Thursday, April 28, 2005

Yo, Adrienne!

Furrier Adrienne Landau has made a name for herself (not to mention developing a loyal and celebrated clientele) because of the fabulous variety of her products, and her ability to identify, hone in and capitalize on current trends. Of course, it can be said that Ms. Landau is a true pioneer and she is one of the very first fur designers to offer eclectic and unusual items (one does not come to Adrienne Landau for a traditional fur coat or jacket) as well as an impressive range of products. Giving credit where credit is due, she was also one of the very first to transport fur accessories like hats, capes, scarves, shawls, bags, and gloves to star status, one of the first to integrate furs into home décor (with her mink and crochet throws, baby blankets, beaded chinchilla printed rabbit pillows) AND, she will always be associated with animal prints (leopard, zebra, and pony skin), sable tails, and fringe trim (eat your heart out Roberto Cavalli!).

Her latest collection, for fall 2005, with its interesting mix of Victorian, Russian, and Chinese influences, is a timely and wonderful progression of what has come before and an evolution of her philosophy and aesthetic. While there are a variety of furs (including fur vests and fur capelets), once again, it is all about fur items, fur accessories (the vintage inspired bag collection is fantastic). And this time, the news, as she puts it, is in the “soft jewelry” (skinny velvet scarves with intricate beading, beaded velvet or sheared mink collars, and of course, THE BELT (the accessory of the season). Hers are statement-making: very wide (3 inches), beaded, embroidered, and often brocaded, they are perfect over a fur jacket, fur coat, evening dress, or anything at all.

What also stood out are her non fur items. I was drawn to the patchwork brocade short sleeved jacket and the entire rack of ‘lingerie’ inspired pieces (robes, kimonos and caftans done in satin and burnout velvet, many with embroidery) that can be worn at home or worn out. By the way, Adrienne’s jewel trimmed silk linen caftan tops for spring (which are being sold in stores like Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus) are some of the best around!

Posted by Marilyn Kirschner

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Results of the Doyle New York Couture, Textiles & Accessories Auction


Two Centuries of Fashion History by the World's Legendary Couturiers

On Wednesday, April 20, 2004, Doyle New York held an auction of Couture, Textiles and Accessories showcasing two centuries of fashion history. Offering an extensive selection of dresses, suits and ensembles, the sale also included important costume jewelry, handbags and accessories, as well as American, European and Asian textiles. Highlighting the sale was an extraordinary Hermes black crocodile Birkin bag that sold for an astounding $64,800. Comprising a total of 377 lots, the sale achieved a strong $460,080 with 82% sold by lot and 91% sold by value.

Attracting strong international interest at the auction was a single-owner collection of eleven luxurious handbags by Hermes, most in immaculate condition. The highlight of the collection was a breath-taking black crocodile Birkin that had been customized with a clasp and lock featuring over 14 carats of pave diamonds set in white gold. The object of an extraordinary amount of interest during the exhibition, the handbag also attracted intense competition among telephone bidders at the auction, sending the bag soaring over its pre-sale estimate of $25,000-35,000 to reach $64,800. Other Hermes bags from the same collection attracted similar competition during the sale. These included an Hermes royal blue ostrich Birkin bag that sold for $15,600; an Hermes Etrusque crocodile Kelly bag that sold for $13,200; an Hermes black crocodile Kelly bag that sold for $12,000; and an Hermes anthracite crocodile Kelly bag that sold for $10,200 -- all over their pre-sale estimates.

Highlighting the couture section of the auction were, interestingly enough, the oldest and the most recent offerings in the sale. An opulent velvet and fur trimmed trained kimono by John Galliano was the most recent item in the sale. Made of ivory silk velvet, it had been stenciled with mauve peonies, lined in white sheared mink, and trimmed in rare Russian lynx. It dated only to 1998, yet it fetched a strong $6,000 at the sale. The oldest lot in the auction was a charming 1815 aqua silk American Empire redingote discovered in a trunk in Savannah, Georgia. This dress had originally belonged to Julia Clark Taylor (1799-1846). Portraits of her parents in law, William and Mary Elizabeth Clayton Miller Taylor, painted by John Wesley Jarvis, hang in the Colonial Dames Georgia Headquarters, housed in the Andrew Low House in Savannah. This American rarity sold to a New York bidder for $5,100.

Another highlight of the Couture section was a vibrant pink strapless draped gown of silk chiffon by Jean Desses. Several years ago, Doyle New York auctioned a similar 1960 draped gown by Desses in canary yellow silk chiffon. Subsequent to the auction, that gown was chosen by actress Renee Zellweger to wear as a presenter to the annual Academy Awards ceremony, and she won kudos from the international fashion media for her extraordinary choice. Competitive bidding at the April 20 sale sent the vibrant pink gown well over its pre-sale estimate to reach a strong $5,700.

Other outstanding pieces in the couture section included designs by Jacques Fath consigned by a New York Lady. A bouffant dress of black lace over blush pink silk tulle sold for $4,500; a silk two-piece evening dress comprising a black silk voile blouse and an emerald silk floor-length skirt also sold for $4,500; and a black taffeta two-piece dress with a fitted blouse and voluminous skirt sold for $3,600. >From the same collection were two dresses by Marcel Rochas that proved popular at the sale. An ivory strapless dress of lace patterned chenille with a black velvet ribbon crossover sold for $3,600 and a stunning emerald velvet gown with an affixed silk taffeta stole and matching velvet gloves sold for $3,300. Property from other owners included designs by Balenciaga, Gres, Paquin, Oleg Cassini, Thea Porter, Fortuny, Dior, Jay Thorpe, Geoffrey Beene, and Yves Saint Laurent, among many others.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

‘The Heights of Golan’

'Golan' Nine West Espadrille

I have to admit that I never really gave too much thought to the shoe selection available at the well known moderate priced chain, Nine West, considering it to be nothing more than a mainstream, inexpensive, ‘knock off’ brand. Until, that is, I stopped into their shop on Madison Avenue and 44th street (212.370.9107), in order to kill time between appointments. I was pleasantly surprised, to say the least.

In addition to a great selection of vintage inspired printed and solid cotton short trench coats in a variety of solid colors and patterns (including oversized florals), they even had their own version of a Chanel tweed boucle cardigan coat (I especially liked the off white number), and best of all, everything was well priced (most were well under $200). But what really caught my eye considering how ‘hot’ espadrilles are (of course, I’ve been wearing and collecting them for years), was their high heeled (3 ½ inch) version, called, ‘Golan’, made out of heavy satin. Most stores and companies stock espadrilles in predictable cotton, but the juxtaposition of the more formal satin with a natural jute sole is the perfect mix of high and low…day and evening….casual and special. In addition to the great colors (black, orange, green, red), the $69 price tag is hard to beat.

Now the bad news…when I asked for my size, I was told ‘Golan’ was completely sold out (not only in this particular location but in their stores across the country), and even though their website ( has them on back order, nobody knows if black (the most popular color, naturally) will ever be available again. I guess you could say the name ‘Golan’ is perfect since it seems that obtaining a pair of these versatile, chic, and well priced espadrilles is more difficult than scaling the Golan Heights.

By the way, if you do shop Nine West in store or online, you will find a really wonderful selection of shoes that are not only good looking, fun, and inexpensive, but comfy, to boot (pardon the pun). My current favorite is the $75 pebbled leather version called ‘Atom’. A nifty hybrid (a ladylike pump with the comfort of a driving moccasin), it features a round toe, top stitching, 1 ½ inch curved heel, and a tiny grosgrain bow decorating the vamp. It is available in all black, dark brown with a teal bow, cordovan with an ecru bow, and my personal favorite- off white with a black bow and black stitching, which helps give it a ‘Chanel’ sort of look. It is so comfortable that one can imagine wearing it in the manner of a ballet slipper. And it works perfectly now or through the fall and winter. What more could a girl want?

-Marilyn Kirschner
"In Her Own Words"

When I asked Clair Watson, Doyle New York's Couture Specialist, to quickly sum up (a difficult task indeed) today's highly anticipated Couture Textiles and Accessories Auction, this is how she (breathlessly) put it:

"...A diverse range, targeting the many different collectors and vintage lovers - the 1815 redingote for a museum, American we hope for this hard to come across American design - for everyone, the Fath, dreamy designs from a dreamy man - just exquisite from the cover lot where the black lace covers an indescribable nude/blush tulle to the ultra chic long full skirt with black blouse with white collar and cuffs and velvet bow tie (lot 1060), day dresses with pencil skirts and subtly draped busts (very this Fall), quiet unostentatious 1930s Worths - they do exist and getting harder to find, Rochas glamour, YSL gypsy, Chanel nehru, Givenchy sari, Moschino wit, Galliano opulent, Fortuny bohemian Delphos and Peplos (every girls should have one), Norell's sailor dress - covered by every magazine at the time - and the pony sequin chemise - panned at the time - which one do you prefer?! - Dior Dior, Dior at Bergdorf, 70's Dior, Balenciaga black draped, Jean Desses pink draped, Carnegie green draped, Cassini black draped - great handbags - the ultimate Hermes selection, excellent Roberta di Camerino and more wit from Moschino - good costume jewelry, big is best! And that's just the start!"

I don't know about all of you, but I am already salivating at the thought of all those splendid offerings under one roof!

Marilyn Kirschner

Friday, April 15, 2005


Clair L. Watson, Director
Wednesday, April 20, 2005 at 10am

On Wednesday, April 20 at 10am, Doyle New York will hold an auction of Couture, Textiles and Accessories showcasing two centuries of fashion history. Offering an extensive selection of dresses, suits and ensembles, the sale will also include important costume jewelry, handbags and accessories, as well as American, European and Asian textiles. The public is invited to the exhibition on view from Friday, April 15 through Monday, April 18. Doyle is located at 175 East 87th Street in Manhattan.

The upcoming auction offers a myriad of styles for the many discerning international buyers who attend this semiannual event, including museum curators, designers, celebrities, socialites, dealers and collectors. Among the early pieces are a charming aqua silk 1815 American redingote discovered in a trunk in Savannah, a 1901 Liberty dove gray brocade cape, and a circa 1913 Beer aqua satin embroidered gown. Also featured are a 1920 lavish embroidered Orientalist opera coat by Paquin and a 1930s pink Peplos gown by Fortuny with its original box.

A special section of the auction will feature couture from the collection of Princess Fawkia of Egypt. She was the half sister of King Farouk and the mother of Ahmed Fakhri Bey who married Gloria Rubio y Alatorre, the international socialite who would later be known as Gloria Guinness, one of Truman Capote's captivating "swans." The collection of Princess Fawkia traces her years as the royal wife of the Egyptian Minister to France and features 1930s designs by Worth, Vionnet, Maggy Rouf and Hermes, including a stunning paisley printed crepe de chine gown and a claret colored leather bag by Worth.

From the collection of a New York Lady is an exquisite group of early 1950s Fath and Rochas couture preserved in a Baroque Italian chest on Park Avenue for half a century. Highlighting this extraordinary collection is a remarkable 1951 black lace bouffant dress by Jacques Fath, reportedly one of only two made, the other being for Eva Peron. At the peak of his career, Jacques Fath was only 42 when he died of leukemia in 1954. The epitome of chic, he was considered by many the fashion heir apparent to Dior. His ravishing good looks and charm, combined with his exquisite couture, resulted in a post-War rise in popularity so swift that Vogue likened it to a comet.

Property from other owners includes a vibrant pink 1950s Jean Desses draped gown, an exquisite 1950s Balenciaga draped black chiffon gown, two late 1940s Carven gowns (including his 1947 Robe d'un Soire) and 1950s designs by Christian Dior. The 1960s are represented by Pucci, Gres, Mainbocher, Balmain, Norell, Lanvin, Chanel, and a version of St. Laurent's iconic black crocodile and mink trimed "Chicago" jacket. Highlighting the 1970s are two "gypsy" ensembles by Yves St. Laurent, a Thea Porter caftan (another example of which is in the Victoria & Albert Museum), Norell's famed "sailor" dress, a hand painted jacket from Mary McFadden's first collection, and a tie-dyed silk jersey caftan dress by Halston.

Among the more recent selections in the sale is a Great Lakes collection of clothing and accessories comprising early examples of Moschino's provocative wit. Highlights include the "Art is Love" leather jacket and handbag, the "I (love) Heels" shoes, the "This Bag is Full of Chic" handbag, and the "Peace and Pearls" suit.

Also from the 1980s-90s is a selection of designs by John Galliano and Geoffrey Beene. Highlights include an opulent 1998 velvet and lynx kimono with train by Galliano and two iridescent gowns by Beene that epitomize his structural simplicity.

Featured in the textiles section of the sale is the collection of Jelko Yuresha, comprising vintage and antique middle eastern caftans, Tibetan priest's robes, Kuna panels, and a Chinese embroidered ruby silk coverlet formerly in the collection of interior designer Mahin, Comtesse de Malleray, as well as examples of de Malleray's own designs.

The selection of handbags offers a large number of bags by Hermes, all in immaculate condition, mostly from a single private collection. Highlighting the collection is a remarkable black crocodile Birkin that was customized with a clasp and lock featuring over 14 carats of pave diamonds set in white gold. Also offered are a collection of iconic plush handbags from the 1960s by Roberta di Camerino, and a selection of trunks and cases by Louis Vuitton.

The fine costume jewelry in the auction comprises examples from the 1940s through 1990s with designs by Dior, Chanel, St. Laurent, and Lina Baretti. Highlights include extravagant pieces by the American maker, The Show Must Go On, including a startling, lifesize articulated lobster brooch and an earring and cuff set inspired by cobs of corn. Always popular with collectors, Iradj Moini is represented by an elegant plume brooch and a peacock feather rhinestone necklace.

Friday, April 15, 10am – 5pm
Saturday, April 16, 10am – 5pm
Sunday, April 17, Noon – 5pm
Monday, April 18, 10am – 2pm

Doyle New York, 175 East 87th Street, New York, NY 10128

Clair L. Watson, 212-427-4141, ext. 603,

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Upper East Side Vintage

Vicki Haberman may not be the only vintage dealer to have a shop on the Upper East Side, but she is definitely one of the very few…and certainly, the only one north of 60th street whom I’m aware of. The Upper East Side is a shopping Mecca for sure, filled with many stores and boutiques, in addition to countless resale and thrift shops, but it’s a known fact that most vintage haunts (including the legendary names) are downtown- well below 14th street. This makes well known vintage dealer, Vicki Haberman’s new (it officially opened on March 24th) 400 square foot shop on east 72nd street (127 east 72nd street, 212 717 7702, ), a rare gem.

Because of her great eye and wonderful taste, Vicki’s collections have always caught my eye (she has traditionally ‘done’ all the major New York vintage shows and has even shown in her apartment prior to acquiring her new space), so it was hardly surprising that my recent visit to Vintage Collections, proved just as satisfying, if not more so. In addition to her amazing selection of Kenneth Lane and Pauline Trigere jeweled ‘bibs’ and highly ornate necklaces (priced from about $695 to $1200), cocktail rings, earrings and bracelets, there is a wonderful selection of handbags, shoes and boots (including a pair of very mod 1960’s (and you KNOW how ‘big’ mod is going to be this fall) black velvet shoe- boots from Roger Vivier, which Vicki has named ‘Julie Christie’ ($395), assorted Maud Frizon pumps from the 80’s, and a pair of iconic Evins gold metallic over the knee boots which alas, are only for decoration and ambience and not for sale.

Chanel brown leather shift - price $2500

As for the clothing, which ranges from day to eveningwear, I was especially taken by a sleeveless Geoffrey Beene black wool trapeze dress from the 60’s with rhinestone buttons down the back ($1900); a Fendi maxi trench coat from the 80’s fashioned from the company’s signature brown and tan logo fabric ($850); an unlabeled but highly collectible (and wearable) orange velvet pearl encrusted and embroidered caftan from the 70’s ($525); a brown leather Chanel shift emblazoned with gold buckles ($2500), and a black tulle Chanel Couture three piece suit from 196l ($5,000) comprised of a fitted jacket with diamante buttons and peplum as well as two full skirts in two lengths- one for day, one for evening. And with spring in the air and Father’s Day looming around the corner, the set of vintage Louis Vuitton golf clubs from the mid 80’s would put a smile on your husband’s (fathers, or significant other’s face).

Marilyn Kirschner