Saturday, January 31, 2004

fashionweekdaily.com

Brandusa Niro, like Freddy in the 'Friday the 13th' movies, is back and she is haunting the internet again! This time the "Queen of Fashion Tacky News" is producing an online version of "The Daily" a magazine published daily during New York fashion week by IMG. The site looks and smells like Fashionwiredaily (reported to be in bankruptcy) and you can bet Brandusa is taking sweet revenge competing against the site that dumped her several years back.

The online editor of the site is Megan Stiers a fashion lightweight who runs a weblog called http://www.megastyles.com Brandusa must have got her real cheap. But what is really surprising is Merle Ginsberg. the former Entertainment Editor of W who was fired last year, has turned up as their West Coast editor. Merle is also co-writing a book with RWT (rich white trash) Paris Hilton. How far the mighty have fallen. Oh Merle tell us it ain"t so!!

Friday, January 30, 2004

A Vintage Weekend


This weekend, there are several vintage events being scheduled. One of my favorites, the Manhattan Vintage Clothing Show, Inc. which showcases the wares of about 50 dealers across the country, is being held- as usual- at the Metropolitan Pavilion (125 West 18th street) on Friday, January 30th (from 1-7) and Saturday, January 31 (from 10-6).

And Sunny Chapman, the well known and wacky vintage dealer (who made it into Simon Doonan's book "Wacky Chicks"), is one of several others who will be taking part in the Urban Design Girls (www.urbandesigngirls.com) Trunk Show which is being held at the Soho Grand Hotel on Sunday February 8. She will be selling vintage handbags, vintage jewelry and brooches I've made from vintage fabric flowers.

Thursday, January 29, 2004

Catch a ‘Rising Star’


(Harper's Bazaar 1976 issue on single women features spread on single women on staff. How many of today's fashion editors do you recognize in this picture? Hint: one of them is Anna Wintour. For the others read article below. Click on image to enlarge!)

The Event:

I attended Fashion Group International’s 7th annual ‘Rising Star Awards’ held at the Waldorf Astoria’s Grand Ballroom. The reception, luncheon, and award ceremony was in honor of 8 “outstanding individuals being recognized for their innovation, creativity and accomplishments”.

After Margaret Hayes, FGI’s president gave her opening speech, the podium was turned over to Special Guest/Keynote Speaker CNN anchor, Soledad O’Brien, who was funny and personal as she spoke of her interesting background and rise to the top of her field.

The accomplished and articulate Harvard grad (who is not at all immersed in the worlds of beauty and fashion- the worlds being celebrated) was a crowd pleaser who spoke and read beautifully- and considering what transpired, she should have just continued on with the afternoon’s proceedings. Why? Well, because none of the presenters who followed (with the exception of Seventeen Magazine’s editor in chief- Atoosa Rubenstein) were able to aptly pronounce the names of the finalists (even those with ‘easy’ to read names), and a few had trouble just talking and reading.

The worst offender was the designated ‘Emcee’- former model Stacey Schieffelin. Though Ms. Hayes introduced her by speaking about her stellar career and credits, I have to admit, I did not recognize her….oh well.

Ms. Rubenstein presented the ‘Beauty’ award to Nicole Masson of MAC Cosmetics; Colette Malouf presented the ‘Accessories’ award to Leonello Borghi; Bergdorf Goodman’s Muriel Gonzalez presented the ‘Fragrance’ award to Lucas Sieuzac of Symrise; Calvin Tsao presented the ‘Home & Interior Design’ award to Marc Blackwell of Marc Blackwell New York; Steven Dweck presented the ‘Jewelry’ award to Jane Ko of Linea Nervenkitt; Alan Flusser presented the ‘Men’s Apparel’ award to Douglas and Yvonne Mandel of Kamkyl; Reed Krakoff of Coach, who was to present the ‘Retail’ award could not be there, so a representative from his company did the honors- the winner was Lisa Versacio of West Elm.

And last but not least, fashion ‘star’ Patricia Field ended the proceedings by giving the ‘Women’s Apparel’ award to Michael Kaye of Michael Kaye Couture. In her little speech prior, she noted that Michael was honored by having one of his tartan plaids selected to be a permanent part of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute.

By the way, Michael beat out Isabelle Elie of Atelier Boutique Isabelle Elie; Yves Jean Lacasse of Envers Design; Esteban Cortazar who seemed to be a personal favorite of Ms. Field (he is the youngest ‘kid’ to have ever presented a runway show during fashion week, is still in design school in Miami and is due to graduate this term!); Matthew Earnest; Kathryn and Lindy Jones of Palmer Jones- the identical twins who had worked at Ralph Lauren (Pat described their designs as “limited edition collector’s pieces”); Andy The-Anh of Pow; and Thomas Vasseur and Gaba Esquivel of Vasseur-Esquivel.

Actually, the best part of the event was finding myself seated next to ex- Bazaar cronies: Maureen Lippe, President of the esteemed marketing public relations firm Lippe Taylor, and her colleague Emmy Lou Kelly (who not only worked for the late Carrie Donovan when she was the magazine's Senior Fashion Editor, but remained a very close personal friend of the fashion icon's). And neither gal has changed one bit!

Check out this spread above taken from Harper's Bazaar's March 1976 issue devoted to 'Single Women'...Shot by celebrated lensman - the late Bill King, it featured this group shot of the single editors on staff (Carrie Donovan's idea)...in addition to myself, Maureen, and Emmy Lou, if you look carefully, you will see a vest clad (Kenzo, I believe) Anna Wintour (who was just a fashion editor at the time) and Wendy Goodman, (Tonne's sister) a fashion assistant who is now a senior editor at New York Magazine covering the world of houses, homes, and decor.

Oh, by the way, I still have the 'Bazaar' t-shirt...it's torn and mangled but still hanging in there.
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Better Bets Travel Tidbits:

Read the latest column Better Bets on the Road in Hong Kong

Some new updates:

Jet setting around you see the strangest things....Paris Hilton on my flight from Rio ...prettier in person ...very sweet and friendly. Traveling with her body guard, her cosmetic case and her pillow...yes no case, no suitcase used on her pillow and not even with a designer case either.

Also recently on my Air France flight from Paris Nancy Kissinger...of course in First Class. On one crutch...think the foot injury might be a ruse to get through customs and immigration speedily as when we landed she was whisked past all very quickly.

Saw Henry Kissinger the next day on Park Avenue and he was accompanied by a "carrier"...that is a young man that was schlepping his briefcase and computer case.

Oh to be a star and not have to go through all the hassle of travel....next life maybe

Men's Trade Shows in New York:
ENK used to be the only game in town with the Designer's Collective but there is a new kid in town with great energy. The Project showing at the same time at the Metropolitan Pavilion. This show is run by the backers and partners of Scoop and has all the young lines that are leaders in biz these days...DC has become pretty grown up and staid. I loved the mix of vendors and discovering lots of new brands. Definitely the place to be! Coca Cola branded the cafe and their licensed goods were being sold in a booth next door. I applaud there branding and sales effort, sort of like a new product placement.

And since we mentioned ENK there are two pet peeves I have with the DC. Don't hide the coat room all the way in the back...an old department store trick and do not give out press goody bags to some press and not to all the press and if that is your intention, do it discreetly not in front of the press person that walks away empty handed.

Speaking of giveaways...this is a new category of bags that trade shows give away when you register.There is definitely a race among the trade show organizers to give the newest most coveted bag of the season. ENK gave a very attractive mat black small duffel bag (the hand handles were a little too short) and the Project gave a cotton army bag made by Triple Five Soul...one of their exhibitors. Two weeks ago at a women's trade show now named Moda at the Javits they gave out a jelly kelly bag in pink....but the organizers decided to give the bags out to the buyers and exclude press. Aren't we people too....don't we need to carry our stuff. Well if you are not going to give me my little perk for going to your boring show then I am not going to enter your show....so there.


Wednesday, January 28, 2004

‘Cry me a River(s)’


Nicole Kidman at The Golden Globes


Okay - I’ll get right to it. My overall impression was that there was too much predictable skin, décolleté, and boobs (or should I say boob jobs) on display at last night’s Golden Globe Awards, and not nearly enough real style, chic, or personal flair. The ‘Woman of the Hour’ and one who rarely disappoints - Nicole Kidman- was perhaps the most disappointing in her choice of gold sequined knee length flapper style YSL dress (complete with tacky sheer mesh top). And her hairstyle (done in ‘undone’ ringlets further accessorized with gold lame ‘headband’) didn’t help her cause.

Of course, she is admittedly so beautiful and striking, that no matter what she wears, she still manages to look gorgeous. And, you have to give her credit for at least taking risks, trying different looks, and constantly experimenting. She is, after all, Hollywood’s most celebrated chameleon- one big reason why she has become such a favorite of the fashion world.

Speaking of ‘taking risks’ and experimenting- Jennifer Aniston would benefit from taking a risk or two. The pretty and popular actress appears to own only one dress. There is hardly an award show she attends where she is not wearing one version or another of a long black gown with plunging neckline, accessorized with black sandals. The last time she really ‘shined’ on the Red Carpet was years back when newly married, she showed up with Brad Pitt in tow, wearing a long red satin Prada gown and carrying a tiny Prada shoulder bag in a matching shade.

And though I applaud Sofia Coppola for taking some risks and bucking the trend for stilettos and big time glamour by opting for little girl flats to accessorize her little black dress (by Marc Jacobs I assume), this is one case where she would have benefitted from wearing killer heels. In my opinion, she looked a bit too awkward as she took the stage.

Sara Jessica Parker’s made to order dark gray Chanel frothy confection with the perky bow in back (reportedly whipped up for her in Paris just days before) made her look like an aging prom Queen, and I HATED her overdone hairdo. In addition, it was hard not to notice that the diminutive actress was wearing heels that were almost as tall as she is.

Meryl Streep’s very full knee length black sheer skirt (which she realized was transparent only after she took the stage) did nothing to flatter her womanly form, and though Jennifer Lopez looked elegant and chic in her tangerine Michael Kors draped gown with gold leather harness, it made her look like a stuffed sausage nonetheless.

Speaking of stuffed sausages, Fergie (Sara Ferguson of course) looked terrible in her black lace Dolce & Gabbana slip dress with long black stretch satin gloves- she does not have the slim, beautifully toned arms to have pulled that off. And her heavy ‘Goth’ inspired eye makeup was too exaggerated- it made her look as if she had been crying all night.

Who really looked like a 'Movie Star', exhibiting a heavy dose of ‘drop dead’ glamour? ‘Best Actress’ Charlize Theron in pale yellow chiffon Christian Dior boasting a beautiful back and cascade of tiny ruffles; Uma Thurman in a graceful floor length lavender satin bias cut dress; a very pregnant and glowing Cate Blanchett in arresting ruby red satin Donna Karan; and the always gorgeous Catherine Zeta Jones who accompanied hubby Michael Douglas. Wearing simple black, she is just so beautiful, she does not need any bells or whistles (or over the top fashion statements) in order to stand out.

I also liked the one- shouldered and terribly elegant pale pink chiffon vintage Valentino gown chosen by Kim Cattrall. And though I disliked Gwen Stefani’s lacquered hair, I applaud her choice of covered up yet form fitting long white dress that featured demure cap sleeves, mock turtleneck, and self belt with tiny bow. In a sea of too much skin, at least she proved one can stand out without being nude. In the same vein, I thought beautiful blond actress Maria Bello looked extremely chic in her white satin short- sleeved blouse accessorized with masses of pearls encasing her neck.

That said, it can’t go unnoticed that Joan Rivers- who is known for her on air caustic comments and reviews of the Red Carpet fashion for ‘E’- can never seem to get it right, makes the biggest blunders, and is the biggest fashion ‘don’t’ herself. Season after season, she shows up looking like a caricature of herself (or rather, a Drag Queen’s rendition) with her overblown, over the top fashion statements. While she is usually very well dressed and suitably subdued and tailored for day, as soon as she takes the mike (with daughter Melissa), her taste seems to go out the window. Come on Joan, you are too old to be wearing gold, glitter, sequins, furs, and feathers- all at the same time. It’s time to take a look in the mirror and tone it down a notch (or two, or three).

Another View on The Golden Globes: Fashion Celebrity Status Takes on a Personal Style:

There is no doubt that for the next week, every fashion editor, television pessimists and self-professed member of the "fashion police" (a term that should be done away with as soon as possible)...will be harping, critiquing and evaluating the trends, shows, good and bad moments seen from red carpet to Ballroom stage at this year's Golden Globes.

The verdict is self-evident. For one of the first years in the last decade, stars came out with an obvious sense of personal style, sans the usual what's a la mode or de rigeur dictates of the fashion world and with an extraordinary sense of occasion and respect for place. Gone were the usual attitudes that seemed to shout and scream on their last legs like Dean after the Iowa caucus (I just couldn't resist) "I'm going to shock you and show you I can wear what I want, where I want." For once, ladies, were ladies...albeit not with a staid or uniform look or trend that pervaded all their looks, but with an eclectic touch, choice of color, jewelry, hairdo or hemline, that gave women watching everywhere an idea of what it means to be comfortable and confident in your own skin, while still looking and giving off that sex appeal that has nothing to do with what you are wearing, but with how comfortable you are with WHO you are.

After all isn't that what icons of style have taught us? It's not what you wear, but how YOU wear it. It was pleasing to see Nicole Kidman, perfect as a glittering version of the coquette which she said felt very Salome to her in YSL Rive Gauche by Tom Ford. After all, if you were presenting the award for Best Actor in which your ex husband was a candidate, would you opt for a subdued conservative moment or a drop dead look what you're missing attitude. I would hope the latter - and we all know Ms. Kidman does the coquette very very well. There is nothing new to her daring plunging neckline, not overdone or inappropriate with a sheer lining to be sure all remains where it should.

Other highlights, Sofia Coppola, who more comfortable in her own skin than this intelligent and lovely accomplished woman, who knows who she is. Happy to see she opted instead for a sexy Alaia, without the flash, that proves, you don't need 6 inch Manolos, or body baring slits to look sexy...Ms. Coppola is sexy and charming, always herself, in all that she wears. As my mother says, when you go to accept an award, you're nervous enough, why add to that with uncomfortable clothing?

Other moments in fashion reality: Jennifer Lopez in hot tangerine and goddess-like silver Michael Kors gown, which was pretty, appropriate, not her usual flash and dash, but still somehow a dress that looks like J.Lo moment. It suited her, especially since she knew all eyes would already be looking at her and wondering... hmmm how's she holding up after the break up that been able to capture and override even Michael Jackson's behavior?

Catherine Zeta some may say made a boring choice in her Oscar de la Renta long black strapless dress, but what of the fact that it was Michael Douglas who would be honored that night. And in a gracious and well-mannered world, would you upstage a bride at her wedding, would you upstage a best friend at an awards show honoring her or even now, who should we have all eyes on...her husband or her when he is about to achieve the Cecil B. DeMille award for lifetime achievement? She still looked lovely and she still looked like Catherine, simply stunning. It's not the dress, it's the girl in it.

Charlize Theron dispelled her "Monster" and brought back the lovely South African girl who grew up on a farm and is now standing in fancy Hollywood heels accepting an award, for her acting and not her choice of dress, however the beautiful Dior dress she wore (and not the other way around) was a perfect choice.

Renee Zellweger glamorous in her bodacious body complemented her new curves in a sexy Carolina Herrera accentuating her svelte legs in a knee length hemline and decollete with two sparkling vintage Cartier diamond and sapphire clips.

Vintage and couture seemed to reign, as celebrities are bored of the constant swarm of looks being sent out online, on television, and in magazines, long before they hit the showrooms and the stores. After all, why would you want to wear a dress that some tv fashionista or fashion editor has already pulled apart in their seasonal critique of what's hot and not in fashion? Christina Ricci's chic choice of Madame Gres vintage couture may have looked matronly and boring on anyone with less of a seductive and intriguing personality as Ricci exhudes. Kim Cattrall doesn't need to sex it up, her Sex and the City character and sex book have enough of that, and she still looked flirtatious enough in her vintage Valentino goddess gown. Maggie Gyllenhaal always surprises with her choice of characters and fashions, and this was no less of a pleasure to see her in a coppery Lanvin - after all, there ARE other designers besides, Dior, YSL, Chanel and Versace...that are perfect for red carpet moments and galas. Finally, Sarah Jessica Parker stayed true to form in a made to order Chanel couture gown with a feminine sparkly and girly full skirt but in a mature and elegant shade of grey - it was quintessential Ms Parker as interpreted by Chanel. (How many times have we seen her comfortable in her frilly full skirted dresses, no matter what the designer?)

Other young starlets coming into their own added a few surprises, veering away from the usual body baring, sex-kitten looks that the press has come to expect from their rebellious natures, and opting instead for elegance and sophistication, perhaps proving they are in it for the craft, but appreciate the glamour all the same, just don't need to sacrifice themselves for the sake of the camera. Or perhaps, this is the new rebellion, less sex, and more appeal. Brittany Murphy attending her first Golden Globes in sparkly and charming Dolce & Gabbana, perfect for a blushing bride to be... Evan Rachel Wood in an emerald Prada gown, which although it looked like it may have been chosen for her, and could have been fitted a bit more flattering at the bodice, was interesting enough. Gwen Stefani, was herself, elegant without losing her rock chic effect in platinum upswept hair, red va vroom lips and head to toe white vintage Valentino as only she can carry off. Jessica Simpson wore Chanel, although she could have lost that flower as choker, but then again, but perhaps that was her own personal touch. Jennifer Garner looked lovely in Zac Posen with a gradation from creme strapless to lavendar hem.

All in all it was an interesting show, not predictable in its fashion highlights, not boring and appropriate for the occassion, the glamour and glitter, beauty and sophistication expected of celebrities who have the world of fashion at their fingertips...it was not an advertising publicity driven parade of hot designers who are of the moment, nor was it a scene in how sex can cause a stir, proving an age old cliche. It's the woman that makes the dress, and not the dress that makes the woman.

SML

(Meet our latest contributor: Sally Melanie Lourenco. She has been a Associate Editor at Italian Vogue/Glamour, worked at Marie Claire magazine as their fashion editor, and then for the last two years she was at French Vogue as a correspondent news editor for the online website. She is currently working freelance and finishing a book to be published in August/ September of this year on the magazine publishing industry, its inner workings and its future.)

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Giving New Meaning to ‘Must-Have’

I read with amusement a column in today’s WWD: ‘STICKY FINGERS’, where they observed, “At this rate, Harper’s Bazaar’s fashion closet will soon be the victim of a daring daylight robbery. The week after both Vogue and WWD’s sibling W admitted their closets suffered from staff-related “losses,” a thief snuck into Nylon’s offices overnight on Thursday and raided the racks.”

As someone who worked as a fashion editor at Harper’s Bazaar years ago, I can attest to the fact that fashion thefts are nothing new- but rather, a fairly common, ongoing problem. Appealing objects- from shoes and bags, to clothing and jewelry- often ‘went missing’ and there was constant speculation on whom the offender(s) was. Of course, most of us never knew or understood the scope of the problem because generally, the guilty party would simply 'borrow' the items for specific events, parties, dates, and events, and would return to the closet as soon as possible. At one point, Hearst even hired a woman to 'man' the closets and to really monitor the comings and goings.

But regardless, it was pretty much understood that the thief was not some poor, homeless ‘shnuck’ trying to sell the chic loot in order to pay bills- but rather, a well dressed staffer who simply 'had to' have the newest, hottest, ‘must have’ item, and who wanted to look as fashionable and up to the minute as possible.


Flat 'Broke':

Just a note- in today’s WWD (in their rather extensive coverage of the Golden Globes- one day late) they devoted a paragraph to Sofia Coppola’s rather gutsy if not unusual choice of flats to accessorize her Alaia little black dress.

In my review of the Globes yesterday, I noted that Sofia Coppola's choice of flats really didn't 'work' (though it did seem very consistent with her image and personality), she looked somewhat awkward taking the stage, and would have benefitted from wearing a pair of killer heels.

But quite frankly, upon reflecting on her somewhat offbeat choice, I actually began to think that her little girl flats were very ‘Sofia’ after all, and one of the main reasons she has long been Marc Jacobs’ ‘muse’. (When Sofia was the cover story of the New York Times Magazine section a while ago, Marc was even quoted as admitting that if he were a girl, he would want to be ‘Sofia’).

And I was not the only writer to comment on this 'fashion statement'. In another fashion review of the Globes written by Sally Melanie Lourenco, our new contributor, she observed, “Sofia Coppola, who more comfortable in her own skin than this intelligent and lovely accomplished woman, who knows who she is. Happy to see she opted instead for a sexy Alaia, without the flash, that proves, you don't need 6 inch Manolos, or body baring slits to look sexy...Ms. Coppola is sexy and charming, always herself, in all that she wears. As my mother says, when you go to accept an award, you're nervous enough, why add to that with uncomfortable clothing?"

Well, as it turns out, we were giving credit where credit wasn’t due. It wasn’t Sofia simply showing her independent fashion spirit and offbeat style, but a broken toe that necessitated the choice of footwear. According to WWD, “the now two-time Globe winner broke her toe and had to do away with the heels she planned on wearing”.

Friday, January 23, 2004

The Stewart Verdict: It’s ‘In the Bag’:


By now, the entire world knows that Martha Stewart was proudly toting her prized chocolate brown Hermes Birkin bag to court this past week. The woman is certainly consistent- she accessorized similarly during her initial court appearances months ago, when it first became clear that everyone would be fixated on what this household icon decides to wear, and that there would be much speculation on the symbolism behind her choice of outfit, accessories, and chosen color scheme.

This ‘pressing’ matter was even the subject of Clyde Haberman’s ‘NYC’ column in the New York Times, where he quoted fashion experts who tried to give insight into the power of style and color and the way in which image can help or hinder- particularly in the courtroom. In general, most would agree that Ms. Stewart, with her intelligently chic, understated, and subdued clothing (smart charcoal coat, tailored brown pantsuit, high heeled brown boots, classic bag) went for just the right touch- looking very professional and pulled together but not flashy, flamboyant, or fashion victim-y (which she is not). And no, I don’t think that the ‘average’ juror would necessarily look at her brown leather bag and even dream that it was worth $6- $12,000- depending on which sources you believe).

Oh, and by the way, speaking of Hermes, according to WWD, the famed French luggage house has just come out with a limited edition MetroCard holder for $150- the perfect accessory for Ms. Stewart to put inside her Birkin bag as she makes her way to the subway (yeah, right!) on her long treks down to Foley Square. It is being sold at their Madison Avenue store in conjunction with a photographic exhibition, “Bruce Davidson: Subway”. On view from through February 28th, it coincides with the 100th anniversary of the New York subway system.

Wednesday, January 21, 2004

Opening Party for New F.I.T. Exhibition



Monday February 9th at 6:30-8:30PM is the Opening Party for Exhibition Fashioning the Modern Woman: The Art of the Couturière at the Museum at F.I.T., Seventh Avenue and 27 Street. Contact: RSVP 212-217-5958.

Exhibition open to the public: February 10 through April 10, 2004.

"Sandwiched between two world wars, between Poiret's harem and Dior's New Look, two women dominated the field of haute couture," wrote photographer Cecil Beaton. According to Beaton, the two queens of Paris fashion were Coco Chanel and her arch rival Elsa Schiaparelli. Chanel is probably the most important fashion designer of the twentieth century, and certainly the most famous woman in a field still dominated by men. Yet she and Schiaparelli were neither the first nor the only great women designers -- as this exhibition will show. In reality, a veritable "regiment of women" dominated the world of fashion in the 1920s and 1930s. The exhibition will feature approximately 100 dresses by courturieres such as Augusta Bernard, Louise Boulanger, the Callot Sisters, Coco Chanel, Alix Gres, Jeanne Lanvin, Elsa Schiaparelli, and Madeleine Vionnet, among others. The exhibition is curated by Valerie Steele, director of the Museum at FIT, with the costume department.

A related two-day symposium will be held February 20 - 21, 2004. For more information, email: museuminfo@fitnyc.edu or go to or www.fitnyc.edu/museum

‘Girls in the Hood’


fox hood by Eugenia Kim

Baby, it’s cold outside - and desperate times call for desperate measures. It’s almost impossible to contemplate leaving the house these days without covering your head with a hat of some kind. Even those who dread the seemingly permanent effects of ‘hat hair’ have succumbed to wearing hats.

And because nothing is warmer than fur, and nothing keeps you cozier than a hood, the fur hood is the perfect solution when the temperatures fall below freezing. And don’t think this only applies to women - braving the frigid air has even driven men to take cover in a fur hood (did you see the picture of a cozy and warm fur-hooded Zang Toi in this past Sunday’s The New York Times ‘On the Street’ section taken by Bill Cunningham?) He was smiling because he was warm!

I myself have always loved and worn fur hoods and have luckily found wonderful vintage versions in all sorts of skins – complete with pom poms- on Ebay and through vintage dealers. Which is one reason I was so amused when I saw Michael Kors’s ‘mod’ inspired interpretations of the fluffy fox hood - complete with pom poms - on the fall/winter 2003 runway for the house of Celine in Paris last February. Of course, these will no doubt set you back well into the 4 figures.

But as luck would have it, at Goldin Feldman (150 West 30th street, 212 239- 0512), Anne Dee Goldin has created her own saucy version of the fox hood - with pom poms (which was editorialized in the October issue of Harper’s Bazaar) at a far more affordable price ($695). And it’s available in irresistible shades like mint green, lilac, pale pink, baby blue, plus black and white- or you can have it custom made in any fur of your choice. (FYI, Anne Dee is running a ‘Moving On Sale’ right now on all her furs, shearlings, outerwear, and accessories- which are being offered well below wholesale. Call for an appointment).

Another reliable source for the fox hood is Eugenia Kim (www.eugeniakim.com), the celebrated, inventive and creative ‘mad hatter’ (who has a major celebrity clientele) and whose philosophy is “hats are the ultimate cosmetic, as the right hat can transform the shape of the wearer’s face”. She sells her fluffy white and pastel fox and rabbit hoods (priced from about $325 to $595) at her eponymous shop in the east village (203 east 4th street, 212 673-9787), and online.

And if you click on to her website, you will find a complete listing of stores around town (including Barneys New York, Kirna Zabete, Takashimaya) and across the country where her designs can be found.

While you’re at it, check out her other designs, including my personal favorite (because I love trompe l’oeil): the whimsical $185 wool knit ski cap with trompe l’oeil sunglasses which is available in black, turquoise, and camel. With such fanciful headgear you may never want it to warm up.

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

‘See’-NN RED’

Red is the one color that always stands out - and it’s also seen as highly patriotic, since the shade figures prominently in our national symbol - the American flag. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the popular hue has also traditionally been the color of choice for politicians, their wives, their supporters, as well as media types.

It was hard not to notice that on CNN’s continuous news coverage of the Iowa Caucus yesterday, the one color that seemed to have been worn by practically all the anchors and reporters was red. Judy Woodruff, always impeccably turned out and tailored, opted for an all red and very chic ensemble consisting of a high collared jacket and matching top. Kelly Arena chose that familiar and predictable combo of red blazer worn over black turtleneck.

Speaking of the ‘uniform’ of red blazer and black turtleneck, the trio of Suzanne Malvaux, Kelly Wallace, and Candy Crowley – on air at the same time- resembled triplets in what appeared to be matching red blazers worn over black turtlenecks. Even the men got into the game- the network’s Anderson Cooper used a red tie to spice up his dark navy pinstripe suit.

By the way, it wasn’t just CNN that made use of red. Over at NBC, news correspondent Kelly O’Donnell - who was reporting on the political doings in Iowa- also opted for red and black, but veered from the predictable by wearing her black blazer over a red turtleneck.

Monday, January 19, 2004

‘Nerd’ is in the Eye of the Beholder

I had to chuckle when reading an article in Sunday's New York Times National section (The 2004 Campaign- "Fans of Clark's Argyle Can Bid Online") which revealed that an argyle sweater worn by Gen. Wesley K. Clark in New Hampshire recently ("to help soften his stiff military image, and to stay warm"), is going to auctioned off on Ebay with proceeds going to charity.

According to the article, the General has been teased about the sweater, and the writer alluded to the fact that "some fashion mavens" have declared it "less than flattering and well, nerdy."

The funny thing is, in the eyes of the fashion world, General Clark's 'fashion statement' is actually considered to be the epitome of fashion. As any self- respecting “fashion maven” can attest, both nerds (who have long been referenced and deified on designers’ runways) AND argyle (a favorite and signature of the impeccably dressed Duke of Windsor) are enjoying their moment in the sun as of late.

Miuccia Prada, arguably the most influential fashion designer today- and a self professed ‘nerd’- showed many variations of the argyle sweater in her fall/winter 2003 men’s and women’s collections, and they were featured prominently in her high profile and iconic print ads.


New Norman Norell Line Set to Launch:

The name of Norman Norell, the great American designer who died in 1972, will resurface in American fashion. A fall collection presentation and launch party for the new line will be held on Thursday, February 5th at 6-8PM at Budman Studio-14th floor, 277 Lafayette Street. For more information contact Cheutine, 212-489-0580.


Saturday, January 17, 2004

The Triple Piers Antique Show: A Hands Down (or should I say, Hands Up) Favorite



One of my most favorite vintage shows is always the Triple Piers Show held at the Passenger Ship Terminal Piers on 12th Avenue between 48th and 55th streets. The January show is (as expected and understandably) always the most calm and quiet, with a smaller group of dealers present, and smaller group of attendees. And while it is not as exciting or inspiring as some of the others, I always find interesting items to look at and buy.



Walking around the aisles, I didn't see any fashion designers (you know- the ones who are normally out and about prowling for finds) but I did see dealer friends like Vicki Haberman- who is always very consistent with her chic assortment on display. This time standouts included an amazing nude quilted patent leather oversized Chanel purse with chain stap, several massive Pauline Trigere gold bibs (which the designer was known for wearing herself), and two fabulous lingerie inspired Geoffrey Beene dresses.


Ermine Scarf at Dierdre's Desire

Ira Scheck's (irascheck@aol.com) booth, with his amazing selection of statement making beads, pearls, costume jewelry and belts (including many large pieces from KJL) always catches my eye, and this season is a perfect time to layer on those jewels! And Dierdre (Dierdre's Desire) always sells wonderful ladylike coats and shoes (this time, a pair of red leather pointy toed heels and a $75 white ermine 'scarf' had me taking a second look.


Custom Made handbag at Karen McWharter

I also discovered Karen McWharter, sharing a space with Dierdre, who was selling a huge custom made 1950's Hong Kong silk handbag (in a gorgeous shade of coraly pink) in an unsual trapezoidal shape, lined in a contrasting taffeta plaid and boasting a striking black bakelite frame. She is offering this unusual piece for about $175 and the best part is that this item can be custom made in any other color or fabric of your choosing. For more information, call her at 212 982 5462 or email: warwithfun@msn.com.


Chrome Yellow Patent Purse from Back Thennish

Another dealer who was new to me and who had a great selection of upbeat, colorful, feminine, and utterly appealing items, was Desi Scheck (desischeck@nyc.rr.com), whose company is named Back Thennish. I especially loved her oversized tapestry bag with gold frame (at the hefty price of $695), a very large Jana floral carpetbag in great condition, and a chrome yellow patent structured purse with beautiful bakelite frame ($90). As it turns out, she did in fact admit that bags happen to be her obsession and her specialty.

The aisles were filled with a myriad assortment of furs (coats, jackets and little fur stoles), coats, printed dresses, leopard patterned everything, Pucci, gloves galore, and pearls, pearls, and more pearls.

Speaking of which, if you are in the market for an unusual pearl 'bib' rather than a traditional strand, check out Uniquities booth (contact Francine Cohen, 973-763 1778). She was displaying a very striking Richelieu pearl bib ($175) that is almost big enough to replace a camisole or tank under that jacket).

Oh and by the way, the hands were courtesy Ann Marsh (markmarsh@rcn.com), a pottery dealer based in Danbury, who was also selling a rather unusual bust of Elvis- the perfect gift for someone who collects Elvis memorabilia.

The Show is produced as always by Stella Show Mgmt. Co. and if you call 212 255 0020 or click on to www.stellashows.com, you can find out when the next one will be scheduled.

Friday, January 16, 2004

How to Get Into the NY Fashion Shows:

With the Fall 2004 New York Collections coming up in February many of our readers have asked us how they could get invited to the shows. The best advice we can give is to have them read the article "How to Get Invited to a New York Fashion Show" written for us by our friend and well known fashion editor Laurie Schechter. And though the article was written a number of years ago, it is as true today as it was when it was first written.

In addition, if you are interested in working at Olympus Fashion Week Fall 2004 New York shows as a volunteer contact Patty Hughes, Volunteer Coordinator at T: 212-253-2692. There stil may be some openings available.
Antiques At the Piers...

Speaking of New Year Resolutions...in your search for the most distinctive and authentic versions of all the wonderful things that storm the runways- not to mention covetable items for the hearth and home- a good place to start is the Triple Antique Show at the Piers this weekend.

Head over to Piers 88, 90, and 92 at the Passenger Ship Terminal on 12th Avenue (48th to 55th streets)...Oh, and don't forget to check out Vicki Haberman's (Vintage Collections) booth. She always has an amazing selection of designer (and non designer) offerings and can be found at Booth 1508, Pier 88.

The ‘Price is Right’



Today was the launch of Oscar de la Renta’s new, much lower priced coat line- Oscar by Oscar de la Renta Outerwear Collection (a license of Fleet Street Limited). It was held appropriately on probably the coldest day of the year at the Americas Society, Park Avenue and 68th street.

While the turnout was hardly great (the third row was all but empty, and attendees were asked to fill in the front two rows before the show began), the entire team from Bloomingdale’s apparently had not made it in time, and celebrity editors like Anna Wintour and Andre Leon Talley, or socialites- who normally attend Oscar’s main collections- were no where in sight (though Neiman’s Joan Kaner who seemingly manages to make it to EVERYTHING) was front row center).

Of course, the weather may have had something to do with or. Or perhaps it was the timing of the show- 3p.m. Coincidentally, one of the biggest parties of the winter season- the Opening Night Gala to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Winter Antique Show-, which was held practically across the street at the Armory, was slated to begin at 5 p.m. for patrons- many of who would be considered friends and colleagues of the dapper designer.

The collection was well edited and well executed, and managed to look very ‘Oscar’ (down to the chic styling and models with their hair pulled back in elegant chignons or high ponytails). What is being offered is a designer point of view at a good price and indeed, there will be something for everybody when the coats hit the stores for next fall.

Every major trend of the season was addressed- fur trims, fur collars, trenchcoats, sporty yet fitted quilted nylon parkas, hand stitched luxe leathers, handsome tweeds (see photo), Chanel inspired boucles, embroideries, and lots of winter white (see photo). And speaking of color, though the palette was mainly neutral, Oscar used hits of yellow see photo, red and shocking pink as a welcome accent.

For more information, call Jeannine Jezzini, 212 354- 8990 extension 1238

- Posted by Marilyn Kirschner
Filling in the Gap:

It seems the Gap is indeed, ready for its close-up. Sharon Stone was seemingly the one who made it chic to wear the Gap and put a high profile fashion face on the chain when she wore that now famous black Gap turtleneck to the Academy Awards (paired with a Vera Wang floor length skirt) several years ago.

I myself have always been a fan of the Gap’s (not just for its basics- ribbed cotton turtlenecks, sleeveless lycra tops, endless variety of jeans) but for its outerwear and bags that have very often been ‘right’ on for the price and look. Remember last spring’s buying frenzy over the Gap’s well priced and appealing bubble gum pink crisp cotton balmacaan? They were spotted on many chic urbanites, and were sold out almost as soon as they were introduced. Even the Today Show’s Katie Couric (an admitted penny pincher) bemoaned that she couldn’t get her hands on one. (I’m sure the Gap made sure that she got one). And in fact, in my recent New York Industry Fashion Report, I singled out the Gap’s $78 ¾ tan Mac for spring as one of the best tan coats for the money.

So all the recent publicity surrounding this middle- American household name has hardly been surprising. In today’s WWD, there was an article “Gap Hires KCD for P.R. Push”- which revealed that KCD (one of the most high profile and prestigious fashion p.r. firms) has “been retained to work on the brand’s fashion public relations efforts in the U.S.” and in fact, their Paris office has been representing the Gap in Europe for the past year and a half.

And just a few days prior to this, there was an article in Tuesday’s ‘Front Row’ fashion section of the New York Times, “A Sportswear Talent Steps Up”- which dealt with the way in which by “vigorously promoting its new designers, Gap seems to be signaling a fresh direction.”

Coincidentally (or not), the two new designers in question (Emma Hill and Pina Ferlisi) were both ‘plucked’ from none other than Marc Jacobs, a company practically synonymous with producing must have fashion items, handbags and accessories season after season. And who is the public relations firm for Marc Jacobs? KCD, of course.

Emma Hill, 34, who had been Marc’s handbag designer, was named Vice President for Accessories at the Gap in 2002, and more recently, Pina Ferlisi, 38 the “creative talent” behind the 2000 launch of Marc by Marc Jacobs, has been brought on board to design a brand new sportswear collection for the Gap.

All I can say is, touché! With the continued high cost of designer fashion, this will be an interesting story to follow and an interesting company to watch. What the fashion world needs more of is fresh, appealing, wearable, and wonderful design, at affordable prices.

- Posted by Marilyn Kirschner

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

New Better Bets! Edition #6:

This time on the road in Hong Kong. Read our new column of discovery. Find out what is hot, new or interesting before you read about it in those other columns. Researched & written by a well known New York fashionista who does not want her name used! Click here to read article.


Coat ‘Tales’:

With winter upon us, and the cold weather providing a perfect excuse to splurge on a great coat (or two or three….) it’s perfect timing for the launch of Oscar de la Renta’s new coat collection for Fleet Street. It will be held Thursday, January 15th at 3 p.m. at the American Society, 68th street at Park Avenue. Which coincidentally, happens to be practically across the street from the Armory, which is the setting for the 50th annual Winter Antique Show (if you’re one of the lucky ones going to the Opening Night Gala).

Oscar is one designer who has always designed a ‘mean’ coat, and with the proven success of coats and outerwear at the retail level, not to mention an increasingly large number of women who are finding that buying fabulous outerwear and amassing a wardrobe of coats is a very wise investment indeed, this is especially good timing.

The line will consist of coats, rainwear, outerwear, wool with embroidery, and fur trims (Oscar has long been associated with the last two) and though I was not able to get price points, it goes without saying that the collection will be easier on the pocketbook than Oscar’s main line.

I for one have always felt that you cannot have too many coats - they literally make everything you wear look distinctive. And especially in the cold months of winter coats and outerwear are undeniably the most important part of a woman’s wardrobe. They are the key item that is always seen and very visible. You can get away with wearing the most inexpensive (but of course, well cut) jeans, simple and classic turtlenecks, and scarves, but as soon as you throw on a distinctive and ‘special’ coat, you instantly look fabulous.

Speaking of coats, on a recent walk down Fifth Avenue, the one thing that really stood out were the coats - particularly the great trench coats for spring that are already hitting the stores. Bergdorf Goodman’s 5th Avenue windows already have the new shipment from Chanel, including the ‘must have’ trench of the season - the short and fitted tan version trimmed with tweed. Throw on some pearls, two toned spectator pumps and in my opinion, you can go anywhere in the world!

Posted by Marilyn Kirschner

Friday, January 09, 2004

New York Fall 2004 RTW Show Schedule

Our February 6th-13th schedule for the upcoming New York fashon week is up for our members only. A total of 80 shows and parties are listed - all with date, time, address and fax & phone contact info. If you are not a member of lookonline.com this is a great time to become a member and get a head start on the shows. To join go to our sign-up page.

Tuesday, January 06, 2004

Style for Sale

I got a kick out of reading in today’s WWD that ubiquitous Manhattan social fixture, Tory Burch, is soon to launch “her own clothing line in New York next month”. Married to super wealthy, Christopher Burch, she has reportedly “joined forces with the team of investors behind the Faena Hotel & Universe in Buenos Aires”.

All I can say is - notwithstanding her obvious monetary assets, which enable her to buy whatever she wants (which happens to be designer couture) and make her an outstanding customer, Ms. Burch does not exactly exude great style, creativity, or great chic in my opinion. When she worked as a fashion assistant at Harper’s Bazaar (at the time I was a fashion editor), she did not stand out in terms of her own look, or fashion persona.

And even today, years later, though she dresses nicely, and spends a fortune on her wardrobe (which has gone a long way in insuring that her picture is constantly in the society pages of W, WWD Vogue, and Style.com, not to mention society ‘mags’ like Town and Country) I would hardly call her a modicum of style. Maybe an a- list name, good looks, standing in society, and influential friends are all you need these days - I certainly can’t identify other more pertinent assets that might qualify her as a successful designer.

-posted by Marilyn Kirschner