Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Lookonline.com Celebrates

10 Years On-line




(Invitation to December 1 1994 Launch/Benefit Party)

Lookonline.com is the longest running fashion site on the web:

Since the official launch on December 1, 1994 as a BBS dial-up service, the Lookonline has been on-line for over 10 years. In fact, we were a BBS service by subscription first beginning in late 1993 and in March of 1995 we began a website (under another domain name) in addition to our BBS site. Later in 1995 we discontinued our BBS service and concentrated on developing our website using our own domain name lookonline.

Our official launch was a party/benefit called "CyberTaste" for the "Charge Against Hunger" program from American Express and Share Our Strength on December 1, 1994 (see above invitation) The event was held at Sony Plaza at 550 Madison Avenue in New York. Over 850 members of the press & public attended the opening that featured 13 chefs from top New York Restaurants serving their signature dishes; a designer auction, wine tasting, desserts, and a live Jazz orchestra. According to officials at Sony, it was one of the largest, if not the largest event ever held to this day at the Sony Plaza's Atrium. Major Sponsors for the event included American Express, Food & Wine Magazine, Tourneau, Romana Sambuca, Coca Cola Bottling Company of NY, Georgette Klinger, Colorite, and Sony Plaza.

Lookonline.com is the longest running on-line fashion publication in the world. We have not always gained the attention or notoriety of some other sites, but those in the industry who have followed our development over the years know we helped pioneer the use of the internet in providing real time coverage of fashion events, regularly scheduled video reports, market reports, editorial cartoons and original runway and event photography long before there were sites like Style.com or Fashionweekdaily.

I want to personally thank all of our many contributors who over the past 10 years have helped our site grow and prosper. And special thanks to Grace Mirabella for hosting the original "Masters of Fashion Video Series", Bernadine Morris for her excellent feature reports from the New York shows, Diane Clehane for her wonderful entertainment reports and of course Editor-in-Chief Marilyn Kirschner who writes and edits The New York Fashion Report and helps define the scope and content the site. We will continue to work hard at improving the site.

-Ernest Schmatolla, publisher


All’s Well (ie) That Ends Well (ie)


Tamara Kitten heeled bootie

As a firm believer that there is nothing that beats the combination of form and function (especially with regard to fashion), I have always adored the idea of waterproof boots that enable you to weather the storm (literally), jump puddles while others are forced to carefully navigate wet spots in their oh so expensive Manolos, slosh around the ice and snow, AND still look chic, individual, inventive, and whimsical) ALL at the same time! Selections for the above category were rather hard to come by years ago, so whenever I found unusually patterned or hued rubber boots, I felt as if I had just won the lottery, and would grab them up (and horde them) instantly. Hence, I have a somewhat amazing collection at the moment.

Of course, as of late, with footwear being such a successful category at retail, with much demand thanks to the consumer’s proven spending habits, supply has caught up and there are luckily and happily, many wonderful versions of streetwise and weatherproof shoes and boots. But the reigning queen of this genre (who has single handedly turned it into a successful business) has to be Tamara Henriques (www.tamarahenriques.com) whose amazing rubber wellies have been spotted on what seems to be a small ‘army’ of tots and moms, working women, chic fashion types, and those who just enjoy eliciting smiles and compliments, and having the focus on their colorful feet as they brave the elements.

How did it all begin? “I decided to design rubber boots for a very simple reason. I grew up in Scotland where I lived in Wellington boots. When I moved to Hong Kong where it rains nonstop for months at a time, it dawned on me: why are these boots only available in army green? Wearing flip-flops in puddles was definitely not the answer.”

According to her biography, courtesy Ann Magnin who handles her press, (212 6266690, email: magnin2000@aol.com), “As luck would have it, Tamara stumbled upon a factory that specialized in making rubber boots for children while she was busy designing and manufacturing silk mules. Why couldn’t the boots in all their bright, shiny glory be made for adults, too? No more dull boots or wet feet for the kid in all of us! The owner confirmed that rubber could be printed with anything, but that no one had ever tried to do an adult version because the process was very labor intensive. Each boot is printed and cut by hand. After that, they’re glued together over a metal mold and heated in an oven to ensure watertight seams.

Tamara decided to give it a whirl. She designed a pair of floral boots, which she promptly sold to Paul Smith. Then British Vogue photographed them and the business was born. Within months Tamara was selling to stores in Europe and The U.S., shipping hundreds of pairs of floral boots from her basement.

Today the collection has grown to include lots of different florals as well as stripes, polka dots, paisleys, plaids, hearts and animal prints among other patterns. What’s more, the boots are also available in Japan and Canada — not to mention the rainy U.K. where Tamara was raised. Needless to say, Tamara doesn’t ship from her basement anymore, but from state-of-the-art warehouses around the world.

Next up? Tamara is planning to expand her "weatherwear" concept to include snow boots, rain hats and umbrellas with trench coats not far behind.” For the record, MY personal favorites are the animal patterned fleeced lined leopard boots, but I also love her new version (hot off the press) a decidedly more delicate kitten heeled bootie that will be available in a pink toile, stripe, and plaid.

- Posted by Marilyn Kirschner


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