the official online boutique of
The Fashion Examiner
get 20% off - use code EXAM20

About Me

My photo
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!!


Saturday, January 29, 2011

THeHUnt: Project Vuitton Bag - Successful!

Bookmark and Share


A FEW MONTHS AGO, I bought a decrepit Louis Vuitton bag from Inga, one of my fave consignment sellers in Port Chester, NY at Deja Vu Consignments. It was just the right size - a big drawstring duffle, for $50, I knocked-over the woman by the counter [almost] to grab it.
Okay,  so it didn't have a shoulder strap and the bottom was " a little bit worse for the wear and tear", but STILL.

I took my prize to Felipe, my shoe guy at SHOE SERVICE PLAZA for a diagnosis. I've spoken about Felipe before - his years as the resident fix anything gem at Shoe Service in New York City. That was the go-to place for all the fashion houses and magazines when it came to quality repairs to luxe accessories from Vuitton, Manolo Blahnik and Jimmy Choo.
This particular repair I was presenting Felipe with was going to be a doozie, but he was fascinated, and like the true craftsman he is, viewed it as a challenge.
We initially only added a shoulder strap and that lasted for a few weeks until the worn-out side straps inconveniently snapped while I was at the Orlando airport.

Back to Felipe and for some major cosmetic surgery.
The Prognosis - The Vuitton bag needs:
New leather base
New piping
New strap
New leather drawstring

With all of this, Felipe couldn't even guess what it would run but promised me "a good price". I gave over the bag to him and his brother and hoped for the best.

As you'll see from the before and after pics, this repair is nothing short of a miracle.
The cost: $90, but "heavy" repairs like this can run you in the $200s.

Shoe Service Plaza: tel: 203-297-6040, ask for Felipe.

Deja Vu Consignment
[Voted Westchester's Best]
tel: 914-481-1160, ask for Inga

Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Debut of Ports 1961 - Men's - Classic and Suave Debuts at Milan Fashion Week

Bookmark and Share

Yes, we're STILL in a recession, but some companies are not just "staying the course" as George W. [Bush] was wont to say, when faced with crisis. Duckie Brown is launching a women's line and their collaboration with Florsheim is expanding and there are other partnerships with big brands on the table. Michael Kors continues his push for world domination, following in the footsteps of Ralph Lauren. Ralph has opened a fabulous store to end all stores in NYC.
Most recently, one of my favorite "smaller" brands, Ports1961, is venturing into menswear. Ports holds a special place in my heart, ever since I attended their first small presentation in a studio in The Forbidden Zone [somewhere in the twenties and ninth or tenth Aves.] years ago. My friend, Mimi Liebeskin [one of the most chic women I've ever met] and I declared ourselves "in love" after the shortie presentation was over. Why? Because we both travel - a lot - and could imagine ourselves wearing every single one of these classic with a twist pieces, many in flattering neutrals in interesting fabrics.
Since then, the Cibanni sisters have stuck to their original aesthetic but have also taken risks - which I love - and is something that is normally reserved for "avant garde" collections one sees on the Paris runways.
One of the best was the "Patti Smith Collection" a few seasons back. Bingo. It was arty, intellectual and cool, like the chanteuse herself.
Ports debuted their PORTS 1961 Menswear Collection in Milan this month.
When Simone of Atelier PR sent me the announcement and pics of Ports1961 mens, I was initially stunned at how, well, "square?" the guys looked in their precisely cut suits and coats. Then, I "got" it. The men are a foil to the more adventuresome Ports women and there ARE some fundamental similarities when you start looking more closely.
Part of Ports1961's [women's] underlying DNA is its classic wearability. As PR Director, Tony Alcindor told me, "We try to make pretty clothes that women want to wear." It SOUNDS so simple, but it's not, really, but every season, despite some more avant garde inclinations, there are ALWAYS pieces that will find a long-term home in a woman's closet. Every spring, I eagerly take out my lipstick red zip front cotton sweater and celebrate the start of spring and not needing to wear a coat. In fact, it's already been packed for my April Puerto Vallarta trip.
Taking the conversation back to men's, this line is a collaboration between designers Fiona Cibanni and Ian Hylton. Ian's "a name" in the fashion biz, but I had to do a little research. Turns-out, Ian is THE EVERYTHING MAN. He's a merchant, creative director and designer. He started out in 1985, helping to launch Club Monaco later-on, helped to "re-invigorate" the Men’s business and to develop a brand extension for home called Caban. From there, he worked with Saks Fifth Avenue and launched Suede magazine. As Vice President of Ports International he's now flexing his creative muscle with Fiona for Ports Men's.

Ports1961 Menswear DNA:
Classical sculpture is at the core as is "the finest Italian tailoring and the most advanced fabrics to achieve the highest level of luxury. This collection reflects the quintessentially modern need to maintain an enduring classicism in today’s world."
The press release says it best,
"This season, Ports 1961’s menswear throws down the gauntlet to declare: from now on, only the best of good enough."
Who can argue with that?

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Packing for NYFW/10-Day Trip to Paree

Bookmark and Share

Nowadays, life is much ore homogenized. I used to rail against it, hated to see a McDonalds deface the Champs Elysee.
‘What, I asked, was the point of driving through America when everything now looks the same?’
Earlier this winter, I was in New Hampshire and then a week later, in Orlando. While on the road in my rental, seeking-out consignment stores, I had a sense of déjà vu. No mater where I was, there were strip mall centers with Applebee’s, McDonalds, Blockbuster, Staples, and Dunkin Donuts.

It just occurred to me though, that this homogenization could be a GOOD thing when it comes to travel. For the past few years, whether I’ve been packing for a week to attend LA Fashion Week, or NYFW or for 10 days in Paris, the contents of my suitcase are pretty much THE SAME.
This does NOT mean that I’m a boring dresser though.
It’s inevitable that I have to check my bag. A duffle-worth of clothes for a week away just doesn’t cut it. All that’s happened when I tried that “less is more” approach was that I had to buy a few things to supplement what I wish I hadn’t left behind.

Here are the items that are going in my rollie brown and white suitcase for NYFW/10 days in Paris.

There are a few ways to cheat, first and foremost being to wear as much as possible while traveling to your destination. Wear your heaviest coat, shoe/boot, and layer as much as possible.
In my case, that means I’ll wear: a black concert tee [The Runaways], with a heavy black turtleneck by UnderArmour, a black cashmere tee shirt and an oversize black cashmere Zoran hoodie over that. On the bottom, comfy jeans by Converse/John Varvatos, thick fuzzy sock and black Prada military lace up Boots. The outer layer is either a vintage fox coat or a dark brown subzero weight Lands End down coat that goes to midcalf. My head will be toasty warm with a navy/white pull on Under Armour fleece cap, and an orange plaid Burberry scarf will protect my neck.
A pair of REALLY warm gloves is on my shopping list, and a trip over to Dick’s Sporting Goods is on my list to fill in that gap.

In the suitcase, I always pack the shoes FIRST, as they take-up the most space. As the weather is nasty, and I’ll be on the streets a lot, the list is streamlined down to the aforementioned Prada boots, a shorter pair of gray square toed Miu Mix ankle boots with a flat driving sole, Chanel tan and black ballet slippers, black canvas Chuck Taylor sneaks, and a pair of J. Crew platform grosgrain flip-flops for the hotel room.
Next, underwear, 2 PJS and my thicker than thick Missoni hooded robe.

As far as clothes, Jeans rule the day. I limit it to 3 pair, and a pair of gray thin wale cords, a few Petit Bateau tees, short and long sleeves [red/white and navy/white].

Sweaters and jackets are the most important and a chance to have a little fun with the wardrobe. That doesn’t mean you’re not packing the basics – always a large space in the suitcase for them.
THE BASICS ARE…a black cashmere tee, a black merino or cashmere crewneck, a huge turtleneck [black and one in a fun color], sweater vests, and one LBD. My winter one is a long sleeve wool knee length number that looks very much like the dress Jacqueline Bessette was photographed wearing at a long ago MET ball.
Take two jackets, but make sure one is black. The other one can be tweed and if you’re lucky it’s got CHANEL on the label.
Accessories are where you can have a little fun. Scarves and necklaces take very little space and give your clothes a bit of individuality. Recently, I’ve become interested in pins, such as the “Duchess of Windsor” ones I wrote about in a Carolee Post last month.
All in all, the above will get you through your trip and if you hate black, just choose another neutral. All of the above black pieces can be subbed with all navy, or camel, or white pieces.
Bon Voyage, and see you at the shows!

Friday, January 21, 2011

THe HUnt in a Berkshires Winter WonderLand

Bookmark and Share

Text, Vivian Kelly
I LOVE THE BERKSHIRES - specifically that little pocket of the world that includes Stockbridge, Lakeville, Interlaaken, and now, Great Barrington.The Red Lion Inn, the piece de resistance at 30 Main Street in Stockbridge has been on my "LOVE!" list since I was seven years old, and my Papa took me swimming in the pool there. Since then, I've stayed at most of the buildings, including the O'Brien and Stevens Houses with two different husbands and in all four seasons at some point. My most recent trip was this past Martin Luther King weekend, where we stayed in the Main House, on the Third Floor, right across from the Library. What could be better? With plenty of time to explore, we walked the floors, checking out the display cases, and the Norman Rockwells on the walls, and looked for SIMON, the pampered "house cat". Simon is a celebrity at the Red Lion, you can even buy pictures of him in the Gift Shop downstairs. Another great thing, pet lovers, pets are actually welcome at this lovely 4-Star Establishment - gasp. Just remember, we're not in France, so they can't hang in the dining rooms and sit on your lap when you're downstairs in the Lion's Den enjoying the live music. That aside, it was amazing to step back in time and take the historic birdcage elevator up to the room and to wake-up and go down to breakfast without ever having to go outside. Of course, THe HUnt is always on, and this weekend was no exception.The score this time was next door, at Seven Arts, at 44 Main Street. We went in to kill 10 minutes and to warm-up and left 45 minutes later with 4 fabulous LIFE Magazines which I'm getting framed to display in the Home Office.There were tons of pop culture ones to pull from but the winners who went home with me: Jackie O, Jane Fonda, Ingrid Bergman, and an anonymous [but very glam] young couple living the gypsy life in Greece in the Seventies. I went a little overboard, but they had a deal going on, buy 3 get 1 free, so....Anyhow, the total only came to $37.08 for unforgettable images of 3 of my fave fashion icons.The other score was in Great Barrington, which is FAR more chic than the run-down town I remember from years past. If you're pressed for time, hit SOCo, have some of their famous ice cream and then a cup of Harney's chamomile tea to warm up and go right across the street to KAREN ALLEN Fiber Arts. I am most definitely NOT the "crunchy granola" type of girl you see in places like Park Slope, Brooklyn, so my galpal D., had to talk me into going in. D. has incredible personal style and I "die" every-time I visit her current living space, so anytime she tells me something is great, I go with it, because she's always right, whether it's about someplace in Nantucket, Ridgefield, or now, Great Barrington. We discovered colorful children's hats in the back, handmade by Karen's sister, Kathleen Crawford. I restrained myself, and bought only 1 of the 3 I liked, but like Arnold [Schwarzenneger] so famously said, "I'll be back."

Lodging and Shopping Info

The Red Lion Inn
30 Main Street
Stockbridge, MA 01262
(413) 298-5545
(413) 298-5130 Fax

Seven Arts
44 Main Street
PO Box 520
Stockbridge, MA 01262

(413) 298-5101

Karen Allen Fiber Arts
8 Railroad Street, Great Barrington, MA 01230

Weekend Pictorial: WinterWonderland +THe HUnt in the Berkshires

Bookmark and ShareBookmark and Share

Text, Vivian Kelly

A few days ago, I blogged about my fave fashion pundit, and fashion PR man, Abe Gurko, and his work with Reeve Carney and his band for the Monarchy Collection lookbook video. collaborated to redo Monarchy’s somewhat stale image.

If you missed the post, here’s the link to it so you can watch Reeve and Zane in action working the Monarchy Collection.

Once you’ve watched today's video of Abe talking to me about his work with Reeve and Zane Carney on the Monarchy lookbook, you’ll see that Reeve's got the package going. He’s stylish, can sing; seems he can also act. We’ll all bear witness to that sometime in March, barring further delays to the delayed opening of the much-anticipatedSpider-Man: Turn Off the Dark.

The new Broadway opening date is set for March 15. What they have on tap sounds well worth the wait and seemingly endless postponements. Previews started way back on November 28, but the announced opening dates in December 2010, January, then February 7 fell by the wayside like a bunch of dominoes collapsing.

The new and we hope, final new opening date is March 15th. According to a statement released by lead producer Michael Cohl, the delay is needed to give the creative team more time to "fine tune" certain aspects of the show and…. A new ending!

In addition to the stylish Reeve Carney as “Peter Parker aka Spidey”, there’s music and lyrics by Bono and The Edge of the band U2, and a book by director Julie Taymor and Glen Berger.

Maybe this production has gotten all of its bad luck out of the way and we’ll get our socks blown-off in March. In any case, I’m looking forward to Abe’s commentary post-show.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

A Creative + Cultural Snow Day: Redecorating + The Last Picture Show

  • Bookmark and Share


Yesterday brought the third blizzard of the winter, but, as Rhett Butler so famously said to 'Scarlett' in Gone With the Wind, "frankly, my dear, I couldn't give a damn."
Why? What?!
No, I'm not part Aleutian or soft in the head.
I just need to be forced to stay home to have the excuse to indulge and work on some projects that are near and dear to my heart.
First - there was the ongoing redecoration of TheFE Home Office inspired by a page in the Farrow & Ball catalogue I picked up at Robert Verdi's Luxe Lounge last NYFW. To say that attaining the garden gazebo look on the page has been obsessing me these past few months is an understatement. Yesterday, I finished the cream trim and applied the first layer of 'arsenic' paint on two walls - only partially though.
While rolling away, I had the stepladder strategically placed so I could watch The Last Picture Show on my little Home Office TV, rigged only for DVD watching. I had the Comcast Cable guy do this as part of a commitment to watch old Hollywood Classics, Art Films, and anything else that promises to have good sets and costumes in it.
Last weekend, Victoria, my favorite Reference Librarian, raised a well arched brow when I asked her if they had The Last Picture Show on DVD, and 'was it in'?
We both agreed that the movie was worth watching if only for the pool scene in which a young gorgeous Cybill Shepherd 'Jayce' literally and figuratively strips-down, shedding her pristine white foundation garments and innocence, while poised on the diving board.
I wound up of course, getting wrapped-up in the movie and what should have been a one-hour painting job extended into three, four even. I played back over portions of the black and white masterpiece to hear scenes I'd missed while turning my head towards the wall.
While I said I tend to watch movies for their visual bang, this one has a h--l of a good story attached to it as well - several stories in fact.
First and foremost, there's the indescribably gorgeous 'Jayce'. Directed by Peter Bogdanovich, Cybill got across beautiful and cruel character of 'Jayce" who as the iMDb reviewer captured in this description, "Jacey is Duane's steady, wanted by every boy in school, and she knows it. Her daddy is rich and her mom is good looking and loose. It's the general consensus that whoever wins Jacey's heart will be set for life."
She looks great in every single frame and I'm seeing references to her style in her every outfit:
  • The party dress - Christian LaCroix's "poof"
  • The foundation garments she strips-down to at the party -Eres swimsuits
  • The plaid shirt, dungarees - Abercrombie & Fitch
  • The white shirt tied under her breasts in the pool hall scene - Guess Ads for the last 15 years
  • The slippers in the opening car necking scene - Chanel slippers

'Picture Show' gave me much more than I'd bargained for. In addition to the clothes, there's a little bit of a history lesson here about what it was like to live in West Texas in the fifties. Some things never change, all small towns rely on sports, the social pecking order, sex, secrets, and how tough it is to come-of-age.
Today, the bamboo trellis wallpaper arrived, as the UPS Man bombed through nearly two feet of snow to deliver it to my garage. My biggest challenge now is to find another movie that will equal or top 'Last Picture Show' as I resume painting the next wall tomorrow.
Any suggestions?