Monday, February 27, 2012

The Last Word by Diane Clehane

2012 Oscar Awards

Meryl Streep wins Best Actress Award for
The Iron Lady
"The evening’s true golden girl wearing Lanvin takes the stage to chants of “Meryl, Meryl, Meryl.” She epitomizes all that is right in Hollywood and for a minute this warm recognition of her extraordinary talent and her acknowledgment of 29 year wait between Oscars makes the evening seems perfect. She gives a wonderfully heartfelt speech thanking her husband first noting that spouses always get mentioned when the winners are being played off with music. She brings many in the audience to tears by telling the crowd she wants to thank all her friends those here and those who have ‘departed.’ Streep seems to sum up the mood of the night perfectly – nostalgic but hopeful". - from Diane Clehane's article
Diane dishes up her take on last night's red carpet arrrivals and awards. Her minute-by-minute report is always fun and insightful. Don't miss it!

Click here for the full report


Sunday, February 26, 2012

More Oscar Swag

Motorola Red Carpet Droid Razr Maxx


Select nominees and presenters at this year’s Academy Awards were gifted with a special edition red Droid Razr Maxx smartphone. The phone has a 4.3-inch display, an 8-megapixel camera, and the long life battery lasts for up to up to 21 hours of talk time. To find out how you can enter to win this red carpet goody visit www.twitter.com/motorola .

- Rhonda Erb


Friday, February 24, 2012

Countdown to the Oscars

Ultimate Oscar SWAG

(Click on image for larger view)

Lash Fary is something of an expert on the subject of celebrity SWAG. For 14 years, his company, Distinctive Assets, has been called upon to put together gift bags for such high profile events as the Grammys and the MTV Movie Awards. For Sunday night’s 84th Annual Academy Awards ceremony, the company has assembled an impressive collection of celebrity worthy products for the “Everyone Wins At The Oscars” 2012 Nominee Gift Bag.


Lash Fary of Distinctive Assets

Nominees in major categories and host, Billy Crystal, will receive predictably exotic gifts, like the Premier Tours Elephant Back Safari, as well as more every day fare, like Dearfoams slippers. Some items are both practical and out of the ordinary, such as the 1 oz. bottle of Purell Instant Hand Sanitizer, encased in a gold and crystal jelly sleeve. According to Fary, “We work on the bag solicitations year round. It’s a two way street of interested clients contacting us and our sales team reaching out to products/services that we think are a good fit. We do not set retail price minimums, but rather remain open to any and all items that might be helpful, useful, and enjoyable to celebs.” The full roster of this year’s goods, valued at more than $50,000, includes:

PURELL INSTANT HAND SANITIZER, $135
DISARONNO cocktails, at the location of their choosing, for up to 100 guests! $15,000
ESP – ESSENTIAL SAFE PRODUCTS, Gift set and a $200 gift certificate, $250
CAROLINE’S CAKES, 7-Layer Caramel Cake, $58
BAMBOO PINK fashion jewelry, $1,000
PREMIER TOURS ELEPHANT BACK SAFARI, 4 night/5 day stay for 2 at Abu Camp in Botswana, Africa, $15,580
FAIZA COSMETIQUES – ADVANCED ANTI-AGING SKIN CARE SYSTEM, $275
EMINENCE, organic body scrub, $48
DR GARTH FISHER, A complimentary visit to his own “Biomed Spa”, $1,645
EC GALLERY, Limited edition art, $500
DARCI BY DI CAPRIO COSMETICS, $207.50
CHOCOLATINES JEWELRY BOX, handcrafted and naturally flavored, $50
SEYIE DESIGN, Interior design services, $10,000
Invitation to visit LEAINE DEHMER’S SKINSATIONS SPA, $1,000
Earthpawz, Pet Safe + Pet Specific Toxic Free Cleaning, $120
HUNTLEY DRIVE FITNESS, Package of 10 Personal Training Sessions, $850
IMANTA, Two nights in Ocean Casa, $3,350
CLD STYLE HOUSE, Assortment of fashion goodies such as Spanx, ShowStoppers Lovemarks and Luichiny Shoes, $400
NAUGHTY BITS BROWNIES, $50
DEARFOAMS, $72
STARLETTOS, Heel protector, $14.99
THERMAROBE, Luxury heated robe (wireless), $178.99
HERB RITTS: LA STYLE, A catalogue published by The Getty that traces the life and career of Herb Ritts (1952-2002), $59.95
JM BLOWDRY, Unlimited blowouts for the entire year, $2,000
ANGEL MINARO EXQUISITE BEAUTY, Ultra Nourishing & Firming Body Lotion and Acai & Honey Tropical Blend Smoother, $51
NOZIN Nasal Sanitizer, $9.99
NOZIN Allergy Master, $14.99
SLIMWARE, Stylish portion control plates (boxed set of 4 ceramic plates), $59
HEATHER LOUNSBURY, CELEBRITY ACUPUNCTURIST, 1 house call, $500
LIVE IN FITNESS ENTERPRISE (LIFE), 1 Week All Inclusive Fitness and Weight Loss Retreat, $4,850
KOSANKA, 100% natural anti-aging beverage, $80
RED CARPET MANICURE, $300
BELLDINI, chic women’s apparel, $500
BIGROUNDBALLS INC. It Takes Balls To Fight Cancer blue rubber bracelet, $4
PHYSIQUE 57, one month of unlimited classes, $300
NIGHTFALL BY SUSAN MCCRAY, eau de parfum, $65
VAPORTRIM, world's first zero-calorie dessert, $9.95
SERENA WILLIAMS SIGNATURE STATEMENT COLLECTION, Belted Tote (in olive), $99.90
ORGANIC SOAP AND SPA will send a variety of products, valued at $200 each month to the recipient, $2,400

Companies pay a standard fee of $4,000 to be included in the gift bag, but feel it is well worth it considering the fact that  “…if a celebrity actually shows up at a facility, redeems a gift certificate, … or is seen wearing a product in public, it can be a press goldmine.” Fary relates the story of how music superstar, Fergie, was so enamored of the UniLazy pajamas she received as a gift, that she ordered several pairs to give at Christmastime. The company was able to use that success story to gain placements in In Touch Weekly and The Today Show.

Over the years, Distinctive Assets has been able to build longstanding relationships with many agents, managers, publicists and their clients, which facilitates their ability to get the gift bags directly into the hands of the stars themselves. So regardless of whether or not your favorite nominees are winners or losers on Sunday night, chances are they will not be going home empty handed.

- Rhonda Erb

Throw An Oscar Celebration


Moet & Chandon is once again the exclusive champagne of the Oscars and this year they worked with the Cooking Channel’s chef Aida Mollenkamp to create a collection of finger food recipes inspired by the Best Picture nominees. Oscar fans can prepare these simple dishes at home along with the “Moet Red Carpet Glamour” cocktail, which will be served to guests at the Governor’s Ball on Sunday night. The cocktail recipe, created by Adam Seger of Chicago, was the winning entry in the Moet Oscar Cocktail Contest.

For recipes click: http://oscar.go.com/blogs/party/moet-signature-cocktail-winner ,
http://www.aidamollenkamp.com/

EHow Home contributor, Drea Christopher has some easy, do-it-yourself decorating ideas to make your Oscar party special. Check out her inexpensive tips at:
http://www.ehow.com/how_5655631_make-decorations-oscar-night-party.html

-Rhonda Erb

Sunday, February 19, 2012

New York Fashion Week Notes

So Many Empty Seats

As been noted by The New York Times and others, a number of major designers and many others of lesser light suffered this season from a lot of no shows. I wonder if people are being spread too thin or there is just a growing weariness over all the hype?

For example, we had to struggle to get our editor into a major designer show. The PR firm, who just took over the account and was handling press invites, would not even respond to our requests for a seat. ( I am not mentioning any names to protect the innocent - mostly us LOL) We have covered this show for at least 10 years before this season. I had to call the designer's people directly before we could get an invite. When she got there, she was given standing room while empty seats abounded.

There has always been a suspicion of mine some PR firms would rather have empty seats than to invite those who they deem not worthy of an invitation. This holds true especially for shows like Rodarte whose brands are built on exclusivity. Of course, you can be invited to a show for years and then, when the designer changes PR firms, you find yourself no longer on the new publicist's A list.

Editorial: Babes In Arms

 The New York Times also reported today on all those VIP's who are bringing their toddlers and newborns into fashion shows. Frankly, I am sure it is not because they cannot afford a babysitter. Besides the health and safety issues involved, here is another example of ego driven behavior. These parents are showing off their status as being so important they can bring in their children and get seats for them. The publicists don't have the nerve to say no - least they should offend one of them. This is an issue that PR firms do not want to deal with. So they don't. If there is less seating available to others who have a real reason for being there - too bad, they can stand. It is not as important as providing seats to VIP's kids (and for that matter their grand children, maids, daughter-in-laws, etc, etc, etc). 

 Reminds me of years ago a former fashion editor of New York Magazine (initials are MB for those who remember her) brought in her photographer husband, two kids, her maid and her dog into a Marc Jacobs show. Standing outside were members of the out-of-town-press who could not get in. I turned to one of them and said: "See where you stand with the designer's publicist? They will let the dog in but not you."

- Ernest Schmatolla

And here from one of our devout readers is Joshua Patner. Read his comments about the above editorial. I have always said, if you dish it, you have to be able to take it. So here we are taking it: 
Joshua says: Nonsense like this serves to prove PRs are right to protect their clients from your silliness. I do find reading it so entertaining however; it's a secret pleasure like tacky HGTV. Of course you all will never look at your own work - terrible writing, no command of punctuation, spelling, proof-reading, your miniscule personal vendettas, the banal taste of your "editors".

Saturday, February 18, 2012

New York Fashion Week Notes: Stacy Lomman

"MODern World"


Stacy Lomman Fall 2012 Collection
Red double face wool mini dress with cut outs
& faux ostrich full length sleevless with black & white stripe lining

(photo: Randy Brooke)

Stacy Lomman previewed her Fall 2012 collection titled "MODern World" at her runway show held Thursday afternoon in Chelsea. Stacy, a former design director of Joan Vass, was named a finalist in this year's Fashion Group International's Rising Star Awards. A designer without deep pockets, Stacy again produced a formal fashion show during one of the most visible times of the season - New York Fashion Week - using the Internet & social media as her main source of funding. She has over 2000 friends on Facebook alone who, via Kickstarter.com website, were able raise a total of $35,000 to fund all four of her runway shows.


.
Grey haze sleeveless mock neck with
patent trim Faux ostrich pencil skirt
(Photo: Randy Brooke)

For fall 2012, Stacy designed a capsule 13 piece collection that she describes in her own words as "What's old is new - MODernized" Here is her video and some photo hightlights from her collection:





Faux ostrich short coat with black & white
stripe silk charmeuse lining with black latex shorts
(Photo: Randy Brooke)


Dove grey shearling motorcycle vest & tweed pencil skirt
(Photos: Randy Brooke)

Royal gabardine racer back dress with red trim
(Photo: Randy Brooke)

 
Grey haze cropped jacket & pencil pant 
(Photo: Randy Brooke)


Black crepe back satin dress with
ribbon Union Jack back detail
(Photo: Ernest Schmatolla)

- Ernest Schmatolla
(Stacy Lomman is a contributing writer to Lookonline.com)


Friday, February 17, 2012

New York Fashion Week Notes: Calvin Klein & Ralph Lauren

Pure and Simple

Calvin Klein Fall 2012 Collection
All photos: firstView.com
(Click images for full size verson)

 The trouble with ending Fashion Week with Calvin Klein, is that Francisco Costa's collections are always the end result of such purity of design unfettered by anything extraneous (which at first glance might LOOK simple yet we all know that is hardly the case), that it is hard to compare with anything else. Yesterday's show (there were two back-to-back presentations held on West 39th Street), spoke volumes about volume - a controlled volume that was inherent in the couture like construction of each piece. The predominant silhouette was waist defined, curved hip, rounded sleeve, and contoured bodice. It was a very concise, strong, and powerful statement.



The 33 looks played out primarily in midnight (so dark it looked like black), onyx, parchment, and flint, with flashes of poppy, sienna, and cerise. There were hefty fabrics such as technical wool and wool tweed, shaved shearling, glazed/wool and mohair, plongee (a thick scuba like fabric that resembles leather), an embroidered on laser cut wool that imparted surface interest, and knotted silk.



As on almost every other runway, the coat was the pivotal piece. The first outfit out, in this case, it was a collarless knee length beauty in midnight glazed/wool and mohair, belted with a wide hammered silver belt which further accentuated the waist and added the perfect amount of glistening shine. It was accessorized with onyx alligator flared heel pumps. The flared heel pumps (in alligator or polished calf, and flared heel black alligator boots, appeared throughout. Other standouts were the poppy technical wool tweed coat, the sienna glazed wool and mohair belted coat with inverted pleats, the onyx pebbled and the high neck parchment bonded wool crepe coat with shaved shearling.



The dress was also KEY: they were in the same fabrication and benefited from the same amazing techniques and construction as the outerwear. In some instances, the placement of seams, the combination of fabric, the employment of sheer panels made the difference. Day and evening were almost the same, although the all onyx finale included several embroidered laser cut wool dresses (whose surface interest approximated paillettes), ending with three dresses in knotted silk embroidery, featuring contoured bodices or open backs, and slightly longer lengths. Rooney Mara, the beautiful, young Oscar nominee for 'The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo', (and someone who is considered to be a real fashion star with her own individual sense of style) was at the 2 PM show, and it might be a safe bet that she will be wearing one of Francisco's dresses when she attends the upcoming Academy Awards later this month.

Ralph's Gold Mine

Ralph Lauren Fall 2012 Collection
All photos: firstView.com
(click on images for full size verson)

The invitation to Ralph Lauren's fall show (black with gold lettering), was a dead give away that this would be a theme at Friday morning's show.  While it was certainly not the whole story, there was a strong statement made in black and gold, whether a subtle one, or not so subtle. Gold beads completely decorated the front of a black cashmere turtleneck which was shown with a black glove leather pleated skirt, and accessorized with black suede platform sandals accented with gold, and a black calfskin clutch with gold hinged handle.



A gold beaded on black tulle cardigan was shown over a white broadcloth pique shirt, worn with black wide legged pleated front pants, accessorized with black suede platform sandals with gold mesh detail; a gold dusted black shearling jacket was thrown over a gold chiffon beaded evening dress; an ostrich feather cape in black and gold, was the perfect cover up for a fluid black satin evening dress; and the finale was a gold lame evening dress.



 But Ralph's true "gold mine" ( what he does best and could easily be his signature) was summed up by the strong opening group: perfect put togethers comprised of impeccably tailored jackets, great coats and wrap coats, jodphurs, boy trousers wide legged pleated front trousers, and fitted cashmere lambswool fair isle sweaters, rendered in mixes of his beloved fabrics (herringbone, houndstooth, heather tweed, windowpane, chalk stripes, and heather tweed), played out in warm shades of camel and brown with a few hits of color. Jaunty caps, white cotton club collar shirts with ties, high heeled burnished leather ghillies and monk strap shoes, polished calf small doctors bags or alligator attaches and briefcases provided the finishing touches.



True standouts were the narrow brown ocelot printed shearling coat which was layered over a taupe cashmere lambswool fair isle sweater; a light green striped cotton shirt with club collar, and camel and brown cashmere glen plaid plus fours. Other 'vintage' Ralph pieces: the black beaded leather motorcycle worn with green tartan slim boy trousers and white cotton broadcloth shirt; the black fluid velvet smoking robe with scarlet shearling collar worn with black chalkstripe flannel wide legged trousers and the black polished bonded leather wrap coat.

-Marilyn Kirschner

Better Bets by Rhonda Erb

Nokia Lumia 800

What’s not to love about this slim, lightweight, Microsoft Windows Phone? The brilliant 3.7-inch AMOLED display puts everything you need at your fingertips and it is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass. It also has an 8MP camera with Carl Zeiss optics to snap all of those unforgettable moments that you want to share.
Available soon at: www.Nokia.com/us


Pandora One

The premium version of Pandora allows you to enhance your personalized listening experience with higher quality audio, an increased number of song skips and no commercial interruptions. Pandora One gift cards make a welcome gift for any music lover.

Available at: http://www.pandora.com/#pandoraOneInfo , $36.00/yr; Gift cards also available at Target stores
Enter to win a one-year subscription to Pandora One! Click betterbetsonline@gmail.com and register your e-mail address before 11:59 PM EST, February 24, 2012 (be sure to put “Pandora” in the subject line). One lucky winner will be chosen at random and notified by e-mail.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

A Conversation With Ralph Rucci

Man On a Mission

Ralph & Tricia
All photos: Udor Photography

Ralph Rucci is a man on a mission, one to introduce his Fall/Winter 2012 collection and dispel his image as a couture designer. In other words, to take the haute out of couture and reintroduce Chado Ralph Rucci as “Made in America” ready-to-wear.

(Click on images for larger pictures)

The designer, who studied art and philosophy at Temple University is reintroducing himself and showing the new collection to the fashion press. He sat down during fashion week to talk about the collection, his inspiration and his intent to introduce the brand to a new crop of customers. The current Chado Ralph Rucci’s constituency includes poet and performer, Patti Smith, best dressed socialite Deeda Blair and entrepreneur, Martha Stewart, which he “takes as the highest compliment” maybe due in part to advice from storied Vogue editrix, Diana Vreeland, who counseled “Give them what they don’t have.”



Inspired by nomadic tribes and anthropology and the unlikely inspiration of skulls and skeletons for print direction this season, the fifty-four piece collection is comprised of suits, dresses for day and evening and for the first time a simple, but perfectly fit white shirt and a beautifully constructed black leather skirt. “There are pieces purposely put into the collection to be price conscious”, says Rucci, to appeal to a new customer with a streamlined lifestyle, while maintaining the essential elements and integrity of the detail oriented line.


Click on image for larger view

The collection plays to Rucci’s strengths – shapely and beautifully constructed garments - for a woman who appreciates it’s balance of form, function and art. This collection is predominately black for day and more so for evening. “It’s what looks right and feels right.” says the designer, given the mood of fashion and the collection’s concept. There is color, evident in a cosmetic toned dusty pink, double-faced wool suit with shaped front jacket and trapunto detailing, as well as a striking cinnabar red, that the designer favors and a rich russet both infusing the collection with color richness.

Click on image for larger view

Not abandoning his penchant for beautiful investment apparel, the line is infused with one of the season’s key elements, fur and fur touched jackets and coats. Even here the designer is conscious of the needs of his customer’s demands, re-inventing a sable coat to be worn three ways. A striking black shell and a sable interior, is stitched to the aforementioned scull print fabric for a look that is at once ageless and individual.

Click on image for larger view

Evening, an essential part of the collection is handled with equal attention to technique and simplicity of design. A black feathered tiered gown is surplice cut then bias tied on a tulle base with graduating levels of sheer lengths. Every feather is individually tied down, a technique the designer hasn’t employed in quite awhile to achieve the slimming tiered effect. Not into feathers? The designer offered a duo of little black dresses, an understated strapless column with hand knotted ribbon ties and decorative hem with bronze caviar and jet beads and a full skirted ribbon cut beauty, which speak to the quiet elegance of the brand.


Click on image for larger view

As the designer enters into a new fashion era, he thought back to his reasons for getting into the business and his entry into fashion. While finishing his studies at F.I.T, the ’20-ish Rucci convinced his sister Rosita to accompany him to iconic and revolutionary fashion designer Halston’s atelier to purchase an outfit, so that he could strike up an alliance with the house vendeuse. Rucci landed a spot in the made to measure salon, trained under Halston, (who in turn had trained under famed designer Balenciaga and Rucci hero) and the rest as they say is history.

--Tricia Kenney

Tricia Kenney is an independent fashion editor, writer and marketer whose work has appeared in national consumer and trade publications. For ten years she was a creative director at Creative Marketing Plus, where she won two Communicator Awards. She has been a fashion editor at Glamour Magazine and a Fashion Director at Macy’s. A native New Yorker, Kenney is a frequent commentator on fashion, lifestyle and culture.

New York Fashion Week Notes

Global Warming? What Global Warming?

Michael Kors Fall 2012 Collection
All photos: firstView.com

I would say that Michael Kors (and company) will be praying for a reversal of what seems an unavoidable trend towards global warming, and hoping against hope that the winter of 2012 will be a cold one, based on the collection he presented yesterday morning. Called "Rugged Elegance" (nobody does "Town & Country" as well as MK), the run of show promised cozy textures, gutsy knits and furs, sleek leathers, bold plaids, buffalo checks, graphic stripes, checks, easy blanket coats, ponchos, and warm tones of saddle, chocolate , and camel. In other words, vintage Michael.



Quite frankly, Michael is really one of the few designers whose collection really looked like autumn/winter; whose clothes reflect the lives of smart, chic, busy woman on the go  -- as opposed to being dreamlike precious designs fit for a princess with a car and driver at her disposal. On many other runways this past week, I felt like I was looking at a pre fall collection (or maybe even a spring collection) because of the rather flat, almost one dimensional fabrics that read 'seasonless'. Not at Michael, and it was refreshing to see.


Shrunken, skimpy, and fitted goes only so far and there is an enormous appeal to be found in the roomy, generous, elongated, and apologetically over sized. Of course, Michael's models can carry anything off, but this is not true for the rest of us. Almost everything seemed wonderfully exaggerated, including the over scaled bags and hats made of fur. Speaking of furs, Michael was also one of the few designers who actually sent out full blown fur coats and didn't just use furs sparingly as trims. His were in your face fluffy pelts (not thin ones like broad tail which resemble fabric): coyote, fox, and Mongolian lamb. The only downside to all this is, if the wearer does not die of heat exhaustion, should the weather be balmy, then PETA will eventually get her. In any case, it all looked luxurious and appealing, down to the chunky heeled boots, sandals, and t straps, that seemed perfect for pounding the pavement.


Of course, thankfully not everything was heavy, overly warm, and fuzzy. There were sleek black glove leathers - a narrow sleeveless dress trimmed with black lace, a short sleeved collarless blouse, and a belted trench with a black fox cape stood out; there was Melton, wool jersey, stretch flannel, cashmere, and an ivory/black herringbone mohair that formed the basis for fitted two piece suits that would be perfect for the workplace. Coats of course, were all covetable, many had luxurious fur collars, and were show for day and night. And then there were the evening dresses and gowns: art deco 20's inspired mid calf dresses in gold and black paillette, and floor length paillette and crystal beaded stretch jersey halter, goddess, and turtleneck gowns closed the show.

-Marilyn Kirschner
(Correction: Yesterday we mistakenly used an Alexander Wang photo for one that was supposed to be the lead photo for Vera Wang. We regret the error.)

Better Bets by Rhonda Erb

Coby Attitudz


Are you daring or mysterious, charming or the ultimate diva? Match these colorful earphones to your unique personality. The in-ear isolation design is comfortable and delivers high-performance sound.

Available at: http://www.amazon.com/ , $5.95


The Logitech Cube

Here is the perfect computer accessory for your pocket or purse. This tiny computer mouse fits in the palm of your hand, but it isn't just a mouse, it also switches effortlessly to a PowerPoint clicker in presentation mode.

Available at: http://www.logitech.com/, $69.99



Wednesday, February 15, 2012

New York Fashion Week Notes

The Charmed Life

Oscar de la Renta Fall 2012 Collection
All photos: firstView.com

Designer Oscar de la Renta’s fall 2012 show, the first in his new venue, was a confectionary delight. The sophisticated designer was clearly targeting PYT (Pretty Young Things), with the prettiest form of charming colorations - rose pink, ice blue and white - jeune fille styles and decorations. all turned out in a very Oscar way.

Femininity reigned in pretty in pink decorative styles, such as a duo perfectly poised for the ballet, an ivory silk cable knit sweater with rose pink pendant printed silk faille skirt and dyed pink feather fox stole and a pale rose faille and filagree cotton guipure dress with rose cashmere turtleneck capelet. There were sporty shapes in pale colorations, après ski style cable cardigans, skinny pants and silver goat vests. Evening took a charming turn with frothy tulle ball gowns and flirtatious silk cloque and tulle draped styles. Tres charmant.


Oscar countered those with a gorgeous black and white story with couture level touches - gorgeous trompe l’oeil embroidery, beading, pleating and touches of fur. Case in point, a white paillette embroidered black brocade coat with silver fox collar which got the crowd’s attention and a black double faced cashmere and angora coat with white feather bijou pendant embroidery and mink collar which had them cheering for more. Suit looks included two variations, one a ruby embroidered tweed jacket over a ribbon tweed skirt, and the other quilted sable tweed printed crepe de chine coat and dress beaded to ultimate effect. Perfectly ravishing.


Oscar is never better than when he heads to evening and this season was no exception as he offered a duo of dazzlers in gold and silver, a lame and beaded fringe silk crepe de chine dress evoking the ‘20s and a gold bullion and bead embroidered glitter tulle gown with iridescent gold silk taffeta skirt, spelling money in the bank gold.

In a season in which decoration and finishing touches count, Oscar de la Renta is more relevant than ever.

-- Tricia Kenney

Graphic Designer

Narciso Rodriquez Fall 2012 Collection
All photos: firstView.com

Coats are making a big impact this season --they are more than just an outer layer, needed for warmth and protection -- they are the pivotal piece in a woman's wardrobe. So it was not at all surprising that Narciso Rodriguez would begin his 34 piece collection, shown last evening at The Theatre at Lincoln Center (friend and customer Claire Danes was seated in the front row) with the chartreuse bonded wool coat. A sculptural, unfussy, modern and a perfect example of what the architecturally grounded designer does best. I loved the way he experimented with shape and volume, using gutsy fabrics like bonded wool and wool felt, playing with off beat hues (chartreuse, petrol, loden, brick, tangerine, russet).



Especially notable was his use of graphic color blocking, which was a theme throughout. It appeared in several of his coats, showed up in his group of silk and wool dresses (using combinations of colors like tangerine or russet with brick), and even in his furs. There was an ecru and chestnut beaver cropped jacket and short coat, both of which were shown over graphic laminated tops. But perhaps the most interesting use of graphic color blocking was through his strong accessories: short napa gloves, suede/ostrich booties, which featured a pointy toe and high heel and were shown with bare legs, and handsome bags.



Abbreviated jackets in bonded wool or textured napa and flannel were cut close to the body and paired with lean trousers in wool and cotton; a wool angora tweed was used for a dress and a bustier, and for evening, instead of a predictable floor length gown, he proposed a bias skirt that was short in front and long in the back, paired with a laminated or embroidered top. The only problem was that a few models were obviously having trouble keeping their stiletto heels from catching in the long panel of the skirt as they walked down the runway. I guess we won't see Claire Danes at the Academy Awards wearing of these on the Red Carpet.


The Naked Truth

Vera Wang Fall 2012 Collection
Photos: firstView.com

You know David Barton's advertisement, which admonished us to "Look better naked?" Well, lets just say that most of us need more than just a gym membership to truly achieve that goal, but I couldn't help but think of that yesterday morning during the opening segment of Vera Wang's fall collection, because the first 7 outfits out were rendered in head to toe nude - as if she were showing us an alternative way to achieve that goal and still remained clothed.


Now I have no idea what Vera looks like naked, but she did show the world quite a bit of her well toned bod in the February issue of Harper's Bazaar, posing in a bathing suit and high heels in her new ultra modern and quite fabulous home in Los Angeles. She also admitted she is not really a high heel and swimsuit kinda gal, preferring to dress in signature black or gray layers (I think she referred to her look as covered up, a la Laurence of Arabia). Vera always injects a lot of herself within her collections and they always mirror her look. While black and gray appeared throughout her 39 piece collection which admittedly harked back to her artsy side, and focused on opposites attracting, layering, transparency, lingerie touches, the idea of clothing as protective soft armor, they were not the whole story.



In addition to the aforementioned nude, there were flashed of bright tangerine, (which looks great with nude I might add), and Dutch blue, that latter appeared as multi layered organza or silk chiffon prints. Very West Coast, I was thinking. And while there were a few melton coats and oversized parkas, not to mention massive raccoon collars, hoods and trims, many of the outerwear pieces were sleeveless, and layered over sheer, wispy chiffons and the collection as a whole, did not look as though it were geared for someone who had to maneuver around the city during a tundra, relegated to taking the subway to-and-fro. I guess we can assume that Vera's new bi-coastal life has thoroughly impacted on her sense of style. FYI, when she took her bow at the end of the show, she was not wearing a swimsuit and heels.

I have to mention that I loved the models' upswept up swepts, which looked like an impossible feat of aerodynamic brilliance. Styled by Paul Hnlon for Frederic Fekkai, the gorgeous Mr. Fekkai was sitting the in the front row taking pictures with his cell phone camera so I guess he was pleased with the results as well. Whatever product they were using had to be a magic potion. Sign me on!

Shine On

Naeem Khan Fall 2012 Collection
All photos: firstView.com

I felt bad for Naeem Khan. He was named the "Mercedes-Benz Presents" designer this season, and some of his work was on display in the lobby of the tents alongside Mercedes-Benz’s new ML63 AMG SUV. He also made a special appearance at the February 9 Fashion’s Night In event, which formally kicked off the week of shows at the tents. He has traditionally shown on the last day of Fashion Week, but somehow, had the misfortune of being given the 2 PM time slot yesterday afternoon. Since the Rodarte show, held in a far west Chelsea art gallery, probably did not start until 12:45, many of those guests did not have time to get back uptown in time for Naeem's show. The collection was inspired by the "decadence and dust of India: the body as canvas: from the Mughal Paisley to the Hindu Tilakas". But, for whatever the reasons, there were plenty of empty seats that needed to be filled in at the large Theatre and many guests who had standing tickets, eventually got bumped up to the first row.


In any event, one almost needed sunglasses because the shine factor (deco, crystal, silver dome beading, mirrors, metallic threadwork, silver and gold pailettes, etc.) was so high. Naeem is, of course, known for his entrance making elaborately embellished designs, many of which unsurprisingly find their way on the backs of stars walking the Red Carpet. Suffice it to say that there were many such creations on display at the show.

--Marilyn Kirschner



The Daily Bet by Rhonda Erb

Casio Baby G-BGA-131

3D Movies, 3D Television, what’s next? The new 3D watch collection from Baby G. The watches come in black or white and have pop-art style 3D numbers. They have a UV-LED dial that glows with the push of a button plus they also have all of the other great Baby G features like World Time, a durable resin band and they are shock and water resistant.

Available in March 2012 at: Tourneau and select Macy’s stores, $99.00


Kingston DataTraveler SE9

This sleek little USB Flash drive will become your dream solution to storing all of your important computer files. It’s tiny enough to fit on a key chain, so you can always keep it handy and it comes in different capacities to suit your needs. The stylish metal casing is ultra durable to keep your files safe and secure.

Available at: http://www.amazon.com/ , $10.99
                                          www.facebook.com/kingstontechnology,

What would you store on your Kingston DataTraveler(photos, homework, etc.)? Tell us and you could win an 8G Kingston DTSE9. Click betterbetsonline@gmail.com  and tell us before 11:59 PM EST, February 21,2012. Twelve lucky winners will be chosen at random and notified by e-mail.


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Citadel Security Under Ty Yorio Celebrate 20 Years in Fashion

The Real Men in Black!

Ty Yorio standing in front of his "men in black"
Photo: Isabelle Erb

They are the unsung heroes of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week. Ty Yorio leads a team of experienced security professionals who are collectively responsible for making sure that Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week twice yearly Bryant Park extravaganza runs like a well oiled machine. Personable and gregarious, the former New York City detective is the President and founder of Citadel Security, an organization that has provided security to first 7th on Sixth and now IMG since its inception in 1993.

Depending on your point of view, security exists at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week to either keep you out or protect you once you’re inside. Yorio and staff, a collection of current and retired police officers, court officers, and military personnel, deal not only with the editors and guests for the shows, but also must create a safe, secure environment in the back of the house for the designers. They understand the importance of these events to the designers and plan ahead for any special requests. Yorio and his people also make sure to keep photographers happy, and try to assist them in getting the important shots that they want.

To mark the occasion (and to ensure they look every bit as good as the rest of us- if not better LOL (hey, it IS New York Fashion Week after all), Pierrepont Hicks (http://www.pierreponthicks.com/ ), outfitted them with their famed ties.


Click here for the rest of the interview with Ty Yorio




New York Fashion Week Notes

Carolina's Mood Indigo

Carolina Herrera Collection
All photos: firstView.com

This was one of Carolina Herrera's more youthful collections to date. And I don't mean to imply that it was ridiculously puerile; or that younger is always better. Hardly. What I mean it was relatively pared down and restrained. There was an unfussy vibe even though it was all very luxurious, dressed up, and unapologetically 'uptown'. Lean silhouettes effectively offset the voluminous ballgowns; the use of sweaters and knitwear for day and night (in a few instances, they were thrown over evening gowns, in place of a more traditional evening coverup), and the models' long straight hair pulled back in headbands, rather than piled into a bun, didn't hurt the cause.



 Her color palette was almost entirely based on shades of blue ( indigo, dark navy, 'Wallis' blue,)  imperial purple, London lilac, modern mulberry, haute pink (a haute way to say hot pink), shades of grey, and, of course, black. Fabrics, always beautiful here, included mixes of wool and tweed, wool knit, jacquard, canvas melange tweed, cashmere, silk mikado, duchess satin, layered silk chiffon, silk crepe, and silk faille in addition to ribbon overlays and embroidery. Furs (fox, broadtail), more exotic pelts, (goat), and feathers, were used throughout but sparingly (showing up as relatively subtle trims or finding their way onto sleeves). An indigo wool jacket layered over a wool and tweed dress and melange cardigan had goat sleeves; a narrow coat in a grey and black abstract jacquard was trimmed at the hem with fox and goat.




As for entrance making gowns, we all know a Carolina Herrera collection would not be complete without them. In this collection, the standouts were those done in painterly, abstract prints: chalked marble, hand painted organzas (some of which were shown beneath cropped jackets), and a group done in an eye catching' 'poster' print rendered in haute pink, black, and canvas. There were several cocktail dresses as well and they looked great.. Elegant Manolo Blahnik for Carolina Herrera shoes, and dramatic black leather gloves (in this case by Shaneen Husham and Carolina Amato), added the finishing touch.

Marooned

Yeohlee Collection
Photos: courtesy Yeohlee
Why is it that I feel as though 7th Avenue is getting 'marooned' these days (or maybe the designers are becoming winos?) HA! Wine, port, burgundy, oxblood, maroon, are all showing up as the new neutral and almost nowhere did it look more chic and modern than at Yeohlee's fall 2012 installation and fashion show yesterday afternoon at her West 38th Street retail shop /studio/ headquarters.



The 'magic of mathematics' is at the heart of the collection, and it's all about sharp edged geometry and the human form (cloaking the body in circles, triangles, and squares). When you first walked into the store, you saw several outfits hanging on the wall: a selvedge edged acid green felted wool coat, a grey marbelized cotton knit jacket (THE perfect blazer), a purple silk faille shirt that can do double duty as a jacket, a black laser cut gabardine tunic and catenary skirt (both with almost fringe like details). On a dress form, there was a red wool melton coat shown over a brown wool melange jacket, white paper cotton shirt and brown wool melange crescent pant.


Guests, including Harold Koda, Stan Herman, Marylou Luther, Margaret Hayes, Patricia Mears, Bobbi Queen, were then led into a second larger room, where a burgundy silk gazar Venn Diagram cape, a burgundy silk gazar Venn Diagram dress, and a purple silk faille box dress were suspended from the ceiling, and we were asked to get close to the walls, while a group of models walked in. The run of show included a white paper cotton crescent collar shirt and denim box shirt; a white plastic cotton duffle coat layered over a white pleated t and black sunburst pleated gabardine shorts; a hunter green cobalt blue mohair wool double face wrap coat layered over a white paper cotton shirt and plaid linen cotton shorts, and a maroon linen wool tie neck coat shown over a burgundy silk gazar jacket and denim crescent bermuda shorts. Here, as elsewhere, the outerwear was stellar.


To Die For

Tome Brown Collection
All photos: firstView.com

There have been times in my life (and especially in recent days), that I have thought (as I'm sure others who have been involved in this business for as long as I have), that fashion would, at one point or another, get the better of me, or eventually 'kill' me. Or that I would do the killing -  LOL. Of course, I'm not being serious (or am I???). But leave it to the always irreverent Thom Browne, to take that a step further and give new meaning to "To die for" ("Death becomes her", or "Killer collection"!)


There were three different time slots for his fall women's presentation, held on the third floor of the New York Public Library; and I was in the first one, at 5 PM. Since the show began a little late, I had a chance to chat with the designer's mom and sister (nice, completely unassuming, and camel clad). who were queued up like the rest of us. I found out that Thom is one of 7 children and when I asked if he always wore his pants short (a signature), I was told that that was not the case, but he always liked his clothes very fitted and he was always precise and fastidious. I wondered if they knew of the macabre events to come (I had an inkling of what to expect because I had been told that one of the models was freaking out at having to be encased in a coffin).



When the doors opened, we were led into a beautiful candle lit dark wood panelled room with 10 ticking striped lined coffins, each with a well dressed model/corpse' clad in- what else?- a fastidious charcoal gray Thom Browne pantsuit (white tulle 'shrouds' covered their heads, ankles, and cuffs). After listening to the strains of the haunting "Hallelujah" for about 15 minutes, a Thom Browne pantsuit clad woman walked up to the podium and in a very serious voice, told the guests that this evening was a tribute to "10 girls who died for fashion" and they were "dreaming about fall 2012" (this got a laugh and broke the ice). "Enjoy the fantasy" she said.

 As if on cue, each of the 'corpses' got up from their coffins, and stood next to them, facing the audience, while their 'dreams' came to life (so to speak). One by one, models, eerily made to look like beautiful corpses down to their sunken mouths and 'decayed' teeth, entered the room wearing selections from fall 2012 collection. Played out primarily in shades of gray, black, white, with touches of camel, (with touches of mink trim), the fabrics were quite heavy and stiff (except for a group of narrow shirtdresses with prim white collars and cuffs, and several white gowns- one with mirrored embellishments), and manipulated into very exaggerated shapes. Of course as always, beneath it all, there are some beautiful pieces. When the last model filed out, the 'corpses went back into their coffins and the show was over. I asked the designer, on my way out, what they were going to do with 10 empty coffins and I was asked if I wanted them. I said no but considering the high cost of funerals, I probably should have taken them up on it.

-Marilyn Kirschner

Better Bets for Valentine's Day - by Rhonda Erb

Demeter Chocolate Covered Cherries

Experience this decadent blend of cherries, Kirsch and chocolate with none of the calories or guilt. This luscious scent is made with 95% natural ingredients. It is just one of more than 250 scents in the Demeter Fragrance Library.
Available at: http://www.demeterfragrance.com/ ; 1oz. Cologne Spray, $20.00

PG Bracelets

Italian jewelry designer, Paola Garofalo, created these colorful fabric bracelets and they can be worn individually or in multiples, depending on the wearer’s ever changing moods. The red, white and green “Italia Universal Love” bracelet has developed an international cult following.

Available at: http://www.pgbracelets.com/ , prices vary
http://www.facebook.com/PGBracelets?sk=wall

Enter to win a special assortment of PG Bracelets in Valentine’s Day colors! Click betterbetsonline@gmail.com  and register your e-mail address before 11:59 PM EST, Feb. 20,2012 (be sure to put “bracelets” in the subject line). One lucky winner will be chosen at random and notified by e-mail.


iLuv Vibro II

Sometimes you need a little extra help to get out of your cozy warm bed. The iMM 155-01 Vibro II has a unique Shaker that vibrates along with the alarm to give you that extra push to wake up. It has a dual alarm clock and a speaker dock that charges you iPhone or iPod. It also allows you to fall asleep to your favorite music on your iPod or FM radio.

Available at: http://www.amazon.com/ , $69.00

Enter to win the iLuv Vibro II iMM155-01! Click betterbetsonline@gmail.com  and register your e-mail address before 11:59 PM EST, Feb. 20,2012 (be sure to put “ iLuv” in the subject line). One lucky winner will be chosen at random and notified by e-mail.

Speck CandyShell GRIP


You take your iPhone with you everywhere. Protect it with this hard, shock absorbent case that has a soft cushioned inner core. Fingerpads allow more control for texting and gaming.

Available at: http://www.speckproducts.com/ ; $34.95