Thursday, February 04, 2016

New York Fashion Cool-Aid ®

Going "Gaga" Over Perez Sanz Jewelry

Perez Sanz
(click images for full size views)
All photos Laurel Marcus

On a recent jaunt down Madison Avenue something made me veer slightly off course onto 69th Street. Similar to the way a pig sniffs out white truffles, my nose always steers me to shiny oversized silver jewelry -- I found the mother lode and more at Perez Sanz. This jewel box of a store is the brands' US showcase for artisanal jewelry made of Alpaca (another name for German Silver), semi-precious gemstones, woven leather belts, handbags and shawls, as well as decorative accessories.

Perez Sanz Cleito Necklace as seen on Lady Gaga ($3,500)
also available in gold

Everything is handmade in Argentina rather than mass produced, ensuring that you will find one-of-a-kind pieces. Although many of the cuffs and necklaces look like they'd be overwhelmingly heavy they are actually quite manageable due to the relative light weight of the copper, nickel and zinc alloy.

Luciano Perez Sanz

The line was created by Julio Perez Sanz over 40 years ago in Buenos Aires and is now co-managed by him and his son Luciano. Originally, the elder Perez Sanz had studied art and architecture with the intent to design and produce sculptures. Upon realizing that it was harder to get a commission for large sculptural pieces, he set about making smaller accessories with an interior design application.

Cleito Necklace as seen on Lady Gaga ($3,500)
 also available in gold

From geometric shaped jewelry, belt buckles and minaudieres to more whimsical nature inspired items including decorative animal sculptures, animal head drawer pulls and enormous jeweled drapery tie backs (which have been used for the hospitality industry), it's a fun place to browse and shop for the unique.

Lady Gaga white leather necklace

Luciano who also studied Art and Architecture, now runs the New York store which opened about six years ago. He explained the "intimate" nature of working with each prototype while watching each piece evolve and change. Argentina is of course known for its craftsmanship particularly with leather and Luciano told me that many of the woven pieces are made by women at home who are working to help support their families.

A shawl with silver tassels

"We don't put our label on the outside" he said referring to many status bags that do so. "The quality of the bag speaks for itself." Prices start at around $600 for a smaller woven bag with silver balls, to over a thousand for some of the larger more intricate designs.

A tray of necklaces including the leather necklace borrowed
 by Lady Gaga in white

On the day I dropped in there was a counter full of jewelry items "for a Vogue shoot;" an awesome woven leather and silver collar in brown was present but one in white leather was absent. Luciano informed me that Lady Gaga " has it" so I thought he meant that she owned it.

Dramatic mother-of-pearl necklace and wide silver belt

Only later did I realize that stylist/designer Brandon Maxwell (fresh off his FGI Rising Stars Women's RTW win last week) had borrowed it, along with a ginormous silver choker (which I'm dying to see/try on IRL), for a photo shoot in LA. I am happy to confirm that she did indeed wear something from the line upon viewing the Intel/Grammy's ad featuring "Mother Monster" via the Perez Sanz's Twitter when I got home.

Mario Testino Vogue shoot of Perez Sanz earrings

Speaking of Gaga, get ready to see her everywhere! Not only will she be bringing us a Nile Rodgers produced David Bowie tribute at the Grammy's (who better to do that since she used to wear something akin to his trademark Aladdin Sane lightning bolt in her early days), she will also be singing the national anthem at this weekend's Super Bowl, as well as her Oscar nominated song "Til It Happens To You" at the Academy Awards.

Who knows? Maybe she'll even perform in a Perez Sanz piece or two. To view more of the line go to and click on the words "United States" at the top of the page or visit the store at 20 East 69th Street.

- Laurel Marcus

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Better Bets by Rhonda Erb

Isaac Mizrahi Smartwatch Launch

Smartwatches are great, but usually not so great looking, so when Isaac Mizrahi set out to design a smartwatch, he “didn’t want it to look like the average smartwatch.” On Thursday night, at a launch event held in New York City, the designer debuted his new smartwatch: a timepiece that did not sacrifice fashion for function.

The new watch, a collaboration between Xcel Brands’ Isaac Mizrahi and Engineered by HP, looks like a classic oversized tank watch. The round face is surrounded by Swarovski crystals in silver or gold-tone stainless steel and the leather band comes in five interchangeable colors.

Isaac with DJ Fiona Byrne

HP Engineering makes the Isaac Mizrahi Smartwatch a valuable accessory for the busy, modern woman. With the use of the Isaac Mizrahi smartphone app (compatible with iOS and Android), its features include message notifications, social media connectivity and a pedometer. The digital display is hidden when inactive and the watch vibrates gently when receiving a notification. Mizrahi “wanted to integrate something so modern and mechanical into a feminine look,” calling the design “a hidden treasure”.

Celebrity fashion stylist Phillip Bloch

DJ Fiona Byrne provided the music for the Mizrahi launch event, which was held at And & And on West 12th Street. Guests included models Lana Ogilvie and Basia Milewicz and celebrity stylist Phillip Bloch.

Lana Ogilvie and Basia Milewicz 

The Isaac Mizrahi Smartwatch is currently available for $249.00 at:

- Rhonda Erb
For more Better Bets visit:

New York Fashion Cool-Aid ® by Laurel Marcus

SAG Awards Support Diversity of Actors and Fashion

SAG Award Winners Idris Elba, Viola Davis, Uzo Aduba, Queen Latifah

Last night’s 22nd Annual Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards offered an antidote to the chatter regarding the upcoming Academy Awards, once again trending as #Oscarssowhite. In fact, the hashtag #SagAwardsnotsowhite was suggested to describe the inclusion of a diverse cast of nominees and winners covering both race and gender.

Not to be outdone, the fashion was equally diverse with those who really brought it (werq!) and those who probably should have stayed home in their sweats. One of the big trends of the night was the color green, in varying hues, which is not always so common on the red carpet. The verdant hue can be a hit or a miss and is by no means as “safe” a color as most shades of blue, red, white or even yellow.

Those critical of the usual red carpet fare also acknowledge that it can be risky to venture too far astray lest you appear to be at the wrong awards show altogether. IMO a few of the more cutout dresses may have made their debut about two weeks too soon as they skewed more appropriate for the "anything goes" Grammys. Fashion Police’s Brad Goreski who styled Kaley Cuoco in one such egregious ensemble, I’m looking at you!

Without further ado here are my picks:

Alicia Vikander

Best Dressed: Alicia Vikander in a sequined patchwork Mondrian-esque Louis Vuitton long sleeved gown. WOW! I love this look on her so much more than the boring white dress she wore at the Globes. The styling is totally on point from her hair to her earrings. The only small bone I have to pick with this is that when she was standing at the podium accepting her award and framed in a close up shot, I questioned the placement of the white square by her shoulder in the typical “name tag” spot. Otherwise it was pure perfection which is about as rare as a unicorn sighting.

Viola Davis

Runner Up—I really liked Viola Davis’s Zac Posen gown and am undecided on what to call the hue. At any rate, the purple/mauve/taupe/cocoa color along with the structured style hit that sweet spot between a unique yet flattering look for Ms. Davis.

Rachel McAdams

Too Try-Hard—Rachel McAdams in matronly Elie Saab. I really wanted to like this black bead embellished point d’esprit A-line number on Ms. McAdams but I felt that it aged her immensely. The short sleeved top was ill fitting and made her appear round shouldered and uncomfortable.

Nicole Kidman

Also, trying hard and missing the mark was Nicole Kidman in an iteration of a trompe L’oeil striped Gucci look that we’ve seen on Dakota Johnson recently—also more Grammy friendly.

Julianne Moore

Worst Dressed—It’s nearly impossible to make gorgeous redhead Julianne Moore look bad but this chartreuse beaded Givenchy cutout dress managed to accomplish that difficult feat. I don’t even know where to start with this one – the color, fit, style are all conspiring against Ms. Moore and she should immediately fire her stylist, if she has one. She looked ill at ease, as well as a bit lumpy and schlumpy while she posed awkwardly. Actually she looked just as bad sitting in her seat during the show. Which brings me to the next category…

Carol Burnett

It’s Not Easy Being Green—Among the actresses who went for the color of money were Uzo Aduba, Kate Winslet, Lifetime Achievement Award winner Carol Burnett, Marisa Tomei and Eva Longoria. I definitely think that Ms. Burnett rocked the emerald tone by mixing it with a black beaded shell under her two-piece ensemble. A footnote—she sported gray Ugg slippers on the red carpet but changed footwear to accept her award from an almost unrecognizable brown haired Amy Poehler and Tina Fey.

Laverne Cox

Ubiquitous trend of the night-- What Sarah Hyland referred to as her "Angelina Jo-Leg" pose, also adopted by many including Brie Larson, Laverne Cox, Ana Faris and Joanne Froggatt


- Laurel Marcus