Friday, May 30, 2003

Coming up in June on Lookonline:

A new ' American Masters of Fashion' Video interview as part of our continuing series on the greatest names in American fashion focuses on New York designer Ralph Rucci. Our coverage of this year's CFDA Awards will include both red carpet photos by Randy Brooke and a report by editor Marilyn Kirschner direct from the cocktail party. Contributing editor Susan Sommers covers the opening reception for Fleur On Flair Exhibition; Marilyn Kirschner reports on The Big, The Bold, and the Beautiful Press Preview by The Museum of F.I.T.; Diane Clehane will have a feature report on the New York Women in Film & Television event at Sotheby's.and finally Marilyn will be at the Viva Glam Casino benefit hosted by Maggie Rizer.

Wednesday, May 28, 2003

The New York Vintage Fashion Antique Textiles Show & Sale

May 2003 Fashion Show & Sale!
1920s fashion, 1930s fashions, 1940s fashions, lace, couture
May 30 th & 31st
34th street and 8th ave.
Fri. 11-7, Sat. 11-6 (Tickets: $20 Friday; $10 Saturday)

Dealers From The United States, London and Paris provide an exceptional, eclectic array of Men's and Women's clothing, Couture, Vintage, Designer, Party, Prom and Graduation Dresses, Vintage Wedding Attire, Shoes, Hats, Handbags, Reference Books and original source material on fashion, textiles, jewelry and design jewelry, eyewear, sportswear and accessories. Look for designers Fortuny, Hermes, Worth, Gucci, Halston, Luis Vuitton, Alaia, Channel, Salvatore Ferragamo, Ossie Clark, Bonnie Cashin, Pierre Cardin, Hattie Carnegie, Givenchy, Norman Norell, Rifat Ozbek, Emanual Ungaro, Jean Patou, Valentino, Emilio Pucci, Yves Saint Laurent and many many more.

Friday, May 23, 2003

Will The Real Longchamp Please Stand Up?

Street vendors hawking counterfeit designer accessories is nothing new, but several around town recently caught my eye with their very authentic versions of the signature nylon Longchamp tote bag. The ‘real deal’, available at the Longchamp Boutique, 713 Madison Avenue (at 63rd street, 212 223 1500), as well as selected department stores and specialty shops, is currently available in 12 colors, 11 sizes and shapes, and is priced from about $65 to $175.

But if you head over to the corner of 56th and 5th, a dealer is offering his versions in several yummy summer colors like lime, pink, cornflower blue, and orange for $15 to $25 depending on size. At these prices, why not buy a wardrobe of shades to suit your mood and outfit? I own the original in pink, but was tempted to ‘splurge’ on another, and settled on a bright orange (as in ‘code orange’) trapezoidal shape, marked $20 (the dealer took $19).

These bags make for the perfect travel, beach, and summer tote, and even though the knockoffs are naturally, not as well made as the real Longchamp offerings (the nylon isn’t as hefty and the luggage trim is pleather not leather), they actually have some advantages over the more expensive originals. In addition to the low price, they boast nice linings, (which the others are missing), generous zippered change pockets, and cell phone holders.

By the way, the vendor was also selling Kate Spade look-alike two toned ‘canvas’ bags: his $25 structured mini size totes are being offered in lime/black, pink/black, blue/black, and the nice surprise is that instead of canvas, these are actually made of nylon, which renders them more lightweight and more practical! And he also has a $25 interpretation of the luxurious Hermes canvas beach tote which is available at Hermes, 691 Madison Avenue (at 62nd street, 212 751 3181) in two sizes and 7 colors ($405 and $500).

Thursday, May 22, 2003

"Tulips & Pansies: The Headdress Affair"

Monday June 16th at 7PM: Benefit for HIV/AIDS at the Copacabana, 560 West 34th Street by Village Care of New York for special performance by Rouge: The New Bohemia; runway show; headdress competition; celebrity judges; silent auction and afterparty. Tickets begin at $250. Contact: 212-337-5750.

Wednesday, May 21, 2003

Gee, Thanks for the Tip!

The 20 something editor of a new fashion weblog, considers it her “own personal inside secret” and nothing short of a “public service” when she revealed today that her “own shopping obsession with Ebay” has brought her to a seller named retrofit! As she wrote on her daily update, “Retrofit! is one of my favorite sellers on; I have no idea who this person is, but it's a very well-curated vintage selection, perfect for that type of girl who paints her nails coral while listening to either Cat Power or lots of electroclash and doctors up old prom dresses a la Karen O from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs after cutting up all her old issues of NYLON. I was going to keep this one all to myself, but I'm buying less vintage these days in my attempts to collect more of that Belgian and Japanese deconstructionist fashion I love.”

Since I am a vintage hound, and have been known to check out ebay from time to time, I thought I would click on to retrofit! In order to see what all the fuss was about. The seller who currently has about 120 items up for sale, with promises of more than 100 added tomorrow, claims to specialize in “cool New Wave looks and ultra vintage pieces”. While I didn’t find too many pieces that made my pulse beat faster, there were a large selection of New Wave sweaters, 70’s and 80’s blouses and bomber jackets, lots of dresses (including the ‘Blondie’ 80’s graphic print strapless sundress), a ton of clutch bags and totes AND shoes including a pair of mod looking black patent low heels with a silver buckle, several pairs of kitten heeled pumps, and one pair of copper metallic snakeskin heels ‘a la’ Maude Frizon. I also liked a tan mutton sleeved trench and a red version from the 60’s with a Marc Jacobs flair.

While I have to admit that I myself am not ready to reveal any of my “personal inside secrets” or favorite sources right now, well- who knows? Stay tuned!

Tuesday, May 20, 2003

Elegance, Lost:

Last week, there was an article in The Wall Street Journal (‘Rest in Style: Model Suzy Parker Defined Elegance’), written by Woody Hochswender, an author, former fashion model, and style reporter for The New York Times, whom I knew when we were both at Harper’s Bazaar (he was the features editor). It was an homage of sorts to Suzy Parker, the elegant and glamorous model who defined the 50’s, and who recently passed away at the age of 69.

In it, Woody talks about this idea of elegance past, and how models today are blue jean wearing, chain smoking, gum chewing, rather vulgar and well, common. And they are noticeably lacking in the kind of social graces or aura that defined the mannequins during a decade where Christian Dior’s New Look was THE look. In the last paragraph, he writes, “Alexander Liberman, the longtime editorial director of Conde Nast, once wrote: “Elegance is an intensification of fashion. It is the ennobling ingredient that makes wearing clothes a form of culture.” Recently my mother and I talked, and we agreed that a kind of elegance has been lost forever.”

I certainly agree, and illustrating just how far we’ve come from that sort of old world elegance and aesthetic, was the article in today’s The New York Times ‘Fashion’ section, in which Guy Trebay spoke about the importance of hip hop and urban street culture in today’s fashion. It is undeniable that we are immersed in a period where ‘anything goes’, and there is no such thing as inappropriate, too vulgar, too over the top, too egotistic, too in your face. In short, there is no such thing as bad taste anymore…bad taste IS good taste to many.

But perhaps, this is precisely WHY one of the most referenced decades on the past fall/winter 2003 runways, was the elegant 50’s, where there WAS such a thing as ‘good taste’, and a certain premium placed on the idea of a sense of ‘appropriate’. And it’s also the reason why this was such a welcome image for many key retailers and editors. The return of the glove, which was the hallmark of the season, exemplifies this harking back to a time when there was a sense of decorum, and it’s a sure bet that the customer will embrace this, if for no other reason than it’s such a complete departure from what they’ve been offered as of late.

Of course, don’t forget to spice up some of that 50’s elegance with a little ‘bad taste’ a la today’s hip hop….it is, after all, ‘all about’ the mix!

Thursday, May 15, 2003

Anna Wintour to Give FIT'S May 23 Commencement Address:

Calvin Klein To Receive Honorary Degree

(Press Release) Anna Wintour, Vogue magazine’s editor in chief, will deliver the commencement address at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) graduation exercises on Friday, May 23, at 10:00 am. Approximately 2,600 students will receive their degrees during the ceremony at Radio City Music Hall.

To open the event, United States Senator Charles E. Schumer will offer congratulations and greetings to the students.An Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree will be presented to designer Calvin Klein. A 1963 graduate of FIT, Klein is one of the fashion world’s biggest names – and brands. Dubbed “Calvin the Conqueror” by Women’s Wear Daily and listed as one of America’s 25 most nfluential people by Time magazine, Klein has helped shape the casual wear industry and played a key role in modern advertising.

Anna Wintour has been editor in chief of Vogue since July 1988. Ms. Wintour joined Condé Nast in 1983 as creative director of Vogue, and in 1986 she returned to her native England to become editor in chief of British Vogue. She was editor in chief of HG from September 1987 until 1988, when she rejoined Vogue in her current position.

For more information contact: Loretta Lawrence Keane
VP for Communications and External Relations
(212) 217-7642
Diane Clehane's Book on NY Times Best Sellers List:

Journalist, author, and's Entertainment Editor Diane Clehane has a new book which debuted at #`13 on this week's New York Times best sellers list. "I Love You, Mom!" is a collection of essays about celebrities and their mothers. ABC star Kelly Ripa appears on the cover and wrote the foreword. Fashion Group International and CHILD magazine hosted a party at FGI's headquarters for Diane to celebrate. Among those contributors in attendance: Donna Hanover, NBC's Soledad O'Brien, ABC's Elizabeth Vargas and Robin Roberts, Court TV's Nancy Grace, Dana Buchman, Broadway star Max von Essen and actor John Michael Bolger.

Tuesday, May 13, 2003

She Came, She Saw, She Conquered

Anna Wintour is nothing if not predictable and predictably on time. On Tuesday night, she arrived (looking chic as always in metallic silver trench) at the International Center of Photography on 43rd and 6th at precisely 7 pm, and left about 10 minutes (max) later. The occasion was the party sponsored by Vogue and Perry Ellis International (the invitation read, 7:00- 9:00) to celebrate the Perry Ellis Award Nominees for the 2003 CFDA Awards.

Among the designers who mingled around the guests, photography exhibit, and dress forms clad in some of the highlights from nominees' fall/winter 2003 collections, were Behnaz Sarapfour, Zac Posen, and the team of Lazaro Hernandez and Jack McCollough, the names behind the label Proenza Schouler. It was the usual crowded, noisy New York party scene, (albeit a very well dressed one), and my one gripe, was that while white wine was offered, there were no hors d'oeuvres served. Oh well, you can't have everything!

Friday, May 09, 2003

A Fitting Tribute:

As you know, it’s Mother’s Day this Sunday. In what had to be one of the more inventive ways to pay homage, the May issue of ‘O’, Oprah Winfrey’s Magazine, which is devoted to ‘Mothers and Daughters’- changed its masthead to mark the occasion. Instead of listing the real names of its editors and contributors, each was identified as: ‘so and so’s daughter. For example, at the top, ‘Founder and Editorial Director’ was not named as Oprah Winfrey, but rather ‘Vernita Lee’s daughter’. Cute!

It is in this vein that I want to wish you and yours a most Happy Mother’s Day:

Signed, Toby Kirschner’s daughter

Wednesday, May 07, 2003

The Frederick Law Olmsted Awards Luncheon

(right: Marilyn Kirschner)

In case you thought the Gods were just smiling down at the opening gala of the "Goddess" Exhibition at the Met last week, think again. As they say, “It never rains on the annual Frederick Law Olmsted Awards Luncheon”, and this year was no exception. The Gods were certainly doing their thing because the weather was positively heaven sent- in fact, it was the only really beautiful day in a rather gloomy week.

This popular event which attracts over 1000 guests from all over (who pay anywhere from $500 and up) is “the biggest annual fundraiser for the Central Park Conservancy” according to Jennifer Pucci, the Manager of Public Relations, and to prove it, a “record $3 million has been raised this time around”. To mark the park’s 150 year anniversary, Hermes is offering a limited edition scarf in the Jardin Enchante pattern which was first introduced in 1986. Available at Hermes Madison Avenue, the blue/green or black/gold scarf will sell for $270 and Hermes will donate 25% of each sale to the Central Park Conservancy. By the way, this pattern also served as the underlying theme for the décor of today’s luncheon.

But in addition to raising money for a good cause (let’s face it, the park is the crown jewel of our city), the luncheon is also a fashion show of major proportions. It is most obvious that those in attendance carefully plot and plan their outfits, particularly, their hats, and in fact, the Frederick Law Olmsted Awards Luncheon can easily compete with Derby Day or Ascot in terms of fantastical and unusual headgear. Patricia Underwood, the award- winning milliner, who was in attendance for the first time, was proudly spotting many guests wearing her designs both past and present.

Not only were there the beautiful if somewhat predictable floral trimmed beauties, but several opted for feathers, including myself in black Kokin ostrich feathers, and there were even a few butterfly- decorated stunners. Standouts included socialite Jamie Gregory’s oversized yellow straw hat (see photo) from Suzanne on Madison Avenue worn with Marc Jacobs’ very coveted pale yellow boucle wool coat from this past spring/summer collection. And Democratic fundraiser/vintage collector Lisa Perry, opted for an eye popping hot pink Dior feathered hat (see photo) that she ‘won’ at the last Doyle New York vintage couture and textile auction. Lisa was also wearing a wonderful vintage pale green wool Courreges tunic, and toted the coveted colorful and whimsical new Marc Jacobs for Louis Vuitton bag. She was not alone, I spotted this hard to find trophy on a few other women, who were all ‘mum’ about where and how they got so lucky (as you know, there is a very very long waiting list).

The Perrier-Jouet champagne reception was followed by a lunch prepared by Abigail Kirsch with wines courtesy of Brancott Vineyards of New Zealand. In addition, each guest received a pin specially designed by Joan Rivers and the signature annual gift of a Wathne umbrella. But since “It never rains on the Frederick Law Olmsted Awards”, I doubt anyone will ever need to carry their umbrella to one of these events anytime soon.

Tuesday, May 06, 2003

Citymeals-On-Wheels Benefit Raises Over $100,000:

One of the most popular and well attended annual fashion benefits was held last night at Martini's Restaurant, 810 Seventh Avenue chaired each year for the past 19 years by Ruth Finley, publisher of Fashion Calendar. This year honorees were Joan Kaner, VP & Fashion Director of Neiman Marcus and Mikki Taylor, Beauty & Cover Editor of Essence Magazine. A crowd of over 250 enjoyed Sapphire Bombay cocktails, Ecco Domini Wines, hors d'oeuvres and great buffet dinner followed by a raffle with prizes donated by major fashion & beauty companies.

Spotted in the crowd were designers Ralph Rucci, John Anthony, Dana Buchman and Patricia Underwood; fashion publicists Jody Donohue and Erica Fineberg; WWD senior editor Etta Froio; John Pomerantz CEO of Leslie Fay; and Jane Elfers, President of Lord & Talyor.

Most interesting conversation of the evening was with Nanci Schallman, President of the Schallman Group, who besides being blonde, beautiful and a successful career woman is, in her spare time, an active mountain climber who has scaled Mount Kilimanjaro and close to the summit of Mount Everest. Oh, and finally, we don't want to forget to mention the great goody bags.

Monday, May 05, 2003

"To Hell And Back":

Remember last week, when I told you I had grown tired of hearing the term, “Goddess”, in the wake of all the media attention surrounding the highly anticipated opening and gala celebrating the “Goddess” Exhibition at the Met? Well, in my effort to seek out things that were decidedly un- “Goddess”-like, I went straight to hell (well, Hell’s Kitchen, that is). You see, this past weekend was the opening of the Hell’s Kitchen Flea Market, located on 39th street between 9th and 10th avenues.

This new destination for collectors and bargain hunters is the brainchild of none other than Alan Boss, who founded the world famous Chelsea Flea Market. When launched in 1976 on 6th avenue and 24th street, it was home to a mere 11 vendors, but now boasts more than 800, attracting over 600,000 visitors a year.

The Hell’s Kitchen Flea Market, which is open Saturdays and Sundays from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m., is much smaller than the veritable Chelsea Market, and poses no real threat in terms of competition, but you can still find fresh farm produce, baked goods, interior design, antiques, arts and crafts, and of course, vintage clothing.

There were two dealers who caught my eye. One was Jamie Brown, whose booth exhibited a surprisingly elegant selection including a vintage Gucci gold chain belt, numerous Hermes and Emilio Pucci scarves (see photo), Pucci jersey dresses, and a wonderful long Pucci velvet printed skirt. He also had several pairs of size 10 Manolo Blahniks (see photo) in impeccable condition selling for under $200, a pair of black alligator boots by BCBG ($350), and a Fendi bag shaped like a vintage travel case ($425). By the way, Jamie owns a store called Kings Arms Ltd., located at 699 10th Avenue at 48th street. He is open by appointment only (212- 459 1024 ), email:

The other was Pennsylvanian Sharon Baluta, whose booth grabbed my attention with her classically chic wicker purses, a nice selection of coats including a handsome Chanel - like oatmeal nubby wool cardigan style for $65. But the best part are her gloves (see photo). In a season where gloves are so important, it’s worth noting that she has a wonderful assortment in almost every color including metallic silver and gold and length (from short wrist length to opera length), ranging in price from about $2 to $30. You can easily acquire an entire ‘wardrobe’ of gloves for under 100 bucks! Now that’s what I call a bargain.

Saturday, May 03, 2003

Just What the Fashion World Needs:

Yes, another website devoted to fashion & model gossip. The newest incarnation is called and is sort of a weird cross between "Chic Happens" and It is filled primarily with the latest(?) gossip on models and designers, rumor mongering about what is going on inside top modeling agencies, style & shopping sections, and a page listing the top 10 New York Agents for models.

The site is well written and designed but nowhere on is there any indication as to who is publishing or editing the site. Behind this cloak of anonymity, these fearless editors will add their tiny voices, anonymous sources and self-serving items into the media mix already overflowing with so much mendacity. All we can say is if you can't put your name on what you say about others, you are asking for trouble.

Friday, May 02, 2003

It's Official!

I am finally all 'Goddess'-ed out. Quite frankly, if I never hear the word again, it will be too soon. Don't forget, the fashion world has been hearing and reading about The "Goddess" exhibition long before it opened. And well after the big Monday night shindig, it continues to be the focus of newspapers and websites alike. From the 'morning after' rehashes of whom wore what (which even inundated the tv news and entertainment programs) to today's review of the exhibit itself in the Weekend section of The New York Times. And it will no doubt be covered still, in Sunday's 'Style' section.

Simply put, I'm hitting the streets in search of anything or anybody that is decidedly un-Goddess-like. Will keep you posted...

Thursday, May 01, 2003

Fashion Publicist Pierre Rougier Slammed in New York Post:

Richard Johnson of The New York Post reports that "Gucci heads are increasingly frustrated with Ghesquiere's New York publicist, Pierre Rougier. Considered the most ineffective p.r. on the beat, Rougier has scuttled stories about Ghesquiere in major magazines and at shows has relegated influential editors to the hinterlands - if he invites them at all. Gucci has asked Ghesquiere to cut Rougier loose, but the designer stands by his fellow Frenchman." (click here for full story)

It is no secret to us and many other members of the New York fashion press who we know that Pierre Rogier and his firm PR Consulting is one of the rudest, most arrogant and difficult firms to deal with in an industry that has more that its share of rude and difficult people. They have never once had the courtesy of returning a phone call or even faxing back a response to us regarding our request to attend one of their client's shows. In fact, we have stated publically in this column less than a year ago that Pierre Rogier's agency was - in our opinion - the number one worst run agency among over 60 New York based fashion pr firms.