Thursday, August 21, 2014

Fashion Kool-Aid VI: "Vacation Frustration"


John Hardy jewelry showroom

My well-loved, broken hinged bracelet went to Bali for the summer--and all I got was the chance to miss it! (Even the proverbial lousy t-shirt would have been an upgrade).  In the interest of full disclosure, Bali is where John Hardy cuffs (and all other types of their jewelry) go for repair - rather than for vacation. It would seem that my silver and black zebra striped piece, now more glistening than ever (it’s showing up the other two of its John Hardy “siblings” which I wear as an arm party of three on a daily basis), enjoyed the two months of R&R (Rest and Refurbishment) in Indonesia while I stayed here in New York. Can I help it if my jewelry lives better than I do? In mid June I tearfully waved my treasured jewel off to “camp” and told it I’d see it at the end of the summer. I did everything but pack it a lunch and promise to write.

John Hardy

Incidentally, all "jewelry-envy" jokes aside (and speaking of lunch), the John Hardy Bali factory does offer a tour and complimentary organic lunch. The tour is said to be spectacular and the lunch even better as all ingredients are supplied from the on-site farm and cooked in wood stoves sans electricity/gas in their open-air Balinese kitchen. Should your travels take you to the Ubud area of Mambal and you would like to tour/dine/possibly shop (although you are not at all obligated to do the latter) here are the details: http://www.johnhardy.com/spirit/visit-us-bali

John Hardy Kali pattern resembles pebbles in the river

The Hardy compound looks absolutely breathtaking in photos with woven bamboo tube mats serving as flooring (no shoes allowed (cue “carbon footprint” quips). You will need to dig your toes in for balance from what I’ve read; above there are natural towering bamboo tree “ceilings” swaying gently overhead. The entire structure is built on stilts over the rice paddy patches enabling the irrigation system to remain undisturbed. Everything takes its cues from the natural setting; even the showroom jewelry display cases are held up by giant bamboo stalks. The jewelry designs themselves spring organically from the design elements in nature including the pebbled walkways, the rivers, and of course, the ubiquitous bamboo. Some of the more recent designs are more fanciful such as the Naga or dragon rings and bracelets. Balinese lore is that if you wear the Naga head towards you, the dragon is protecting you, if you wear it facing out, he is fighting your critics.

Guy Bedarida and Damien Dernoncourt

In the ‘70s, Canadian jewelry designer John Hardy was living the eco-friendly Balinese lifestyle and using native Balinese craftsmen to execute his designs in silver. He learned the native techniques and introduced them into his jewelry design including that of the classic woven chain made from tooled silver strands. His first commissioned order was from Neiman Marcus for a key chain design that they wanted made into earrings. By the late 1980’s he had built up his company and his compound using sustainable materials to construct low-impact buildings that blended into the surroundings. In 1995 he recruited Guy Bedarida from Van Cleef & Arpels as head designer. In 2007 Bedarida and CEO Damien Dernoncourt purchased the company from Hardy. They adopted the company slogan “Greener Every Day” and continue the effort to become carbon neutral. For each sale of their Bamboo collection more bamboo trees are planted and as of August 2012, the company uses 100% recycled silver in their designs.

Employee lunch table

Of course, it all sounds too good to be true and apropos to that I did find one reviewer who mentioned that the actual factory part of the tour was somewhat less desirable in terms of working conditions.  She cited overcrowded, hot rooms (a byproduct of the hot wax used for the jewelry molds) complete with chemical fumes. Since every piece is made by hand, the work is close and arduous.  It can reportedly take four hours to make one inch of braided chain! The work day is from 8 am to 5 p.m. with an hour for the same free lunch offered to visitors. All 700 employees sit down together in the beautiful open-air room and are served the same organic, culinary chef-prepared feast (no doubt a helluva lot better than anything we’re picking up at the salad bar, fellow New Yorkers).  Employees are also allowed to nap on the open-air orange pillowed lounge area!

Cara Delevingne is the new face of John Hardy

Since vacationing was still on my mind and I couldn’t make it to Bali this year, I decided to see what other hot-spots were trending.  The rich, famous, and beautiful are just like you and me, however they definitely “summer” better. Everyone from Leo DiCaprio, to Lindsay Lohan, from Kim Kardashian to Paris Hilton, from Cara Delevingne (incidentally, she is the new face of John Hardy jewelry) to Justin Bieber to Michelle Rodriguez, from Orlando Bloom to Miranda Kerr (Uh-oh! Awkward alert!) could be found in Ibiza on various yachts.

Ricacardo Tisci's 40th

Whether it was Riccardo Tisci’s 40th http://www.refinery29.com/2014/08/72250/ (see photos here), or Cara’s 22nd birthday it was celebrated in this locale, complete with supermodels Kate Moss, Naomi Campbell, or Kardashians Kanye West, Kris Jenner, Kendall Jenner, just to name a few. This past weekend Oprah and Gayle King showed up in Ibiza, perhaps a bit tardy for the party and may have wondered where everyone went.

Cara and Selena

Earlier in the summer St. Tropez got some love from rumored couple Delevingne and Selena Gomez who celebrated Gomez’s “pair of two’s” b-day there, however no Selena was present when it was Cara’s turn at double deuces. In Cannes we saw beach photos of Madonna, 17-year-old daughter Lourdes (smoking a joint), and the man first reported to be Lourdes’ 26-year-old boyfriend, Timor Steffans. Not a huge surprise when the boy-toy turned out to belong to Madge (celebrating her 56th on the 16th with this trip when she really needs to stay out of the sun…uh, make that the daylight)!

The island of Capri had its share of revelers including Jared Leto, Cameron Diaz, Lea Michele, Lindsay Lohan (she was everywhere) and, of course, our mayor Bill De Blasio and family. This past weekend Reese Witherspoon was seen in a black plunging one-piece yacht-ing it up with gal pals as well as dancing at a wedding in this gif along the lines of  the Taylor Swift dancing gifs: (see video). It was something of a “working” holiday in mid-July when Dolce and Gabbana launched their Autumn/Winter 2015 couture show. This amazing show attracted every major fashion editor who was brave enough to withstand the rough seas. Once there, guests including Hamish Bowles, Anna Wintour, Suzy Menkes, and several members of international royalty got a glimpse of the exquisite Alta Moda hand-painted one-of-a-kind, jaw dropping gowns. All this occurred amidst speculation of a squashed tax fraud article on the Italian designing duo set to appear in Vanity Fair. Here is Christina Binkley’s video report for the WSJ https://screen.yahoo.com/alta-moda-dolce-gabbanas-haute-020103502.html

George and Amal on Lake Como

When celebrities were not having birthdays, they were toasting their coupledom.  Jen Aniston and Justin Theroux were seen in Bora Bora celebrating their two-year engagement anniversary (are they waiting for Brad and Angie to marry first?), while another couple you may have heard of, George Clooney and Amal Alamuddin do not believe in long engagements. They will supposedly be tying the knot any day now and have been spied in Lake Como where George has a residence. There’s a good chance that Lake Como may well be the wedding location by the looks of things. Naturally, the baby bump watch has started already. Cue the “is it the wind or is she preggers?” photos of Amal. If you can’t get enough of celebrities and enjoy a red carpet challenge try this game: http://www.stylebistro.com/trivia

Although I have generally been away at this time in years past, in defense of the trip-less, I would say that it’s almost worth skipping the summer vacation due to the advance preparation required. No, not talking about a bikini wax (although that’s bad too). I’m referring to the packing! It seems that no matter how carefully one plans it out, something is always missing that you swear you packed. Is there a “ghost of packing past” who sneaks into your suitcase after it’s all packed and removes that one item that you planned all of your outfits around? I tend to fall into the “Overpacker’s Anonymous” and need a 12-step program to teach me to just say “no”. If I’m on a trip with my daughter this actually works out well (for her) as she is a confirmed “Underpacker” who relies on me to supply anything that she might not have brought. Once I cram half the contents of my overweight bag into her smaller suitcase so as to avoid the airline overage fee, I tend not to see these items again, and if I do, they’re wrinkled beyond recognition and/or being worn by her.

Whenever I am faced with an empty suitcase and a looming voyage I think of the late comedian George Carlin’s riff on “A Place for My Stuff” which never fails to make me laugh. There’s something about the line: “Ever notice how everyone else’s stuff is sh@# and your sh@# is stuff?” that gets me every time. Watch it here and try and keep a straight face: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JLoge6QzcGY

On second thought, maybe the staycation is the way to go. I’ll just wait for another piece of my jewelry to need a repair so that I can live vicariously.

(Photo credits: Dailymail.uk, Refinery 29, tmz/INFphoto.com, Ramey Photo Agency, Johnhardy.com, style.com, mygreenlifestyle.com, writingforselfdiscovery.com, shreve.com)




- Laurel Marcus

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

In the Market Report

It’s ‘FAUX’ REAL

Michael Michael Kors faux leopard pea jacket

This has been a beautiful summer, and we did not suffer through too many uncomfortable days, but still I cannot wait until the advent of fall. And as luck would have it, the weather as of late has been cooperating. It’s been a true fall preview: almost cool enough to actually get one in the mood to go shopping or at the very least, be inspired to think ahead. FYI, it’s been so crisp and pleasant these days, Starbucks decided to bring back it’s very popular Pumpkin Spice Latte on August 25th, almost one month before fall officially starts on September 23.


Mansur Gavriel calf coated bucket bag

The new fall merchandise has been hitting the stores and the websites with a vengeance as of late and there have been certain categories that have stood out by virtue of their having been literally ubiquitous at every price point and across the board, with almost infinite variations on the theme: leather (there IS life after the moto jacket but it still continues with a vengeance); denim (denim, denim, and more denim); the entire category of athletic, sports inspired footwear; men’s inspired lace up oxfords (I especially love the pointy toed feminized versions as exemplified by Stuart Weitzman’s sharp black and white Leman Oxford, $395 stuartweitzman.com and Attilo Guisti Leombruni’s pointy toed black patent oxfords, $360, nordstrom.com); loafers (my two favorites are the iconic Gucci horsebit loafers, gucci.com, and Prada’s gold metallic kiltie chain loafer, $890, nordstrom.com); ankle boots (the Gucci “Lillian” ankle boot, featuring the company’s iconic horsebit hardware is hands down, the most distinctive, www.gucci.com); bucket bags (I love the modern simplicity of Mansur Gavriel’s coated leather bags, mansurgavriel.com; small structured trunk bags with distinctive hardware (a la Vuitton); mod (as seen at Vuitton, Gucci, Saint Laurent, etc.); oversized bombers and baseball jackets, fabulous coats, furs, fur trims, shearling (too many to mention); AND faux furs, which have quite simply, never looked better, been more believable, or more desirable.


DKNY Faux Fur Striped Coat

In fact, they are so fabulous (young, hip, modern, minimal, cool) these days, and light-years away from those ugly, bulky, tacky versions from yesteryear, even die hard real fur snobs will be tempted. In the same way almost everyone mixes real jewelry with fabulous fakes, real furs and faux furs will be peacefully cohabiting alongside each other in the chicest of closets. And anyway, let’s face it, many real furs look fake and many fake furs look real; it is sometimes hard to tell which is which unless you actually feel them - and maybe not even then!.

Short Fur Coat in ecru

That being said, they will never take the place of the real deal because they are not as luxurious or as warm (and thinking about last winter’s brutal frigid weather, this is worth noting). But on the plus side, (aside from the obvious: their easy on the pocketbook price tags), because they are made from synthetics (acrylic, mod acrylic, polyester) they are not really that warm, so one need not wait until it’s really cold to start wearing them.

Peter Hidalgo fake fur

Among the chicest standouts: Peter Hidalgo’s black fake fur coat with hood and waterproof lining, and his white fake fur cardigan coat, both $1380, (I love that they resemble monkey fur) available at Diana Broussard, dianabroussard.com; Zara’s (zara.com) faux leopard printed coat, $169, nude pink furry coat, $169; yellow fake fur short coat, $129, and ecru fake fur cardigan coat, $129; Asos’s (www.asos.com) white faux fur curly coat, $145.10, natural gray faux fur jacket $125.76, faux leopard reversible short coat, $148.97, multi colored striped faux fur scarf, $67.71, longline brown faux fur vest, $116.08; Michael Michael Kors’s camouflage faux fur coat, and leopard printed faux fur pea jacket, (both $295 and available at netaporter.com); and DKNYs strikingly mod ivory and black horizontally striped short coat with large collar, $495, dkny.com, and faux fur bomber in black and ivory leopard print, $295, bloomingdales.com.

Shrimps Mabel Coat and Pablo Clutch Bag

And last, but not least, is the London based company Shrimps (www.shrimps.co.uk.com), which is entirely devoted to faux fur. It launched last year and is the brainchild of 23 year old designer Hannah Weiland who was inspired by her “obsession with fluffy animals” (her nickname as a child was “shrimp” because she was “small and pink”). Her highly sought after coats, jackets, collars, bags, and accessories (priced from $75 for a keychain to $995 for a coat), have quickly caught the eye of plugged in young fashion editors and fashion followers everywhere. Made from mod acrylic, they are available in a range of colors (both pastels and brights) and more often than not, feature unusual color combinations and graphic, sporty stripes. They are available on her website, as well as Opening Ceremony (openingceremony.us.com) and on Net-A-Porter (netaporter.com).




- Marilyn Kirschner

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

In the Market Report: Denim

In ‘Jean’ ious

Chanel Jacket
(Click on images for larger views)

Yves Saint Laurent famously proclaimed: “I have often said that I wish I had invented blue jeans: the most spectacular, the most practical, the most relaxed, and nonchalant. They have expression, modesty, sex appeal, simplicity! All I hope for in my clothes”. Indeed, blue jeans are a global common denominator: universal, democratic, and across the board. We all live in blue jeans and they have become the most cherished, most essential parts of our wardrobes. Finding the perfect fit has become an ongoing obsession.


Denim Saturday Kate Spade denim moto jacket

There’s a lot to be said about denim. It looks as good in stark white or black, or in its infinite shades of blue, which are obviously the most iconic. (Forget about “50 Shades of Gray”, how about “50 shades of denim”?). Durable and humble (which doesn’t necessarily make it inexpensive, as we all know), you can dress it up or dress it down; it acts as a neutral and goes with everything, pairing as well with leopard and fur, as it does with tweed, leather, or velvet. And it’s a perfect foil for diamonds, pearls, and gold. No wonder it’s a crowd pleaser, beloved by customers and designers alike.


Givenchy zipped denim jacket 

Denim's popularity shows no signs of abating; if anything I think this is just the tip of the iceberg (Marie Claire even devoted their entire August issue to denim calling it “The Denim Issue”). And while there are endless finishes and washes, (I love them all), I am partial to the stiff, darker washes. They are inherently more versatile, urban, sophisticated, and seasonless, which makes them ideal for right now, during this transitional period bridging summer and fall. It’s also worth noting that dark indigo denim looks especially good paired with white, black, and brown. FYI, I loved the way Bottega Veneta designer Tomas Meier used dark Japanese denim to create a perfect shirt dress, skinny jeans, and high waisted pencil skirt for the launch of his lower priced eponymous resort 2015 collection (he describes it as a study in “elevated essentials” that are “casual yet still designed”).

The ultimate jean jacket made of denim paillettes Chanel Pre-Fall
(photo: Style.com)

Right now, I am loving the look of head to toe dark stiff denim (it has the formal correctness of a military uniform), and since cooler weather is upon us, I’m particularly obsessed with denim outerwear. Let’s start with the jean jacket. Admittedly, it’s become so common and ubiquitous at this point, it’s almost a cliché, but let’s face it: there are jean jackets and then there are JEAN jackets. At the high end of the spectrum (and probably the most luxurious and ingenious take), is Karl Lagerfeld’s jean jacket which is entirely covered with denim paillettes and piped in gold ($7900 at Chanel boutiques). It’s from his western themed pre fall 2014 collection for Chanel which was shown in Dallas, Texas and was quite heavy on denim (Karl even created suede and leather boots that were dyed in various shades of blue denim).


Christopher Kane chunky zip denim jacket

Other jean jackets that are not run of the mill (and they are thankfully less precious and less costly): Christopher Kane’s chunky zip denim jacket (www.brownsfashion.com), 650 pounds (check for conversion into dollars); Givenchy’s collarless denim jacket with double zippers, www.farfetch.com (it’s on sale from $1309 to $589); Kate Spade Saturday’s denim moto jacket with buckled belt, $170; Anne Taylor’s dressed up denim jacket with black leather sleeves, $149, www.anntaylor.com.


 Derek Lam indigo cotton blend denim trench coat
with brushed jersey sleeves

And yes, there is life after the jean jacket: enter the denim trench coat. Almost nobody makes a better trench than Derek Lam, who is known for his minimalist tailored sportswear. Unsurprisingly, his denim trenches are always perfection, and boast all the traditional bells and whistles one hopes to find in this wardrobe staple (I still remember the belted trench and matching dress in indigo denim linen, from his California inspired spring 2011 collection). For spring 2014, he used cerulean blue denim to create a wide belted trench coat and a beautifully constructed dress. His indigo cotton blend denim trench with brushed jersey sleeves is currently available at www.barneys.com, $1990.

Marc Jacobs denim pea jacket

Finally, as you know, I always love seeking out vintage, and I love a bargain. A recent online search turned up several well priced, appealing items. I found a slim cut vintage 90’s French dark denim trench coat and a wide legged dead stock dark denim jumpsuit, on www.etsy.com. On www.ebay.com: a Ralph Lauren Jeans dark rinsed trench with nautical gold buttons, $120; a Marc by Marc Jacobs cotton denim belted short trench in a medium dark blue wash; a BCBG belted trench; and an 80’s dark wash Norma Kamali jean jacket. By the way, I just remembered that fabulous vintage 90’s Norma Kamali dark denim mechanic jumpsuit I have hanging somewhere in my closet. It could not be more perfect for now.






- Marilyn Kirschner

Thursday, August 07, 2014

Summer Fashion Kool-Aid V: Dog Days


Streetwalking For Fun (Not Profit): The summer dog days (so named after the dog star Sirius) are definitely upon us and it can be challenging to look fashionable on the hot city streets. If you've ever curbed the impulse to high-five a fellow pedestrian who's got fashion game or stifled a thumbs down when encountering a passerby who's a fashion shame, then this column is for you. I spend a good deal of time walking around midtown both east and west in the course of a day and thought it might be fun to compile my observations and chronicle it all; the good, the bad and the fugly.




The unwittingly downward trend that I repeatedly encountered had more to do with bad fit; always the antithesis of good style. The dilemma that I all too often had to face was thus--can anyone tell me why there are so many women walking around the UES with gaping blouses? The button down shirt is a pretty basic wardrobe staple however there is a propensity for women to want a tight, tailored fit in the body perhaps not mindful of the pulling across the bust. As a woman who's totally unable to relate to that issue (ahem, I hesitate to call having an ample chest a problem) I don't know if the blouse manufacturers need to take into account that women have larger breasts these days or if women need to go up a shirt size but clearly something is not working here. One thing I'm convinced of is that the button sewer's union is undeniably doing their job well! Maybe the thread industry should get props since whatever it is they use must be heavy duty in keeping these buttons affixed under the strain!


Givenchy turn lock boot

A more agreeable trend I'm noticing both on the street and in the stores is that khaki is showing signs of becoming the new accessories neutral now and going forward into the fall. The more olive tones of khaki, while not always a great face framing shade, can definitely make a statement when worn during the summer months as a sandal or later as a boot. Designers including Givenchy and Saint Laurent are showing several options to span the seasons. I'm also noticing a dark red or burgundy trend for shoes and bags as well as some great burgundy leather moto jackets being shown for those who wish to branch out from basic black.


MSGM lip print cocktail dress at Stylebop

Loose Lips Synch Ships: Last week on International Lipstick Day (July 29) I wrote about Christian Louboutin's nail polish. If you are near 50th Street and Fifth, make sure to check out the full frontal window display at Saks (until August 19) including a 3D version of the Gaudi architecture featured in the promotional video. Back to nail polish's cousin, the leit motif of lipsticked lips and lip print clothing has been on my radar for a long time and I didn't need a pretend holiday to write about it. In fact I thought about as recently as a few weeks ago when I attended the Metropolitan Museum Young Members Event and spied a woman with an Alice and Olivia dress reminiscent of Prada (Resort/Spring 2012). Designer Hedi Slimane apparently had also got the memo and brought back the "bouche" for Spring 2014 at Saint Laurent.


ALICE-+-OLIVIA Pout lip collared puff dress

 Check out Katy Perry's recent video "This is How We Do" to spy her in the Saint Laurent version.  Play Video (Love how she name checks "Chanel this, Chanel that" not to mention "Mariah Karaoke"). The dress has also been seen on several other celebs from Fergie to Bergdorf's own Linda Fargo and is still available at Luisaviaroma.com as well as Neiman's/Bergdorf's online.   Of course levres embellishments come in all manner of apparel and accessories  from the Rocky Horror-ish Markus Lupfer singular lip sweater renditions to Swarovski necklaces; from high-end designer to Century 21. There's bound to be a fashionable lip garment after your desire in one of these.

"Beyonce from her Instagram"

Beyonce's Clutch Gives Serious "Side Eye": Not just to possibly cheating Jay Z but to The New York Times' Vanessa Friedman for saying she's no fashion icon. http://www.nytimes.com Almost to make a mockery of this article, Queen Bey has been featured in several articles this week, some highlighting her fashion (she's wearing a $16 crop top and Topshop skirt--she's just like us!) or changing some song lyrics to reflect what went down (besides the elevator as well as all of their reputations!) in that famed The Standard hotel Met after-party altercation. Play Video At any rate, I'm loving this little Charlotte Olympia perspex clutch bag as it combines the whimsical Manga trend with a pop-art vibe, not to mention Bey's flaunting a great fashion accessory/evil eye to her detractors.


 Victoria Beckman in her Roberto Cavalli gown

A Posh Sale: Victoria Beckham is auctioning off some of her cherished valuables; sadly David Beckham is not one of them.   So if we can't have David what can we have from the closet of the former Posh Spice?  There will be 600 items from her own wardrobe (clothing and accessories) that she has donned for various events and on the red carpet, as well as pieces from the '90s that she wore as a Spice Girl including a fluorescent yellow Roberto Cavalli gown. There will also be a reverse auction of a set of 10 exclusive pieces with all proceeds going to Mothers2Mothers, a charity which works with mothers living with HIV and helps to educate as well as provide support including prevention of spreading the disease to their children. The sale runs from August 20 - August 25 but if you "wannabe" a bidder, you gotta first register at The Outnet https://www.theoutnet.com/en-US/campaign/victoria-beckham-charity-sale Now if they could just get H&M to donate the life-size poster of "Bend it Like Beckham" in his skivvies...






- Laurel Marcus