Thursday, April 26, 2012

Woman to Woman: Toe-to-Toe

Elsa Schiaparelli shoe hat

 True fashion design geniuses are always thinking, conceptualizing, and pushing the envelope. They have been singled out by the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and have been the subject of one of their major exhibitions. In just a little over one week, the Costume Institute (  ) will unveil “Elsa Schiaparelli and Miuccia Prada: Impossible Conversations". According to the press release, "Iconic ensembles will be presented with videos of simulated conversations between Schiaparelli and Prada directed by Baz Luhrmann, focusing on how both women explore similar themes in their work through very different approaches".

Miuccia Prada Spring 2011 Collection

The two iconic designers from two different eras not only share their Italian heritage, but their pioneering out-of-the-box thinking, artistic creativity, and often unorthodox approaches through which they routinely challenged conventional ideas of taste and beauty ("Ugly Chic"). Miuccia Prada once said, "I make ugly clothes from ugly material. Simply bad taste but they end up looking good anyway." - 1995, referring to the season's "bad taste" collection, featuring such styles as Formica check design, which evokes the look of 1970s polyester. They have greatly impacted the fashion landscape and continue to do so, particularly in the case of Miuccia Prada whose collections, like them or not, are always influential.

Dali inspired "lobster dress" by Schiaparelli

Elsa Schiaparelli (1890-1973) was influenced by the Dada and Surrealist movements and had many collaborations with Salvador Dali. She is long considered to be one of the most important figures in fashion between the two World Wars, along with her greatest rival Coco Chanel, whose legacy was celebrated by the Costume Institute in 2005 with its blockbuster exhibit, "Chanel". Undeniably, Gabrielle Coco Chanel is still considered to be one of THE most important, influential designers of the 20th century, as she revolutionized the way women dress. According to Harold Koda, Curator in Charge of The Costume Institute, she proposed an "elegantly conceptualized modernism" and in "creating a wardrobe for herself, Chanel invented an idea of the modern woman". "The very name, CHANEL, remains synonymous with uncompromising refinement and seductive flair."

Chanel cap toe pumps

I dare say, if more women took her design philosophies to heart, and perhaps heeded some of her innumerable sage quotes, there would be a lot more well dressed gals out there. Many women overthink, overdo and completely miss the point. It's really not that complicated. As she succinctly put it, "Simplicity is the keynote to all true elegance." By the way, I am not trying to portray the late great designer as a saint; she certainly had her faults, flaws, and failings. But when it came to style and fashion, she knew what she was talking about.

Some of CC's most memorable quotes which are worth keeping in mind:

"Women think of all colors except the absence of color. I have said that black has it all. White too. Their beauty is absolute. It is the perfect harmony.”

“I imposed black; it still going strong today, for black wipes out everything else around."

"Luxury is the opposite of vulgarity."

"A woman can be over dressed, but never over elegant."

“You can be gorgeous at thirty, charming at forty, and irresistible for the rest of your life.”

" "In order to be irreplaceable, one must always be different."

“Fashion is architecture: it is a matter of proportions.”

"Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion has to do with ideas. The way we live. what is happening."

"A woman with good shoes is never ugly." (Unfortunately, there have been a lot of shoes out there that are not only Not good, they are downright UGLY).

"Elegance is refusal." (I would hope that elegant women everywhere "refuse" to buy these horrible shoes).

"Fashion is meant to become unfashionable." (Mercifully, many of these horrendous styles quickly disappear in order to make way for the next 'flavor of the month').
"Fashion fades; style is eternal." (So true, and while styles, especially shoe styles, may come and go, in my opinion, there is nothing more eternal and more enduring than the cap toe pump popularized by the iconic designer. She also said, "A girl should be two things, CLASSY and FABULOUS, and these certainly fill the bill).
Originally created in nude leather, finished off with a black cap toe (see above photo). Mme. Chanel was well aware that these were not only completely versatile, (a perfect neutral which went with everything), but amazingly leg lengthening. Unsurprisingly, the House of Chanel has presented endless variations on the theme through the years.

Chanel espadrilles

 There are square toes, pointy toes, round toes, sling backs and closed pumps. Also delicate, wafer thin soles and hefty platforms, ankle straps, t straps, and Mary Janes. Heels in every shape, width, and height, from demure Sabrinas to mile high stilettos. In CC's words, "Luxury must be comfortable otherwise it is not luxury", so thankfully, there are uber comfortable ballet flats including some that are infant and toddler sized (the tinier the cuter). Not to mention perfect-for-summer rope soled cotton espadrilles, which are $395 and available at Chanel boutiques. I have even seen screen printed t shirts emblazoned with the iconic shoe. As for color, they have been shown in every shade and color combination imaginable. The best are still nude, white or off white, accentuated with the signature black toe. In terms of material, they are constructed of leather, suede, satin, cotton, hemp, metallic, and nubby hounds tooth weaves.

Phoebe Philo for Celine cap toed pumps

Chanel once observed, "Hard times arouse an instinctive desire for authenticity". I completely agree that the best, most classic versions are still the originals - some dating back decades. They can be found on EBay, at vintage stores, on vintage websites, and even at thrift shops if you're lucky. Of course, you can always buy current updated versions at Chanel boutiques and select stores around the world. But that doesn't mean there haven't been fantastic interpretations by other designers, which stay true to the originals but are different enough to be highly distinctive. For example, for fall 2012, Phoebe Philo for Celine changed it up by substituting burgundy for the traditional black cap on her pointy toed white pumps with high sculptural heels.

Manolo Blahnik boots for Ralph Rucci

And then there are the insanely fabulous boots expressly made by Manolo Blahnik for Ralph Rucci's fall 2012 collection (they are available by special order). In clear plastic, the heels and tips are constructed of either water snake (in a muted multi-colored shade), or velvet (fig, petrol, and black). They perfectly accessorized what I believe to be one of Mr. Rucci's best, most well restrained collections to date. It is one that perfectly illustrates Chanel's beliefs:  "Simplicity is the keynote to all true elegance", "Black has it all. White too. Their beauty is absolute. It is the perfect harmony" and "Fashion is architecture: it's a matter of proportions."
Cap toe Yosi Samra Two-Tone nude and black ballerina flats

As I always love a bargain (but only if it looks far more expensive than it is), I have to mention Yosi Samra's fold up two-tone leather ballet flats with top stitching at the elastic line, which come in a drawstring pouch ( ). They are available in white, nude, and red with black cap toe, and in a variety of metallics, $66- $70. But, in terms of price, nothing can beat Dexter's Claire $29.99 scrunch flats available at Payless,  which explains why they are pretty much sold out at stores  and on line. That said, depending on your size, you may get lucky and find them somewhere.

-Marilyn Kirschner

Monday, April 23, 2012

What's Old Is New Again

Pocketbook's 80's Gianfranco Ferre chocolate brown nappa leather jacket

I sometimes think I have enough of everything and cannot possibly fit one more thing into my already overstuffed closets. But that's never stopped me from looking, and as they say, there's always "room for one more", especially where vintage is concerned. It's not just the thrill of the hunt, but the allure of the serendipity element inherent in shopping vintage. The anticipation of not knowing what you will find, the prospect of unearthing that perfect something you did not know you needed, but after spotting it, know you have to have it because it would really rev up your wardrobe.

There is also the one-of-a-kind allure. And even if an item is not unique, it's certainly not mass produced like the Celine and YSL carryalls featured in Bill Cunningham's column ("Upsize") in The New York Times yesterday. I have tried to understand the herd mentality, where everyone is carrying the same expensive bag, or wearing the same shoes. I think It is all about security in numbers and lack of confidence in one's own taste and instincts. (If everyone has it, it must be good, right?) While the pictures of all those women carrying the exact same bag may be great to illustrate Bill's article, for me, it speaks volumes.  There is far greater joy in relying on, and using one's own taste as a guide than depending upon the taste of others.

As I mentioned last week, one of my favorite destinations for scouring 'one of' vintage, is the tri-annual Manhattan Vintage Clothing Show at the Metropolitan Pavillion, which just took place this past Friday and Saturday ( ). Superbly organized by David Ornstein, his son Adam, and Maureen McGill, this "ultimate vintage shopping experience" is now in it's15th year at this location, allowing more than 75 of the country's "top vintage clothing and antiques dealers" to come together under one roof for 2 days.

I was there on both days and surprisingly, I did not spot anyone I knew on Friday, (that is traditionally the day when designers and their reps scout and shop). But on Saturday, Francisco Costa was there with his niece, waiting outside before the doors opened at 11AM. We chatted about a variety of things, all fashion related of course, and while said he wasn't looking for anything in particular, he loves attending this show.

Francisco told me the 60's and 70's are his favorite decades for fashion, but also said the 30's held great appeal for him. When he approvingly commented on my monotone black-and-white outfit, I asked what colors he had in mind for the spring collection (to be shown in September). He admitted he was feeling for color, but was not specific. When we entered the lobby of the Metropolitan Pavillion, he was immediately taken by the ultra chic vintage 60's black Gucci dress on display, it was very Calvin Klein in its minimalist simplicity, and effectively accessorized with a gleaming silver modernist pendant by Pierre Cardin, also from the 60's. (The dress was courtesy Daybreak Vintage, and the necklace, from Cherry Vintage)

 (By the way, this, and several other ensembles, were part of a special exhibit: "Out There Wear: Futuristic Fashions", in celebration of the creators in the 60's who thought "out of the box" and brought us "bold edgy, defiant" designs that generated the Youthquake).

While there were a few new faces among the nearly 100 exhibitors, I almost always find myself attracted to the 'usual suspects': those tried and true vendors who always attend the big shows in the city and whose booths seem to compel me to stop by, take a closer look, and all too often, open up my wallet. In many instances, many of these same people conveniently set up shop here in New York, or have websites.

These are some of the things that caught my eye this time around, in random order:

Vintage With a Twist's chic and utterly timeless 70's Marimekko coatdress in graphic ivory and black, ($350); the oddity of the funky 80's jean jacket embellished with bottle caps; and the beautiful black raffia coat and unlined dress made in Italy ($450, $255), 914 924 5006;  (Elaine Klausman)

In addition to the aforementioned black Gucci dress on display in the lobby, Daybreak Vintage's dizzying array of costume jewelry (rings, pins, etc.); the graphic vintage Etro man's dinner jacket and Maureen McGill's always wonderful selection of separates (some really natty blazers and great summer dresses, not to mention her 50's and 60's straw bags, whether in graphic patterns, strong colors, or chic natural versions (518 434 4312;;

New/Found Vintage Concept Studio's gingham checked platform espadrilles by Christian Louboutin ($300) looked right on and 'new' and guess what? They are (relatively new rather than vintage, anyway according to owner Richard Wainwright. I guess that explains the name of his company!) I also liked his cache of bold gold pieces from the 80's, from icons like Lagerfeld, Lacroix, and Isabel Canovas (I loved the latter's mouse earrings) (310 383 5939, )

Veteran Marlene Wetherell's well trained discerning eye is always on view in her stellar collection, and while she has great non label treasures, she is known for her designer pieces such as an utterly fabulous and iconic vintage YSL black tuxedo with large diamante buttons, bold gold modernist collars and necklaces from the 80's, and her stache of vintage YSL scarves, all bearing the creator's mouthwatering color combinations (Ms. Wetherell has a permanent shop at the Show Place, Gallerie 210, 40 West 25th Street, 917 225 0662, )

It was hard NOT to notice Pocketbook's 80's Gianfranco Ferre chocolate brown nappa leather jacket (see lead photo) - with insanely over the top gold buttons in the shape of lions heads (the epaulets were also gold lion heads),$1200, as well as the selection of vintage straw bags (including one from Coach, another from Moschino, and one from late 50's with brown leather trim, ranging from $65 - $125). Now that summer is coming, it's fun to switch from leather to straw, but finding a really chic or distinctive looking straw bag, that does not look like a common beach bag, is not always that easy. Pocketbook (Susan Bergin, NYC Garage Booth #63, 215 813 6941, )

I always find something at Lulu's Vintage Lovelies. This time, my eye went to the huge bejeweled dragonfly pin by Larry Verba $295; the vintage starfish pin in gold with tiny pearls; the eye catching statement making necklaces and bibs; the decidedly deco embellished 20's cap; a chic floor length striped cotton sleeveless shirtdress with a Bonwit Teller label; a black lace dress from the 50's from the original store at the Waldorf Astoria; THE perfect pair of simple black suede pumps from England (under $100) and a fantastic black open work crochet pullover in heavy black tape ($275) Lulu's Vintage Lovelies, Yardena 212 684 7193; )

Deirdre Geary's corner booth (De Jewels), is so crammed with bracelets and especially, necklaces, (on gold or silver chains in every length, width, size), they resembled a gilded ornate curtain. Her selection is dizzying, (ranging from $50-$500, with most in the $200-$300 range), but since it's the springtime, the pieces that stood out for me were the nature themed necklaces with prominent frogs, butterflies, elephants, lizards, and giraffes, and turtles -- whether plain, enameled, or bejeweled. And the enormous gold fish ($250) stole my heart. (212 228 6445 )

Graphic silk scarves (over sized squares and oblongs) from the 60's bearing iconic names like YSL, Chanel, Pucci, and Jean Patou never lose their appeal, and they were standouts at Honeysuckle & Hearts Vintage (approximately $140). (Oana Stan, 917 374 8400 & honeysuckleandhearts/  )

It's obvious why the Andy Warhol image of Marilyn Monroe affixed to Philip Treacy's elongated clutch caught MY eye at Sarah Steinitz Paris, $650, right? ( &, 33 (0) 6 73 50 14 46)

Lofty Vintage's quirky, eclectic selections are always displayed to maximum effect and always attract my attention. I was drawn to the funky 60's hat; the over sized chain link necklaces in real tortoise and one by KJL in white resin, (or was it plastic?), $225 each. Also, the miniature Koret white straw bag with gold hardware and colorful yarn trim ($250); the whimsical straw bags (two, in the shape of a fish, and one, in black-and-white straw, shaped like a dog), and the dramatic, iconic, colorful and graphic pleated Issey Miyake caftan ($750) which was on display overhead. (Andrea Hall Levy, 646 705 6465; & )

I just had to try on Retrostop Vintage and Couture's Christian Lacroix hot pink bolero with black pom poms and trim ($1200, 80's or 90's). I decided it would look amazing with black narrow high waisted pants (very Balenciaga, I might add) (215 579 1674, & )

The transformative nature of great, distinctive eye glass frames, which were on display at Duchess Art & Antiques (they specialized in frames from the 50's through the 90's in pristine condition) was not lost on Mr. Boniuk, the proprietor's husband. He illustrated how quickly he can go from "Woody Allen to Eurotrash" in an instant by simply removing his nerdy horn-rimmed frames and changing to a pair of vintage Cazal's (the iconic German label from the 80's, featured in Michael Jackson's MTV video, 'Bad', $500). (Vivien Boniuk, 917 710 1130, 212 645 1206)

Speaking of transformative, nothing changes the look of the wearer better than a hat, and I could not help but notice more than a few women trying on whimsical chapeaux. I couldn't help but wonder if any of them were trying to find the perfect hat to wear to the upcoming Frederick Law Olmsted Awards Luncheon, at the glorious Central Park Conservancy, THE spectacular hat event held at the glorious Central Park Conservancy, always takes place on the first Wednesday in May, and this year, it is May 2nd.(

-Marilyn Kirschner

Thursday, April 19, 2012


The Fashion Law Institute is the world’s first center dedicated to law and the business of fashion.

The Fashion Law Institute presents its 2nd annual symposium, FASHION = ART + COMMERCE, a daylong event on Friday, April 20, at Fordham Law School featuring discussions by experts in the fashion, legal, financial, and governmental arenas about cutting-edge topics in fashion law – and a Q&A and fashion show with internationally renowned designer Yeohlee Teng. The even runs from 9:15 am – 6:00 pm April 20 at Fordham Law School, 140 W. 62nd Street (between Columbus and Amsterdam).

A nonprofit organization created with the generous support and advice of the Council of Fashion Designers of America and its president, Diane von Furstenberg and located at Fordham Law School, the Institute offers training for the fashion lawyers and designers of the future, provides legal services for design students and professionals, and makes available information and assistance on issues facing the fashion industry.

 “Whether your focus is money or models, during the symposium we will explore the question: Can you balance the fashion equation?” said Fordham Law Professor and Academic Director of the Fashion Law Institute Susan Scafidi. For example, explained Scafidi, “The IPO panel includes a lawyer who worked on the wildly successful Michael Kors IPO, which has turned heads across the industry. But does going public make sense for other fashion houses? The ADmonishments panel will illustrate recent controversial ads and actions – Britain has banned ads by L'Oreal, Marc Jacobs, and Axe; model Filippa Hamilton claimed she was fired for being too fat and that she'd been hyper-photoshopped in Ralph Lauren ads; Israel just adopted not only a minimum BMI law for models but also a requirement that altered images carry what is essentially a warning label. Can legal counsel, marketing departments, and public policy advocates like the Model Alliance and Off Our Chests find common ground?”

New York City Council Member Margaret Chin, whose district includes Canal Street, Te Smith of MarkMonitor, and representatives from the International Anti-Counterfeiting Coalition and the International Trademark Association will each present proposals related to fighting fake fashion during the second panel, Beyond Whac-a-Mole: New Initiatives in Intellectual Property Enforcement. The MarkMonitor presentation will include new case studies and data from the world of ecommerce and interactive marketing.

During the concluding reception, Yeohlee Teng, an internationally renowned designer with a particular commitment to New York City’s Garment District, will discuss her career and her inspirations, and then send a selection of her current work down the runway. “In 2010 she opened the only designer retail boutique in the Garment District – not the most glamorous of neighborhoods -- to draw attention there, and is very committed to having her work made in New York. She's the epitome of art+commerce,” said Scafidi.


· 9:30-10:45am IPO, Yes or No?
Recent high-profile IPOs in the fashion industry raise questions of if, when, why, how and where a fashion company should list itself on a public exchange. IPOs can raise money for a fashion house to expand, allow founders and early investors to cash out, and give a label greater clout – but IPOs also open the company’s financial statements to the public and subject management to the volatility of markets and the wishes of shareholders. How does a creatively driven business determine whether it’s a go for an IPO?

· 11:00am-12:30pm Beyond Whac-a-Mole: New Initiatives in IP Enforcement
Brand protection experts frequently describe the challenges of their work in terms of the arcade game Whac-a-Mole – counterfeiters pop up, intellectual property owners smack them down, counterfeiters pop up again. But fashionable trademark holders and their advocates have a few new ideas to share, including new case studies and data from the world of ecommerce and interactive marketing.

· 2:15-3:30pm BRIColage: Emerging Patterns in Fashion and International Trade
The BRIC countries – Brazil, Russia, India, and China – are the fastest-growing and largest emerging markets in the world. Each country already plays a significant role in the fashion industry, whether in design, manufacturing, consumption, or all three. They are also, however, facing intellectual property challenges, increasing labor costs, and opposition to trade agreements amongst their citizens. How will the BRIC countries change the face of the global fashion industry?

· 3:45-5:00pm ADmonishments: Where Fashion Law and Advertising Meet
In advertising, fashion’s creative directors often pursue the avant-garde, while fashion lawyers must remain on guard. From British bans on controversial ads to Israeli and proposed French regulation of modified images to the invention of digital modification detection software, fashion advertising is coming under greater scrutiny. In the U.S., the proposed Media and Public Health Act (formerly the Self Esteem Act) continues this trend, raising questions about who should control artistic images created in the service of commerce.

5:00-6:00pm CONVERSATION & FASHION SHOW with Designer Yeohlee Teng.

Fordham Contact:
Media contact: Robin Wagge, Rubenstein Associates, 212 843 8006,  

Isabel Toledo: Style AND Substance

Last week, I made mention of a new and highly noteworthy style book, Roots of Style: Weaving Together Life, Love and Fashion by Isabel Toledo with illustrations by her husband Ruben Toledo. At that time, I had only read press releases and skimmed the book’s introduction for clues as to what would be found within the 367 pages. But now that I have sunk my teeth into the gloriously entertaining, informative, and inspirational read, I wanted to share what I have discovered.

In addition to the many revealing insights into what makes Isabel tick as a person and artist (she does not consider herself to be a designer but a “seamstress, a maker of clothes) the book is filled with innumerable wise “personal credos and observations”. It also includes her thoughts on what constitutes style versus fashion. It's a subject that has been broached by others ad nauseum. But, in my opinion, almost nobody has verbalized it better, or as eloquently as Isabel. Considering the fact that she is not a trained writer, and this is her first book, that is quite an accomplishment (yet knowing her, it is hardly surprising!)

Below are just some of Isabel's observations and bon mots. They serve to remind us why we love Isabel and respect her as an artist. And why great, well thought out design matters:

Style vs. Fashion:

“Style belongs to no one, and to everyone”

“We are all born with a history and a style DNA. People with style, dress in harmony with their inner most, authentic selves.”

“The allure of personal style is to be in accordance with yourself first, and, by natural extension, with the world. Style is eternal. Fashion is all surface. Style blossomed before fashion arrived on the scene. Fashion introduced an international style so that no matter where we are from, or what land we come from, we have a common language- the language of fashion.”

“Fashion is as unpredictable as humanity itself. We all participate in fashion, whether we sew it, champion it, pretend to ignore it, or detest it.”

“Fashion is ephemeral. The flavor of the day and useful for refueling your style inspiration when you feel you've run out of gas. Fashion is easy to apply because it's all surface. Style, on the other hand, is an effective way to carve out your individuality. Style is content. A person with true style is displaying a fertile and thinking mind.”

"Fashion may be the most democratic of all the art forms because we all have to go through the ritual of dressing ourselves.”
What makes Isabel Tick:

“Independent women are part of my DNA”.

“Everything I create is an extension of who I am who what I believe. This is why I rely on my intuiton and feelings when I approach a design.”

“Growing up and watching the women all around me express their emotions through clothing taught me that fashion can be an extension of your inner vision, reinforcing your individuality and style.”

“Fashion design begins with the sewing machine and pattern making table. I think of myself as a seamstress. A maker of clothing rather than a fashion person.”

“I design and make clothes that fit well, and allow my women to walk freely and purposefully down the street in full stride. When Paper’s Kim Hastreiter once reviewed one of my early collections, she wrote: “these clothes are for women who do not need men”. I completely understood what she meant as the cut of my early collections featured fearless and imposing shapes, soft armor for strong women.”

“My collections are woven from the threads of my own experiences.”

“Great designs represent the logical, timeless, well engineered, and well constructed”.

“How I make clothes today is about how I think and feel which in turn reflects how and where I grew up.”

“Understanding how something is built ensures that I can achieve my creative thought, thus reaching the highest quality in my designs".

"Today, my fascination with the insides of things, and with the ingenuity of how things are constructed, remains at the core of my aesthetic."

“It isn’t the abundance of choices and supplies that make you creative but the energy and originality you bring to the materials you have at hand.”  
Inspirational Words of Wisdom:
“Clothing can protect your vulnerabilities, enhance your strength, and highlight your potential. It can help you stand out and be noticed. Or, if you choose, clothing can help you comfortably hide in plain sight. What’s so great is that you get to make that call.”

“Clothing can enhance our powers of communication but only if we feel comfortable within the second skin. In this sense, fashion is a tool of self- expression that should set us free.”

“The interaction between body and cloth crates an emotion which can affect the mood of a person wearing that garment”.

"Fashion design moves forward when people think for themselves and dress their own minds and moods."

“When you are in touch with your inner self, your outer self projects balance and confidence.”

“The beauty in the quality of an object surpasses the question of taste. Quality looks good even as it decays. This is why I say that if you have the discipline, buy less, but buy better”. If you can afford to buy the best, eventually pass it on, because it will most likely outlive you."
Speaking of which, I cherish my beloved vintage pieces and appreciate their authenticity and integrity. I know full well that certain things stand the test of time, get better as they age, and cannot be improved upon. Among my "go-to" sources: vintage websites such as , , , , , .

And of course, I never miss the always amazing Manhattan Vintage Clothing Show at the Metropolitan Pavillion, 125 West 18th Street, which takes place on Friday, April 20th, and Saturday, April 21st (

-Marilyn Kirschner

Thursday, April 12, 2012

What a Gem!

And I'm not just referring to the Important Estate Jewelry which will be auctioned at Doyle New York ( on April 16th (over 600 enviable lots by such iconic makers as Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, Buccellati, Tiffany & Co., and David Webb to be exact). There's no denying the impossibly dazzling appeal of the high carat weight diamond rings, bracelets, brooches, earrings, fine watches, objets de vertu, elegant compacts, cigarette cases, and compacts, representing the Victorian, Edwardian, Art Nouveau, Art Deco, and Modern eras. But last evening, during the course of an exhibition preview at the famed auction house, it was obvious that the real life gems were Isabel and Ruben Toledo, the impossibly talented duo, who where there to celebrate the publication of:

Roots of Style: Weaving Together Life, Love and Fashion
By Isabel Toledo with illustrations by Ruben Toledo.
Click Here to Buy Book

Talk about a labor of love. While the prolific and creative couple make beautiful music together on a regular basis, are always in perfect harmony with one another, and have successfully collaborated on many things in life, this is their first book. And as anyone who has put pen to paper knows, writing can truly be a labor of love (often times without the love part). 6 months in the making, the end product is yet another example of just how in sync this couple is, as Ruben's artwork makes Isabel's words truly come alive.

Isabel told me that she wrote all her notes in longhand (rather than computerize them), and it was only when Ruben said "I have the perfect illustration to go along with that thought", that it was included in the final edit. In the introduction, Isabel describes the entire writing process as a "vulnerable and intimate undertaking, not unlike the process of making clothes". She goes on to say that style and fashion "inspires optimism" for her, and gives her the tools to communicate. She also observes that "fashion is what time looks like", and admits that when Michelle Obama wore her coat and dress "on that gloriously frozen Inauguration Day, I was woven into time and into history itself".

This is a very revealing and personal look inside the life, mind, and soul of one of our generation’s most revered fashion designers. Isabel hopes to inspire those who read it to "follow their instincts, trust their individuality, and discover their own personal style signature". Speaking of individuality and style, the subject of Raf Simons, (Dior's new designer), came up and the Toledos said he is a friend and they agree it is a wonderful choice. I for one, completely concur as I have always been a big fan of Mr. Simons'. I appreciate his aesthetic, which has been consistent from the start. His designs are always beautiful, smart, chic, supremely luxurious in a most modern way, and perfectly balanced, and he never demeans or insults women. He is never funny or ironic, as so many other designers can be (and we know who they are, right?)

-Marilyn Kirschner

Saturday, April 07, 2012

Better Bets by Rhonda Erb

Dooney & Bourke Rainboots

These colorful rainboots will keep your feet dry and during the month of April they are specially priced. They come in red or navy rubber and have Dooney & Bourke signature lining.

Available at: , $78.00 from 04/01/12 – 04/30/12

Click here for more Better Bets