Thursday, September 27, 2012

Better Bets - by Rhonda Erb

Clarins Beauty Flash Blog:

This is the place to go for beauty and fashion news, tips and tricks, courtesy of the French beauty brand, Clarins. The name of the blog was inspired by Clarins Beauty Flash Balm, the “ Instant Radiance Booster” that wakes up tired skin (it is also a great base for foundation). Check out their Bellevision posts to find out how actresses Julie Bowen and Julia Louis-Dreyfus got their Emmy winning looks wearing Clarins cosmetics.

Go to more Better Bets for Fall

Thursday, September 20, 2012

"Dreaming in Black & White" - by Marilyn Kirschner

Marc Jacob's Spring 2013 Collection
(Photo: Randy Brooke)

An article that ran in The New York Times Thursday Style section, July 25, 2012, "A decision Unshaded by Doubts", by Katharine P. Jose, grabbed my attention. It chronicled the writer's personal decision to fore go all colors and wear only black & white.

It was the fall of 2008, following the death of her father after a long illness, and she immediately thought, "From now on I think I’m going to wear black & white, only." The appeal was simple: "It represents something: the sharp contrasts that can’t be sharper, the simplicity of it". She said that she came to "experience this wardrobe restriction as a pleasant and very manageable state of affairs" and noted, "I have never looked back at colors, and I am never tempted". "I sort of like seeing my closet almost entirely monochrome; it’s peaceful."

I completely identified with what she said and agreed with her observations. I too have been drawn to black & white, and have always preferred this duality to all others. Plus, it allows one to make endless combinations, and even get dressed in the dark, as everything goes with everything. It's so simple, so easy, and all but foolproof (there's something to be said about these qualities, given our chaotic world and our chaotic lives).

I have found myself many times toying with idea of editing my closet and shopping habits accordingly. Theoretically, I loved the challenge it represented but wondered if I could actually show such self discipline and restraint ( I'd quickly think of how much I would miss navy, khaki, red, the glorious colors of the rainbow, and of course, my vintage Pucci's, which I periodically pull out from time to time).

Then Marc Jacobs unveiled his spring 2013 collection during Mercedes Benz Fashion Week, and it was almost an entire study in black & white. It looked so good, so fresh, so modern, so right, and so appealing, I immediately wanted to follow suit. Actually, I guess you can say I became obsessed.

Proenza Schouler Spring 2013 Collection

Black & white was also the star on many other highly influential runways, including Calvin Klein, Chado Ralph Rucci, Narcisco Rodriguez, Alexander Wang, Proenza Schouler, Ohne Titel, and Rag & Bone, and in some cases, it was enlivened with flashes of strong color, which looked great as well. It has been said that "Color is what makes black & white, BLACK AND WHITE", and it's so true. There's also no question that applying this trick makes sticking to the formula much easier, and more realistic.

Even Ms. Jose admitted that she made some concessions to her pared down palette. Outerwear and accessories "were exempted" (in 2007 she bought a red Built by Wendy red wool coat that she loves). For sentimental reasons, as well as for sheer practicality, she uses old t-shirts and dips into her extensive scarf collection, (both of which she "could not part with"), and sometimes adds gray, denim, and silver to the mix.

J.Crew Tipped Peacoat in antique white and black $298

The beauty of black & white, is that it is completely democratic, readily available at every price point, and it shows up in every conceivable category, from ready-to-wear and accessories to items for the home. These are a few examples, (and they don't all break the bank): J.Crew's tipped Pea coat in antique white with black, $298, ; Izola's Paris shower curtain ($18.75), ; MacKenzie-Childs' iconic Courtly Check Enamelware ($65 - $495), ; the vintage Chanel tray table in black with white,  (price upon request);

Black & white ceramic cocktail ring

black & white custom drapes with chevon stripes ($165), a white vase with bulls-eye black rings ($32), chunky knitted triple black & white infinity scarf ($65), 1.9 inch black & white ceramic cocktail ring, ($28), black & white zebra printed ceramic butter dish ($29,) and checkerboard dinner plates, ($35), all available on ; and Marimekko's black & white striped Tasaraita Mug ($22), .

Marimekko's iconic Kivet patterned bedding

If you so desire, you can not only wear it, eat on it, sit on it, put butter on it, and live with it in every room of your house, you can also literally dream in black & white, thanks to Marimekko's iconic Kivet and Kaivo patterned duvets and bed linens ($39.95- $140), available at  and .

Friday, September 14, 2012

NY Fashion Week Notes: Final Day

Spring Is 'Bust'ing Out All Over

Spring 2013 Calvin Klein reed silk cotton mirelle bustier

Francisco Costa officially ended Mercedes Benz Fashion Week yesterday afternoon with his spring 2013 Calvin Klein collection. He did so on an upbeat, high note -- as usual. A true minimalist whose work defines the architectural oeuvre, he consistently proves to be a master of cut, shape, silhouette, fabrication, and proportion, and his latest effort was yet another example of his expertise.

Working in a signature color palette of black, white, ivory, reed, putty, and ether, he threw in a shade that was called 'acid', but it was hardly neon.  The collection was undeniably provocative and erotic, but it was also rather subtle with the overall effect remaining elegant and architectural. (Quite frankly, the only thing NOT subtle, is the overall effect achieved, Francisco's flawless taste level, and his formidable talent).

Black double faced matte satin conical bustier and scoop neck dress

The emphasis was on the bust, and that was achieved through the use of conical bustiers and corsets throughout. Continuing on with the lingerie inspired undertone was Francisco's inspired use of abstract and guipure lace, (both black & white), and they formed the bases for a group of dresses. It was pointed out that this collection had some of the shortest dresses the designer has presented thus far - there was nothing long. In addition to the bust, the leg, and the waist were focal points.

Ether double faced matte satin double breasted coat black silk crepe ankle zip pant

Double faced matte satin, moire, mesh silk crepe, silk/satin, silk/cotton, basket weave silk gazar, birds eye embroidered moire, and silk crepe organza formed the basis for dresses, masterful coats (they had high slits in the back to allow for ease of movement), and jackets, which were shown with skirts or cropped pants. The jackets were standouts and they benefited from details such as the addition of a 'fin' in back, or a peplum like flare (just when I thought I could not bear to look at anything resembling a peplum, Francisco proved that when something is done beautifully, it always looks right).

There were no accessories to detract, but for the narrow black polished calf belts encircling the waists, and a platform pump with a faceted heel which added the perfect balance to the clothes. While it's true nothing is new under the sun when it comes to fashion, after looking at this collection, you could have me thinking otherwise.

FYI, each seat had a bottle of the Calvin Klein fragrance"Beauty", and the collection was certainly that.

'Tool' Time Guy

Spring  2013 Ralph Lauren black suede  jacket trimmed with scrolled leather & ivory sable evening dress

Earlier in the day, another icon of American fashion, Ralph Lauren, showed two back-to-back shows at the Skylight Studios on Hudson Street, and it was about as different from what Francisco Costa presented as could possibly be. Then again, Ralph really didn't look like anyone else this season, and while that is not unusual as he usually goes his own way, I don't think he has ever used Spain and Mexico as a jumping off point for a collection. Who knows why? Maybe it's a delayed reaction to the "Balenciaga: Spanish Master" exhibit at the Queen Sophia Spanish Institute of a few years ago. Or maybe he traveled there last year? While the best results were subtle, in many cases the inspiration was taken quite literally and it became a bit costumey.

Black suede hobo with fringe trim and bouquet chiffon evening dress

The color palette emphasized black with red; berets and gaucho hats were used throughout, as was tooled leather, which decorated suede jackets and was used for bags (in addition to scrolled leather). There was black crochet and touches of long black leather fringe, which trimmed bags, pants, and one black dress.

Black silk faille embroidered jacket, black silk top, black silk layered organza evening skirt

Then there were the rather obvious multi-colored serapes, which were shown in a variety of ways: a silk chiffon evening dress, done up in multi-colored serape stripes, was paired with a black suede jacket trimmed with tooled leather; the traditional serape was the cover up of choice for a black silk chiffon evening dress; and it added a touch of color and a helping of Latin flavor to a classic white cotton broadcloth shirt and black double face wool pant.

Red scroll leather bag

Ralph used gold (with black) lavishly for fall 2012, and it continued for spring, taking on a more elaborate, ornate feeling.. A black double faced wool cropped troubadour pant was trimmed with gold embroidery on the side; a black organza bolero trimmed with gold embroidery was shown over a black silk shantung pant; a gold lame beaded bolero was paired with a black raffia skirt; an organza vest with gold embroidery was paired with a white ruffled sleeve blouse and black laser cut leather jodhpurs, and a black silk faille jacket with gold embroidery, shown with a black silk layer organza evening skirt, closed the show.

- Marilyn Kirschner

THE DAILY BET - By Rhonda Erb

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Thursday, September 13, 2012

New York Fashion Week Notes

What's Black & White, and "Read" All Over?

Spring 2013 Michael Kors double face tricotine shift
(All photos:

In addition to , (I would hope), these past days, it would have to be The Daily Front Row, which, along with WWD, The New York Times fashion supplements, and a number of other show and fashion related material, was handed out to show goers each day at The Lincoln Center venues.

On Wednesday morning, heading into The Theatre, to see Michael Kors' spring collection, we were greeted with the latest edition, featuring an eye popping cover. It was a graphic black & white homage to Marc Jacobs, whose well received 6 1/2 minute runway show on Monday night, was a study almost entirely done in varying combinations of black & white, with touches of red and some beige thrown in for good measure.

The cover, featuring a photographic collage of some of Marc's black & white stripes, dots, checks, houndstooth, and leopard print designs, was offset against a swirling, almost psychedelic black & white background to further emphasis the point, and the cover lines read: "Vortex of Chic: Marc's Best 6 1/2 Minutes". The positive reaction to Marc's show is not at all surprising given the universal appeal of iconic black & white. It's one of those fashion statements that never goes out of style and never loses its appeal. It's fresh, eye catching, and a palette cleanser and instantly makes everything else look old hat and demode.

 White navy striped cashmere pullover, white navy striped shantung skirt

When I took my seat, I read Michael's run of show, to see what the collection (for women and men) would look like, and I was happy to see that it promised "geometric glamour", graphic stripes, optical checks, and graphic combos of black and white, among other things. While the main color palette that would define Michael's 65 piece collection, was crimson, navy, and white, with touches of palm (green) and sun (yellow), the navy was so dark, it could really pass for black.

Black & white houndstooth jacquare coat pullover and black stretch silk shorts

Bold stripes, in crimson and navy, and navy and white, began the show, and it looked snappy, sporty, and terrific. Shapes kept sleek, simple, very pared down, and minimal. There were striped and graphically color blocked bodysuits, pullovers, twill coats, shifts, techno twill blazers and pants, paillette skirts, shorts, and maillots. One particular standout was the white and navy striped cashmere pullover with a white and navy striped shantung pleated skirt. When red was used, it made quite a statement, (a bodysuit with a graphic cut out back, was shown with a crepe duvatine skirt, and a beautifully cut coat in duchesse, was shown with a matching trouser).

Black double face crepe harness gown

It was not until outfit number 52, that the graphic black and white pieces came down the runway, and they looked great. There was a black & white opticheck jacquard shift; a black & white houndstooth jacquard coat, houndstooth pullover, and black stretch shorts; a black and white houndstooth jacquard coat with matching bermudas; a black and white striped pullover shown with black trousers; and black and white striped broadcloth blazer, striped broadcloth shorts, and black cashmere pullover. One of my favorite sweaters (because it was different in the front and back: something Ralph Rucci did in his collection) was actually shown on a guy. It had long sleeves, and while it was black in front, the back was black & white stripes. Michael repeated this in crimson and navy stripes. The show ended with three simple yet dramatic black double face crepe gowns with arresting cut outs: a tank, a halter, and a harness. (We can't see to escape harnesses, can we?)

Yes, Yes, Nanette!

Spring 2013 Nanette Lepore black & white checked skirt with print v neck top

Nanette Lepore showed right after Michael Kors, and her well done 30 piece collection began with a black & white checked wrap dress, accessorized with a wide woven belt. She made a statement with black & white, using it repeatedly (narrow stripes and checks). They took the form of jackets, shorts, skirts, and pants, and were always combined with pieces in a contrasting color and/or print.

Beaded jacket, pistachio knit top, check pants

The best pieces were the pistachio printed jacket with black & white striped shorts; the elongated black and white striped vest worn over a clover applique dress; the white jacket decorated with black beads which was paired with a pistachio knit top and narrow black & white checked pants; and the clover raffia jacket worn with a clover print top and black & white checked shorts.

In addition, she showed swimsuits, black jersey dresses both long and short (with black lace or mesh details), and a group of very pretty dresses in art inspired coral and sky blue prints.

-Marilyn Kirschner

THE DAILY BET - by Rhonda Erb

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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

New York Fashion Week Notes

Oscar's Fountain of Youth

Spring 2013 Oscar de la Renta 
Red latex tank navy wool silk twill blazer, ivory wool silk twill pencil skirt
(All photos:

Remember that now famous line in "When Harry Met Sally", "I'll have what she's having"!? Well, with regards to Oscar de la Renta, all I would do is change the 'she' to 'he'. Talk about finding the Fountain of Youth! Oscar not only doesn't seem to age physically; his youthful joyfulness, enthusiasm, and verve, continue to be apparent in his work. As is his obvious love for women  --you can count on ODLR to make them look chic, beautiful, and elegant.

Shocking pink silk faille ostrich feather embroidered peplum bustier, shocking pink silk faille cocktail shorts

The most recent recipient of the Couture Council of the Museum of FIT's "Artistry in Fashion Award" presented spring 2013 at two back-to-back, fast paced, and upbeat runway shows, last evening using his 26th floor 42nd Street headquarters with dramatic views facing south over the city. It was a testament to his love affair with fashion design, and his desire to keep learning and honing his craft. Subjects he touched upon when he gave his speech at last Wednesday's award luncheon at Lincoln Center.

Black & white vory striped double face duchess satin gown with bow drape

There was amazing variety (in terms of proportion, length, silhouette, mood, fabrication, and color) within the 60 pieces shown (a large show by any comparison), and it was all vintage Oscar, and I don't mean dusty and old: he honed in on his signatures, but tweaked them ever so slightly. There was strong color, but there were also whisper soft pastels, navy, white, black, and of course, graphic combinations of black & white. There was lean and there was voluminous; strict tailleur in the form of rigorously tailored pantsuits, along with frothy flights of fancy; demure knee length dresses as well as saucy cocktail shorts; relatively simplified double face wool crepe and chiffon evening gowns, alongside highly ornamental entrance makers.

White silk faille & ornament tassel embroidered dress with contrast black silk faille back

It was very couture like in mood, execution, technique, and details, and highly textural and tactile, owing to interesting fabrics and fabric mixes that included Chantilly lace, Guipure lace, patchwork, scribble thread work, ornamental cloque, beads, floral embroidery, textured linen, ornamental tassel embroidery, lame mousseline, embroidered tulle, silk crinkle knit, silk faille, and striated yarn tweed. And just when you thought you knew pretty much what you would see at an Oscar de la Renta show, you are surprised. Who would have guessed that latex would be used in conjunction with wool, macrame, silk faille, or ribbon tweed, for example?

By the way, is it me, or are the models getting taller? Maybe it was their towering heels, or their chic and dramatic hairdos (courtesy Orlando Pita), but I could not help but notice just how tall the models seemed to look last night as they walked down the runway.

The 'Jewel' of India

Spring 2013 Vera Wang
Gold embroidered lace cut away sleeveless jacket & white Indian brocade tulip skirt

Vera Wang's 39 piece spring collection, which was presented at The Theatre Tuesday morning, was more colorful and included more embellishments (specifically gold: embroidery, jewels, hammered gold bullion, gold lace) than what one would normally expect from the designer (her signature color is mousey gray, after all). Which is not surprising because the show was dubbed, Out of India, and she was was inspired by the romantic beauty and sensuality of India.

White cotton canvas cut away jacket and white cotton voile dancing skirt

I know Diana Vreeland once proclaimed, "Pink is the navy blue of India", but alas, there was no pink in sight. Instead, there was a lot of white on white, (which opened the show), azure, navy, amethyst, cypress green, chartreuse, and gold.The emphasis was on the "simple strictness of jackets, tunics, and sheaths"; and Vera played with texture, prints, proportion, and volumes, both fluid and structured. And of course, there was layering, which is always a Vera Wang signature. 'Dancing' and 'tulip' skirts were used throughout, as well long pajama pants, and bermudas (some more fitted than others).

Cypress green chantilly hand pieced lace sheath with gold jeweled waist

There were cut away sleeveless jackets; cropped vests; tanks, t-shirts, shells (hardly your average Hanes, mind you as they were lavished in gold); and sheath dresses (many of which had jeweled waists). Speaking of which, jewels were used in unexpected ways. In addition to jeweled waists, there were jeweled pockets, jeweled necklines, and jeweled epaulettes. Fabrics, both sturdy and soft, included cotton canvas, cotton voile, Indian damask, damask faille, silk chiffon, organza, Indian brocade and lace, both guipure and chantilly, and they were effectively used together, creating a play of textures. Actually, it was the lace pieces, especially those done in cypress green, were standouts.

-Marilyn Kirschner

THE DAILY BET -by Rhonda Erb

The Logitech Solar Keyboard Folio for iPad

iPads have become a familiar sight at Fashion Week. You see them in the hands of editors, models and photographers alike. They go everywhere and protecting them is a must. The Logitech Solar Keyboard Folio provides complete protection for the front and back of your new third generation iPad or iPad 2, so you can carry it in your purse or bag with no worries. It comes in four fashionable colors and has practical features like a light powered Bluetooth keyboard and a multiview stand that is perfect for working or watching entertainment.

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Tuesday, September 11, 2012

New York Fashion Week Notes

50 Shades of Timeless Elegance, Lightness and Fluidity

Spring 2013 Carolina Herrera electric orange lace longuette dress

The other day, I sort of joked that I was looking forward to see how Carolina Herrera would translate the current naughty craze of sexy bondage and S&M inspired fashion for spring 2013. Well, unsurprisingly, what was shown on her runway Monday morning at The Theatre, was about as far from that as one could possibly be. Well, almost. She did refer to it as a "flirtatious collection" AND she did use black leather (but only in the form of skinny belts).

Ivory wool crepe halter dress with skinny black snakeskin belt

The soon to be recipient of the prestigious Fashion Group International Superstar Award (, to be given out October 25th (the overall heading of the evening is 'The Dream Catchers'), is known for her timeless elegance, and, in fact, her run of show began with the heading, "Timeless Elegance". She went on to describe spring 2013 as being all about lightness and fluidity, as exemplified by the color palette (pale blue, sea form, glacier, and ivory punched with flashes of eclectic orange) and the fabrics (layered chiffon, organza, tulle overlays, georgette, and lace). It was also graphic, via abstract prints and color blocks, and at times, ornate (thanks to embellishments and embroidery).

Ornate jacquard with three ply crepe sleeve and ornate jacquard A line shorts

The silhouette emphasized a narrow shoulder and a slightly higher waist. As for length, let's just say it seemed to alternate between flounced shorts (done in a highly sophisticated, dressed up couture way, with beautiful blouses or structured, often embellished jackets), and long languid skirts, whether in the form of a long gown, (longuette is how she desribed them), or a separate skirt. Pleats added a sense of ease and movement. This was a decidedly and unapologetically dressed up collection, offering many options for her customers to chose from as they approach the busy spring social season.

And Carolina herself has many options to chose for her big night. My bet is that she will forego everything she showed yesterday, and opt for a signature look comprised of a crisp white shirt, and some fabulous skirt, or even a man tailored tuxedo.

Fifty Shades of Sweet 16

Yeohlee Spring 2013 Collection
(Photos: Ernest Schmatolla)

Yeohlee showed spring 2013 at her headquarters/retail space on West 38th Street. Among those who turned out were WWD's Bobbie Queen, FIT's Patricia Mears, the CFDA's Steven Kolb, and Neiman's Ken Downing. It was short, sweet, and edited down to 16 pieces, almost as short as the 25 piece Marc Jacobs show. His show lasted about 5 minutes and was basically a study in black & white, with myriad takes on bold, graphic, op art inspired stripes. (And just a note, if you haven't already splurged on Marc's cartoonish and over-sized fur hats, jackets with enormous jeweled buttons, or exaggerated square toed pilgrim buckle shoes, Marc's already changed his mind so maybe you should hold off if you're not that into it, and wait until the spring things start arriving).

Yeohlee always begins her design process with a specific point of inspiration and goes from there. This season, she describes it as the "wit and audacity of Andrew Geller's architecture, particularly the Pearlroth double diamond beach shack nestled in the dunes of the Hamptons". That, and the way he respected the simple life, adding a dash of whimsy to his strict geometry. To honor that aesthetic, Yeohlee was intent on practicing sustainability by using materials that are locally and internationally sourced (such as vintage stock and fabric ends).

Yeohlee's color palette (which relied on shades of yellow, orange, lime, ocean blue) was inspired by 50's architecture and futuristic survival tents and as usual, it is the subtle, hidden details that are important such as hidden pockets and linings. Her designs are for definitely NOT for everyone, but they ARE for confident women who feel comfortable in their own skins, and in their fashionable second skins.

Standouts are the v neck multi color silk watercolor dress with asymmetrical hem; the black & white Cutter collarless cotton printed cropped jacket, matching capris, and a white cotton top with asymmetrical shoulder tie. Other looks include the cape like loose and easy vintage pinstripe linen and white stripe jersey and vintage pinstripe linen 'gym' shorts; the chic misty blue (grayish) translucent trench coat (Yeohlee's outerwear is always stellar); the textured white cotton paper seersucker dress with asymmetrical contrast hem, lined in gray, and the metallic pieces decorated with white silk satin organdy squares. The only shoe that was used, was a somewhat pointy toed flat ballerina.

50 Shades of Color and Pattern

Marimekko Runway Spring 2013
(Photos: Zimbio for Marimekko)

Marimekko ( ) , the iconic Finnish company who revolutionized the textile industry with its bold, brilliant, and eye catching prints, is now in it's 60th year (boy, doesn't the time just fly?), so perhaps a better heading would be 60 shades of color and pattern). I have been a fan for decades (won't tell you exactly HOW many), and have been shopping at their wonderful Flagship on 5th and 23rd Street. I recently purchased a large cotton tote in white emblazoned with over-sized black circles, a silk scarf in the same print, a bold black and white striped cross body bag, and a whole bunch of cotton napkins in black and white stripes, dots, and a graphic print.

When I saw that Marimekko was going to have a formal runway show for spring 2013 on Monday, September 10th, at the Highline Studios on West 14th street, I was curious to see what they were doing under the direction of Noora Niinikoski, head of fashion design. I was not disappointed. From the moment I walked in to the venue, I knew it would be happy, upbeat, optimistic, and brimming with color and pattern. Actually, it was literally color and pattern heaven. Every seat was covered with a Marimekko cushion in a different pattern and under every seat, there was a primary colored graphic cotton tote, containing several commemorative books inside.

Model Carmen Dell' Orefice

Many of the guests, including Kay Unger and Alexandra Lebenthal, were dressed in Marimekko designs, both vintage and present, as a fitting homage. As for the show, the 44 pieces were inspired by color block thinking in abstract art, and the colors and patterns found in Finnish nature. The run of show spoke of the "Art of print making" and "color for a reason" (do you really NEED a reason?) The emphasis was on dresses, accessorized with matching or often mismatched patterned clogs or lace up sneakers on a platform, big brimmed hats, cotton totes, armloads of bangles, and bold, colorful resin (or plastic) necklaces. I have to say, they were very much in keeping with what Marni has been doing -- but thankfully, these will undoubtedly be much more affordable.

As for the models, it was a stroke of genius on someone's part, to include modeling icons Carol Alt, Pat Cleveland, Alva Chin, and Carmen Dell' Orefice (she looked amazing seated front row at Chado Ralph Rucci Sunday evening, and appeared on The Today Show Monday morning). It helped reiterate the fact that when something is great, it will always be great, whether it's a person, fashion, design, etc. And not only won't it ever go out of style, but it should get better and better with age. By the way, when the show ended, it was a feeding frenzy as attendees grabbed every cushion that was not nailed down, and then some, before heading out the door (yes, I have to admit, moi included)

- Marilyn Kirschner

THE DAILY BET - by Rhonda Erb

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Monday, September 10, 2012

New York Fashion Week Notes

A (Brush) Stroke of Genius

Ralph Rucci Spring 2013 Collection
(Photo: Udor Photography)

Ralph Rucci's 8 pm show, held at The Theatre, at Lincoln Center was one of his best collections to date. The well edited 55 pieces were a testament to his couture sensibility, his finely honed craft, his fabric innovation and his formidable dressmaking and tailoring skills. Ralph is not only a collector, but an accomplished artist in his own right and that was more than apparent for spring 2013: some of the most standout pieces benefitted from artistic color blocking, color splicing, hand painting, brush strokes and were made into wearable works of art.

Chado Ralph Rucci coral zip front dress

All his signatures were firmly in place (the use of trapunto, horsehair, insets, braiding, feathers), as were his signature fabrics (double face wool, silk jersey, silk gazar, silk cloque, tulle, taffeta, caviar beads, patent), but it was, dare I say, more lighthearted and youthful than ever thanks to an overall restraint and simplicity which counter balanced the lavishness of it all. The use of zippers and neoprene lended an athletic, sporty air (scuba meets couture). And some of the most successful looks were predicated on relatively 'basic' tank tops, tees, and shirts, but naturally, there was nothing run of the mill about the execution and end result.

When is a blouse and skirt, more than just a blouse and skirt? When Ralph uses coral caviar beads for the top, and white and coral duchess satin for the bottom. One of my favorite dresses looked like a t shirt and skirt but was actually one piece: the top was a caviar beaded shocking pink short sleeved t shirt and the skirt was black matte jersey, and it had insets of shocking pink.

 Coral caviar beaded blouse with white and coral Duchess skirt and stole
(Photo: Udor Photography)

Perfectly balanced, it hit all the right notes and offered plenty of variety (in terms of silhouette, shape, proportion, and color). And it had more than a few nice surprises along the way. Clear plastic was used for accessories (high heeled slingbacks and gloves). A sleek black patent and trapunto silk faille jacket and pant opened the show, but it was soon followed by a simple fitted white tank top paired with multi layer chiffon wrap pants in a rainbow of colors (the pants were so full I initially thought it was a long skirt). When I saw the back of the model, I realized her white top was black in back.

Shocking and white trench coat

A shocking pink 7/8 trench, and shocking pink wool fitted jacket, both worn with white pants, were white in back. This idea of front and back being completely different repeated itself several times (I suppose, when you spend an arm and a leg for fashion, it's nice to think you have two different outfits in one - LOL).

 Lemon and chrome fluted bodice tulle dress
(Photo: Udor Photography)

Getting back to the color palette, while there was a lot of black and white, there was also a welcome explosion of high voltage color: chrome yellow, coral, grass green, citrus, and a shocking pink that was particularly electric. This shade turned up throughout the show: sometimes it was used for an entire look, down to the matching bag, sometimes it was used sparingly, as an inset, sometimes it was mixed with white or black (or both), and a few times it was mixed with other strong colors which lent a painterly look.
Multi-colored taffeta gown
(Photo: Udor Photography)

For example, a black double face wool coat had paint strokes of white, chrome, and shocking, and towards the end of the show, a model came out wearing a multi colored taffeta gown which had a simple sheer black fitted top and voluminous floor length skirt. She artfully held up one side of the skirt, so that the audience could see the yellow, coral, and shocking underskirt. It was dramatic and an obvious crowd pleaser.

To Rome with Love

 Spring 2013 Diane von Furstenberg ombre chiffon strapless top over pants

Diane Von Furstenberg's collections have traditionally been lifestyle oriented, offering her customer many options, from day to evening. But there was a noticeable lack of actual work or even day clothes, in Ms. Furstenberg's spring 2013 runway show, presented yesterday afternoon to a packed house, with her good friend Valentino sitting in the front row (since he has formally retired, I guess he has more time to go to fashion shows). It was filled with her signature graphic and geometric patterns (often mixed together), and there were strong jolts of color in addition to black & white.

Navy crepe all over pearl jacket, tank, and pants

While dresses were still key, there were plenty of pants, jumpsuits, and shorts, and it was really all about layering (not all of it worked I might add), and embellishments. The show had a hard to miss freewheeling, boho vibe, and the clothes seemed better suited for club hopping, partying on a yacht, than for going to work.

Two tone crepe embellished jacket and navy crepe pant with embellished waist

Actually, Diane called it "Palazzo" and her program notes explained that the inspiration behind the line, is a woman who has the "polish of a princess and the heart of a gypsy", who "fantasizes about a life less structured", enabling her to travel to fabulous places like Rome, Marrakesh, Jaipur. Hmmm, could she be telling us something? We all know that DVF is a multi tasker par excellence; a woman with endless business commitments and someone who is always on the go. Maybe it is SHE who is doing the fantasizing? Just saying.

-Marilyn Kirschner

THE DAILY BET by Rhonda Erb

Paul Labrecque Daily Haircare Collection

It's been a long hot summer and the heat, humidity, rain and wind have probably wreaked havoc on your hair. Help get your hair back in shape with this collection which includes Daily Shampoo Moisturizing Hair Wash, Daily Conditioner Moisture Mud Instant Hair Repair, Daily Style Alcohol Free Firm Hold Gel and Daily Finish Shea Butter Texture Balm. These products are gentle enough to be used every day and they will restore your hair to its natural moisture balance.

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