Monday, December 10, 2018

In the Market Report by Marilyn Kirschner

Fashion’s "Gilt" Trip

The Chanel Métiers d’Art 2018 2019 show was bathed in gold, down to the gilded boots.
Photo courtesy The New York Times - click images for full-size views.

The 2018/2019 Chanel Métiers d’Art show was held last Tuesday evening at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The Temple of Dendur was completely transformed, a la Lagerfeld, just for the occasion and it was a perfect example the way Karl applies his fertile imagination to his craft. In an interview with the designer that ran in this weekend’s ‘Off Duty’ section of The Wall Street Journal, (“20 Odd Questions”), he noted that he takes inspiration from his brain and that his best ideas come to him when he sleeps (hence, he keeps a sketchpad near his pillow).

Chanel Metiers d'Art 2018 2019

Looking at the over the top, unabashedly luxurious and bejeweled collection filled with nubby tweeds made of tulle, sequin and metallic ribbon, Cleopatra-worthy elaborate necklaces, and handbags shaped like mini pyramids, I can only assume that Mr. Lagerfeld had some wonderful dreams about ancient Egypt which served as his reference point. Everything was bathed in gold, down to the footwear. There were pointy toed flats, high heeled pumps, and boots, boots, and more boots fashioned from gleaming gold leather (very Anna Wintour I must say). They came short, tall, fiercely over the knee, and in some cases, featured the house’s signature black cap toe. They were shown with a variety of heel shapes and heel heights, and were sometimes paired with matching gold tights to really emphasize the over the top gilded effect.


Gold boots also made an appearance last week in Milan at the MSGM 2019 pre fall collection designed by Massimo Giorgetti. The collection, named ‘Poetry of Youth’, was inspired by collegiate style. It was youthful yet sophisticated and emphasized tailoring, sportswear, and the employment of unexpected contrasts.

There is no question that a little goes a long way where gold boots are concerned. Regardless of their silhouette, they are festive, eye catching, and statement making and they add an exclamation point to even the most simple of ensembles (does anything look better with black?).

Here are 10 good choices which are currently available, priced from $48 - $2450:

Ellie Shoes gold glitter women’s Chelsea Go-Go boots will set you back a mere $48 – $57 depending on the size you order. More info/purchase

Dance until the golden hour in this platform boot by Urban Outfitters which features a mid-ankle silhouette constructed in an all-over brushed metallic textile, and a concealed inner zipper. It is set on a 1 inch platform with a 3.5 inch platform heel, $79 (reduced from $89). More info/purchase

You’re in luck if you were in search of Jimmy Choo’s Deidre gold metallic gold leather and PVC ankle boots, and you wear a size 37, $ 384. More info/purchase/

If you just happen to wear size 37.5, these Giuseppe Zanotti metallic gold leather multi-zip detail pointed toe stiletto heeled boots may just be perfect for you, $435. More info/purchase

Leave it to Maison Margiela to create the gold toned Mexas cowboy ankle boots, combining two major trends in one. They promise to instantly liven up a pair of simple slim-fit jeans, $1195. More info/purchase

These chic low heeled Saint Laurent Paris Wyatt 40 Jodhpur ankle boots (size 38) may be from 2010 but they could not look more of the moment, $527. More info/purchase

I love the neutral pale gold color and mid-calf length of Nicholas Kirkwood’s gilded leather stiletto heel boots, $795 (reduced from $1105). More info/purchase

No. 21’s Vulcano Mekong Booties in gold tone smooth leather are crafted in Italy and feature a pointed toe, side zip closure, unusual bow ribbon detail, all set on an eminently walkable (and feminine) low kitten heel, $986 (reduced from $1428). More info/purchase

By far the most functional and versatile of all are the Jimmy Choo Hurley 100 convertible metallic mirrored leather knee boots. Made in Italy from gold mirrored-leather, they have a leg-elongating point-toe silhouette and wide cuffs. They can be worn as ankle boots but you can also slip on the snap-fastening shaft to wear them knee-high or pushed down for a slouched, look so you actually get three boots in one. Which I suppose, justifies the price tag. $1795. More info/purchase

Last but not least, are Chanel’s laminated suede goatskin flat over the knee boots, $2450.  More info/purchase They are truly ‘killer’ and if they are on your wish list, maybe you are lucky enough to have a generous Santa visiting soon.

- Marilyn Kirschner

Saturday, December 08, 2018

New York Fashion Cool-Aid by Laurel Marcus

Museum at FIT Fabric in Fashion has Material Evidence

Lily Dache gray wool gabardine suit 1948, Mila Schon blue double faced wool coat 1968, Azzedine Alaia red wool broadcloth trench coat 1985, Bodice Studio Paneled bomber jacket, Fall 2018
Photos: Laurel Marcus

Since retail markdowns seem to be coming earlier each year (this year Black Friday was meaningless as discounts started in early November), I like to play a little game I created when I'm out there in the stores called "Why is this item on the sale rack?" Sometimes one can attribute a languishing garment to an unflattering cut, a hard-to-wear color, a strange proportion or even a glut of similar product. Perhaps the original selling price was so stratospheric that even the markdown is an affront to the wallet.

Carolyn Schnurer, white cotton pique dress, 1952; Lemlem Semi-sheer cotton dress, 2014, brown wool twill cape c.1830, off-white wool jacket c1860, beige napped wool coat c. 1892, red cashmere twill tapestry shawl 1845-50

Occasionally ( best case scenario), the item is just a tad ahead of its time, so many have passed it over not having the prescience to realize its fierceness. These observations are all valid however I don't believe that any of the above is the main reason for most price slashing. Top answer on the board? My own personal survey says it's FABRIC! If a fabric feels itchy, stiff, or uncomfortable to the touch or looks tacky, I'm sure as hell not going to try it on, let alone buy it. I assume I'm not alone here.

Beige leno-weave wool dress with woven silk pattern and floral print, circa 1855, Yoshiki Hishinuma, white sheer polyester dress with pink polyester organdy rosettes, 2000, Claire McCardell, “Popover” dress in printed white ribbed cotton, 1948, Claire McCardell, evening “Popover” dress in gold silk satin, circa 1955

Fabric is to fashion what location is to real estate -- if you don't have it right nothing else really matters. "Fabric in Fashion" at the Museum at FIT (now through May 4, 2019) serves to educate us about how textiles, once recognized and sought after by all pre-20th century stylish Western women, have gone beyond the changing whims of fashion, often driving the social and economic history of the world. Curator Elizabeth Way decided to do this exhibition because she has always liked textiles and wants to educate FIT students to be familiar with the difference between silk and satin. Way patiently explained to me that silk is a fiber while satin is a weave and a type of fabric which could be made from either silk or a synthetic. There are several examples throughout the exhibition showing how the use of the same material with a different weave will result in very different fabrications. For instance, a taffeta, faille or ottoman could all be made of silk, but as the scale of yarn changes, the rib becomes more pronounced.

Purple silk velvet open-front dress with underskirt, circa 1890, Mariano Fortuny, black silk velvet dress with gold metallic, circa 1930-1939, Apple Boutique, purple rayon velvet coat with embossed moiré design, 1968

The exhibition begins with a classic silhouette of a mid-18th-century court gown on which various textile motifs from the last three centuries (including a leopard print!) are projected onto the toile. This perfectly illustrates the point that the same dress looks completely different just by changing the fabric. The exhibition focuses on giving a brief history of silk, cotton, wool, and synthetics while also showing the physical properties of each fabric and how they interact --clinging to or floating away from the body as displayed in garments through history.

Bob Bugnand, black, white, and gold floral warp-printed silk faille coat with mink trim and matching dress, 1958-1959, Jacques Griffe, silver and gold Lurex® matelassé evening dress, circa 1958, Christian Dior, yellow silk satin evening dress with velvet floral motif, fall 1962

Silk, originating in China was in demand for the French textile industry centered in Lyon as early as the 15th century. Lyon later helped Paris become the fashion capital by supplying 19th and 20th-century couture houses with trendsetting materials. Beginning in the mid-1800's Asian inspired brocades and damasks (from Damascus, today's Syria, hence the name) were imported to Europe via what became known as the Silk Road. Silk was worn by noble men and women until the 19th century when it became feminized as well as more accessible to the middle class. At this point, Western men discovered wool which could be tailored and worn with bright, white cotton shirts. Wool tailoring for women was slower to catch on not coming into play until the 19th century Industrial Revolution when freedom of movement was important -- previously worn bulky wool capes were less practical.

Mid-18th-century court gown with projected textile

Beginning in the Middle Ages wool was instrumental in financing the growth of the British economy. During the 18th century, England embraced cotton imported from India which was a costly luxury fabric at first. By the late 19th century cotton became democratized and accessible. "The fabric of our lives" came to America albeit not without strings attached with its ties into the Civil War and slave labor. Cotton was worn casually in a quintessentially American fashion setting us apart from Europe.

Silver Muslin gown 1795-1800, Sheer white cotton Empire-waist dress c. 1812, Madras dress 1841-1843, White printed ribbed cotton two-piece dress c. 1875

With the dawn of the Industrial Revolution, textiles became much more affordable and available now that they could be woven by machine rather than by hand. Techniques including embroidery and fringe could be mixed into the weave rather than appliqued afterward. Velvets (one of my favorite fabrics) became popular in response to modernization as people were looking for something tactile, soft and comforting. Curator Way pointed out that we still associate velvet with this time historically -- there are some excellent examples of "regal" or "medieval" looking velvets on display here particularly the purple rayon velvet coat with embossed moiré design (1968).

Alix, yellow silk jersey evening dress, circa 1940, Stephen Burrows, orange, red, and green rayon matte jersey top and pants, circa 1973, Ohne Titel, off-white cotton knitted dress with multicolored silk and lace embroidery spring 2010, Alexander Wang, orange and black polyester, cotton, and rayon mesh knit dress, spring 2015

Synthetics came about as nineteenth-century scientists created new fibers from petroleum by-products as well as nylon and polyester. Rayon, a man-made silk substitute was introduced around 1930. Jersey woven knits which had only been used previously for stockings, or men's underwear and socks became a desired ready-to-wear fabric in the 1920s. On display here are an Andre Courreges vinyl coat trimmed in white faux fur, a Halston Ultrasuede garment, a Romeo Gigli faux smocked velvet coat made with a polyurethane ink -- a much faster process than the handmade embossing technique, and an Issey Miyake synthetic metallic ruffled cape ensemble.

Isabel Toledo “Hermaphrodite” evening dress, spring 1998, Elsa Schiaparelli, red silk faille and pink silk evening gown, circa 1955, Balenciaga, off-white silk ottoman evening coatdress, circa 1963

There is plenty of information to garner walking through this exhibition. Fun fact: did you know that the word "paisley" actually refers to the large town in Scotland where the textile pattern was created?

- Laurel Marcus

Friday, December 07, 2018

New York Evening Hours by Lieba Nesis

Mega-Moguls Leon Black & Steve Cohen Gather at Restaurant Daniel for Prostate Cancer Dinner

Steve Cohen, Michael Milken & Leon Black
All photos Lieba Nesis - click images for full-size views

How do you get 130 people to gather at Restaurant Daniel on a frigid Thursday night in the middle of December for $10,000 each for a night of salmon and Pat Benatar?  Most people familiar with Michael Milken know of his love for quizzes so I will venture to give a satisfactory answer. If you are Michael Milken and started the Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF) in 1993 during which time you have raised over 765 million dollars, helped avert 1.4 million prostate cancer deaths, contributed to a 20-fold increase in government funding within the past 25 years, and most importantly funded almost every practice-changing development in prostate cancer over the last 25 years-then it shouldn't be too hard to understand why PCF continues to gather the best and brightest in the Hamptons, New York City and all over the world.

Candace Bushnell & Jim Coleman

Milken arrived from London last night where he was heading a conference on prostate cancer and appeared fresh as a daisy and ready to take control of a carefully rehearsed evening. The 72-year-old Milken is an extreme perfectionist, ensuring that every portion of the evening is executed to exacting detail. However, Michael couldn't foresee a glitch in the video in which he showcased the 3-year $50 million partnership that PCF had formed with the Veteran's Administration to assist our heroes who lack access to medical resources. Milken cringed at the misstep as he joked that the producer of the video had been fired and that the military had hacked his film.

Left to right: Laura Landro, Bonnie Pfeifer Evans & Plum Simons

Michael is also a fan of baseball and offered attendees the opportunity to attend two games of baseball for three days at baseball camp for $100,000 - with two people bidding. Milken's history is legendary as a titan of Wall Street who gained mythological status until he was sent to prison in 1989 for racketeering and securities fraud. He was permanently barred from the securities industry but is still the 606th richest person in the world. After doctors discovered he had advanced stage prostate cancer in 1993 he was given 12-18 months to live. Undeterred, the indomitable Milken started PCF that year and was featured in a November 2004 Fortune magazine article where they called him "The Man Who Changed Medicine."

Larry Leeds

Milken is all about solutions and he embarked on a lifelong journey to find a cure for his cancer which included adhering to a strict vegan diet containing no oil, butter, dairy, meat, sugar or alcohol - along with writing two cookbooks. If that wasn't redemptive enough, he decided to fund research to cure all types of cancers and diseases while still growing his fortune through multiple investment vehicles. This man is a grandfather, a husband, a philanthropist, a businessman and a problem solver.

Sybil & David Yurman with Laurence Blumberg

The 25th Anniversary Gala was nothing short of extraordinary as Milken friends Steve Cohen, Leon Black, Igor Tulchinsky, Larry Leeds, the Citrones, Neil Rodin, David Yurman, Jim Coleman and so many others came to help Michael wage war against the scourge of cancer. Michael has concluded that the highest rate of return on investment in treating cancer is through the use of prostate cancer investigators who research the most effective treatments and drugs with 12 people donating $75,000 a year for three years to sponsor these investigators.

Philip Kantoff, Dr. Lorelei Mucci & John Gordon.

He noted that more than a third of these investigators were women and introduced powerhouse Dr. Lorelei Mucci who won a young scientist award in 2008 and has since published more than 250 articles and two major textbooks. Kudos to Mucci who is currently studying a global cohort of men with prostate cancer to determine how best to help them through epidemiological studies. Milken noted that there are sixty seven other cancers that have mutations similar to prostate cancer and asked the audience to help fund Veteran Centers of excellence - which puts our Veterans first.

Ted and Dani Virtue, Keith & Tammy Frankel

There were at least 4 people who gave $500,000 per year for four years for these centers with the list rising as the night progressed. As of my last count more than $6 million had been raised although I did not receive an exact figure. Milken has the ability to raise vast sums of money in short periods of time allowing the crowd to enjoy the dinner without the fundraising portion dominating.

Greg Brown, Joe Torre & Marc Hurlbert

Former Yankees manager Joe Torre remarked that he thought managing the Yankees was tough until he tried to keep up with Mike's rigorous schedule. Torre recalled being diagnosed with prostate cancer in 1999 and how Milken had guided him since his diagnosis with treatment and diet advice. Milken and Torre both work tirelessly for the organization as their devoted wives assist in their efforts.

David & Courtney Corleto with Lori Milken

Milken met his wife Lori in High School at the age of 12, and joked that he decided to stick close to her since she was voted "most likely to succeed." Another critical cog in the PCF wheel is Dr. Jonathan Simons who is the President and CEO of PCF and has made original contributions to prostate cancer immunotherapy. Simons spoke about the tremendous advances in precision oncology where the exact type of cancer can be targeted noting that more than 60 percent of cancers are affected by inflammation.

Mentalists Jeff & Tessa Evason

Interspersed throughout the evening were Milken's notorious quizzes where I learned that prostate cancer exists in an astounding 33% of male veterans and the youngest average age of soldiers occurred in the Vietnam War. Just when information overload began to kick in, we were treated to the mentalist duo Jeff and Tessa Evason who wowed the skeptical crowd with their ability to guess random people's name and ages with an alarming precision.

Singer Pat Benatar

The evening concluded with legendary singer Pat Benatar and her husband Neil Giraldo performing for an excited crowd who got the opportunity to witness the talents of this rarely seen superstar.

- Lieba Nesis