolee makes a beautiful re-creation of this bracelet for everyone to enjoy.

In short, any woman who wants to emulate the elegant look of the Duchess can easily do so by choosing well-tailored feminine looks in fashion, being extremely well groomed and polished and choosing lookalikes of the Duchess' own favorite jewelry from Carolee.

TheFE: Would you please put together 1 or even 2 Wallis looks and how to get them using Carolee?

Must-have Item #1: The Carolee Flamingo pin






Must-have Item #2: The Carolee Charm bracelet






Both give you a little bit of that Royal 'je ne sais quois' Wallis had in spades.


The flamingo pin is $75, the charm bracelet, $150. For more information, visit the website or call 1-800-227-6533 & Select Option 1.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Pictoral of the Week: Orlando, NYC, CT





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TEXT, VIVIAN KELLY


This week included time at the Orlando airport, where we saw a Christmas Tree that rivals the one in Rock Center, followed by time in the CT country home office and a visit to McGeorgie's Antiques in Newtown, CT, where Carl let me have the two piece turquoise silk an pearl embroidery creation of my dreams for $50! I'll be talking about that some more later next week in "the Hunt", and will wear it to a New Year's Eve Black Tie in the country.
After recovering from airplanes and hotel bar food, I got my crazy-fun day in NYC, which included lunch with the Duckies
down in MeatPacking, trolling through Chelsea,
and being dropped in the fantasyland aka Camilla Dietz Bergeron’s office.
Camilla’s “office” is what I love about the fashion world. On the outside, it’s an imposing white fa├žade on Madison Avenue, but the inside is the real treat. It's like the NYC clubs I loved in the late eighties - you had to know where they were and once you were in, it was a whole world of its own. Once upstairs at C.D.B., after getting out of an old time, rather scary Parisian style cage lift, you’re transported to a gracious home, with thick carpets, shiny glass cases, fine Estate jewelry everywhere, and best of all, Camilla, Gus and the rest of the staff’s unerring Southern Hospitality.
Today, some pics that best represent the week, and a peek into Camilla’s world.

Tomorrow, my chat with Camilla about a very special collection of unique pieces she has by Aldo Cipullo, complete with a mini history lesson, courtesy of Camilla herself.
I'll give you a teaser - a little-known fact: Cartier takes the credit for inventing the iconic "Love Bracelet", but it was actually Aldo Cipullu's who created it for them in 1969. When you study the pieces [sneak peek here] and in tomorrow's video, you'll notice his signature look is evident in the pieces in Camilla's collection.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Duracell is using people power to illuminate the 2011 numerals in Times Square on New Year's Eve.





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TEXT, VIVIAN KELLY

Today, I verbalized what’s been running through my mind for a while now. I was at the Duckies’ downtown studio, gabbing before lunch with Daniel as Steven continued to sketch and color-in designs for the spring 2012 collection? The Duckies [and their shows] are all about the unexpected and that’s FUN. Turning to Daniel, I got up the nerve to just say it. “ It’s bratty, but I don’t want to write about things unless they’re fun.” To my relief, Daniel smiled and replied, “look at we do”.
Bingo. That sense of fun and play comes-through in their designs and in every show of theirs I can remember.
This brings me to events. My literary agent, Laura Wood of Fine Print Lit mused over cocktails at the Algonquin, “ You could go to an event every day in NYC if you work in the fashion business and live here, and drink and eat for free, at least five days a week.”

We laughed, because after a point, an event is no longer an “event” if they’re in such high supply. "Shouldn't there be a vetting system?" as Steven posited for shows [and events] for that matter?
Driving home, I remembered my friend Jono Waks’ event – one of those I missed because I was out of town. It was silly but it sounded like silly fun, something I’d want to go see unlike yet another store opening. The “this” was a kooky eco-socialite-fashion -kitsch event that I kind of wished I’d managed to get over to in person.


Like the good publicist he is, Jono laid it all out in journalistic format: Who, What, When, Where, Why format. LOVE. If only all publicists would do this.
Here’s the scoop of a silly event that made me giggle and put me in the “Holiday spirit”.
Event Title: GREEN (ENERGY) IS THE COLOUR OF THE SEASON! 


WHEN: Thursday, December 9, 2010 



WHERE: The Duracell Mobile Smart Power Lab will pop-up @ Gansevoort Plaza, Meatpacking District, NYC. 





WHO: 

The Meat Packing District & Duracell bring the fashion community together to promote re-chargeable energy as a fashionable alternative.


DONATING THEIR ENERGY: 

Carson Kressley, (Fashionista) 
Robert Verdi, (Fashionista) 
Tinsley Mortimer, (Fashionista) 
Charlotte Ronson (Designer) 
Joey Wolffer (Stylist/ The StyleLiner), 
Jussara Lee (Designer) 
Mazdack Rassi (Milk Studios), 
Jean Pigozzi (Owner, LimoLand store), 
Eric Goldstein (Owner, The Jean Shop) 
Charles Nolan (Designer) 



WHAT: 

Duracell is using people power to illuminate the 2011 numerals in Times Square on New Year's Eve. New Yorkers and tourists alike have the chance to literally help power the 2011 numerals by visiting one of two Duracell Smart Power Lab locations, hopping aboard a Power Rover and pedaling. With each push of the pedal, human energy is captured, converted into usable power, and then routed and stored at Duracell Battery Centers. The journey ends at One Times Square. The stored power will light up the 2011 numerals as the New Year's Eve Ball drops and the clock strikes midnight. 


The “WHAT” is an update to a question I always idly wondered about while watching the ball drop, year after year. 'Just how much electricity did it take to get that disco ball fired up and going?'
After a little research, I happened on a write-up in www.thedailygreen.com.
As of January 1, 2008, in honor of its 100th birthday, the ball got with the times and became more energy efficient. The newer better ball was lit with close to 10,000 LED bulbs (light-emitting diode) the most energy efficient bulb on the market. According to The Los Angeles Times, “The ball used only as much energy as about 10 toasters.” Enough with the past. That was good, but this is better as in it’s even greener.

HOW [it works]:

The Duracell Power Rovers utilize rotary generator technology. As consumers pedal, energy is captured inside the power rover. The amount of energy captured is determined by the power and speed of the cycling. 

Duracell's capture and storage system saves the energy generated while pedaling and converts it to stored power as it travels from the Duracell Smart Power Lab to the Duracell Battery Centers.

The stored power will light up the 2011 numerals as the New Year's Eve Ball drops and the clock strikes 12.

WHY [it matters] DURACELL is part of the Procter & Gamble Company [NYSE:PG], and it’s heartening to see that a big gun like this is getting behind the Green movement.


While I won’t be in T.S. this year, I’ll definitely be watching, on the huge flat screen TV at my gal pal, Pamme’s house, wearing a vintage Scaazi-ish creation I’m dashing over to scoop up at McGeorgie’s, in Newtown, CT this weekend – if it’s still there.

(Photo/Stuart Ramson)courtesy of Jono Productions

Image of invitations, from
www.wallpaper.com