Thursday, April 24, 2008

What is New with Our Editors

Lookonline's entertainment editor Diane Clehane has several must-read pieces in Variety's "Inside New York" Special Report out this week. She reports on how the fashion industry has eagerly embraced "Sex & The City: The Movie" and pulled out all the stops in wardrobing Carrie and crew. Diane also breaks news about Vogue's involvement in the film. Also in the issue: How editors like Nina Garcia have become the new media stars, exclusive details on the new CW reality show starring Elle's Joe Zee and Anne Slowey and offers her view from great tables at Graydon Carter's Waverly Inn and Michael's, the center of gravity for her weekly 'Lunch' column.

To read all about it click here
Dooney & Bourke Fall 2008 Press Preview

The Leopard Collection

Dooney & Bourke is currently showing the new Fall collection and it
is quite a show. Founded in 1975 in Norwalk, Connecticut by Peter Dooney and Frederic Bourke, the company has somewhat slowly and surely evolved
in its creative expression to finally blossom and have a beautiful,
appealing to many ages, and quite affordable collection. That is a
remarkable feat.

Dooney & Bourke has chosen high quality and high end leather
(Selleria Boldrini, located in Tuscany, Italy, dyes and makes the
leather bags). The result is so pleasing to the eye, the products so
diversified and all beautiful, being at the preview was a real

Cavallingo Collection: Framed Buckle Traveler

Mr. Peter Dooney is the one who creates, Mr Bourke is "the silent
partner" as explained by Kimberly Lenny, from Creative Services
ATELIER. Ms Lenny was charming and most helpful in describing the
whole collection. Ms. Lenny is a very charming person who knows how
to make someone feel special. In a business where snubbing others is
the classic and most played "game", it should be noted.

Patent Collection: Large Cindy Totes

Many used to consider Dooney & Bourke as a "poor parent" of the
Louis Vuiton, Prada and alike luxury accessories brands. This time
around, the Connecticut based company is proving that the it was worth
waiting for better days to come: from offering to customers a mostly
somewhat drab and dark collection year after year, along with an
insistent conservative stance, here it is: a consistent, beautiful and
practical collection of purses, gloves and other accessories.

The Hayden Pannetiere purse (designed by the actress and Peter Dooney)
was the "guest of honor" in different sizes and colors, but it was
simply too hard to pick a favorite. Except for the ever present and
quite hideous multi colored heart print collection, nothing was not
beautiful and tempting. I got hooked on the new collection from the
first sight: the red colored purses and accessories are simply
stunning. The red color is so vibrant, it is an instant jolt of
energy. The depth and intensity of the red color is enough to indicate
high quality. The Giraffe collection was so pretty, even I liked it,
as not kin to animal patters as I can be.

Patent Collection: Striped Sac - Brown T-Moro and White

It would be impossible to not mention the Zebra Collection: the trend
observed already last season is here to stay. And Dooney & Bourke
created a gorgeous assortment of purses and accessories. The dyes
used this collection seem unique: an assortment of purses was
displayed in a quite rare raw umber color. As for the Croc collection,
the turquoise color is astonishing.

Domed Ziptop Cosmetic Cases

The collection is of high quality , the details are impeccable. Most
impressive of all is the intent of the brand to have the products it
offers accessible to most: retail price of the beautiful two color
zebra like leather purse is about $475. The beautiful leather gloves
retail for about just over $100. Hearing the average retail prices
about the accessories was quite nice: nowadays we witness and for many
of us participate in an excessive splurging of luxury goods many just
cannot afford.

Dooney & Bourke is giving us a smashing display with a beautiful
and quite diversified collection, and the best news is that we can
afford the products offered.

However, it is quite a shame that no one was able to provide more
information on how the leather is chosen, its origin, as well as how
it is dyed. This new collection is so unique and brilliant in every
way: knowing the process that was used to end up with such a beautiful
result would have been a plus: dying animal skins is not an easy task
and the geographical location can make all the difference between
beautiful and deeply colored leather products and poor quality and
unappealing other products.

Also, the folder that was given to the press attending the preview
contained only pictures of the products shown. What a shame, reading
more about the company would have provided such an interesting and
informative moment!

-Muriel Geny-Triffaut

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Kipling Fall Editor Preview Event

G*rillaz Girlz Collection"

On Tuesday April 15th, 2008, Kipling hosted a venue titled “Wine Crush” on the rooftop of The Dream Hotel in Manhattan. The event gave guests the opportunity to see firsthand the latest creations of the Kipling brand (a division of VF Sportswear, Inc.). Appetizers “floated by” and a friendly atmosphere made everything warm and inviting.

Kipling has come out with a very interesting and appealing line of accessories. The fall styles are successively “Hip Collection”, “City Collection”, “G*rilla Girlz Collection”, “If Collection”, and “Travel Collection”.

That Kipling would be appealing to a younger and hip clientele has always been obvious in the ever-present gorilla chain attached to each bag, purse and suitcase. I was told by Smita Reddy of Formula, that in Europe, the monkey chains have become collectibles so highly prized, the chains are snapped off the purses in stores allover. Even if a bad occurrence, the consequences of the popularity of the brand are remarkable enough to place it in the much-envied club of the cult brands.

"If Collection"

Overall, the “If Collection” seems a little “blah” with its washed out fabrics and timid lines that may appeal to an older segment of recurring and prospective buyers. It is an average and forgettable line.

"City Collection"

The “City Collection” line is the best Kipling has to offer. It embodies the urban lifestyle in its clear and edgy designs full of multiple uses cleverly hidden under a sleek and polished design.

As for the “G*orilla Girlz” Collection, it is one all teenage girls would “go bananas” for, as stated by the press release given to each guest. The cheerful monkey pattern displayed brings a smile, and again, the same practical details seen throughout the different lines. Even if a lot of the appeal could have to do to do with its symbolic animal logo

Many “go bananas” to have the ubiquitous monkey chain, and may be some of the brand’s appeal is the result of its popularity. The border that separates great marketing strategy and brilliant display of creativity can be hard to see at times. Yet, Kipling has lines that show trendiness, practicality, and affordability. Facts that cannot be ignored by ever-savvy consumers.

I was delighted and quite nicely surprised upon seeing the contents of the “goody bag” being given when I left: it contained a maroon-colored purse of the “Hip Collection” and is already a favorite.

Formula is the PR firm that handles Kipling’s account.

- Muriel Geny-Triffaut
Jenny Lee Couture Bridal Show

Photos: Stevyn Llewellyn

On Saturday April 12 at 6PM celebrated bridal designer Jenny Lee
unveiled her Fall 2008 Collection. The fashion show took place at the
Prince George Ballroom at 15 East 27 Street, between Fifth and Madison
Avenues. Jenny Lee is known for designing exceptional bridal gowns.
She uses luxurious fabrics imported from Italy and France, to create
architecturally simple, elegant and feminine creations. This season
she is adding a new collection. "I am proud to introduce my new line,
JL Couture, it offers fashion forward women the ability to create
their own look while not feeling like a traditional bride." said Jenny
Lee on the upcoming runway show of her 2008 Bridal Collection for the

Each gown has been designed to celebrate and enhance women's body and
unique beauty. The designer's goal is to help each and every woman
show self confidence and express who she is on a most important day.
To her credit, Jenny Lee's designs are unique in the sense that they
bring color in the gown overall design, eliminating the need for
having to have different pieces for the different events scattering
the wedding day.

Jenny lee's designing talent and creative skills are
a sure thing. And she is a smart woman, designing outfits that can be
used for bridal wear yet be reused again...

The price point for her gowns range from $3500.00 - $8,000.00.
Couture Bridal apparel caters to a very specific and targeted clientele,
the one that doesn't hesitate to spend lavish amounts of money between
what is to be worn and what is to be eaten, drank etc.....
Women fought hard to gain rights that would help them get to be
considered and respected as equal to men. So, what kind of a message
are such celebrations sending? And is "love" part of it? If it is,
what is the need for all this hoopla, busy and very costly affair?

For more information about the collection, contact Bonnie Bien, La Presse PR
at 567-8999 or

- Muriel Geny-Triffaut

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Before the ‘Fall’

Yesterday, I attended The Fashion Group International ( Fall/Winter 2008 Audio Visual Trend Overview, held in an auditorium on the 8th floor of the Time & Life Building. The ‘main event’ is always the videotaped comprehensive look at the trends from the runways of New York, London, Milan, and Paris. Edited by the “best eyes in the business” (as the organization’s President, Margaret Hayes proudly described it), it is spearheaded, and narrated by FGI’s Fashion Director Marylou Luther who also comprises the list of clothes and accessories “most likely to make it from the runway to reality”. This season, that would be: Color (black is back in a big way and purple in every shade ‘rules’); Prints (especially winter florals); The Coat (a ‘style statement in and of itself’); The Jacket (structured, cutaway, swallowtail, peplumed, boyfriend); Pants (wider in New York, narrower in Europe); The Blouse (often bow tied at the neckline and worn with a skirt or tailored pants): The Skirt (there is literally a “hemline for every age”): Knits (particularly the knitted coat); Evening (cocktail lengths outnumber full-blown gowns); Embellishment (everything from safety pins and staples, to sequins, holograms, feathers); Fur (from savage to super-chic); Accessories (the “fundamental ornamental for fall is the necklace”); The Shoulder Bag (slung diagonally across the body).

The bonus of covering the noontime show, as I did, is the panel discussion which follows. This time, the group that comprised the “best eyes in the business” consisted of Linda Fargo, Senior Vice President, Bergdorf Goodman; Michael Fink, Vice President – Women’s Fashion Apparel, Saks Fifth Avenue; Ana Maria Pimentel, Senior Accessories Director, Harper’s Bazaar; and Jane Larkworthy, Beauty Director, W. The Special Guest Moderator was Hal Rubenstein, Fashion Director, InStyle, someone who is animated, passionate, speaks his mind, does not mince words, and gets right to the point. And boy, were those qualities ever on display.

Immediately after Hal was introduced, he wasted no time showing his displeasure and disapproval, and got right to the heart of the matter, which for him, was the lack of direction and disappointment with the fall winter collections (for the record, he praised Marylou’s wonderful as always audiovisual report; after all, it’s not her fault that the clothing was not up to par). While at first he seemed to be so exasperated and so angry (with the fashion designers it seemed), that he had a hard time getting his words out, he quickly composed himself and fired off the following questions to the assembled crowd and panel: ”Where was that wonderful emotion we saw for spring?” “What are we watching?” “What are we looking at? “What are we selling”? He also pointed out that ‘pre collections’ (pre fall, pre spring) have become such huge markets, with so much more fashion being injected in them, they have diluted fall, and he questioned whether fall has become an “after thought”.

Suffice is to say that everyone on the panel agreed (Michael Fink chimed in that he felt the “designers let us down” this season and Jane Larkworthy bemoaned that she didn’t even like the shows of her “favorite designers”). Having said that, each one of the four had his or her own take on the situation, and found something positive to say. Ms. Pimentel and Ms. Fargo celebrated the many “options” out there (the former cited the “return of the boot” and delicate pumps a la Manolo Blahnik as two big footwear trends that look good).

At one point, Hal mentioned the overly theatrical, costumey, and unwearable clothing and makeup shown on the runways, using the latex dresses shown by Nicolas Guesquiere for Balenciaga as an example. “I don’t want to be the person sitting next to a woman at a party whose been wearing one of those dresses for 3 hours”, he joked, (in obvious reference to the fact that latex does not breathe and the wearer most likely will be sweating bullets in her costly encasement). But Linda Fargo argued that exaggeration and fantasy has its place (it’s all about the ‘trickle down’ effect). “You need the extreme to move the eye. It’s like a revolution”, she cautioned.

It was then that Hal brought up the “one area where fantasy and exaggeration worked” (which also happens to be the most important ‘trend’ of the season): “expensive costume jewelry”. Ms. Pimentel singled out the cut crystal at Lanvin as her favorite group and Ms. Fargo said “fantastic costume jewelry is “really hot” and it’s possible to “transform what you own if you invest in these pieces”.

He also made the observation that “there isn’t that ‘It’ bag or shoe anymore” and there is too much overkill within those categories right now. All were in complete agreement including Michael Fink (though Mr. Fink said that certain hand bag brands, like Chanel, always sell and are always sought after) and Harper’s Bazaar’s accessory editor, Ana Marie Pimentel. Of course, it was not lost on me that Harper’s Bazaar is one magazine that often uses the term ‘it bag’ in their copy…sometimes the words are even used by Glenda Bailey in her Editor’s Letter. I personally think the notion of ‘it’ bags or shoes is as pass√© as ‘ins’ and ‘outs’ which is an ongoing feature within HB each month (their last page is a column, ‘What’s in, what’s out’).
Hal directed the subject to the idea of “too much” of everything in fashion these days (too many brands, too many labels, too many designer collaborations, too many perfumes). But for her part, Linda Fargo (who mixes it all up these days, as do her friends) feels the more is merrier, and welcomes the influx and deluge of names, products, and choices.

Then came the ‘s’ word. Hal said he noticed the word ‘sexy’ was not mentioned once by Marylou during the audio visual presentation but yet, “sexy sells”. It’s not lost on him that women are spending a lot of time going to the gym and getting in shape and they want to show their bodies. “Why are women’s bodies so covered these days” he asked? But not all the panelists agreed there was nothing sexy to be found this season. Michael Fink cited the “bare legs” seen on the recent runways and the form fitting dresses at Jil Sander and Giambattista Valli; Ana Marie Pimentel argued “there were sexy shoes”; Linda Fargo bragged about Roland Mouret’s body hugging dresses and the “sexy secretary look” inherent in that otherwise simple combination of a blouse and pencil skirt. Hal himself could not seem to get his mind off what he considers to be “the sexiest shoe ever”: the stiletto, although he admitted a woman may not be able to walk in them (“that’s not my problem” he added).

HR ended the discussion by asking the panelists what their favorite collections were. Linda Fargo wasted no time answering “Lanvin by Alber Elbaz because his clothes are wearable, modern, balanced, and they never wear a woman”. Jane Larkworthy reeled off “YSL, Prada, Michael Kors, and Oscar de la Renta”.

-Marilyn Kirschner

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Mephisto Concept Store Opening

On April 2nd Mephisto USA celebrated the opening of its new concept store in New York with an elegant party held at the Upper East Side location. The Manhattan boutique is the first is the first of its kind in the United States for the French footwear manufacturer. The company has over 700 stores worldwide.

Although I thought I was familiar with the Mephisto brand, which I only associated with “sensible shoes”, I could not have been more wrong. Within moments of entering the store, I fell in love with an adorable black Mary Jane style that was shown to me by Mephisto’s Managing Director Greg Nicoghosian. The company actually makes a wide array of styles, everything from sandals and wedges to sneakers and boots. According to Mr. Nicoghosian, they have every type of women’s shoes except formal eveningwear. He calls the company a “lifestyle brand” and though many of their styles are edgy and trendy, they will not sacrifice comfort for fashion. There is an equally versatile line of men’s shoes as well.

Mephisto was founded over 40 years ago in Sarrebourg, France by Martin Michaeli, Chairman of Mephisto International. Their brand is world renowned for comfort and durability. The secret is in their “soft air technology” used to create an unbelievably flexible sole that gradually contours to the wearer’s foot.

The Mephisto collection is sold throughout the US in stores such as Dillard’s, Saks, and Nordstrom, as well as smaller boutiques. The Manhattan concept store is independently owned and operated by Elliot Aizer, whose family has years of experience selling footwear in New York City. There is a Mephisto website (, but the shoes are not old on-line.

Mr. Nicoghosian feels that their patent leather and animal print styles will be the biggest sellers for the Spring and Summer seasons. He expects the trend for patent leather shoes to continue into the fall as well. Mephisto’s current bestseller is a thong sandal with a floral accent called “Barbata”.

The opening night party was well attended by the press and corporate VIPs. The menu included an assortment of delectable finger-foods and desserts. On my way out, I received a goody bag containing a satin pouch filled with Borghese cosmetics and a very useful shoe care kit. As a New Yorker who spends countless hours pounding the pavement in everything from high heels to flip-flops, I can guarantee that I will be returning to the Mephisto boutique again and again.

-Rhonda Erb

Friday, April 04, 2008

‘Super’ Thursday

Super soft pima cotton is considered to be the world’s “finest cotton” (the “cashmere of cotton” according to those in the know). Supima was founded in 1954 as the promotional organization for the American Pima Cotton Industry but it’s not exactly a household name. That’s about to change.

On Thursday, April 3rd, Supima opened the doors to its first retail store, a 10 day pop up store in Soho, (72 Greene Street, which showcases designs from 15 “successful contemporary brands that make Supima a “core part of their collections”. (Wamsutta, Majestic, Three Dots, Chopak Mills, Agave are among them)

Buxton Midyette, Supima’s Vice President of Marketing and Promotions came up with a brilliant and very timely idea to fete the launch, a “Paint Your T Shirt” event. Capitalizing on the painterly moment in fashion, and the Soho location (which is all about art, photography, and fashion), he was able to merge the worlds of art, photography, and fashion. Each guest who walked through the doors was offered a complimentary Three Dots white t shirt (a boat neck tunic style for the girls and a short sleeved polo for the guys, each made from that wonderful cotton), and invited to visit the art bar set up in the front of the store which was outfitted with a serious assortment of brushes, paints, and easels. This enabled everyone to personalize his/her t shirt and become their own, well, Picasso (everyone I saw really got into it and took their time creating their own ‘masterpiece’).

The finished product was then put on a hanger with a number for later pick up (the paint has to dry over night). As a frustrated artist myself, I couldn’t wait to tap into my creative side and the result was something colorful and graphic. I even signed it. It was the most fun I’ve had in a long time. Well, okay, maybe not the most fun, but pretty close.

While the “Paint Your T Shirt” was one day only, there will be interactive art events, and other special treats (cocktails, Sunday Brunch, etc.) planned for the next 10 days.

For more information contact Julie Beynon, THINK PR, 212 343 3920,

-Marilyn Kirschner