Friday, April 29, 2011

Notes on the Royal Wedding - by Diane Clehane

From Commoner to HRH: The Amazing Transformation of Catherine Middleton

Kate Middleton walked into Westminster Abbey a commoner and emerged with an HRH title that will define the rest of her life. Those images of 'Waity Katy 'as the long suffering girlfriend evaporated the moment she stepped out of the Rolls Royce wearing Sarah Burton's traditionally beautiful Alexander McQueen gown. In a coming out party attended by 2 billion people, Catherine Middleton showed the world that a well-bred young woman who knows what (and who) she wants can defy expectations and ascend to the highest reaches of the social stratosphere.

In the final chapter of Countdown to the Royal Wedding, Lookonline's entertainment editor Diane Clehane offers her observations on The Amazing Transformation of Catherine Middleton. With an eye towards history, Catherine surprised many with her homage to Grace Kelly instead of Princess Diana. Surprisingly, that job fell to another wedding participant who proved more than up to the job. Guess who? Read Diane's take on how the commoners stole the show this morning ...

Click here for the complete article

(Coming on Sunday: 'The Final Word' on The Royal Wedding: Do William & Catherine Hold the Fate of Monarchy?)

Notes on the Royal Wedding - by Marilyn Kirschner

Adding My Two Cents (Or Should I Say, Two Pence)

Photo: AP

Talk about going from the sublime to the ridiculous. On Thursday evening just hours before the Royal Wedding would take place, all the major American newscasters who had temporarily set up shop in London (was there anyone left in New York?), appropriately dressed in their best tailored jackets and chic colorful trench coats, began their prime time broadcasts not with news of the festivities and frivolities to come, but with the sobering news that killer tornadoes ripping across Alabama and Georgia, had claimed the lives over 280 Americans. What a time to drive home the dichotomy between the 'haves' and the 'have nots'! But regardless of how one really feels about the royals, especially in light of the harsh realities of life, it was hard, rather impossible actually, NOT to get somewhat caught up in all the hoopla surrounding the royal nuptials. And with all the consistently bad news these days, getting a glimpse inside the other wordly rarefied world of the royals (the jewels, the castles, the cars, the pomp and circumstance surrounding their stately occasions, etc.) provided a guilty pleasure, temporary diversion, and escape.

Who doesn't love a fairy tale? And let's be honest, isn't it the dream of most young girls (not to mention some old bags), to be swept away by Prince Charming? I for one, awoke at 4 am this morning to watch the events of the day unfold, watching guests, like Victoria Beckham clad in a dress of her own design (natch) and a sculptural Philip Treacy hat perched on her chic little head, filing into Westminister Abbey. FYI, watching the procession of fantastical hats prompted Today Show’s Matt Lauer to ask whether the Royal Wedding would be a catalyst for a hat revival. For this event, everyone it seems, became a fashion correspondent - LOL.

Everyone else has weighed in on Duchess Catherine’s status as a fashion icon-in-the making, and in the weeks leading up to the royal wedding, there was constant talk and speculation about THE DRESS (which was the most deeply guarded secret in eons). So I figured I’d add my two cents (or should I say, two pence). And as a Princess myself, well..okay, a JAP anyway (fyi,I can say it,you can’t), and a longtime fashion observer, I feel I am eminently qualified to voice my opinions.

Look, Princess Catherine is undeniably a natural regal beauty with a photogenic smile, gorgeous hair, and an enviably lithe 5'10" frame, and quite frankly, she’d look great wearing that proverbial paper bag. And now, she is now not only fabulously wealthy, but in a position where looking perfect 24/7 is part of her royal duties. And I must say that based on what I’ve seen of her thus far, her fashion choices have been spot on, and I don’t think I’ve seen her look anything but totally appropriate, youthful, chic, and quite fashionable (without looking like a hopeless fashion victim). The perfect modern combination. Unlike the young Princess Diana, who had a lot early missteps to be sure, and ‘blossomed’ a bit later on, Kate has a strong sense of herself and seems to know innately what suits her and she sticks with it. She favors sleek lines that perfectly showcase her lean frame, fitted jackets and coats, and skirt lengths that hit her just above the knee (all the better to show off her sleek legs), and she is somewhat minimal in that she doesn’t favor a lot of jewelry or accessories.

For example, at one public appearance with Prince William prior to the wedding, she chose a bright red fitted peplum suit with a narrow above the knee length skirt, which she accessorized with a fitted black turtleneck, black narrow belt, black clutch, black opaque tights, and black suede tall boots. She could not have looked better (even if she were styled by a Vogue editor). Also beyond reproach was the above the knee length tan Burberry trenchcoat with its flirtatiously skirted hem. It was not so over the top that it made her look as though she was trying too hard, but it was not so plain that it looked dull and boring (again- the perfect combination). She wears the clothes- they don’t wear her.

And that continued with her choice of wedding gown. The incredibly flattering Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen creation (a choice that should permanently endear her to fashion insiders what with the upcoming exhibit at the Met's Costume Institute) with its fitted lace bodice and dramatic back and train, was undeniably fantastical, but not so much that she got lost in it. It looked believable and she still looked like Catherine. And since her fashion look is already inspiring plenty of hopeful imitators and Catherine 'would be's', it's a sure bet that her decision to wear her hair down will mean that many young brides will follow suit, rather than putting their hair up in buns and complicated updoes.

For the record, I must give kudos to the members of the Royal Wedding Party as well. Kate's mom looked beautiful and appropriate in her pale blue tailored coat and dress, Kate's sister perfectly complimented and mirrored her, as she followed the Princess down the aisle in her simple yet stunning long ivory dress with it's subtly fishtail skirt, Queen Elizabeth looked smart in her pale yellow tailored ensemble (though I still don't think she needs to carry such a large purse!), and even Camilla Parker Bowles looked uncharacteristically pulled together, not at all frumpy. And of course, the guys all looked perfectly magnificent in their regal, military dress uniforms.

- Marilyn Kirschner

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Better Bets: Mother's Day Gifts & Giveaways

Raquelle Bianco Pendant

Jewelry designer, Eddie Weiss named this new line after his great grandmother. This teardrop shaped sterling silver pendant has enamel accents and white topaz gemstones.
Available at: , $79.00. Win this pendant! Click  and register your e-mail address before 11:59 PM EDT, May 2, 2011 (be sure to put “pendant” in the subject line). Two lucky winners will be chosen at random and notified by e-mail.

Click here for more gifts & giveaways

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

It's RNN: The Royals Script Their Own (Un)Reality Show

Inspired by the cover of this week's cover of The New Yorker, Lookonline's entertainment editor Diane Clehane examines the curious phenomenon of how the royals have gone from shunning the media to embracing the wall-to-wall coverage of the upcoming royal wedding to such an extent that they have become de facto television producers. You need look no further than the incredibly comprehensive 'official' website for the wedding produced by palace insiders to get packages worthy of Today show producers. William and Kate, the unwitting stars of the new royal reality show, are playing along -- but for how long? As long as Diana's ghost hovers over the proceedings how can the newlyweds possibly live up to the hype?

<<<<  Click here for the full article >>>>

Monday, April 25, 2011

Lookonline's Entertainment Editor on CNN

Diane Clehane, who is our Entertainment Editor, appeared last night on CNN Headline News on Issues with Jane Velez Mitchell to discuss the upcoming royal wedding. Coming up this Sunday morning, Diane will have a special report on the possible political aftermath of the wedding for the future of the royal family.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Better Bets: 'The Best of New York' by Rhonda Erb

Nuzzles by Gund

Sometimes you just need a hug. Nuzzles are “ the only plush that hugs you back.” Nestly Dog (pictured), Huggie Bear, Cuddly Monkey, and Luvie Horse all have over-sized heads that drape over your shoulder for a cuddly embrace.

Available at:, The Craft Studio, 1657 3rd Avenue, New York City and select card and gift stores nationwide, $20.00

Win two Nuzzles plush toys from GUND. Click and register your e-mail address before 11:59 PM, April 21, 2011. One lucky winner will be chosen at random and notified by e-mail.

Click here for more Better Bets for Easter 2011 Selections.

Friday, April 15, 2011

End of an Television Era:

All My Children: A Requiem For A TV Icon

The news that ABC is cancelling All My Children and One Life to Live marks the end of a television era. AMC has always been a favorite among the fashion industry. After all, Erica Kane -- even though she was barely 5'3" -- was daytime's television first supermodel. For our entertainment editor Diane Clehane, the loss is personal. Read her Requiem for A Television Icon:

<<Click Here for Full Article>>

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Where Have All The Designers Gone, Long Time Passing?

A 1987 LA Daily News Sunday Magazine cover featuring a design by David Cameron who was about the hottest designer in NewYork that year!
(Photo: Ernest Scmatolla)

I was musing the other day about some past "young designers" and other not so young designers I have known, met or heard about in past years. I wondered what happened to Michael Leva, Kenneth Richard, Jennifer George, Gordon Henderson and Charlotte Neuville? I used to shoot their shows for them. I remember the time when Marc Jacobs was called a "young designer". And, sadly, one of my favorite designers of the early 1990's was the very talented Carmelo Pomodoro who died of HIV. Also, how could I ever forget Pauline Trigere, a woman who truly was bigger than life.

A 1992 design from the collection of  Carmelo Pomodoro
(Model: Mariana Verkerk Photo: Ernest Schmatolla)

I posted the above on Facebook and got a note back from Jeffrey Felner, the long time columnist for The Daily Examiner. He has up on his site an exhaustive list of past well known and little known designers Some of the names are of course very famous, some are actually still working in the business, but many are now little more than memories.

Gene Ewing 1989 Collection
(Model: Jan Strimple Photo: Ernest Schmatolla)

I actually came up with a few names that were not on his list. He then added them to it. I hope some of you will take a look at the list, and perhaps you too can add some more names - lest anyone be forgotten?

-Ernest Schmatolla

Thursday, April 07, 2011

The Royal Wedding of Prince William & Catherine Middleton

  Why Kate Could Be A 'Posh' Bride

The palace just announced the schedule for the royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton and was forthcoming on plenty of details (two receptions! five bridesmaids!) except one -- who will be designing the wedding dress. Kate is reportedly determined that no one learn the name of the designer because, says one royal insider, "She wants William to be wowed when he sees her walking down the aisle in the Abbey." No doubt he won't be the only one who will be dazzled.

Who will Kate choose to dress her for the most important day of her life? The name of the designer who will be creating the most photographed dress of the year is said to be one of the most closely guarded secrets in recent memory. While McQueen's Sarah Burton has been on the media's short list for months (she has denied it), there are other contenders like one-time Princess Diana favorite Bruce Oldfield who is also said to be in serious contention. Lookonline's entertainment editor Diane Clehane reveals why she thinks Catherine may opt to be a 'Posh' bride on her wedding day and give Victoria Beckham the PR hit of a lifetime. Read the inside story and get the hour-by-hour wedding day schedule here:

Click here for the full report

Monday, April 04, 2011

Results of our Fashion Industry Poll:

Ralph Rucci is Chosen in Our Poll as the Most Consistently Creative American Designer

Ralph Rucci
(Photo credit: Isabelle Erb)

The question was: "If you had to pick 5 current American fashion designers whose work you thought was the most consistently creative and original (not necessary the best selling) who would you pick?"

The response: 84 mostly all who work in the fashion industry either as a designer, retailer, publicist or educator. Here are the top 5 designers ranked by percentage of the total vote:

1. Ralph Rucci 14.2%
2. Marc Jacobs 11.9%
3. Francisco Costa 8.3%
4. Isabel Toledo 7.1%
5  Narciso Rodriquez, Ralph Lauren and Donna Karan tied with 5.9% each

Other designers include:

6.   Betsey Johnson 4.7%
7.   Michael Kors 3.5%
8.   Noma Kamali 3.5%
9.   Badgley Mischka 2.3%
10. Rodarte 2.3.%

There were over 35 other designers with 1% or less of the votes.